The REAL story behind the flowers.mobi purchase

I bought Sirius
Satellite Radio at 49 cents. I bought hundreds of thousands of shares and made
millions of dollars when the net was at the lowest point. I wonder about the
rumors on Wall St. lol


I bought that stock for
ONE main reason. I looked at the impressive list of companies backing Sirius. I
FOLLOWED THE MONEY!! I do that all the time. In anything. ALWAYS....follow the
money. I did the same with .mobi. What caught MY attention were the companies
backing it. Why would they do that? I also saw a POSSIBLE difference in .mobi
if it ever became adopted as a standard by these folks that were investing.
Taking $200k out of my pocket to buy flowers.mobi given my financial position
was no big deal to me. I have lost $200k in the stock market quicker than it
took me to write this SENTENCE! Remember iOmega.com, quepasa.com, etoys.com? It
was left over $$$ that I had nowhere to invest. Seems it became a big deal to
everyone else as rumors by those with an agenda were planted within minutes or
hours of the auction. To me it was just one transaction out of thousands that I
make.


Just to set the record
straight.


First let me clean
things up. Seems there are rumors circulating that I need to put an end to. The
only way to do that is to state the FACTS from the horses mouth so all the
speculation of what 'Really' happened are finally put to bed and the
record is set straight.


I get no kickbacks or
anything from .mobi whatsoever. Not a penny, not so much as a dinner. NOTHING!
The share TRAFFIC makes off the auction is our business. But we make the same
off of any sale off any extension. The only relationship is their sponsorships
which have been modest but appreciated. Before the TRAFFIC show in October 2006,
I had never met, spoken to, emailed or had a relationship with anyone at
.mobi. I didn't even know that .mobi was not spelled .moby. :-)


So let me take you
inside my mind over a year ago when I bought flowers.mobi. First of all I never
registered a single .mobi domain during the sunrise period. My interest was not
there until about a week before the auction or whenever Moniker announced the
premium domain list. See, when I speculate with domains of ANY extension, I
focus on one word domains or 2 very meaningful word domains. But if I am going
to speculate on any extension other than dotcom, I am going to buy premium
domains. So I decided to wait until the Moniker auction at TRAFFIC because that
was going to be the first time that PREMIUM names with that extension would
become available. I immediately picked flowers.mobi as the most valuable domain
on the list and one of the premiere domains in the space should .mobi take off.
So I decided before the auction I would bid up to $100k to get it.


First of all I think
even if .mobi takes off it will be very narrow. It won't be the same as .com. I
believe folks will concentrate on different things. So I decided that
flowers.mobi was the prize. However I was interested in many of the other
.mobi's because I wanted a stake in some of the best premium domains. If I am
going to invest in a risky new extension, I am going to do my best to get
domains I believe have the best balance of price and future.


So quietly I bought
Laugh.mobi for $3k, celebs.mobi for $2250  and a few others like
eat.mobi. early in the auction for about 8k. Then wow.mobi for $9k, gossip.mobi
for $5k, Fun.mobi came up. I had also wanted that as well. When it hit $95 or
$100k I dropped out. I also tried to buy party.mobi.


As I stated earlier, I
was going to bid up to $100k for flowers.mobi. I knew that the
flowers.com attorney was there and bidding. however I could not see him
and I have no idea when he dropped out of the bidding. Some of told me $40k
while others have stated $100k. I still don't know as I write this. I know
there are other big companies investing in .mobi and I
ALWAYS.....'Follow the money.' But when several others bid 6 figures
it created a 'Market value' and that gave me confidence to bid higher
than what I planned. Now a 'Floor' was established as 3 or 4
people in the room were willing to pay over $100k and 2 or 3 of them went to
$120k I think. Then I duked in out with my friends at EuroDNS. Their last bid
was $190k if I recall correctly. So what others see as this great risk, I see
as a domain that the market said was worth between $100k and $200k set by the
market not a worthless appraisal. Not a rumor started with somebody with an
agenda.


