A picture might be worth a thousand words, but for one Fairfax County photographer, three words are worth $133,000.
Those three words are "photographer dot com."
Last week, McLean shutterbug Blake Newman sold the domain name he has held since 1994 to a buyer he characterized as a "cyber-squatter," whom Newman said he could not name under an agreement with the new owner.
Until last week, photographer.com showcased the work of Newman and six other local photographers who specialize in shooting weddings, bar mitzvahs and other family celebrations. Now the domain name refers Web surfers to the online portrait studios of national retailers, including Sears, JCPenney and Target.
Newman said he bought the Internet address in 1994, soon after he left a software engineering job at TRW Inc., which was later acquired by defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp., for a career in pictures. "Because I was coming from the IT business, I knew what the Web was all about," said Newman. "I was the only person I knew who had a Web site back then."
The McLean photographer certainly didn't abandon all interest in the technology field. He sent The Washington Post a list of hundreds of Web addresses he owns, including many with local commercial potential, including ritzcarltongeorgetown.com, dulles-towncenter.com and tysons-condos.com.
"I'm an investor in domain names," said Newman this week. "It was never for the purpose of extracting money from people."
Newman also noted that he hasn't been approached to sell any of his other Web addresses.
Home Price Fundamentals
For those Fairfax residents who follow the housing market more closely than the stock market, or perhaps new Fairfax homeowners crossing their fingers as they sign interest-only loans, Raymond E. Owens delivered comforting news.
Last Friday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond vice president said that high housing prices in the area have a rational foundation because of high household income and high demand. "Demand has been high in the Washington area partly because housing creation has not kept pace with job creation in recent years," Owens told an audience assembled for a program sponsored by the Greater Washington Initiative.
Owens's remarks suggested that housing prices have risen dramatically because of basic principles in microeconomics. "A 'bubble' is created when prices go up without any underlying economic reasons," Owens said.
But the economist also hedged his bets. "But that's not entirely the case in the Washington area, though we will only know the future path of area housing prices with the benefit of hindsight," said Owens.
Movers and Shakers
* Retired U.S. Army Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs will bring a bit of star power to the board of directors of Convera Corp., a Vienna software firm. Meigs was commander of the U.S. Army in Europe from 1998 through 2002.
* Tae-Sik Yoon has been named chief financial officer of JER Investors Trust, a specialty finance company located in Tysons Corner. Yoon will take over from Kari L. Doescher, who will step down at the beginning of September.
* Roger L. Willis has joined the McLean merchant banking firm Galen Capital Group as a senior adviser. Willis is co-founder of the Penn Companies that specializes in the medical diagnostic field.
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