One of the oldest (in terms of getting into domaining) and biggest domain portfolio owners of all time is on the verge of losing everything including all of his domain names according to a post on lawlessamerica.com.
The story is about Jeff Baron who you may or may not recognize, but the domains he registered back in the day were registered to Compana, LLC of Texas using the servers Compana.com which I and many domainers will certainly recognize.
He also owned a company called Ondova Limited.
According to the story Mr. Baron, who at one time owned through his company(s) over 1,000,000 domain names and was making upwards of $1.5 Million dollars a month, is on the verge of losing its all.
Some of the domains owned by Mr. Baron include, according to the story, Rewards.com, Lite.com , icy.com, phonecards.com.
According to the story Mr. Baron has been in a legal disputes since 2006 with a company called Netsphere as well as with a Munish Krishan and others.
We are not about to get into the details of the story (the author of the original post provides a lot of details although clearly from Mr. Baron’s side).
We have no independent knowledge of the story Mr. Baron’s activities or the legal proceedings but we have been around to know everything has two sides and we are certainly not picking one.
It does appear that Mr. Baron present situation is that his domain names have either been taken or are endanger of being taken at this point mostly due to legal fees and costs related to the legal proceedings.
For the record, I don’t believe I have ever met or even chatted with Mr. Baron and this is the 1st report I have read about this story.
Clearly the author of the story has a strong opinion on the story, we do not.
We do find it a fascinating story on someone who started in the domain industry back in what many would consider the prime time in 1999, built it up from nothing to over 1 Million domains, generating over 1 Million visitors a day and making as much as $1.5 Million a month.
Again we have no independent verification of any of these numbers but they are cited in the story.
Here is some of the background on Mr. Baron, as laid out by the author of the story a William Windsor who is not an attorney:
“Jeff Baron is an Internet pioneer who, at the age of 32, invented a technology in the early days of the Internet to make it easier to register Internet domain names. Jeff quickly became successful. His business was profitable and made money.”
“But today, Jeff Baron does not even own the shirt on his back.”
“Jeff Baron started an Internet business, Ondova, in 1999”
“Jeff Baron began developing specialized software to be used by Internet domain registrars, and he licensed the software to many domain name registrars, licensed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).”
“Soon, Jeff Baron, Ondova and its software became famous worldwide for its innovations in Internet domain name registrations. ”
“Ondova and its software quickly registered over a million domain names.”
“By 2001, Jeff Baron’s company personally owned several thousand domain names on websites that generated significant interest of Internet users worldwide.
“Ondova was able to register domain names such as rewards.com or lite.com for as little as $6 while others paid domain brokers millions of dollars for these type of domain names.”
“Jeff Baron was one of the first entrepreneurs to register many generic domain names for his own use. ”
“The business model was to identify and register generic domain names that would attract website visitors (by determining what Internet users were interested in); develop websites based upon related products for each domain name; generate income from advertising on the websites; increase visitors to the websites thereby increasing their value.”
“With the high number of visitors attracted to Jeff Baron’s company’s sites, his business began to resemble a content search site like Google. Jeff Baron had focused on registering “short, generic domain names” as brief as two letters.”
“The business grew from $0 to $1.5 million a month in revenue.”
“”The websites created were quickly generating 1,000,000 visitors a day. ”
The post goes into tremendous details about the case.
The post is quite lengthy but I urge all of you to read it all the way through.
The post is so lengthy it may well take 1/2 hour or more out of your Sunday to get through it all.
But how often do you get to read such a story in our space?
It’s clear that author of the original post’s opinion is that Mr. Baron got, and is getting screwed.
As we said we haven’t examined any of the court documents or chatted with any of the parties, so we have no opinion on the legal proceedings past or present but just found it a very interesting read.
There is also a Facbook page set up called “Save Jeff Baron” that you can check out.