There has been a lot of talk about whether it is ethical to purchase coronavirus related domains.
Well, it all depends on what kind of domains you buy AND what you do with them.
I believe that with a lot of the coronavirus domains, people are not trying to capitalize on the misery of others. Most people have an idea for a website sharing information but they don’t come around building it. This happens with millions of purchased domains every year. Of course there are some people that try to sell these domains.
Would it be bad if GoDaddy quitly sold coronavirus.com? I think not. Would it be bad if they send out a PR announcing they were taking offers for the domain? Probably yes. But of course it is all about timing! If it was last year no one would notice it.
But just like if you own domains related to surgery or hip replacement or headache same as owning most (not all, see below) domains about the coronavirus. I probably own all domains that are related to any health problem I ever had. (tendonitis, shoulder impingement, etc.) Am I bad person for owning these domains? I don’t think so.
Purchasing a domain name related to a disease or health related is not the same as purchasing the domain related to a hurricane, earthquake, terrorist attack, bombing, school shooting or some other unfortunate event.
99% of domain purchases related to disasters are made by dumb idiots trying to make a buck.
The thing is that 99% of those dumb idiots are NOT domainers. For starters domainers know these domains will never sell! Never!!!
Maybe a few people purchase these domains for the traffic spike, but that ends after 48 hours.
Anyone that buys a domain name and tries to sell it is not a domainer.
This is especially true for domains related to disasters. People that suddenly show up at NamePros or Ebay trying to sell their *******bombing2020.com domains for a million dollars are not domainers.
They are ordinary idiots.
A domainer is someone that buys and sells domains professionally and runs a business. Someone that sits on a couch watching TV seeing a school shooting and then buys 3 domains is not a domainer. There no easier thing than buying a couple of domains.
You don’t call some idiot with a Porsche going at 180mph an F1 driver just because he drives a car at 180mph.
Buying a domain name does not make you a domainer or domain investor. Knowing what/when to buy makes you one.
Kevin Murphy did a good roundup of domains related to the coronavirus and how they are currently used. I just have to say that anyone running a coronavirus information website and is asking for donations or has ads is not doing anything wrong. All the top websites about the coronavirus display ads or have subscribers. Having “coronavirus” or “covid19” as part of the domain name does not make these websites any different from all other websites.
CoronaVirus and Carnival Cruise Line
I readChief Communications Officer at Carnival Cruise Line, saying that someone tried to sell him 2 coronavirus related domains:
“No Sameer. I don’t want to buy your domain name rights. But I’m happy to publicize your stupid, selfish and sick idea to make money off the situation that not only threatens lives but livelihoods as well. LinkedIn I hope you find a way to stop your platform from being used for this kind of nonsense.”
The thing is Semeer is not as bad as the guy that bought 17,700 bottles of sanitizer and tried to sell them on Amazon. The domain guy is more or less harmless for other people and society.
Sameer seems to have learned his lesson:
“PLEASE READ: As I’ve said before, it was a mistake trying to sell these domains. Full stop. Lesson learned. My bad.
Every time I post on that thread I get locked out of my account for a day so I’ll write here.
The money was going to launch The Cloud Course (thecloudcourse.com) which is intended for non-technical folks to have as a resource to become extremely knowledgeable in cloud/networking/security concepts. I ended up figuring out what I thought I needed to pay for (through tedious web design efforts) and launched it yesterday.
As professionals we have a responsibility to conduct ourselves properly. The original poster did not make a fair characterization of the situation and it would have been far more effective/civil if Chris Chiames simply replied via private message and expressed his views rather than hurl insults and turn this into a mob mentality post. As he is a Chief Communications Officer, I would have hoped he would have the decency to do that. His commenting of additional valueless insults in the thread while I was hustling to put my course together is another disappointing irony of this.
I have already contacted the CDC to get the domains there and will gladly hand them over for free.
Let’s do what we can to learn from our mistakes and come together in a positive manner.”