Why Musk Spent $11 million on Tesla.com Domain

From the beginning, Tesla owned TeslaMotors.com.

Then in 2016 Tesla acquired the domain name Tesla.com, a domain that was registered well before electric vehicles were even a figment of Elon Musk’s imagination. It wasn’t until December 2018 when Musk finally revealed how much money Tesla had paid for the domain:

Buying Tesla.com took over a decade, $11M & amazing amount of effort. Didn’t like TeslaMotors.com even when we were only making 🚘.

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) Dec 9, 2018

$11 million is a lot of money for a domain name!

Musk is no stranger to valuable domain names. He started an online bank at X.com in 1999 and sold that business to PayPal.

In 2017 Musk felt a bit nostalgic and bought the X.com domain name back from PayPal because it was no longer using it.

He has used the domain to sell hats and (apparently) flamethrowers for his Boring Company, but right now it just leads to a website with the letter X on it.

The purchase price for X.com wasn’t disclosed but single letter domain names are extremely rare and valuable. A Japanese internet company paid $6.8 million to acquire Z.com in 2014. Musk surely paid millions of dollars to recapture X.com.

Why the Domain TeslaMotors.com Didn’t Cut It

The TeslaMotors.com domain name had a few problems, which is why Elon Musk was willing to pay so much money for Tesla.com.

First, big companies feel they need to own the exact match of their company name in .com. There’s something “cheap” feeling about TeslaMotors.com for a company called Tesla. Shouldn’t Tesla, one of the world’s most admired and cutting-edge companies, own Tesla.com and not TeslaMotors.com?

Another issue is that many people probably typed in Tesla.com when they meant to go to the TeslaMotors.com website. Customers and suppliers probably sent emails to @tesla.com instead of @teslamotors.com, too. Fortunately for Tesla, the Tesla.com domain wasn’t being used in a nefarious way, but this could have been a problem. It was, at the very least, a nuisance.

But most importantly, Tesla is no longer just a car company. It is introducing the Powerwall battery storage system. It even has a solar roof.

The company was simply outgrowing the ‘motors’ label. Tesla.com can be used for every product and service the company may invent in the future.


Telsla should be lucky enough that it acquired the domain though it cost a lot.ICBC,the bank with the highest market cap,is not so lucky.It was said that it offered $10M or more to acquire the domain ICBC.com,But the Canadian insurance company which hold the domain said ‘NO’.“

Money is not everthing! Anything can paid by money is cheap!

Domain Bias in Web Search (by Microsoft Research)

This paper uncovers a new phenomenon in web search that we call domain bias — a user’s propensity to believe that a page is more relevant just because it comes from a particular domain. We provide evidence of the existence of domain bias in click activity as well as in human judgments via a comprehensive collection of experiments. We begin by studying the difference between domains that a search engine surfaces and that users click.

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The domain EE.COM acquired by Chinese buyer.

Most 2 letter .com domain have been acquired by Chinese people.

Why Chinese People prefer short domain so much?

Short is better! it is easier to remmeber,easier to type in,easier to spread in oral.

JD and MI are two examples to see how Chinese people choose in domain names.

JD start business with 360buy.com,It is not a good domain,this can be easy understanding,it don’t have enough money at the begining,acquire a catchy domain is not the first priority.When well-funded it acquired the Pinyin domain JingDong.com,Yes,It is Pinyin,The most popular type of domain in China.but it’s unlike other Pinyin (Baidu,Taobao,Weibo…) Jingdong is easily misspell,especially in South China,Jingdong or Jindong ?Many people don’t know which one is correct.Finally, it upgraded its domain to JD.com for Millions of USD. The cost is expensive. But Richard Liu(the founder of Jing Dong) says it saved about $20 million in advertising expenses every year after using JD.com.

Another case is MI, though Leijun(The Founder of MI) acquired Xiaomi.com at the begining.The name XIAOMI is farely well in China,But when it expanding to the world,The name XIAOMI is a problem,Most foreigner don’t know how to pronounce the world XIAOMI,XIAOMI is also not easy to remember for people don‘t know Pinyin,So upgrade the domain is a must.Then it acquired mi.com for $3.6 Million USD in 2014.