Yesterday it was revealed that the domain name Tesla.com sold for $11 million in 2016 to Tesla Motors and Elon Musk.
I have a few important observations that are worth noting regarding this deal and the people involved:
- The domain name sold for $11 million because obviously the seller was not motivated. Elon Musk was trying to purchase the domain for 10 years and kept failing. My guess is that his offers were met by a simple “no” and a “not for sale”. The seller was probably not interested in selling for $100k or $500k or even $1m like most people would. He only sold for what was probably to him a “life changing” amount of money.
- Elon Musk didn’t like the domain name TeslaMotors.com for good reason. It felt like a second rate domain name and it was a second rate domain name. Everybody knew the company by the brand name Tesla. Elon Musk didn’t like the domain and it was not only because Tesla started making other stuff besides cars.
- The seller was smart enough to use a domain name industry attorney, John Berryhill, at some point of the negotiations or maybe after the 2 parties agreed on the price and a contract was needed.
- Elon Musk and Tesla Motors were NOT the complainants in the 2005 UDRP complaint against the seller. The company that then tried to steal the domain Tesla.com (a $11 million asset as it turns out) from the seller was Tesla Industries, Inc. If Elon Musk had tried to steal the domain using a UDRP he might have ended paying $20m of more or risk of not getting the domain name ever. (see Nissan.com)
- The seller was represented in the 2005 dispute by John Berryhill so the seller knew his attorney for quite a few years before the domain sale. So maybe John Berryhill was more heavily involved in the negotiations and may have also played an important role on the final price.
Finally, I would like to point out that Elon Musk’s revelation of the $11m sales price came as a reply to someone saying he bought a domain name for $900 from a squatter. Notice how Elon Musk does not even hint of squatting?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 9, 2018
my bro. we are of the same mind. people called me crazy when I bought the .com, saying it wasn’t worth it
it totally was. even tho there’s practically no legislation for this stuff and it takes lawyers and lots of $$ to settle these disputes
— Brandon Orselli (@brandonorselli) December 9, 2018
This clearly demonstrates that most people still don’t understand the value of domains and that someone that happens to own a domain name is not a squatter. It seems that even people that buy domains for peanuts ($900) think they are buying them from squatters. Try buying a domain name from Microsoft or Google or some other big company that owns thousands of domain names and try calling them squatters. See what happens.
Also I don’t imagine anyone daring to call Elon Musk a squatter because he owns the domain name x.com and does nothing with it: