Sometimes the owner of something can be completely unaware of how much its value will rise over time and that it could become an object of desire for others. This is a common situation with works of artwork and real estate. But the same thing also happens with Internet addresses – it’s just that many people aren’t as familiar with this.
Sixteen years ago, when Bert Pots, a resident of the Netherlands, registered the Internet address app.nl for his company, he COULDN’T have possibly known that the term “app” would take on a whole other dimension and gain a new sense of value in the years to come. Registering the app.nl address cost him about â‚¬ 9 per month at the time. Fast forward to 2014, when Pots sold it for â‚¬ 18,500 via the domain marketplace Sedo.
It all started in 1998. Bert Pots had just founded his company Algra, Pots and Partners and was looking for a catchy domain for the company’s website. What were the selection criteria? He wanted the name to be as short as possible and have some relation to the company’s name. Algra, Pots and Partners became “AP+P Journalists.” A trusted advisor recommended that he use the short domain version app.nl, and the rest is history. The website went live at app.nl, and Pots was more than happy with his choice. The technical term “app” already existed at the time, but it was of no interest to the general public.
It wasn’t until Apple launched the iPhone that the term “app” became widely known and more valuable. After all, an item’s value rises sharply when it is unique (scarce supply) and various interested parties will line up to get it (high demand). If the item is a virtual one, like a domain, its Internet affinity is an additional crucial factor in establishing its value.
All of this was true of the app.nl domain. More and more companies began asking Pots if he wished to sell the app.nl domain, and he realized he was sitting on an absolute gold mine.
Domain auction: an even playing field for all interested parties
The highest offer he had received to date was â‚¬ 9,000. As luck would have it, Pots happened to be planning a new business idea at the same time, and he needed some seed money. He contacted the domain marketplace Sedo to find out how best to sell the domain. He worked with Marloes Bouwman-Weitzenkamp, Sedo’s Country Manager for the Netherlands, who recommended that he sell the domain via the GreatDomains auction. This would also be accompanied by various marketing activities aimed at creating awareness amongst potential interested parties to let them know that the address was available.
An auction was a good option for two reasons:
1.) It allowed Sedo to simultaneously make all of the potential interested parties aware of this limited-term offer. This approach meant that everyone was given a fair opportunity to become the highest bidder and thus the new owner of the domain.
2.) Bert Pots knew that he would receive the money within ten days, so he could then invest in his new project right away.
Good things come to those who wait
The plan was a success. For â‚¬ 18,500, twice as much as the previous highest offer, app.nl changed hands. The new owner now uses the page to operate app development projects. The app.nl domain was the best possible choice, since “app” is the ideal keyword for the new owner’s services. As for Pots, he invested the money in his new startup at www.congresredactie.nl. Congresredactie reports on conferences, congresses and events in an editorial style, with a specific focus on the creation of online magazines.
Very often we hear stories like this at Sedo among our discussions with domain buyers and sellers. The story of Bert Pots demonstrates that there are domain owners all over the world who are sitting on veritable cash cows either because the term used in the domain suddenly becomes a trend – as in the case of app.nl – or because another party wants this exact domain and nothing else will suffice. In cases like this, even a seemingly nondescript domain like dudu.com can bring as much as $1 million U.S. dollars.