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AI.com domain evidently acquired by OpenAI, takes users straight to ChatGPT

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ChatGPT just received a huge upgrade that will make accessing the AI chatbot much easier.

The domain name AI.com(Opens in a new tab) now forwards to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The domain was acquired in 2021 but did not resolve to an actual website until just this week. 

Mashable spoke to a prominent domain broker who claimed credit for facilitating the sale, Jeffrey Gabriel of Saw.com(Opens in a new tab), to find out more. Gabriel was the broker(Opens in a new tab) involved with what was at the time the record-breaking sale of the (Opens in a new tab)Sex.com(Opens in a new tab) domain for $13 million in 2010. 

Due to the terms of the sale, Gabriel said he could not outright confirm who the buyer of AI.com(Opens in a new tab) was, but the conversation left little room for interpretation. Alternative explanations, such as that someone did OpenAI a massive, multimillion dollar favor, strain plausibility.

Mashable asked OpenAI to confirm it was the buyer of the domain, but the company has not yet replied.

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“It obviously becomes public information when you go to it,” Gabriel told Mashable.

As for the final selling price, Gabriel did say that a domain “like” AI.com(Opens in a new tab) would go for over $10 million in today’s market. Gabriel also confirmed that prior to the acquisition, AI.com(Opens in a new tab) was listed at a public asking price of $11 million. 

According to Gabriel, AI.com(Opens in a new tab) received regular offers since he started brokering the domain.

“Every week, someone was offering a hundred grand, two hundred grand, a million bucks,” he says.

One interested buyer, Gabriel says, was Amazon, although he believes their interest was in using the domain for its upcoming Amazon Internet product, more so than for an artificial intelligence-based one. However, the e-commerce giant ultimately passed on buying the domain. Interestingly, Gabriel says, companies like Nvidia and Intel who are invested in AI, showed no interest when approached about the domain.

“It’s interesting when you sell names like these and go to the industry leaders,” Gabriel said. “A lot of the time, they don’t want them or are unwilling to pay larger price tags. And it’s usually the smaller, less established company that doesn’t have the household name or brand yet that needs to make a splash or do something to make them more memorable to create that perception of industry leadership.” 

“Now, I don’t know if [the buyer] really needed it,” he continued. “But it’ll pretty much solidify that product as the leader. It has done it in a matter of weeks or months, right? This kind of buzz and use would take some companies 10 or 20 years to get to.”

Due to their brevity and rarity, two-letter .com domain names are considered to be among the holy grail of domains within the industry. Only 676 possible combinations exist and they have all been long registered, meaning the only way to acquire one is to pay a premium on the aftermarkets. According to NameBio(Opens in a new tab) and DNJournal(Opens in a new tab), two websites that track public domain sales, even the most random two-letter .com combination has not sold for less than a minimum of $100,000 over at least the past decade. Last year’s top two-letter domain sale, IT.com(Opens in a new tab), was acquired for $3.8 million.

Domain trade outlets like DomainInvesting(Opens in a new tab) first reported on the sale of AI.com(Opens in a new tab) in September 2021 after noticing the domain was being transferred. Future Media Architects, a domain investment firm that holds tens of thousands of domain names in its portfolio, had owned AI.com(Opens in a new tab) for 15 years prior to the sale, Gabriel said. After the acquisition of AI.com(Opens in a new tab) was complete, the domain was left unused for all this time. Then, on Feb. 15, 2023, some social media users started to notice(Opens in a new tab) that AI.com(Opens in a new tab) was forwarding to ChatGPT.

Not long after, Saw.com(Opens in a new tab) acknowledged(Opens in a new tab) the online chatter with a tweet.

“The cat is out of the bag! We are proud to say we were part of the Ai.com(Opens in a new tab) domain sale. It is exciting to see what they are doing with it!” @sawsells posted, including a ChatGPT hashtag.

ChatGPT from OpenAI first opened to the public in November 2022 and quickly became the face of the exploding artificial intelligence trend in the tech world. In just two months, ChatGPT racked up a user base of over 100 million users, becoming the fastest growing app of all-time.

Even with the growing popularity of AI apps, Gabriel doesn’t think the sale price would’ve been much different if it was acquired today instead of a year and a half ago due to various economic-related issues. However, he does think there are probably more than a few companies who are now regretting their choice to not pursue the domain.

“A lot of companies had the opportunity to buy it, and now that Mashable’s reporting it, then that probably means Microsoft will know that [the buyer] has it, Amazon will see that it’s been sold to somebody else,” says Gabriel. “I think there’s some people in meetings today saying, ‘Who the fuck missed this?'”

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