Apple secures iPhone.com for seven-figure sum -- report

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A last minute bid by Apple Inc. to acquire the iPhone.com domain ahead of the gadget's launch on Friday is reported to have netted its previous registrant a seven-digit sum.



Jay Westerdal of Name Intelligence claims in his company's DomainTools Blog that Apple has bought iPhone.com, reportedly taking control of the URL from domain owner Michael Kovatch for what could be "at least a million dollar sale."



Kovatch had registered the domain well before Apple chief Steve Jobs' return to his company, signing up for the address in 1995 and in more recent years using the site for an online cellphone store dubbed The Internet Phone Company. This gave him the legal right to use the site and to turn down Apple's offer -- which he initially did, according to Westerdal. The owner was reportedly motivated by serious interest in using the site for profit.



"He was holding out because he truly wanted to use the domain," Westerdal said. "He considered not selling at the very end, [as] he had registered the domain back in 1995 and was building a company on the domain."



And Apple's January 2007 introduction of a device named the iPhone was largely beneficial, Kovatch allegedly told the Name Intelligence blogger. Site visits had grown dramatically since the phone's announcement, granting iPhone.com's then-owner far greater exposure. Apple's interest in the domain, however, is said to have been extremely high as the link between the product and the site was considered virtually necessary.



"That domain was so valuable that Apple just had to own it," Westerdal wrote. "The headaches would have just compounded [the situation] had they not owned the domain."



While the exact conditions of the purported sale were not disclosed, the seven-digit price would make the purchase one of the largest of its kind, rivaling the well-known Sex.com and similarly easy-to-remember addresses in terms of its obvious appeal.



Although the details of negotiations and the resulting financial compensation remain unconfirmed, a check of the ownership for iPhone.com confirms that its domain name servers belong to Apple and that ownership of the site was transferred at the last minute, reaching the iPhone maker through the domain registrar outlet GoDaddy on June 29th.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    wallywally Posts: 211member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "He considered not selling at the very end, [as] he had registered the domain back in 1995 and was building a company on the domain."



    Yeah. I wonder how long he thought about that....
  • Reply 2 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post


    I think I'm going to just start buying all future domain names that could be potential products from Apple.



    I think you might be a little late to join the domain name game.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    I think I'm going to just start buying all future domain names that could be potential products from Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 29
    steviet02steviet02 Posts: 594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    I don't know if the rules changed, but I can't believe such a sum was paid. Those using the trademarks of others as a domain name usually didn't have much of a leg to stand on. For example, even if your given name was Barbie, I think Mattel sued her or her parents out of barbie.com.





    It's not like he just went and got the domain in january, he's had it before there was 'i' anything from apple. He made a good business decision holding out.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    I don't know if the rules changed, but I can't believe such a sum was paid. Those using the trademarks of others as a domain name usually didn't have much of a leg to stand on. For example, even if your given name was Barbie, I think Mattel sued her or her parents out of barbie.com.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThinkingDifferent View Post


    I think you might be a little late to join the domain name game.



    Obviously.



    You knew exactly what I was going to say before I even said it!
  • Reply 7 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    I don't know if the rules changed, but I can't believe such a sum was paid. Those using the trademarks of others as a domain name usually didn't have much of a leg to stand on. For example, even if your given name was Barbie, I think Mattel sued her or her parents out of barbie.com.



    I think he was allowed since he registered it so long ago. 1995 was before even the imac, wasn't it?
  • Reply 8 of 29
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    Indeed it was, the iMac came out in 1997.



    1995 was really the very begining of the internet. Many domains back then were given out free too...
  • Reply 9 of 29
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    I wonder if they want to pay me a 7 figure sum for www(dot)apple-tv(dot)com
  • Reply 10 of 29
    jaketherockjaketherock Posts: 286member
    Why are posts on this site always out of order??
  • Reply 11 of 29
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JakeTheRock View Post


    Why are posts on this site always out of order??



    Well, either people think its funny to edit their posts to reply to people below them or the site sucks... Alternatively, there's a rift in space-time.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eAi View Post


    Well, either people think its funny to edit their posts to reply to people below them or the site sucks... Alternatively, there's a rift in space-time.





    The servers have been quirky lately.





    They are Windoze based.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    ross.32ross.32 Posts: 20member
    Just curious, why would APPLE insider use a Windows server? Seems to kinda contradict the whole purpose of the site.
  • Reply 14 of 29
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member
    The site is hosted by vBulletin (check the bottom of your screen); they seem to use Windoze.



    AI, I am guessing, has a contract with them that is currently being a bit stressed (this has been going on for a little while).



    I don't know any of this for sure...
  • Reply 15 of 29
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post


    The site is hosted by vBulletin (check the bottom of your screen); they seem to use Windoze.



    VB is the forum engine. AI is hosted with IntuitiveISP as far as I know.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member
    All I know for sure is it says way down there: "Powered by vBulletin". What that means as far as machines, I have no clue. Just guessing.



    Somewhere, the threads and posts have been getting scrambled timewise (sometimes creating very interesting continuity problems!
  • Reply 17 of 29
    ross.32ross.32 Posts: 20member
    That is as funny as all the Vista ads that I see on Mac sites.
  • Reply 18 of 29
    rcg3drcg3d Posts: 1member
    ... were sparring for the iPhone moniker?



    Well, a quick "whois iphone.net" at the terminal gives an interesting tidbit:



    Cisco owns the iphone.net domain. Creation date 28-Jan-1998, record last updated 20 minutes ago.



    Hmm, wish I'd whois'ed it about an hour sooner. Anyone know who had this domain before, assuming it was an ownership change that just occurred?
  • Reply 19 of 29
    spindriftspindrift Posts: 674member
    My company had ownership of, and were using for several years a domain which the UK government decided they wanted (it was a .co.uk domain and not a .gov or .gov.uk domain). They raised a domain dispute with Nominet and took it off us. Although we had a very good argument for use, Nominet sided with the governments weak argument and gave them our domain name. It cost us well over £10k to find a new domain name, rebrand and losses due to down time, yet we didn't get a penny in reimbursement. I think Apple would have had no problem taking the dispute to court, I think they were very generous in paying out top dollar for iPhone.com.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    mttmtt Posts: 4member
    Apple should have acquired that domain name before deciding to use the name iPhone. Before the Apple phone rumors, an anonymous buyer would have been able to buy that domain for one tenth of whatever Apple paid now. Apple has just been wasting its money here.
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