It almost seems like ages ago when you could snag a domain name, even the most powerful ones, for free. But that changed in 1995 when the tech consulting company, Network Solutions, was awarded the ability to charge for domain registration.
A few years down the line and there’s significantly greater awareness of the worth and value of domain names for online businesses. But the “good names” have mostly been taken.
As a result, public domain sales have become commonplace and the aftermarket is thriving with hundreds in sales reported every week. The most expensive domain names for sale could go for tens, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars.
Ever since the domain frenzy began, hundreds of names have been sold for high, and perhaps, ridiculous amounts of money.
Finding records for these expensive domain name sales is no easy feat, though. Most parties involved try to keep that information private. There are different reasons for this practice.
However, there are enough publicly known sales to still give us a good idea of the trend in the domain aftermarket over the years.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most expensive domain names ever sold. But first, why are domains so expensive?
What Makes Domains So Expensive?
The most expensive domain names for sale have some common attributes that make them worth so much. Here are some of them:
1. Top Level Domain (TLD)
When it comes to top level domains, there is only one king, and it’s the .com extension. Many well known extensions like .net and .org have sought to dethrone it over the years, but none has succeeded.
Powering approximately 47% of all sites, .com is the most dominant of all top level domains. But that’s not all.
If there’s one thing the most expensive domains ever sold have in common, it’s that they end in .com. There are a few exceptions of course, but the sheer number of premium .com domain names is overwhelming.
With domain names, shorter is almost always better. The most prized domains are usually one or two-word names, excluding the TLD. They are also very simple and almost never include characters like hyphens, underscores or any punctuation for that matter.
Most highly prized domain names also don’t include numbers. However, in rare cases, such domains have proven to be successful.
3. Keyword Accuracy
Another important quality that makes some domain names so expensive is how well they target a niche keyword. And nothing says this like the most expensive domains sold. They target the most valuable keywords.
Some very good examples are cars.com, business.com and clothes.com
4. Memorability and Brandability
Short names contribute to the high cost of domains for sale, but brandability is just as important. A domain name like “krgp.com” is short, but it’s highly unlikely that it will be worth much in the aftermarket.
That said, brandability is quite personal. One business may consider a domain name brandable, and another may not. Using the above example, a local company may just spring up and match your weird domain name with their brand, suddenly giving it some worth.
So, yes. Every now and then, even these seemingly random combinations will strike gold. But these occurrences are rare. If there’s one thing to be learnt from the most expensive domain names for sale, it’s that they are always memorable and brandable.
5. Descriptive Names
In the world of expensive domains, short names rule. However, that’s not always the case. The biggest exception to this is descriptive names. They may be relatively longer, but they often represent a popular search term or consumer need, and can be really valuable.
For instance, a domain like “VacationRentals.com” which is one of the most expensive domain names ever sold. It contains two words and an incredible 15 letters. Some could be longer.
Whatever the length, descriptiveness is a major factor in the high cost of many domain names.
Top 30 Expensive Domain Sales
1. Voice.com — $30 Million
In 2019, MicroStrategy, a company that owns a number of powerful domain names, sold voice.com for a record amount of $30 million.
This probably makes this the most expensive publicly announced domain name only purchase of all time. That’s because it was purchased solely as a domain name; no business or website attached.
2. Tesla.com — $11 Million
In 2018, Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla, revealed the purchase price of the domain name Tesla.com, which the company had acquired two years prior.
He paid $11 million to buy the domain from its previous owner. Tesla had been using the domain TeslaMotors.com before the purchase of Tesla.com.
3. Fb.com — $8.5 Million
With their new Facebook messages app at the time, Facebook intended to combine SMS, messaging, chat and email into one interface. All users would then be assigned a personalized Facebook.com email.
However, the domain was being used by employees, so they had to acquire the domain fb.com for employees’ Facebook emails.
They did acquire the domain name in 2010, but the purchase set the company back a whopping $8.5 million. More than 42 times the amount they originally paid for Facebook.com.
4. We.com — $8 Million
The domain name we.com was reportedly sold in 2015 for a massive $8 million. It was sold to Tencent, China’s largest Internet service portal.
They are also the creators of WeChat, a free to use messaging and calling app.
5. Diamond.com — $7.5 Million
The domain name Diamond.com sold for $7.5 million way back in 2006, after Odimo traded it to Ice.com.
6. Z.com — $6.78 Million
Single letter domains are almost impossible to come by. In fact, in the .com Top Level Domain space, only three single character names exist: Q.com, X.com, and Z.com.
So, it’s no surprise that z.com was acquired for almost $6.8 million by a Japanese company called the GMO Internet Group.
7. Toys.com — $5.1 Million
Toys.com was originally sold for a massive $1.25 million. But it was later put up for a bankruptcy auction, after which Toys ‘R’ Us spent just over $5 million to acquire the powerful domain name in March 2009.
