An Article from Aaron's Article ArchiveWhat If? (From Southwest.com to Washington D.C.)
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What If? (From Southwest.com to Washington D.C.)
Saturday, 15 April 2006 1:41 AM MDT
Do you ever reminisce and wonder what would have happened if you'd done just done one tiny little thing differently?
Back in 1994, back when the Internet and the web was just beginning to really take off, and back when domain names (you know, those things that often end in .com) were free to anyone who wanted to register one, I registered southwest.com.
I live in the desert southwest of the United States, and in the southwestern corner of Utah. I thought the domain name sounded cool, and could be used to start an Internet company, perhaps named "Southwest Internet Services" or something.
I also registered lds.net, in part because I happen to be LDS, and uv.com because it was a two-letter domain and it was the very last two-letter .com domain available at the time (excluding domain names with digits in them).
Then in 1995 the InterNIC was authorized to start charging money for domain registrations. That put a crimp in my style, as I was but a poor college student. I decided to let my registration of lds.net and uv.com expire.
But southwest.com was just a cool domain, so I scrounged up $50 and hung on to it.
Here's a copy of my (rather ugly) and useless web site looked like back in 1996 and 1997:www.iflysw.com as their domain name). I sold it for a few thousand dollars in cash and some airline tickets, a package worth significantly less than $10,000.00 US in total value. At the time, I thought it was a pretty good deal.
Looking back now, I should have hung on to the domain for another ten years and put the domain into use as I'd originally intended. What if I had? I suspect I'd have had offers to buy the domain for amounts far greater, likely in the hundreds-of-thousands at least. Perhaps I'd even be a millionaire.
As for uv.com, who knows who registered it after I let my registration lapse. I wish I'd kept it so I could have a 2-letter .com domain. As it is, I later registered eq.net and formed a Utah LLC that uses it today.
Not too long after the lds.net registration lapsed, Burgoyne Computers in Salt Lake City, Utah registered that domain. The Internet Archive has some archived copies of some of their older web pages. It looks like today they still own it and use it for web mail services. Burgoyne Internet Services, L.L.C. is listed as the current owner.
I don't look back with regret at all for having missed out on better capitalizing on the southwest.com domain. I couldn't see the future. A few thousand dollars cash was a lot of money to a single guy in his mid 20s. And the plane tickets were a blast.
With the plane tickets, I flew out to Washington D.C. and stayed a week with my friend who was working at the time as an intern for Idaho Senator Larry Craig. I met the senator and many of his staff. My friend also gave me an insiders tour of the U.S. Capitol building, taking me out onto the floor of the Senate chambers.
During the day while he worked, I wandered around all over the mall, loving the D.C. Metro, enjoying exploring the Capitol and office buildings of the Senate and House on my own, and the mini-subway that connected them to the Capitol building. (Remember, this was all pre-9/11. I wonder today if perhaps some random person were wandering around much like I did then, if security would pick them up for questioning.)
I also did other D.C. tourist things, like take the tour of the White House (and since it was around Christmas time, the tour guides passed out little Christmas cards from the Clintons to all tour members), ride the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument, visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (which I remembered and loved from when I visited it as a teenager while on a high school band trip), visit the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives, take the tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (where they print money), tour the U.S. Treasury Building right next to the White House, visit the Holocaust Museum, as well as many other things.
Although I was there an entire week, I still just scrached the surface, not having explored the other Smithsonian offerings, not explored Georgetown, not having visited the Arlington National Cemetery, nor the many, many, many other places in and around D.C.
So as you can see, it doesn't bother me to have missed out on the profit potential that the southwest.com domain might have had, had I kept it. I sold it. I had a blast with the proceeds. The enjoyable experiences in my memories are priceless.
But it is fun to imagine sometimes, "What if?"