There were some absolute blockbuster domain sales in 2010 and I thought it would be fun to look at what’s happened with those domains since their purchase. The top five domains sold in 2010 were all one word .COM domains which should come as no surprise.
When you buy a domain name for over a million dollars, of which all the top five sold for, then you’re really buying it to turn it into a brand. Brand don’t sprout overnight but it is interesting to see the direction that each buyer has taken after acquiring the domain name. So, let’s go through the list – I have screenshots of all sites except for Sex.com which I’ve decided to leave-off so that I’m not displaying photos of naked women on my blog 🙂 Still as the #1 sale it’s absolutely important to cover:
Sex.com – well no surprises here, Sex.com has been developed into a porn and dating site, as the title says it is the “Best Sex and Porn Sites, Dating and More. According to Compete.com the site gets around 188,000 visitors/month however I’ve found that compete is VERY far from the real traffic a site receives so I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets closer to 300,000-400,000 visitors/month. It is currently an everything sex/porn/dating site with an okay design. I am surprised they aren’t doing much with social media, while they own the sexcom Twitter account the last time they updated it was May 1st. Of course you don’t really need social media to make this site a success but given that I have more Twitter followers than a site that sold for 13 million dollars it seems like they could be leveraging social media more but heck, it’s sex.com and I’m sure they’re making a fortune and I’m sure there is a LOT more to come so we’re probably only seeing a very early rev of the site. I didn’t see the site before the sale so for all I know this is the same site that was on beforehand.
Slots.com – another logical choice, slots.com has been developed into a site where visitors can play slots and casino games online. According to Compete.com they only get around 21,000 visitors/month which could mean they get somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 visitors/month in reality. When I search on Google they come-up #6 on the first page with FreeSlots.com and SlotsMamma.com in the #1 and #2 spots where Slots.com really should be. Either way I think the site has a fairly nice design but they would probably like to be getting more traffic for the 5.5 million price tag. Still it’s less than a year since purchase so they’ve got plenty of time to turn this into the go-to website for slots online, they sure have the name for it!
Dating.com – this was probably the biggest surprise for me, rather than going after the wildly popular online dating space dating.com has decided to focus on the sketchy area of Escorts. The design of the site is very simple with a bunch of links about how to become an escort, defending escorts in the bible, and talking about the role that escorts played in the Old West. It seems their mission at the moment is to legitimize prostitution and promote it through the site. At the bottom of the site they say,
“Dating.com will be focusing on escorts. We’ll feature reviews of your favorite female escorts as well as male escorts, serving both males and females. We’ll feature easy-to-find escort ads with a powerful search, similar to adult personals, or adult classified style listing. Craigslist may no longer allow you to find escorts online for your casual encounters, but at Dating.com you’ll be able to find the type of adult service you’re looking for quicker and easier than with any of our current competitors.” (from Dating.com)
All I can say here is – Yikes! This is actually a bit creepy and scary. Damn this would be a great domain name for a…dating site!
Photo.com – this domain sold in May of last year and after a year of work it looks like it’s still in Beta. This isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Making something truly great takes time I’m exciting to see what they come-up with. There is a lot you could do with Photo.com especially now that just about everyone carries a camera with them everywhere they go thanks to Smartphones. I have signed-up for the Stay Informed list and will let you all know the latest and greatest as they release it to me. I think they could turn this into a great way to catalog and share photos online or a stock photography site like iStockphoto – stay tuned!
Flying.com – this definitely takes the cake for the nicest design and most creative I’ve seen in the top five. While the site is currently in beta the title gives a good idea of the direction they’ve decided to go in “the world’s leading online destination for flying enthusiasts.” The design is really slick and that little white plane follows you as you scroll down the page which is a nice feature that makes the site more interactive and fun – it’s the little things that count! They are really covering the gamut of what you can do with this site from flying lessons, to aircraft for sale to flying jobs. It really is maximizing the use of Flying.com and my hat goes off to the buyers here – they really are making the most of their domain!
And there you have it – the top five domain sales from 2010. It’s important to note that with domains in this range you can’t expect everything to be in tip-top shape right-away. Building a major online brand takes time and as I’ve learned with my own brands it takes more than a few months to make a meaningful online business. Of course I do have my top pick and one that disappointed me the most. To get the garbage out of the way, Dating.com is a major disappointment, they’ve decided to focus on connecting people with men and women they can pay to have sex with when they could have used the site to help people fall in love. Flying.com is my definite favorite, I honestly can’t think of anything else they could have done here – they really have covered the gamut and supplied something for everyone who visits the site.
Stay-tuned as I’ll be doing an update to this post towards the end of the year to show how the top five have developed as I’m sure there is a lot more to come! I hope you all enjoyed this post and as always comment and let your voice be heard!