- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 24, 2022

Major League Baseball’s quest to have domain names redirect to team websites, such as the 2015 purchase of rangers.com to redirect to the site of the Texas Rangers, has hit the wall.

After the news broke Monday about the league’s purchase of twins.com, only two domains were left for the league to secure: rays.com for the Tampa Bay Rays and giants.com for the San Francisco Giants.

While the latter belongs to the New York Football Giants, rays.com belongs to restaurateur Doug Zellers, co-owner of decades-old restaurant Ray‘s Boathouse in Seattle — and he‘s not selling.

“I’m kind of fascinated with why people would spend money for a domain name but at the same time, we’re protective of ours, so I guess I get it,” Mr. Zellers told KING-TV, a Seattle NBC affiliate.

Ray‘s Boathouse, known in its area for its neon sign along the Ballard waterfront, began as a fishing business in the 1940s. Named for original owner Ray Lichenberger, it later became a coffee shop. The current iteration of the business as a seafood spot will turn 50 in 2023.

Mr. Zellers indicated that MLB had not approached him about a sale in years and that any new sales pitch would fall on deaf ears.

“I’d probably take them upstairs … discuss how the Mariners are going to beat the [Rays] in the playoffs and how we’re going to win the World Series this year. There wouldn’t be any discussion about selling the name. It’s not for sale,” Mr. Zellers emphasized to KING-TV.

Having rays.com is not only lucrative in the eyes of MLB, but in the eyes of the restaurant’s proprietors themselves. A simple domain name has helped with search engine results for Ray‘s Boathouse.

“There’s something magical about having a four-letter domain name,” Mr. Zellers explained to GeekWire. “The SEO and the metrics, all of that stuff is great. I think we do a lot of main homepage visits because of how simple the domain name is.”

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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