Pizza Domain Makes Dough For Md. Man

Monday, April 14, 2008

Amusement park rides can be thrilling, but for Chris Clark and his family, the real excitement on a recent trip to Disney World was on the laptop in their hotel room.

Clark was auctioning off Pizza.com, and the family watched bids climb from the initial $100 on March 27. The winning price: $2.6 million.

"I didn't know what to think in the beginning of the auction," Clark said. "My family and I were glued to the laptop in the hotel room every day in anticipation. It's really happenstance and luck."

Clark registered the domain in 1994 for $20 to jump-start his Web consulting company, hoping to get a contract from a pizza company. The North Potomac resident kept paying the annual registration fee and ran the site as a pizza-related index site for advertising.

Around this time last year, Clark, his wife and a friend transformed the site into a portal, adding a pizza directory, coupons and forums.

Then, when he heard that domain auctioneer Sedo sold Vodka.com for $3 million -- the site's biggest sale ever -- he was intrigued.

"I called and asked if they were able to handle a bid for Pizza.com, in hopes of getting close to what Vodka.com was sold for," Clark said.

The $2.6 million for Pizza.com was Sedo's second-biggest sale; its third was Chinese.com, for $1.12 million.

Sedo declined to name the winning bidder.

The auctioneer has sold other local domains, on a smaller scale.

Virginia-based Videoclip.com sold for $38,500; Beautymark.com, also of Virginia, sold for $32,000; Maryland's Grind.com sold for $29,000; and VTG.com of the District sold for $19,466, according to Sedo.

Clark is putting the money into his company, Minestream.com, which makes devices that protect kids and businesses online.

-- Dimetrius Simon


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