I had no idea what a
firestorm that would create until I began reading what was said after the
auction on the boards when I returned to my room late that night. The rumors
were flying. They just made stuff up. They were not even there but once someone
starts a rumor, the mindless followers spread it like wildfire. Everything is a
conspiracy to them. THAT was the REAL story. But they were too busy looking in
the grassy knoll for some BS that somebody with a motive planted. Not that it
is possible that I saw something different in .mobi than any other extension.
Something I really don't need to reveal here but I have even tho that's MY
business. But I am setting the record straight regardless and maybe some of the
mindless folks that talk out of their butts will learn something instead of
making it up.


But there is ONE thing
different and it has nothing to do with compliance or anything like that. Let
me put it this way....If there are 450 lemonade stands lined upon a street and
I wanted to do business where would I start? Some would say get some lemons and
a table and sell lemonade. I would say let me focus on grape juice and I
bet I will do more business than most of the lemonade stands in my first day
than those there for YEARS!. That's the best I can do at this point in
time. But just like .com, I reach a point of investment and I slow down or
stop. I decided that $500k-750k was what I would RISK with .mobi.  Is it a
good investment? Ask me in 5 years. That is how long I expect it to be before
the seeds from my investment germinate or die. On the other hand, if I flip
them TODAY, the value of my investment has gone up and I will show that in a
minute.


Well there are the
facts. I get no preferential treatment from .mobi. I get NOTHING WHATSOEVER in
return. Not even a Christmas Card. lol But if I get one, I will let you all
know. I just buy things at one price that I believe their value will go up in
the future. I may be right. I may be wrong. That is what investing is all about
and I ain't done that bad for myself over the years. If folks decide that since
Rick Schwartz is buying .mobi they should too.....that has nothing to do with
me. They may buy because I buy but they do it silly and blindly if that is the
only reason. I just have a hard enough time taking care of my own business
and my own concerns and wiping my own butt in the morning to worry about the
other BS, rumors and such made up by folks in this business that have a motive
and an agenda.


Lastly.......


Some folks think that
just because I run a tradeshow, just because I have a private forum, just
because I am who I am that I should not be allowed to bid at the TRAFFIC
auctions. Well to those folks, I would say I never abdicated my being a
domainer when I decided to share my knowledge and promote the industry. I take
folks on the boat I created and the next thing I know I have to deal with folks
trying to throw me off my own ship. I am a domainer. I have been a domainer for
a dozen years. I am going to continue to buy domains whenever and wherever.
That includes TRAFFIC and the Moniker auction and any other auction I feel I want
to participate in. Those that don't want me to bid because they perceive that I
have an unfair advantage are wrong. I am a domainer just like them. The next
thing they will complain about is my bank account has millions more than they
do and so THAT gives me an unfair advantage. To those folks.....GET OVER IT!
Work hard, make good decisions and get rewarded. Every second you are minding
MY business, you are ignoring yours. Does THAT sound like a good decision? A
good investment of your time? It sure looks foolish to me.


As far as Sahar and the
'rest of the story.' I have no idea what he is referring to. It could
be something simple like all the publicity the flowers.mobi sale created.
What's the value of that? But I will ask him before I finish this just to see.
(Already revealed above)


Anyway, that's the real
story from the horses mouth. Take it or leave it, those are the FACTS. If you
want to make up lies in the face of facts, knock yourself out. But don't expect
me to allow you to get away with it. The industry now knows the story behind
the story. I may have written it earlier but I was still actively buying .mobi
and was not in my best interest. Now I have the stake I want and it's on to the
next investment. And that is what it is.....an investment that may or may not
pay dividends. Those that say I am promoting .mobi are making it up. Look at
any of my posts about the extension. They are well balanced. They show BOTH
sides of the coin. I have no idea if .mobi will be a hit or a bust. If it is a
bust I lose up to $750k. If it is a win, then who knows. I like bets with
'Who knows' based on my gut. Some go to Vegas and gamble, some do it
on Wall St., I prefer to do my own gambling on my own business using
a gut instinct that has served me well.


