Is Business.com Worth $400 Million?
Entrepreneurs Jake Winebaum and Sky Dayton were widely mocked for lavishing $7.5 million on a single Internet domain name -- business.com -- back in 1999. It was the single highest price paid for a domain name at the time.I wonder what the domain name, business.com, alone is worth? It must have a phenomenal amount of direct navigation traffic (free and not reliant on search engine whims). How can you tell? Look at the Overture (now Yahoo! Search Marketing) keyword suggestion tool:
Now look who is having the last laugh.
The company that grew out of business.com -- a search engine used by businesses to find products and services -- is now on the auction block, and could fetch anywhere between $300 million and $400 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
That's probably ~9000 searches per month on Google. Noting that Direct Navigation via Search Box is a Trend, I wonder how this translates into direct navigation traffic. Does anybody have a rough idea as to what percentage of people type domains into search boxes versus a browser's address bar? I'd guess it's a small subset. Even if it's a high number like 10% then we're talking ~90,000 people per month navigating directly to business.com and bypassing search engines altogether. How much is that traffic worth? Is business.com more valuable to a domainer or, as the WSJ article puts it:
Closely held business.com is expected to attract a host of interest from the likes of media companies such as Dow Jones & Co. and New York Times Co., these people said. Requests for comment from Business.com and the New York Times were not returned yesterday evening. Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, declined to comment.If the price really is in the $300-$400 million range, will it be out of reach of the domain companies that are actively seeking to develop their properties (rather than park them)? I wonder if any of these companies will be interested in business.com: Reinvent Technology, Marchex, Demand Media, Internet REIT (iREIT).
I'll be curious what Paul Sloan (of Business 2.0) thinks about the value of the business.com domain and/or underlying business.
Tags (create your own w/ TagBuildr): business.com, domain name, direct navigation, reinvent technology, marchex, demand media, internet reit, ireit