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This 18-year-old tech entrepreneur is trying to cash in on Elon Musk’s tweets

AP Photo/Cathleen Allison
The entrepreneurial spirit thrives.
  • Dave Gershgorn
By Dave Gershgorn

Artificial intelligence reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

When Tom Higgins got the Twitter push alert that Elon Musk was tweeting about making a website called Pravda to rank the media as part of his feud with journalists, the 18 year old’s first thought was to head to GoDaddy.

But the aspiring tech entrepreneur could only find the scraps—the domain pravda.company, which he bought anyway, figuring it was worth a shot. But lightning struck again the next day, when Musk tweeted a new name, Pravduh.

“Even if nothing came of it, it was a chance too good to pass up on,” Higgins said, who ideally would like to sell the domain to Musk.

Higgins bought five related domains, including pravduh.us and pravduh.net, thinking that the $15 he spent in total wasn’t a terrible investment. He originally had pravduh.org and pravduh.co in his cart as well, but in the 30 seconds it took for him to check out on GoDaddy the domains had already been purchased.

What Higgins is doing is a classic play on the internet called domain squatting. Since each domain can only be used by one person at a time, you buy domains that are short or have value, with the potential of selling them to businesses or people who can afford to shell out for marketing purposes. Domains can sell for $25,000 to millions.

Musk has allegedly already bought the domain pravduh.com.

Higgins thought the money from a sale to Musk would help kickstart his visual AI search app called Prism. He describes it colloquially as “Siri for the eyes.” It uses AI to identify objects seen through the camera and pulls more information about them, like Google Lens, as well as translating text. Higgins says he would use the funds to stop training the machine learning models on his laptop and start training them on the cloud.

Higgins, who lives just outside Chicago, Ill., says he would be a senior in high school, but is currently taking the year off in order to pursue being a tech entrepreneur.

“I wanted to see if I could start a business within the time of a year that would allow me to skip college. I just wanted to get started doing useful things and not worry about things that I could possibly forgo,” he said.

Higgins hasn’t gotten any offers yet, and still doesn’t know how much cash he’d ask for the site if one materialized

“Oh goodness me,” Higgins says. “I’m so new at this I don’t think I could say. I think if I found myself in the situation I would ask [Musk] to give a price that was fair to him.”

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