Purple.com Domain Name Sold to Purple Mattress | DomainInvesting.com
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Purple Mattress Upgrades to Purple.com (Updated with Price)

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At the beginning of September, I wrote an article about the Purple.com domain name. After contacting the owner to ask about the status of Purple.com, Jeff Abrahamson indicated to me that he was in talks to sell the domain name. Judging by a tweet Jeff posted a few days ago with his new url, ISoldPurple.com, it looks like Purple.com was sold.

The buyer of the domain name appears to be Purple, a mattress startup that was reported by TechCrunch to have been involved in a $1.1 billion deal. The mattress startup uses OnPurple.com for its url, and Purple.com would obviously be a major upgrade.

Although some of the Whois registrant information is obscured by Whois privacy, the part that is visible gives away who bought the domain name. The Registrant Organization is listed as Purple Innovations LLC. The first sentence on the mattress company’s Terms and Privacy page says, “
Welcome to Purple Innovation, LLC dba Purple’s (“Company”, “we” or “our”) website (“Website”).”

I exchanged emails with Jeff, and he confirmed that he sold the domain name. Unfortunately, Jeff would not disclose the sale price (nor would he confirm who bought the domain name). I was previously told the asking price was $1.5 million. Jeff owned the domain name since 1994, likely turning down many significant offers during this period. I would be surprised if the sale price was not seven figures, perhaps very close to $1.5m.

When you visit Purple.com today, you can see a large banner advertising Purple with a tracking code to see how much traffic is being sent to OnPurple.com. I presume the company will change its url at some point, but they will likely take their time until their SEO strategy is worked out. Changing a url can be a harrowing project.

Upgrading from OnPurple.com to Purple.com was a very wise move on the part of Purple. Perhaps we will learn the sale price in the future, but for now we can only speculate.

March 17, 2018 Update: According to a Tweet from George Kirikos, it appears that the purchase price of Purple.com was $900,000. George referenced a SEC filing.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (23)

    Andrew

    This was a smart purchase. Purple has been expanding from beyond mattresses.

    November 6th, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Bob

    Purple ran one of the most creative an entertaining ads I’ve seen in quite a while. Some good marketing chops on that team.

    November 6th, 2017 at 9:41 am

    josh

    Good for him, dodged a bullet as he appeared to be displaying a banner for a competitor for a while, not something I would advise since a case could easily have been made and any domainer with knowledge would have avoided buying the name and assuming risk.

    For that reason I suspect the purchase price was much lower, unless Purple Mattress was clueless as to the angles they had available to them.

    November 6th, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Elliot Silver

      The UDRP wouldn’t have worked since the domain name was obviously not registered AND used in bad faith, which would have been a requirement to succeed.

      In reply to josh | November 6th, 2017 at 9:55 am

      josh

      What? You are kidding me right? The moment I take a trade name and put up a competitors ad I am most certainly risking the domain name.

      The owner had NO right to the name associated with the mattress business, the owner put up ad(s) displaying a competitor and I would imagine Purple Mattress had a trade right to the name Purple and Mattresses.

      It is about as clear of a situation as it gets, in fact when we discussed this months ago in the comments section concerning his use at the time I believe you yourself said it is something you would not do.

      Kind of shocked you feel that use is a good one E, it is most certainly NOT.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | November 6th, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      josh

      Forgot to mention that very use of displaying a competitors ad to profit from the Purple name of a competitor IS bad faith, as clear as it gets imo.

      Ask John Berryhill if he’d recommend strong arming a business into buying your name by displaying a competitors ad.

      Maybe I am wrong maybe it’s a good business model.

      Glad it worked out for the seller but it was a name no educated domainer should have bought since the use was now, imo bad faith and open to attack.

      In reply to josh | November 6th, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I said I don’t think a UDRP would have succeeded. There is always (expensive) litigation – ie the Lanham Act, although I don’t believe the owner is located in the US so I am not sure that would have worked.

      I would not have risked a domain name like that. I was simply pointing out that a UDRP would almost certainly have failed because the complainant needs to prove it was registered in bad faith, which would be impossible.

      Yes, it was a risky move because of the potential for litigation, but I am not a lawyer and am unfamiliar with that given the circumstances.

      In reply to josh | November 6th, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Elliot Silver

      See this: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/policy-2012-02-25-en

      A UDRP needs ALL 3 of these aspects proven:

      (i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

      (ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

      (iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

      Since the domain name was registered decades before Purple mattress and since it has had the same owner, #3 would have been IMPOSSIBLE. The domain could NOT have been registered in bad faith. You will note that #3 is “registered and is being used in bad faith.” Notice the AND rather than OR. It has to have both in the UDRP.

      If you bought Purple.com last year and put a competitor’s ad up, you would have had a tough time winning a UDRP since they would say you registered it in bad faith. Since the seller registered it back in 1994, it would have been impossible to register it in bad faith as it relates to the mattress startup.

      Again, it was a risky move and I am not talking about litigation – just the UDRP.

      In reply to josh | November 6th, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      josh

      https://domaininvesting.com/purple-com-sort-sale/#comments

      You state Elliot after a small back and forth…

      Elliot Silver

      I wouldn’t do it on one of my own domain names, but I am not a lawyer or IP expert.
      Reply

      In reply to josh | November 6th, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Absolutely, but I wouldn’t have owned it back in 1994 so my circumstances and perspective are very different.

      In reply to josh | November 6th, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      josh

      Your thinking is flawed when you state a name registered decades before could not be then used for bad faith. You don’t get a free pass on bad faith use (which imo displaying a competitors ad did) just because you reg’d it prior to the now existing company which holds a mark.

