Dot-com memories

It’s funny how something can make an impression on you, but then you don’t think of it again until years later.

Today, for no particular reason, I suddenly remembered an extraordinary full-page ad I saw in the Wall Street Journal back when dot-com fever was at its very zenith.

The ad was simply announcing the sale of a URL, which was to be put up for auction with an opening price so outrageous you wouldn’t believe it, at least not now. But back then it didn’t even raise an eyebrow. Back then, when people were getting rich trading shares of Dr. Koop and WebVan.

The ad was elegant and formal, as though it were offering for auction a masterpiece by Rembrandt or a case of rare French brandy. A $50,000 ad for a .com address that I’m sure some lucky bidder paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for.

So out of curiousity, four years later, I just went to see who the lucky buyer of that URL was. Would it be Estee Lauder? Perhaps Prada? Maybe a great fashion designer? Whatever it was, it had to be of the utmost grace and raffinement.

I was surprised to see what I was led to when I clicked on But then again, I wasn’t surprised at all. [Click only if you’re over 18.]

The Discussion: 4 Comments

It sounds it is a good print ad, could you send me a copy?

Most of ads for bidding I had seen are hard selling.

December 12, 2003 @ 6:11 pm | Comment

I would, but the ad is from 3 or 4 years ago. It was truly beautiful, like an ad for fine art. How ironic.

December 12, 2003 @ 6:15 pm | Comment

Just as an aside, I doubt that was the original buyer of the URL.

Don’t forget that was bought eons ago and finally relaunched this year, and was bought by eCompanies for a nice bundle, and launched as something other than what it is now (but have no recollection what it was).

URLs have a habit of being let go, and some big kahuna might have bought Or no one did, and this is what happened to it…

December 13, 2003 @ 12:16 am | Comment

What you say is true, Jeremy. It’s just that it sort of symbolizes, with a big ironic twist, just how self-delusional we were, where we really believed it was well worth a $1 million investment to buy a URL, that just having that site name would be a big step toward wealth and success. And of course, the dichotomy between how the name was presented in the WSJ ad as something ever so elegant, and what it’s become — I know there’s a lesson here somewhere, sort of like Ozymandias….

December 13, 2003 @ 11:51 am | Comment

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