The way this guy cashed in on his expired domain might give you pause.
The New York Times published a story today that could be considered a domain name development success story. An exciting expired-domain-to-riches story.
Or something much worse.
The Times profiled Cameron Harris, a recent college graduate who wrote some of the most successful fake news stories of the presidential election season.
Harris explained that he found the expired domain name ChristianTimesNewspaper.com through ExpiredDomains.net. He then concocted fake news stories, published them to his site, and nudged them to go viral.
His biggest hit was BREAKING: “Tens of thousands” of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.
He earned $5,000 in Google Adsense revenue by getting gullible people to click and share that one article.
Harris was also behind popular fake news stories such as “NYPD Looking to Press Charges Against Bill Clinton for Underage Sex Ring,” “Protesters Beat Homeless Veteran to Death in Philadelphia,” and “Hillary Clinton Files for Divorce in New York Courts.”
(Sadly, I recall seeing some of these articles in my Facebook feed leading up to the election.)
So, on one hand, we have someone who developed an expired domain from nothing to $22,000 in revenue with little work. On the other hand, you might question the ethics behind it.
Oh, and Google turned off the Adsense ads on the site when it decided to crack down on fake news. I’ve found that overnight success online that seems too good to be true usually ends quickly.