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Santa Fe woman, 69, reveals herself as Nets.com domain name cybersquatter

nets-dot-com

After taunting the Brooklyn Nets for years with ownership of nets.com, a 69-year-old woman has identified herself as the cybersquatting owner of the coveted domain name.

The speculation as to the true identity of the owner has become something of a pastime on the Internet. And the activities of the owner operating in the online shadows only fueled the guesswork.

Visitors to nets.com at various times have been presented with different things over the years. At one point, visitors were redirected to the above image, which featured a photo of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a message to Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in his native Russian.

Well, the charade, with all its smokescreens and whatnot, has gone on long enough. The real owner of the domain name is ready to be outed.

Jane Hill, a 69-year-old entrepreneur from Santa Fe, N.M., has come forward to The New York Times. She, along with her 37-year-old son John, are the domain names true owners.

And the two have not revealed their identities without purpose or an ulterior motive, either.

Hill, who said she has enjoyed all the speculation regarding her identity — “We’ve had fun with the mystery of it all,” she says — is now seeking to reap financial dividends for her astutely savvy purchase of the domain name.

According to the Times’ report, Hill is seeking a whopping $5 million for the domain name. If the Nets somehow caved to her demands, it would mean a substantial return on her original investment.

Hill apparently acquired nets.com when her company, Cyber Mesa Telecom, purchased 500 subscribers in 1996 from an Internet service provider going out of business. Nets.com happened to be one of the domain names. The price? $20,000.

The Brooklyn Nets, however, are not amused and do not appear to be close at all to agreeing to the supposed purchase price.

“Our website is BrooklynNets.com, and our fans know this is our site,” Nets spokesman Barry Baum told The New York Times. “Brooklyn Nets is our brand, and we have no interest in Nets.com, despite the shameful efforts of the registrant to attempt to sell us this domain name for seven figures.”

Fair enough. It does seem that Hill is attempting to bleed vast sums of money out of the Nets — albeit in a perfectly legitimate way in a business-sense — at least much more than the domain name arguably is worth.

But as far as Hill is concerned, time is on her side. She has no reason to change her bargaining position as it relates to the price of the domain name, but it would be interesting to see what would happen if the Nets came in with a lower offer to see if the savvy businesswoman would come down a bit. It likely would be difficult for Hill to turn down a cool million bucks should the Nets present such an offer.

And for those who consider $1 million far too much for a domain name? Prokhorov, owner of the Nets, has accumulated a vast amount of wealth in his wheeling and dealing, and that kind of money would be a drop in the bucket for him. After all, this is a team that is paying Joe Johnson over $23 million this season and Kevin Garnett a whopping $12 million. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to payroll. A million bucks is chump change in that light.

Since the Nets don’t appear too interested at the moment, any other potential buyer interested in purchasing the name should head to eBay, where nets.com is for sale. Typing in “nets.com” into a browser redirects users to the eBay listing.

The current top bid is a shade over $150,000, but unstated reserve has not been met as of yet. Start bidding, folks.