StarNet Dispatches, Tucson, AZ, April 21, 1999
Wed, 04/21/1999 - 00:00 — admin
Wallstreet.com purchased by online casino
By Joe Salkowski
An online casino is betting $1.03 million that the Internet address www.wallstreet.com will attract new customers to its web site.
Players Sportsbook and Casino purchased the name at an online auction Tuesday from three men, including one who claimed the address nearly five years ago. The casino hopes to use the name to offer wagers on the stock market's performance, said Tom Millitzer, owner of the company that auctioned off the name.
"We're pleased it sold close to where we thought the market value was," said Millitzer, owner of New Commerce Communications, a company that usually brokers purchases of Internet service providers. "Breaking a million dollars for thirteen letters and one dot - that's a pretty good value."
The name was registered in September 1994 by Ehud Gavron, part-owner of Tucson-based Internet service provider Aces Research. Gavron used the name to provide an easy-to-remember e-mail address for Eric Wade, his high school buddy and a stock broker at the time. Wade now works as vice president of marketing for Really Easy Internet in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Matt Grossman, a project director for StarNet, purchased a share of the name from both men in 1996 by trading them the rights to www.tucson.net, an address Gavron intended to develop. Neither StarNet, The Arizona Daily Star nor Tucson Newspapers has any stake in www.wallstreet.com.
The three men will split the proceeds of the sale, which will be finalized either today or tomorrow.
"I'm happy with how it turned out," Grossman said. Though Millitzer had speculated the sale might break the record $3.35 million that Compaq paid for the rights to the address www.altavista.com, Grossman says he didn't know what to expect.
"I didn't walk into this with any preconceived values," he said, "because nobody's every really sold a name in quite the same way before."
Players Sportsbook and Casino is run by Players Only, a company based on Margarita Island in Venezuela, according to information submitted to Network Solutions, the Internet's domain name registrar. The site's owners refused to comment on the sale.
Grossman and his partners turned down an offer of $100,000 cash plus $900,000 worth of stock in a company that would have sold e-mail addresses ending "@wallstreet.com." The company, which Grossman declined to name, would have required them to hold their shares for 180 days after its initial public offering.
No serious bids materialized from brokerage houses, investment banks or other Wall Street businesses, perhaps because the auction was held online, Grossman said.
"If a major auction house had held an in-person auction in New York City, we might have had more large financial companies getting involved," he said. "But there's no way I can be disappointed with this outcome."