Behind those iPad domain names on eBay with asking prices in the stratosphere
About a year ago, when Apple's (aapl) latest creation was, as far as anyone outside Cupertino knew, still but a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye, Nik Tyler made an inspired guess.
The tablet computer Apple was rumored to be building, he believed, would be called the iPad.
"I just had a feeling," says Tyler, 31, a record producer from Woodstock, Md. Based on that feeling he went out and reserved, for $6 apiece, three Web addresses: ipaddownload.com, ipaddownloads.com and ipaddownloads.net.
"This is probably the first very smart thing I have ever done in my life," he says.
But Tyler is not the only entrepreneur with the same bright idea.
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A search on eBay last Sunday for domain names with "iPad" in them turned up more than 300 listings, some with asking prices as high as $21 million. (See here.)
A week later, the list had grown to more than 350, although most of the highest-priced Web addresses had disappeared and the top prices had fallen to less than $4.5 million -- making Tyler's three $1 million listings the 5th, 6th and 7th most expensive iPad domain names on eBay.
Tyler says he's had "a lot of interest," more than a dozen offers -- "but nothing in the price range I would like to get" -- and a few warnings that he might face trademark problems. (A lawyer has advised him that because he registered the names a year ago, he should be in the clear.)
Meanwhile, several companies and developers have offered to help him develop the sites to generate traffic for ad sales -- offers that he's not sure what to do with.
"I produce records," he says. "I don't really know anything about e-commerce."
If you want to make an offer for one of Tyler's sites, his auctions expire on Wednesday. See here.
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]