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Culture

Ebola.com can be yours for a healthy $150,000

While the world panics, the wheels of capitalism still must turn. The owners of the URL say they've had offers over the years. But clearly not enough.

ebola.jpg
The current Ebola.com home page. The URL is for sale for $150,000. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When we're all finally being laid to rest en masse by our personal robot helpers, someone, somewhere will be selling endoftheworld.com.

It's the glorious nature of our beastly way of life. Someone suffers, someone profits, the world spins once more.

You will have noticed, perhaps, that when you go to Ebola.com in order to discover whether it's reached your neighborhood, what you find is a rudimentary site.

It highlights that lovely phrase "This website is currently being developed." This is modern code for "This URL could be worth a lot of money to someone who wants to develop it."

Ebola.com is currently owned by Blue String Ventures. It styles itself as a "humanitarian organization dedicated to the greater good of the world." No, wait. I have that wrong. It's an "Internet real estate investment, development, and brand assistance firm."

Clearly, the Ebola brand is in need of assistance.

Still, Blue String Ventures bought it in 2008, so CNBC tells me. The drift of disease-based URLs is that they're often picked up by pharma companies. Johnson and Johnson, for example, owns both cancer.com and obesity.com.

No one, thus far, seems to have picked up Ebola.com, though Blue String's CEO Jon Schultz says that in the six years the company's owned it there have been "many inquiries."

It's heartening that Schultz's company didn't buy the domain with a hardened commercial spirit. Instead, he explained to CNBC: "Having seen the movie 'Outbreak,' I was entranced by the subject and couldn't resist buying the domain."

Movies can make certain things irresistible.

The price is currently said to be $150,000, though I wonder if, say, two or more concerns were to make bids, the cost of Ebola.com would describe the upward sides of a parabola.

Though 4,000 are said to have died from Ebola, I am told by those in Liberia who are close to the tragedy, that the number is higher.

I wonder if, as the crisis worsens, the price of Ebola.com will see an uptick. We've reached out to Blue String Ventures for comment and will update this report when we hear back.

Still, Ebola.com doesn't seem to be the only site waiting for a high enough bidder.

HeartAttack.com is available. So, it appears, it Leech.com.

You might be wondering who owns Capitalism.com. Well, it seems to be owned by the Center For Industrial Progress. It's a think-tank dedicated to "radically" improving our lives. It's a for-profit think-tank.