Dallas Cowboys Return Cowboys.com Domain Name

Dallas Cowboys  

Last week I spoke about SEO, Search, and Domain Names at the TRAFFIC domain name conference, held in Hollywood, Florida. The highlight of the conference was the live internet domain name auction on Friday, October 12th, at 2pm, hosted by Moniker. One of the domain names that was up for sale was Cowboys.com, a great domain name. The Dallas Cowboys apparently was amongst the many bidders for this name and ultimately won the auction for $275,000. Now, about a week later, they want to give it back.

According to a post in this thread by Monte Cahn, the head of Moniker, when contacted, the Dallas Cowboys said that they want to return it:

when I spoke to their attorney…he was dead serious, had no idea that it was $275K and was shocked when he received the purchase agreement ( he thought he bought it for $275.00 – thats right two hundred and seventy five dollars!). I almost asked him what he was smoking.

after falling out of my chair….not ever experiencing anything like this one, we are going to let this dog stay sleeping for a while. someone should pick this name up and it will ultimately cost the cowboys millions when they finish that $800M stadium they are building. I told the attorney that my guess was that they probably sell $275K in popcorn and beer in one game and that they were foolish not to look at their brand in a different way.

We find a way to turn dirt into diamonds anyway and this will be well past us.

In my opinion, it’s just not possible or feasible that the representative from the Dallas Cowboys’ organization thought that they had paid $275 dollars for the domain name.

When asked recently, Monte Cahn of Moniker said:

yes – they paid more in admission than sale price….

remember they say that they were going to bid up to $10K when I spoke to him.

The pre-published initial minimum bidding range was $250,000 to $500,000, and I personally do not remember if there was a reserve price. But, if the minimum bidding range was $250,000, then the Dallas Cowboys are doing everything they can to “get out of” paying for the domain name Cowboys.com.

Apparently there may be more to this story than what’s being reported. By looking at this link, there appears to be a trademark on the name Cowboys.com, and there may be other issues involved with the acquisition of this domain name. Currently, trademark owners are allowed to essentially “take over” any domain names that include their trademark.

By the way, I should point out that I’m from Dallas, Texas.

Apparently I’m not the only one talking about this goof by the Dallas Cowboys’ organization. Here’s more people talking about it:

Dallas Cowboys Back Off On Deal To Buy Cowboys.com Domain
Dallas Cowboys Fumble Cowboys.com Deal
Dallas Cowboys try to buy Cowboys.com for $275
Dallas Cowboys.. Too Cheap For their Own Good
Dallas Cowboys buys ‘Cowboys.com’ for $275?
And more domain foolishness – Cowboys.com
What’s in a Domain Name? About $275000, Discover Your Dallas Cowboys.
Did the Cowboys fumble online?
Dallas Cowboys fumble Cowboys.com
Dallas Cowboys fumble Cowboys.com
Proposal: Moron of The Year Award To The Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys.com sold at auction for $275000 – oops they meant to bid $275
Added:
Dallas Cowboys Lose Option On Cowboys.com In OT: Domain Finds New Buyers at $370,000

UPDATE:
I personally just logged into the silent auction going on over at Moniker.com (only live auction attendees have access to the silent auction), and as of 3:17pm CST the domain name Cowboys.com is currently at 3 bids…for $332,750.

An audio archive of the actual bidding that went on for the Cowboys.com domain name is currently available here on WebmasterRadio.fm.

A group of investors has secured the cowboys.com domain. Rick was also there when the Dallas Cowboys won the bidding and also has an update about the team of investors that bought the name. Congratulations to Eric for being so insightful and pulling the team together. And congratulations to the investors who all made it possible.

After I talked with Calvin Watkins, a reporter from the Dallas Morning News, this article makes it official. The Dallas Cowboys backed out of the deal.

AOL Sports has something to say about the Cowboys.com auction:

The Cowboys tried to buy the domain name “Cowboys.com” in a recent auction, but backed out when they realized their bid was not for 275 dollars, but for $275,000. It’s a pretty tightly run ship over there in Dallas. I can’t argue with their bookkeeping skills.

Update: September 24. 2012
Cowboys.com has re-launched the site, and the site is now an online dating site.

Comments

  1. Jim says

    For those who may need some help…follow this logic:

    The Cowboys brand is huge. Everytime a fan watches a Cowboys press conference on ESPN, NFL Channel, local news broadcasts, etc., they see a backdrop with DallasCowboys.com on it.

    The trademark rights of the Cowboys disallows a owner of the cowboys.com domain from publishing a site promoting anything related to football. If a fan happens to enter cowboys.com and sees a rodeo site (as has been the case for many years), they simply think to type dallascowboys.com…and like that, they find DallasCowboys.com…bookmark and it’s a wrap.

