The man who owns the Internet
May 22, 2007 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Meet Kevin Ham, the man who owns the Internet
posted by MetaMonkey (56 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Quick, Matt, register metafilter.cm before this guy gets his hands on your clickcents!
posted by imperium at 2:24 PM on May 22, 2007


more like .con

am i rite?
posted by dios at 2:27 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


When rusty cargo ships and tankers packed to the gills with starving refugees from broken nations start washing up on the shores of N. America, I hope someone directs them to people like this guy first so they can have a decent meal.

I mean literal cannibalism, of course.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:27 PM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


He's a squatter. I can't wait until he gets sued into oblivion over trademark infringements.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:28 PM on May 22, 2007


Quick, Matt, register metafilter.cm before this guy gets his hands on your clickcents!

Too late.
posted by maryh at 2:30 PM on May 22, 2007


metafilter.com metafilter.cno metafilter.com metafilter.com merafilter.com metafiler.com metailfllter.com
posted by acro at 2:34 PM on May 22, 2007


If he owns the Internet, does that make him King of the Internet? If so, he should at least wear a crown and cape, maybe carry around a scepter.
posted by champthom at 2:41 PM on May 22, 2007


Um, yes, but he squats on names for a living. Not, I imagine, terribly interesting or rewarding work. Though he seems like a nice fellow.
posted by MarshallPoe at 2:42 PM on May 22, 2007


Wow, he owns the internet, and I have never once visited any of his sites.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:44 PM on May 22, 2007


bookmarks > this guy
posted by uri at 2:50 PM on May 22, 2007


Not, I imagine, terribly interesting or rewarding work.
Unless you count that 300 million as "rewarding", of course.

As an aside...I am really fascinated (and just a little dismayed) by the idea that they actually hold auctions for domain names. I don't know why...but I am.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:53 PM on May 22, 2007


Really well written article. Given the topic, I'm surprised I was as sucked into it as I was.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:54 PM on May 22, 2007


Do these guys not realize that 99% of the people reading about them are going to think they're a-holes? Why would you agree to be profiled for something like this?

And, no Paul Sloan, Ham is not a "devout Christian". He's friction. He's a guy who trained to be a doctor, then ditched that when buying misspelled domain names proved to be more lucrative.
posted by Nahum Tate at 2:57 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nahum Tate writes "Ham is not a 'devout Christian'. He's friction. He's a guy who trained to be a doctor, then ditched that when buying misspelled domain names proved to be more lucrative."

That's contradictory? You must have some director's cut of the Bible I haven't read.
posted by brundlefly at 3:00 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Given the topic, I'm surprised I was as sucked into it as I was.

Me too. (I can't believe) I read the whole thing. Good post!
posted by languagehat at 3:03 PM on May 22, 2007


Whois owns ur metafiler.com? CEO demand Media, owner of enom inc. (enom, whois)
posted by acro at 3:05 PM on May 22, 2007


Mmmm: kingparasite.com
posted by NinjaTadpole at 3:06 PM on May 22, 2007


I thought Henry van Statten owned the Internet...

Anyway, look, sleazy, needs to be punched in the face, blah blah. But seriously, that .cm thing, kind of brilliant. Hate to admit it, but.. it kind of is.

Oh, still evil though.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:06 PM on May 22, 2007


Damn, John Kenneth Fisher beat me to the obvious answer. :) Which makes me happy I'm not the only nerd that was thinking about posting that.
posted by smallerdemon at 3:12 PM on May 22, 2007


That's contradictory? You must have some director's cut of the Bible I haven't read.

Leviticus 29:16 " And if a man shall forsake his educated profession for a life of riches, then he shall be an abomination unto the LORD, and his name shall be mocked by people on The Internets for totally not being a devout Christian, but instead being a complete asswad."
posted by 23skidoo at 3:15 PM on May 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


Whatever. If he was one of those guys who was only in medicine for the money, then I'm glad that he chose a more lucrative path.

