Top 12 Website Sales in the History of the Universe
Christmas is just around the corner and SellMySite.com 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 Nuts.com in 2011 by NutsOnline.com. 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 SellMySite.com’s Top 12 Website Sales in the History of the Universe:
12. Giftcard.com – $4 million – October 2012
Gift Card Lab purchased Giftcard.com 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 Cashback.com to Microsoft some four years earlier.
Lucky Midas touch or site flipping genius?
11. Freeporn.com – $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, Freeporn.com 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.
10. iCloud.com – $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.
9. Asseenontv.com – $5.1 million – January 2000
We often talk about how appealing single word domains are, but Asseenontv.com 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 Asseenontv.com in January 2000. Some might say that it’s a bargain because they got a four-word domain instead of the usual one.
8. Casino.com – $5.5 million – October 2003
Occupying the 9th spot on our list is Casino.com, 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, Casino.com was – yeah you’ve guessed it – an online casino website. Fast-forward to 2014 and casino.com 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.
7. Beer.com – $7 million – 1999
How much is a beer worth? Well, according to Interbrew – the company who purchased Beer.com back in 1999 – right around $7 million.
So is Beer.com now a global hub for one of the most consumed beverages on the planet? No, it’s actually blank and up for sale.
beer bear the 1999 purchase price in mind if you’re thinking of making an offer.
6. Business.com – $7.5 million – December 1999
Two entrepreneurs bought Business.com 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 Business.com and the entire company behind it to Yellow Pages publisher RH Donnelly for $345 million.
5. Insure.com – $16 million – October 2009
Insurance comparison site Insure.com 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 Insure.com 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…
4. Internet.com – $18 million – August 2009
Talk about generic domains! Internet.com – 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 Insure.com entry) who were throwing their cash around again – $18 million to be precise.
3. PrivateJet.com – $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 Privatejet.com and its associated assets.
The private jet industry is obviously extremely valuable and the Privatejet.com 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 Privatejet.com 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.
2. VacationRentals.com – $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!?
1. Insurance.com – $35.6 million – July 2010
If Insure.com can bring $16 million then Insurance.com 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 Insure.com, they dropped a further $35.6 million on the Insurance.com website too.
Despite securing a killer domain name, Quin Street were quick to point out that the transaction was for Insurance.com 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.