On May 1, George Kirikos reported that “Chinese firm Qunar $QUNR appears to have paid $459,000 for QUA.com domain in late 2014.” I believe George was basing this on the annual report filed to the SEC by Qunar. In that report, the company stated “The carrying amount of intangible assets is RMB2,849 (US$459), which relates to a domain name acquired in year 2014. No impairment to the domain name occurred for the year ended December 31, 2014.”
— George Kirikos (@GeorgeKirikos) May 1, 2015
I had my doubts that Qua.com sold for $459,000 because I saw that the domain name had been listed for sale in a domain broker’s newsletter for $35,000 on October 15, 2014. Based on the registrant info found using DomainTools Whois History Search, it looks like the domain name may have changed hands more than once subsequent to that newsletter, but it was hard to believe it sold for nearly half a million USD.
This morning, George emailed me to let me know that Qunar’s investor relations department confirmed the acquisition price in an email to him. George also tweeted about this confirmation as well.
Assuming someone bought the domain name for the list price in the October newsletter and it resold for $459,000, that would be quite an impressive ROI. With the various Whois changes that occurred after that date, I am not sure if there were a series of flips or if the owner simply made Whois changes.
One thing I will keep in mind is that even if a domain name is listed for sale by a broker, there is room to make money if a buyer really wants to buy it. Sometimes you buy a domain name at the right time for the right price.