There's nothing worse than going to the orthodontist and realizing that he's just a disgruntled, frustrated, greedy SOB who is unhappy that he couldn't make more money. I'd rather see guys like that end up like Ham or working on Wall Street.
posted by wuwei at 3:25 PM on May 22, 2007


$31,000 to add Christianrock.com to his collection

There is an opportunity gone begging. Dammit.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 3:37 PM on May 22, 2007


I don't get http://agoga.com/. All links and searches lead back to agoga.com. Where are the actual advertisers?
posted by nonmyopicdave at 3:40 PM on May 22, 2007


Maybe this dude owns the internet, but it's zefrank (two threads earlier) who pwns the internet. Him and cortex.
posted by wendell at 3:47 PM on May 22, 2007


There's nothing worse than going to the orthodontist and realizing that he's just a disgruntled, frustrated, greedy SOB who is unhappy that he couldn't make more money.

I know that guy. He works in Dallas.
posted by airguitar at 4:00 PM on May 22, 2007


I, for one, welcome my new Internet Landlord.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:00 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ham recalls that it was about this time -- 1992 or 1993 -- that he was introduced to the Web. A church friend told him about a powerful new medium that could be used to spread the gospel.

Glad that worked out for him.


Yes I am jealous about someone earning enough money to buy a small country by doing absolutely NOTHING that adds to the happiness level of the world.
posted by gottabefunky at 4:20 PM on May 22, 2007


His last name is Ham. Ham! *snigger*

I'm sorry, I'll read the article now.
posted by saturnine at 4:35 PM on May 22, 2007



I don't get http://agoga.com/. All links and searches lead back to agoga.com. Where are the actual advertisers?


All the links on the topic pages are advertiser links, the URL starts with agoga.com probably because that's how they help track the outbound links internally.
posted by cell divide at 4:37 PM on May 22, 2007


I wish the $70 to buy a domain name hadn't been so much money back when I was in college. Was there any better investment back in 1996 or so?
posted by smackfu at 4:40 PM on May 22, 2007


I, for one, welcome my new Internet Landslumlord.

fixed that for ya.
posted by juv3nal at 4:53 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's funny, I don't remember writing a cheque to this guy for using the internet...
posted by odinsdream at 4:59 PM on May 22, 2007


Why do I find myself oddly disgusted at Yahoo for this?
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:02 PM on May 22, 2007


I don't get http://agoga.com/. All links and searches lead back to agoga.com. Where are the actual advertisers?

Seems not to work in Firefox. Suck it, Ham.
posted by camcgee at 5:57 PM on May 22, 2007


gottabefunky writes "Yes I am jealous about someone earning enough money to buy a small country by doing absolutely NOTHING that adds to the happiness level of the world."

This guy actually breaks the intent of 404 feedback loop so he's a net negative on the global happiness scale.
posted by Mitheral at 6:35 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


bottomfeeder.cm
posted by sparkzy at 7:17 PM on May 22, 2007


More like the owner of the typonet.
posted by localroger at 7:30 PM on May 22, 2007


He doesn't actually seem that shady - at least his link farms serve up reasonably reputable links that are related to the topics being entered and not giant piles of spyware.

Honestly, if you enter "weddingshoes.com" and get a page consisting of yahoo's ads for wedding shoes did you really get that screwed?
posted by true at 7:47 PM on May 22, 2007


So, I know I'm gonna get flamed like there's no tomorrow, but I gotta say it: I don't know why everyone's hating on this guy.

In the '70s, my wife's parents bought a house in downtown Palo Alto; I think they paid the princely sum of $75k. Today that same house is worth millions, if not tens of millions. Real estate in desirable areas is expensive.

How is, say, weddingshopping.com any different? It's a desirable piece of "real estate" that's worth more than a URL out in the sticks (would that be ".info"?)

Domain names are a commodity just like real estate, pork belly futures, and a million other things; the value of a commodity is set by the market. This is grade-school economics, folks; how is this guy any more slimy than someone who invests in any other commodity?
posted by jacobian at 7:59 PM on May 22, 2007


Domain names are a commodity just like real estate

This notion has perhaps crippled the Internet to some degree. This may the source of contention.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:20 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Today that same house is worth millions

Speaking as a Georgist, let me say that's your problem right there, mistaking the land for the actual property (the fixed improvements thereon).

