When Amazon paid $928 million for Zappos in July, it got a little something extra in the box: the Clothes.com domain. It turns out that Zappos bought the domain last year from Idealab for $4.9 million (Bill Gross strikes again).
The detail is tucked away in Amazon’s SEC filing about its acquisition of Zappos:
In May 2008, we acquired the Clothes.com internet domain name from Idealab. The domain name was recognized as a purchased intangible asset with a useful life of 20 years. The entire purchase price of $4.9 million was assigned to the price of the domain name intangible asset and will be amortized on a straight-line basis over its remaining estimated useful life.
The “we” in that sentence is Zappos (now Amazon). At $4.9 million, the Clothes.com sale would have been the second largest reported domain-name transaction in 2008 after Fund.com ($10 million), and the second biggest one so far this year after Toys.com ($5.1 million).
The Clothes.com URL goes to a Zappos landing page with a clothing product smackdown. Zappos is primarily known as an online shoe retailer, but sells clothing as well. Such a large investment, however, suggests that Zappos may have had plans to branch out more aggressively into clothing, perhaps under the Clothes.com domain.
(Thanks to reader George Kirikos for the tip).