The Man Who Sold the World

Published: Fri 24 Nov 2006 02:02 PM
The Man Who Sold the World
A 23 year old from New Zealand has successfully sold the world. One country at a time Hamish Laude has sold almost all of the 125 countries available on his website making $USD 13,000 to put towards his planned Overseas Experience (OE).
Those who purchased a country on have earned the right to display an image of their country on Laude's home page, and link it through to their own website. Countries began selling quickly following international media coverage in early November.
Laude was initially selling countries at a rate of two or three per week until several online news websites and popular blog authors started following the story. Laude then sold most countries within days, making almost $USD 13,000 to put towards his overseas travel. Only the most expensive countries remain available, such as China, listed on sale for $USD 2,646.00. Pam Vaguelers of bought Iran after a tip off during the early stages of the website.
“A few weeks ago, my daughter emailed me to tell me she had purchased her own country. Thinking it would be a great idea for me she told me all about it, but I didn’t go and purchase my country. Then the advert brought my daughter 23,000 extra visits to her website on Saturday alone! After that, I knew I had to buy one too - so off I went and purchased my own country!” she said.
Laude has performed numerous radio interviews across New Zealand and Australia following the success of his website, and recently appeared on Campbell Live, a prime time current affairs TV show in New Zealand. The website has also attracted widespread media attention in the U.K., Russia and Taiwan.
“Selling every country was always my goal, but achieving it so quickly has well exceeded my expectations,” he said.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the interest and messages of support I’ve received. As it turns out owning a country is a concept that really connects with a lot of people,”
Laude has recently introduced the ability to resell countries, meaning many country owners may make a profit from their original investment. In his website blog he has made a commitment to keep introducing new innovative ideas to the website, to ensure international demand for owning a country remains strong.
“The success of my idea has been an amazing experience, but now I also have an ongoing obligation publicise the website, keep visitor numbers up and maximise the traffic flowing through to country owners,” he said.
“Maintaining interest in the website will keep visitor numbers rising, increasing the value of each country as the story spreads around the world,” Several countries are already listed for resale - with Iceland listed at 350% higher than the original selling price. Laude is putting the proceeds from the sale of the countries towards an OE. He describes an OE as a "must for all young kiwis" and will commence his trip once he sells every country.
He intends to maintain a blog on the website to keep future visitors informed of his travels. "I could save for an OE the way most people do - working a regular job - but this way is far more challenging, exciting, and hopefully much faster," he said. Laude developed the idea following a working holiday in the USA between university semesters, where the high costs of travelling and the low level of international knowledge of New Zealand frustrated him.

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