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James Iles

100,000 Hits Per Day in 1999: A Brief History of Santa (.COM)

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By James Iles, Dec 19, 2016
  1. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Trusted Blogger Business Account VIP

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    One of the most synonymous cultural figures surrounding Christmas is Santa. Also known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas or Kris Kringle, this legendary figure has been the subject of many movies, websites and apps. Santa trackers, messages from Santa and other similar products can be very lucrative, with some services apparently making thousands of dollars per day at this time of year.

    As with any popular term, the domain name is extremely important. Since this is a domaining blog, we’ll be taking a look at the history of Santa.com, and what it’s used for now.

    The domain itself has been registered since 1994, and Archive.org has active records of the website going back to April 1997. At that point, the site enabled you to send an email to Santa, but that was it. The site stayed that way for a couple of years, before being developed into an informational site that contained gift ideas, trivia and games.

    santa.jpg
    In a 1999 ComputerWorld interview, the magazine spoke to Santa.com’s director of technology. He revealed that even in 1999, the domain name was receiving 100,000 hits per day, with the most popular features of the site being the holiday checklist and the wish list. It’s a great interview to read, if only for the question “Must people carry beepers and cell phones?”, which I found quite amusing.

    A couple of years after this interview, the domain was redeveloped after a period of inactivity. Santa.com was turned into a mini-site, which looks to have relied heavily on displaying parked pages. I’m sure that with the level of traffic the domain received, the owners were making a small fortune from advertising revenue. Several Santa.com sites were created over the next few years by Holiday Channel Inc, until it was acquired by Santa Holdings, LLC.

    According to reports, this was a domain investment that was made by Andrew Rosener (@MediaOptions), CEO of Media Options, along with two other partners. Screenshots show that no website was developed on the domain name, and in 2015 it was announced that Hilco Streambank was working with Andrew and his partners to broker the sale of Santa.com.

    At the time, Hilco Streambank’s CEO, Gabe Fried, said: "Santa is probably the most recognized character name in the world. The domain has a broad application for e-commerce and brick & mortar retailers looking to increase sales volume, as well as advertisers looking to promote their products during the holiday season.”

    It certainly looks as though the name ended up in the right hands. In October 2016, Jamie Zoch of DotWeekly wrote an article stating that the domain name had likely been sold, since it had moved into Escrow.com’s holding account. As of writing, the domain is still in Escrow.com’s account, but it is forwarding to a website called TextsFromSanta.com.

    TextsFromSanta.com was created by Jennifer Schell of New Jersey, who used her degree in software engineering to create the service. This is a popular festive website now has over 114,000 likes on Facebook, and a US Alexa ranking of just over 100,000. The service offers daily texts from Santa, plus a Christmas morning photo for a small fee.

    Alongside Santa.com, the company bought Santa.org. The .ORG was acquired for $13,500 in August 2016, and is being used by the company to promote their community donation initiative. According to a Facebook post, every purchase on Santa.com gives back to the Santa.org community donation program. In a recent update, the company announced that they had raised over $11,500 in a fairly short amount of time.

    Buying Santa.com was, I think, an inspired business decision that is bound to give TextsFromSanta far more exposure and recognition than they could possibly achieve with traditional marketing methods. The addition of Santa.org for charitable purposes is a great move that hopefully works well for the company. It’s unknown whether TextsFromSanta will continue to forward Santa.com to TextsFromSanta.com, or whether they will change over to Santa.com in the future. Whatever they do, I look forward to seeing what Santa.com has in store.


    Update on Mar 22, 2017: @MediaOptions has confirmed that after several payments the buyer defaulted on the deal. The domain name is now back under the ownership of Media Options.
     
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  4. James Iles

    About The Author — James Iles

    Writer for NamePros.com, domain name investor and broker. For all enquiries relating to stories and interviews, please email: [email protected]

    This is James Iles's 300th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (10)

  6. OnlineDomainCom

    OnlineDomainCom Active Member OnlineDomain.com VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Do you know what people meant by "hits" in 1999? Every item on a webpage like an image would count as a hit. A page could have 10 or 50 or even 100 hits.
    Probably santa.com was getting 10,000 page views or so per day.
     
  7. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Trusted Blogger Business Account VIP

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    Yes, I'm aware of what a hit is :) - I thought it was still interesting to note this.
     
  8. Sdomainer

    Sdomainer Established Member

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  9. wesley sweatman

    wesley sweatman durfer

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  10. TERADOMAIN

    TERADOMAIN Business Member Business Account VIP

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  11. elevator

    elevator Member VIP

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    This is a great Santa info indeed.
     
  12. Mr. Deleted

    Mr. Deleted mrdeleted.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Nice name.

    In related wintery domain name news, I was the max bidder on Frosty.org at Name Silo then the owner renewed it today. A few more days to go, and I would have had it.
     
  13. DomainPluto

    DomainPluto Dashawn R.

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  14. baseballworld

    baseballworld Legendary Domainer VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    hmm i own SantaTrackerApp.com lol
     
  15. MediaOptions

    MediaOptions Member PRO MediaOptions.com VIP

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    Just to update this article, the buyer, TextsFromSanta.com paid their payments for several months and then defaulted on the deal. The deal would have been for $1.1 Million (apx).

    So we have the Santa.com domain back now.
     
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