Pot Site Looks to Build BuzzMarijuana.net places emphasis on links to alternative health care. Monday, April 16, 2012
Sure medical marijuana is under attack, but when you’ve cornered one of the best web site addresses in the industry, what’s a fellow to do – but go into business.
Last month, entrepreneur Mike Antonucci launched Marijuana.net, a URL that most might think would have been taken long ago. In fact, it was – he bought it for six figures in 2005, but kept it dormant, waiting for the industry to mature.
The site is mostly aimed at connecting medical marijuana patients with dispensaries, but also features aroma therapists and other alternative health providers, as well as marijuana-related news provided by paid writers. And it seeks to distinguish itself from established rivals by playing it straighter.
For example, Marijuana.com features banner ads of red-eyed users hawking seeds and pipes, while Marijuana.net’s landing-page ad is of a yoga studio. Marijuana.net also doesn’t sell paraphernalia.
“We’re trying to represent the industry with a brand message that it’s not just stoners out there,” said Antonucci, 28, of Marina del Rey, a medical marijuana user himself.
Antonucci got into the business after launching a string of e-commerce sites in the mid-2000s. With those earnings and investments from family and friends, he spent more than $200,000 to buy the web address and establish the site.
The site now has 50 local businesses, such as dispensaries, acupuncture centers and others, that pay $250 a month for a listing. Already, Antonucci is getting offers to sell, but said he wants to build up the site himself.
“It could be potentially very lucrative to myself and my team, but I don’t want to do that,” he said.