They say “rules are made to be broken” but I try not to break them, especially when they are my own rules! One thing I have consistently declined to write about in editorial content is domains for sale. In recent years, the closest I have come to that is mentioning live domain auction events when they are part of a major conference agenda that we are detailing. In that context the topic is unavoidable. It’s not that there is anything wrong with domains for sale of course (like most of you, I have hundreds of them on the market at all times myself).
The problem for me is two-fold. First, as an old school journalist, my view is that for sale notices belong in advertising not editorial (admittedly the lines have been severely
blurred, if not completely erased, by many of today’s practitioners in all forms of media, but I still see the wisdom in some of the old values). Second, is the issue of fairness. If you write about something one person or company has for sale, how do you decline to write about what someone else has for sale? If you go very far down that road, odds are you will quickly lose readers who come to you for news in the editorial sections rather than advertising.
Having said all of that, I am going to make a once in a decade exception (so don’t expect to see it again, unless we start a separate section dedicated exclusively to domain brokerage). That call is based on the group of domains coming on the market being so extraordinary that I think it is legitimate news. The lot of Australian ccTLD domains includes the names of the capital cities from four of that great nation’s states – Sydney.com.au, Melbourne.com.au, Brisbane.com.au and Adelaide.com.au. In addition to that answer to a geodomainers dream, there is a fifth domain – the top-notch generic Auction.com.au.
Brisbane based DomainGuardians.com has been selected to broker the domains – no surprise to me as company founders Mike Robertson and Jen Sale are known far and wide for their industry experience, professionalism and integrity. DomanGuardians has set up a page with more details on this unique offering here. The domains can be purchased as a group, in smaller lots or individually. At this stage DomainGuardians is fielding offers and talking with those who have an interest in the domains – no set prices have been announced.
Robertson noted, “Sydney.com.au is the #1 ranked website in the Google.com.au search results when you search on the word ‘Sydney’. When you consider the Sydney economy in 2011 was worth $342 billion, what price then do you put on the commercial value and importance of sydney.com.au when the website comes up first in the Google search results?”
“Sydney.com.au and Melbourne.com.au are currently lightly developed as tourism websites and already generate attractive revenue streams. There is huge scope to broaden the websites to include residential and commercial property sales, car sales, job listings, auctions, travel, tourism, accommodation and entertainment and make these the stand-out websites for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide,” Robertson said. “Imagine the commercial potential for someone owning all four Australian capital city domain names, with a combined population of around 10 million.”
Robertson added, “The domain name auction.com.au, commercially developed, could be one of the biggest online sales platforms in Australia. Once these domains are sold, I doubt if they will be offered for sale again. They are too important – you rarely get an opportunity to acquire Internet assets of this type.”
That’s true and that’s why our rule book got overruled this time.