Sex.com. It’s a domain name with quite a history – heck, it was rocky enough for a book to be written solely about it. I’ll spare you that story and let you discover it on your own, though.
TechCrunch had an exclusive interview with the guy who currently owns the valuable domain name – he acquired it for $13 million a couple of months ago. For a variety of reasons, he wishes to keep his identity under wraps, at least for the time being, but he did share some interesting insights into how sex.com fares now that it’s parked.
And he’s keen to figure out what to do with it now, too.
Now, it would be wrong to state the purchase of the domain name was made without thinking things through, and that there are no plans to commercialize it. In fact, the buyer has long focused on the acquisition and development of other high-value generic domain names, so he has years of experience under his belt for this type of thing.
Yet the owner – let’s call him Jeff – has gotten a number of business partnership offers, has some ideas of his own, but soon has to make a solid decision on which road to take to make good on his sizeable investment.
For your background: the former owner of Sex.com, Escom LLC, failed to turn it into a viable business and declared bankruptcy in 2010.
According to Jeff, Sex.com brings in quite some money even now that it’s still parked. In fact, he claims the placeholder website receives more than 125,000 visitors on a daily basis, from all over the world (but mostly from the United States, India and Germany).
The ad-littered parking page was set up as a placeholder while he figured out how best to develop the domain name, but the revenues he’s received from Sex.com already far exceed his expectations – he wouldn’t provide more details, but says the page is on track to return well into seven figures a year.
That means that even if Jeff ends up never doing anything with it other than forwarding the domain name to a parked page, he could potentially still make $13 million from it by 2024, earning back his investment.
Obviously, that’s not his goal. There are lots of opportunities to develop a domain name like Sex.com in my mind, adult businesses being an obvious choice. However, Jeff says he’s gotten a handful of interesting offers from mainstream media companies, technology companies and even one from the pharmaceutical industry so far. He hasn’t made up his mind on how to proceed with the commercialization of the domain name yet, but Jeff adds that he and his team have a deadline they’re working towards.
The reason he doesn’t simply jump into the lucrative online porn industry? Because such an endeavor would close the door on other, more mainstream options, narrow down his exit possibilities – such as selling to a public company – and limit the ability to take the business public in the future, Jeff says.
Basically, he’d prefer to build something more mainstream, but still profitable.
The idea is to pick the right business model and then grow Sex.com over the course of the next decade, Jeff says, so I’m interested in seeing what he comes up with.
If you’d just dropped $13 million for Sex.com, what would you do with it? I asked the same question on Quora, so if you’re a user you can also head over there to discuss possibilities.
Update: check the thread on Hacker News too.