* Shia Kapos…
Josh Metnick, who buys and sells internet domain names the way a real estate broker handles land deals, has put Illinois.com on the market.
Metnick has owned the domain name since 2005 but decided to sell now because he sees interest peaking. China is buying up more domain names these days, and there are a few Illinois gubernatorial candidates who might find Illinois.com an attractive property.
Metnick is referring all calls on the deal to Lou Weisbach, a Chicago entrepreneur who’s overseeing the sale. Weisbach is CEO of Merch Time LLC, a marketing services and promotional products startup.
“I’ve known Josh for a long time. He’s brilliant in this space,” Weisbach tells me. “Given the confluence of interest overseas and in Illinois and given the gubernatorial race, in which you have three high net worth individuals leading the pack, it seems like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Considering that half of the state’s residents want to leave, our largest city has a well-publicized crime problem and the state government hasn’t had a budget in over two years, etc., etc., etc., I’m not sure how valuable the domain name really is.
* From the press release…
“Illinois.com is an asset that can be kept in perpetuity as it continues to appreciate in the years to come,” continued Weisbach. “The site’s purchaser can realize strong cash flows from the investment, as the site can be valued against an escalating and recurring revenue model. All in all, this is a significant opportunity to secure a prized geodomain.”
A “geodomain” is a domain name identical to a geographic location such as a city, state, or country. Often, geodomain sales are kept confidential via private transactions, similar to private sales of other types of domain names. There are some geodomain sales figures, however, that have been publicly disclosed:
* LasVegas.com sold for $90 million in 2005. Las Vegas, Nevada drew approximately 42.9 million visitors in 2016 (source: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority).
* MyrtleBeach.com sold for $6.5 million in 2010. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina drew approximately 16.1 million visitors in 2013 (source: Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, 2015).
By comparison, Illinois welcomed approximately 110 million domestic visitors in 2016 (source: Illinois Department of Commerce), with an additional 1.7 million overseas visitors (source: U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office, 2015).
“There are endless possibilities when it comes to how Illinois.com could be strategically leveraged and monetized,” said Dan Pulcrano, a domain name industry expert and CEO of Silicon Valley-based media holding company New SV Media, Inc. “It could be the home page for a media outlet, corporation, or political candidate, or used to redirect traffic to a third-party site or for the selling of customized email addresses. Whatever an investor chooses to do with Illinois.com, I expect this domain name to be well-trafficked and successful.”
Any thoughts how somebody could use the domain name?