I don’t know much about Al-Ghanim because of the lack of information, but his nickname Elequa always stays in my mind as a man who refuses to sell his domain names — too early. The interesting thing is, once he started selling, most of his domain names go to China instead of the US. Elequa is truly a story of vision and patience.
This post is based on an interview reported in Chinese media as well as an old interview conducted by Ron Jackson. Al-Ghanim founded Future Media Architects (FMA.com) in 2002. In the following year, he was interviewed by Ron Jackson of DN Journal. In the interview, he said: There will be huge growth in multi-cultural and intra-cultural names, foreign language names, names that will draw domestic and international traffic.
I guess he must have studied the Chinese culture way back, because around that time he bought a lot of domain names containing x, z, v, or y letters that nobody wanted. The cheap domain names that he collected have turned out to be highly sought after in China now. He also picked up numeric domain names when they were not favored by investors. For example, he acquired 333.com and then later sold it to China. 3 is an excellent number in Chinese because it rhymes with 生 (alive) and 商 (business), which are very favorable terms in corporate China.
He owns Ai.com and FM.com which he said he would be willing to cooperate with the Chinese government to develop. I don’t quite understand why he does not want to work with a Chinese company instead. Maybe his intention was lost in translation. Both names are excellent. Ai is Pinyin for 爱 (love), which is a big money business in China. FM is very versatile in its applications. For example, it may mean 贩卖 (sell), 封面 (magazine cover), 赴美 (going to USA), and 伏魔 (subdue the devil). These names enable you to build websites for ecommerce, celebrity news, study abroad programs, or games.
While he likes the new extensions and thinks .cn has great future, he still prefer to focus on .com.
Chinese media call him Kuwait prince, and I think he may also deserve the title of domain prince as well. Just look at what he owns. Among his large collection, he has 100 domain names which are valued at over $1m each, and his ad income from domain names alone amounts to hundreds of thousand dollars a month. With this level of assets and income, he is in a position to play it big.
Finally, I think his advice given in the 2003 interview still rings true today: “do what you like and you will be successful. The playing field is wide open to the newcomer. There are no limits, even for those with limited budgets.”