Phew, keeping track of all the scammers buying domains to profit off of the Coronavirus crisis is a challenge. As we all know, when times are tough, the darkest parts of our society dig deep and try to make money off of people who are already down. At first there were scammers trying to make money off of Coronavirus-related domains pretending to be charities…and now, here come the stimulus package scammers.
Since January, a total of 4,305 domains relating to the stimulus and relief packages have been registered. In March, 2,081 such domains were registered with 38 deemed malicious and 583 suspicious. In the first week of April, 473 such domains were registered with 18 considered malicious and 73 suspicious. Further, the registration of these types of domains jumped by three and a half times in the week starting March 16 when the US government announced a stimulus package for taxpayers. (Source – TechRepublic)
Now the silver lining here is that, as you can see from the quote above, only a small fraction of the domains being registered seem to be malicious. At the same time, as we all know, one domain name can have a lot of reach, especially if it’s a domain name that convinces someone that if they trust what’s on that site, they’ll get a check from the government.
Of course, not all domain names related to the government’s stimulus package are owned by scammers. Some people registered these domains to hopefully sell them to someone who is doing the right thing…but as I think they’ll soon learn, domains like these make terrible investments.
The reality is, as a domain name investor (i.e. not a cyber-squatter) there’s not much of an opportunity here. While you might be the first person to think of a domain that could be “perfect” for a legitimate organization helping people, they’re going to want you to donate the domain, not sell it to them for a profit, and in all honesty, that’s what you should do.
While part of domain name investing is finding trends and being able to identify investment opportunities that track those trends. No part of domain investing involves profiting off of tragedy. Yes, it’s a free country, register what you want, but know that now is probably the time to be thinking about someone other than yourself.