Google has privately (and quietly) acquired the Loon.com domain name. A current Whois record shows the domain name is now publicly registered to Google at MarkMonitor. The acquisition was reported by Jamie Zoch of DotWeekly, in a Twitter post earlier today:
Google acquires ultra premium #domain name Loon(.)com from long time owners Loon Systems for undisclosed amount. This is very likely for Project Loon, which is currently using Loon(.)co. Amazing domain, lots of $$! #google #loon #internet #asset pic.twitter.com/vnLkRRvhc8
— Jamie Zoch (@yofie) January 30, 2019
As you can see, Jamie speculated that the acquisition is related to Google’s Project Loon. The company currently operates a website on Loon.CO, which is also registered to Google. On the Loon website, it says, “Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, delivering connectivity to people in unserved and underserved communities around the world.”
Prior to the ownership change, the Loon.com domain name was registered to a company called Loon Systems. Loon.com has a creation date of June of 1991, making it nearly 30 years old. The earliest archived record in DomainTools’ Whois History tool is from 2001, and it looks like the same registrant had the domain name at that point.
Loon.com is quite valuable, and there are a number of businesses that probably would have loved to own it and have tried to buy it over the years. In fact, the former registrant of Loon.com had links to other “Loon” entities to help visitors navigate to the correct website. For example, I learned to ski on Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, and there was a link to Loon’s website on Loon.com.
Because the domain name appears to have been acquired in private, I don’t think we will learn about how much Google paid to acquire Loon.com. It is possible the company will report the domain name acquisition in a subsequent SEC filing, but if the company does, my bet is that all of the company’s acquisitions will be rolled up into one number making it impossible to know.
As of the time of publication, Loon.com does not yet resolve. It will be interesting to see if Google opts to use Loon.com for Loon’s website or if the company continues to use Loon.CO. By owning Loon.com, Loon (and Google) can ensure any traffic and email leakage is properly routed to the right place.