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After 400,000 Purchase of Viajes.com Amado Martin Benitez Aims to Become a Major Travel Industry Player With Newly Launched Site 

By Ron Jackson

You may not have heard of Barcelona, Spain based domain investor/developer Amado Martin Benitez before, but don't be surprised if you start seeing the 33-year-old entrepreneur's name everywhere in the near future. In 2012 Benitez managed to acquire one of the world's best Spanish language domain names - Viajes.com ("Travel" in Spanish) for 400,000 ($452,599 at the exchange rate the day this article was published (Feb. 7, 2015) and even more in 2012). After more than two years of painstaking development work, Benitez's company has launched a new site on the premier domain that he is confident will make him a power in the huge travel markets serving Spain and Latin America.

That is a tough nut to crack but this is not Benitez's first rodeo. 16 years of preparation has gone into getting him to the point he is at today and he has had already enjoyed a lot of success along the way. "I started when I was 17 years old, teaching myself something different every day - going from programming in .html, working with servers, web design and, at last, SEO, SEM and online marketing, which is the area that I chose to specialize in and am getting very good results from," Benitez told us.

Amado Martin Benitez
Viajes.com Founder 

"Ive been able to position websites with terms such as Free Games, Free online games or Juegos" (Spanish for games), all thanks to good content strategies. Because of the success of some of my projects, Ive also been able to invest in good premium domains in recent years, such as Viajes.com. Right now we manage about 7 million unique users each month among all our sites, and hold about 30 employees

Benitez started making significant investments in domain names almost ten years ago when the market was turning red hot (2005-2006) and drawing a lot of attention to how valuable a category defining domain name was to a business. "Ive always been both an investor and a developer, but I would say Im more a developer than a seller although I did sell Bodas.com ("Weddings" in Spanish) for 240,000," Benitez said. "Ive always tried to invest in generic .com domains one or two words max because theyre easier to remember and never devalue if the term and industry are important. Viajes.com, for example, will never devalue because the online travel business in Spain and Latin America is worth billions of dollars annually."

Chris Chena (photo from our 2005 Cover Story profile of the pioneering South American domain investor).

Benitez said acquiring Viajes.com involved some of the hardest negotiating he has ever been involved with because the seller, legendary South American domain investor Chris Chena (who was profiled in a 2005 DN Journal Cover Story) - is a guy who is fully aware of what great Spanish keyword domains are worth. Benitez recalled, "Chris had just sold Juegos.com to Spill Games for $10 million. I was trying to negotiate the price of Viajes.com with him for at least a year and a half. At first he asked for some insane amounts I would never pay, but then the global economic crisis hit and we were able to work things out plus, Ive always been a saver and I had some cash to spend!," Benitez laughed.

Amado added, "Saving is a very smart thing to do for those who want to climb. You cant live on the edge, because when you do so and an opportunity is presented to you, you wont be able to take it. Knowing when its alright to wait and being patient is the key."

Being patient will likely come in handy in the hyper competitive online travel space which is truly a land of giants. Still, Benitez is going to war with Viajes.com, confident in his ability to 

do battle. "The Internet has always fascinated me and I am a self-taught person full of energy and ready to face any challenge in this area even where no one is willing to take a chance. We believe there is still lots to do and develop in the travel industry here. We always work to be better than our competitors not only with our premium domain, but in making it simpler to use our products, to offer the best prices, to create great content, a smart marketing strategy and for our clients to trust us and feel they get personalized attention."

In closing Benitez noted, "The online travel business is growing globally, and it quite excites me, being a travel lover myself!" It is pretty obvious to us that Benitez is a guy who is going places - and at 33, his story is just beginning.


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