One of the top news stories the past several weeks is the Coronavirus outbreak that has been making people sick throughout the world. Officially known as COVID-19, the novel coronavirus has sickened over 80,000 people and killed nearly 3,000 people. The continuing spread of the coronavirus is a scary situation that seems to be getting worse each day. It has also caused concern for people around the world who are searching online to learn about coronavirus and want to protect themselves from becoming infected.
I was curious to see who owns Coronavirus.com. I can see the domain name is registered to an entity called NameFind Cayman Islands LTD. As mentioned in an article yesterday, this company is associated with GoDaddy, so effectively, GoDaddy owns Coronavirus.com.
GoDaddy did not acquire the domain name to capitalize on search traffic or anything related to this illness. The domain name had been owned by Frank Schilling’s portfolio company, Name Administration, and GoDaddy acquired it when it acquired Uniregistry assets in a deal announced earlier this month. Name Administration has owned Coronavirus.com since at least 2007 (according to DomainTools), long before the current or recent outbreaks.
For quite some time, Coronavirus.com was parked with advertising links related to illnesses. There was also a banner across the top of the landing page announcing that the domain name is available for sale. That has now changed.
Within the last day or so, Coronavirus.com began forwarding to a page within the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website. Anyone who types in Coronavirus.com will land on one of the most authoritative websites with information about the virus, details about protection from the virus, and travel advice. I couldn’t guess how much traffic this domain name receives, but I am sure it is quite a bit. Instead of monetizing the domain name, GoDaddy is utilizing it for the greater good.
There is nothing wrong with owning, monetizing, or selling a generic domain name like Coronavirus.com. In fact, I think Coronavirus.com is quite valuable. Kudos to GoDaddy for using this asset to help others who are looking for information about this coronavirus outbreak. It is a valuable domain name being used to provide invaluable information to visitors.
When I first heard the term coronavirus I was reminded of Tecate.com being in auction maybe a dozen years ago – it was not that high of a sale at all – but it looks like Tecate Beer operate there now.
That said where do they come up with these virus names.
Sure makes me want to drink a Tecate over a Corona now
Corona got its name from the crown-like (corona, coronus) spikes protruding from the virus
I’m sure Corona the company was relieved when WHO officially named the virus “Covid-19”, or COVID, as it’s called in health community; unfotunately for Corona the company, the media still identify the virus as corona and covid
I had negotiated a deal, around Janury 23rd, to buy the domain for $188,000 on a payment plan with about $38,000 (20%) down and then quarterly payments of $6,300 for six years, with the first quarterly payment not due for three months. Unfortunately I didn’t have the $38,000 and went to everyone I could think of for them to put up the funds, with half being a loan to me. I argued that the traffic to the domain would generate revenue that would be substantial and might greatly the surpass the $38,000 down payment before the first quarterly payment was due – plus God knows what offers we would receive during those three months for the domain. I even flatly asked the Uniregistry broker if the domain owner could sue for non-payment of the balance if I defaulted on the payment plan and was clearly told no in writing.
I wanted to have a website that would both be helpful to people, providing good information that most people wouldn’t otherwise find, i.e. at the politically-influenced WHO website where the domain is forwarding now, and would make money selling products that we ourselves would buy, which would be genuinely helpful – not just in this situation but in future disaster and disease situations as well. I wanted to partner with an organization like LifeExtension.com, which I think provides cutting-edge health information (see LifeExtension.com/protocols) and products. I also argued that by buying the domain we’d be insuring that no one would use it to sell any snake-oil product.
In late January most people poo-pooed the idea, saying the whole coronavirus thing would be over in a few days and I continued trying until very recently but no one would listen. I kept telling them I that I’ve been reading virologists and epidemiologists since 2005, when I first read about pandemics and purchased BirdFlu.com, and could see that things were going to get a lot worse before they got better.
I wrote Frank Schilling, who had the domain listed with a buy-it-now price of $244,000 at GoDaddy since well before the outbreak started and never raised the price, telling him he’d do a lot better keeping the domain and using the type-in traffic as fuel to get a new information/emergency-preparedness-supply/health-preparedness-supply website off the ground – so that even if the outbreak subsided within a few months, as it might, we’d still have started a good company which would continue to operate, but he didn’t respond. And I kept telling people that if the outbreak became a pandemic which was anywhere near as serious as the 1918 pandemic that the domain would get more type-in traffic, for the next year or two, than all domains combined to date multiplied by I don’t know how many times, and that they should consider the domain as pandemic insurance, to guard against the severe economic downtown a bad pandemic could bring, not only in the stock market but in the domain market as well.
But no one would listen to me. I think they were extremely foolish. Lucikily I at least picked up Coronavirus.org at reg fee before the virus was identified as a coronavirus. I also bought Covid19.org from the person who registered it the day the name was announced.
so basically you are hoping for millions of people to die so you can make some money? wow. that is sad. I’m really surprised you would post this.
Post non-anonymously and I’ll be happy to respond.
Interesting story Jon, always like hearing the behind the scene stuff. I also enjoyed reading about what you had accomplished with disease names in the past.
I happen to own NightmareBacteria.com , if you want o throw $88k around, lmk.
We all know its coming and its the BIG one if wanted to lay a bet down on potential.
This is the latest flavor of the month type of domain. You were lucky not to buy it.
Tony, in the hands of someone who knows how to capitalize on a domain it is valuable, to those do not, it isn’t.
For example remember year ago that huge oil spill under the water dominating the news? I tried hard to broke a very specific domain associated with it. That person (a lawyer in the US) capitalized on it greatly. The news cycle went away, the spill was fixed and he made out very well.
A baseball in my hand is not worth much (I have no ability to capitalize). A baseball in the hands of Aaron Judge is a whole other story.
How about Fcoronavirus or Killcoronavirus dot com??
Go for it..
Next time, if you have good names to put as collateral ask a cash advance at lend.me
I have seen value of this domain but some people just ignored. I acquired coronavirus.cc couple months ago. This is an amazing deal for sure.
No value to that name, in my opinion.
Amazing to have the foresight to own this for so long, I would never do a name like this a on a payment plan longer than a year, as most likely traffic will be squeezed until they find a cure, then most likely it would go into default.
“Name Administration has owned Coronavirus.com since at least 2007 (according to DomainTools), long before the current or recent outbreaks.”
Wow, talk about a random domain, with 2 random terms at the time, turning into a goldmine!
well, we’ve had corona viruses since the 1930s….numerous types…
Which of the following two domain name is the most valuable one? ( A or B)
A) covid-19 (with hyphen)
B) covid19 (without hyphen)
C) No value
Shouldn’t GoDaddy change the redirection to http://www.CoronaVirus.gov given today’s announcement that the US halted funding to World Health Organization?