Most companies have yet to realize the value of their on-line property, comprised of their domain name, trademarks, brand names and established web traffic. Most on-line companies still don't realize how much value they have tied up in these elements of intangible property. Companies should protect their domain names, web presence and trademarks because they are valuable assets which will only increase in value over time.
Want proof? Rick Schwartz just sold iReport.com for $750,000.00. We'll have to hear more from Rick, but it appears that iReport sold for the value of the domain name itself, irrespective of page rank or web traffic. Rick sold the domain for the value it represented to CNN in order to protect and extend its iReport brand and service, a service which allows everyday people to upload video or pics to CNN to assist CNN in finding high-end real time news stories and media. The Wayback machine shows that the web site for iReport.com was a simple adwords link site, with no page rank and likely limited traffic.
Domain Name Journal - The Lowdown
Rick Scwhartz has reason to smile after $750,000 sale of iReport.com T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference co-founder and pioneer domain investor Rick Schwartz has just completed the sale of iReport.com to the Cable News Network for $750,000. As the contract was being finalized Schwartz was asked if he had any similar domains so he told CNN he also owned the hyphenated version, i-Report.com.
Our attorneys were recently asked why the iReport domain name was not an example of bad faith cybersquatting under the ACPA or UDRP. The answer is simple. Rick registered the domain in 1997 as a generic domain, well before CNN launched its iReport web service and even longer before CNN could even think about asserting trademark rights on what otherwise would be a weak, descriptive and generic trademark. Registering generic domains and avoiding monetization practices which seek to siphon traffic from established trademarks is fair game.
CNN clearly understood the value of the iReport domain (after much education by Rick no doubt) and will realize a strong return on their investment over time. Want to see what other domain names have sold for in 2007, check out the DNJournal Report here.
Rick can't say too much about the negotiations, but you will get the idea by reading his post reporting the sale here, here and from his cruise ship here. Technorati Tags: rick schwartz, CNN, monetization