The most expensive domain name ever 


14 minutes reading

Each website starts with a domain name. Choosing the best domain name is often a tedious task that requires you to juggle several key factors for your future business. On the one hand, the domain name should represent your business. It should be memorable, marketable, and, most of all, easily spellable. A tough job indeed. 

We already created a dedicated article on choosing the best domain name for your business, which we urge you to read. Naturally, today, we won’t be focusing on that. Instead, we are going to talk about money. 

Each domain name costs you some money. Usually, the .com TLD domain names cost around $16 a year. Other TLDs have different prices but are all around the 15-20 dollar mark. 

However, there are those domain names that cost a bit extra. They are often already bought but not used. Thus, the owner is willing to trade them for some significant cash. Usually, such a domain will cost you 1,000-5,000 dollars. But then, there are the 10 most expensive domain names of all time. Those domain names managed to get a jaw-dropping price.

So, let’s talk about these 10 businesses that decided to pay millions upon millions to reserve a special name for their website. What are they doing? Are they active? What are they selling? And how well executed is their website? Put on your monocle and top hat, and let’s go. – $17 Million homepage screenshot

If you’ve read our article on choosing domain names (yes, the one we shared in the intro), you’d know that adding numbers to your domain is not a great idea. Well, is one of the few exceptions. 

Actually, the domain name was first owned by the telecommunication giant Vodafone. They reserved it to popularize their 360 cellphone series. However, the number-based URLs never took off in the West, so Vodafone decided to sell the domain name. Lucky for them, the perfect buyer  – Chinese tech giant Qihoo 360 came onto the scene. The Chinese internet company was searching for expansion of its brand, and naturally, it wanted a .com domain name that reflected its brand. Somehow, was not enough, it seems. 

So, the domain name was perfect, especially with the already high traffic volume. Vodafone, however, was not about to make a gift. They asked 17 million for the domain in 2015, and to their surprise, the Chinese company agreed. 

As you can probably guess, the website’s content today is in Chinese. Since that’s not our strongest language, we can’t really comment on their content and design. However, we can comment on the great choice of colors and the visual hierarchy, which allows us to somewhat understand the structure of the website, regardless of the language barrier. Most buttons redirect you to, which is not too surprising. Still, even as a front, is one genuinely spectacular website. And how can it be otherwise? It costs 17 million dollars. – $30 Million homepage screenshot

If 17 million sounds a bit salty, well,‘s story would definitely feel overwhelming. MicroStrategy owned the lucrative domain name for quite some time. In 2019, however, they decided it was time to capitalize on their possession, as they weren’t really using the website. was interested in acquiring this captivating domain name, as they had aspirations of creating a blockchain-based social media platform.

The vision was to create a decentralized social media platform that would naturally attract everyone disappointed by Facebook. This idea needed a pretty catchy name to gain traction, and was the perfect choice. So, didn’t hesitate to pay the 30 million dollar price tag. 

Unfortunately, despite the cool name, the idea behind the social media didn’t gain any momentum. Sometime after entirely abandoned the concept, the owners transformed the 30-million-dollar domain into an NFT platform.

Today, redirects you to a login page, which is definitely not a great way to capture attention. Unsurprisingly, the 30-million-dollar domain generates only around 50,000 visits a month. That’s not too bad for an average website, indeed. However, when your domain name costs 8 digits, 50,000 visitors is definitely not your goal.  

Hopefully, will find a better use for their pricy website. Or they can even sell it for a lucrative price. – $30.2 Million homepage screenshot

If you enter right now, you will find the all-so-annoying “This site can’t be reached” notification. Yes, this 30.2 million dollar website shows nothing and is probably looking for a buyer. So, if you are in the private jet business and you have 30 or so million dollars to spare, you might want to contact Nations Luxury Transportation(NLT), LLC. This luxury brand bought the catchy domain name from Don’t Look in 2012 for a heartstopping 30.18 million dollars. Now, to be honest, most of the cost was covered by stocks. Still, a hefty amount was given in cash. 

This domain was a goldmine for a company like NLT. Their primary business was offering private jet flights, so the URL brought immense organic traffic opportunities and was indeed an SEO gold mine. Moreover, the price was definitely worth it, as their targeted audience was the top 1%. 

However, as of now, it’s unclear why the website is down and whether it’s going through refurbishment or NLT simply went bankrupt. Regardless, this 30.2 million dollar website is wasting away, at least for now. – $35 Million homepage screenshot is a bit of an enigma. Currently, the website is owned by OpenAI. However, it’s not quite sure precisely when this transaction happened. The only reason to speculate this is purely based on the answers on the website itself. 

The entire website is actually a question-answering machine. Something like chat GPT but a bit different. So, when asked, “Who owns this website?” the answer is “OpenAI”. 

Okay, but why 35 million dollars, you’d ask? Well, the story is a bit complex. 