Toys.com currently redirects to the official Toys “R” Us site.
8. Korea.com — $5 Million
Korea.com sold for a staggering $5 million in January, 2000.
9. Clothes.com — $4.9 Million
In 2008, online shoe retailer Zappos paid $4.9 million to acquire the domain name Clothes.com from IdeaLab.
Amazon has since acquired the company, but the Clothes.com domain name still redirects to Zappos’s apparel selection, and not Amazon’s main site.
10. Ig.com $4.7 Million
Igloo and NetNames worked together to help London’s IG Group acquire the domain name IG.com for almost $5 million in September 2013.
Before then, IG.com was being used by Brazil’s third-largest search portal, iG, who now use ig.com.br as their primary domain.
11. Yp.com — $3.85 Million
In November 2008, YP.com was sold for almost $4 million.
12. Hg.com — $3.77 Million
In probably the biggest domain sale of 2016, Chinese company WanJiaHuanGou forked out CNY ¥26 million ($3.77 million) to acquire the domain name HG.com in a private transaction.
HG.com (which represents HuanGou) currently redirects to the company’s primary website, WJHGW.com.
Considering their online homepage is an unwieldy 5-character domain name, HG.com definitely gives the firm a massive step up.
13. Mi.com — $3.6 Million
With plans to sell its Redmi and Mi branded handsets in new markets at the time, Chinese company Xiaomi was also looking to rebrand its name for a global audience.
In that light, the company acquired the domain name Mi.com in 2014, replacing its previous name, Xiaomi.com.
Though it might seem like a simple change, the move set the company back a hefty $3.6 million, making it the most expensive domain purchase of the year.
14. Shop.com — $3.5 Million
The Shop.com domain name sold for an impressive $3.5 million in November 2003.
15. Ice.com — $3.5 Million
Going back to #5 on this list, diamond.com was acquired by ice.com in 2006 for $7.5 million, making it one of the most expensive domain names ever sold.
But things didn’t turn out so great, as Ice.com ultimately didn’t make it. The domain found another buyer, but that business didn’t work out either.
Eventually, in what would be the most valuable domain sale of 2018, the domain was sold for $3.5 million in a publicly-disclosed, single-domain, confidential transaction.
16. Software.com — $3.2 Million
In December 2005, Software.com sold for a rather large sum of $3.2 million.
17. California.com — $3 Million
California.com, a one word premium geo domain name sold privately for an incredible $3 million in January 2019, kicking the domain market to a great start that year.
It was officially reported that the domain name was sold as part of a bulk domain sale.
Along with the $5 million sale of Korea.com in 2000, this is one of the biggest geodomain sales reported till date.
18. Candy.com — $3 Million
In 2009, Rick Schwartz sold the domain name Candy.com to G&J Holdings for a sweet $3 million. It was the second largest domain purchase of the year, second only to Toys R Us’ acquisition of toys.com.
The owners of the company, Greg Balestrieri and Joe Melville bought the domain with the intention of launching an online candy store website on it.
19. Pizza.com — $2.605 Million
Domain squatting is a hit or miss way to earn a quick buck. And former Pizza.com owner, Chris Clark, was lucky when he hit a gold mine with the domain.
He put Pizza.com up for auction towards the end of May 2008, and, in a frenzied auction, the domain name was bought at a final price of $2.6 million.
Although the domain cost Clark around $20 in 1994, in addition to annual fees, there’s no doubt he got a huge return on his investment.
20. Social.com — $2.6 Million
Brokered by Moniker, the domain name social.com was sold for $2.6 million in July 2011.
Despite the name, don’t expect any fun chatting on the site though. Salesforce bought the domain and it now directs to one of their advertising pages.
21. Investing.com — $2.45 Million
Forexpros.com bought the domain Investing.com in November 2012 for $2.45 million in what was the largest domain sale of the year.
It’s safe to say that the site is currently chock-full of content on the stock market and investing.
22. Youxi.com — $2.43 Million
The domain name Youxi.com (which means “games” in Chinese) was sold for a rather impressive $2.4 million in a private sale in February 2014. The purchase was made by Gamewave Group Limited.
23. 114.com — $2.1 Million
In July 2013, the 114.com domain name was sold privately for $2.1 million.
A Chinese company bought the domain because the number 114 signifies “information” and can be used to call on restaurant and hotel reservations. It’s kind of similar to 411 in the US.
24. Vivo.com — $2,100,000
Vivo.com was acquired by a Chinese smartphone company of the same name for $2.1 million in September, 2016, with many wondering why any company would pay that much for such a name.
However, considering that Vivo is one of the top 10 largest smartphone designers and developers in the world, with over ten thousand employees, this was a small price to pay for a domain that perfectly matches their brand name.
