Verisign’s long-planned auction of the single-character domain o.com is looking even less likely, with its most motivated bidder completely rebranding its company.
Overstock.com, which had been lobbying for Verisign to release the domain since at least 2004, said this week it’s bought the intellectual property assets of bankrupt rival furniture retailer Bed Bath & Beyond for $21.5 million, and will rebrand accordingly.
The domain switch will presumably be less chaotic than the company’s attempt to rebrand as O.co in 2011, which caused huge confusion in .com-loving North America and was quickly reversed.
The change of course means that Overstock now has no motivation to bid on o.com, should Verisign ever actually get around to exercising its hard-won right to sell off the domain for charity.
All but a handful of single-character .com domains have been reserved for decades, but Verisign was given permission to sell o.com by ICANN in 2018 after years of pleading by Overstock founder Patrick Byrne.
Byrne quit Overstock not long after ICANN gave the nod due to his involvement with Russian spy-turned-politician Maria Butina and evidently took his obsession with o.com with him.
Disclosure: over a decade ago, I provided consulting services to a third party in support of the release of o.com.
The post o.com auction likely a damp squib after Overstock rebrand first appeared on Domain Incite.