July 19, 2011 — Scottsdale, AZ — eSN Ventures announced today the sale of the company’s crown jewel, IAMTHERE.com — perhaps the most coveted eight letters in domain name registry history — for $5,000.00 to an unknown buyer.
“We had been squatting on iamthere.com for a long time…I mean, a l-o-n-g time. It was actually the inception of eSN Ventures.” reported Patrick Sullivan Jr., co-founder and domain manager.
“Patrick and I originally came up for the idea of putting webcams at funerals and weddings after a few (dozen) cocktails on a long flight from Phoenix to Newark.” said Richard Nordstrom, co-founder and chief strategist. “That was in 1999 y’all! Who had even heard of a webcam back then?!?!”
“You have to remember that in 1999, business.com had just sold for a million dollars. We realized that ‘squatting’ was the new ‘black’, if you will.” said Sullivan.
After the initial acquisition of IAMTHERE.com, Nordstrom and Sullivan approached Pat Sullivan Sr. with the idea of forming a “squatting enterprise” of sorts. Sullivan Sr. liked the idea, and wasn’t quite sure how to buy domain names himself at the time, so he gave the two a sizable angel investment, and eSN Ventures was created.
Nordstrom and Sullivan Jr. spent the next several months drinking beers at night and purchasing wonderful domains such as, AskAbuddy.com, AskAchemist.com, and several others in the AskA___ family.
“We had a ton of great names. I swear we did. But tell you the truth, I can’t really remember any of them any more. Let me get back to you on that one.” said Nordstrom.
In 2001, eSN Ventures came close to selling IAMTHERE.com for $15,000.00. After months of negotiations, the deal fell apart. “The dotcom bubble had just burst, and along with it, the value of domain names. People sorta thought the internet might be over.” said Sullivan Jr.
After losing their sole prospect, eSN Ventures went quiet for the rest of the decade. Sullivan Jr. explains, “Yeah, I kept renewing IAMTHERE.com and was even able to pick up IAMTHERE.net for a song. As I recall, I think the previous owner had let it expire. But I let the rest of the eSN portfolio slowly expire.”
In 2009, on a whim, Sullivan decided to list IAMTHERE.com for sale on GoDaddy’s Premium Listing Service. “I figured, what the heck you know. If someone wants to buy this for 5 grand, cool.”
Sullivan never heard a peep, so he totally forget he had listed it…until Tuesday morning when he read that it had been sold and transfered from his account. “It was kind of crazy to read the email because after all this time of NOTHING being there, (pun intended) I actually had just started using the domain for my band, Sapphire Sky, to broadcast live wedding performances to guests that couldn’t attend. Seriously, the whole idea came back around, and then my domain is sold right from under me.”
Sullivan is now using Iamthere.net to broadcast live wedding performances of the band Sapphire Sky.
Pat Sullivan Sr., the lone investor in eSN Ventures commented, “With GoDaddy’s ridiculous 30% commission, I don’t quite think I’ll break even on this 12 year investment. But at the end of the day, I’m just proud the team was able to put a little money back in my pocket. I think I can safely move this one into the ‘not a loss’ column.”
Nordstrom commented, “It seems like it was a great idea now that we don’t have it any more. Dammit, pretty sure somebody is gonna get rich off this domain.”
When asked about GoDaddy’s 30% commission, Nordstrom commented, “That is a rip-off, no wonder they’re doing so well.”