Image by Charaka Ranasinghe
As the world follows the latest developments on the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airline Flight MH370 through #PrayforMH370, a seller on eBay auctioned off the domain name MH370.com, hoping to gain profit from the trend.
The Art of Flipping
Flipping, or the act of registering and selling domain names, is a common practice. Most sellers register highly searched terms as domain names. Those who are active on social media don’t find it difficult to look for names to register, as trending hashtags are great options, which have the potential to increase in value.
A Despicable Act
With the popularity of #PrayforMH370, any online savvy user would know that having a highly searched term as a domain name, such as MH370.com, means thousands – if not millions—of online traffic. In an attempt to monetize from the trend, an eBay seller bought the domain name and tried to sell it for $5,000. To entice bidders, the sellers pointed out that many companies and the families of victims will be willing to buy the domain name for thousands of dollars.
For many individuals, the auction was a despicable act. The outcry on Twitter and other social networks seemed to have an effect on the sale, as the auction closed before reaching the set end date.
It appears that no one bought the domain from the seller.