Over the weekend, I noticed a registrant change in my DomainTools Whois Monitor alert email related to Texas.com. The domain name, which had been registered under Whois privacy proxy since 2015, is now registered to Brent Oxley. Brent founded and sold HostGator, and he now owns a portfolio of exceptional domain names as investments. Brent also lives in the state of Texas.
I reached out to Brent to confirm the acquisition and see if he could share the sale price. Here’s what Brent told me via email:
“I’m not able to disclose the price on Texas.com, but I will say it was a 7 figure domain and that I did in fact purchase it.”
Brent also told me that the sale was brokered by Tracy Fogarty. I agree that Texas.com is a seven figure asset, but I am not sure if Brent paid seven figures to acquire it. I asked Brent to clarify, but I have not received a further update about the acquisition. Either way, Texas.com is a great domain name.
One of the largest domain name sales of 2019 to date is the $3 million sale of California.com. That sale currently ranks as the second largest sale of the year, according to DNJournal. Although the sale of Texas.com will not be ranked due to the sale price being undisclosed, I think it is good to see what types of domain names are selling at the top of the market.
In my opinion, Texas is almost a brand name in and of itself, and Texas.com would be a great domain name for a tourism-focused website. If you visit Texas.com right now, you can see that the domain name forwards to a “for sale” landing page.
Don’t think geo domains do good these days. California.com has ~1800000 Alexa rank and absolutely lousy amount of visitors according to Serpstat and the like. I’ve tried searching from different locations and its not even on 1,2,3 pages of Google search results for ‘California’. It could be an “image”-type of purchase though (and judging by the owner’s bio and activities, its probably is).
They are really under utilized for whatever reason. I randomly typed in newyork.com just get a godaddy page.You really think they would do something with a great name like that but no.
We do very well with revenue generation from our Nashville.com. The name matters and always will for many reasons including instant memorability and trust factor.
Regarding California.com, I am sure since the sale recently occurred, the buyer is developing the platform and will soon be launching. As with many domain sales that are never reported, there are many geo names that are thriving. However I have said for years, individuals are not the best owners for pure geo domains; too hard to scale, and overhead needed to do everything properly is high. They need to be in the hands of competent major media; Boston.com generated $44M in digital revenue recently. I personally know of 5 medium sized cities that are generating between $800,000 to $2.2M annually, all individually owned and operated. One thing I do agree with….pure gets are very under utilized. I expect that to change quickly. But the present Alexa rank of California is meaningless….give them a solid year of development and promotion and watch what happens.
The site had been in development for nearly a year and was launched few months ago. Also, it is not owned by a random individual, but by a guy, who made his wealth from running online businesses. So he undoubtedly has access to the most competent staff out there.
Its just the idea is not up to date. Nowadays people don’t need geo-oriented online hubs for their activities, there are global companies which are pretty good at focusing on certain regions and they spend billions to do what they do and they spend billions to evolve constantly. No regional player can compete with that.
And Boston.com is a poor example. While having some regional accent on Boston, its a full-fledged media which is being visited from all the US and they’ve been in game for over 20 years. If we imagine domains for all other major cities and states (like the newyork.com mentioned above) of the US doing exactly the same, they would all compete with each other; so these $44M are here for them because others are not doing that.
Anyway there is no point arguing, lets bet. If one year from now California.com is on the first page of Google search results for ‘california’ and their traffic is worthy of AAA domain name, I’ll buy any trash domain (like $0.99 manually registered ngTLD) from you for $100. If not, you buy a trash domain from me for $100. How about that? 🙃
Things have changed over the years, as have the revenue opportunities. There will always be a strong market for City .com brands with updated relevant content, focusing on local activities, best restaurants, events, dentists, deals and more. We all still spend 80% of our income within 20 miles of our home, and while Amazon will soon change that statistic, there will still be strong revenue opportunities if hyper local is done correctly. Boston.com is an excellent example of what can be accomplished with a City site. And I have no doubt the buyer of California.com is both a talented and capable and successful online experienced executive that will maximize content, traffic and revenue for his new purchase.
Fred, what do you suppose the net profit margins are for the five sites generating between $800k and $2.2mm in annual gross revenue? Is there a standard net profit margin that these type of sites typically aim for or are typically able to achieve when run well?
Joshua, it is different for everyone….no standard applies. I know what mine was when Scottsdale.com was grossing $3M annually, with net commission revenue of $800K….accomplished with only 4 employees, so you can figure out the bottom line profits. These other sites I am referring to is part of a closed group of associates and friends that I’ve had for over 12 years; we get together quarterly and compare notes. So bottom lines are confidential, but even with the stats of $800K to $2.2M for smaller market sites, they pale in comparison with what a media company could accomplish when done properly. These days, you need programming, content, social media, SEO, accounting, salespeople, and a very strong local community presence. A lot to ask for an entrepreneur, although more scalable tools are available these days than ever before.