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May 1, 2013 12:32 pm

Israel.com Goes on Selling Block, Expected to Fetch Over $1m

avatar by Zach Pontz

Underlying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are the scars each side carries from a traumatic past. Photo: MathKnight and Zachi Evenor

What is being billed as an “extremely rare and valuable asset” has come onto the market: the domain name “Israel.com.”

Florida resident Jean-Noel Frydman originally acquired the URL in 1994 “to protect” the name from falling into the hands of someone who “might promote the wrong ideas.” Several years ago he put it on the selling block for in excess of $5 million, but though he had interest, he was never able to complete the sale. Now he is trying his luck again.

“The 65th anniversary is coming up and there’s also the fact that I haven’t developed it in that many years and I think it’s time to pass the baton onto somebody who will,” Frydman told The Algemeiner is his reasoning behind making the URL available now.

Lest you get too excited, the purchase price won’t be cheap. Mark Daniel, Director of Business Development at Domain Holdings and Frydman’s representative in the sale, says the expectation is for a seven-figure payday.  “It’s just very very rare that something like this becomes available,” Daniel told The Algemeiner.  For comparison’s sake, in 2009 Russia.com sold for $1.5 million and other domain names of other countries have also sold or are selling for seven figures.

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Both Frydman and Daniel say that the response has been positive thus far. Daniel and Frydman don’t foresee the name being available beyond May. “The real value here isn’t in the URL,” says Frydman. “It’s in the fact that you can promote it on the radio, on buses. There’s a lot of value in how you can build a brand–its recognizable, it’s global.”

The primary goal has been in getting the domain name into the right hands. Frydman says that he has spoken to the Israeli government in the past but that “discussions never went to the point where there was a way forward.”

Now the primary parties expressing interest are private buyers in Israel. To make sure that the eventual purchaser doesn’t renege on their responsibility to do something pro-Israel with the site, the contract will have an addendum speaking to that requirement in the contract.

Says Daniel, “We’re very excited, but it’s early. The process has just begun.”

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