Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

For sale: A million-dollar iPad address

March 22, 2010: 11:43 AM ET

Behind those iPad domain names on eBay with asking prices in the stratosphere

About a year ago, when Apple's (AAPL) latest creation was, as far as anyone outside Cupertino knew, still but a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye, Nik Tyler made an inspired guess.

The tablet computer Apple was rumored to be building, he believed, would be called the iPad.

"I just had a feeling," says Tyler, 31, a record producer from Woodstock, Md. Based on that feeling he went out and reserved, for $6 apiece, three Web addresses: ipaddownload.com, ipaddownloads.com and ipaddownloads.net.

And last week, shortly after Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad, he put all three domains up for sale on eBay (EBAY) for the Buy-It-Now price of $1 million each. (See here.)

"This is probably the first very smart thing I have ever done in my life," he says.

But Tyler is not the only entrepreneur with the same bright idea.

A search on eBay last Sunday for domain names with "iPad" in them turned up more than 300 listings, some with asking prices as high as $21 million. (See here.)

A week later, the list had grown to more than 350, although most of the highest-priced Web addresses had disappeared and the top prices had fallen to less than $4.5 million -- making Tyler's three $1 million listings the 5th, 6th and 7th most expensive iPad domain names on eBay.

Tyler says he's had "a lot of interest," more than a dozen offers -- "but nothing in the price range I would like to get" -- and a few warnings that he might face trademark problems. (A lawyer has advised him that because he registered the names a year ago, he should be in the clear.)

Meanwhile, several companies and developers have offered to help him develop the sites to generate traffic for ad sales -- offers that he's not sure what to do with.

"I produce records," he says. "I don't really know anything about e-commerce."

If you want to make an offer for one of Tyler's sites, his auctions expire on Wednesday. See here.

See also:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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