Block.one, a publisher of software blockchain technologies, has splurged a mammoth $30 million on the voice.com domain name in a sale brokered by GoDaddy. The domain name’s new owner says its new home will be for their Voice, a blockchain-based social media application designed with users of the platform in mind.
It’s easily one of the largest cash domain name sales of all time, and according to GoDaddy, the fifth largest publicly reported sale of all time behind carinsurance.com which sold for $49.7 million in 2010, insurance.com ($35.6m in 2010), vacationrentals.com ($35m in 2007) and privatejet.com ($30.18m in 2012). As GoDaddy note in their article, “Nailing down the most expensive domain names isn’t easy — most of the parties involved often try to keep that information private. There are various reasons for this practice, ranging from wanting to keep their competition in the dark to not wanting others to know how much they’re willing to spend on a domain in the future.”
Another compiler of domain name sales is Domain Name Journal who lists voice.com as their most expensive domain name ever, easily eclipsing sex.com which they list as having sold for $13 million in 2010.
“The truth is, current social media platforms are designed to use their users,” said Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one, announcing Voice on 1 June before the sale was announced. “Just look at the business model. Our content. Our data. Our attention. These are all incredibly valuable things. But right now, it’s the platform, not the user, that reaps the reward. By design, they run by auctioning our information to advertisers, pocketing the profit, and flooding our feeds with hidden agendas dictated by the highest bidder. Voice changes that.”
The 32-year-old Blumer is an American residing in Hong Kong whose 2-year-old start-up raised US$4 billion in a 2016 ICO according to a report in the South China Morning Post. An ICO the report notes is “similar to an initial public offering except instead of shares the investors get tokens backed by the cryptocurrency”.
The seller, MicroStrategy, holds at least 15 more premium .com domain names that they’re offering for further “strategic transactions”. According to their website, MicroStrategy was founded in 1989 and is a leading worldwide provider of enterprise software platforms. Their mission is to help organisations become Intelligent Enterprises by providing powerful software solutions and expert services that empower every individual with actionable intelligence, so they can unleash the full potential of their people and investments.
“Block.one has made a smart strategic decision in choosing Voice.com to be the internet domain name for its new social media platform. The word ‘voice’ is simple and universally understood. It’s also ubiquitous ― as a search term, it returns billions of results on the internet. An ultra-premium domain name like Voice.com can help a company achieve instant brand recognition, ignite a business, and massively accelerate value creation,” said Marge Breya, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, MicroStrategy Incorporated.
“MicroStrategy holds more than a dozen evocative and powerful domain names. While our focus continues to be on our core analytics and mobility business, we are open to leveraging these domain names in equity or other strategic transactions with well-funded parties,” added Ms. Breya.