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Space.com : Domain sale in 2018 is valued at seven figures

The domain Space.com has a long history of development and ownership.

Space.com already existed in 1993, being one of fewer than 4,500 domain names that existed at the time, in .com, .net, and .org combined.

Somehow, Space.com dropped in 1998 and was re-registered promptly. It was the era of the original internet .com bubble and e-commerce revolution.

In 1999, Space.com rolled out as a private venture.

Space.com – Photo by Shot by Cerqueira on Unsplash

According to Wikipedia, Space.com was founded by former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs and Rich Zahradnik, in July 1999. At that time, Dobbs owned a sizeable share of the company. In an unexpected move, Dobbs left CNN later that year to become the CEO of Space.com.

In May 2004, the parent company of Space.com changed its name from Space.com to Imaginova and in 2009 it sold Space.com and other properties to the Purch Group, an online publishing company.

Fast forward to 2018: Purch sold Space.com and its assets, along with several other web sites to British corporation Future PLC. It’s that transaction that is of interest, as it’s recent and it actually arrives with financial documents that we’ve located and examined. The sale’s worth was valued at $132.5 million dollars.

How much did Space.com sell for?

That’s related to the valuation of the domain names, separated from the value of other assets included in the Purch acquisition by Future. The sale included the following web sites and their respective domain names:

  • Active Junky
  • AnandTech
  • Consumr
  • Herman Street
  • Laptop Mag
  • LiveScience
  • Newsarama
  • ShopSavvy
  • Space.com
  • Tom’s Guide
  • Tom’s Guide (France)
  • Tom’s Hardware
  • Tom’s Hardware (France)
  • Tom’s Hardware (Italy)
  • Tom’s Hardware (UK)
  • Tom’s IT Pro
  • Top Ten Reviews

This long list of web sites arrived with a lot of assets other than just a domain, so how would one identify the amount of money paid for domain names alone?

Thankfully, a document from Future PLC from 2019, the year following the acquisition of the Purch Group and its assets, identifies the domain valuation separately: a total of $3,000,000 dollars.

Under the “Domain Names” column we are looking at the book value (cost basis) listed as “30 September 2018” – which is $3 million dollars.

That’s the cumulative valuation of all of the domains included in the sale. It’s possible that all of it was for Space.com and the rest were valued at $0, or it might be some other combination of values that adds up to $3MM but without a doubt, Space.com was valued at seven figures USD.

With special thanks to domain investor and financial sleuth, George Kirikos, for his valuable insight on crunching these numbers.


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