Nominet, the non-profit body that oversees UK domain naming, recently auctioned off its remaining one- and two-letter domain names, such as x.co.uk and pr.co.uk. It's said to have raised £3 million for charity. However, many of the auctions were won by domain-squatting speculators.
- On the one hand, well done, Nominet, for raising money for "internet access, safety and education."
- On The Other Hand, it would appear that Nominet did a lousy job of raising interest in the auction, as even the most valuable domains went for low prices.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: How many things are wrong with this Photoshop disaster?..
Tim Bradshaw reports, in the pink'un:
Twelve single-letter domains...fetched an average of £39,000 each. ... Including two-letter domains, 2,831 [domains] were sold, raising £3m for the Nominet Trust...[a] charity promoting internet access, safety and education.
Notable buyers include Facebook, which bought fb.co.uk...and Mercedes-Benz purchasing mb.co.uk. ... Google was outbid for the rights to g.co.uk by...a company which...resells domain names. ... [It was] one of more than 170 domains the company acquired for a total investment of almost £500,000.
“The revenue raised was at the top end of our expectations,” said...Nominet.
Kevin Murphy's not bitter:
Google...was outbid on g.co.uk. ... The buyer was ANY-Web, a well-known domain speculator. It also bought o.co.uk for £65,000. ... Speculators find one-letter and two-letter domains attractive because of their potential resale value.
In a previous phase of the...allocation process, companies including Yahoo! and B&Q exercised their trademark rights [to] domains such as y.co.uk and bq.co.uk.
But Paul Sawers is no fan of domain squatters:
[There was] speculation that some of the domains...could be bought by cybersquatters or domain resellers, and news that one investor bought 170 domain names for £500,000...certainly suggests that this is the case.
And Kate O'Flaherty notes resale activity already:
Some people are still looking to make a buck from their purchases. ... Many of the [domains]...have already been sold on, with x.co.uk having changed hands three times in the past week.
Meanwhile, Ty Hancocks tries to be exact:
As many predicted, domainers pretty much swept the board, and end users didn’t really get much of a look in. ... [T]he biggest winners...
g.co.uk ANY-Web Limited £76000
o.co.uk ANY-Web Limited £65000
pr.co.uk Domain Developers Fund £55000
w.co.uk ANY-Web Limited £43000
p.co.uk ANY-Web Limited £40000.
But Michael H. Berkens thinks those prices are cheap as chips:
Interesting that Google would spend reported 7 figures for g.co but wouldn’t spend 6 figures for...g.co.uk.
$60k on average is not a bad price for a single character .co.uk, compared to the...price of a single letter .co which is said to be $1.5M.
Today's Skateboarding Duck...
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.