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How you can control the internet? – An Amazing Story!

April 14, 08 by Bharani

I came across the story of Kevin Ham, while I was researching some facts. Kevin Ham, is the most powerful domainer in the world with over 300,000 domains under his belt!

* He is earning around $70 million in revenue from the domains that he owns (primarily through ads served on the domains that he has parked)! A small example: He owns a domain name called “weddingshoes.com” and he earns around $9,100 per year through that domain. He incurred $8 to register the domain and spends $7 per year to maintain it!

* He is the man behind a very smart domain scheme – Many people mistakenly type “.cm” instead of “.com” in the browser URL bar. “.cm” is TLD for the country Cameroon. He stuck a deal with the prime-minister of Cameroon, wherein, he received rights to redirect all “.cm” domains to a website called Agoga.com. The site is filled with ads from Yahoo!

* His team installed a line of code called “wildcard” to redirect all unregistered “.cm” domains to “agoga.com”. The code is installed in the servers owned by Camtel, Cameroon’s domain registry. Revenue generated from “agoga.com” is shared with Cameroor government!

* He is in the process of extending the same scheme to countries like Columbia (.co), oman (.om), Niger (.ne) and Ethiopia (.et). These TLDs have spelling variation of “.com” and “.net” respectively! He is fighting out the legal suits relating to the idea..nevertheless, he exploited the loophole very well!

* Agoga.com receives 8 million unique visitors every month!

* He exploited the concept called “Domain tasting”. Most domain booking sites offer a free trial period (to protect the customers who mistakenly purchase a wrong domain name). He used this mechanism to book more domains and to see which ones are bringing traffic and which one’s aren’t!

* Ham, figured out that revenue based on CPC model may not be sustainable in the long run. So, he is converting some of his best “domain names” to mini-media companies. He is hiring more than 150 designers, engineers, salespeople and editorial folks!

Other learnings:

* Verisign publishes a “root zone” file, a file containing a list of millions of registered domain names.

* Typo-squatting: A term referring to the act of grabbing domain names with typographical variations of established trademarks

* Lots of people type keywords that they are looking for in the URL Bar of the browser and combine them with “.com” or “.net”. This is called as “Direction Navigation”. There are other lots of people, who prefer typing the actual url/website address in google search box/bar and navigate to the actual website from there on. Those are called as “Navigational Searches”!

* Some browsers are capable of fixing url typos! (Curious how this is done?)

* Internet explorer catches unregistered domains and redirects to a microsoft page

Read the actual story here: