Who you callin’ a Sucker?

Since 2003, I have been working for a company that owns a portfolio of great domain names. One of the things that has always bugged me about the Financial and Tech media is that they were in denial for so long about the inherent value of a great domain name, and that owning one is like owning a piece of real estate on Fifth Avenue (or for my fellow Vancouverites’ sake, Robson Street).  

When we sold a package of 4 premium domain names for $1 million in the fall of 2003, I assumed that it would get some good ink. I emailed the news to all of the writers and editors who follow the dot-com world, thinking the press coverage would be very positive. I was wrong. The Wall Street Journal, a publication where all small companies dream of being written up, questioned the sanity of the buyer in a blurb titled “Sucker.com,” while Harry Newton at TechnologyInvestor.com wrote, “The Silly Season is Upon Us.”

Fast forward to 2007 and the concept of domain names as prime real estate is so mainstream. Here are some quotes and headlines from this year:  

“Internet traffic and domains are the prime real estate of the 21st century” – Steve Forbes

“New gold rush: Internet domains snagging huge amounts of money” – AP

“Cyberspace land grab; Domain Names Back in Business as Big Money Seeks Hot Property” – Mercury News

“The land grab for domain names is far from over, both in the hedge fund world and the real world” – Financial Times

If our company or anyone else sold the same 4 domains that we did back in ’03 for $1 million today, the seller, not the buyer, would probably be labeled a ‘sucker’ by the media for unloading such valuable assets for so cheap.