Crypto CRASH! Bitcoin Now down OVER 80% since just a YEAR Ago!

Morning Folks!!

If you don't LEARN from history you WILL repeat history. Last year at this very moment Bitcoin was the hottest gift and commodity on the planet. Fast Forward to this year and it is as cold as it was hot. This morning dropping to a bit over $3600.

The bloom is off the rose and if you think Bitcoin is bad, just imagine how all the other coins are doing. OUCH!!

Is it over? It may be. Personally I think it may end up around the same price as gold at around $1200. So there is a long way to the bottom. Crisis is the only thing that may bring bitcoin back. Other than crisis, the demand is just not there.

So what do you think? Is Bitcoin done? Is Crypto done? Where will Bitcoin be trading at next Christmas?

I cashed in all my Bitcoin at the end of last year and early this year. I started buying in 2013. I won't be investing in it again.

Rick Schwartz

Is Black Friday About to Turn into Red Friday?

Morning Folks!!

Black Friday, Black Friday, Black Friday. That's what we hear about. But what if Black Friday Turns Red? Turns into RED FRIDAY??

It may happen, and it may happen as soon as TODAY!

For Sears and Toy's R Us, It's DEAD Friday! Others, mostly brick and mortar, will be following in just DAYS! Some have held on for dear life trying to make it to today and on thru Christmas. Bankruptcy Monday is coming SOON!

A LOT of wealth came out of the markets in the last few days. The average portfolio took a very big hit. The high flyers like Facebook, Apple, Square and others got MASSACRED!

And let's not forget about the Bitcoin CRASH! Nearly $20k at this time last year, the hottest Christmas gift for movers and shakers and now trying to hold on to $4000.

Will this tighten some purse strings? You bet it will. Black Friday, TODAY, may look more like a hangover after a multi-day binger. If that occurs, we will see Red Friday and it won't be pretty. If you think the stock market is a mess now, wait until the plunge of retail sales. Then you will see a REAL plunge!

I don't know how it will go today, but it's definitely something I would be concerned about during the years ahead.

Happy Black Friday!

Rick Schwartz

Critical Mass. Has the Internet Peaked for Now? YUP!

Morning Folks!!

The biggest shift in Internet use in nearly 2 decades has occurred in 2018. The shift may be invisible to the masses but they should be vividly clear if you make your living online.

As I stated in an earlier post this month, "Social is no longer Social, it's Dangerous." So the major cratering that is occurring started there. That's ground zero for this Internet Earthquake we ARE experiencing.

General Electric, once one of the world's largest, richest and most distinguished companies is in trouble. They are selling off assets to survive.

We all know the story with Sears. Everyday for them is "Black Friday" because they are selling everything including their land and their gondolas. Bye Bye Sears.

This year there is no Toy's R Us.

The largest amount of retail closings will start happening at the end of December right into January.

And retail is just one sector. Manufacturing could wobble depending on the sector.

But I have not even reached the real problems. As a trained eye could see, Facebook is now down about 40% from their high and still going down. Same with Twitter and many others. Is it possible their best days are behind them? YES IT IS! How is MySpace doing these days?

The bean counters have been so geared to growth that they ruined many of their own products. They tarnished brands. Remember when Apple had GREAT customer service? That was what propelled them along with a great product. Now, Apple has among the worst Customer Service. Rivals other large firms in a race to the bottom.

AT&T screwed up Directv. Directv used to have great customer service. Now they don't. I am sure each and every one of you have you own stories of companies that you used to be a fan of but now, not so much.

Sony was baloney for 20 years now. But Apple may catch up if their current trend continues.

Online companies taking political stances are playing with fire regardless of the stance or the direction. Those idiot bean counters may not see it in the numbers today or last quarter, they sure as hell will see it in 2019 and beyond.

The stock market has taken a severe hit. Will this be the year the Grinch Stole Christmas? For some it will. Amazon and Google and many others have both sides of the political spectrum angered. That will have a financial impact of some sort. Stay tuned.

Just remember that just 12 months ago Bitcoin was the hottest Christmas Gift since the Pet Rock. Trading at nearly $20k. I stated many times I was a buyer UP TO $5,000. It is trading as low as $4300 in the past 24 hours. A lot can change in a very SHORT 12 months.

Ugly has not even started. There is a shift in progress and some fault lines are going to be exposed. Some may be very surprising. Fasten your seat belts.

The Internet was the last big thing that saved the financial universe. What's the next one?

Rick Schwartz

PS: Always remember that during turbulent times, some of the best opportunities present themselves.

 

The Bogus “Premium Domain List”

Morning Folks!!

"Premium Domains", "Unique Domains" please! I get these silly LISTS of "Premium Domains" all day long. Well folks, if it is a "Premium Domain" it belongs by itself. Not mixed in with 100 other domains that are also called "Premium Domains". By the face of it it sounds more like you have "Premium Pigeon Shit" all wrapped up in one bundle. Trying to sell that crap before you are forced to drop them.

Do you know how stupid it looks? It looks like domainers are trying to sell pickles and hammers to the same person. To the same market. Really? Why not just add Toe Jam?

Yes, domains, ALL domains, each and every one of them is "Unique". So stop stating the obvious. It makes you look foolish.

And since a domain is unique, how you sell each one may have to be unique. The audience you seek may have to be unique.

Domains are bought and sold 1 domain at a time. And there is a HUGE difference between someone trying to sell a domain as opposed to a party wanting to buy a domain.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rick Schwartz

And now Rick Adds ANOTHER $173k to the Teem.com Deal!!

Morning Folks!!

The gift that keeps giving. In September Teem.com was bought out and I got a SURPRISE check for $642,000. Bringing my total of the Teem.com sale to just about $800k.

I wake up this morning with another email. I guess there was a bit of a "Holdback" and I just found out I am getting another $173,000.

Bringing the total of the sale of Teem.com to $973,000.00 from a $35 hand registration in 1998.

Rick Schwartz

Internet: The ONLY Chance for Autonomy comes in the Form of a Domain Name.

Morning Folks!!

Definition of autonomous. 1a : having the right or power of self-government an autonomous territory. b : undertaken or carried on without outside control : self-contained an autonomous school system. 2a : existing or capable of existing independently

So, lets conclude that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google and all the rest of SOCIAL CRAP is exactly opposite of this. Autonomy? Not even close. It's now more like a socially monitored classroom with boundaries. The cool kids with no sense of fairness nor understanding of their power are in charge and it's easy to be expelled with no other school to go to!

So any business that hand their keys and their front door over to these companies and platforms is insane. Business insanity! They got it ass backwards. You are supposed to use these platforms to trap customers, instead they trap themselves, their businesses and their futures.

There is only one way to be autonomous on the Internet and that is via a Domain Name! The higher profile name you have, the better idea you have, the better product you have are the ingredients for autonomy on the Internet. But it STARTS and ENDS with the DOMAIN NAME!

In case you missed it:

It STARTS and ENDS with the DOMAIN NAME!

An easy to remember, easy to spell, easy to brand, easy to pass on. The traffic you get from Google and Twitter and Facebook is AFTER you do all this. It is the bonus traffic it is not the foundation of your business. Because if it is, your empire can disappear faster that I can type "Told you so".

Rick Schwartz

Zak Muscovitch Gives BEST Argument EVER for the Legitimacy & Practice of Buying and Selling Domain Names

Morning Folks!!

After Verisign dissed ALL Domain Name Investors and Speculators by their blog post there was a strong response and sometimes emotional response by the domain bloggers and many others including yours truly. Domainers are angry and offended about that. Rightfully so!

Now the dust has settled and Zak Muscovitch (General Council for the Internet Commerce Association) has made a terrific response to and about Verisign on CircleID with an article published this week.

Zak's defense of buying and selling domains is as good as it gets! I will read it over and over as it is filled with PROOF that we we all do is BONA FIDE, LEGITIMATE and happening throughout history. Anyone that says anything else can STUFF IT! Nothing to feel guilty about! Nothing to even defend. We are doing something as old as capitalism is and 1000 years before that!

Rick Schwartz

Now from Zak Muscovitch:

"Domain Investors and Registrars Operate in a Competitive Marketplace

In its aforementioned blog post, Verisign made some unfortunate suggestions that domain name investors and registrars who participate in the domain name aftermarket may be considered "scalpers", and that domain investors' businesses are "questionable". The domain name aftermarket, to the contrary, is entirely lawful, highly competitive, and any profits earned are the result of successful investment in a free and open marketplace.

1. Investment Lawfully Exists in Every Marketplace

Whether in land, a catalogue of Beatles songs,[18] or domain names, investing in assets is a natural by-product of a free and open market. Domain registrants use and risk their own money to lawfully purchase generic and descriptive domain names on a first-come, first-served basis and from prior owners, and they have every right to continue to do so. Domain name investors range from an at-home mom making a casual investment in a handful of names, to a top branding agency that offers for sale thousands of domain names that were registered as a by-product of brainstorming new name candidates for clients,[19] to professional domain name investors who spend substantial money and efforts on building a portfolio and marketing it to the public. Domain names are also sold by companies large and small who originally registered the domain names for future development, defensively, or because having a valuable .com domain name is helpful for their business. Such business activities involving domain names are entirely legal, expected, and natural. There is nothing "questionable" about it. As one commentator recently put it, a domain name investor is engaging in no more "questionable" business activity than a Verisign shareholder who purchases stock in the hopes of reselling it for more than they bought it for and for whatever the market will bear.

Domain name investors risk their own capital to register or purchase a domain name with no guarantee that they will ever see a return on that investment. Domain investors compete with thousands of other market participants around the globe, seeking out desirable domains, and bidding against each other at auctions where the price is set by the market through the combined actions of thousands of participants. Many domain name investors lose money on their acquisitions, as they find that they have overpaid to acquire domain names that others do not regard as an attractive investment or which others do not want.

Investing in valuable generic and descriptive domain names is comparable to investing in vacant real estate. Both investments are made on the basis of an expectation that there will be an appreciation in value upon resale. A businessperson who wishes to open a storefront on 5th Avenue in New York City would expect that land to be already owned. Similarly, it should not come as any surprise that a valuable domain name already has a registered owner, whether it be a professional domain name investor or another kind of business, and that the owner is prepared to sell it at a market-determined price.

2. Professional Domain Investors Control an Estimated 10% of .com Domains

The best estimates are that the holdings of professional domain name investors represent approximately 10% of all registered .com domain names. The other estimated 90% of .com domain names are held by individuals, small businesses, and in the portfolios of large corporations. Those estimated 90% of domain name registrants may never interact with the domain investment community, and may never purchase an aftermarket domain name, but 100% of .com domain name registrants may soon be subject to higher registration and renewal fees from Verisign. As such, if Verisign were permitted to raise the fees for .com domain names, most of the burden would fall on the vast majority of .com registrants who are not domain name investors. It is not enough to excuse a fee increase by saying, "well, it's only a dollar or two more" that registrants are being charged, when that dollar or two more, across the entire class of .com registrants, adds up to billions of dollars in excessive fees.

3. Domain Name Investors Offer a Valuable Service by Providing Liquidity to an Illiquid Market

Domain names are notoriously illiquid investments. The holding period of domain names held by domain name investors can stretch into decades. Yet if an individual or a company wishes to immediately sell a domain name, it is the investor who steps up to provide a ready market and liquidity. If, for instance, a retiring couple who used a valuable generic domain name for their business and now wished to sell it since it was no longer needed has trouble finding an interested end-user buyer, domain name investors will often step in, bid against each other for the right to acquire the domain name, and thereby create a liquid market enabling the couple to quickly convert their domain name into cash. When Yahoo! wished to sell its contests.com domain name, it was put up for auction at a domain investor conference where the winning bidder paid $380,000.[20] Domain name investors allow domain name owners to readily obtain cash for domain names that they no longer need, or may otherwise wish to sell.

4. Domain Name Pricing and Availability Would be Little Different Even in the Imagined Absence of Domain Name Investors

Domain name investors do not set the market value of aftermarket domain names nor do they determine which domain names are desirable — the operation of a competitive marketplace does. Prices and desirability are dictated by the market. If the asking price is set too high, a buyer can choose from a variety of similar domain names available at a range of prices.[21] If a domain name is desirable, it would have been registered long ago even in the absence of domain name investment.

Verisign proposes an unrealistic scenario in which, in the imagined absence of domain name investment, valuable domain names such as Ice.com (bought for $3,500,000) or Super.com (bought for $1,200,000)[22] could be obtained at a standard registration cost of around $10 each. Even if professional domain name investors vanished, high-quality domain names would not be sitting unregistered and the owners of these domain names would seek the market value for them.

For instance, Procter & Gamble was one of the companies in the early days of the Internet with the foresight to register valuable generic dot-com domains, such as the kind favored by domain investors. When they went to sell some of their domain names, such as flu.com, beautiful.com and thirst.com, P&G;was surprised by the high value of those domains in the secondary market. P&G;did not offer those domains for sale at its cost, nor did anyone expect them to.[23] Similarly now that electrical engineer Marcelo Siero has decided to sell the domain name ee.com, which he registered 24 years ago, he is seeking a market price in the millions of dollars,[24] and who would fault him for that?

Twenty years into the evolution of the commercial Internet, and after over 100 million .com domain name registrations, there are almost no domain names of general value sitting unregistered. The net impact on .com domain name availability due to the presence of domain name investors is that domain name investors have registered millions of lower-quality, less desirable domain names that otherwise might have gone unregistered.[25]

5. Verisign Encourages Domain Investing and Has Benefited Greatly From It

Verisign, throughout its history, has encouraged people to invest in domain names and has been a primary sponsor at conferences focused on domain name investing. Verisign had good reason to do so, as domain name investors send tens of millions of dollars to Verisign annually from registering millions of domains that no one else has shown much interest in. The business most benefiting from these registrations is Verisign itself, which receives $7.85 per domain name per year while taking no risk, whereas the domain name investor often loses money on his or her investment.[26]

6. Verisign Sells Domains at Premium Prices

During the "land rush" for the Japanese[27] and Korean[28] versions of its .com domain names, Verisign unilaterally set initial prices on certain keyword domains at over $10,000 each.[29] For instance, Verisign set a premium price on the Japanese version of <blog.com>, which is ブログ.コム. This domain is currently available for first-time registration at a price of $15,000 from Name.com.[30] Our understanding is that while a portion of this price represents a retail mark-up charged by Name.com, the base price set by Verisign was over $10,000. Verisign's criticism of speculators for offering premium domain names at market prices, when Verisign engages in comparable sales, therefore appears to be extremely contradictory."

[18] "McCartney told Jackson about how he had been purchasing other artists' catalogues (such as Buddy Holly's) as a business investment.", see: http://mentalfloss.com/article/85007/how-michael-jackson-bought-publishing-rights-beatles-catalogue

[19] See http://justtheword.com/

[20] https://domainnamewire.com/2009/06/17/yahoo-sells-contestscom-for-380000/

[21] "Finding the right URL can be daunting, but with a little time and effort you can absolutely find a domain that works for your brand — and your wallet!", see https://catchwordbranding.com/catchthis/naming-tips/your-websites-url-an-expensive-com-domain-name-or-these-creative-alternatives/

[22] Source DNJournal.com

[23] See https://www.nytimes.com/2000/06/28/technology/procter-gamble-plans-to-sell-domain-names.html

[24] https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/03/07/1417995/0/en/EE-com-Domain-Name-Announced-for-Sale-by-VIPBrokerage-com-DomainAssets-com.html

[25] "While buying up a ton of domains seems like a great way to make some extra money, the real world results show that it is very hard to make that process profitable."; see: https://moz.com/blog/is-buying-domain-names-profitable

[26] https://morganlinton.com/hand-registering-domains-today-is-a-fools-game/

[27] https://blog.verisign.com/domain-names/launch-of-verisigns-first-idn-new-gtld-コム/

[28] https://blog.verisign.com/domain-names/verisign-launches-new-gtlds-for-the-korean-market-닷컴-and-닷넷/

[29] https://domainnamewire.com/2016/06/15/domainers-say-verisign-bungled-first-idn-launch/#comment-2239419

[30] https://www.name.com/domain/search/xn--qckyd1c.xn--tckwe


By Zak Muscovitch, General Counsel, Internet Commerce Association

Domain vs Kiosks. The Hole in the Donut Theory. A River of New Found Cash!!!!

Morning Folks!!

We have all seen those small Kiosks scattered throughout malls in previous un-rentable, un-profitable  and just public spaces. (This is what I would refer to as "Selling the HOLE in the donut". You would be hard pressed to find one under $1000 a month and in most cases a decent mall can be thousands more. Your radius for sales is not worldwide it's a FEW FEET! Malls took worthless space (the hole) and made it profitable. (the donut)

If you are in business and you don't understand "The hole in the donut theory" you are leaving BIG MONEY on the table.

How much you think Simon Malls takes in just on Kiosks? They took something that was FREE and made it income producing. Hole in the donut!

ANY domain has more  value than that IF there is a demand for that domain. Just because the market has not figured that out YET does not have to make ME or YOU change how we view it and price accordingly.

Our biggest hurdle has always been domainers selling their assets for chump change because of financial weakness and lack of sales and negotiating skills.

In 1995, I decided that ANY domain that was wanted by a 3rd party had a MINIMUM value of $15,000 to a business. That's before domains had virtually NO re-sale value. But I see the world thru the eyes of a different lens. In this case, thru the lens of a kiosk or a lawsuit. Then it went to $50k minimum in 1999, $100k minimum inn 2001 and now I have a $250k minimum unless I get a piece of the action. Each level criticized by fools.

So, the way I view things in 1995, EVERY domain that had value, had a value of at least $15,000. I only sold 1 domain for under that. But that was for a loss and a tax deduction during a year that I needed a tax reduction.

If other folks saw what I saw they would have ever sold their NNN.com domains for $5000. Or ANY of their other names for that level.

How much does a stinking outdoor business sign cost??? Could be TENS of thousands of $$$ and can go MUCH MUCH higher! For a damn sign!

What other real world comparisons are domainers not making?

I have talked about this for DECADES! The value of a domain has NOTHING to do with what you paid for the domain. NOTHING! Unless you SUCK or are just plain FOOLISH as a domain investor. Know-nothings look at their cost! But these geniuses don't have a clue about VALUE!

To a successful online entity, the DOMAIN is or will be the single biggest bargain of their entire lifetimes! And they will ALL wish they bought many more!

Rick Schwartz

 

Social Media is No Longer Social, It’s Dangerous!

Morning Folks!!

Social Media is no longer social. It's almost anti-social at this stage and won't be getting better. It will continue to get worse as hate and agendas now control it. It's not even safe!

Social Media has been weaponized. It has destroyed people and careers by the thousands! Your personal data has been distributed to every crook in the universe.

There is simply nothing "Social" about Social Media. It's a war zone.

The only Social Media I still deal with is Linked-in and to be honest, I never made a penny or got a connection via their platform. They may be next. It's a time waster not a money maker. Mostly spammers. I left Twitter and Facebook last year for multiple reasons, but sparked by the Berkens incident.

The Internet in general stokes hate as many of us have seen first hand starting early on in the 1990's. It's just gotten worse and BILLIONS of people are participating all with their own hate, anger and prejudices. As it organizes, it becomes very  dangerous. More dangerous than any other media in history.

Social Media may be the front lines of a war that is sure to come. A World War.

Rick Schwartz

The Biggest Threat to Domain Investors are Domainers!

Morning Folks!!

I have been involved in some 55 industries in my life. The core of most industries are the same. How they run is very similar and the back biting is pretty much universal.

But most of those industries had associations that were widely supported. That offered group discounts and were powerful by their sheer numbers. They had standards of conduct. Most associations charge up to $99 for annual dues that are easily offset by the benefits. Some are higher some are lower.

But with all the grandstanding and all the talk about all the bad companies out there that hate domainers etc. None have done more damage than domainers themselves.

Obviously the big one is trademark infringement. Let's make it easy. If you have a company name inside your domain without a specific "Free Speech" twist or agenda, then your domain has a high likelihood of infringement. But I am not a lawyer. I just know the difference and so should every domain investor.

Maybe before we have a "Bill of Rights" (Which there is no reason not to support) we need to set STANDARDS of what WE stand for. Standards of OUR OWN responsibilities and even self-policing. Who we are as professionals and clearly separating ourselves from the MASSES OF ABUSERS that DEFINE domainers!

I will never apologize for investing in domains. They set the rules and many of us simply played by the rules and have found all levels of success.

That said, NOBODY on the planet gives a rats ass about domainers except us! We are TOE JAM at best! We are looked at as some of the lowest forms of life by those heavily involved with the Internet. Cockroaches! And some of it with good cause! Most domainers are an embarrassment! Infringers to the nth degree!

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Shill bidding. Scandals swept under the rug. Widespread abuse of all types of things. Clawbacks. Auction houses with disgusting business practices. Add your own in comments!

The "Domain Industry" is a Dirty Rotten industry such as it is. And again, let me state clearly, there is no industry. There is no association that represents rank and file domainers. There are no standards of conduct.

I appreciate the work the ICA does but my point of contention from the get go has been "Inclusion". There is power in numbers. One $5000 member does not have the power as 100 $50 members. One $25,000 member does not have the power that 500 members have. There should be TENS of thousands of members and THEY (the ICA) should be putting on the "Industry Show" for the overall good like other industries do. Serving and representing an entire industry vs 20 SELF SERVING wildcatters with an agenda!

In the way I saw things and how it SHOULD have unfolded......it would have been my desire and long term vision to turn TRAFFIC over to the ICA to run. That was what I had hoped for. It was just not possible with the makeup of the ICA as I saw it and decided to just pull the plug instead and preserve whatever history we had.

And to be honest, the window of opportunity on this has all but closed. There is no domain industry and there never will be! Domainers are very charitable but charity starts at home. When the money was flying around we helped many causes but we never cemented or protected our own cause in an effective, meaningful and long lasting way. That window of opportunity is gone.

Just sayin'

Rick Schwartz