25. Zoom.com — $2 Million
In December 2018, the video conferencing company Zoom acquired the domain name Zoom.com. All evidence suggests that the company probably paid $2 million to acquire the domain name.
26. 37.com — $1.96 Million
37.com was sold for just under $2 million during a private sale in March 2014. The domain was bought by Chinese gamemaker 37Wan.
27. Auction.com — $1.7 Million
Despite being rumored to be selling for $2.5 million, Auction.com eventually sold at $1.7 million. It was purchased by Real Estate Disposition Corp in March, 2009.
28. DataRecovery.com — $1.659 Million
ESS Data Recovery bought datarecovery.com from Minnesota’s Associated Computers Inc. on February 1, 2008. ESS had been trying to buy the domain for quite some time.
29. Ticket.com — $1.525 Million
The domain aftermarket site Afternic.com sold Ticket.com on behalf of BuyDomains.com for a hefty $1.5 million in October 2009.
After the sale, the site initially redirected to StubHub.com. It now redirects to a Swedish reservation site.
30. Tandberg.com — $1.5 Million
This was quite an interesting domain sale in February, 2007. Tandberg Data, a leading manufacturer and supplier of backup and archiving solutions, accepted an offer for Tandberg.com.
The buying company was Tandberg, a leading provider of visual communication products and services with headquarters in both New York and Norway.
The deal was said to have actually completed in December 2006, but it wasn’t made public until early 2007.
Don’t know about you, but those are some really expensive domain name sales. Imagine you had to pay that much to get a premium domain name.
Luckily though, you don’t have to. You can get domain names that are just as great from Odys, while paying significantly less, of course.
Odys domains are carefully selected and acquired from auctions, using crucial metrics like domain history, niche potential, organic traffic, monetization angles, and SEO data like Moz’s DA, Ahrefs DR, number of referring domains, and authority backlinks.
With Odys, you get:
1. Brandable Domains With SEO Value and Traffic
Many Odys domain names boast impressive numbers in terms of referring domains and high authority backlinks, which is great for SEO.
In addition, some of these domains have been created and nurtured for years, which further improves the SEO value.
But that’s not all.
Odys acquires some of its domains specifically for their high traffic. This is great for many reasons.
You could create a business site with such a domain to improve your chances of driving sales from the start. You could also park it with display ads and convert the traffic to generate some income. You could even link it to your money making site.
Overall, one thing’s clear: creating a website on a domain with SEO value and high traffic will give you a serious leg up on the competition.
2. A Seamless Experience
Domains aside, the Odys platform is built to ensure you have a rather smooth experience. With crucial metrics displayed on your dashboard and SEO and domain valuation data in the domains’ pages, you will be able to tell at a glance just how valuable a domain will be to your business.
It also allows you to quickly compare and contrast the qualities of different domain names to help you make the best choice for your next business idea.
3. Full Time Customer Support
It’s not just the browsing experience, the process of buying an Odys domain is just as easy. You do not need to bid in any auctions or fear losing a domain to a higher bidder.
At Odys, once you pay for a domain, it’s yours. And you don’t have to wait too long either.
Once we receive your details, the transfer of your brandable domain name with SEO value will be processed within 24 hours.
To further enrich the experience, we offer easy transition and dedicated support throughout the process of acquiring your premium domain.
Odys is a closed platform, so request access to get the perfect brandable domain name for your business now.
1. What domain names sell best?
Prices of domain names vary for many reasons. This means that you can’t simply say that the domains of a particular niche or industry sell best. In fact, the most expensive domains ever sold include various niches.
While the niche is not the most important criteria, factors like length, keyword accuracy, and brandability have a greater influence on the potential cost of a domain name.
2. Are domain names worth anything?
The simple truth is, sales of most domain names do not amount to much. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty others that are or will be worth a decent chunk of money.
In the current market, even some so-called low-tier premium domains can sell for as low as $5,000 and as high as $20,000. The short, brandable, niche-defining ones can easily reach hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
3. Can I buy a domain name forever?
Yes and no.
No because you can’t buy domain names outright or permanently. In fact, even as a domain owner, you don’t totally own the domain. Think of it like a leased property.
On the other hand, yes because you can register a domain name. Such a domain will then become yours for the duration the registration covers. You can even register some names for up to 10 years at a time. As long as you continue to renew your registration, you retain ownership of the domain.
4. How much is the google domain worth?
Google is a household name that most would consider synonymous with the internet. Probably the most powerful tech company in the world, Google, the owner of the search engine of the same name, has to own a domain worth a trailer load of money, right? That may well be so.
However, there’s no official value assigned to the domain. But it wouldn’t be surprising at all if it was valued at trillions of dollars.