The Cowboys.com domain name bungle has been part of domaining lore for a good while now. Per DomainNameNews, the story goes that the Dallas Cowboys could have purchased Cowboys.com for $275,000.
In fact, a deal was in place but the team rep bidding thought it was for $275 – as in $275.00 total (how could anyone in this position be so clueless?) – and apparently the organization balked at the 6-figure price and walked away.
Shortly thereafter, a group of investors bought the name for $370,000 and eventually turned it into a male dating site after using a placeholder page for 5 years.
The dating site is gone now and a Domain Holdings “possibly for sale” page is what visitors are forwarded to. It’s a lock this domain receives huge traffic – especially in-season – as people naturally assume that Cowboys.com will resolve to the team’s official site.
The Meeting at the Summit
We all know where this is (or at least should be) headed. This domain’s best use is showing Tony Romo and Dez Bryant interviews and team stats, not a meeting place for guys, a parked page, or anything else.
But what would a potential price be?
A potential sale price would be very interesting because of past history. There are several factors in play.
First, the Cowboys have proven they don’t need the domain. DallasCowboys.com works just fine for them and anyone who wants to go to their official homepage will find it in less than 10 seconds. Even if someone types in the wrong name, they can search “cowboys” in Google and it’s the first result.
Second, a baseline price of $370,000 has been established. I doubt the group of investors will take less and it’s a given they’ll attempt to line their pocket, at least a little. The $370k sale went down in 2007 so I’m thinking they’ll want ROI + juice.
Third, is there a viable enduser (for over the baseline) besides Jerry Jones? So far, only one use (gay dating website) has emerged and clearly it wasn’t lucrative enough.
There are plenty of bars that would love to have the name but the high purchase price wouldn’t make sense unless the buyer had a chain. Interest from a clothing or boot company is certainly possible but at this stage in the game, doesn’t seem likely and, again, probably wouldn’t make sense business-wise.
Think about it, if you’re a huge existing boot company, what do you need to buy Cowboys.com for? Even if for just $450,000, how do you make that money back? Also, CowboyBoots.com would make a lot more sense.
Can you think of an enduser match? Leave a comment below.
As a footnote to this, Cowboy.com is currently being used as a generic advertising page.
Fourth, the existing type-in traffic is going to be difficult to monetize because 98% of the traffic is probably fans looking for stuff on the team. Any ads that appealed to this demographic would expose the domain’s use to a trademark infringement claim.
In Breaking Bad, Walter White always reminded everyone how he had leverage. That’s what a potential sale price boils down to, a struggle to find out who’s willing to bend at what price.
I really don’t think Jerry Jones cares. If he cared that much, wouldn’t he have the name by now? Wouldn’t he have given the ok for the original $275,000?
For the Cowboys, it’s a nice to have, not a need to have. Most of the time companies buy domains to gain better marketing traction or thwart competitors from doing so.
In this instance, what do the Cowboys gain by owning the domain?
They rank fine in Google. Fans can find their site. They hold a TM which virtually eliminates the competition aspect.
This isn’t to say ownership wouldn’t be beneficial. It’d be convenient for fans. Promo materials could leave Dallas off the domain, making presentation simpler, shorter, and easier. Plus, it’d be a hell of a lot better just to say go to Cowboys.com.
Being a vanity person (how can you not be as a domainer), I’d want Cowboys.com to make everything to complete. You’re going to pay Tony Romo $108 million and build a $1.2 billion dollar stadium but not seal the deal with the name that caps everything off?
At the other end of the see-saw, you have the investor group. They’d probably like to get their money back about now or at least start earning some income. But after roughly 7 years, they have what looks to be very little return. That’s an eternity to wait for any investment, let alone $370k.
The problem is, if not Jones, who do you sell to that’s big enough to pay $400,000+ and actually wants it?
Maybe there’s a play out there I don’t see but it’s very telling that as of yet, no enduser has laid claim to either the plural or singular version of the name (not to say other domain investors haven’t seen long waits pay off).
If It Sold
If this deal ever comes to fruition, I think $450-$750k is the price range. My money’s on $500,000.
This is one of those rare situations where you’ve got a true one-word premium generic but the max value belongs to one company and there really is no second, third, or even fourth tier. (If you know one that I’m missing, leave a comment below.)
In the end, this domain’s best use is as the Dallas Cowboys homepage.
If Jerry decides to make it happen, it will. If he doesn’t, how will the sellers (if the original $370k buyers still own it) get their money back?
Note: I have no material connection to the sellers of this domain or the Dallas Cowboys. This is post is mere opinion/speculation on industry news.