A trip back to the real early days of domaining
I was doing some research on a name and I started finding some other info that I thought might be interesting especially to those who came into domaining after 2000.
Take MTV.com for instance, MTV.com was registered in 1993 not by Viacom the corporation that owns MTV, but one of their VJ’s Adam Curry. I remember Curry from Headbangers Ball and other shows when I was young. Curry started with MTV in 1987 and was very interested in technology and what would become the Internet. Curry said that his bosses knew and allowed him to register and develop MTV.com. At the time they did not see the Internet as anything special.
When Curry left MTV in 1994 things changed, Viacom wanted the name, Viacom and Curry went back and forth and eventually settled. No details were mentioned. Yet MTV.com is always listed on all time domain sales lists as selling for $100,000. That info actually comes from the dispute Viacom had with the owner of MTV.com.sg who actually won against Viacom in the first ever Singapore SDRP. This was kind of like a UDRP but for the country code of Singapore .sg. Elitist Technologies was looking for $200,000 and Viacom thought this proved there was bad faith. Elitist replied that it was a fair starting point considering they paid Adam Curry $100,000 for MTV.com. Today Viacom owns MTV.com.sq but I have not found what the sales price was. You can read the Singapore SDRP here.
Looking back at 1994 Joshua Quittner wrote an article for Wired Magazine that is very interesting. Quitner noticed there was no McDonalds on the Internet and called the company, he actually made many calls. Eventually Quittner registered the name mcdonalds.com. After several months, McDonald’s noticed the misappropriation of
its name and demanded that Quittner surrender the website. Perhaps
sensing a public relations disaster, McDonald’s eventually agreed to Quittner’s request that the company donate $3,600 to a New York City high school for computer equipment and an Internet connection. As consideration for the donation, Quittner agreed to transfer the rights to “mcdonalds.com.”
Here is a link to the Wired article which is well worth reading for those who wonder what things were like back in the very early days of domain names. Quittner talks about more than just Mc Donalds. He mentions Mtv.com and the so called prank that Princeton Review played on their biggest competitor Kaplan, by registering Kaplan.com.
Next up is the March 2000 article that ZD Net did on COOL.com
Taken from the article:
Tim Lee was a senior in college five years ago when he registered
the domain name Cool.com, almost on a lark. Friends scoffed, but Lee
may be getting the last laugh: He says he recently got an offer for the
name worth up to $38 million.
Lee turned down what would have been a record price for a domain
name, although he and his partner say they are still considering some
kind of partnership with the investor, whom they would not identify. Lee says they were unable to accept the offer because by then they already had agreed to take $1 million from a venture capital firm in exchange for an undisclosed stake in their company.
In any case, after five years of rebuffing steadily rising
offers for an asset that cost him nothing to acquire, Lee, 28, finally quit his day job this month to devote himself full-time to building the URL into a business he hopes one day will be worth far more.
“The timing is right,” Lee said.
Lee said he got his first offer in 1996 and typically fielded about two cold calls a month, including one from Adam Curry, a broadcast
personality who reportedly got $1 million for rights to the MTV.com
domain name in a celebrated mid-1990s court case.
You can see that back in the day there was not a lot of exact info on domain sales. Curry did not receive $1million he received $100,000.
Today Cool.com is owned by Future Media Artchitects run by legendary domainer Elequa/Thunayan K Al- Ghanim and redirects to Party.com.
I hope you find these stories an entertainig read during your weekend reading.