      Just so we are clear you are under the impression that if the owner of iphone.com registered that name before apple’s phone was released/marked but never used it for phones prior, had no legitimate use for phones suddenly decided to display ads for cellular phones by an Apple competitor that is ok?

      That is legal suicide and a great way to THEN show bad faith, sorry maybe I am wrong and JB can chime in.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | November 6th, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      josh

      I know of many big name domainers who have tried this and LOST their name, even as generic as animal names..it’s bad faith.

      In reply to josh | November 6th, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Sorry, I think you are missing the point.

      With a UDRP specifically, a domain name has to be registered AND used in bad faith to succeed. That is not possible since Purple.com was registered in 1994 and Purple was founded in 2015. Put simply, unless Jeff has a time machine, he could not have REGISTERED the domain name in bad faith. Sorry for the caps but trying to emphasize this.

      Again, this only applies to the UDRP and I am not all that familiar with the Lanham Act requirements and how it would impact someone outside the US and/or what could be done in a case like this.

      In reply to josh | November 6th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Yes – but many big name domainers did not register their domain names before those brands existed. In this case, Jeff registered Purple.com 20+ years before Purple existed.

      Example:

      Let’s say I bought Apple.com in 1991. If I started putting up computer ads, I would put the name at risk in a UDRP since Apple existed many years before 1991. I could probably have used it for an orchard’s website, but the minute I put up computer ads, I would be in trouble.

      If you register a domain name before a brand existed, you couldn’t have registered it bad faith to profit off the brand because you wouldn’t have known about it.

      Also, in the last year, the UDRP did away with the “renewed in bad faith” theory so a renewal cannot be considered a registration (Thanks, ICA): https://domaininvesting.com/ica-successfully-advocates-discredit-dangerous-retroactive-bad-faith-theory-udrp/

      In reply to josh | November 6th, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      josh

      I see what you are trying to say and to be honest I have read JB’s feelings on Paragraph 2 where a panelist may feel regardless of original registration date each renewal is a “new registration” thus putting the due diligence on the registrant to avoid bad faith and use.

      I would be very interested on how JB feels a case like this which may hinge on Paragraph 2 of the UDRP would play out since the debate came up several years ago.

      I know himself and even Zak Muscovitch side with the domainer but that doesn’t in itself assure victory. I would have to search cases similar where Paragraph 2 was used to transfer the domain away.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | November 6th, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      josh

      They did away with Paragraph 2 rule, did not know this tbh.

      So essentially any domain registered in good faith prior to the other party having existed is fair game to use for a competitor of that other party?

      That is mighty interesting since I would have imagined the use was bad faith, clearly. A nice way to strong arm a potential buyer, eh.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | November 6th, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Jess

      josh, your claim is overly pessimistic and cynical; the initiation of the UDRP process requires that the complainant (which would be Purple Innovations) describe the grounds on which the complaint is being made — notably, “why the Respondent (domain-name holder) should be considered as having no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name(s) that is/are the subject of the complaint”. Since purple.com existed over two decades prior to Purple Innovations and had not substantially changed in form or function over that 20 year span, PI would find it rather impossible to prove that Jeff had no rights or legitimate interests.

      Worst-case scenario, PI would first have contacted Jeff, who would have been able to file a complaint with his ad provider that the advertising competitor was using improper keywords to make their ad show up on his site, and/or simply blacklist that advertiser. Any such action on Jeff’s part would utterly destroy any claim by PI that the domain was being used “in bad faith” (the third requirement in the process of filing a UDRP dispute), as Jeff would have demonstrably made a good-faith effort to eliminate misleading advertisements from his site.

      TL;DR: unless Jeff is/was an absolute idiot or jerk, he likely sold the domain to them for a high-six- or low-seven-figure value (or maybe a free lifetime supply of Purple mattresses and cushions?).

      In reply to josh | December 1st, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      Jess

      But wait, there’s more:

      Section 4(c) states,

      “Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name”

      and criteria (ii) specifies,
      “you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights”

      Having owned the domain for over 20 years prior to the conception of Purple Innovations and operated the site in a consistent manner across the same period would almost certainly qualify as being “commonly known by the domain name”. I know that, as early as 2010 at least (5 years before PI was incorporated) I regularly used purple.com as a quick internet connectivity test. I specifically knew of the site as a minimal non-HTTPS site that I could visit to verify internet connectivity — or trigger a captive portal, for certain Wi-Fi networks — without having to load hundreds of KB of useless images and without generating a certificate error in the case of captive portals (if you try Google, HSTS tells your browser to upgrade the request to HTTPS, but the captive portal won’t have a cert for google.com so an invalid cert error appears and you can’t access the captive portal).

      In reply to Jess | December 1st, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Mike Sallese

    Whatever they paid was a small price to have a one word dot com awesome brand- and even at $1M+ it is only a small part of the reported $187M net revenue expected this year (according to a recent TechCrunch article).

    I believe one of their main competitors is Tuft & Needle and they bought the premium name TN.com a few years back.

    One of their other competitors is Casper which also upgraded their name to have their dot com.

    Bottom Line- very smart purchase. They own the color and the brand now!

    Mike

    November 6th, 2017 at 10:45 am

    steve brady

    Anyone whose ever spilled wine in bed knows about purple mattress.

    November 6th, 2017 at 11:04 am

    steve

    Smart purchase. The name, URL, is worth its price in gold, er, purple.

    November 6th, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    John

    $1.5m is cheap for that one. They no doubt got a steal.

    November 6th, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    jose

    I don’t understand what Josh and Elliott are discussing. It has been a long debate this question of what is a registration. There have been many cases where registration is consider when the domain is renewed or transferred to another registrar and several domains have been lost because of that. recent decisions have shift finally to the idea that what it counts is the initial registration.

    November 13th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

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