In November 2010, the domain name sex.com was sold to Clover Holdings Ltd. for £8.2 million. Yes. That’s right. £8.2 million just for the domain name…no site attached!
It reminded me of the time early in my digital career when the then owner of the domain used to rent it out for use on a month-by-month basis, and make a fortune for the privilege. At that time, I could kind of see why having the domain would have been important (to those in ‘that’ sort of business), but now, in an age when it is more about being where your consumers go rather than just driving them to your website, I just can’t understand why anyone would value it that high? Sex, or the viewing of it online, is just another (kind of ) service after all? Would you expect the domain ‘chimneysweep.com’ if you were looking for someone to clean your flue (sorry – getting all Benny Hill there!)?
The big question is, would you be more likely to use the owner of that domain rather than ‘joebloggscompany.com’ who specialise in cleaning chimneys and have the best content and advice on their website, as well as engage in a social media strategy which makes them really accessible to their consumers? Truth is, as a consumer you are most likely to google exactly what you are looking for, and go for one of the top few matches, which surely means that good SEO and relevant content are more important? Oh, and good reviews and word-of-mouth of course!
My guess is that Clover Holdings forgot 2 very important things when bidding for this domain – 1. to find out if with digital trends moving the way they are, url’s are going to be THAT important in the future, and 2. to research the ways in which people find that type of content online. I can think of much better ways of spending £8.2 million! Can you?