Company that owns Autos.com and Loan.com files for IPO.
Internet Brands, Inc. has filed for a $100M initial public offering, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company started its life as CarsDirect, but then switched to the generic “Internet Brands” name when it diversified. Internet Brands focuses on big ticket purchases including autos, homes and home improvement, and travel.
Although far more than just a domain name company, Internet Brands has parlayed good domain names into successful businesses. Interestingly, their form S-1 filing doesn’t mention direct navigation as one of its marketing approaches:
More than 95% of our Internet audience during the twelve months ended June 30, 2007 was generated through non-paid sources, such as repeat visitation, word-of-mouth, natural search, and public relations.
With names like Autos.com and Loan.com, natural type-in traffic is certainly one of its strengths.
Internet Brands doesn’t always follow the “buy good domain, build web site” approach. It frequently acquires existing web sites in its three core verticals and makes them more efficient by bringing them on to a common platform and cross marketing the properties.
The company currently carries intangible assets of domain names on the books at close to $10M.
Interestingly, some might say Internet Brands has a cybersquatting problem. It runs the web sites AudiWorld.com, Ford-Trucks.com, and CorvetteForum.com. If it owned these domain names and put parking pages on them they would receive cease & desist letters. However, the sites contain good content and reinforce customer loyalty for the trademark holders. Internet Brands does not have licenses to these trademarks, although one trademark holder offered to provide a free license to one trademark it uses.
Internet Brands had 2006 revenues of $85M.
Scott Neuman says
Good luck with the offering. You guys rock. Scott Neuman http://www.Recordweb.com/projects.html – Premium domain names for less.
Harry Potter says
AudiWorld.com, Ford-Trucks.com, and CorvetteForum.com / AudiWorld Ford-Trucks and CorvetteForum are not, to my knowledge trade marks ?
They acknowledge their cyber squatting problem in the S-1
Our business may be harmed by third-party claims, including claims of intellectual property infringement.
Our products and services may increasingly be subject to third-party claims of intellectual property infringement as the number of our products, services and competitors increases, as the functionalities of products and services in our markets overlap, and as the patenting of software functionality becomes more widespread. There can be no assurance that our internally developed or acquired products and services do not infringe or otherwise violate the intellectual property rights of third parties. From time to time, we have received letters from customers demanding indemnity or otherwise reserving their right to indemnity with respect to patent infringement lawsuits brought by third party patent holders. Such claims for indemnity could cause us to invest considerable resources defending these suits. In
addition, we may be required to pay damages and attorney’s fees which could adversely affect our business. Furthermore, we license some of our content and software from third parties and may therefore be exposed to infringement actions if such parties do not possess the necessary intellectual property rights. In addition, certain of our domain names for our automotive enthusiast websites include trademarks or trade names of automotive manufacturers, with which we currently have no formal licensing arrangements. For example, we received a letter from an automotive manufacturer informing us of its need to police the use of its trademark and its willingness to enter into a royalty-free, limited-duration license which would cover our ongoing use of the mark in certain of our automotive enthusiast website domain names. We are currently in discussions with the auto manufacturer regarding the terms of the license. Though this particular license may ultimately be on favorable terms to the Company, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to continue to use trademarks owned by others in our domain names on favorable terms. The receipt of a notice alleging infringement may require, in some situations, that a costly opinion of counsel be obtained to prevent a successful claim of intentional infringement.
Andrew, where’d you see this part
“The company currently carries intangible assets of domain names on the books at close to $10M.”
Adam, see page F-48: “The carrying amounts for intangibles for the three months ended March 31, 2007 consist of the following:”