Insure.com Sells for $16 Million - Highest Domain Sale Recorded | DomainInvesting.com

Insure.com Sells for $16 Million – Highest Domain Sale Recorded

53

Insure.comInsure.com, a publicly traded company whose shares trade on the NASDAQ stock exchange, sold its corporate name and related domain name for $16,000,000, and the company will be renamed Life Quotes. The company paid $1,600,000 for Insure.com in 2001.

The domain name was purchased by Quin Street, who as you may recall, paid $18,000,000 for Internet.com and related assets back in August. According to AboutUs.org, QuinStreet is an online performance marketing company helps businesses target their would-be customer audiences by using its proprietary technologies and media reach to generate sales leads.

I believe that this is the highest recorded price for a domain sale, beating Sex.com, which sold for a reported $12 million in 2006.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how the company now previously known as Insure.com will manage with the name change and loss of links. They may have a unique product (I do not know), but it will be difficult for them to re-climb in the search engine rankings after the name change. Not only do they lose their type-in traffic and inbound links, but they also lose the credibility that comes with saying, “hi, I’m from Insure.com.”

$16 million sure is a nice sum of money, and it’s a great ROI no doubt, but one has to wonder what they long term impact for the company will be.  The company believes a name change “is expected to reduce revenues 10 percent to 15 percent for the next two to six quarters,” however, I think it will take a whole lot of marketing dollars to purchase the traffic that will be lost when Quin Street takes over the domain name.

Fortunately for us people on the sideline, we will be able to see how this plays out for the Life Quotes, since they are a publicly traded company and will have to report its revenues.

***Update***
Some people are questioning whether it’s accurate to say it’s the highest recorded domain sale. I believe so because Life Quote is retaining so much of its actual business. From the press release: “The Company will retain all of its remaining balance sheet assets, national brokerage contracts with 25 leading life insurance companies, 50 fully licensed insurance agents, call center operations, customer and prospect lists, and nearly all of its current inbound affiliate and traffic partnerships.”

Also, was the sale of Toys.com not simply a domain sale? It had a website previously, and it also had lots of inbound links as well. IMO, since the publicly traded company is basically keeping all of its assets, it’s a domain sale with good will.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur, and he is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com, a website that shares domain investing news, insight, and strategy. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | | Facebook | Email
Niche Websites

Comments (53)

    Tim Davids

    That’s one that should have got 10% of the deal in ownership ala Rick S.

    October 9th, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Kevin

    Add in also today Mike Mann and partners completed the sale of Software.com.

    Great day for the industry $$$!

    October 9th, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    ELEQUA

    Incredible!

    October 9th, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Jon

    Insure.com is one of the obvious “second best” choices you want to buy if you can not get the real deal – Insurance.com. Insurance.com and comparable top category names should be at least $50 million.

    October 9th, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Domain Superstar

    “I believe that this is the highest recorded price for a domain sale”

    This is not technically correct because Quinstreet purchased not just the domain name Insure.com but the entire website that is already ranked very high in the search engines and likely making a substantial amount of money.

    Nice job being one of the first in the blogosphere to break this story though as I saw that even Tech Crunch linked to this post.

    October 10th, 2009 at 2:45 am

    John

    Indeed a great sale, but afaik the sale of yellowpages.com is the highest domain sale to date.

    In 2004 Yellowpages.com was sold to a joint venture of Bell South and AT&T (former SBC) for US$ 98 million.

    cheers
    John

    October 10th, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Francois

    It’s a SITE sale, and absolutely NOT a domain sale!!!

    I insist because after people will place this sale in the list of top domain sold and this will perturbate future valuations of true domain sales.

    I bet the site was generating many millions of income yearly. Insurance with financing, real estate and remodeling are the most lucrative verticals for the business of leads and the core activity of the buyer.
    I sold myself a similar site for severals millions to his competitor few years ago and it was absolutely not based in a premium domain.

    October 10th, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Jon

    Francois,
    You need to at least read press releases before making things up.

