2023 has seen a notable surge in the transactional value of .ai domain names. Originally, “.ai” is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Anguilla. However, due to “AI” being the abbreviation for Artificial Intelligence – arguably the most disruptive industry of our generation – the domain extension has gained significant tech relevance.
These sales are heralding a new digital gold rush. (All amounts quoted below are in USD.)
October 10th, 2023, entered the record books when the domain name you.ai was acquired for $700,000. Initially it was believed that it may have been purchased by You.com, a search engine that heavily leverages the power of Generative AI. After a few days it was revealed that the domain name was purchased by Dharmesh Shah, the Founder of HubSpot. He is no stranger to splurging on domain names, having purchased Connect.com for $8,000,000 in 2022.
Compare the above amount to the previous record of $258,888 for Stack.ai in August, 2023. A week before that NPC.ai sold for $250,000.
The stats are also impressive when reviewing transactional volume.
From looking at the 2022 sales data the highest recorded sale was for $65,098 for the domain Arena.ai, other notable mentions included Ledger.ai for $33,333 and $30,050 for Predictive.ai.
Let's compare this to 2019, when I acquired Unite.ai for $537. At the time I believed that deep reinforcement learning algorithms would eventually lead to an AI explosion, and it only made sense that the AI industry would adopt the .ai extension.
This followed the same playbook that was shown during the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) boom of 2017, when every blockchain and crypto company adopted the .io domain extension. An extension that was soon after adopted by leading tech startups.
Hence Unite.ai was born, and it serves as an example of the price difference between 2019 and 2023. Below are additional examples based on my own personal acquisitions.
it should be noted that my goal was never to acquire an extensive .ai domain name portfolio, the goal was instead to acquire a network of brandable domains, and to partner with leading AI companies to launch market solutions based on the next wave of technological innovation.
An easy price comparison, is when anticipating that genomics would need deep learning to scale, I acquired Genes.ai for $677. Compare that to gene.ai that sold in 2022 for $25,553.
Another notable domain that I acquired was Genius.ai in late 2020 for $16,025. At the time I intended to build a fresh approach at a search engine that would use deep reinforcement learning with human feedback.
Fast forward to today and a private offer was recently made to acquire the Genius.ai domain for $500,000.
My last price comparison is in May 2020, I participated in a bidding frenzy, whereby I ended up outbidding everyone to win Think.ai for $21,988, at the time this was reported to be the 4th highest reported .ai sale of all time. It is difficult to imagine that this domain name would sell for less than 10x that in 2023.
It should be interesting to see how long it takes before the market hears of the first million dollar .ai domain name acquisition.
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