According to Domaining.com, it’s one of the priciest "geo-"domain sales in history, and may represent a new frontier for real estate.
Details of the transaction, which closed last month, have not been disclosed. But both sides — buyer Peter Niederman, CEO of Kentwood Real Estate, and seller Dan Pulcrano, CEO of domain manager Boulevards New Media Inc. — confirmed that it was a seven-figure deal.
"With the advent of IDX, what’s the difference between one broker and another in a certain market?" Niederman said. Denver.com — which Kentwood Real Estate had already been partnered with as featured real estate brokerage and listings provider — is Niederman’s answer.
DenverRealEstate.com, Kentwood Real Estate’s website, gets about 85,000 views a month, with an average of 9.5 pages per visit and 8.5 minutes per visitor, Niederman said. Visitors fed to the home site through Denver.com stay longer and visit more pages, he said, averaging 12 minutes per visit and 15 pages per visit.
That increased traffic represents higher-quality leads, Niederman said.
However, Denver.com will not be just a real estate lead generation tool, said Niederman, who also owns DenverHomes.com and other domains that push traffic to DenverRealEstate.com.
Like Boulder.com, which Niederman owns as well, Denver.com will remain a separate media site, focused on lifestyle with local content, he said. Boulevards New Media, which has a multiyear agreement to operate the site as part of the deal, will provide info on local sports and events and sell advertising.
Rob Grant, chairman and CEO of WebMediaProperties.com, owns Adirondacks.com and about 1,500 other real estate-related geodomains.
Grant said he bought most of his domain names 15 years ago. Like real estate, they’ve appreciated over time and are now worth real money, he said. Pulcrano reportedly bought Denver.com in the 1990s for $6,250.
"It’s virtual, but it’s still real estate," Grant said of domains like Denver.com.
Grant says his geodomains are so valuable as investments that he’s reluctant to sell them. He sold one, ParkCityRealEstate.com, in 2006 for $60,000. Now, he prefers to lease the geodomains he owns, because, like real property, they rise in value.
He’s leased PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com to a Coldwell Banker Real Estate franchise and recently leased BeverlyHillsRealEstate.com to a real estate agent.
"Imagine being Niederman’s competitor," Grant said. The name’s extremely easy to advertise, he said, and the ability to tell sellers that their listings will show up on Denver.com is a powerful asset.
Niederman’s aware of the investment side of Denver.com ownership. It currently has six-figure yearly advertising income, he said, and it’s virtual real estate that may become more valuable to media companies in the future if the Denver media landscape changes.
Regardless of its promise, Denver.com might need some search engine optimization work to maximize the potential Niederman and Grant see in the domain. Currently, it shows up on the second page for a Google search for "Denver."
Kentwood Real Estate’s website, DenverRealEstate.com, shows up as the top result when searching for "Denver real estate" — ahead of Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.
Kentwood Real Estate, which has three offices and about 450 brokers in the Denver area, is on pace to do $1.3 billion in sales this year, Niederman said.