Featured Domains


Why Mike Kugler spent $500k on Vacation.Rentals – DNW Podcast #181

Mike Kugler’s company VacaRent paid a record amount for a new TLD. Find out why.

dnw-podcastMike Kugler is CEO of VacaRent, a company that just paid a record price for a domain under a new top level domain: $500,300 for vacation.rentals. On today’s show, Kugler gives the interesting story about how he negotiated for the domain and why he was willing to pay so much. There are lessons in his story for both how domains are sold to end users and the power of syndicated domain listings. Also: Emailed offers, FURY, and ICANN.

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Reader Interactions


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  1. Michael Kugler


    That was great Andrew. First podcast I ever took part in.

    I cannot tell you how incredibly nervous I was. You were great with the interview and I appreciate the time you afforded our company.

    Best regards, Mike Kugler

    • richard morris

      Mike…I’m behind you ONE THOUSAND PERCENT. I supported and backed the Home.Loans purchase by buying .loans names like Elder.Loans, HomeEquity.Loans, TaxRefund.Loans etc. I’ve now purchased about a dozen domains that pertain to “Vacations Online” that can compliment “Vacation Rentals”. I’ll be in touch to let you know what I’m up to. Congrats on your purchase!

  2. brand

    I heard two interviews now with Mike Kugler on his new Domain Purchase, I have no doubt he will be successful.

    Great interview….

  3. John Colascione

    I tried considerably to find the point in the story where this purchase begins to make sense – listening to the buyer talk about his business, but at the end of the day I couldn’t find it, and it sounds no better than it did before. This is a $500K bet on search engines and not even .com domains can bet on them anymore; its a thing of the past.. Seems insane to me.

    • richard morris

      Ever heard of “Vacation Rentals”? I know I have, and it makes PERFECT common sense to me. Ask anyone on the street if they’ve ever heard of Vacation Rentals, and calmly measure their not so “insane” response.

    • Phil

      John , not sure why you think it’s insane. I thought it was a great interview. Very transparent. They sound like this deal won’t make or break them. He is excited and believes in his vision. If every time someone poured cold water on your ideas I’m sure you wouldn’t be where you are today. Forget the name and wish a fellow business much success. My grandfather told me a long time ago.

      “Don’t throw mud you only lose ground”

    • Lucas

      Isn’t it interesting that:
      1) the guy had knowledge of the domaining industry (let’s not forget that domainers are a/the main target of newTLDs)
      2) he praises Uniregistry (a major promoter of newTLDs)
      3) he was aiming at being the most expensive newTLD ever sold. He even was willing to pay an extra $300 to secure that spot! What kind of end user has that kind of goals in mind?! For publicity? yeah, right… publicity in the eyes of who? DOMAINERS!

      It all seems a little bit fishy to me…
      I don’t know… It would be nice to know if he is getting some kind of refund behind the scences. Who was the seller by the way? (if it was mentioned I missed that part)

      • Michael Kugler

        C’mon Lucas,


        “….the guy had knowledge of the domaining industry ….”

        No, I had knowledge of the search terms, nothing more. I am not a domainer and never have been. Didn’t even know the term existed. I was looking for TENNIS + SHOES ; BASS + BOATS ; RV + CAMPER ; PINE + TREE. The things people say and speak – nothing more.

        “:…he praises Uniregistry (a major promoter of newTLDs)…”

        And? So? They have been nothing short of great to me over the years. I utterly HATE GoDaddy because their prices are high and they flood me with unrelenting spam.There is nothing wrong with giving them a pat of the back.

        “….he was aiming at being the most expensive newTLD ever sold. He even was willing to pay an extra $300 to secure that spot! What kind of end user has that kind of goals in mind?! For publicity? yeah, right… publicity in the eyes of who? DOMAINERS!…”

        Wrongo! (AgainO) I have never heard of ANY of you prior to 2 weeks ago – none of you. In 2 months, you won’t hear of me and I will have moved on from you. So most definitely I can assure you that I never did this for “domainers”

        $300….Three hundred piddly bucks…. Do you have ANY idea how much press I have parlayed with that $300? Any idea whatsoever? We had a PR done with CNBC! We also made the Florida business journal. We have 2 articles being published in the QC Times and Argus. We are lining up TONS of offsite links and stories ALL talking to us about “The purchase”

        There are literally 100s and 100s of posts and comments about my brilliance/stupidity/bravado/ignorance paying this kind of money for the URL – here being one of them. All it is doing is exactly what I had hoped it would do – give us some much needed exposure for a new website. CNBC for $300 bucks.

        Donuts and Uniregistry have been great throughout this whole process and I have nothing but the highest respect for them.

        LOLOL – and you think I did it all for domainers, unreal….And no, there is nothing asked for or given in the way of kickbacks, under the table, shares – nothing. I bought it, I own it – free and clear.

        Trust me, the only thing nefarious here are the imaginations in your mind.