In 1990, entrepreneur Robert Raisch claimed This massive purchase cost him next to nothing, so when he sold it in 1997 for 100,000 dollars to MecklerMedia, a B2B media company, Raisch hit the jackpot. 

The price of this precious URL has only continued to grow over the years. In 2009, MecklerMedia sold their prized possession for the mind-altering 18 million dollars. The buyer was a large marketing company by the name of QuinStreet. You will hear a lot more about them pretty soon. 

By this time, this URL was more of an investment than something that could benefit their marketing strategy. So, in 2021, they decided it was time to capitalize on their investment and announced an auction with a starting bid of 35 million dollars.

Unfortunately, the auction ended without any bids for that price. Regardless, this is the last known price of the domain. Sometime in 2022, the website removed its “pending sale” announcement. This is most likely when OpenAI acquired the website. We can only guess the price, but it’s doubtful QuinStreet would have sold it for less than what they asked in the auction. 

The website is nothing special, as you can see for yourself. If it really was worth 35 million dollars, OpenAI is wasting the potential. – $35 Million homepage screenshot

You will notice that a lot of these domains target tourists. Usually, the reason behind that is the intuitive and often emotional searches that occur when someone is looking for a vacation home. So, the best keywords made into domain names are either already taken or are quite expensive. Still, none of them can even compare to the insane price of 

This is one of the earliest 8-figure-costing domain names, as it was sold back in 2007 for the mind-altering 35 million dollars. The price was negotiated by HomeAway Founder and CEO Brian Sharples, who claimed he bought the domain name to keep it away from competitors. 

The funny thing, however, is that Expedia was HomeAway’s main competitor at the time. Sharples even mentions them by name as the main reason for the 35-million-dollar acquisition. But in 2015, the companies merged. 

Still, HomeAway monetized its acquisition pretty quickly, and it still redirects to, HomeAway’s main website since 2006. As a domain name, it works great as a lead generator. Currently, is among the top 700 websites globally and among the top 200 in the US. The website enjoys 40-50 million visitors monthly, with an outstanding 38.6% bounce rate and 10.7 pages per visit. 

Precisely how many of these come from the 35-million-dollar, however, is unclear. Still, at least the competition doesn’t have it. 

The website itself is nothing special. It’s the typical hotel booking website with everything it needs. The design is simple yet functional, with everything one needs to book a room. 

Still, the domain’s lead generation and SEO power are worth the 35 million dollar price. – $35.6 Million homepage screenshot

Being at the forefront of the business often means you need to invest heavily. QuinStreet has known that for quite some time and is the owner of several of the most expensive domain names in the world. QuinStreet, Inc. is a company that powers decentralized online marketplaces like loans, credit cards, banking, home services, and, of course, insurance. They invested quite heavily in the last one by purchasing the 35.6 million-dollar URL in 2010. This was their second big hit after they secured for 16 million dollars in 2009.

On its best days, has attracted more than 1 million visitors monthly. As you can imagine, this was a great sales pitch at meetings with potential partners. 

Today, although the brand reaches roughly 400K visitors a month, the majority of whom are from the USA, it is still a leader in its industry. The domain name probably paid for itself with its lead generation and SEO characteristics a long time ago. Now, the domain name is not only working to generate traffic. It doubles as a prized asset, which can easily break the current domain name price record.

The website itself is brilliantly designed, with a modern vibe and clear structure. It offers its customers the opportunity to find the best insurance policy based on their needs with a simple search box in the Header. The colors, the vibe, and everything surrounding this magnificent website show QuinStreet’s professionalism and dedication to success. 

Overall, the website is professionally built, and QuinStreet is taking full advantage of its 35.6-million-dollar investment. – $49.7 Million homepage screenshot

Indeed, QuinStreet invested heavily in its domain name acquisitions. In 2010, it made an even more significant deal: Just like with and, this URL was an SEO and lead generation goldmine—a name that would drive substantial organic traffic and help the brand build an outstanding marketing campaign. 

Naturally, the price tag of 49.7 million dollars may seem like overspending for a domain name. However, the potential of such URLs is limitless. In its heyday, the domain attracted several million visitors each month. Today, users are far more accustomed to searching with specific terms and long tail keywords through various search engines. This is due to the generational specifics of today’s users. 

However,  in 2010, the number of millennials with cars was significantly lower. Gen X and Boomers sought insurance for their cars. Naturally, they would go to the internet and simply write “car insurance.” The first result would always be And since this was a marketplace rather than a single insurance company, chances of conversions were high. 

Indeed, the acquisition was well worth the price. 

Today, the website still operates and gathers around 250K visitors monthly. This drop in traffic is mainly due to how users nowadays search for services over the internet. Google and other search engines also offer sponsored content on the search result page. Naturally, this somewhat distorts the effect of owning such an exceptional domain name.

