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Cybersquat pays off as Ebola.com sells for $200,000

Chris Hood and John Schultz of Blue String Ventures picked up Ebola.com for $13,500 in 2008, but with the widespread outbreak of the disease the pair have been able to rake in a huge profit on the URL: It’s just been sold to a company registered in Russian for $200,000 in cash and shares.

The new owners are Weed Growth Fund and the stock used as part of the deal is from a US firm called Cannabis Sativa — it’s believed that both companies are investigating how the drug can be used in the treatment of Ebola. For now, Ebola.com just hosts a few facts about the disease, but we’ll have to wait and see how the domain is utilized in the future.

Related: Don’t joke about Ebola on an airplane or a hazmat crew will detain you

Earlier this month, Schultz told the Washington Post that the domain was attracting 5,000 page views a day from people looking for information about the disease. The Blue String Ventures firm also holds the rights to domains such as birdflu.com and H1N1.com, though it doesn’t focus exclusively on viruses — LasVegasRealEstate.com and PaydayLoans.com have previously been bought and sold on by the company.

Domain names relating to health problems are often bought up by companies looking to market cures. Cancer.com and Obesity.com, for example, are owned by Johnson & Johnson. If you can register a domain name before it becomes popular or relevant and then sell it on to the highest bidder, there’s money to be made.

“If you are looking for a great name for your company there’s an excellent chance we can help,” says the landing page for the Blue String Ventures website, which also promotes available domain names including AfricanMango.com and Soursop.com. Whether or not the company will make another profit as big as it has on Ebola.com remains to be seen.

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