Kevin Ham, Cameroon, and the Domain Name Industry - Domainer Reaction and Ham’s Response
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A lot of domain name buyers and sellers have been impressed with what Ham has accomplished, and certainly some are jealous. Others are concerned with how the CNN Money article depicted the domainer community. Domain broker Dominik Mueller noted in his blog that “people from outside the industry might have been confirmed in their views of domainers as tricksters and cybersquatters.” Mueller insists that there are “only very few black sheep in the industry and it’s them who feed the bad image domainers are having in the public.”
He was hardly alone in complaining about how CNN Money’s coverage did not focus so much on the positive side of the domain industry. Replying to Frank Shilling’s blog post commenting on the story, Owen Frager noted that “It’s too bad that it [the CNN Money article] was so focused on the negative aspects of the industry and squandered the opportunity to showcase domain investors who operate above-board and who add value to the internet by developing domains into destinations.”
Interestingly enough, that seems to be Kevin Ham’s next move. First, of course, he’s looking at making deals similar to the one he has with Cameroon with Colombia (.co), Oman (.om), Niger (.ne) and Ethiopia (.et). But those deals aren’t nearly as important as his plans for the names he has bought. He doesn’t seem interested in selling them; indeed, he seems to want to develop them beyond their current barebones status.
Paul Sloan noted in his article that “When Ham buys a domain now, he’s not doing pay-per-click math but rather sizing it as a potential business.” In other words, we’re talking about hundreds or possibly thousands of small Internet-based companies, all focused on particular niches. This plan will take a long time to bring to fruition – perhaps even a couple of decades or more, an eternity in Internet years. But when it is complete, Ham will truly own an empire. “If you control all the domains,” Ham notes, “then you control the Internet.”
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