Washington, DC: It looks like it’s going to be a merry Christmas for Beltway PR pro Ed Segal.
Washington, DC: It looks like it’s going to be a merry Christmas
for Beltway PR pro Ed Segal.
Segal, who paid dollars 40 for the domain name publicrelations.com in
1995 (PRWeek, Nov. 22), has decided put the name up for auction on
The 24-hour auction will be held online at domainrace.com, and will be
headed by Eric Wade - the savvy entrepreneur who sold wallstreet.com for
just over dollars 1 million in April.
Buoyed by the recent sales of wallstreet.com, autos.com (sold for a
reported dollars 3 million) and business.com (bought by Ecompanies for
dollars 7.5 million earlier this month), Wade and his partners have high
hopes for the auction. Other domain names will also be sold during the
24-hour period, including jeans.com and QueHora.com.
’We can easily hit eight figures for all of the site names, and (we’re
expecting) at least dollars 3 million for publicrelations.com,’ Wade
’There’s been enough activity in the industry - we’re starting to talk
about real numbers.’
While there has been a land rush for domain names on the Internet, many
observers remain skeptical about the value of such a generic name. ’A
brand is defined by expectations,’ said Allen Adamson, managing director
of brand consultancy Landor Associates. ’With the term
publicrelations.com, you don’t know what the heck it means. The issue is
what you can build it into.’
Asked about the site’s million-dollar potential, Adamson replied
bluntly: ’They’re crazy. It will never happen. Whoever spends that much,
I have a bridge to sell them.’ He guessed that a major PR firm might buy
it, and promptly link it to its own site.
’Only an e-commerce site could justify spending that kind of money,’
said Steve Bryant, chief creative officer at Publicis Dialog. ’And I
don’t think there is a viable e-commerce model for delivering PR over
To drum up publicity for the auction, Wade has tapped Hirst Company, an
Albuquerque, NM-based PR agency. ’Any national or international firm
should at least take a look at it,’ said Hirst associate Mike
Added Wade, ’We expect an international feeding frenzy.’
Adamson, however, countered, ’There’s a feeding frenzy now, but with no
plans to unlock the value of the brand.’
Whatever the final price, Segal has made quite an investment: ’I feel
like I’ve come across the winning lottery ticket, but I don’t know what
the jackpot is.’
RECENT DOMAIN NAME SALES
Business.com dollars 7,500,000
AltaVista.com dollars 3,300,000
Wine.com dollars 3,000,000
Autos.com dollars 3,000,000*
Wallstreet.com dollars 1,030,000
Drugs.com dollars 823,000
*Not confirmed as of press time.