Top 12 Website Sales in the History of the Universe

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Top 12 Website Sales in the History of the Universe

Christmas is just around the corner and has got an early gift for you. It comes in the form of a list and is very closely related to our recent post on the 10 Biggest Domain Name Sales of all Time.

Today, however, we are going to look at the top 12 websites sales in the history of the universe, ever!

Now you may be thinking, isn’t that basically the same as your last post, James? And while it may seem like that on the surface, the subtle difference is today we’ll be looking at entire website sales, including businesses, and not just domain names.

But before we get to the list that you’ve been waiting all year to see, you need to appreciate that there may be some discrepancies between this compilation and others that you’ve seen.

That’s because new information is always coming to light regarding domain name and website transactions, so lists are often open to interpretation.

For example, new information emerged last week in the December/January issue of Inc. magazine regarding the purchase of in 2011 by The sale price was a hefty $700,000 and it’s now in joint fifth place on the DN Journal’s list of top website sales for 2011.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s your Christmas gift from us. It should give you something to aim for in your own website buying/selling career.

Here’s’s Top 12 Website Sales in the History of the Universe: in 2012 in 2012

12. – $4 million – October 2012

Gift Card Lab purchased back in October 2012 in a deal worth $4 million. The new owners not only scored a sweet domain name, but they also took ownership of a long running business and the very highly sought after 1-800-gift-card vanity number.

The seller, Maynard Small, was no stranger to large transactions and had actually sold to Microsoft some four years earlier.

Lucky Midas touch or site flipping genius?

You didn't think we could show you, did you?

You didn’t think we could show you, did you?

11. – $4 million – February 2008

Search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, retrieve page results based on an individual’s search term and exact match domains have always had a tendency to rank highly – despite what your SEO guru tells you.

For this reason, was able to command a $4 million price tag in February 2008; testimony to the importance of securing a site that receives strong and targeted traffic. in 2011 in 2011

10. – $4.5 million – April 2011

In 2011, Apple were on a mission to collect as many awesome i-domains as they could and iCloud was firmly in their sights.

The owner at the time, Swedish-based firm Xcerion, was actually a cloud provider using the website for business purposes.

However, when the Apple marketing train rolls into town and flashes $4.5 million dollars at you, it takes nerves of steel to decline. as it appears today as it appears today

9. – $5.1 million – January 2000

We often talk about how appealing single word domains are, but just proves that some businesses are willing to shell out a fortune on websites that they think have potential.

That’s certainly what LA Group Inc thought when they handed over $5.1 million for in January 2000. Some might say that it’s a bargain because they got a four-word domain instead of the usual one. in 2003 in 2003

8. – $5.5 million – October 2003

Occupying the 9th spot on our list is, a fact that may surprise some people. After all, online gambling is one of the Internet’s richest niches.

At the time of its sale in October 2003, was – yeah you’ve guessed it – an online casino website. Fast-forward to 2014 and is still an online casino website.

The new owners, Mansion Limited of Gibraltar, have been able to leverage Gibraltar’s friendly tax and online gambling laws to fully exploit this rockstar website. looks like it's back up for sale. Make an offer? looks like it’s back up for sale. Make an offer?

7. – $7 million – 1999

How much is a beer worth? Well, according to Interbrew – the company who purchased back in 1999 – right around $7 million.

So is now a global hub for one of the most consumed beverages on the planet? No, it’s actually blank and up for sale.

Just beer bear the 1999 purchase price in mind if you’re thinking of making an offer. as it looks today as it looks today

6. – $7.5 million – December 1999

Two entrepreneurs bought back in 1999 for $7.5 million during the height of the dotcom boom. When the dotcom bubble subsequently burst, many people sniggered at the large purchase.

However, it would be Jake Winebaum and Sky Dayton (the two forward-thinking entrepreneurs) who would have the last laugh when they sold and the entire company behind it to Yellow Pages publisher RH Donnelly for $345 million. in 2009 in 2009

5. – $16 million – October 2009

Insurance comparison site is the 1st in our list worth over $10 million.

As we all know, the insurance industry is worth mega bucks (wait until you see the number one spot in our list) and it’s therefore not surprising that would fetch such an astronomical amount.

Bought by Quin Street, the website is now ranked as one of the Internet’s top financial sites by MSN Money.

Who says insurance is a waste of money?!? Quin Street obviously don’t… in 2009 in 2009

4. – $18 million – August 2009

Talk about generic domains! – although rather ambiguous – was always going to represent a phenomenal deal when it changed hands.

That happened back in August 2009 and it was Quin Street (see previous entry) who were throwing their cash around again – $18 million to be precise.

The network encompassed many online brands and the new owners also took control of many other websites at the same time, including, and to name a few. as it appears today as it appears today

3. – $30.1 million – February 2012

When your customers are people searching for private jets, perhaps you can afford to splash over $30 million on a website. That’s exactly what Nations Luxury Transportation LLC did in 2012 to secure and its associated assets.

The private jet industry is obviously extremely valuable and the website was rumoured to attract 250,000+ unique monthly visitors. However, a quick check today reveals a seemingly non-functional website with an overlaid splash screen.

We thought would be soaring high but the 2014 reality is that it’s parked firmly on the runway at present.

It should be noted that this was a mostly equity transaction and some reports question if the sale actually ever took place. Make your own mind up. as it appears today as it appears today

2. – $35 million – 2007

People wouldn’t just buy a website to stop one of their competitors getting their hands on it, would they?

Well that’s apparently what HomeAway did in 2007. The company purchased the entire Vacation Rentals business model simply to stop the domain being bought by Expedia.

Brian Sharples, CEO of HomeAway, wasn’t subtle about the reason for the purchase either:

“The only reason we bought it was so Expedia couldn’t have that URL”, he said at the time.

Fair enough, Brian. If you’ve got a spare $35 million, why not!? as it appears today as it appears today

1. – $35.6 million – July 2010

If can bring $16 million then was always going to be more. But twice the price!?

Apparently so… and it’s old our friends Quin Street up to their old tricks again. Not content with owning just, they dropped a further $35.6 million on the website too.

Despite securing a killer domain name, Quin Street were quick to point out that the transaction was for and all its media and technology assets.

They obviously saw the mammoth potential of such a website, which was previously operated as an actual insurance company selling policies direct to consumers.

Hopefully our list of the world’s top 12 website sales ever has given you renewed inspiration to persist with your own domain/website flipping ventures.

James Devonshire is a freelance writer who specializes in creating content for social media, SEO and digital marketing purposes for a wide variety of businesses. With a strong knowledge of website monetisation, entrepreneurial practices and optimization techniques, James has carved out a literary niche for himself from his adopted home in the Philippines.

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