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The Most Expensive Domain Name Ever Sold. $47 Million Dollars.

There’s something addicting about checking domain name availability. Have you ever found yourself checking if your name is available, or the name of your favorite product, or a domain name that fits a business idea you have?

Don’t just take my word for it, see if your domain idea is available below (try your name), I’ll wait.

No matter what domain name you searched, whether it’s available for $11 a year or on sale for $1,000, that price tag is dwarfed by the domain name we’re talking about today.

Most Expensive Domain Purchase Ever

Some domain sales are undocumented, meaning they change hands privately for a price nobody knows about. When Cars.com was acquired in 2014, the domain was valued at $872 million. However, it is unclear if cash actually changed hands specifically for the domain or what kind of internal accounting value was used. Along with the domain, the business of Cars.com was sold for even more money.

However, the #1 most expensive domain sale with publicly available data on an exchange of cash was CarInsurance.com at $47 million in 2010. QuinStreet purchased it purely for marketing purposes to generate and sell leads to insurance companies, and does not run any insurance company of their own.

What Makes a Domain Expensive?

Have you heard of the .com bubble? In the early days of the internet, people went and purchased hundreds and hundreds of domain names, knowing that soon all of the single-word and 3-5 letter domains would be taken. There was such a rush, that people started purchasing domain names that sounded decent, not knowing if there was a marketing use for them. People “invested” in these domains by purchasing them at a premium much higher than the registration cost.

The supply of domain names quickly outpaced the actual market demand by people who could build profitable websites from them. As a result, the value of domains collapsed and thousands of people lost a ton of money.

What did society learn? A domain name is only worth money if it serves a marketing purpose. If the domain exactly matches an in-demand product, brand, or abbreviation, and is a .com domain, it may be worth a lot of money. This is especially true of high-ticket products like vehicles or financial products.

It’s difficult to calculate if $47 million was a good price tag for carinsurance.com. The factors that matter are:

  1. How many people naturally type that domain in, looking for car insurance?
  2. Do people click ads, click search results, and type in to their browser after hearing a commercial more heavily on the carinsurance.com than other domains owned by QuinStreet?
  3. Does the domain name get shared more on social media?
  4. Is Google more likely to highly rank such a prominent domain name? Often times, an older domain has more authority than a newer one.

Based on the amount of organic traffic from Google carinsurance.com is getting, it is entirely possible the $47 million has already paid off.

You can use the same questions to determine if a domain purchase is worth it for you! For new websites and start-ups, you can simply register a fresh new domain name at only around $11 per year. Meanwhile if you need to find a good website host, we recommend SiteGround as they’re truly easy to use and one of the fastest around.

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