The co-owner of Blue String Ventures, a Las Vegas-based company tells Yahoo Finance that it has sold the domain name Ebola.com for $200,000 to a marijuana company called Weed Growth Fund.
An October 20th filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Weed Growth Fund paid Blue String Industries $50,000 cash and 19,192 shares of another company called Cannabis Sativa, which specializes in recreational marijuana.
Chris Hood, the co-owner and CFO of Blue String Ventures spoke with Yahoo Finance's Milanee Kapadia to discuss the deal and to dispute the notion that his company is profiting from the panic surrounding the outbreak of the devastating disease.
In response to this criticism, Hood says “…if people want to point to someone who is exploiting this situation, we would be pretty far down the line there. We’re not harming anyone; we’re not causing anyone to get the disease; we’re not preventing anyone from getting treatment; we’re not out there fear-mongering… we’re just kind of sitting back and watching our investment in that particular URL.”
Controversy has swirled around Blue String Ventures and its sale of the domain name after a Washington Post article earlier this month called Hood’s business partner Jon Schultz a “merchant of disease.” Both Hood and Schultz feel they were misquoted in the piece, and Hood called the piece “tabloid journalism.”
All the attention it seems may have helped raise Blue String Ventures’ business profile. After the story gained traction “that actually fueled the fire and started bringing in a ton of additional interest so in that respect it was beneficial,” says Hood.
Ebola.com is not the only disease-related site owned by Blue String Ventures. The company also owns the domain names birdflu.com and H1N1.com, but Hood points out that the company does not only focus on domains which refer to disease and tragedy. The company has sold various domain names for prices ranging from a few thousand to millions of dollars, he says.
Hood rejects the comparison of his company’s money-making pursuits to that of a weapons manufacturer. “This is our business model… it’s no different than buying a piece of real estate that we hope will appreciate. The fact that we have a handful of domain names that are about unpleasant topics doesn’t really qualify us as being in the business of trying to capitalize on any kind of tragedy.”
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