In the hours and days after the Boston Marathon bombings, the Internet savvy snapped up domain names related to the tragedy, registering sites like BostonMarathonMassacre.com, whose profit-seeking owner posted “Buy This Site” over the widely published Associated Press photograph of Carlos Arredondo rushing alongside the wheelchair of Jeff Bauman Jr., who lost both of his legs.
That Monday alone, Go Daddy, the largest domain name registrar, experienced a 430 percent increase in registrations containing keywords such as Boston, marathon, or bomb, the company said. By Tuesday, registrations containing the same words had risen 555 percent.
Similar rushes happen around every major event — the naming of a new pope, Michael Jackson’s death, the Sandy Hook school shootings — for reasons both selfish and benevolent, according to analysts and others who work in the domain name industry. More often than not, registrants are hoping to land a domain that someone else will pay a lot to own.
But the odds of making a nice profit — especially with a name born out of a news event — are slim enough that the speculators who make their livings buying and selling domain names, wouldn’t bother at time like this, said Andrew Allemann, editor of DomainNameWire.com, an industry publication.
First, the relevance of domain names based on events tends to fade over time, and second, not many actually have a longstanding need for such sites, Allemann said. And then, many professional domain name dealers find the practice of trading on these types of events “tasteless.”
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