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Bodybuilding.com was sold for “just” $20,000 dollars in 1998

It’s a little known story: The domain Bodybuilding.com was sold for just $20,000 dollars in 1998, and the buyer’s intuition led to an eventual multi-million dollar sale of the business.

Two years before the anticipated “end of the world” in 2000, amateur bodybuilder Ryan DeLuca was able to strengthen his supplement business with the acquisition of Bodybuilding.com.

In 1998, aged just 21, DeLuca offered $20,000 dollars to the registrant of Bodybuilding.com. To his delight, the offer was accepted. It was a major upgrade from DeLuca’s brand, Wholesale-Creatine.com!

Operating from Boise, Idaho, Ryan DeLuca’s brand, Higher Power Nutrition, grew through the use of a truly outstanding domain name, Bodybuilding.com.

After years of accelerated growth, Milestone Partners acquired a majority stake in Bodybuilding.com for an undisclosed amount in 2006, and in January 2008, Liberty Media Corporation acquired a controlling stake in Bodybuilding.com for more than $100 million dollars. Ryan DeLuca stayed on as the company’s CEO, leaving the company in 2016.

Regarding the acquisition of Bodybuilding.com for $20,000 dollars in 1998, Ryan DeLuca told the story himself, at the Bodybuilding.com forums:

Bodybuilding.com – Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

One day while dreaming big, I noticed that the Bodybuilding.com domain name was not being used. A guy in California owned it, but he was not using it. I contacted him and asked him about selling it. Immediately, he responded and said that he would not sell it because he had big plans for using it. I was disappointed, but went on with my day.

A few months later, I noticed the domain was still not being used. What a waste! I contacted the owner again and asked him to reconsider. This time he wrote back saying that he was busy with his current business and may never be able to get around to using the name. He might be interested in selling it at the right price. Great! Now we could see if we could get a deal done.

I continued to email the Bodybuilding.com name owner back and forth for weeks, trying to reach a deal that was acceptable to both of us. He had told me that at the same time a business owner in Japan was trying to buy it as well. After many rounds of negotiations, I finally offered $20,000 cash for it.

A few days went by without a response. I would sit and check my e-mail every two minutes, praying for a positive response, dreading being turned down, and just wanting an answer so I could stop stressing out!

On one fateful Fall day, I clicked the “Check Email” button for the one hundredth time so far that morning. A new message was coming through! I was sitting in my small home office with my two dogs laying by my side, patiently waiting for me to get up and take them for a walk. Bryna was at the gym, so I was alone, sitting in my old Office Max chair, in my underwear like usual. The message appeared in my Juno e-mail program. My heart stopped beating and I held my breath, involuntarily, as a I read the first five words.

“DEAL. It’s yours for $20,000.”

I couldn’t believe it! I started jumping up and down, running around my house in my underwear screaming. My dogs had no idea why I was acting like a Price Is Right contestant that just heard that it was their turn to “come on down”! They were barking and jumping around, following me around as I did my best not to kick them with each spastic jump. I felt like I had won the lottery and found a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket at the same time!

It was mine.

For the full story, visit Bodybuilding.com.


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Comments

One Response to “Bodybuilding.com was sold for “just” $20,000 dollars in 1998”
  1. Jagan Jag says:

    Very motivating and interesting story. I was hand registering in 1998 with whatever I could save. I am amazed that a domain (bodybuilding.com) was Sold for $20k in 1998. In 1998 many people looked at me as if I was crazy to buy for $67 per domain from Network Solutions. By 2003 I started seeing the returns. Congratulations to Ryan Deluca for building a good business on the site.

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