And in the interest of
full disclosure. Jim McCann the CEO and Founder of Flowers.com will be our
keynote speaker at TRAFFIC in Las Vegas. So now you will have some other
conspiracy theories to make up and talk about. I hope you will be more creative
with this one. Do you think I should wear my Flowers.mobi shirt to dinner?
Deliver flowers to his room from FLOWERS.MOBI? Have the limo pick him up with
Flowers.mobi all over the sides? Nah....not my style. I'll just enjoy the talk
from a guy who has walked the same path as us and has one of THE greatest
success stories of all time to share. I will learn more from his words than the
$200k Flowers.mobi cost me and I will still own the domain name. Besides, I
would rather discuss Candy.com with him. Shazaam!


Now that we took care of
that, lets peel back the NUMBERS. The numbers tell all. Numbers  don't lie....people have agendas. People make things up. But numbers tell a story. A story most are AFRAID to look  at and even more afraid to understand. My best business friend is numbers.


If you read my comments
I have always addressed both sides of the .mobi debate. I am in the middle. I
admit I am not smart enough to know what others THINK they know. I know to trust the numbers and tune out the bullshit on both sides. Whatever extension folks focus on there is
a narrow line between just investing in the extension and promoting that
extension. IDN won't be big because somebody says so. It will be big when/if
the market says so. When the numbers say so. Same with .tv, .biz, .info .whatever. It will be big when Ron
Jackson's chart shows it is big. Shows by real world, verifiable sales. In 2007
so far of the top 100 reported sales 91 are .com. So dotcom is KING, not
because I say so but because the market says so. Of the 9 that were not
.com......2 were.mobi.......3 were .net.........1 was .org.........1 was
.info.......and there were 2 country codes, .co.uk and .de. This covers domains
with reported sales from $82,000 to $9.5 million so far in 2007 as of last
week.


Then we can jumpover to
the 'Global contenders. Their range for the year is $15,000 to $300k. Here
is the BIG answer. Of the top 100 there are 28 .mobi's occupying those spots.


.net = 43
.mobi = 28
.org = 16
.info = 9


Lastly the country
codes. With the exception of two 6 figure sales, the range was $10-$85k. That
also included .cc, .tv IDN and some 335 individual country codes competing for
this spots. So if you just sit there and study Ron's page and FOLLOW THE MONEY,
it is pretty easy to pick the finalists. You pick them from REALITY by sales
not wishful thinking by me or you or anyone.


Here are the extensions
in the order of what the MARKET says by actual real world reported sales.


.com
.net
.org
.mobi
.info


Then .co.uk, .de, .tv,
.us, idn



http://www.dnjournal.com/ytd-sales-charts.htm


Follow the money, look
at the numbers, gage the market, don't listen to rumors. The newest extension
on the list is outperforming extensions out for many years. THAT is the
reality. They may become another 'Tulip' run. But at this point
nobody can say definitively either way. Those that think they know on either
side, know nothing. It's just too early to tell.


Have a GREAT day!
Rick Schwartz




25 thoughts on “The REAL story behind the flowers.mobi purchase

  1. David Wrixon

    Rick,
    I think it is time to put this to bed once and for all.
    I wish you every success with your Dot Mobis and with your conventions, and your private board.
    It is time to stop tearing this Industry apart. I would like to see more transparency, but it has to be done the right way. I think last week taught us all a few lessons.
    Some us need to be perhaps be less suspicious, whilst others need to be more open minded and less secretive. What we all need to do is to stop kicking the hell out of one another.
    It is also time you stopped trying to explain this incident. The rest of us must either accept your explanation or not. For my part I am prepared to take it at face value, with the hope that we can collectively draw a line under things.
    Best Regards
    Dave Wrixon (aka Rubber Duck)

    Reply
  2. Mr. Rhee

    Great read. Glad you took the time to share this with all of us. I can tell that you put a lot of thought into it and took great care in explaining what your investment strategy is and how it pertains to other TLDs(and other investments) beside .COM. Hopefully now all the ridiculous rumors will finally end and everyone who perpetuated the lies will simply shut up and fade away. Everyone believes in a great conspiracy (or wants to believe), when the truth is quite simple: You choose to diversify your portfolio. I hope everyone is wise to remember the age-old saying: Only invest what you can afford to lose.
    For me personally, the reason I invested beyond .COM and into .MOBI & .TV is due to who the backers are, who the team players were, and most importantly, like you said above:”Follow the Money”. I did my due diligence and made a decision to invest. For those that question others’ investment decisions, or choose to mock, laugh, spread rumors, etc… I hope they realize they are only wasting their time and missing out on the lucrative opportunities that may cross their path.
    Good Luck to all.