    Insure.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: NSUR) announced today that it has sold its Insure.com brand name and related media assets for $16 million in cash to QuinStreet, Inc. Insure.com, Inc. (the Company) intends to change its corporate name to Life Quotes, Inc. and will continue its business under its Life Quotes and Consumer Insurance Guide brand names. The Company will retain all of its remaining balance sheet assets, national brokerage contracts with 25 leading life insurance companies, 50 fully licensed insurance agents, call center operations, customer and prospect lists, and nearly all of its current inbound affiliate and traffic partnerships.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/insurecom-announces-16-million-asset-sale-continuation-of-business-under-life-quotes-brand-name-63885287.html

    October 10th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Adam

    No way to determine it to be a pure domain sale. . . so it’s likely not. Pure domain name sales are going to be more and more hard to figure out as domains mature and more of the premium domains are put to use. If buyers can grab up other assets in the deal and/or when sellers can get stock options and other intangibles, we’ll see less of these sales appearing on the highest sales “charts”. I have no problem doing a “Barry Bonds” and putting an asteriks next to the sale. :)

    October 10th, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Elliot

    I think the clearest sign of a domain sale is that the company that sold it intends to continue normal business operations under a new brand name.

    But yeah, I agree that it’s going to be harder and harder to gauge pure domain sales.

    October 10th, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Josh

    In the need to continue and boost the domain industry we are now willing to report sales that should not be categorized with others, just to top past events. It was great to hear the name and business sold but it is NOT a domain name sale in the pure form. The name allowed and contributed to the business that was built but not the reason for the $16M. While toys.com had back links and ranked high it imo WAS a pure domain sale, yes the generated traffic contributed to value but I believe it was not the reason for the sale price.

    October 10th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

      Elliot

      @ Josh

      You missed a big portion. The BUSINESS was NOT sold. The publicly traded company is going to continue operating with all business assets, with the exception of the domain name and some website content.

      If the business had been sold, the shareholders would have been cashed out since Quin Street is a private company.

      I agree that it was not a “pure” domain sale, but just about any domain sale is no longer pure. Even when Rick Latona sells most of his names, he includes the website he built and those are all considered domain sales.

      If they included affiliates or even insurance relationships in the sale, which they did not, I wouldn’t classify it as a domain sale. IMO, the asset they wanted was Insure.com, and they didn’t want to lose the inbound links so they got the content. They got no customers, no prospects, no employees, no relationships, no affiliates, no overhead…etc.

      October 10th, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Michael Carter

    $16mm practically equals the company’s net assets – looks to be a very good deal for the company (assuming it’s just a domain name sale).

    October 10th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Josh

    So we are to believe it was JUST a name and content sale?

    If so than I would agree it is pretty close to a ” pure ” sale considering most good names have some history or content/links etc.

    Are we absolute there was no other asset(s) involved?

    October 10th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Elliot

    @ Josh

    Because the company is required to disclose everything publicly, I am fairly certain all has been disclosed.

    October 10th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Alex

    Whether it was a “pure” domain sale or not is irrelevant as far as i’m concerned when looking at how this story affects the domain industry. It might matter to us domainers, but to the larger business community…the headline…and what they will take away from the story is “Insure.com sold for $16 million.” This benefits our industry as a whole….”pure” sale or not.

    October 10th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Alan

    Jon

    You said to Francois “You need to at least read press releases before making things up”

    Have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Francois’s comment was as accurate as you can be. This was not a pure domain sale. My guess is earnings were between 2.5 – 3.5 million annually – an educated guess understanding the insurance market very well and the traffic to this particular site. Thus purchase price reflect 5-7 times earnings.

    When you buy a developed site with thousands of pages of unique content, backlinks that will always be there regardless if the content remains on the existing domain or is forwarded to another and generates revenue using an ad platform outside of parking guess what – you have a business for sale not a domain name.

    While I note that this sale is good for the industry since people will only hear a .com sold for 16 million its not a domain sale.

    Elliot .. you know I respect you man but please

    “Even when Rick Latona sells most of his names, he includes the website he built and those are all considered domain sales”

    Selling a minisite with a domain adds no value to the name whatsoever – only another car salesman pitch for newbies that say wow – I’m getting a design (usually followed by – have no idea to do with it).

