US company offers to sell Ebola.com domain name for US$150,000

Red Cross workers carry away the body of a person suspected of dying from the Ebola virus, in the Liberian capital Monrovia, on Oct 4, 2014. A Las Vegas company, seeking to capitalise on the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record, is looking to sell
Red Cross workers carry away the body of a person suspected of dying from the Ebola virus, in the Liberian capital Monrovia, on Oct 4, 2014. A Las Vegas company, seeking to capitalise on the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record, is looking to sell the domain name Ebola.com for US$150,000 (S$190,000), a partner with the firm said on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AFP 

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - A Las Vegas company, seeking to capitalise on the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record, is looking to sell the domain name Ebola.com for US$150,000 (S$190,000), a partner with the firm said on Tuesday.

Chris Hood, a junior partner with Blue String Ventures, the firm selling the rights to Ebola.com, said it owns other domain names for deadly diseases, such as Birdflu.com and Chikungunya.com.

But Ebola has grabbed the media spotlight for weeks now, amid growing fears about its spread outside West Africa, and that makes Ebola.com especially hot Internet property.

Hood acknowledged that Blue String Ventures has been criticised for looking to profit off Ebola.com since the Ebola virus has killed at least 4,447 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, since the current outbreak began in March.

He said the company, which describes itself as an Internet real estate investment and brand assistance firm, was doing no harm, however.

"It's not like we're preventing people from getting information. We're not causing people to get the disease, we're not preventing them from getting a cure," he said.

Blue String Ventures bought Ebola.com in 2008 for US$13,500, Hood said.

With Ebola so much in the news, it was senior partner Jon Schultz who set the value of the domain name at US$150,000, he said.

The ideal type of company that might buy Ebola.com would be a firm with a cure or some means of preventing the disease, Hood added.

He said Blue String has thousands of domain names tied to everything from financial services to politics, and has made millions of dollars in sales since Schultz began in the business over a decade ago.