Tech investor happy when you search for LeBron online

LeBron James attends the LeBron James Skills Academy Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Las Vegas. AP Photo/John Locher

It pays to think ahead if you want to be a sports superstar -- or a tech entrepreneur.

As millions of basketball fans search online for news of what team free agent LeBron James will be playing for next, a tech-savvy Maryland businessman named Patrick Nagle has found a way to benefit.

Type in LeBronJames.com and you go to James's official Web site. But type in lebron.com and you'll end up wherever Nagle directs you. Nagle bought the domain name lebron.com back in 2008.

Now he has taken all of the Web traffic looking for basketball news at lebron.com and directed it to Nagle's own personal LinkedIn profile instead.

In an email to CBS News today, Nagle says, "I've been buying and selling Internet business for the past 15 years (since I was 16). I stumbled across lebron.com when I co-founded OurSpace.com in 2008, an Urban Social Network, (later acquired by News Corp). I thought lebron.com was a great domain, so I bought it."

Though an unclaimed Web site domain name costs only a few dollars, its value can go up if it becomes associated with a famous person or brand name or a popular search term. Nagle cites an example: "I recently re-sold MarijuanaMD.com in less than week for mid six-figures after acquiring it for $800. I don't know what lebron.com is worth -- but I do know it is a quality generic name."

Nagle says he owns or runs around 3,000 domains and web properties, but has "stopped buying and selling to focus on a new business."

It is now standard practice for people building high-profile careers in sports or entertainment to buy up any domain names they can related to their names and potential brands.

If only LeBron and his agents had thought of that in 2008.

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