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Million dollar domains: The 20 most expensive domain names ever sold


most expensive domain names

A domain name is one of the best ways to boost a website’s authority, appear more credible and build trust with new audiences. This is why some brands are willing to pay big bucks to secure the perfect title, and why some business-savvy investors have made a living off of the vibrant domain aftermarket. 


To shed light on their value in today’s vast digital landscape, we’ve created a list with some of the most expensive domain names ever sold. You may be surprised at some of these six-figure price tags, but each transaction has a story and reason behind it. We’ll highlight why these URLs were so valuable at the time of acquisition to understand what factors drive businesses to choose a domain name

 

Buying a domain name is a crucial part of how to start a business, but you don’t have to go with a million dollar name to make it worth your while. How much a domain name costs for your website depends on many factors, and you’ll likely find a domain name for between $0-$45 per year. When using a website builder like Wix, you can find and register a domain for free when you have a paid plan. 



The 20 most expensive domain names ever sold 


The domain name aftermarket is an industry in itself, with highly coveted URLs selling for premium prices in the millions. Whether purchased by tech giants or savvy investors, some people pay big bucks in these transactions, driven by brand recognition, market dominance or speculative investments. 


Ready to see the most expensive domain names ever sold? The list of record-breaking sales below highlights the important role of this website feature in our digital economy: 




01. CarInsurance.com: $49.7 million


CarInsurance.com sets the standard for domain name values today. One of the most expensive domain names on the internet, CarInsurance.com marked a significant milestone when it was auctioned off to QuinnStreet for a record-breaking price of $49.7 million in 2019. 


The transaction underscores the financial potential in the car insurance industry. Companies who recognize the value of established websites like CarInsurance.com are willing to invest significant sums to secure top-tier internet real estate.



02. Insurance.com: $35.6 million


In 2020, Insurance.com was sold for 35.6 million US dollars to QuinnStreet at an auction. At the time, it set a new record for the most expensive domain name. This domain now powers a website that acts as a “quick start guide” for insurance shopping, offering tips on finding the most affordable insurance plans. 

 


03. VacationRentals.com: $35 million

  

Vacation rentals.com redirects to VRBO, is a vacation company with a focus on group travel. In 2007, the domain was acquired for $35 million. Acquiring a versatile domain name is a smart move for a niche business with the right budget, especially for brands targeting customers who use generic search terms such as "vacation rentals."



04.  Voice.com: $30 million


Voice.com, which used to be owned by MicroStrategy, was acquired by blockchain-based social media platform Block.one in 2019. The cash transaction facilitated by GoDaddy hit a record breaking purchase price of over $30 million, setting a new benchmark for sales of public domains. Voice.com, an intriguing and catchy domain name, currently serves as a marketplace for NFTs. 



 05. Internet.com: $18 million

 

In 1995, Netcom Online Communications Services Inc. made history by purchasing the domain name Internet.com at auction. It sold for a staggering $18 million, making it one of the most expensive domain names at the time. Later in 2021, it was put up for sale at a private auction when Business Wire reported that “Internet.com offers a unique global platform—the name, ‘Internet,’ and the domain, ‘.com,’ and the traffic that those two terms generate, bring enormous value to the domain.” 


To this day, Internet.com remains a highly valuable asset for its owners. In addition to generating traffic from users who type in the address directly, it’s a chance to promote their other online properties.

 


06. Fund.com: $10 million


In 2008, Fund.com was sold to Guggenheim Partners, who invented it for use as an online resource for investors. Although the site never launched, the domain name was sold off with a price tag of $10 million. Today, Fund.com features web content that offers a variety of resources for financial advice.  



07.  360.com: $17 million


In 2016, 360.com made a notable entry into the list of the most expensive domain names, with a domain value set at twice the price of the previous record holder . It was sold by Vodfone to entrepreneur Zhou Hongyi Domain (also known as a “domain gangster”) for $17 million.  360.com’s substantial price tag reflects the website's extensive global reach and its robust brand recognition in the online landscape. 



08. NFTs.com: $15 million 


In August 2022, NFTs.com was sold for $15 million through a transaction brokered by Domainer.com and GoDaddy. Although the domain was sold to an undisclosed individual, the brokers revealed in a press release that the buyer already has associations with other web3 assets catered to artists. Today, the landing page reads “Powered by DigitalArtists.com Marketplace”—given the recent decline in the NFT marketplace, it will be interesting to see if NFTs.com remains a worthy investment. 



