Purple.com is “Sort of” For Sale

23

Purple.com is a high value domain name, and it is probably one of just a few domain names to have its own Wikipedia page. For the longest time, the domain name had a message that statedPurple.com is not for sale,” although the owner of the domain name has been willing to consider licensing or lease deals. Recently, the owner became more willing to sell Purple.com for the right price.

If you visit Purple.com right now and click the “Sale” link on the homepage, you can see the owner’s new FAQ about the potential sale of Purple.com:

“Q: Is purple.com for sale?
A: Sort of. We’ve gotten a couple reasonable offers recently. It seems prudent to explore them. If you’re interested, the price is $1.5m (USD). See the availability FAQ for comments about why this may or may not be a reasonable price. (Surprisingly, perhaps, it has recently become a reasonable price.)”

I reached out to Jeff Abrahamson, the owner of Purple.com since 1994, and he offered some additional insight into why he has decided to offer Purple.com for sale:

“I’ve decided to sell because for the first time I’ve gotten some real interest.  In previous tech booms people wanted to give me a bit up front with promises of the rest later.  That doesn’t really work when I’m not convinced you’ll be around for later.

I’ve always said I’d sell it if the amount of money could make a difference to my life.  I’m a software engineer, so while I’m not rich by rich standards, I also don’t worry about money too much, not in the “will I eat and have a roof” kind of way.

I’ll miss it and I won’t.  It works great in the English language world, but I live in France now where the word “purple” is a bit hard to communicate verbally.  I have a new domain to roll out when the time comes, one that I’ve tested in both English and French, but I’ve got a bit of set up to sort out before I say anything.  I’ll be sure to tweet it when the time comes.”

Although $1,500,000 sounds like a large sum of money for a domain name, I think it is a reasonable price. Meaningful (and exceptional) domain names like Purple.com have extraordinary value and can be used by a brand to show legitimacy. If Purple.com were to sell for $1.5 million, it would be just the 5th largest public domain name sale of 2017, according to DNJournal’s year to date sales report. If the owner of Purple.com were to sell the domain name for his $1.5 million asking price, it would be one of the largest color .com domain name sales of all time.

Interestingly, if you visit Purple.com today, you will see a large banner for Leesa, a mattress startup. There’s a mattress startup called Purple, which would likely be a good candidate to buy this domain name. The company was recently acquired after raising $1.98 million in funding, according to CrunchBase.

Based on the emails I exchanged with Jeff, it sounds like he has received at least a couple of competitive offers recently, and a deal may be in the works. Perhaps Jeff can share an update if the domain name is sold.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Purple.com is worth more than $1.5m, so if a qualified end user doesn’t want to cough it up if they can they are, well, nuts.

    This is one I have actually looked at from time to time over the years, as I first noticed it many years ago. The notices and statements the guy had up on it were kind of funny really. The thing that really struck me was that as far as I could tell he was not even trying to monetize it at all in any way, though I haven’t looked at it for years now.

  2. Ya he should hold out another 25 years for more LOL

    Did the sarcasm come across there…fact is he didn’t get his number for a LONG time but ya its worth more, give me a break. I miss John Stossel.

    Greed is a wonderful teacher.

    • It is worth more. I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to guess he didn’t exactly reach out. I don’t even like to reach out, though I sometimes have. If Elliot had this domain, that’s what he would be doing. That’s what Elliot does. And with this one, You could easily reach out to the people who would want it and recognize its worth.

      And here’s the best part:

      Thanks to Google, et al, a lot of the same people who would have known “Purple.com” even exists in the 90’s would not even know it exists now. It would not even occur to them to check or imagine it. But if they were shown it exists and could be obtained, they would jump for joy.

      That’s how far things have gone. But it seems that even among “domainers” they might not even get what I just said.

  3. If even advised who should he have reached out to that would gladly pay over $1.5 million but never bothered to ask? Prince? Barney? who exactly would you reach out to in terms of a start up idea or existing weed company and say hey you should… no you need this $1.5M name.