    Why exactly should the Cowboys pay $250k for a domain when they’ve already spent all these years marketing dallascowboys.com and making it the most visited website of any in the NFL (according to media metrix)? Sure, owning cowboys.com is a “nice-to-have”, but it hardly necessitates a $250k cash payment. This CEO from Moniker must be smoking or he has no clue about the business landscape of the Dallas Cowboys. They don’t have the same marketing and branding issues faced by most companies…

  2. Jim says

    I assumed you wouldn’t publish my previous comment because it’s clear you have an agenda other than reporting news or debating the merits of your arguments.

  3. says

    Jim, most likely the best thing that they Dallas Cowboys could do would be to buy Cowboys.com and redirect it to their DallasCowboys.com website.

    However, I suspect that the real issue here is the fact that there’s a trademark on “cowboys.com” and there may be legal issues that could come up if they purchase a domain name that includes a trademark.

  4. Todd Mintz says

    So, Bill, you didn’t just set this whole story up for linkbait? :.)

    5 years from now, the Cowboys are going to look really dumb.

  5. Jane says

    There is no way he though he was buying it for $275.00 especially a business person, and if he did believe that, he needs to be fired as quick as possible.

  6. Chuck H. says

    Jim,

    I have no doubt there is someone in the Dallas Cowboys organization who thinks along those same lines. But it is a very short sighted view. First, even though the Dallas Cowboys have lots of people tuned in to their web brand and coming to their website, this is about additional people, and additional dollars. Unlike other forms of advertising, domain names are a one-time expense that keep on giving far into the future. $275k would have been a bargain compared to the advertising spend needed to generate the equivalent amount of web traffic for just one year.

    But more importantly is cachet. The Dallas Cowboys are all about image. Sure the team is strongly identified with the city of Dallas, and the Dallas Cowboys are unique and distinctive among all the other kinds of cowboys in the world. But who are THE cowboys. Not the Dallas Cowboys, but they COULD have been. Passing up THAT opportunity for $275k will cost them dearly.

  7. David J Castello says

    An already infamous decision by the Dallas Cowboys and one that will be discussed for years to come in Marketing 101 courses.

    David J Castello
    Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc.
    CCIN.com

  8. Dan says

    Hi,

    Anyway I look at it….For the Dallas cowboys NOT to have owned this domain for at least the last 8 years…has been very short sighted on their part.

    And now, NOT to buy it for $275,000 even if they were to keep dallascowboys.com as their main website and just redirect the cowboys.com traffic to that domain…would be more than worth it for the $275,000.

    Cost over 10 years= $27,500 a year
    Cost over 20 years= $13,750 a year

    Peanuts when put up against the marketing/branding/brand protection/natural traffic value

    But, I think the smart thing would to be buy cowboys.com…put the website currently at dallascowboys.com on cowboys.com and then just ‘re-direct the traffic from dallascowboys.com to cowboys.com.

    Its a ‘no brainer’for them to own this domain and has been a ‘no brainer’ for at least the last 10 years.

    The domain game can be pretty complicated at times…this is not one of those times.

    Peace!
    Dan

  9. Make Money Online | David Elefant says

    Well they can just fall back on dallascowboys.com. As for domain squatting or trademark I have not done a search for how many companies may have registered the brand cowboys for various products.

    My personal experience and I actually did this and it has nothing to do with the internet. I brainstormed for a brand to register for a certain product. I found a name I liked and did some research and found that the name was registered for at least 100 products but not for the one I was interested in. I registered it and produced products with the name and sold them. A name must be used for it to be protected. You can’t just go register a name and not use it. Anyhow 6 months later a very large corporation who never had sold the product registered a very similar name for the same product class. The name is well known for another product worldwide. They preferred to buy my name registration because they could not stop me from selling my products as I had done everything the right way. Trademark law is very tricky BEWARE.

  10. John says

    I think it’s wrong of the team to want to return this name. The right thing to do would be infuse this into there branding or use this for there own landing pages full of great links to sites they own or are affiliated with.

  11. Atlanta says

    I can’t believe for one second that the guy who was responsible for buying the domain thought that he could actually buy it for a couple hundred dollars. He should ave been fired immediately.

  12. Gray Sons says

    I’ve seen some stupid things in the domain race but this proves how little big business actually knows about the value of the online space. The Dallas Cowboys have such a big brand name they could buy cowboysindallas.com and get away with it. Still hilarious they screwed up on such a large scale.

  13. Liposuction in Dallas says

    This was absolutely funny…thinking a huge domain like this would only cost $275. If they knew what they were doing, they would have realized that $275K is not a bad price to pay.

  14. domain name buying says

    Wow, talk about expensive. I felt that paying as much as $100 was expensive for a site. It’s even funnier, realizing that they had thought that they had purchased it for $275. Isn’t there some kind of law against domain squatting? Then again, it doesn’t specify within the domain name the city of Dallas.

    Ben

  15. Dallas says

    I can’t believe I missed this story when in happened, this is classic!

    “Uhh, I thought it was 2 dollars and 75 cents, you can keep it.”

    What in the world were they thinking?