Jose Vargas was stricken with buyer's remorse when, in 2006, he and his business partner shelled out $2.3 million for a URL: healthcare.com.
Thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, he's no longer suffering.
If Tuesday marked a moment of vindication for the White House's health enrollment website, healthcare.gov, then so was it for the website many Americans may have first visited by mistake.
According to company figures provided to CNBC.com, 119,000 unique visitors clicked onto healthcare.com Tuesday, bringing its March Web traffic totals to a record 1.5 million uniques. Although this paled in comparison to the traffic for healthcare.gov, which reporter 4.3 million uniques Tuesday, Vargas was more than happy to play host to the incidental runoff of the enrollment deadline surge.
But for Vargas, the domain name is (hopefully) just the beginning.
Healthcare.com originally belonged to an eponymous Atlanta-based integration software vendor that exploded during the 1990s dot-com boom and was sold in 2001 for $160 million. Eventually, the company fizzled and the URL ended up in a bankruptcy selloff. It was bought by a private individual in San Francisco, who held onto it for a while before soliciting interest from Vargas and his business partner, Matias de Tezanos. At the time, the pair had made a name and small fortune as Web entrepreneurs.
However, they weren't so sure that healthcare.com would bring similar profits. "We didn't know anything about health care and we still don't," said the 35-year-old Vargas, a native of Venezuela.
Initially, the pair set about raising $6 million in capital and attempted to make healthcare.com into a medical reference destination. But as a pay-for-content site, the business wasn't nearly scalable, so Vargas and de Tezanos returned to the drawing board and relaunched their site as a pay-per-click network of health insurance providers.