interviews Inside Interview: HostGator Founder's $500,000 Purchase

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In 2002, Brent Oxley founded the web hosting company HostGator in his dorm room at Florida Atlantic University, and he quickly grew it from a small business with just 100 customers into one of the largest providers of reseller hosting.

In 2012, Brent sold HostGator to EIG for a reported $225 million and since then he has been very active in the startup space, working with companies such as and

This interview focuses on Brent's $500,000 acquisition of the domain name in July 2015, but I also had to take the opportunity to ask a few domain-related questions about HostGator. Thanks go to @Eric Lyon for providing a couple of the questions below.

Without further ado, here's this week's Inside Interview with Brent Oxley:

1. Congratulations on the acquisition of How did you find out that was available to purchase? Did you actively seek out the name, or was it a domain name that was offered to you?

I received an email from Dave Evanson at with a list of over a dozen premium domain names for sale. I wasn’t interested in purchasing any domain names at the time, but when I saw on the list I knew I had to have it! I’ve planned for years on creating a charity with 100% transparency and 100% of all administration costs covered by me personally. The timing wasn’t ideal, but with a quality name like, you’re not going to get a second chance.

2. How did you determine the domain was worth $500,000 to you?

Once launched, will quickly become the most effective charity in the world, feed millions, and revolutionize how donations are managed. I plan on giving at least 10% of my net wealth towards the cause and can’t think of a better way to spend the first $500,000, then on a name that will change the world forever. has the potential to raise billions of dollars and by spending $500,000 it saves countless millions that otherwise would have to be spent on branding.

3. Did you use any tools (e.g., automated appraisals), services (e.g., manual appraisals, domain brokers) or data (e.g., sales data, search volumes, search results) to determine your best offer and/or the value of the domain?

I did not. The value is in the eye of the beholder and in this case I wanted the best domain money could buy.

4. How much do you think it was worth before you purchased it and why?

I believed it would be a million dollar domain name at a minimum, and possibly would sell for over $3mm. Charities are a multi-billion dollar business with thousands of them set up to enrich the personal lives of their founders. There're countless charities raising $100mm’s of dollars each with less than 3 cents on the dollar helping anyone. I believe is the best domain name any charity could own, and when you’re talking about billions of dollars worth of theft, a few million is just a drop in the bucket!

5. Would you have considered paying more than you did for

Yes, but I would not have been able to move as quickly.

6. Can you give us details of the negotiations which lead to you agreeing upon a price? (Their asking price, your opening offer, counter offers, etc)

Editor's Note: The details of these negotiations are considered confidential, but Elliot Silver has revealed that was featured on his "Weekly Domain Brokerage Listings" in June 2015 for $800,000, so my guess is that the original asking price was around this mark.

7. What does the future hold for Do you plan on developing the domain?

I plan on creating a charity that has 0% management fees and is 100% transparent. I sold a large company called Hostgator a few years back and I am blessed to have the financial means to personally cover up to $30mm of the marketing and administrative costs. will focus on providing water wells, food, education, and medical assistance to individuals located in 3rd world countries.

The problem with the majority of charities is that you have no idea how the money is spent, or if you are even helping anyone at all! I believe Americans want to give and do more, but that we're tired of seeing our donations go towards high salaries, jets, and other luxurious administrative costs. will create a bond between those being helped and those donating. Donators will receive videos, pictures, and thank you letters in the mail from the very person that they have helped! I believe the social focus will allow the charity to go viral and for it to quickly become one of the largest charities in the world.

8. Would you ever consider acquiring more premium .COM domain names as investments?

I’ve spent millions in the last few years acquiring,,,, and I may eventually decide to purchase additional premium names, but for the time being I’m taking a break before I bankrupt myself.

9. I'd like to also ask a couple of questions about HostGator, as that was a large part of your life for many years. HostGator has become a well-known brand name. How was the name itself chosen?

I tried 100’s of different domain names that were taken before finding to be available. I ended up with mostly because it was available and partly because we had plenty of alligators in Florida. Contrary to popular belief, it had nothing to do with the Florida Gators football team.

10. How much was the domain name purchased for?

I purchased the domain name for $15 after asking a dozen friends if or sounded better. In retrospect, I should have splurged and bought them both as I eventually ended up spending over $55,000 by trying to save $15. We discovered that one of our affiliates purchased the domain name and that they had collected over $50,000 from customers typing our name in wrong!

11. Did building a successful company on the name HostGator help you realize the value of a strong and memorable company/domain name?

Absolutely! The better your name, the more memorable it’s going to be when advertising. There’s millions of fly by night companies out there, and if your name doesn’t set you apart, you’re going to get confused with the rest of the herd.


Thanks to Brent for taking the time to answer these questions. We'll be monitoring the progress of in the future, and I personally hope it's a great success. Brent has a fantastic idea, and he is willing to put a lot of his own money into this charity.

One of my personal favorite lines from this interview is:
by spending $500,000 it saves countless millions that otherwise would have to be spent on branding.

This pretty much epitomizes the use of a premium domain name.

Inside Interviews is a blog series profiling the buyers of high-value domain names. Find out their motives, negotiation tactics, and their opinions on popular domaining topics only on the NamePros Blog.
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Great interview. Liked HostGator and GatorHost part. May be I will do something like that:)
But you can also destroy a great brand and turn a good name into a bad name. Just what EIG (Everything Is Gutted) have done to Hostgator after swallowing it up.

By the way, I have only good words for Brent Oxley - when he ran Hostgator if you were not satisfied with how things were handled he wanted to hear from you.
Nice interview goodluck with the charity! :)
Great interview, article and inspiration! I used HostGator in the past and it is good to know that my hosting fees will/have be/en contributed for a good cause. :)
Brent is the real deal. His responses are intelligent and insightful.

Brilliant interview!
Super article James.More information added to my domaining experience
interesting read...
some thoughts that come out in my mind:
1)Give will be a charity.. is funny he didn't go for or the others new GTld for those purpose like NGO
2)Give has tons of TM on it, many also World TM and before it sold it was a parked page.. Anyone create a single legal problem..
3) i "love" this statement: "Charities are a multi-billion dollar business with thousands of them set up to enrich the personal lives of their founders". Charities shouldn't be NO Profit??
Great interview B-) and l really thanks for @James Iles to share with us.Thanks again.
Nice indeed, very inspiring, keep them coming James!
Questions are straight forward and non intrusive. Good job James!