In a recent twist in domain purchases, OpenAI’s acquisition of AI.com made headlines in February. Speculations arose as to whether the purchase was aimed at boosting user traffic for their ChatGPT web interface or to facilitate a transition to a shorter domain. However, it appears that the domain has now been taken over by X.ai, a machine learning research venture linked to none other than Elon Musk.
Two-letter .com domains are rare and incredibly valuable, especially when they form words or familiar abbreviations. AI.com falls into this category, and its redirection to OpenAI’s site led experts to estimate its value to be at least on par with IT.com’s $3.8 million sale the previous year, if not higher, given the AI hype.
Initially, OpenAI likely had hopes of converting those who accidentally typed the domain into lifelong users. Alternatively, they might have planned to shift their consumer-facing operations, including ChatGPT’s web client, to the more concise domain. However, these intentions remain speculative as the domain now points to X.ai.
X.ai is a nascent organization with a focus on machine learning research, spearheaded by Elon Musk. While their stated goal is ambitious—to understand the true nature of the universe—little visible progress has been made since the site’s launch in July. What prompted this domain switch is unclear, and the circumstances surrounding the transfer remain enigmatic.
The lack of information surrounding the domain change has prompted conjecture. Was it a decision influenced by Sam Altman, a shift in plans, or perhaps a short-term lease? Was there a bidding war or a loss of interest from the parties? It appears like a rich-person dispute over a shiny object, with ChatGPT already being a prominent AI brand and X.ai being short and memorable.
One might wonder why millions were spent on creating a new brand from scratch or why such a significant amount was paid for redirecting an otherwise empty site. OpenAI never officially confirmed buying the domain, and Musk has yet to respond to inquiries.
The author suggests that if they had $10 million, they would use it to their advantage by redirecting the domain to a competitor and then offering it to the original buyer for a profit. This playful approach highlights the curious nature of the domain purchase.
Ultimately, it seems that the ownership of AI.com is inconsequential, and people may be wary of a corporate entity controlling an obvious vanity domain. The suggestion is to collectively refrain from using it, sending a message to all parties involved.
The AI.com domain’s journey from OpenAI to X.ai has captivated attention and sparked curiosity, but the reasons behind the switch remain mysterious.
Regardless, it is a reminder of the unpredictability that surrounds the digital world and the whims of tech tycoons.