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10 Year Anniversary of the Cowboys.com Auction

One thing you will notice on yesterday’s report about professional sports team domain names is that the Dallas Cowboys, one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, does not own Cowboys.com. For those who may be new to the domain name industry, there is a pretty wild story about why the franchise doesn’t own Cowboys.com today.

10 years ago this month, the Dallas Cowboys thought they purchased Cowboys.com at a Moniker live domain name auction for $275. After the auction, it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys “misunderstood what the pricing system was” because their bid was actually for $275,000. As a result of this confusion, the Dallas Cowboys retracted their bid and did not purchase the domain name.

Making the story all the more interesting, the domain name ended up selling for $370,000 in the silent auction that followed the live auction. Cowboys.com was purchased by a group of investors. As I recall, some people in that initial investment group were privately (and profitably) selling ownership shares to other investors who wanted to participate, although that is based on my own recollection. YouTube has a couple of videos of interviews Darren Cleveland did with Eric Rice and Rick Schwartz shortly after the group won the auction:

Since that time, Cowboys.com has had a bit of an interesting history. For some period of time a few years ago, Cowboys.com was used as a dating website. That got quite a bit

Will the Cowboys Ever Buy Cowboys.com?

Cowboys.com is now a dating website, and a number of sports and mainstream news publications have picked up on the news. Some people have speculated that the new website may be a ploy to get the NFL Dallas Cowboys to buy Cowboys.com. In the words of one commenter, “I just can’t help but feel this is a ploy to shock the Dallas Cowboys into action. If so very well played.”

The Cowboys.com ownership group once put the domain name up for sale via Sedo, but a deal it never materialized. I would not be surprised if the group would be willing to sell the domain name now for the right price.

That said, I am wondering if you think the Dallas Cowboys will ever purchase the Cowboys.com domain name. My guess would be that many people type in Cowboys.com looking for information about the Dallas Cowboys to buy tickets, memorabilia, and clothing. Most will likely go to Google or directly navigate to the correct site, but there may be some traffic loss by not owning the brand.

So… do you think the Dallas Cowboys will ever buy Cowboys.com? Answer in the poll below.


Cowboys.com: Dating Site Launched

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It’s very likely that you already know the story of Cowboys.com. The short version is that a representative for the Dallas Cowboys allegedly won it at auction for $275,000 but thought the price was just $275 and backed out. A group of domain investors later scooped it up in the silent auction for $370,000. You can read fuller versions here, here, and  here.

Not much was done with the Cowboys.com domain name over the last several years, aside from very minimal monetization (from what I recall) and putting it up for sale via Sedo. According to a press release distributed this morning, that is changing:

“Baltimore, Maryland based Cowboys.com Group LLC is launching a western theme based website to take advantage of the fastest growing segment in online dating. The website www.Cowboys.com will be the new home for gay & straight dating people looking to find themselves a cowboy. “We are extremely excited to have decided on a direction for this property. Gay dating is a primary target for this website however, we will also serve the needs of straight daters as well,” said Darren Cleveland, President/CEO of City Advertising whom is part of the owners group.”

It’s an interesting turn of events for this domain name. I am sure that it will likely surprise some of the Dallas Cowboys fans who type in the domain name assuming it’s property of the NFL Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys could have owned it for $275,000, and the debacle is still one of the more head scratching things that I have seen since I’ve been involved in the domain space.

As Usual, Traffic to Cowboys.com Increases

It’s been almost four years since Cowboys.com was acquired by a group of domain investors for $370,000 after a reported bidding error by an official from the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. As Rick Schwartz wrote at the time, “the “Attorney” for the Dallas Football team said days later that he thought the price was $275 and not $275,000.”

Unfortunately for the people involved in the acquisition, the development project that some envisioned seems to have petered out and there isn’t much residing on the domain name. Despite this, visitors still type in Cowboys.com by the thousands.

I don’t think Compete is a good source of data for parked domain names like this, but it shows nearly 20,000 visitors in August as NFL training camps opened, and well over 30,000 during the season last year. I am sure there were thousands of visits on Monday night when the Cowboys played the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football.

I understand that 25,000 +/- monthly visitors is really just a drop in the bucket when compared to the nearly 2 million +/-  visitors its DallasCowboys.com website receives each month during the season, but the cost to acquire Cowboys.com would also likely be a similar drop in the bucket.

Cowboys.com is still listed for sale at Sedo, and I think the Cowboys would be wise to purchase it, perhaps via the broker representing the domain name, Dave Evanson (dave.evanson @ sedo.com). Knowing that domain investors own Cowboys.com, I would think the Cowboys would want to make more of an effort to own the name.

Dallas Cowboys Suck, But Cowboys.com Now Available for Sale via Sedo

It looks like rookie Sedo domain broker (but veteran domain investor)  Dave Evanson has scored a touchdown with this recent catch. According to the landing page on Cowboys.com, the domain name is now for sale with Evanson quarterbacking the transaction.

The Cowboys.com domain name has had an interesting recent history. Previously it was a country western website, and it then went to auction at the TRAFFIC conference. A representative for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys had the winning bid of $275,000 at the live auction, but it turns out that he apparently thought the price was $275 rather than $275,000. It was later sold at the silent auction to a group of domain investors.

The group originally had some big plans for the domain name, but any time you get a group of A-type personalities on a project, it can be difficult to make headway. As the saying goes, it looks like there were “too many chiefs, but not enough firefighters.” You can see two videos from the Cowboys.com party embedded below (via YouTube).

If you are interested in bidding on the domain name, you can visit the Sedo listing or contact Dave Evanson by sending an email to dave.evanson@sedo.com or by calling 1 (617) 499-7222.

Rick Schwartz, Darren Cleveland, and a fake horse.

Eric Rice and Darren Cleveland

US Professional Sports Team Domain Names (Updated)

In mid-2009, I wrote about the exact match team .com domain names owned by the teams or leagues in the 4 major US sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL). At that time, NBA teams owned 76.7% of the EMD team domain names, MLB teams owned 73.3% of the EMD team domain names, NFL teams owned 53.1% of the EMD team domain names, and NHL teams owned 26.7% of the EMD team domain names.

This morning, I had another look at the team and league domain names to see how much this percentage changed over the past 8 years, and here is what I found:

Percentage of teams that own their .com team name:
NBA: 76.7%
MLB: 90%
NFL: 56.3%
NHL: 25.8%

The league that had the greatest increase in exact match team nickname .com domain names was

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