Why invest in Cuba domain names?
Posted: 30 December 2008 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Investors seeking any Cuba related business opportunities have to understand that they have to wait for a post-Embargo post-Castro Cuba.

Since the Cuban government owns or controls all business in Cuba or at best forms a joint venture with a foreign company, investments in Cuba is not open to the general public of any country.

Also, since private ownership of real estate is not allowed in the Communist country, investment opportunities in Cuba are extremely limited if present at all. One can invest in the publicly traded CUBA fund that buys stock in companies that are expected to do well in a post-Embargo Cuba but other than that, investment opportunities in Cuba are limited or non-existent. American citizens have even more restrictions on their investment opportunities due to the US Embargo.

So, how does an entrepreneur, small business or speculator invest in Cuba today?

Internet real estate… domain names and Cuba related websites.

(Full disclosure… Havana Journal Inc owns over 2500 Cuba related domain names but most are either developed, in development, being used for marketing or parked in order to gauge quantity and quality of traffic in order to assess their value as it relates to development or marketing. Most are not for sale.

I am not writing this article to promote the sale of my domains but to encourage Havana Journal readers to investigate the opportunity of owning Cuba related domain names for speculative price appreciation or development.)

Here’s why I think Cuba domain names are worthy of investigation as a way to invest today in preparation for a post-Embargo post-Castro Cuba:

1. Price Appreciation: Clearly demand for Cuba related domains will increase while the supply of quality Cuba domains is limited. The quality domains should appreciate in value as investors, entrepreneurs, small and medium sized businesses as well as large corporations look to open businesses or expand operations in Cuba. Most likely they will need a good Cuba domain for new Cuban business ventures.

2. Future branding in Cuba: Since the Cuban government controls or at least influences all business in Cuba, there are very few brands in Cuba. Any entrepreneurial ventures have oppressive marketing restrictions so even if a paladar (private restaurant in Cuba) or casa particular (private house for rent in Cuba) have a name brand, the Cuban government restricts them from marketing their business to the general public.  So, as Cuba opens up to foreign investment, these local businesses will need Cuba related domains to market their business and any new businesses opening in Cuba will have to establish their brand as well and most likely that means they will need a Cuba related domain too.

3. Opportunities: Recently we were contacted by a company that is a licensed travel service provider with connections to a small airline that has an OFAC license to shuttle travelers to and from Havana. They were interested to purchase one or our Havana airline related domains since they are planning to ramp up operations soon. By simply owning this domain we were alerted to this company’s plans to ramp up their flights to Havana.

Also, we have been contacted many times regarding unique content that individuals and companies wanted to provide to us simply because we owned the Cuba domain name that described the content they wanted to promote.

Summary:
I would suggest buying one or more Cuba domains that interest you personally and professionally. You might be able to hand register a Cuba domain for $10 or so but most likely you’ll have to try to purchase the domain from it’s current registrant (owner) in the secondary or aftermarket. Try to buy quality over quantity and stick to .com whenever possible. A .org is fine if you want to build a non-profit website and perhaps a .biz for a small business venture. The .info and .net are fine so long as the Cuba domain has exactly the right keywords you want and you can’t buy the .com version. The .tv extension is great if you are going to feature a lot of videos from Cuba. Don’t bother with .cc, .ws, .name, etc unless you can’t get any other version AND plan to spend lots of time developing your new site. Don’t speculate on price appreciation with any crappy domain extension.

Always buy quality and buy domains that you want to develop or perhaps use as a trade to get other Cuba domains.

So, do you own Cuba domain names? Do you see other reasons to invest in Cuba domains? There is room for all of us in the (hopefully soon) post-Embargo post-Castro Cuba.

[ Edited: 30 December 2008 03:32 PM by publisher ]
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