Software giant buys premium domain name for search efforts.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) purchased the domain name from Kansas City, Missouri company Creative Marketing Associates. Creative Marketing Associates owns a number of domain names, including the valuable GiftCard.com, as well as corresponding toll free vanity phone numbers.
Microsoft has yet to market the domain name in ads, instead referring people to search.live.com/cashback, which is where CashBack.com currently forwards. In a phone interview yesterday, Microsoft Senior Attorney Aaron Kornblum, Worldwide Sales Group, said, “We are looking for smart and innovative ways to connect with our customers. We will continue to explore all available means including domain names.” Make no mistake — Microsoft realizes the value of generic domain names.
Kornblum has been active in the domain industry for a while and recently spoke on a panel at a Domain Roundtable conference. “We’ve been watching and will continue to watch closely [the domain industry],” he said, referring to Microsoft’s interest in the domain name market. “It’s an industry that’s been at the cutting edge of advertising and technology for a long time.”
Although Microsoft appreciates the value add of the domain industry, Kornblum says it has no plans to provide an advertising feed to parked domains in the immediate future.
Creative Marketing Associates declined to comment about the sale, and Kornblum would not disclose the purchase price. Based on historical whois records, it appears Microsoft used a broker to buy the domain name. On April 30, 2008 the whois information for CashBack.com changed from Creative Marketing Associates to a whois privacy service. On May 11, 2008, the whois changed to Renee Angel of Woodinville, Washington. I called the phone number on that record and Angel answered, but declined to comment and quickly hung up the phone when I asked if she was with Microsoft. The e-mail address on the same whois record was for Karl Swenson, a Microsoft employee. Interestingly, his email address was hosted on Google’s Gmail.
Regardless of the sale price, this domain purchase is good news for the domain name industry, especially if Microsoft starts advertising CashBack.com.