Reply All: #7 This Website Is For Sale
January 1, 2015 12:21 PM - Subscribe

This week we enter the mysterious, Byzantine underworld of domain sales, where people make money speculating on the website naming market. A few years ago, the owners of the popular journalism website blundered into this world when they innocently tried to procure In this episode, we find out about their misadventures, and we hear from the Derek Jeter of URL purchases.
posted by radioamy (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you hit right now, it appears to be parked and "for sale" again, but the for-sale link is broken. Possibly it's been sold and not updated yet.
posted by jazon at 9:37 PM on January 1, 2015

I'm surprised that the reporting didn't look into going through the UDRP processes at all.

It looks like the Longform folks *just* filed a federal registration for the Longform trademark, and I don't know much about the UDRP but that seems like the first step to getting into that.
posted by sparklemotion at 6:50 AM on January 2, 2015

Man, that's really weird that all these coincidences happened at once. I've heard stories of people that worked for domain name registrars that would buy good domains that people searched for but didn't purchase within 24hrs, so I suspect the bidding war was faked in order to drive the price up. I imagine lots of domain name speculation is driven by bots and custom programming to find unique good ones in the free piles.

My favorite part of this episode was about halfway in, it turned into an episode of Serial with the host trying to track down experts to get questions answered in a way that sounded like Sarah Koenig chasing down a cold case.

Didn't Atlantic Media buy a few years back? Couldn't they foot the bill for
posted by mathowie at 2:43 PM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I believe Atlantic is associated with Longreads, not Longform
posted by bq at 8:57 PM on January 2, 2015

So there are a couple things that ended up on the cutting room floor with this episode, chief among them I found the guy who owns (he's an engineer at facebook) and, just two days after our show began, someone registered the website I went back and forth with the guy about appearing on the episode but he ultimately declined.

With respect to UDRP, the long form guys only decided to apply for a trademark BECAUSE we were doing this episode. Essentially they were like "we're putting out shit out there, it'd probably be a good idea to do some ass covering." Plus it's not that they actually covet so bad that they want to start a huge bit of arbitration, they just wanted to make sure someone's not trying to dilute their brand, which as of this moment no one is.

If I had to just guess what's going to happen, I'd guess that long is going to sit vacant for years and then maybe become something totally unrelated to journalism. I mean, whoever bought it had had it parked basically since April. But who knows. Maybe this podcast Ep will kick them into gear....
posted by Alex Goldman at 4:10 AM on January 3, 2015 [5 favorites]

I love the thought of it as tax software. Hilarious.

Do you know who bought replyallpodcast?
posted by bq at 7:41 AM on January 3, 2015

We do know who bought We wanted to talk to him on the show -- not as an inquisition, but more just to say "hey -- so why did you decide to buy this, is this something you do regularly, have you made money doing stuff like this, etc." Besides, as you guys can probably tell my how much we mug and coo over it, we love the fact that our TLDs are .diamonds/.limo, etc.

Ultimately, he declined to come on the show, but he was pretty cool about it. He's actually a fan of ours and of startup. If we ever did decide that we wanted replyallpodcast, we could also go back to him and snag it. I have a hard time imagining that anyone else wants it.

I suppose that was the thing I found so interesting about it relative to The purchase of -- it is so obviously a purchase that only two people in the world care about. Me & PJ. And so with, we thought it was the same thing. The only possible reason that a person could want that website is for a longform journalism website. But in that example, we were just being myopic.
posted by Alex Goldman at 8:10 AM on January 3, 2015

Whatever I think is the best. domain. ever.

That said I would have loved to hear from the guy who bought! Good point that he was clearly buying a domain that only you guys would want, vs trying to buy something that had a variety of uses. Then again wasn't there someone who picked the top 10 possible pope names (when Benedict was chosen?) and bought all those domains?
posted by radioamy at 10:54 AM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Excellent episode. I am really loving this podcast, and the only thing I (slightly) dislike is that it's not longer. However, having Alex here to provide some extra commentary is more than enough for me to ignore my want for more content.
posted by noneuclidean at 6:53 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I also love that your website is at .diamonds and .limo. It show's the ridiculousness of the whole thing. If I'm looking for a thing, I never type my best guess as to the website into a title bar -- I use google.
posted by garlic at 8:53 AM on January 5, 2015

Alex, you should buy, I'm sure it's still free and it seems like a good podcast-y URL.
posted by mathowie at 1:39 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Delighted to find this fan page today. And happy to see Alex stopped by earlier this month. Found it Googling

Today redirects to and then through several redirects to land on some lame page selling Hotel, Resort & Restaurant Supplies and Equipment. What a waste.
posted by tbc at 1:13 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Longform interviewed Alex Blumberg and they mention this episode.
posted by bq at 1:56 PM on January 30, 2015

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