Will someone please tell us who the hell owns AI.com and what they’re doing with it?
The domain, which used to direct to ChatGPT, now redirects users to xAI, an AI company owned by Elon Musk. Separate from X Corp, xAI claims on its website that it “will work closely with X,” the social media company formerly known as Twitter — including using posts on X as training for its large language model.
The high-value AI.com domain name changed hands in 2021, sat idle for a while, and then suddenly started redirecting to ChatGPT in February. For ChatGPT users, it was a helpful shortcut if they didn’t have the site bookmarked and couldn’t quite remember the precise URL for the chatbot (chat.openai.com, for the record).
As Mashable’s Matt Binder reported in February, the domain broker Saw.com claimed responsibility for facilitating the change in ownership and strongly suggested that the new owner was OpenAI. “It obviously becomes public information when you go to it,” company representative Jeffrey Gabriel told us. The asking price for AI.com had been $11 million.
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To be clear, Saw.com never directly claimed that OpenAI was the buyer, and this change certainly calls that possibility into question — but it also creates a mystery: Did someone pay millions for a domain name out of sheer enthusiasm for ChatGPT, and then experience a shift in loyalty? Could it be that the owner really is OpenAI, and it was hacked?
Or did Elon Musk just go ahead and write a big, fat check for the domain name on a lark, like that time he suddenly threw a famous social media brand into the woodchipper of history?
It’s worth noting that X also seized the username @xai from a Japanese user about a week ago and made it the official account for xAI. This came after the platform requisitioned the @x username without user consent in service of the rebrand from Twitter to X.
Performing Whois lookups to see what information is publicly available about the owner of the AI.com domain clarifies nothing about this change. It’s still anonymous, and ownership hasn’t been transferred recently. Mashable had used AI.com to access ChatGPT earlier this week, meaning the change seems to have occurred within the past 48 hours.
While xAI doesn’t have any products yet, Elon Musk claimed in a Twitter Space that it will speak its politically incorrect mind and inevitably be criticized for it, and that it will be a sort of truth-seeking machine that will solve the mysteries of the universe, like why we haven’t been contacted by aliens.
We reached out to Saw.com and xAI for clarity. So far, neither has responded.