GoDaddy, the domain name registrar and Web hosting company, knows the big money is in reselling those domain names.
The company, which at one time was known for its over-the-top, racy Super Bowl advertisements, announced Thursday that it's acquiring Afternic, a Waltham, Mass.-based "aftermarket" network, which sells domain names that are already owned. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 1999, Afternic lists domain names that are up for grabs with the owner's asking price, and also gives a potential buyer the option to make another offer. The site sorts the names into categories like premium (as of this writing, Sociology.com could be yours today for the low, low price of $250,000!), recently sold, and newly listed names.
GoDaddy, which is already a big player in domain reselling, said Afternic lets domain name owners display their listings on more than 100 different online registrars, including the "top 18-20." The company claims it will create a more diverse aftermarket. "Our customers need an easy way to buy the name they want, regardless of whether it's new or has been registered previously. This acquisition forms a registrar-led process that creates faster and more trusted transactions across the board," GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving said in a statement.
There's certainly room for more opportunity there, especially since the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that oversees the domain name system, has been pushing the expansion of "top-level domains" -- like the familiar .com and .net -- to include many more. For example, Canon could use ".Canon" instead of "Canon.com." In July, ICANN signed agreements that will bring Chinese, Russian, and Arabic names to the Net.