Cuba Business

Cuba domain name speculators rush to invest in Cuba

Posted April 15, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Business.

Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

Dozens of domain name speculators rushed to register hundreds of Cuba related domain names on April 13 and the day after President Obama announced sweeping changes to US Cuba policy as a way to “invest” (speculate really) in the business opportunities that may present themselves under this new US Cuba policy.

The change allows for unlimited travel by Cuban Americans to visit their family in Cuba and the changes allow them to wire more money to relatives in Cuba. President Obama is also encouraging communications companies to establish a presence in Cuba to increase the flow of information among the Cuban people and to the outside world.

Many people have been hand registering Cuba related domains and purchasing them in the secondary market for many years. We have seen spikes in hand registrations when there have been significant Cuba news stories in the past.

Speculators and internet entrepreneurs see the ownership of Cuba domains to be one way to invest in Cuba without even having to step foot in the country. Cuba domains can be sold, parked for revenue or developed into successful online business models. This is one way to prepare for a post-Embargo post-Castro Cuba with limited downside risk since the cost of a hand registered Cuba related domain name is less than $10 at most registrars.

It is not illegal or in violation of any OFAC sanctions to own or develop any Cuba related domain name (with the exception of Cuba’s country code .cu domains). One may have “compliance issues” if a website generates revenue from a Cuba based business and there may be other restrictions with regards to business activity involving Cuban based entities and individuals. If a domain name is simply parked to show revenue or displays Google’s Adsense advertisements then there are no compliance issues. Seek legal advice if you have any questions with regards to your Cuba business model.

City, state, region, country and destination specific domain names are called “geo domains” and are well respected by people in the domain industry. Associated Cities is the trade organization for geodomains and their Geo Domain Expo starts on April 23.

Hand Registered Cuba Related Domains

Here is the list of Cuba related domain names that were registered on April 13 and 14 (courtesy of Mark Alert). As you will see, some are decent domains and some are worthless in this author’s opinion. There are also some obvious trademark violation domains. The consensus in the domain industry is that the registration of TM violation domains is unethical and unwise.

Havana Related Domains

Recent Havana Journal Inc Hand Registered Domains

Recent Havana Journal Inc. Purchases from the Secondary Market

Another Way to Invest in Cuba

I don’t want to offer stock tips or investment advice but since this article is about investing in Cuba without having to have a presence in Cuba or even having to visit Cuba, I thought I would mention that there is a closed end mutual fund that invests in businesses that are expected to benefit from better US Cuba trade relations and/or a move to a more free market economy in Cuba. The Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund trades like a stock on the NYSE under the symbol CUBA. The stock price shot up over 40% on April 13 but has pulled back a little since then. (Full disclosure: I have a financial interest in this stock.) Traffic Spike

Unique visitors (one visitor per IP address to a website in a 24 hour period) to range from 1500 to 2500 per day. As you can see from the screen capture below, our traffic spiked on April 13 and 14. Time will tell if people will continue to search for Cuba related information that interests them or if traffic will level off.

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Havana Journal Inc. owns over 2500 Cuba related domain names and most are in development, being used as marketing tools to promote developed websites or are being considered as candidates for development. We are always looking for unique content and business partners.

Member Comments

On April 15, 2009, Michael Castello wrote:

I would love to travel to Cuba and develop my Cuban domain names. I grew up in Florida and have always wanted to travel there. Maybe this time it will become a reality. Picked up several years ago after a hurricane trashed went through and the seller wanted to unload. That would be one of my first stops ;>

On April 15, 2009, David J Castello wrote:

The CayoLargo,com acquisition story is funny.  The owner wouldn’t do, so I had to go to Little Havana in Miami and have dinner at his house (his wife can cook) to hand him the cheque.

On April 15, 2009, abh wrote:

You can take the cuban out of cuba….

On April 16, 2009, publisher wrote:

and a few more from 4/14 and 4/15

As you can see there are some crappy domains in the list but if someone has the idea and drive to develop their domain then they might be able to build something great on any one of these domains.

On April 17, 2009, texasfree wrote:

We just purchased a couple of domains ourselves….....more to come!

On April 17, 2009, publisher wrote:

Mostly more crappy Cuba domains from April 16 but some decent ones in there too. For less than $10 per year, people can have an “investment” in Cuba.

So long as people are registering domains that they like or intend to develop, that’s fine but the TM violations are a stupid play.

Cuba domains

Havana Domains

On March 11, 2011, stardom wrote:

Thanks for article is currently for sale