    Reply
  3. Guy

    Hi RICK,
    i’m not normally a fan of blogs, but am loving yours. i love your what you see is what you get style and you are someone to learn from.Thanks for all your insights and stories.
    I fully agree with the last post.
    I myself believe com and mobi is where the smart money is. Both of them.
    cheers and take care

    Reply
  4. Makis - on!SPOT

    Interesting story u posted.
    Its very easy to have rumors created and thats why once in a while there must be some posts like urs so that things get cleared. Mobi has ups and downs, in my opinion a premium name stays premium whatever the extension is, numbers state that mobi has feature and can get even better IF we have lots of developed and mobi compliant websites, so a premium mobi name could be worth much.
    I dont think i could give that amount of money for flowers.mobi but thats why i cant afford it.
    ps: i only one a couple of mobi’s

    Reply
  5. Fin

    Great post, Rick. I for one never believed the BS rumors about there being collusion. I did sense that *something* was afoot though. Now its clear that the flowers.com people simply tipped their hand. Had they been more stealth in their attempt at acquisition they might have walked away with the domain and at a substantially lower price. And the .mobi”bubble” might never have happened.
    Markets often fulfill their own prophesies, in the short term at least. Perhaps so much money is now being spent on .mobi domains that similar amounts and more will need to be spent in development and promotion in order to justify and capitalize on the investments. That could in turn make .mobi a long term winner.
    In any case I wish you the best of success.

    Reply
  6. Teabag

    Was nice to read, thanks.
    Would you share your plans for development of the mentioned names?
    I’m asking, because it’s very interesting to know if you were the end-user or reseller.

    Reply
  7. Teabag

    Was nice to read, thanks.
    Would you share your plans for development of the mentioned names?
    I’m asking, because it’s very interesting to know if you were the end-user or reseller.

    Reply
  8. Chris Campbell

    I think a lot of us in the domain biz should take heed of this post as it is the shortest most concise lesson on smart domain or other investing I have read.”Follow the money.”

    Reply
  9. PCAERO

    Rick,
    Great read and even better insight.
    As for mobi…IMHO
    It has passed the make or break point (as Fin has pointed out.)
    The money has flowed in (and will continue to), as corporate acceptance has taken hold. COM aside, MOBI has the greatest potential than any other current TLD.
    With the looks of it I’m not alone.
    Regards.

    Reply
  10. .pH

    Rick,
    Can I have a V8?
    I am happy with your explanation. But some of us (at least me) did not need any explanation.
    I am not a landrusher. I invested based on global market trends, analysis, and discovery…my own studies, reading, and assessments.
    I appreciated all the arguments, all the sides, all the spats. It demonstrates that much of what we do, as domainers, is so opinionated that it dictates our likes and dislikes therefore our purchasing decisions.
    In order to make lemonade, you have to have lemons.
    Great post, Rick.
    Now perhaps everyone can get on with their lives.
    Oh, perhaps you can too.
    Gerry

    Reply
  11. Ed Keay-Smith

    Thanks for that Rick.
    I think you hit the nail on the head with this statement –
    ” Every second you are minding MY business, you are ignoring yours. Does THAT sound like a good decision? A good investment of your time? It sure looks foolish to me.”
    I think even if you said nothing else in you post that should be enough for those who have any sense at all to get on with their own business and get out of everyone elses.
    If thats what they want to do they should get a job as a gossip writer for some magazine!
    “No Hocus Pocus, Just Focus” is what they should be working on.
    Thanks for all your hard work in this industry and I look forward to meeting with you in the future.
    Regards
    Ed Keay-Smith
    http://www.ozdomainer.com