    Minisites add ZERO value to a domain. In fact, you can add a minisite, a custom bumper sticker or a certificate for a piece of the moon with a sale but its still just a domain name sale.

    A developed site with real content and standalone revenue is a business of its own – not a domain name sale.

    No way insure.com is a domain name sale.

    Like Joel said – good catch all the same but 100% disagree with you on the classification of this transaction.

    October 10th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Jon

    Alan,
    You are making things up as well by talking about earnings. Revenue, earnings, cash-flow did not sell. No part of the website as a money-making going concern was sold. The only thing that sold was domain name. Old links and SEO rankings insure.com has are no different from old links and SEO rankings of toys.com or any other domain sold that had a website before.

    You are making a completely arbitrary value judgement call based on nothing that insure.com old links and rankings somehow make the sale a business sale, while toys.com old links and search ranking make toys.com domain sale.

    Furthermore, the seller made it clear they will keep current inbound affiliate and traffic partnerships. Those affiliate traffic partnerships and paid links may very well have accounted for majority of traffic, and the seller will keep all this traffic.

    October 10th, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Alan

    Jon,

    Think what you will.

    Quinstreet is one of the largest lead generation companies in the country owning massive properties all across mortgage, debt, insurance and more. In fact, it may be possible to say they are larger than Oversee.

    Anyone who has been around the block knows they do not buy domain names undeveloped all but maybe a few exceptions but no way in hell for $16m.

    You have to be on crack to think they paid $16 million in this horrible economy or even a good one just for a domain name.

    Not that crack is a bad thing – I’ve heard it does help some crazy domain owners believe their domains are worth millions late at night.

    Peace man – anyone who wants to think this is a pure domain name sale go for it – I’m out, don’t really care how this is classified one way or the other but seriously, hit your crack dealer up if you really do think they paid 16M just for a domain.

    Like Alex said “the story is “Insure.com sold for $16 million”

    That’s all people will hear.

    Which at the end of the day – is good for all domain owners.

    October 10th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Kevin

    Seems like some people aren’t reading everything that was officially released about this sale and are making incorrect statements.

    It clearly states they sold only the domain name and not the underlying business.

    October 10th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Kevin

    Bottom line he just made $16 Million and that’s all that matters.

    October 11th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Jacob

    Haha, well, even though the price probably wasn’t for just the domain, the sensationalist headline definitely worked, it got tons of coverage and links back :-D Either way, the coverage is always good for the industry.

    October 11th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Domain Superstar

    @Kevin

    “Seems like some people aren’t reading everything that was officially released about this sale and are making incorrect statements.

    It clearly states they sold only the domain name and not the underlying business.”

    Kevin, there is an important distinction that you are missing. Just because they did not sell their underlying business they did in fact sell more than just the domain name –> here it is everyone –> wait for it –> they sold the entire DOMAIN + WEBSITE. :)

    http://www.domainsuperstar.com/insurecom-sale-some-domainers-just-dont-get-it

    October 12th, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Snoopy

    Once the deal includes website content it is clearly not just a domain name sale. I would guess the domain was the main reason for the sale but at the end of the day the press release clearly states

    “We have sold our Insure.com name and specified website content”.

    It sounds to me like the content was a significant part of the deal in terms of retaining search engine traffic etc.

    Agree with what Adam said about deals likely being more difficult to seperate out over time, mainly due to the value of the search traffic with people being less inclined to cut the domain lose if it is already getting significant search traffic.

    October 12th, 2009 at 2:43 am

    Kevin

    @ Domain Superstar

    Hmmm $16 Million for a web site.

    Ok LOL

    October 12th, 2009 at 4:23 am

    Jack

    If the investor is giving 16 M, then it must be worth it.

    October 12th, 2009 at 6:31 am

    RJ

    I’ll sell my IN-SURANCE.COM domain name for 200k. :)

    October 12th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Michael Azzurro

    Insure.com is worth $16M. What do you think CheapestCarInsurance.com is worth?

    October 16th, 2009 at 1:47 am

Leave a Reply

Name *

Mail *

Website