The Last Word
All in the Name
The financial stakes for domain names are higher than ever, and several insurance-related domain names are now among some of the costliest in the world.
- Lori Chordas
- November 2019
The insurance industry has some of the costliest domain names in the world today, and insurers are paying top dollar for those unique identifiers that are the foundation for a business's online brand and reputation.
Online marketing company QuinStreet Inc. in 2010 purchased carinsurance.com and its related entities for $49.7 million. That same year, the Foster City, California-based lead generation company acquired insurance.com's website and domain name for $35.6 million.
Those purchases were made during QuinStreet's aggressive buying spree of major insurance websites and other generic dot-com domain names, including its $16 million purchase of insure.com's corporate name and related domain and its $18 million acquisition of a portfolio of names under the internet.com brand.
Other insurance sites also have come with big price tags. In 2010, homeownersinsurance.com was sold in a private sale for $570,000. Several years earlier, insurancerates.com was acquired for $225,000, according to reports.
Having the right domain name that's a perfect fit for your company is like winning the lottery for any organization, said Bill Sweetman, president of boutique domain name acquisition firm Name Ninja. “The cost of a qualified lead for insurance is very valuable. So when you are in an industry where a single qualified lead is so highly valued, a domain name like weddinginsurance.com, for instance, that has those specific keywords in the domain is important because anyone typing that name into their web browser is likely looking to purchase insurance.”
Dot-coms are “beachfront real estate” because of their high appeal, said Joe Uddeme, a broker with NameExperts.com, which helps sellers identify, negotiate and purchase domain names and assists buyers to appraise and position their domain names for sale.
Many of the world's largest carriers, brokers and insurance associations have dot-com domains attached to their websites. However, over the last 15 years nearly 90% of the inventory of insurance-related domain names has been “swallowed up by insurance providers or companies looking to build a web presence in the industry,” he said.
That's caused several insurers to move away from generic dot-com domains and create their own dot-brands. Several years ago, Axa Group launched a website with its own branded top-level domain extension, .axa, to bolster its online presence and establish credibility and recognition among consumers.
FTLD Registry Services, a coalition of global banks, insurers and financial services trade associations formed in 2011, created the industry's first insurance-specific generic top-level domain. The dot-insurance extension was released on the internet in 2016.
Name Ninja's Sweetman warns there's a trade-off when companies launch or purchase domains using these new extensions. Most consumers, he said, are typically unfamiliar with “anything to the right of the dot other than dot-com.”
Several insurers have waged legal battles related to their domain names.
Allianz filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center in late 2017 in a dispute over the AGCS.com domain. A WIPO administrative panel, however, found that Allianz had engaged in reverse domain name hijacking.
Last year Axa lost a cybersquatting complaint it filed against the axa.org domain.
Lori Chordas is a senior associate editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.