        • richard morris

          Mike…way to stand up for yourself. I’m relatively new to what is referred to as the “domain” industry, and I use to post on a Blog called NamePros where I had something similar happen. I’m the real name behind the moniker Bulloney for which I own the domain Bulloney.com. I asked you on another venue if you might appear as guest on a TV show that I’m organizing called; Name Game Lane for which I own the .com, plus the name NameGame.Domains. I even had a member of NamePro’s called “Kate” who FALSELY accused me of violating something called UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Resolution-Dispute Policy) as a result of someone else named Richard Morris who was involved in a case or a hearing that took place five years ago. She, and her partner in crime, an attorney from Philadelphia by the name of John Berryhill also falsely accused me of Cybersquatting. Mike, I can assure you there are a lot of so called “domainers” who don’t want you to succeed, or me for that matter. However, you remind me a little of myself. I’ve been a pretty successful business guy all my life, and my experience on NamePros was the first time in my entrepreneurial life spanning 50 years that anyone insinuated I’m a crook. Mike, the idea for “Name Game Lane” comes from a hit song in 1964 called The Name Game heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeF7jqf0GU4

          Mike, I’ve said it before, but if there is anything I can do for you just let me know. I’ve got your back my friend……Good Luck!!!

  4. Marc

    Sorry, but this is the first in nearly 200 episodes that I just had no interest in listening to. Why waste precious life moments hearing someone who I think is a phony balogna since few sane people would ever buy a dot crapolla, let alone pay over $1/2 million USD. I support John Colascione’s effort to have the sales contract publicly disclosed and hereby challenge Mr. Kugler to do so in this forum.

    • richard morris

      .crapolla or .com

      Personally, in the context in which you used this, .crapolla is 100x more descriptive than .com. It’s all about that thing called, “Common Sense” if you ask me. A friend of mine just picked up the domain Pony.Rentals. He tried to get Pony.Crapolla since ponies make a lot of crapolla, but sadly crapolla wasn’t a nTLD.

      • Sonnie

        While perhaps .crapolla may not be an actual gtld, it can be said that all gtlds are, indeed, .crapolla. Unless, of course, you want to lose your money. In that case, they are .great!

  5. Dubai

    Wow, I’ve read about this amazing newgtld sale! I’ve noticed that the site is online and developed.
    In my opinion a great domain and good project!
    Congrats to the seller

  6. John Colascione

    I will address two points here.

    The first is my comment of ‘insane’ which is based not on the entrepreneurial dream of the buyer, I respect that, and I always wish well, Mike Kugler and his endeavour included. What is insane, is the sales price and the fact that this new domain name will build credibility in the industry, which I do not think it will. Maybe in 30 years if .rentals becomes a premium desirable, but certainly not today.

    The second is that if you read my article, I did not call for disclosure of this domain sale, I called for disclosure of the first one, Homes.Loan, which led to the sales price, including the 300 increase, of this one. That is the proof I want to see, which I guarantee no-one has seen. Because it is a farce, a fake, a fugazi.

      • John Colascione

        I do not feel good about either of them to be honest, but specifically, when I called out for the release of proof, it was very specific to the ‘original’ first half-mil transaction, not this one. I’m reiterating that for the comment above from Marc.

        • Andrew Allemann

          I doubt that Donuts will respond to that. I know I wouldn’t bother if I were in their shoes.

          If someone doesn’t believe something, “proof” won’t convince them.

          The owner of vacation.rentals uploaded proof of his largest payment:


          But then someone can say “Oh, this was just doctored” or “there was a kickback!” So what’s the point?

          It’s really not that difficult to fathom that two companies in the world have staked $500k bets on a new TLD. I mean, we saw people place $500k bets on blocks of crappy 6 and 7 (8 and 9!) number .com domains in the China bubble.

          Whether or not these two entrepreneurs were smart to pay this much, time will tell.

  7. richard morris

    Bottom line, it’s a legitimate transaction regardless of how much he paid for it. I believe Mike said in your interview that he owns boat.rentals, land.rentals etc. Most of the really good .rentals were gone, so I assume he owns a fair number of them. Fortunately, after spending hours searching, I was able to come up with two pretty good .rentals names to include a 2 letter .rentals domain where the equivalent .com appraises for $3,190,000….lucky I guess, but I tend to make my own luck. I don’t know how many other .rentals nTLD’s Mike owns, but I’m sure they doubled, tripled or may have gone up 10X their appraised value following the transaction. I just call Mikes purchase “smart business”.

    Thanks for providing this forum, and have a great weekend.

  8. John Colascione

    The real question is why would anyone report on the transaction without seeing proof. I don’t mean to call you out on it, but as noted on the original comment I made. This is a record setting transaction. One that will influence the market. I think it is a disservice to the industry to report on a transaction of this size without seeing proof. I saw the disclosure on this one, vacation.rentals, I listened to the interview, and maybe this buyer invested this large some of money into his dream, seems crazy to me, but maybe he did, but I tell you right now, something in my core tells me that home.loans didn’t happen. I’ve been an enormous business empire on gut. And gut tells me, home.loans is bullsh*t. Think about it. You have no confirmation on it.

    • Andrew Allemann

      So on one side, I have a guy who wasn’t a party to the transaction trusting his gut.

      On another I have a company, and people within a company, that I have known for 10+ years. They have never lied to me or tried to mislead me. When part of the company was public they reported multiple six-figure new TLD sales.

      • John Colascione

        You may know someone very well, but day in and day out, is another story of some company or some person who did what no one would have ever guessed or expected them to do. These registries are investing hand-over-fist in these little pots of gold, that are still empty. They may need to be filled at all costs. Be surprised by nothing.

  9. richard morris

    Wow! You seem awfully put out over all this. Obviously you never heard of “Vacation Rentals” or “Home Loans”. Personally I don’t care how the deals went down, and I actually own the .com BullShitHappens .com….thank you Forrest Gump. As for the “enormous business” you built on gut, care to show us PROOF?
    Inquiring minds would like to know.

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