09. AI.com: $11 million


This highly relevant domain name is rich in SEO keywords, making it trendy with rising tech companies. In February 2023, Open AI acquired AI.com for $11 million, making it one of the most expensive domain names ever sold. By the summer of 2023, the domain name was flipped to Elon Musk's X.ai


What does the future have in store for this domain? Over the past year, AI.com continues to build desirability in the tech industry. Today, AI.com redirects to Google's AI tool, Gemini. The fact that it keeps getting flipped by major companies underscores its growing value

 


10.  Hotels.com: $11 million


Hotels.com was sold for $11 million in 2001 by the owners of the Expedia group. While it’s an expensive investment for a domain name, the owners now believe their purchase was a “bargain.” Drawing in over 45 million visitors of traffic per month, Hotels.com LP now has 85 websites in 34 languages. 



11. Tesla.com: $11 million


Originally, Tesla owned TeslaMotors.com, but the company recognized its limitations. For a prominent brand, having a domain name that exactly matches its business name is crucial. Additionally, most users typing "Tesla.com" would likely intend to visit the Tesla Motors website. 


Elon Musk revealed that acquiring Tesla.com in 2014, which cost around $11 million, took ten years of negotiations to purchase. That’s longer than it took Tesla to design, build and sell its first car. Musk’s determination and the value of Tesla’s domain name highlight the significance of branding in the digital age. 



12. Connect.com: $10 million


In 2022, online marketing and CRM service HubSpot made a strategic acquisition by purchasing Connect.com for $10 million. Today, Connect.com is an ambitious networking website that acts as an extension of the HubSpot company. Few domain names could match the branding potential of Connect.com—strategic to enhancing the online presence of a new type of social networking service. 



13.  Diamonds.com: $7.5 million


Like the rare stones themselves, Diamond.com is iconic in the jewelry store industry. The domain name rose in value alongside the rise of jewelry eCommerce, hosting several iterations of jewelry vendors online. In May 2006, Diamond.com changed hands for its most expensive domain sale to date: $7.5 million.  



14. Beer.com: $7 million


If we typed in the URL Beer.com in 2004, we’d find a search engine for all sorts of topics related to beer. At the time, the broad domain name was one-of-its-kind on the internet, valued at $7 million. Flash forward to 2021, Thought Convergence auctioned off Beer.com with a lot of 26 other related domains—including cervezas.com (Spanish), Bier.com (German), and BeerRatings.com—for a decreased value of between $1 million and $5 million. 


Today, Beer.com is still for sale, using a bold landing page design to market the domain collection that will “capture the entire global beer market in one fell swoop.” 


Pro tip: Use a landing page builder to market your own special offers online. 



15. Z.com: $6.8 million


Z.com is one of only six single letter domain names using a generic top level domain (.com, org., and .net.) Today the domain hosts a website for one of Japan’s leading service providers, GMO Internet. In 2014, the internet group purchased Z.com for $6.8 million from Nissan North America. 



most expensive domain names - tlds


16. Toys.com: $5.1 million


When Toys R Us decided to shift focus onto e-commerce in 2019, they already had the perfect domain ready for online toy shoppers: Toys.com. According to TechCrunch, Toys R Us won a heated bidding war when purchasing Toys.com for $5.1 million back in 2009. Thanks to the foresight that drove Toys R Us to purchase the domain, the site draws in hundreds of thousands of customers a month. 



17.  Shop.com: $3.55 million


Shop.com was sold to Altura International by the company Internet Real Estate group in November 2003 for $3.5 million. While the broad domain works for the website for corporation Market America, it might not be as suitable for small businesses. Today, an eCommerce website should include a more personalized domain name that resonates with customers.



18. Place.com: $3 million   


Place is a service provider to real estate agents and brokers providing end-to-end software and business solutions. At the time of acquisition, the owners revealed that Place surprisingly had no marketing or advertising departments, despite an impressive 11.3 million profit in 2020. The purchase of the domain name was identified as a crucial step in Place's aspiration to establish a consumer brand. 



19. Business.com: $2 million


Business.com sold for $2 million in 2007, although its stock's $345 million valuation at the time of acquisition made it one of the most expensive domain sales ever reported. Today, the domain leads to a website dedicated to helping visitors learn how to start a business.  


The domain’s branded name is relevant to business owners worldwide, making it an ideal URL for attracting the attention of entrepreneurs in global locations.  


Pro tip: Get inspiration finding your own business’s domain name with a business name generator.   



20. Max.com: $1.8 million


Sometimes, a commonplace domain name will become one of the biggest names in business. Consider Max.com’s rebrand in 2023—who could have predicted that HBO, one of the world’s biggest television companies, would distinguish their streaming service with a single word, “Max”? In a deal brokered by NameExperts, Max.com was sold by Max International, a nutritional supplement company for $1.8 million in 2023. 



What is a domain name? 


