Invest in Cuba today with domain names - buying, selling and developing
Posted: 29 March 2008 07:21 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Over the years, traffic to the Havana Journal has spiked whenever there has been a major news event concerning Cuba. This fact shows that when Cuba makes the news people search the Internet for Cuba related keywords that interest them.

Since the US Embargo against Cuba has been in effect since 1961, the majority of Americans know very little about Cuba. Add to this the restrictive political and economic policies of the Castro administration and it’s no wonder that most Americans do not know anyone they can turn to for information about Cuban culture, business opportunities, politics or travel destinations. Most Americans do not have any friends, relatives or associates who know anything about Cuba let alone having traveled there.

So then, that what’s the best source for finding more information about Cuba for most Americans?

The local newspaper, TV or radio station? For major news only and for about one minute of coverage if you’re lucky.

Magazines? Nope. Not a single one in a bookstore covers Cuba on a regular basis, not even the cigar or travel magazines.

What’s left then? The Internet of course. There are hundreds of great Cuba business, culture, politics and travel resources online. Granted many are outdated or update very infrequently but people trust that they will find meaningful information while searching the Internet rather than searching at a bookstore, TV or radio station.

Some want to research travel destinations, some search for cigars or business opportunities. My point is that people have turned to and will continue to turn to the Internet to find Cuba related web sites in order to research topics that interest them.

How to invest in Cuba, now

Now that Fidel Castro has retired and Raul Castro is making some reforms, I have noticed an increase in traffic to HavanaJournal.com, an increase Cuba related domain registrations (thanks to DomainTools.com MarkAlert, requests for Cuba information, requests for pricing on our Cuba related domains and most recently the sale of TravelCuba.com. My point is that interest in Cuba is up in recent months which means that Internet searches are up for Cuba related information and ultimately interest in buying Cuba domains is up too.

Havana Journal Inc owns over 2300 Cuba related domains and has started to develop dozens of Cuba related websites. The point of this article is to announce that I strongly believe that the way to invest in Cuba right now is with Cuba related domain names. You can hand register or buy from current domain owners in categories like “geo domains” meaning city and travel destination names, business domains, recreational names, keyword names like hotels, vacations, real estate, etc. Think about potential opportunities in Cuba and couple that with your interests and expertise and make a wish list of Cuba related domain names that you would love to develop or own for price appreciation.

If you know anything about Cuba you know that things happen VERY slowly so this is certainly not a get rich quick scheme and I am not writing this to promote any of our domains for sale or to pitch you any services. I just want to give people the opportunity to consider a way to invest in Cuba, now.

An example of an investment in Cuba - TravelCuba.com

The domain name TravelCuba.com was original registered on February 17, 1996. The same guy owned it for twelve years until he failed to pay the renewal fee on February 17, 2008.  For those new to domain drops, if a domain name is not renewed it drops back into the publicly available domain pool where good domains like this one are quickly re-registered by drop catchers like Namejet, Snapnames and Pool.com who then auction them off to the highest bidder.

As I can tell, the domain was never developed and the most recent message on the landing page was “Error. Page cannot be displayed. Please contact service provider for more details” and now this guy lets a $4000+ domain just drop? What a shame.

In the drop auction, TravelCuba.com had 85 other bidders besides myself. I bid to $780 and was planning a higher bid but as the end of the auction neared, the price quickly jumped to over over $2000 with a final closing price of $4211. The top four bidders were each over $3000 so this was not just one high under-bidder driving the price higher.

This will be public knowledge on Tuesday night at the industry trade website DNJournal.com sales page. If you have any interest in domains, you should read the DN Journal and check the updated sales page every Wednesday morning.

The buyer of TravelCuba.com is a well known domain investor named Frank Shilling and he already owns an impressive (understatement) portfolio of generic, high quality type in domain names along with some great Cuba domains like CiudadDeLaHabana.com, CubaFlights.com, CubanRestaurant.com, CubaWeather.com and for you Cuba watchers out there Jineteras.com wink

Frank is a long term domain investor and since he and others bid TravelCuba.com to over $4000 in a well known marketplace, this is the current value/fair market price for this domain name.

