UPDATE (11/06/2017): He finally sold out to the hipster mattress giant. Read an update here.
Can you build a brand while working around one of the oldest sites on the internet? The answer appears to be yes.
Since 1994, a guy named Jeff Abrahamson has run the website Purple.com, a domain name which lives up to its name—the site features a deep, rich hue of purple (originally #DD00FF, now #7D26CD), a link to an FAQ page, and an offer to advertise in a very minimal way. That's it.
Abrahamson, who has owned this site about as long as Weezer has been famous, is adamant that he won’t sell, but will rent the domain out to someone who’s willing to pay a whole lot of money for his foresight.
As it turns out, there is a company that probably will eventually be in a spot to pay Abrahamson the $750,000 he’s asking for licensing (not ownership). That company is, of course, Purple, a brand of hipster mattress. (As you all know, we love hipster mattresses here at Tedium.)
The company got its start via Kickstarter with a clever ad you’ve probably seen on Facebook or elsewhere, and the company has since become a 300-employee behemoth.
Despite the fact that this guy has prevented them from getting their perfect domain, they’ve done pretty good at their OnPurple.com URL. A search for the word “purple” puts it up top—not Purple.com. Something tells me, though, that Purple the mattress company will at some point be able to pay Jeff Abrahamson his finder’s fee. But will they be willing?
This tale is something of an inversion of the Cats.com story, in which a particularly useful domain never found the right owner.