A domain name is part of a website’s URL, also known as the web address people type into their browsers in order to arrive at a specific site. A domain name consists of two main parts, including the name of your website and its top level domain extension (TLD). For example, in Wix.com Wix is the domain name of the site while the .com is the TLD. 



most expensive domain names, what is a domain

A domain works like this: The domain name system (DNS) is part of your website infrastructure which translates domain names into an IP address that computers can understand. It sends the domain name to the IP of the web server, which then allows  users to access the site by typing in the web address. 


A domain name is one of the most essential parts of a website, giving you content visibility online. For example, a domain name can help your site and certain web pages get indexed.



What are the benefits of using a custom domain name for my website? 


You can definitely make a website without a customized domain name but it's often an important website feature when growing your online presence. With your own domain, you can amplify your site’s visibility and distinguish it from the over 400 million websites that are active today. 


In this vast online landscape, having your own domain name will help customers connect to your website with credibility, trust and authoritativeness: 


  • Credibility: A custom domain name is more professional, leaving a positive impression on visitors and stabilizing your online presence. 

  • Trust: Your website is often a customer’s first impression of your business, and a quality domain name makes your website easy to find and remember. This means customers actively seeking your services may recall your site over and over again and build trust in your brand. 

  • Authoritativeness: Using relevant names and keywords signals authoritativeness to visitors and search engines alike. This optimization can boost visibility and can draw in new customers.  

 


How to choose a domain name for your website 


Registering a web address on your own is one of the most important first steps to building a professional website. To choose the right domain name for your website, type of domain name, follow these steps:  

 

  • Choose a website builder with secure hosting: If you’re starting a business of your own, consider how much a website costs and if the domain name you want is within your budget. When you use a website builder, a custom domain and web hosting are usually part of your premium package, avoiding the extra fees. You’ll also benefit from built-in website security protocols, ensuring your domain’s data is protected.   

  • Use a domain name generator: The best domain name generators will give you ideas to get started. Try Wix's domain name generator today.

  • Keep it short: Technically speaking, domain names can include up to 63 characters. However, the best practice is ensuring it's easy to remember, so we don’t recommend stretching yours that long. Choosing a domain name between 2-3 words, or 3-12 characters long is a good rule of thumb. 

  • Stay on brand and use SEO keywords:  Make sure you align your domain name with the rest of your marketing efforts, such as your business name or SEO keywords. You can use a domain name search tool to generate ideas around your business name and see if the domain you want is available.  

  • Pick the right domain extension: As you plan your website, there are many types of domains that can serve your purpose. It’s common to use a more traditional domain extension (.org, .com or .net), but you may want a new top level domain that will stick out in your industry. For example, .biz, .art, .forum, .zip, .music, are all newer TLDs that may be relevant to your specific niche. You may also consider country-specific TLDs such as .fr (France) or .in (India).   

  • Secure your domain name: Once you’ve found a domain name that you like available, it’s time to learn how to register a domain name. If you’re not using a website builder with integrated domain purchases and hosting, the best domain registrars can help you with this process.



most expensive domain names - choosing a domain name


What is domain flipping?


Investors have recognized domain names as significant digital assets. Some domains prove to have high trademark and branding potential, making the domain market incredibly popular among tech industries. Domain flipping, is the act of buying a domain name and selling it down the line for a higher price and profit—it’s like house flipping, but instead of land you’re dealing with fungible property on the web. 


Domain name investing requires careful research. A domain name can cost anywhere between $10 and $45 annually, although some prices may be higher. If you have a good understanding of market trends in the domain industry, and find a domain name at a reasonable price, you may consider purchasing it as an investment. 



How to check what your domain name is worth

 

If you own a domain name that is no longer useful or you want to buy a domain name as a potential investment, determining its value is essential. Your domain could be the name of the next big start-up or brand. But how do you find out what it's worth?


There are several methods to help you assess the value of your domain name: 


  • Market research: Compare prices for similar domain names with related keywords. This will give you an idea of your domain's potential value.

  • List your domain: List your domain name for sale on online marketplaces like Flippa to receive offers from potential buyers. This method provides a direct evaluation of your domain's worth.

  • Domain appraisal tools: While not foolproof, domain appraisal tools can provide an estimated value based on factors like keyword relevance and search engine rankings.


Before you sell a domain, make sure it's the right time for it. For example, while a domain connected to NFTs may have been a hot commodity at the start of the 2020s, today, it's becoming less popular and therefore dependable than it once was in the past. On the other hand, domains associated with emerging technologies like AI may have long-term potential for growth.



Most expensive domain names FAQ


What's the most valuable domain name ever sold?

The most valuable domain name today is widely recognized as Cars.com, which was valued at $872 million during a 2014 transaction involving Gannett Co., Inc. The value highlights the domain's critical role in generating leads and traffic for car dealerships across the United States​. Keep in mind, many high value domain names are not publicly disclosed due to non-disclosure agreements during the transaction. 

Is domain flipping legal?

Why are some domains more expensive than others?










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