Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Businessman seeks up to $10m for shopping domain names, assets

The company, Shopping Ltd, and all of its many associated domain names are listed for sale on Trademe. It's seller, owner Stephen Hudson, says they could collectively reach up to $10 million.
The company, Shopping Ltd, and all of its many associated domain names are listed for sale on Trademe. It's seller, owner Stephen Hudson, says they could collectively reach up to $10 million.

An Auckland businessman is auctioning off the domain name shopping.co.nz and its associated domain names which he believes could reach up to $10 million.

While Stephen Hudson believes it is worth that much, he's considering "any serious offers" over $1m but experts in the industry have told him he could expect anything between $5m and $10m.

Hudson said it was a good deal for the new perspective owner or owners. Depending on the interest, he could sell off individual domain names or sell them all in one lot.

In his Trade Me ad, Hudson writes that he is "seeking all expressions of interest for the purchase of the company: Shopping Limited c/w "0800 Shopping" word telephone number, existing website and domain name assets in part or full".

"Never before has such an extensive list of key NZ Domain Names been offered for sale, separately or as one combined lot," he wrote.

All up, Hudson has 33 domain names for sale, however each one has it's own off-shoot, for example, he's not only registered, NewZealandBusinesses.co.nz but also NewZealandBusinesses.nz.

Hudson said he set up all the various company names as soon as the internet landed in New Zealand about 25 years ago.

"We've got several importing businesses and were spending a lot of money advertising with the Yellow Pages [$80,000 p/a] and we were there at the forefront setting up online shopping sites and e-commerce sites for our customers ... when the internet began in New Zealand we purchased shopping.co.nz."

Hudson said at the time, he paid about $50,000 for the domain name and all up spent $250,000 buying and creating the other shopping-related domain names.

However, the investment was fruitless as his importing companies - Valve Supplies NZ and Autogates Ltd Automation - began to take off and he never got to use the websites. He also owns Chomp Fishing Products, a casket importing business, and used to be involved in an asbestos removal company.

He's now hoping for a bit of a windfall after being quoted the million-dollar asking price by a "big auditing firm".

"They said it's got to be somewhere between $5m and $10m."

In saying that, he realises that the domain names and websites are 25 years old and do need about $700,000 to $800,000 of work to bring them up to date.

"The site that's there is 25 years old and has just been sitting there for years and is really old technology."

The idea for shopping.co.nz was to create an online shopping mall where customers could go and do all their shopping once. That then created the idea of nzcompanies.co.nz and nzbusinesses.co.nz for the businesses to list their products.

It then lead to the creation of newzealandjobs.co.nz as he realised the businesses would need staff, which was then why he created newzealandproperties[and newzealandproperty].co.nz as the staff would need to find somewhere to live.

The 53-year-old said with him owning the shopping.co.nz domain name, he was able to shut out others trying to do something similar, thereby adding value to his product.

"Because we own them, we have shut down the opposition because we have owned all the domain names. That's why it adds value to the value of what we're selling because we've controlled the market."

He said the $5m to $10m value is realistic as Trade Me was sold for $700m as a going concern, shopping.co.nz is being sold for a "fraction of the price".

"The potential earnings, if you had 500,000 businesses in New Zealand and get every one to pay you $5 or $10 a year you could get yourself into a $50m to $60m a year business."

He said possible buyers could include big names like The Warehouse, Kmart, Trade Me, or other large businesses or website operators.

He had already received interest from one buyer in regards to newzealandjobs.co.nz.

* For the full list of domain names for sale, visit Hudson's Trade Me listing.

- NZ Herald

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