Generic Domain Names

Wing.com Acquired by X, Google’s “Moonshot Factory”

In late July, I noticed a couple of interesting changes related to the Wing.com domain name. Those changes were noted in a tweet I sent out:

Wing.com had been owned by a company called Wing Inflatables. This Summer, I saw that the domain name transferred to MarkMonitor, a brand protection company and domain registrar used by many large companies. When someone visited Wing.com, they reached a temporary landing page informing them that they were going to be forwarded to a different website (I believe it was InflatableSolutions.com).

When I saw this, I speculated that the domain name may have been acquired by X, a research and development company operated by Google’s parent company, Alphabet (colloquially referred to as “The Moonshot Factory”). Wing is an independent company that was incubated within X, and it would have made sense for X to have acquired the Wing.com domain name for this business.

At the time of my tweet, I reached out to Wing Inflatables to ask if the company sold Wing.com. I did not receive a response to my query.

A couple of days ago, I checked in on Wing.com, and I noticed that it is being used by X’s Wing. The domain name is now registered to DNStination, Inc., the privacy proxy service operated by MarkMonitor. It would appear that X did, in fact, acquire the Wing.com domain name. I reached out to Google’s Press office, but I did not hear back from the group yet (update – see below)

If I had to venture a guess, I would say that this was a mid to high six figure sale – and perhaps as high as seven figures. The former registrant had to change its web presence and marketing, including a change of email addresses. This is not easy nor without risk, so I presume this valuable domain name was quite expensive.

With Google’s willingness to use new gTLD domain names like ABC.xyz and X.Company, it is always interesting to see the company buy a domain name like Wing.com.

Update: I heard back from Google this afternoon, but the company has no comment about the domain name.

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

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

View Glass Gets More Funding and Gets View.com

Early this morning, Bloomberg reported that View, Inc., a maker of smart glass had received $1.1 billion in funding from the SoftBank Vision Fund. Prior to this announcement, Bloomberg reports, the company had received “about $800 million” in funding from other investors.

The news about this recent round of funding was tweeted out by Techmeme this evening:

I visited View.com to see if that is the domain name the company is using, and I saw a 404 error:

No Auction or Sale of Toys.com

Earlier this year, it looked like the Toys.com domain name was going to come up for sale again due to the Toys R’ Us bankruptcy. In fact, in May of this year, I wrote about the court documents that indicated Toys.com would be up on the auction block, after selling for $5.1 million in 2009.

It looks like the sale of Toys.com is not going to happen though. If you visit Toys.com, you can see a message on the landing page that says:

“Guess Who’s Back? Geoffrey’s back & ready to set play free for children of all ages.”

Clicking the “learn more” link takes visitors to a press release from early October announcing that the assets will be acquired by the creditors rather than sold to another entity:

Jump Bikes Acquires Jump.com Domain Name (Update)

In June, I posted a poll question asking people if they thought Jump Bikes, which was acquired by Uber last April, would be able to acquire the exact match Jump.com domain name. At the time, Jump.com was owned by Microsoft, meaning the domain name would either be impossible to buy or very expensive. In that poll, 51+% of those who voted said “No,” the company wouldn’t buy Jump.com.

Yesterday morning, I saw that Alan Dunn tweeted about the Jump.com domain name because it was acquired by the bike startup:

If you visit Jump.com right now, you will be redirected to JumpBikes.com. The Whois record shows the domain name is now registered to Social Bicycles, Inc., which is the company doing business as Jump Bikes.

Interestingly, Jump.com was registered at MarkMonitor before and after the domain name changed hands. Because MarkMonitor

What Will the FTC Do With Army.com?

According to reports on CNET and in AdAge that were published earlier this week it seems that the US government, via its Federal Trade Commission (FTC), could take possession of the valuable Army.com domain name as part of a legal settlement with the company that operated the domain name.

Here’s an excerpt from the CNET article:

“The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that it had seized nine copycat websites that harvested and sold users’ personal information by posing as US military recruitment sites.

The operators of websites such as Army.com and NavyEnlist.com tricked people interested in joining the military out of their personal information by falsely claiming to be affiliated with specific branches of the military, the FTC said in a complaint filed in an Alabama federal court.”

Here’s an excerpt from a statement put out by the FTC last week regarding the Army.com domain name and other domain names:

“The operators of copycat websites army.com and navyenlist.com have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they targeted people seeking to join the armed forces and tricked them by falsely claiming to be affiliated with the military in order to generate sales leads for post-secondary schools.

The defendants, including the Alabama-based companies Sunkey Publishing, Inc. and Fanmail.com, LLC, have agreed to relinquish army.com, armyenlist.com and other domain names, and to stop the practices that they allegedly used to deceive consumers.”

Although many Americans would likely think of the US Army first when they hear the term “Army,” there are armies in almost every country throughout the world. The word “army” could also be used in its descriptive sense as well (ie “an army of people showed up”). As such, the Army.com is a valuable domain name.

In 2015,

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