In a bizarre development in an already strange story of Internet real estate and profit in the midst of a public health crisis, the owner of Ebola.com has sold the domain to a company called the Weed Growth Fund for a six-figure combination of cash and stock holdings that add up to just over $200,000.
There are many layers to this murky transaction and all of them are strange. The payment for the domain was made by Weed Growth Fund in a combined $50,000 in cash and $164,000 in stock in Cannabis Sativa Inc., a marijuana company that sells medical and recreational products. Cannabis Sativa, which acquired a marijuana research company called Kush back in July, was originally a tanning salon business and is now run by libertarian former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. Johnson recently suggested that marijuana should be explored as a potential Ebola treatment in an interview with Fox News.
The seller of Ebola.com, Jon Schultz—described by the Washington Post as “a cigarette thin man who will, upon request for a photograph, don a ruby robe and strike a regal pose”—is the owner of Blue String Ventures, which also owns H1N1.com and birdflu.com, among others. Schultz is a kind of speculator of disease-related Internet real estate; he bought Ebola.com six years ago for $13,500, and had previously said he thought $150,000 was a reasonable price for the domain. Schultz told CNBC he got the idea from the 1995 movie Outbreak.
On the buying side, the SEC filing for the transaction says Weed Growth Fund is a Nevada corporation, but Bloomberg’s profile of the company says it is based in Birobidjan, Russia. Only a month ago, Weed Growth Fund was known as Ovation Research, and dealt primarily in stainless steel cookware distribution. Sections of the company’s website detail the “Top 5 Advantages of Stainless Steel Cookware” (“Aesthetically pleasing”! “Does not harbor germs!”). Last month, the company changed its name to Weed Growth Fund through the Nevada Secretary of State. Until recently, Ovation Research Inc. operated as a subsidiary of the New Compedium Corporation, which in the past has been a major shareholder in a convoluted corporation whose owner is alleged to have ties to the Dominion of Melchizedek, widely believed to be a fake nation used in international banking fraud.
The timing of Ebola.com’s shadowy sale is consistent with Jon Scultz’s recent remarks that he wanted to sell soon in case the Ebola situation improved and reduced the site’s value, telling the Post, “it’s something that could ameliorate and not be a big news story for that much longer.” Even though he’s sold Ebola.com, Schultz believes he still has a trump card up his sleeve for the future—birdflu.com—backed with an alarming rationale. He says that domain is far more valuable because, unlike Ebola, bird flu has the potential for an airborn outbreak, a much more dire public health threat.