A Long Island serial entrepreneur has acquired more than 200 Long Island-focused internet domain names and websites such as LongIsland.com, LongIslandWineries.com and LongIslandZipCodes.com.
Andrew Hazen, who is chief executive of several companies and organizations including Angel Dough Ventures, an angel investor group, and BobbleBoss, a custom bobblehead maker, closed on the purchase of the domain names and accompanying marketing business, Long Island Media, last week.
“The portfolio of 200-plus domain names are comparable to real estate. This is digital real estate,” Hazen said. “I am looking to add content and develop more than just written content.”
Hazen declined to say how much he paid for the portfolio of domain names and active websites. Commack-based internet marketing company InternetPoint.com had purchased the domain name LongIsland.com in 2010 for $370,000 in an online auction.
Hazen, an online marketer, said he bid on LongIsland.com at that time.
“I bid $250,000 10 years ago and it definitely cost me a lot more now than if I had bought it back then,” he said. The site attracts more than 5 million unique online visitors each year, Hazen said.
The previous owner, Ralph Cristello, founder of InternetPoint.com and Cars Digital Inc., an online advertising agency for car dealers, said, "It was just the right time to let go.”
"I chose to sell it because somebody will do a better job taking it to the next level,” Cristello said. "I’m a backroom computer guy. I build businesses to a certain point and I sell them.”
In 2010, Newsday described LongIsland.com as “a potpourri of ads, advice, news and features about Long Island.”
Hazen, who is also chief executive of LaunchPad, a network of Long Island co-working spaces for startups, said he plans to build on the work done by Cristello to improve the reach and web traffic generated by the websites, and plans to use the sites as a platform for live events.
“A domain name could be a business unto itself,” said Stacey Sikes, executive dean of entrepreneurship and business development at Hofstra University. Sikes said some names can gain traction in web searches, providing owners with opportunities to profit from a name or website.
“It could be valuable because someone may want it in the future,” she said, which would allow the owner to resell the domain name at a higher price. Domain owners can also find ways to “aggregate information for people in that community and they can monetize the site by selling ads to other companies that might benefit from people going to that site.”