Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com May Be for Sale

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According to an article in the Wall St. Journal, IAC may be looking to sell two of its websites, which use exceptional domain names. Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com may both be for sale:

Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s WSJ article:

“Dictionary.com is for sale—you can look it up.

The online definition resource is being put on the block by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp , IAC -1.84% the company said.

IAC said it has hired investment bank Allen & Co. to explore a sale after two parties separately approached the company expressing interest in a possible acquisition of the property and its sister site, Thesaurus.com.”

Obviously this would be far more than a domain name sale. Both Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com are well developed and have active websites. From the domain name point of view, both of these properties use exceptional exact match domain names. Not only does the branding tell visitors exactly what they can expect to find on each of these websites, but they are also strong brand names.

I regularly encounter resistance from people who declare that domain names don’t matter as much anymore as they once did. While I would agree with the sentiment on long tail keyword domain names, I still strongly believe that short, relevant .com domain names still hold tremendous value. They can be used in the brandable sense (like Apple.com or Amazon.com) or in the literal sense like Dictionary.com or Thesaurus.com.

We’ll see if these two domain names move in the nearterm. If they do, perhaps we will see how much the buyer values the domain name vs. the underlying business in a subsequent SEC filing from the publicly traded IAC.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t see a ton of upside there, Google has killed their biz model with featured snippets and the brands will be super tough to pivot, if I had a 6-7 figure budget, I would pass and invest somewhere else.

    • That’s not the point. It’s not about where these sites have been, or where they are now in terms of profitability. It’s about where they’re headed, and it isn’t a pretty outlook. Google has absolutely hurt these sites, and will continue to do so. Sad

    • Hello D ? who ?

      We are here to tell you a news flash!
      After world regulators get through with google, they will be an also ran story , and (( .COM Equimoditty Platform assets )) will fill their space.(Watch and learn)
      JAS

      Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Intelligence Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master )http://www.UseBiz.com

    • The U.S. Government is not breaking up Google in the next 10 years, and I doubt the EU regulations will disrupt their platform. Companies that net 20 billion per year in net income tend to stick around a while.

  2. Just looking at some headlines searching news I found the following info. According to articles, Comscore stats said – Dictionary.com had 15 million unique visitors in February (20 million a year ago). Thesauras.com had 13.7 million unique visitors in February (13.2 million last year).

    The two sites combined had over 20 million in revenue last year. I’m not sure if that figure is before expenses but I’m sure expenses are a small fraction compared to revenue taken in. I’d imagine they would be looking at some type of 9 figure sale.

  3. Diller is letting parties know the web products are available for the right acquirers – most likely Google (…all the world’s information…) and Amazon (…books…) and both could utilize the corpus of words in training and building AI products” chatbots, voice assistants and more….

    Value: between 500 million and 1 billion USD

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