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April 22, 2003
Elequa Unmasked: Unveiling the World's Most Prolific "Domain Artist"

By Ron Jackson
Editor/Publisher


He is “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. Winston Churchill was not talking about Thunayan Khalid AL-Ghanim when he said that more than 60 years ago, but the description matches a man who seems to be defying nature by mastering internet space and time.

Screen shot from AL-Ghanim's FMA.com

Just 2 years after entering the industry, AL-Ghanim has amassed more than 12,000 quality domains, including jewels like media.com, multimedia.com and fm.com. He has thriving websites like mp3.tv, dj.net and oxide.com and he has just purchased a major ICANN-approved internet registry that will be located on another showcase domain, i.net.

No wonder domain industry forums are buzzing with questions about “Elequa”, a childhood nickname the 32-year-old internet phenomenon uses for his online identity. They want to know who he is, where he came from and how he assembled one of the world’s most impressive portfolios almost overnight. They wonder how he seems to be everywhere at once and almost always in the right place at the right time. How is it possible? 

Easy really…he never sleeps. AL-Ghanim is a self-described insomniac who naps only an hour or two each night. While you are sound asleep, he is busy transforming his vision for his current  projects into reality. AL-Ghanim says he is so excited about his work he simply can’t gear down long enough to spend much time in bed. Fueled by that adrenaline rush, he has worked around the clock to cram four years of effort into two years on the calendar. Is it any wonder he is racing far ahead of the pack? 

Answering the common question, “who is Elequa?” is not as simple.  AL-Ghanim is not easily categorized and the biographical details only give you part of the picture. He comes from a respected Kuwaiti family that has international business interests. He was born on June 2, 1970 in London, England and began his education at Switzerland’s historic Le Rosey School. AL-Ghanim moved to America and graduated from St. Stephen's School in Alexandria, Virginia, then spent his college years at American University in Washington, D.C., where he continues to maintain a home.

This is where the lines begin to blur and you have to ponder the composition much as you would an abstract painting.  He is a businessman, an internet visionary,  an artist and sculptor.  By applying all of those skills to the domain industry canvas, he has become the world’s most prolific “domain artist”.  

AL-Ghanim's Future Media Architects, Inc. (fma.com) is a holding company for his masterpieces. However, you need not bother approaching FMA to buy a piece for your own collection. AL-Ghanim says he does not sell domains. That alone tells you how different his approach is from most others in the industry. “My model gives me an opportunity to enjoy utilizing domains for my own purposes and creativity”, AL-Ghanim told DNJ in a series of interviews conducted over the past month. 

He says he was drawn to the domain business because he saw a power locked in domain names that is often left unused. The industry is like a perfect studio where he can apply his creativity to a business with spectacular growth opportunities.  Thunayan has a number of major development projects in the works. His brushstrokes will bring domains like  Jade.com and Fed.com to life.

The knowledge he has gained from traveling around the world has also made him aware of untapped international opportunities. “There will be huge growth in multi-cultural and intra-cultural names, foreign language names, names that will draw domestic and international traffic”, he says. High traffic is sort of the Gospel according to AL-Ghanim and all of his projects manage to attract it. 

Some of that traffic is drawn by the type-in value of great domains and some is produced by Thunayan’s promotional skills. His mp3.tv sponsored Italy’s national championship Ferarri racing team. Seeing his logo emblazoned on a car roaring by at 200 miles per hour is a perfect metaphor for the full-throttle approach AL-Ghanim is applying to the domain business. 

It is easy to forget that the internet is still in its infancy. Does anyone believe that companies like Yahoo, Ebay and Amazon will be the last great companies to emerge from the internet? AL-Ghanim does not believe it and he may well be the architect of the next enterprise to reach such high orbit. This is not a guy who aims low.

Being on the acquisition trail sometimes brings absurd offers from sellers who don’t realize that AL-Ghanim’s business skills are as sharp as his artistry. One dealer publicly complained in a forum when AL-Ghanim turned down his offer to sell him a 3-letter .com for $7,000. AL-Ghanim told the seller the name was worth $850 tops. A few weeks later, the seller put the name up for auction and the top bid was $780. Few professional domain appraisers ever come so close to the mark. 

AL-Ghanim also attracts attention from jealous competitors. One recently posted in a forum that anyone could accomplish what AL-Ghanim has if they had enough money. The critics conveniently ignore the dozens of internet entities that had more than enough money in recent years, yet failed miserably. AL-Ghanim personally formulates the concept for each FMA website and then painstakingly develops them into something special. Perhaps the critics should ask themselves if they could paint like Michaelangelo if only they had enough money.

In fact, AL-Ghanim believes the real beauty of the domain industry is that the barrier to entry is so low. Those with good ideas can succeed, regardless of their resources. He advises people entering the business to “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”. That should be music to everyone’s ears.

 

If you would like to comment on Ron Jackson’s article, write editor@dnjournal.com.  

To see last month's Cover Story click on headline below:

New Company Promises New Life for Your Tired Old & Inactive Domain Names

 

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Domain Name Journal
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