Georgists see land-squatting to be similar as name squatting. Your parents didn't create the land, or the value of the land, yet they are profiting from it. This profit has to, eventually, come from someone who is actually productive, or via inflationary means like the free money loans that have been popular as of late.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:12 PM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


What's so special about land in Georgia?
posted by smackfu at 9:16 PM on May 22, 2007


This guy really is a piece of shit. Not in a pejorative sense.
posted by anthill at 9:22 PM on May 22, 2007


what's really impressive is that in addition to the cameroon re-reroute deal, they charge $799 for a domain name -- it's basically blackmail money, b/c the only people who could possible want a .cm domain name are people with already valuable web properties trying to protect them. ok, maybe impressive isn't the right word.
posted by spiderwire at 9:51 PM on May 22, 2007


I realize that "owning the internet" is not intended in the literal sense, but it is completely ridiculous.

He doesn't "own" shit. He owns typos that return ad-revenue and squats on names that force legitimate business owners to pay to pay his exhortation fees to use.

The only thing that makes this any different from other organized crime is the lack of laws enforcing it and the stupid fedoras. Oh, and there just has to be some kind of pyramid scheme involved in this somehow. It just screams it.
posted by purephase at 10:25 PM on May 22, 2007


This too shall pass. Some of it reminds me of the baseball card "investment" craze. Now baseball cards have value to collectors, but speculators pay more. They also create a market bringing in more speculators.

Until someone points out that the market is 99% speculators, then the price falls.

Don't begrudge him his $300M. It was hard won from other speculators like himself, and it probably means he will have the greatest paper losses for risking the most in this market.
posted by dglynn at 10:44 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


dglynn: i think that you're eliding some of the human costs here. i'm actually fairly agnostic on most online advertising -- people should take responsibility for what they buy -- but in this case, i think there's an ancillary issue of people owning domains or related domains.

specifically, i find the practice of trading on other's brands to be pretty heinous from an IP perspective -- and profiting off of google.cm is the worst type of parasitism. unlike, say, store-brand coke, it's not profiting off of people's decision to choose a cheaper alternative, but their mistake in accidentally not selecting the original product. i don't see why a trademark suit shouldn't be able to prevent this sort of practice.

i don't have a problem with domain brokering per se, but the practice of domain-squatting is different, and entirely unacceptable. it probably speaks more to our moronic domain-assignment practices more than anything else, but that's not really much of an excuse.
posted by spiderwire at 10:54 PM on May 22, 2007


I just registered whowasadoctorbutnowownstheinternethamhamham.com Its like money in the bank
posted by BostonJake at 11:08 PM on May 22, 2007


I might just get Muffleuppaglobbadupp.com.
NOW that is money in the bank.
posted by orgvol at 11:55 PM on May 22, 2007


lamest of teh web. to much credit
could we use another word then 'squatting', squatting originates in the need of housing, this mollusc is more of a burglar
posted by borq at 1:04 AM on May 23, 2007


Just for fun, if you're on Windows and it annoys you to be redirected to agoga.com, you can do this:
  1. Go to \WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc
  2. Open the hosts file in a text editor,
  3. Add this line: 127.0.0.1 agoga.com
Not that I have anything against this guy. He's not making any money off of me. But still.
posted by moonbiter at 2:32 AM on May 23, 2007


I don't get http://agoga.com/. All links and searches lead back to agoga.com. Where are the actual advertisers?

Seems not to work in Firefox. Suck it, Ham.
If you turn on cookies it works.
posted by tackandgybe at 5:24 AM on May 23, 2007


At some point, advertisers have to realize they are not getting all they feel they are getting from "clickcents". The people who mistype, not-bookmark webpages and then click on strange sites like agoga.com -- How can a large percentage of that market actually be buying justifiable sums of an advertiser's product? I would feel most internet users know a strange site when they see one.

The "devout" Christian thing is troubling too. I can't remember Jesus ever talking about a squatting scheme based off in the least siphoning a source of funds from a poorer third world country.
posted by skepticallypleased at 5:25 AM on May 23, 2007


I think you're overrating the average internet user. I mean, I don't click on any text links, ever, but Google makes a lot of money out of it and it's not by tricking people into clicking.
posted by smackfu at 5:36 AM on May 23, 2007


exhortation fees

Come on, you can do it! You can pay me the money! Go go go! You can pay, I know you can! You the man!
posted by Mister_A at 7:43 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Someone should tell Ham that jesusichrist.com is still available.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:09 AM on May 23, 2007


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