    Reply
  12. yanni

    All good except for this part:
    [QUOTE]Here are the extensions in the order of what the MARKET says by actual real world reported sales.
    .com
    .net
    .org
    .mobi
    .info
    Then .co.uk, .de, .tv, .us, idn[/QUOTE]
    Idn is not an extention. It just happens that the idns on the top list are of the .de extention.
    Internationalized Domains can be registered in .com, .net, .org (some languages), .info and a bunch of cctlds.
    Also, due to their nature of being targeted to”foreign speaking”, audiences, common sense says that many localized sales would go unreported to DNJ:
    A Japanese business that buys a Japanese idn for development, will not seek out DNJ to list the sale, nor will a Japanese seller. They probably don’t speak English in the first place, much like their target audience.

    Reply
  13. Robb

    great post, I remember all the discussion in the domain forums about that flowers.mobi sale – rumours of kickbacks, not on the up and up, etc. Nice to see your view on it, even though you didn’t have to post anything – it’s your own business. There are actually people out there who spend their time posting negative things about a lot of the biggest domain owners/bloggers. Like you say, they’d be better off worrying about their own business than someone else’s. Cheers!

    Reply
  14. owen frager

    Flowers.mobi may just well be the smartest purchase you ever made. More then a domain, it’s a brand that is truly global in scope and potential. Flowers is one of those pictures that’s worth a thousand words. That transcends political, cultural and geographic boundaries.
    People”say it” with flowers and now type it with MOBI.
    Like flowers, mobi is one of the only words. What does .edu tell you about the site? .gov? The signify something, they are exclusive, but also in english. I believe mobile is mobile in any language along with the spelling. Finally, a global extension that
    says MOBILE in any language, just like .com.
    Just one caution about being impressed by backers. Who was it that looked at the last bubble and said:
    “The REAL whores are the bankers and Venture Capitalists that knowingly back companies destined for failure! Their flawed and short sighted thinking will cause many to lose their savings.”
    ooch.. I think you even offer a link to that genius on this blog!
    Best of luck!

    Reply
  15. Pinky Brand

    Rick, I confirm your post regarding the totally inaccurate and baseless rumours that have floated around the boards concerning the auction of flowers.mobi and that somehow the transaction was tainted. My g-d, it’s unbelievable to me to think that I or anyone else representing dotMobi and the household-name investors that back us would ruin our good names during the then START-UP phase our company in attempting such a ridiculous ruse. True to your words, I had never met or spoke with you for more than 10 seconds until I came over and shook your hand personally and thanked you immediately on behalf of dotMobi after you secured the winning bid—something to me that seems like the professional, decent and correct thing to do. Thanks for your business and I hope that together all of us in the industry will keep our minds on our business—and not baseless rumours— so that we can all win and profit sooner rather than later. And mayber this year I’ll send you a Christmas card! – Pinky Brand

    Reply
  16. Rob Sequin

    Rick,
    I was sitting about ten seats away from you when you bought the domain and never thought about a conspiracy. I knew I was watching the business.com transaction of the 2000s and so far flowers.mobi has gotten more than $200k in free publicity so congrats on that.
    I have defended you in some forums and it is amazing how much time and energy losers will put into rumors and hate which obviously gets them nowhere.
    You are right about following the money and I figured if Google and the cellphone companies are on board for .mobi, that’s good enough for me to throw a few grand at it.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  17. lawrence

    lol – The real story behind flowers.mobi is…There is no real story. tahh-daah
    It’s just about a guy who is buying the domain as a potential investment, for 5 years down the road.
    Will it bear fruits, or flop – 5 years from now? only time will tell – as with any and all investments.
    Hooow exciting is that, people? (yaaawwnn)

