With 300 million of assets (as of 2007) under his belt, some people wonder what Kevin Ham do for a living when he first started. Not sure how many people heard of his name and story before, but being one of the top web domain mogul, his story to road of success deserves some attention.
Excerpts from CNN’s article:
One of Kevin Ham most valuable tricks was one he had experimented with in the early days, a practice called domain “tasting.” Tasting takes advantage of a provision that allows domain-name buyers a free five-day trial period. Intended to protect customers who mistakenly purchase the wrong name, it handed aggressive domainers another means with which to expand — and exploit — their portfolios.So Ham wrote software scripts that compared one day’s list with the next. Then he tracked names that vanished from the root file. Those names would be listed briefly as on hold, and Ham figured out that they would almost always drop five or six days later — at about 3:30 a.m. on the West Coast. In the dark of night, Ham launched his attacks, firing up five PCs and multiple browsers in each. Typing furiously, he would enter his buy requests and bounce from one keyboard to the next until he snagged the names he wanted.
He missed a lot of them, of course. Ham had no clue that there were rivals out there who were way ahead him, deploying software that purchased names at a rate that Ham’s fingers couldn’t match. Through registration data, he eventually traced many of those purchases to one owner: “NoName.” Behind the shadowy moniker was another reclusive domain pioneer, a Chinese-born programmer named Yun Ye, who, according to people who know him, operated out of his house in Fremont, Calif. By day Ye worked as a software developer. At night he unleashed the programs that automated domain purchases. (Ye achieved deity status among domainers in 2004 when he sold a portfolio of 100,000 names to Marchex (Charts), a Seattle-based, publicly traded search marketing firm, for $164 million. He then moved to Vancouver.)
Ham went back to the keyboard, writing scripts so that he, too, could pound at the registrars. Ham’s track record began to improve, but he still wasn’t satisfied. “Yun was just too good,” he says. Then Ham did something brash: He bought his way to the front of the line. Since registrars had direct connections to Network Solutions’s servers, Ham’s play was to cut out the middleman. He struck deals with several discount registrars, even helping them write software to ensure that they captured the names Ham wanted to buy during the drops. In exchange for the exclusivity, Ham offered to pay as much as $100 for some names that might normally go for as little as $8.
Within weeks Ham had struck so many deals that, according to rivals, he controlled most of the direct connections. “I kept telling them to hit them harder,” Ham says in a rare boastful moment. “We brought down the servers many times.” During one six-month period starting in late 2000, Ham registered more than 10,000 names.
1. Can you still do the same thing today? Yeah, maybe you can, but the competition is bigger. The story is out and there are lots more of people doing this compared to the old days. But, it’s kinda like the old days again, economy is turning down, consumer spending indexes are down, fuel price sky high etc and there are people who are living in poverty and have some time and nothing to lose to stike it rich again.
2. Did you notice that both of those 2 mentioned in the article were Chinese?