1999 2.0

1999 2.0: A “thrown over the fire wall” free feature from tomorrow’s WSJ examines the resurgence in domain name “real-estate” plays. It includes this amusing(?) sidebar:

Not all Web-address purchases these days are driven by an effort to earn money from ads. In July, the owner of dog.com bought fish.com for $1 million. The dog-bites-fish story was driven by the buyer’s plans to expand an online pet-supplies business.

Pets United LLC, parent of Dog.com, acquired Fish.com from Dan Farmer, a technology executive, through domain broker Afternic Inc. Alex Tabibi, chief executive of Pets United, wanted to expand his firm’s list of pet-related domains, which include Horse.com and Bird.com. The site will sell fish food, fish tanks and accessories.

Mr. Farmer, chief technical officer and founder of computer security firm Elemental Security Inc., bought Fish.com in the early 1990s and used it for a personal Web site and email. He said in an email that he has probably had thousands of offers for the domain over the years. “I glibly decided that if anyone offered me a million dollars that I’d sell,” he said. He said he used the after-tax proceeds to pay off the mortgage on his San Francisco condominium and “gave a bunch to charity.”