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Glasgow belongs to me, says Tommy
By Bob Smyth
A BUSINESSMAN has been offered an incredible Â£420,000 to sell a prized Internet address he scooped for just Â£60,000 only weeks ago.
But Scots web entrepreneur Tommy Butler, who pulled off an amazing coup to secure the domain name glasgow.com, has turned down the life-changing cash bonanza.
We revealed in July that Tommy had netted the cityâ€™s official cyberspace address, stunning Greater Glasgow Tourist Board, which had previously failed to buy it.
Tommy had spent two years wooing the US owners of glasgow.com before persuading them to sell to him so he could set up a site promoting tourism and business in his home city.
Now a string of American companies have realised that virtual Glasgowâ€™s streets are paved with gold and have flashed the cash to tempt Tommy, who runs his Internet business from a small flat in the Drumchapel area.
Despite being offered seven times what he paid for the name, Tommy has told potential buyers, â€œSorry â€” Glasgow belongs to me.â€
He said, â€œPeople will think Iâ€™m mad but Iâ€™ve been working on this for a long time and I want to build glasgow.com into a successful business. I hope the financial returns in the next five years will be more lucrative than the sums being offered right now.â€
Tommy says wife Tricia and sons Alan (15) and Liam (12) agree.
â€œTricia has been going out to work while Iâ€™ve been building the business. Sheâ€™s the boss and believes Iâ€™m doing the right thing.â€
The domain name expert was stunned when he was contacted by the worldâ€™s largest business broker network, Sunbelt, a US operation that deals in sales, acquisitions and mergers.
A broker in their Californian office sent Tommy an agreement offering him $700,000 for the sale and promising a mouth-watering $250,000 down payment.
â€œI thought it was a joke or a scam,â€ said Tommy, who owns a huge list of Internet addresses through his business, Local Websites.
Tommy and (behind) a page from
â€œI checked out the business and it seemed genuine. The broker is an Internet specialist and has been involved in the sale of a number of online companies.
â€œHe was amazed I didnâ€™t want to sell. He said he had three potential buyers. He wouldnâ€™t identify them but two are related to the travel and tourism industry and the other was described as a firm with very deep pockets â€” perhaps an Internet search engine business.
â€œHe explained there are about 14 Glasgows in the US and Canada and the address would provide tourist links to them. The Scottish Glasgow could have been included.
â€œThe broker told me I was giving up a lot of money but I explained itâ€™s not about the cash. I want to carry this project through for the customers in Glasgow I already have and for any new ones.â€
Â£40 a month
Tommy secured the address from top American website company, Telepathy Inc.
It previously promoted American towns called Glasgow in Montana and Kentucky.
Glasgow.com will have links to businesses and tourism across the city and in other parts of Scotland. It will cost businesses about Â£40 a month to be part of the site.
Tommy added, â€œWeâ€™re running a test site with our existing customers and it will be fully up and running later in the year.â€