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Sun.com name could fetch Oracle $1 million

Now that Oracle is decommissions Sun.com, it could reselling the domain name for big profit

By Joab Jackson, IDG News Service
March 18, 2011 04:19 PM ET

IDG News Service - Last year, when Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems, it got a wealth of customers, technologies and personnel for its US$7.4 billion. It also obtained one of the choicest domain names on the Internet, Sun.com.

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Now that Oracle is actively decommissioning the site, it could, if it chose to do so, sell off the domain name and pocket a million or even more, experts estimate.

The Sun.com domain name could be worth between $1 and $2 million, estimated Jeff Kupietzky, CEO of Oversee.net, a broker of much sought-after domain names.

"At just three letters it is short and memorable," he said, in an e-mail interview. "It is a positive word that has a high search volume."

"Sun.com is appealing because it could be used in a number of ways," said Paul Nicks, director of domain aftermarket services for the Go Daddy registrar. "Solar power companies, companies with 'sun' currently in their name, domain name investors or anyone looking to leverage the history behind the name could have a bidding interest."

Nicks estimated that, should the name be auctioned, it could fetch between $800,000 and $900,000.

Last Thursday, Kemer Thomson, an Oracle senior manager of product development, announced in a blog post that Oracle will decommission Sun.com on June 1, and move the remaining content it deems relevant over to Oracle.com.

At present, browser inquiries to Sun.com get redirected to Oracle's home page, though many of the individual blogs and technical pages under the Sun domain are still accessible.

Additional third party sites have sprung up to archive the obsolete material that Oracle probably won't move over to Oracle.com

 

While pretty much a non-issue in terms of impact on Sun and Oracle shops, the decommissioning of the site still sparked nostalgia for many a seasoned computer technician.

"Sun.com was the first website I ever visited on the internet at [The Cyberia] cafe in London in 1995. It was advertised on the back page of a magazine in the U.K. if I remember correctly," one poster on the Sun blog reminisced.

Registered on March 19, 1986, Sun.com is the 11th oldest .com name still in operation; oddly enough, Oracle now also owns the third oldest, Think.com. In .com's nascent days on the Internet of the late 1980s, Sun Microsystems beat Intel and AT&T to the domain name registrars.

Oracle has not responded yet to inquiries about what it plans to do with Sun.com, but it has a variety of options.

Should CEO Larry Ellison fret over meeting analyst estimates during a tough quarter, the company could also "park" the name, to use the parlance of domain name resellers. This means Oracle would contract with a third-party service to fill the site with ads. Internet monitoring service Alexa estimates that Sun.com traffic is still considerable: It is the 2,277th most popular destination on the Web.

It could hold on to it for a future brand centered around the name. Or it could just to hold onto it as an asset that it could sell outright later. "Many people look at domain names as great investments," Kupietzky said. The name "can be held for future sale in the expectation of a rising valuation."

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