 Like all QuinStreet websites, the design is done professionally. It follows the impactful Header with a direct CTA -> Authority proof -> Benefits design structure, which is the most effective way to represent an insurance company. Unsurprisingly, the owner enjoys all the advantages of this extraordinary 50-million-dollar domain. – $90 Million homepage screenshot

As we have already explained, tourism is a huge industry with massive potential if you have the right tools to attract customers. Naturally, having a traveling agency specializing in trips to Las Vegas, only a few names could help you affirm your niche – and

Until 2005, however, both domains had a different owner., however, was determined to consolidate its power and had a vision for the future. That’s why they offered nearly 90 million dollars over the next 35 years to acquire the domain. 

Yes, this purchase is not yet completed, as the deal will finish in 2040. Still, is already using and flourishing with the help of the domain name. 

The website itself is a traditional traveling website with a minimalistic view and a box where one can check for free rooms and bookings. Though minimalistic, the design is flashy, which is a great touch, considering we are discussing Vegas. 

Interestingly, the website receives only about 120,000 visitors a month. In comparison, the original receives more than 1.2 million visitors monthly. This shows that the 90-million-dollar domain is less about the direct benefit and more about consolidating the brand and ensuring the competition doesn’t have access to such a lucrative domain name. – $345 Million homepage screenshot

When was bought for 7.5 million dollars in 1999, no one could have imagined its price would be 47 times higher just eight years later. 

This domain proved invaluable, as Dow Jones and The New York Times tried to acquire it in the following years. However, RH Donnelly was the lucky company that persuaded the owner to relinquish its rights. Of course, the price was astronomical. Despite taking place in 2007, the price was a whopping 345 million dollars. 

The company provides directories and local commercial online searches. In practice, they operate online white and yellow pages directories across countries. Thus, the domain name ideally suited their needs to create a one-stop-shop business search directory.

Since the purchase, the company’s organic traffic has skyrocketed. The visits nearly tripled to 750,000 in just one month. 

It seems the purchase was well worth the astronomical price. 

Today, as Yellow Pages and search directories are in the past, the brand has changed its website. Today, is a platform where entrepreneurs can find all sorts of advice and help to grow their businesses. As the H1 title of the website says, “The Ultimate Playbook for Growing Businesses.” 

The website still receives around 800,000 visits a month, which is well above the industry average. Most importantly, however, it has a modern look and vibe, catering to modern audiences and their problems. So, RH Donnelly is obviously still milking its pristine domain name to the fullest. And who can blame them, considering they paid 345 million dollars almost two decades ago? – $872 Million homepage screenshot

When a domain name is close to 1 billion dollars, one must wonder who in their right mind would buy such a domain name. The answer is Gannett.

Gannett is a mass media company most famous for publishing the USA Today newspaper. 

Ever since 2003, Gannett has had a share of as part of Classified Ventures, LLC. However, in 2014, the publisher decided it was high time to buy the entire website from everyone else. 

Now, it’s fair to say that the domain name was not entirely behind the colossal sum of 872 million dollars. By 2014, had huge traffic from regular readers, so the price was actually about the entire business. Still, the domain name was a huge part of it, as it was what mostly drove the visits. 

Even today, receives around 30-35 million views each month. This puts it in the top 1500 websites globally, the top 300 in the United States, and the top 5 websites in the industry. The price of this asset is most likely above 1 billion dollars now, as it’s the most used website to buy and sell cars online in the USA. 

To be honest, the website’s design is not that awe-inspiring. It’s a minimalist website that serves precisely the function it offers. It’s clean and, most importantly, extremely user-friendly, which is perfect for someone searching for a car or a place to sell theirs. 

Though we can argue whether the design could improve, the results speak for themselves. Not many websites generate more than 30 million visits monthly. So, regardless of our opinion on the design, the nearly 1 billion dollar investment in this domain name and website was a huge success. 

Do you need a 1 billion dollar domain?

Of course not. You don’t need to beat records to create a successful business and brand. If you notice, most of these websites are actually single-word .com websites, which have all been reserved by now. Still, today, users have a different way of communicating with their computers. They don’t just ride a single word in Google, hoping they will find what they seek. Today, users mainly use long tail keywords, which you can use to find a great domain name, which will also drive some organic traffic. 

Still, as you can see, even domain names for tens of millions don’t guarantee a good website and a successful business. 

So, it doesn’t matter how expensive your domain name is. What matters is its design, usability, and content. But before you get there, you also should ensure outstanding loading speed, robust security, and impeccable reliability. 

That’s where HostArmada shines. We offer lightning-fast speed, top-notch security, and 99.9% uptime. You simply can’t get a better foundation for your website. But to make the deal even sweeter, we offer one free domain (with some limitations, of course) with every plan to get you started. 

So, check out our plans and choose the best fit for your needs. Don’t waste time wondering whether you should buy that domain name for 3 billion dollars. You don’t. What you need is HostArmada’s extraordinary infrastructure behind your back.