Country domain names are quite valuable, and when they change hands, they can often command well into the six or seven figures, depending on the country. According to a report in North.Wales, the Wales.com domain name was acquired by the Welsh government for just £100,000 in March of 2008. The information was reportedly acquired via a Freedom of Information request. Wales.com is a website that is operated by the government of Wales, and it has information for tourists, businesses, and locals who live in Wales.
Not counting inflation, this is approximately $137,000 USD today. In March of 2008, it looks like the GBP to USD exchange rate was in the $2.00 range, so the deal would have been worth around $200,000 depending on when it sold. According to the historical sales chart at DNJournal, a $200,000 sale in 2008 would have placed it as the 42nd largest sale of that year.
The North.Wales article quoted someone who believes the domain name is worth considerably more money today than the price at which it sold:
Domain name expert Mark Baker from domain name experts Netbrand commented, “The price back then was a bargain for a country name on the .com extension. Today the domain name would be worth in the region of £3,000,000 – if not substantially more – and whoever made the decision to acquire it back then was ahead of the game.”
In my opinion that £3m valuation is likely on the high side, but I think it is a high value domain name. Because it is owned by the Welsh government, the valuation is a moot subject since it is highly unlikely the domain name would ever be sold.
I agree with Mr. Baker about the decision to acquire the domain name. It is a valuable asset for the government to own, and it likely drives a substantial amount of tourism revenue to the country.