A few important observations on the Tesla.com sale

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?


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:


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.


  1. Thanks for the detailed and insightful post on the tesla.com domain name transaction.

    Businesses and the general public alike, will continue to realize the importance of owning a Premium Domain Name in order to simply Create a “Relevant Brand” in today’s Digital Economy (Locally, Nationally and Internationally).

  2. Great post Konstantinos.

  3. Worth noting we don’t really know they price, only that it took $11million to acquire. That could have included, brokers fees, 10 years of hiring lawyers etc. Hopefully some more details will come out about whether the actual selling price was $11million or not.

    These 2 word combo where one word is somewhat superfluous (like teslamotors.com) aren’t great names to use and it is nice to see recognition of that.

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      Well the price must be around or exactly $11m.

      When I say I bought a soup for $10 I don’t include gas for my car or my time.
      E.g. If the seller paid his lawyer that does not affect the price. And I don’t think that Elon added his or his company’s lawyers time to this figure.

      • He didn’t say the price was $11million, he said it took $11million and 10 years to acquire.

        The actual cost to acquire a domain will often be higher than the purchase price, especially given the amount of time/effort it took. Until it is clarified we won’t know exactly what the price was.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        Nobody calculates their time/effort and adds that to a price paid. I don’t understand what you are saying.
        Nobody says “I bought a BMW for $46,100” when the price was $45,000 and they just added the gas for going to the dealer 5 times and their 10 billable hours.

  4. Great post Konstantinos. Thank you for that 🙂

  5. Great points and observations.
    Literally EVERY domain blog writer has a story on this…

  6. Very good post with some very nice explanations.
    Thank You

  7. Crypto.com got a higher price this year. I am a very close personal friend of Matty Blaze.

  8. $11 million is cheap when you consider the deal could have included stock. For example, the original guy behind cool.com turned down $8 million in cash plus $30 million in stock.

    Anyone should be able to realize that.

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