Carson Valley teen sees the Internet as his domain | RecordCourier.com
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Carson Valley teen sees the Internet as his domain

Linda Hiller

An Carson Valley boy is literally finding the Internet to be his domain.

William “Buddy” Saring, 14, a student at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, has been buying and selling domain names for the last three months. So far, he has made a profit of around $6,000.

This Holbrook teen – who lives with his mother, Debra Rose, stepfather Chris Rose, three dogs and some fish – entered the world of Internet domain name wheeling and dealing through the introduction of Terry Gardetto, a client of his mother’s at Gardnerville’s A La Carte Nails.

“I’ve been going to Debra to get my nails done for around three years,” Gardetto said. “I was talking to her about Buddy and she said he was good on the computer, so I told her about the domain names.”

Gardetto had already involved her oldest son and wondered if her manicurist’s son would find it appealing.

“When I mentioned it to Buddy, I saw a definite, immediate spark of interest,” she said. “As it turns out, he’s really good at it.”

Buying and selling domain names involves many skills that Buddy seemed to have a talent for, even though he’s only in middle school, Gardetto said.

Saring’s best subjects are math and history and his parents have always been very supportive of schools and computer programs, Gardetto said.

“When you have a child who is such quick learner, sometimes they get bored in school,” Gardetto said. “His parents have done wonders with Buddy.”

– How it works. To trade safely and avoid trademark infringements and resultant lawsuits, Buddy makes up his own domain names and then offers them for sale on any of several Web sites.

“In the beginning, I gave him the name ‘montereyviews.com’,” Gardetto said. “He sold that one for a small profit and was hooked after that.”

“That one cost $25 to register and I sold it for $40,” Buddy said. “But a better example is spotlighttv.com that I just sold for $730. I also sold investmentviews.com for $700. I got a check for $1,500 the other day and have put it into my savings account.”

Buddy and his mother team up to do the transactions, since he is not 18. Both think up names and then check to see if they are taken.

“It seems like everything I think of is already taken,” Debra said. “Buddy has had some really good ones, though.”

One of the legendary names all three “domainers” mentioned was engineering.org that sold for almost $200,000.

“You never know what will be popular,” Buddy said. “You just put it out there and people start bidding.”

The concept of buying a domain name is confusing to almost everyone but Internet pioneers and domain wranglers like Buddy and Terry. If you think of the Internet as a vast piece of property, domain names are just little plots of land that people are able to buy.

The Internet Network Information Center, InterNIC, under the umbrella of the United States Department of Commerce, is one clearing house that takes registration of new domain names and keeps track of who owns what. Another site, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is also an accredited registration site used by domainers, and there are more all around the world.

Why do we need domain names registered? When you log on to the World Wide Web and punch in an address, say, montereyviews.com, it is important that there aren’t many, many sites with that name — it would be like several people owning the same piece of land – and that is where InterNIC or ICANN comes in.

“Once you own the rights to that name, it’s like owning a piece of property,” Gardetto said. “You can list it with whomever you want. There are several sites that will promote, and try to auction your name. You only own the domain for a period of time – one, two or 10 years – then you must renew it, unless you sell it. You have the right to sell it for whatever you want or can get for it. Whomever bids the highest or soonest gets it.”

To register a domain name, the applicant goes to InterNIC and applies to register either a dot-com (commerce), a dot-org (organization), or a dot-net (network) name. After two to six weeks, if the name clears, the applicant receives notice that the name – their plot of Internet land – is now registered as being owned by them. It goes through some of the same processes that land sales go through – escrow, for example – and then title to that particular domain name, which will likely be used to anchor a Web site, goes to the registrant.

– Not necessarily a career. Buddy said his foray into the lucrative world of domain buying and selling hasn’t instantly transformed him into an obsessive computer guru.

“During the school year he is only allowed on the computer for one hour each day,” Debra said.

While he is online, Buddy said he e-mails and chats with many friends and acquaintances.

“I have around 80 people that I talk to through the Internet,” he said.

This summer, Buddy will travel to visit his father in Pennsylvania for around a month, but doesn’t plan to be buying and selling domains while back East.

“(My dad) has a computer, but I doubt I’ll be doing anything with it while I’m out there,” he said. “It’s a fun hobby, but I don’t do it all the time.”

Buddy said he is probably too young to know what career he wants to choose for the rest of his life.

“When he was young, he wanted to be a policeman,” Debra said.

“I am thinking about business or something along that line,” Buddy said. “Right now, I’m working on an auction Web site.”

Buddy said there are already around 1,000 auction sites and more than one million domain names out there. He has heard of people making fortunes off domain names, but still considers it just a “fun thing to do.”

“You can’t really sell domain names for a living,” he said. “For me, it’s more of a fun thing to do right now. I am saving my money right now for a car.”

And in two years, if Buddy’s profits their upward pattern, he may be able to afford the vehicle he wants.

“I want a new Jeep,” he said.