Wheelings & Dealings: Top Level Domain Auction Action Hits Big with Amazon's Purchase

By Steve Anderson September 19, 2014

Recently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched the second of what was described as “auction(s) of last resort.” Designed to offer up control of top-level domain names, the auction proved surprisingly brisk as three contention sets landed and were resolved at multi-million dollar prices, with Amazon landing perhaps one of the best and most relevant names: .buy.

Amazon beat several other major names, including Famous Four Media, Donuts, and even Google to shell out fully $4,588,888 to win the rights to the .buy domain. However, of particularly note here was that, despite the fact that the winning bid was around $4.6 million, just two firms actually bid over $1.5 million for the rights to the domain. Meanwhile, two other domains were on the docket, including .VIP, which sold for $3,000,888 to Minds + Machines, a firm which beat out VIP Registry, Donuts, I-Registry, Vipspace Enterprises LLC and, again, Google. This one sold more briskly as three bidders reached bid levels of $2.2 million on the action.

The high point of the auction, however, was for .tech, an auction which very nearly set a record for bidding in its own right. Selling for fully $6,760,000 to Dot Tech LLC—who beat out Donuts, Minds + Machines, Nu Dot Co, Uniregistry, and once again, Google—fully three bidders stuck in the action until $6.2 million had been reached, with Dot Tech LLC coming out on top. While it wasn't a record, according to reports, it was approaching a record—that's noteworthy by any standard.

Auctions like this represent substantial opportunity; in the field of Internet real estate, this is almost like buying a state to parcel out counties and towns. This could be some very big business, so it's not surprising to see several million dollars on one bid. For Amazon, this makes a particular note of sense; the .buy extension makes perfect sense not only for itself—securing .buy for Amazon should be a piece of cake now—but also, many online shopping operations will likely be eager to do likewise. What was more of a surprise, though, was that Google didn't land .tech. Given the overall moves in the technology landscape, it would seem a safe bet that everyone from investment and technology blogs to technology manufacturers would be in a rush to secure .tech extensions, and that could have meant some substantial business for Google. Of course, it might also have seemed something of a conflict of interest, as well as possible fodder for those who mock Google's use of the “don't be evil” motto, so perhaps it was for the best that Google not go with that name. Perhaps it was only there to pick up a potential bargain and didn't expect such aggressive bidding, but that's purely speculative.

Still, the landscape of the Internet will likely be changing a bit here soon, with some new extensions coming into play, and some older names getting the new option added on. Only time will tell what the specific changes look like, of course, but it's a safe bet that we'll be seeing a whole new world online in the not too distant future.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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