Even to me, an experienced domain investor and Cuba aficionado, it seems pricey but as a friend of mine said to me about Cape Cod real estate (where I live) is that you never pay too much, you just pay too early. Those are wise words about quality real estate and quality domains and Frank’s investment philosophy has served him well so far. So, give some thought to owning some quality (not quantity) Cuba domains and consider Cuba domain names to be a way to invest in Cuba now.

More examples of Cuba domain prices

Seeing these bids I couldn’t help but put in an offer to buy ViajesACuba.com (travel to Cuba and Cuba travel in Spanish) at BuyDomains.com for $1000 which was accepted. Since I don’t speak Spanish very well, I am open to consider a development opportunity like to talk with someone who speaks Spanish fluently and knows the travel business.

More examples of Cuba investments:

CayoLargo.com sold for $5000 in November 2005 to the Castello brothers. They own MANY Cuba “geo domains” like Baracoa.com, CayoCoco.com, Guardalavaca.com, VinalesValley.com and for you cigar lovers out there VueltaAbajo.com.

CubaHostal.com sold for $3983 in July 2007

CubanCigars.com sold for $55,000 in April 2006 at Sedo.com domain marketplace

CubanCoffee.com sold for $500 in February 2006 at Sedo

CubanRestaurant.com sold for $4033 in March 2007 to Frank

CubaPolitics.com sold for $200 in June 2006 via Snapnames to Frank (nice buy Frank) grin

Havana.biz sold for $1675 in December 2006 to me in a private sale. I have started to develop a site there.

HavanaCigars.com sold for $5700 in February 2007 at Snapnames

PinarDelRio.info sold for $1600 in February 2007 to me and I have started a site there too. I sold PinarDelRio.com for an undisclosed sum. I somewhat regret selling it but the price was adequate for the time.

Varadero.info sold for $1675 in December 2007 to me along with Varadero.tv for $1000 in February 2007 but I have decided to develop in VaraderoVacations.com.

VisitHavana.com sold for $5565 in October 2005 via Snapnames to me. The kick in the pants about this auction was that there was only one other bidder. If this other bidder didn’t show up for the auction, I would have owned it for less than $1000. I was prepared to bid $10,000 if I had to. This domain will most likely be used by (ie sold to) grin the Cuban government or publicly traded travel related corporation at some point in the future so it is a long term investment for me. I had originally planned to develop it but I have since decided to start developing HavanaVacations.com instead.

Discuss

I would like to open up this post to discussions regarding potential business models, domain extensions, website development ideas, etc. and I’ll kick off the conversation with some public Cuba domain sales that you might find interesting.

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Posted: 30 March 2008 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A couple more things to help you research Cuba domain investment opportunities

If you want to research past domain sales, go to DNSalePrice.com and type in keywords that interest you. If you want to buy Cuba domains, search Sedo.com or Afternic.com and watch the drops at Snapnames.com, Namejet.com and Pool.com. If you want to watch new registrations and dropping domains that match your keywords, get an account at DomainTools.com and sign up for their Mark Alert service.

If you are looking to buy, sell, trade or develop Cuba related domains, feel free to post here. If you are looking for development help, content or want to discuss potential business models for a post-Embargo post-Castro Cuba, post here. If you want to post a past Cuba related domain name purchase or sale, feel free but this is not the place to post links to developed sites but Havana Journal members are welcome to have an outbound link in their signature.

Lastly, buy quality and not quantity. If you are going to allocate $2000 towards an investment in Cuba domains, focus on what you know and register or buy the best .com you can. If you can’t buy the best .com that is right in line with your interests and knowledge, buy a .info if it’s a geo domain or a .tv if you are going to feature lots of video.

Forget about .biz, .net and .us because you will “bleed” traffic and branding to the .com and sale prices of non-.com domains are much lower than .com domains. However, I believe a well DEVELOPED geo city name .info or almost anything .tv would be valuable but you will have to put in so much content that your site will make people forget about the .com which is possible but not easy.

Good luck hunting.

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