    Bottom line is after a quarter century it is NOT worth $1.5M to anyone, yet. Future, maybe but to then say its worth more is assuming a company or start up will come along who could truly capitalize on it and at $1.5M+ you have a better chance of owning it another 25 years. Sorry

  4. The “Purple Cow” was the former mascot of Yahoo, and its former CEO Marissa Mayer wanted Yahoo to go back to its “Purple” roots — logo, etc — Mayer went on a buying spree when she first came aboard — that was prob the best time to extract the highest value — then YHOO went MOO MOO out to pasture

    I believe Yahoo paid the highest amount for essentially a URL Broadcast.com in the pre Dot Com bust — circa $5 Billion to Mark Cuban & Company

    I know the deal included a brochure web site and some technology that didn’t really work. and which was ultimately scrapped.

    Those were the days — web developers building brochure web sites for companies like HBO, CNN for $300 K (a week of work)

    Is Purple.com worth $1.5 million. Sure, for the right buyer – an end user — Purple Mattress maybe? No idea what their market cap, cash flow are —

    • btw Elliot onpurple.com is the website for the Purple Mattress people. Clearly the owner of Purple.com is displaying an ad for a competing mattress company for the only reason I can assume is to “force” onpurple.com into a purchase.

      Unless I am wrong and both companies are owned by the same parent, if so then I have no idea why he would do this either since it opens up bad faith use and infringement.

      Either case, very very bad.

    • IF and its a big if the above is the case I would suggest the owner of purple.com has now risked the domain name and is wide open to a play by onpurple.com. To think otherwise would be naïve.

      Certainly if you owned red.com and a car company used onred.com you would NEVER consider putting up ads for cars on red.com and a competitor at that, correct?

      This could be the quickest way to erase 20+ years and $1M.

    • Can’t really address the legal side since I am not a lawyer nor am I a legal expert, but the fact that he bought it way before they existed would eliminate the UDRP since it had to have been registered and used in bad faith to succeed.

      Of course a trademark owner can take other action. I wouldn’t risk legal issues on a name like this, but maybe he has good counsel that advised him it is ok. I don’t really know.

    • I knew you wouldn’t nor would I because of the risk, smart man.

      As far as the domain being older, sure that’s a given.

      However the point is moot, he did not register to sell mattresses and as far as I know only displayed such an ad AFTER the onpurple.com company began operation. Unless you can find a mattress ad on his site before 2005?

      This is pretty obviously a case where age is moot and use comes into play and that date mattering. Considering the domains value it would be a lawsuit not a simply dispute, jmo. I am not a lawyer and may be completely wrong.

  5. Was meaning to say prior to 2015 not 2005. I looked at archive.org but do not immediately see a mattress ad on purple.com so…

    I don’t know Ill let the experts (lawyers) weigh in. I just don’t see reg date helping since the use comes after.

    • No a company Id mess with I guess lol

      On a side note if Purple.com owner was contacted by onpurple.com and it didn’t work out THEN he put up their competitors ad….wowser!

      Grab the popcorn, unless of course leesa owns onpurple.com ? Doesnlt look like it but even if they did even more of a reason not to put the ad.

  6. Stupid for pointing to another mattress company. I’ll say it. You 2 are just being nice.

    Also think of all the money he could have made on a perpetual lease. It should have been used in some way. Don’t give me the song and dance about risk. If writtten well a lease would have made you a load of money by now and you could still own the name

  7. If I were the owner of purple.com, and my intention was to sell & not develop, I’d just put up a landing page. I wouldn’t take any chances with a name this valuable.

    But maybe I’m more risk averse than others?

    • You’re not more risk averse Steve, just wise. A name of this level should never “risk it”. Even if one fully believed they were in the right to display such ads the up side doesn’t come close to the down.

  8. Using Google to poke around reveals a lot of “developer rooms” in the Purple.com domain. The site’s FAQ spoke truth; he really has been using it as a personal site all this time. That’s why he didn’t want to sell for so long, because it actually meant something to him.

    Honestly, I hope it never sells. I want to be able to get to a blank purple webpage for the rest of my life. It’s relaxing in a zen sort of way. It’s comforting in a nostalgic sort of way. And it’s useful in a testing-my-wifi-connection sort of way. (Not even Google’s own homepage loads that quickly.)

Leave a Reply