Internet oaths attract attention

Never mind bugger - the money's in bullshit. Pardon the language, but in the wake of the speculative registration of the Internet domain bugger.co.nz comes something, well, bigger - the New Zealander who is fielding six-figure bids for the domain bullshit.com.

Never mind bugger - the money's in bullshit.

Pardon the language, but in the wake of the speculative registration of the Internet domain bugger.co.nz comes something, well, bigger - the New Zealander who is fielding six-figure bids for the domain bullshit.com.

Marty Hanak, who divides his time between this country and Australia, is a professional domain name speculator. He is online most days, running a program that automatically searches the domain name system for words he thinks might be useful.

"I fluked it about a month ago," says Hanak "That one came up and I grabbed it real quick. And within about 10 minutes I had four or five emails sitting there waiting. First off it was $1000, then $4000 and $5000 - and it's just gone up and up. The current standing offer is $US135,000."

If bullshit.com is so sought-after, why was it still available so recently? Because, explains domain specialist Peter Mott of 2Day Internet, Network Solutions (NSI), the US company that handles .com, .net and .org registrations changed its rules.

"Network Solutions until recently would not have allowed shit in a domain name," says Mott. "But they recently changed their criteria for determining what an obscene word was - and that resulted in a whole lot of names becoming available."

Hanak says he doesn't know what the bidders for his name want to do with it, "but what I've been thinking about is just setting up a bullshit site. The Holyfield-Lewis fight would have been a prime candidate. Just things like that and a lot of links to adult sites to bring in some revenue."

Hanak says he has registered a number of names in the .nz domain, "both adult and non-adult," including, recently,mongrelmob.co.nz and hellsangels.co.nz.

"I’m just grabbing all sorts of names at the moment, some in .nz but mainly in .com. I've bought and sold quite a lot and I'm doing quite well out of it.

"I'm not associated at all with the Mongrel Mob, but I might do a deal with them down the track, if they want the name, or a Website built. They can contact me if they come across it.

"I've also got a heap of Viagra ones and I've had a couple of heavy cease-and-desist letters from Pfizer's lawyers, but my attitude is that they can buy them off me. I'm actually an authorised reseller of Viagra, through a pharmacist in the States, and I think at the end of the day they'll write a cheque. What the hell? It's all a game."

Although many of Hanak's names would appear to dwell on the social fringe the other one he regards as "hot" right now is very much part of the establishment.

"I've got wallstreetdealer.com - and I understand wallstreet.com sold for about $US450,000."

So why is Hanak succeeding in a game where so many fail?

"There's just a lot of people targeting the wrong sort of names."

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