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The Owner of Ebola.com Is Trying to Cash In

Oct 14, 2014

What would you do if you owned a domain name that was suddenly all over the news? If you're the owner of Ebola.com, the answer is sell, sell, sell.

CNBC reports that Jon Schultz, who purchased Ebola.com in 2008 for an undisclosed price, is putting the domain back on the market. And with the awareness of the disease at an all-time high, he's looking for a six-figure payout.

“We’re already doing 5,000 page views per day just by people typing in Ebola.com to see what’s there,” Schultz told the Washington Post. “We’re getting inquiries every day about the sale of it. I have a lot of experience in this sort of domain business, and my sense is that $150,000 is reasonable.”

Indeed, Schultz has quite a bit of experience selling health-related dot-coms. He and his partner Chris Hood own Blue String Ventures, a Nevada-based company that buys generic domain names and resells them for profit. Both men seem particularly attracted to disaster-related topics. In addition to GreenCoffeeExtract.com and AfricanMango.com, Blue String is also selling Fukushima.com, BirdFlu.com, and PotassiumIodide.com.

"If you're looking for a great name for your company, there's an excellent chance we can help," reads a note on the company's website, set against a background of peaceful clouds.

As CNBC points out, it's not unheard of for a drug company to buy a disease domain name to help market their products. Cancer.com and Obesity.com are owned by Johnson & Johnson, and Arthritis.com was bought by Pfizer. But unlike those conditions, Ebola has no treatment available to the general public, and it is unclear what business would want to be associated with a virus that has already killed thousands.

That said, Schultz has some ideas on who might be interested. "Ebola.com would be a great domain for a pharmaceutical company working on a vaccine or cure, a company selling pandemic or disaster-preparedness supplies, or a medical company wishing to provide information and advertise services," he told CNBC in an email.

Those worried Ebola.com is a cynical attempt to make money off a health catastrophe may be comforted to know the website directs users to the donation page of Doctors Without Borders. Below that link is a selection of Amazon products about Ebola ("if people click on that link and buy a book or DVD, we get a commission on the sale," Schultz acknowledges), followed by an advertisement for a company called Flu Armour. And of course, just below a copyright notice, is a small bit of text noting "Ebola.com Is For Sale."

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