Yesterday was a good day for Rob Sequin’s domain name portfolio.
Yesterday, President Obama announced renewed relations with the government of Cuba. The announcement has immediate ramifications for trade and travel between the two countries, and opens up the potential for much more.
Immediately, people went to domain name registrars to register Cuban domain names. According to Verisign’s DomainView tool, over 1,500 domains containing “cuba” were registered yesterday in .com and .net. Compare that to fewer than 100 that are registered on a typical day.
Additionally, close to 300 domains including “Havana” were registered. Even the term “Cigar” had a banner day, with domains like SendCubanCigars.com registered.
But one man was way ahead of these people.
Domain name investor and buyer broker Rob Sequin has collected 2,500 Cuba-related domain names dating back to 1998. He’s developed 40 of them into sites, and yesterday saw a quintupling of traffic to the sites.
Sequin was elated by yesterday’s news. But for him, Cuba isn’t just an investment. It’s a passion, and he was genuinely excited about what yesterday’s announcement means for both Americans and Cubans.
“It’s great for Americans,” he explained. “The travel restrictions will be eased so more Americans can travel under what they call a general license, which basically means that, if you have purposeful travel, you’ll be able to travel to Cuba without a specific license.”
He also said the relaxed trade restrictions and the U.S. having an embassy in Cuba will be good for Cubans.
“It should be positive for the Cuban people because they’ll have more interactions with Americans and more small business opportunities,” he said.
Sequin is actually heading to Cuba with his family after Christmas on a a humanitarian license. He made plans for the trip in August, well before the recent news.
One of Sequin’s sites that saw a jump in traffic yesterday was HavanaJournal.com, which covers all things Cuba — including relations with the United States. Sequin also runs CubaTrips.org, a site about legal travel to Cuba. One of his more popular Cuba service sites is CubaCityHall.com, where people can retrieve Cuban government documents like birth, marriage and death certificates, as well as police and school records.
You can see a full list of his Cuba domain names here. Many of the domain names aren’t directly affected by yesterday’s announcement, but they could pay off in the future. HavanaVacations.com comes to mind, as there is the potential for U.S. citizens to be able to travel to Cuba on vacation in the future.