A newly renamed, Russian weed-related company bought Ebola.com using shares of a medical marijuana business run by a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate who thinks that pot should be used to treat Ebola. And no, you’re not high (as far as we know). This really happened.
It’s not uncommon for a premium domain to fetch well over a hundred thousand dollars, but this is a different subject entirely. Ebola is a hot button issue for the moment, but (hopefully) won’t be for too much longer. So what’s the real long-term value of Ebola.com, and how are they going to make money off it? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Is Ebola.com a good website?
I’ll let you be the judge.
So that’s out. Next.
Does Ebola.com rank?
Not even a little. According to SEMrush, a nifty (and sometimes accurate) tool that shows you which terms a site ranks for, Ebola.com doesn’t rank at all. For anything.
Just to be safe, I tried searching on Google for a variety of Ebola-related queries, starting with the site’s blog post titles, including “how to control ebola” and “key ebola facts”. It turns out that Ebola.com ranks for literally one search – “ebola.com”.
So is the site penalized? Suffering from poor site architecture or indexing problems, maybe? I took a look at the source code, to see what it was built on, and figured out the problem pretty quickly:
Ebola.com’s content is basically stolen in real time from ebolanewshub.com. If anyone wants to follow that rabbit hole and find out where ebolanewshub.com gets their stories from, go for it. But I’ll leave that for someone else’s post.
Does Ebola.com have good links?
Here’s where it starts to get interesting. Ebola.com didn’t have a lot of links until recently. Now, however, it has several awesome links, from cnbc and Andy Cush, covering the the sale of the domain. And that doesn’t even count the link they just got from our blog:
How Can They Make Money from Ebola.com?
Monetizing this site with adsense advertising isn’t a terrible idea. According to Google’s keyword planner, there were a whopping 28 million searches in August, and 12 million in September, for ebola-related keywords.
The query “ebola” got roughly 3,350,000 searches last month. If Ebola.com could place on the first page for that search, somewhere around where CNN is now, they could capture roughly 3.73% of that traffic, or 124,955 visits. The suggested adword bid on that keyword is $1.21, and Google adsense pays out at 68 cents on the dollar, so Ebola.com could get 82 cents for every ad clicked on their site. If one in ten visitors clicked on an ad, Ebola.com would stand to make roughly $10,200 in a month.
These are obviously very rough numbers, and it would be a hard battle to get to the first page, but this is just for one of the many ebola-related search terms. Furthermore, this doesn’t include other forms of affiliate advertising, cross promotion, and ad networks with higher payouts.
Is Ebola.com Worth $200,000?
The short answer is: it could be, but it’s definitely not yet. It’s hard to say how much experience the new owners have with monetizing this kind of site, or if they’re just crazy people with a lot of money, but I believe it’s possible to recoup the costs in a few months. If they wipe out the current site ASAP, replace it with some quality content that earns them some serious traffic, handle their PR well, and do a good job of monetizing on site, there is no reason that Ebola.com’s hefty price tag couldn’t be the entry fee for a seriously lucrative investment. Even if they only manage to drive some new traffic, and monetize modestly, the new owners could always manage to turn it around and sell it again, as soon as the site is going in the right direction.
Of course, a lot of Ebola.com’s future earnings hinge on an ongoing, worldwide Ebola crisis. Here’s hoping that part doesn’t work out for them.