Back in the “wild west” days of the Internet (the 1990s), there was a mad dash by many entrepreneurs to purchase as many unique domain names as possible. Back then, a savvy entrepreneur could buy a popular one word domain name for less than a 20 spot. But times have changed, and the Web is now big business. Accordingly, companies now spend hundreds of thousands of dollars — or even millions — purchasing just the right domain name to brand their online business. One entrepreneur who made a particularly good investment back in the 90s is Chris Clark of Maryland. Chris managed to purchase the domain name pizza.com way back in 1994 for a paltry $20. He has held on to the name all these years and just recently sold it at auction this March for a staggering $2.6 million. The winning bid is more than 13,000 times Clark’s original $20 investment.
Clark decided to auction off the name and let the bidding begin at a humble $100. The final winning bidder chose to remain anonymous, but it is widely believed that one of the main pizza retailers in the United States (Pizza Hut, Domino’s or Papa John’s) ended up with pizza.com.
Clark’s purchase of the domain name for $20 in 1994 is surely one of the greatest investments of the last century. If only there were some kind of savings account where one could invest $20, wait 14 years, and then collect $2.6 million! A windfall by any standard.
Clark decided to auction off pizza.com after noticing that the domain name “vodka.com” was sold for an incredible $3 million in January of this year. He seemed absolutely ecstatic over the winning bid for his domain name (and frankly who wouldn’t be?), and reportedly wishes that he had purchased many more single word domain names back in the 90s, when they were both cheap and plentiful.
These days, just finding an easy to remember one-word domain name can be a Herculean task. Major corporations have swooped down upon the Internet, purchasing hundreds or even thousands of domain names related to their industry, products and marketing. For this reason, “dot com” domain names that are short and easy to remember can be extremely difficult to find. Many online companies have resorted to using “dot info” or “dot net” domain names because of the shortage of quality “dot com” names available.
All this just goes to prove that Internet millionaires are still being made. And even if the “wild west” days of the Internet are long gone, there is still gold out there just waiting to be mined.