1992 – Business Systems International, a small British firm selling telephone and computer systems, obtains the Business.com domain name. There is no cost to BSI; domain names were free of charge before September of 1995.
1995 – Marc Ostrofsky buys the name for $150,000 from BSI. A record price at the time. The press wrote many derogatory editorials including the line “a fool and his money were just parted.”
1999 – Ostrofsky sells the name to an Internet start-up for $7.5 million; the sale makes the Guinness Book of World Records. Ostrofsky demands “put rights,” which allows him to buy stock in the firm at a later date or keep the cash, whichever is larger.
2004 – Ostrofsky exercises the “put” rights and gets stock in the new Business.com “business to business” search engine.
2007 – Business.com is sold for $345 million. The additional stock Ostrofsky receives as part of the original sale puts the final value of the original sale at well over $10 million.
Domain Names 104 The buyer was RH Donnelley, a large firm in the “yellow pages” business. The logic was brilliant. In one simple transaction, this “old world” printed yellow page business supplier added new clients, got $50 million in new revenue to the company, a great online component and the best domain name in the world for any company wanting to do business on the Internet.