AI.com changes owners yet again.
It appears that the domain AI.com, which once redirected users to ChatGPT, now leads to the website for Elon Musk’s newly formed AI company xAI, only several months after OpenAI CEO Sam Altman apparently bought the domain earlier this year.
The change was first spotted by Analytics India Magazine on Wednesday, leaving everybody guessing at what’s going on behind the scenes. While the domain broker Saw.com more or less implied to Mashable that OpenAI were the once-owners of AI.com in February, its ownership was never outright confirmed. This latest change of hands, meanwhile, has gone without so much as a peep.
Whoever bought it — a good guess is Musk — it couldn’t have been cheap. Short domains are both few in number and prohibitively expensive, and it’s likely that this purchase was upwards of several millions of dollars.
As the richest man in the world with a singular fondness for a certain letter of the alphabet, Musk already owns several one letter domains including X.ai and the even rarer X.com. We wouldn’t put it past him to nab another one of these domain rarities, especially if it means getting a leg up on — or giving a big F-you to — his old chums at OpenAI.
Altman and Musk, who together co-founded OpenAI back in 2015, haven’t seen eye-to-eye since the latter pulled out of the company in 2018. In the years to follow, the AI startup would pivot from non-profit to effectively being for-profit, a decision Musk has publicly criticized. It probably didn’t sit well with him that in late 2022, OpenAI would break out as a leader in AI with the blockbuster success of ChatGPT.
Ever since the chatbot became a global and cultural sensation, Musk has amped up his criticisms of Altman and OpenAI, accusing its flagship product of being “woke.” The multi-billionaire magnate openly flirted with making an anti-“woke” AI, and in July announced his formation of X.ai, vowing in his classic bozo-philosophizing parlance, “to understand the true nature of the universe.”
These latest domain shenanigans can be seen as another escalation from Musk, who without an actual AI product to deliver at the moment, must rely on showy posturing.
Buying AI.com has symbolic and practical value, literally codifying X.ai into the annals of the internet as synonymous with artificial intelligence itself, and gaining traffic from those used to typing the domain when it once brought them to ChatGPT.
Whether the gambit will pay off, though, is shaky. Musk’s track record with X-branded businesses, after all, remains dodgy.
More on AI: Remember That Guy Who Gave ChatGPT $100 to Start a Business? It Failed Miserably