An Investors Business Daily article headline on Yahoo Finance caught my attention yesterday afternoon: “500.com Among Leaders In Casino-Heavy Gaming Group.” The 500.com domain name caught my eye, and I did a bit of research to see how the domain name ended up in the hands of this company that has grown tremendously. As with many exceptional domain names, the story of 500.com looks pretty interesting.
500.com was originally registered by someone in February of 1994, although according to DomainTools, the creation date is listed as 1996. For the next 12 years or so, the domain name hadn’t really been developed, and the owner had a “for sale” listing on the 500.com home page with a buy it now price of $40,000. The brief history of the domain name can be found on the Archive.org record:
“Purchased in 1994 with the intention of creating “The Future 500”. Showcasing corporations that would sign up with my dial-up service I provided. At that time was too busy with a huge audiotext/telephony project and this fad called the “Internet” would have to wait. Well, I waited too long, the industry got saturated and 500.com was never developed other than the sub domain ‘web.500.com’.“
In May of 2006, the domain name was listed for sale on DNForum. The owner of 500.com announced that he had received a $31,000 offer, and he was seeking out a higher offer prior to agreeing to sell it for $31k. Just 12 minutes after the sale listing went up, domain investor Gregory Ricks announced that he would agree to pay the $40,000 listing price.
Fast forward to April of 2010, and Domain Name Wire reported that Ricks had decided to list it for sale on domain marketplace 4.cn with “a reserve between 250,000 RMB and 500,000 RMB,” which is around $40,000 – $80,000 USD.
I can not find a record of the 500.com domain sale from its auction on 4.cn. However, in June of 2010, the historical Whois record for the domain name show that an entity in China became the new owners of record.
Whatever it sold for in 2010, it probably would have appreciated in value tremendously since that period. Just last week, Ron Jackson reported that 100.com was recently sold for $950,000. It seems that numeric domain names continue to go up in value. I wish I still owned a few of them!