In a news release yesterday, Facebook announced the launch of Messenger Rooms, a product designed to “make it easy to spend quality time with friends, loved ones and people who share your interests.” In advance of the announcement and product launch, Facebook appears to have acquired the Rooms.com domain name. The news was first shared by James Iles in a tweet this morning:
Facebook just announced their new product, Messenger Rooms. In advance of the announcement, the company acquired the Rooms•com domain from World Travel Holdings through the law firm Hogan Lovells. Facebook also owns Messenger•com. https://t.co/aHVjoBqCZb
— James Iles (@jamesiles) April 25, 2020
Rooms.com is currently registered to Hogan Lovells Paris LLP, an international law firm that works with Facebook and is associated with many of the company’s domain name registrations. It appears that the domain name was acquired around April 9th of this year, according to the DomainTools Whois history tool. The domain name utilizes Hogan Lovells nameservers, so it is not 100% certain that the acquisition was made on behalf of Facebook, but like James, I am also pretty confident Facebook acquired Rooms.com.
Prior to the acquisition of the domain name, Rooms.com was registered to a Massachusetts company called World Travel Holdings, Inc. That company owns brands such as Cruises.com, CheapCruises.com, DreamVacations.com, and several other travel brands. With the travel industry taking a major hit due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the sale probably came about at a good time for both companies. In looking at Archive.org, it does not appear that Rooms.com was used as a travel website though.
Rooms.com does not currently resolve to an active website, but I would imagine the domain name could be utilized by Facebook as a standalone brand. This could be important for the company as some publications are reporting that Messenger Rooms is going to be a competitor to Zoom and House Party, two popular group communication platforms. Given some people’s distrust of Facebook, it might be a good move for Rooms.com to be utilized as an associated but separate brand from Facebook. The company could also just forward the domain name to its Messenger Rooms product and use Rooms.com in a marketing campaign.
I do not see any archived sales listings for Rooms.com, nor do I see any sales history on NameBio. If I was going to speculate, I would guess the value of Rooms.com is in the mid-six figure range.
On a separate but somewhat related note, Facebook posted a job listing for a Domain Name Manager.