In today’s information economy, useless money grabbers are the new capitalist bad guys- domain squatters that register internet domains and then sell them off at high prices. The latest of these transactions is the sale of Ebola.com by Blue String Ventures, the company sitting on the domain. Ebola.com was sold last week for about $200,000 to a company called Weed Growth Fund. This was sold as a mix of cash and stocks from a company called Cannabis Sativa Inc. The CEO of this company is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, a Libertarian Party provocateur, who in a recent Fox interview suggested that marijuana just might hold a cure for Ebola. It is one thing to sell services like Whatsapp for millions… but to exploit information production of a disease like Ebola brings the whole situation into the grey and leads people on with bogus claims of cures.

Though state censorship is already a demon haunting our freedoms, there is a case for ethical regulation here. Weed Growth Fund is a company that until recently was known as Ovation Research and focused on distributing stainless steel cookware. Now that selling marijuana as an Ebola cure has emerged as a more profitable line of business, that is the new selling point. Blue String has a few more disease domains that it owns and stands to make money from. Birdflu.com and H1N1.com are both owned by them but not for sale yet as the fear level isn’t quite high enough to get a good price.

Ebola.com would have been a great domain for a pharmaceutical company working on a vaccine or cure or a company selling pandemic or disaster-preparedness supplies, or a medical company wishing to provide information and advertise services. But its sale has proven that it wont be. Though such exploitation will only grow on the Internet as new companies crop to compete with the likes of Blue String Ventures, the good news is that as of yet, ebola.com is not coming up in the top hits in Google searches. It is hoped that such websites, when they are sold for obnoxious amounts, only exploit the names of their domains rather than people afraid of death and disease. We cant put a stop to such capitalist ventures, but we can be smart about the sources we get our information from.