People have bought domains since the advent of the Internet for business, projects and investment purposes. This trend continues to this day and there are implications for the precious metals space. Consider the recent story of the record sale of gold.co.uk. It comes on the heels of a major purchase of another precious metals domain: silver.com.
British entrepreneur Rob Halliday-Stein paid a record £600,000 for “gold.co.uk“, the highest price ever paid for a .co.uk domain name. It took him seven years to acquire it. Halliday-Stein trades gold and silver bars and coins. The previous record for a .co.uk domain name was £560,000 for “cruise.co.uk” in 2008.
“Whilst this is a significant amount to pay I strongly believe the domain will prove to be great value over the long term,” Halliday-Stein said of the purchases. In 2012, JM Bullion acquired Silver.com for $875,000.
“We decided we needed a domain name that would help us become the largest online precious metal retailers in the world and believe we have found that with Silver.com,” said Kendall Saville, an investor in Silver.com. This domain purchase was the largest of 2012.
The British billionaire has been in the gold business since 2008. He merely wanted to purchase a small amount himself. He became disillusioned with the poor customer service in the industry, and entered into the space.
“Given what I knew about online marketing, ecommerce, and customer services, I thought that this [bullion trade in the UK] could be done better. So I contacted someone who ran the UK branch of a big European refinery, who offered to do the gold side of the business while I took care of the marketing and customer services,” Halliday-Stein told Vice.
“My intention was to be the UK’s number one online bullion dealer,” said Halliday-Stein, who foresaw the profitability of selling bullion via e-commerce. For a domain he settled on “gold.co.uk.”
In 2008, the domain name belonged to Jack Gold, who requested £50,000 for it. Halliday-Stein opened a lease on the domain. Vice explains what happened next:
But disaster soon struck. Gold separated from his wife, reneged on Halliday-Stein’s agreement, and sold the website to someone else for a quick cash fix.
Halliday-Stein ultimately purchased “bullionbypost.co.uk” instead. Today, his business does £100 million a year.
“Someone found me out for the purchase of the domain because we were now the biggest gold dealer. They offered a significantly increased price, but to be honest, I wanted the domain—there was a bit of ego at play,” he said.
“It’s a strong brand and it gives us significant SEO benefits of around £100k a year as well,” told Vice. “The thing about the ‘bullion by post’ brand was that it wasn’t right for higher net-worth individuals. It was always aimed at smaller to medium investors. Now our average order on gold is already about three times what our ‘bullion by post’ order is.”