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Buying Domain Names

Risk & Reward of Buying a Domain Portfolio

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I am occasionally offered the opportunity to purchase a domain name portfolio. Most of the time, the portfolios I am sent are relatively small, but the portfolios can be comprised of a wide variety of domain names in them. Last week, Mark Levine tweeted about buying portfolios, and he likened it to the A&E television show, Storage Wars.

Sedo Comments on Domain Theft & Verification Policy

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Over the years, I have received a number of emails about domain names that were (sometimes) allegedly stolen and re-sold on domain name marketplaces and platforms. I have also read forum and blog posts, as well as seen tweets and other complaints regarding the purchase of domain names that were previously stolen. Domain name theft is still a major issue that plagues the business of domain investing.

Contact a Former Registrant for Due Diligence – Even for Auctions

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Due diligence is an important aspect of buying a domain name. Whether a buyer is acquiring a domain name privately without the assistance of a third party, using a domain broker, buying a domain name via auction, or using an aftermarket platform, due diligence is critical to ensure the domain name acquisition is legitimate.

I don’t think auction platforms do much (or enough) due diligence on domain names that are listed for sale. I believe some confirm that the customer who listed the domain name is the registrant of said domain name, but I am not even sure if that happens for every domain name nor do I know if it happens with every venue. Even if this is true, a thief who stole a domain name and has possession of it could easily prove possession of the domain name, so this is not much help.

As part of doing due diligence, it can be helpful to contact previous domain registrants to track the history of the domain name. DomainTools’ Whois history tool is the primary tool I use to see the historical Whois records for domain names. I believe DomainIQ also has some historical Whois records as well. Google searching for Whois and the domain name may also reveal some (spotty) results.

Elon Musk on What it Took to Acquire Tesla.com

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How much did Tesla pay to buy The Tesla.com domain name? Elon Musk might have just revealed the price.

Tesla Motors operated its business in TeslaMotors.com for a number of years. In February of 2016, it was widely reported that the company bought the Tesla.com domain name. The purchase price of the domain name was not publicly announced though.

Late last night on Twitter, CEO Elon Musk commented about what it took to finally acquire the Tesla.com domain name:

It is unclear if the $11 million figure was the actual amount Tesla paid to buy Tesla.com or if that figure also includes additional costs or terms (such as legal fees or if this figure includes stock in the company which could fluctuate in value).

Now that Mr. Musk has publicly discussed the acquisition, it would be great if the Tesla Investor Relations team clarified the purchase price component a bit. It would likely be one of the largest domain name sales of all time.

It’s Better for an Investor to Own a Domain Name

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If you have been watching television during the last month or so, I am sure you have seen a Portal by Facebook television commercial like this one:

As a domain investor watching the advertisement, you probably noticed the clunky url for Portal by Facebook: Portal.Facebook.com. When you visit that url, you can see Facebook has branded its product “Portal,” and Portal has its own logo and brand identity. Unfortunately for Facebook, the company does not own the valuable brand match Portal.com domain name.

Portal.com does not resolve to an active website. A Whois search shows the Portal.com is owned by Oracle. Looking at Screenshots.com, I can see that there was once a landing page with an Oracle logo announcing that “Oracle has acquired Portal Software…

Ordinarily, when a domain name is

One Thing I Look at When Bidding in a Domain Auction

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I am currently involved in a domain auction with a handful of bidders. I want to share a relatively common sense tip that can sometimes help me determine how much I am willing to pay to acquire a domain name.

There is about a day left in the auction, so I am internally trying to determine the maximum number I am comfortable paying. I checked a very similar name (plural vs. singular) to see how it is used and who owns it. I noticed that the similar domain name is listed for sale on a popular aftermarket website. That domain name has a buy it now price of a little under $2,000.

Some might argue the other domain name is more valuable than the name in auction. I could go either way on it, although a case could be made for either domain name. The keyphrase of the domain name in auction has has one extension registered while the comparable name has 5 of the most popular extensions registered.

If I would win the auction and price the domain name in the

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