The man who owns the Internet

May 24, 2007 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

The man at the top of this little-known hierarchy is Kevin Ham — one of a handful of major-league “domainers” in the world and arguably the shrewdest and most ambitious of the lot. Even in a field filled with unusual career paths, Ham’s stands out.

Trained as a family doctor, he put off medicine after discovering the riches of the Web. Since 2000 he has quietly cobbled together a portfolio of some 300,000 domains that, combined with several other ventures, generate an estimated $70 million a year in revenue. (Like all his financial details, Ham would neither confirm nor deny this figure.)

Working mostly as a solo operator, Ham has looked for every opening and exploited every angle — even inventing a few of his own — to expand his enterprise. Early on, he wrote software to snag expiring names on the cheap. He was one of the first to take advantage of a loophole that allows people to register a name and return it without cost after a free trial, on occasion grabbing hundreds of thousands of names in one swoop.

And what few people know is that he’s also the man behind the domain world’s latest scheme: profiting from traffic generated by the millions of people who mistakenly type “.cm” instead of “.com” at the end of a domain name.

Try it with almost any name you can think of — Beer.cm, Newyorktimes.cm, even Anyname.cm — and you’ll land on a page called Agoga.com, a site filled with ads served up by Yahoo (Charts, Fortune 500).

Ham makes money every time someone clicks on an ad — as does his partner in this venture, the West African country of Cameroon. Why Cameroon? It has the unforeseen good fortune of owning .cm as its country code — just as Germany runs all names that end with .de.

The difference is that hardly any .cm names are registered, and the letters are just one keyboard slip away from .com, the mother lode of all domains. Ham landed connections to the Cameroon government and flew in his people to reroute the traffic. And if he gets his way, Colombia (.co), Oman (.om), Niger (.ne), and Ethiopia (.et) will be his as well.

See Article http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/06/01/100050989/index.htm

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Entry filed under: Internet Startup.

Menus That Talk Sermo.com = 14,000 Members = $500,000 Per Month

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About Biz News

My Name is Bisi and this is my blog This blog features stories that I have read that I think are interesting . I usually bookmark the stories that I find interesting but they are getting too many . I have decided to catalog and share them on this site . I am not really promoting the site so you might have accidentally stumbled on it . Thanks for visiting .
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