Domain Cost Club
James Iles

A Year In Review: The Major Domaining Events of 2016

By James Iles,
  1. NamePros
  2. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Business Account VIP Trusted Blogger

    Likes Received:
    We’re coming towards the end of 2016 now, and so we thought it would be interesting to take stock of a year in domaining and recap some of the highlights of this year. Below, we take a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year, interspersed with some of NamePros’ most popular posts.

    NamesCon 2016

    NamesCon 2016 was, according to all reports, an overwhelming success. At the event, unveiled their brand new website, Frank Schilling delivered a popular keynote speech, and there was a live auction. The live domain auction delivered three six-figure sales:, and The auction also provided twenty-seven five-figure sales.’s $8 million sale was confirmed

    In DNJournal’s first post of the year, editor Ron Jackson confirmed that did indeed sell for $8 million. NamePros had covered the sale in August 2015 but was only fully confirmed to Ron at 2016’s NamesCon event, and it was duly added to 2015’s sales chart as the second largest sale of that year, behind Rick Schwartz’s sale.

    Kassey Lee’s Record-Breaking Post

    Also in January, Kassey Lee (@Kassey Lee), a regular contributor to NamePros, wrote an extremely informative article entitled, “How to Find Acronyms for Chinese Pinyin Domain Names.” This guide, which will help you make sense of Chinese acronyms, has so far been viewed close to 90,000 times, which is a record for the NamePros blog.

    Tesla Buys

    One of the biggest stories of the year was Tesla’s purchase of The news was broken by Domain Name Wire, who reported that the American car creator Tesla had bought It was a story that was covered in international media outlets, after Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk tweeted about the domain name. NamePros managed to speak to the seller, Stuart Grossman of California.

    MarkMonitor Changes Hands in a $3.55 Billion Deal

    Thomson Reuters, the former owner of MarkMonitor, made the decision to sell its IP division in a $3.55 billion deal. The deal meant that MarkMonitor, along with at least five other companies in Thomson Reuters’ IP division, would be sold. Thomson Reuters acquired MarkMonitor in 2012 for an undisclosed sum.

    Verisign Buys .WEB For $135 million

    At the end of July, Domain Name Wire broke the story of the .WEB domain name extension rights being sold for $135 million. A number of companies such as Google, Radix and participated in the auction, but it turns out that Verisign bought the rights to this extension, which is now due to be released in 2017. Afilias placed the second highest bid.

    Donald Trump Buys

    One of the most important events of the year was the US Presidential election. In August, the Republican candidate Donald Trump bought the domain name in a deal worth $15,000. The purchase made national headlines, and a “Disqualify Hillary Clinton” website was quickly displayed on the domain name. The seller discussed the domain name on NamePros.

    Payoneer Joins The Domain Escrow Business

    In September, global payments company Payoneer announced that they were starting a domain name escrow service and employed former president Brandon Abbey to become a part of the team. The news was greeted positively by the domain community.

    Snapchat Acquires, and Rebrands to “Snap”

    Snapchat is one of the world’s most popular apps, with around 150 million people using it each day and nine photos shared every single second. The billion dollar company made the decision to change the name of its organisation from Snapchat Inc to Snap Inc.

    This news was prevalent to the domain industry, since it transpired that Snap Inc had recently acquired in anticipation of the name change. At the same time, Snap also acquired for an undisclosed amount. Spectacles was unveiled as Snap’s first wearable tech product.

    Vivo Mobile Buys

    Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo acquired from Real Networks this year. Ranked as one of the largest sales this year, Vivo acquired for $2.1 million. The news was broken by George Kirikos via Twitter. Since the purchase, Vivo have switched from using to and have been heavily promoting their brand during English Premier League matches.

    Another seven-figure sale was also uncovered by George: GoDaddy’s sale for $1.2 million.

    Google Buys X.Company Domain Name

    X is Google’s “moonshot factory,” which allows its innovative staff to work on fascinating projects such as Project Loon: a network of balloons traveling in space designed to give internet connectivity to people in remote areas.

    Up until late 2016, Google used to host its website. Then, the news broke that Google had acquired the domain name X.Company in a private deal from its previous Chinese owner. This isn’t the first time that Google has used a new domain extension for one of its major websites. In August 2015, Google acquired to host Alphabet, Google’s holding company.

    .BLOG Launched

    In November, one of the most highly anticipated new gTLDs was launched by Automattic, the company behind the WordPress content management system (CMS). Automattic’s CEO, Matt Mullenweg, was interviewed by NamePros before the launch of .BLOG and did a great job of explaining why Automattic decided to launch .BLOG. Unfortunately, the extension came in for some criticism from investors due to .BLOG’s premium pricing.

    Fidel Castro Died: was Sold for $16,000

    Fidel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary leader, died in November 2016 at age 90. Coincidentally, the domain name sold just over a week before Castro’s death. As of writing, the domain name is owned by Finlead, who owns many other high-valued names. Does the death of Fidel Castro mean that is worth more now? Sells for Over $3.7 Million

    Recently,’s blog announced the news that had been sold to a Chinese company that has been using before this purchase. This domain sale was confirmed by DNJournal and is now listed as the largest sale of 2016.
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  3. Next Article
    By This Time Next Year, I Will...
    Previous Article
    Top Topics: I Got a Cease and Desist Email. What Do I Do?; I Won Photography.Global!...
  4. Loading...
  5. James Iles

    About The Author — James Iles

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

    This is James Iles's 304th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
  6. Comments (6)

  7. Robson1

    Robson1 Active Member VIP

    Likes Received:
    Thank...I hope nexte time all people read about me:xf.wink:
  8. elevator

    elevator VIP

    Likes Received:
    interesting year though never sell any domain above $100.
  9. Ted.T

    Ted.T Active Member VIP

    Likes Received:
    This was a great year for some of us! And as this year is close to its end, I wish you all good luck in the next year, cheap acquisitions and expensive sales! Let's make the new year even better!
  10. Soofi

    Soofi DomainX™ PRO Business Account VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Likes Received:
    Although I have nothing against NamesCon, but there are/were other domaining events happening across the globe and some events spend significant amount of money from their own pocket in order to develop fairplay domain name ecosystem.

    Why is that Namepros and staff only mentions one few all or most of the time and do not mention about other events? I am sure it doesnt take much of an effort or research for an experienced writer like yourself to unearth 'em and write about James.

    Continue writing well, and spreading words of wisdom!
  11. Bros

    Bros Active Member VIP

    Likes Received:
    Great list, thanks!
  12. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Business Account VIP Trusted Blogger

    Likes Received:
    NamesCon is just the largest. I have no preference in terms of events... It just so happens that many of the most significant occurrences at conferences happened at NamesCon (domain sales, new design, etc).
Topics / Tags: