Alta Vista was the 2000lb Gorilla in the room. Compaq and Dell were leading the way along with CNN. And this vast new medium was being touted as the future. New ventures like eBay and Amazon sprung up. A few very primitive sites were being launched. Including one I started as I had a 3rd party register my first name LipService.com. A perfect name to house my 800 Toll Free Chatlines. But most places you would go to were dead ends and abandoned sites even back then.
So that remained my ONLY domain name until May of the following year when my brother bought me the 2 names for my 2 companies as a birthday present. So it was not after that until I would bother my brother every few days to register me this or that. Until he gave me the link to this company called Network Solutions and told me to do it myself. Cool!!!!
So it is spring and summer 1996 when I finally start understanding the internet, the power it had to revolutionize the world and be especially important to 3rd world countries as a way to lift them and join the rest of civilization. I was inspired by folks like Scott Day who was a watermelon farmer in the middle of nowhere and he was now able to compete with the guy named Ari Goldberger, a real Philadelphia lawyer who appeared to be out of Manhattan. I saw an equal playing field emerging like never before. One with no boundaries and one where only the individual decided their futures.
So what to do??
Well when I was born there was no free land. There was hardly any cheap land. And there was no land I could afford. That was true when I was a kid, when I was a teenager, when I was 30 and when I bought that first domain name. But all of a sudden I was a land owner in this new medium. Could history be repeating itself? But where is the oceanfront land here? Where were the skyscrapers to be built? What was to be prime? There were no books on it. There were no bloggers to go and read. There was no nothing but a simple parallel. So me and that parallel went to work. We started looking for other parallels. And there were many. They were vivid as well because they were still untouched. Un-mined. Virgin.
I had limited funds. Each domain was $100. So I bought 18 domains. By the time January 1997 rolled around I had about 100 and carried my list in my back pocket at all times. They were earning enough money to pay for them and slowly buy more. But there was one major league problem. I had virtually no tech skills. None. I was in the ocean and not a clue how to swim or sail or float. Well I was floating, but I did not really know why quite yet.
It wasn't for another year or so before I even learned how to ftp. There were few companies out there and they were all behind and buried in work. Others were fakers and completely incompetent as hosts would have servers go down for days at a time and not really care until I had to SCREAM!! I was losing $$$ and they could care less. Well, they were going to care because that was their job. They had a 24x7 business and these goof-offs would only show up and have bankers hours. 10-4. M-F.
Build a site? How? Where? With whom? 6 figures for a site that I absolutely KNEW would be obsolete the moment it was finished. So what to do??
Well, let me start by buying time and raw land. When the net develops, it will be easier and cheaper and better. What's the rush? I have a lifetime to build this empire. Let me see how the first 20 years shakes out and then I can make my move. So of course everyone 18 years ago laughed at me. Waved me off. Did not take me seriously. I was just a guy with more money than brains. Especially the guy at 220.127.116.11. I think. How do you argue with a tech schmuck that can't see that can not be used commercially to advertise with on radio or TV etc? So after a while you stop arguing and continue to DO! You learn to ignore the antics and the noise and focus. You realize if they have to use energy to ridicule you, they can't be working for themselves and that makes them not too bright.
So I decided the path was do more of what I know, buy time, look at what this medium would look like in 20 years and how the entire world would depend on it like they depend on electric. Maybe even more so! Try to learn what I could and wait for the $750,000 website tab to be a $75 template. Of course now we are at FREE so we have well passed that milemarker.
And that is what each reality is, a milemarker. And they just happen to match my parallels perfectly. Sorry, that is not being a visionary. That is simply following the line that parallel produces. Nothing more, nothing less. So those that want to copy my path need to understand how my path has come to be. It was no crystal ball. No great anything. Just SIMPLY following the signs that were and are CLEARLY there. That is why my opinions are so stong. I shut out the noise so I can see and find the parallel. Once that happens the answer reveals itself and it is on to the next thing. No antics can derail me from the parallel I see.
So eventually when I bought Porno.com I thought maybe one of my dreams would be realized early. I approached folks and asked if they wanted to be 50/50 partners in Porno.com. They never even asked me a single question. They all just laughed in my face. I just shook my head in amazement. Here was a domain that was making me over $500k/year at that time and it was more than those that I approached were making. But that was a lucky break for me!
That vision still lives. I bring to the table the land with an important location and they bring their talents. Now as we know in the candy.com and property.com deals I did not get 50%. But different situations need different formulas and equations. Cash lowers the percent I must have.
So the point of all this? Well the folks that whine today about cybersquatters or whatever it is, simply failed back then and have yet to get over it. They missed the single biggest opportunity in their careers! So instead of explaining how they missed it, they do what they do. You and I NEVER have to apologize for seeing something this big and risking what we did. NEVER! We did what we were taught to do in a capitalistic society. They will always have to explain why they did not see it and the only way they can do that is attack and try and make it like we did something wrong. Well if you don't make a living off of Trademarks of other parties, then you did nothing wrong. Nothing to apologize for. You have done well for you and your family and shoud be proud.
Think of it like this. Imagine you are a financial advisor today. And some readers just might be. Imagine you are in 2013 and the market goes up. Many stocks double and triple in value. And you sit there as a financial advisor touting your 7% return?? Really?? Sorry pal, you failed! You don't thump your chest on 7% when you should be giving multiples of that in a year like this.
How many SEO spam do you get in your email every day? Wonder why? Because those that have to do that SUCK at what they do! They define themselves as incompetent the minute they send out that first email blast. DUH! And they can't see it, can't acknowledge it and can't stop it.
That brings me up to "Search". Sorry, search is a fools game on many levels. Parked pages ranked in search is just silly. Have said so for many years. Let's define search as PAID and FREE. Most folks talk about FREE search and guess what? That has little value. It's a bonus when you get it. You don't build on FREE. Just be relevant. You will naturally work your way up.
So now let's talk about PAID search. That's a much more intelligent discussion. That's something you can measure. That is something you can define. That is something you can contract or expand. That is something that is built around a numerical equation that should end up with that nasty word, PROFIT.
That of course leads me to Start-ups of which I wrote an entire blog post about recently. Start-up is lip service for "I have no way of making money but I still need to eat. Feed me." Why? "Because I am a startup and I am going to get free traffic from Google to build my empire."
Start this! It's a start down for you and a start-up for him!
And of course we are watching hundreds of startups right in front of us. They need your money to survive. The public is not going to support their efforts in a way that can sustain them. Only domainers can do that. The gTLD parallels I see don't lead to where these folks believe they do. Some do, Don't get me wrong, but most don't and the question and the parallel to understand is if 80%, 90% or more go south and there is unintended fallout and consequences, will it hurt those few that remain?
Now I know nobody wants to talk about type ins. But type ins funded many of the gtld's that are coming. Dot com type ins. Natural type ins. Not from search. Real, no-nonsense, consumer oriented and generated type ins. So of course this subject is off-limits because it does not help their position. No parallel. I chased the behavior of the consumer and adapted. They want the consumer to follow them and for the consumer to adapt. The same?? Are you kidding?? Are you serious? Are you not paying attention?? GEEEZ!
The mousetrap works because they learned the behavior of the MOUSE! Not the other way around. How simple is that one?
See I have the same names in .com and .net, and .xxx and .mobi and .org and .TV. Want to discuss type ins???? The type ins they keep saying have no merit, no value, no this no that while the type ins pay for much of everything that is happening. That is not to be confused with value of a domain based on type ins. Two separate things. Domains don't have to have type ins to have value. The mainstream domains had no type ins when I bought them. But the ones I bought and got right, do have type ins now. Want to discuss the ratio value from .com to .anything else? What 's the difference? Somewhere between 20-1 and 100-1. Same effort, greater risk, lower reward. And I have to convince smart people of this equation? Really??? Empirical evidence. Not theory.
Ok, back to the story........
So today Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Instagram, you can name 100 companies right here and right now. Then 1000 behind them. And 100,000 behind them. Many with ideas. Some are good ideas. Some are ideas you can build on. Some are platforms you can build on. The landscape is filling in very quickly now. And it is not about developing any longer. It is now about opening businesses with a profit center. There is enough out there to do that with now. It could not be done before.
So as I saw this mammoth of a beast. The likes of which mankind had never seen before, I knew that snowball was big and would take DECADES to start to roll. 2 decades. I stated in January that for the first time we were in the gravitational pull of what I saw all those years ago. It was not just words. It was parallels.
I know I am limited in my education. But I know a few things well. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and what place they go in and what makes them powerful or not when used together. And I knew the difference between a parallel and an intersection. You can benefit from each, but one can kill you. The other can't. And I knew how to use equations to my benefit to fill in answers not yet known. So this visionary is not one at all. I am just a master of these elements and then I am able to marry them to a timeline. I am able to come to a conclusion quickly and I start at the end and work myself back to the start.
So folks laughed at me back then and they laugh at me today. But those that laugh the most continue to get things wrong while I keep getting them right. I write about how things unfold LONG before they unfold. Most chase events after the fact. What I see is clear to me. It might not be to others. So I have tried to share it over the years. If nothing else, to be on record for myself and so I can see which things I got right and which things I got wrong. Then I make adjustments to things and then get it right while many just continue on the path and ignore those points of correction.
The dawn of my 19th year is much different. We all know this is just a platform and we are destined to do bigger and greater things. Each day gets just a little easier. Just a little closer. Just a little better.
2013 was a bumpy year. But bumpy means you are progressing and that is a great improvement from being stuck in a crippled economy for the last few years. And as I have been writing about, 2014 is going to be a monster year for business in general.
I can report that the Real Estate in South Florida is now at 2007 levels once again. Pre Crash levels. Now not for all property. Decent and prime property are now exceeding 2007 levels. On the other hand, homes further out of the metro area are still taking a hit. It may still be a few years because the better located homes will sell first. This excludes South Beach that never even saw much of a crash. High end stuff just kept going up. $1200/ft before crash, now as much as $1500 and $2000ft. Go up the road a little north and you can still get for $300ft.
So not only do we head into 2014 and year 19, but we go into this next 2 years with a head of steam that will carry us right thru to the finish line. December 26, 2015. In a few days, I get to say "Next Year!" and that 20 years will be worth the wait.
It was understandable for the masses not to understand this medium fully for 20 years. But I must say, I am so disappointed in the average so-called "Businessman". He is still BEHIND the consumer curve. The consumer is more Internet savvy than they are. What is the excuse for that? I can only tell them that time is running out for them to get their acts together. That's not lip service, that is straight out fact. The proof will be all the mergers you will see in the next 24 months on every level imaginable.
The money is finally coming off the sidelines. I can speak to that myself. I have some fairly decent money being earmarked for new investment. Some for a safe and growth investment and a chunk for riskier investments. My choices include .com domain names (Sorry, I have zip marked for gTD's) but mostly investments outside of domains as I continue to diversify and more into web-based businesses. To me, the more financial buckets you have, the better. But deep buckets, not shallow ones. The stock market is the single best casino in the world and that won't change in 2014. I have a habit of plunging. This year I was plunging on Facebook. Probably ride that horse for a while. Made some on Twitter but want to get out before the "Correction" which could be very soon.
It blows me away from that December 26th in 1995 when I was investing my first $100. I never dreamed I would talk about investing a million here, a million there and $500k there. But when you just take it slow, put one foot in front of another, don't get sidetracked or detoured, learn from history by learning history itself, it is just amazing the ground you can cover and the progress you can make. Everything else is just Lip Service.
All I can do is share my story. Share my viewpoint. Substantiate the best I can how I come to that viewpoint and then believe enough in myself to follow thru. Predictions based on parallels and mile markers. As each comes to pass the original foundation and premise only gets stronger and bigger and bolder. So we can now look back and take a string and tie it around each marker and then use the first point and the last point to find the next point. The next point in all of this is not based on emotion. It is based on science and math that has little variables and a consumer base that has a huge variable. Whenever somebody speaks for the consumer, watch out. In my world, the consumer leads, I follow and then I jack rabbit over them and get to their next destination slightly before they do and the bi-product of that is opportunity. But they led the way, not me. I simply followed their lead, their direction and their needs, wants and desires that led me to their stopping points and eventual destination. The one that will only get clearer every passing day from now until landfall.