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.