    Reply
  18. David Wrixon

    Last Night events at Associated Cities, shows clearly that confusion at Moniker Auctions is not uniquely a TRAFFIC trade show problem.
    Most people interpreted the bidding on IDN”India.com” in Hindi to be multi-million dollar bids. It would seem that no bids were actually registered at all. And this was certainly not an isolated case. This confusion is causing people to understand that bids have been made when they have not been, and may lead to further suspicion unless clarity is achieved.
    I am not suggesting for one moment their was intention to deceive, but Sellers are certainly being left with the impression that there is an awful lot more money out there than there actually is. This is resulting in much higher reserves than the market can justify and is ultimately counter-productive to all concerned.
    We need transparency, and we need things to be seen to be transparent. If we don’t get this, the suspicion and rumour mongering will continue.
    The relative failure of this auction and the one at Go Daddy, would also seem to suggest that there are now too many players entering a market that is not as robust as perhaps we all felt. I am all for competition, but perhaps what is needed is a very small number of competing centres of excellence rather than dozens of different models diluting the buying power of the market.

    Reply
  19. Robert Wolfson

    Hi Rick,
    Great blog as always. I’ve sold you a domain myself, under-pricing the market as I enjoy doing. To my point: thank-you for sharing your experience, as I’ve learned more from your ramblings than just about anywhere else on the web. I hold 12,000 domains or so, and just now am graduating to premium auctions. There always will be those who prefer to stand on the side and gossip, even without factual reference; congrats on being a player, and yet helping others like myself move forward.
    Robert

    Reply
  20. brand

    dear rick,
    you are a visionary and market leader..therefore
    expect animosity,jealousy,
    and controversy…it goes with leadership!!!
    when you purchased flowers.mobi for 200k it blew everyone away..a heavy hitter stepping up to the plate!and everyone else scrathing their ass with .net,.org.and what about .us?we see a leader making tons of money and everyone else gets jealous.
    as the domain industry explodes you will be under even more scrunity..expect nothing less…
    we all appreciate your efforts and look towards you leadership..expect more bull shit and tell us domainers more we would all be lost without you..
    ps.of course we will watch you and not ourselves..
    youre making millions and
    we all want our small piece of the domain market.
    we all love you rick…
    and want more leadership tidbits from you…..

    Reply
  21. Robert Haastrup-Timmi

    Once again Rick, you lay the record straight! I love the correlation you made with stocks, like you, I used to invest in stocks and derivatives, made a lot of money and got wiped out very fast, usually in minutes! As I pointed out in my article URL linked above, domain investing dose’nt loose your shirt! Amazingly, most people mis-construe why .mobi is a likely hit. For me it’s very plain and simple.
    Lets suppose I could not get”Apartment.com” because someone else got there first and I now have the opportunity to buy Apartment.mobi, you would be an imbecile if you did not grab it fast, pure and simple! the extension is actually quite irrelevant in development terms. Eventually, I believe .mobi will start attracting massive natural typein traffic over the mobile internet as .mobi sites get more branding. For instance, I’m already seeing click through revenue from some of my .mobi names such as gaysexvideo.mobi, miamiapartment.mobi and so on. I’ve also noticed that most domainers in the United States are ill conceived when it comes to mobile commerce and the mobile internet, they need to realize 350 million people in europe really don’t care about .com particularly and simply go where the trend goes and in europe, africa and asia, it’s the mobile internet! Even countries such as Kenya are more advanced in mobile commerce. So dudes, wake up and smell the roses! Google gets it big time! do you? I’ve already got about 120 .mobi names e.g newyorkapartment.mobi, translationservices.mobi etc.. some of these are a no brainer as you can see the potential and why mobile users will use it big time!
    So Rick…you’re on buddy!

    Reply
  22. MyOneSelfer

    I went there today for the first time and to my surprise, in my opinion, the site is garbage. To have paid so much money for a .mobi addy and then to have more than 90% of its content lead to non mobi compliant sites is a shame. The flowers.mobi site itself is mobi compliant but all of the internal links go to .com pages that require much scrolling in both directions. I wish I had the money to blow on an idiotic ideal such as this. Maybe the mobi compliant part skipped over this guys head.

    Reply

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