Miami Beach City Commissioner Deede Weithorn's husband is literally trying to cash in on the city's name. Mark Weithorn is auctioning off "www.CityOfMiamiBeach.net." Minimum bid: 50 cool Benjamin Franklin notes or 100,000 nickels. The deadline is March 8. Highest bidder wins, of course.
And here Banana Republican thought cyber-squatting was so 2000 and late. His wife insists she had no involvement in Mark's attempt to make a quick buck. "I became aware of the auction through an email like everyone else," she says an in email statement. "Just like any other spouse, I do not participate in my husband's job. Any further inquiries should be directed to him."
Mark Weithorn, who owns a company that builds web sites, says he's selling the domain name on behalf of a client. He emphasized the domain name has nothing to do with city government. "Web sites like there are quite common," Weithorn explains. "These sites are commonly used as advertising portals for services in these various cities."
Earlier this week, Weithorn fired off an email blast sent to hundreds of people marketing the domain name, which was forwarded to Banana Republican. Weithorn says he is "acting as the exclusive agent for the current owner." He uses a photo of the city's mural welcoming visitors coming off the Julia Tuttle Causeway.
Then comes his pitch:
Miami Beach is one of the top tourist destinations and real estate markets in the world. Millions of people travel here every year and spend billions of dollars. Now you have an opportunity to purchase a domain name that will help you capture some of these people.
Due to many requests we have decided to have an auction for this domain name. Ownership goes to the highest bidder.
According to his auction guidelines, bids must be submitted to Weithorn via email. He will also keep bidders apprised via email. The winning bidder will be required to make a 10 percent non-refundable deposit ASAP to his company, Showcase Web Sites. Then the winner has three working days to send a check or use PayPal for the remaining 90 percent.
Sounds like one of those Nigerian bank transfer emails that are always too good to be true. And $5,000 is really on the low when you consider Go Daddy is auctioning "www.CityofMiamiBeach.com" for $24,900.
Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.
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