Posted: Thu 14th Jan 2021

Updated: Thu 14th Jan

FOI reveals Welsh Government’s Wales.com “bargain” purchase price – domain name now “worth £3 million”

North Wales news and information

A Freedom of Information request has revealed a Welsh Government official with foresight managed to acquire the Wales.com domain name for £100,000 back in 2008 – a domain one expert has said now could be worth £3,000,000

The Wales.com website is currently an external global looking website to entice people to the wonders of welsh culture and business opportunities, along with hosting a media section to arrange international press tours, as well as being a repository for various free to use b-roll videos and promo material.

A FOI released by Welsh Government yesterday documents how one unknown person attempted to discover the price paid for the premium geographic domain name, lodging the request just before the pandemic hit Wales. Due to the lockdown and age of the information requested, it was not possible for a prompt response as the government was ‘unable to access historical records’, with it explained, “The information you are interested in is over 10 years old and if still in existence would be stored in an offsite facility on a registered file. Under continuing restrictions, relevant officials are currently working from home so don’t currently have access to the records.”

Finally it appears the information has become accessible, with it revealed that back in March 2008 the domain name was purchased for £100,000 with “payments of £50,000 made to two individuals who owned the domain on 04 March 2008”.

Domain name expert Mark Baker from domain name experts Netbrand commented, “The price back then was a bargain for a country name on the .com extension. Today the domain name would be worth in the region of £3,000,000 – if not substantially more – and whoever made the decision to acquire it back then was ahead of the game.”

“It is simply an absolute gem, short, sweet and covers a large area with a huge amount of trade, tourism and culture within it.”

“Geographic .com domain names really are the pinnacle of domains, and are the ultimate investments, and it is rare to see a country name sell let alone for what is such a low amount, even accounting for inflation it is hugely more valuable today.”

“A couple of years before the Wales.com purchase Uruguay.com sold for $175,000, Bogota.com sold for $159,500, Paraguay.com for $150,000 and I would say Wales.com is a better purchase than those. Korea.com reportedly went for $5m in the early 2000’s, Ireland.com for $700k, and Israel.com for around $6m.”

“It is all but impossible to get .com’s now, and although there have been a range of new top level domain names released it appears people are sticking with what they know, so .com’s .co.uk’s and what we are seeing is more .Wales / .Cymru domains in Wales and .Scot for Scotland.”

“Premium .Wales domain names are fully taken up, so it will be interesting to see who has the foresight in 2021 to make the acquisitions today that will look as ahead of the game as the Wales.com purchase was in 2008.”

The Welsh Government moved from using Wales.gov.uk to Gov.Wales in 2015, with some councils using gov.wales / llyw.cymru such as Carmarthenshire.gov.wales , or Gwynedd.llyw.cymru . Other agencies such as NHS.Wales, NaturalResources.Wales and Library.Wales are all following the trend over recent years.



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