The Ego Stroke. Does Size Matter? Yes! Small wins!

Morning Folks!!

The ego stroke. 'I bought 5 million hits for .001 each.'

The 2009 version of my dick is bigger than yours.....EXCEPT......

I bought 5 million hits and got no sales.

The bigger ego would say, 'I bought 100 visitors for $500 and had 5 sales that will become repeat customers.' So if size matters, traffic counts. The source of traffic counts. The type of traffic counts. How they interact with that traffic counts. Somebody tell the world before they all go broke.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

It’s all about Freddy!

Morning Folks!!

It's Freddy's birthday this weekend! 2 years old on Sunday. It's all about Freddy. He rules the house and just wants to eat 1 of our 6 cats. Problem is the cats will beat that Miniature Schnauzer up every time in between the hisses. They were here first but Freddy rules and they know it.

CIMG0451IMG_0043Freddy as a pup and Freddy today

Picture 1037 DSCF0360 Picture 775

That's Ruby and her sister Pearl. They love and torture each other.


That's Blackie in front and her sister Ebby in back

Bully and Baby Bully. Father and Son. They love each other more than I can tell you. Baby Bully and Ebby and Blackie share the same mother. All 4 were rescued. Baby Bully was just hours away from being destroyed. This is when they were reunited.

So Happy Birthday Freddy!!

RIP George

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz


Very Smart, but no Experience. How to Spot Failure in the Making

Morning Folks!!

In life you either think about a worst case scenario or you really have not done your job. That is why you have fire drills. That is why they have life preserves on boats. That's the reason you have a fire department and an army. The best result will never hurt you, the worst result will. Many things on the path to a worst result than you expect will hurt you and your business. Maybe it is that I live in Florida and until the last moments you really don’t know how bad ia hurricane will be. So do you do nothing and put you and your family at risk? Do you do a half assed job and hope you don’t regret it? Or do you prepare for the worst and hope for the best? There are plenty that fit into each category. We all have our comfort zone. I just think the little effort on the front side is worth avoiding the pain and loss on the other side. I hope my preparation was un-needed. But that will never stop me from protecting life and property and taking the time to do it right. So to stay ahead you have to look ahead. Think about the impossible, the ridiculous and then work backwards from there. They just released a poll this morning that showed that over 60% of Florida residents do not prepare for a hurricane when one is coming. Human nature married with laziness? How would they feel after the fact if there 4 year old boy was killed because they did not make the proper precautions and take it seriously? Regret lasts forever!

Folks, we are in trouble for a number of reasons, but the thought of being saved by very smart people is folly. If smart people were the answer to everything we would have a test and instead of electing a president we would just appoint the smartest guy. We learned long ago that just does not work.

So save the day. Very smart people are now in charge of everything everywhere. But smart people with no experience are not people to follow. The chances of them getting it right are nil. Would you want to get on a plane where the pilot scored very well in the simulator but never soloed in a real plane with no help? How about a surgeon and this is his first heart transplant? There is a big difference between book smarts and street smarts. When you have both, you do great things. Like Sully the pilot when he landed that plane on the Hudson.

So even if things were to improve economically, those clutch hitters are not in a position to take advantage and sustain it. They will likely be at a cocktail party or in anther endless meeting, or looking for a higher paying position or appointment when they really need to be at the helm and getting their hands dirty.

What we are going through is a akin to threading a needle. Threading a needle while walking on a tight rope and fire breathing dragons are on each side of you. That is why my posts are all over the place. Laced in all this is great opportunity. But you need to survive to reap those opportunities. So you focus on threading the needle and the pitfalls while looking to seize opportunity. The geniuses having meeting after meeting aren’t even in the game. They’re not on the field. They are not on the tight rope. They are faking themselves and everyone around them, out. We are going to pay the price. You can’t grind up capitalism and expect it to look the same on the other side. That’s physically impossible. But since people don’t look far down the road they don’t see the seeds we are planting today are going to be responsible for some very bad things just a few years down the road.

Just remember one thing. While it looks like the “Government” is paying for everything, their slight of hand will prove it will soon be us that are paying and suffering long after the banks and auto industry are fixed. Fees and taxes will go up and by the time it hits, all those in Congress that put us in this pickle will be long gone.

Look at the companies doing well and you can usually attach a strong name and personality to the company. Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Oracle, GoDaddy. Then look at the companies in trouble and tell me the big name there. GM, Chrysler, Citi, AIG. Usually some figure head or corporate raider just in it for a few years to see how much they can fleece the company for. Now they are going to be replaced by a government bureaucrat or a board of bureaucrats that never ran a business. Let’s see how that works out.

Sorry, but where we are headed is not rocket science. It’s about numbers. It’s always about the numbers. But in this case it is about the REAL numbers and when they try to bend, distort, fudge, play, and then lie about them, well it is only a matter of time. The numbers PROVE that it is a matter of time. Numbers have no personalities. They are just a basis of reality and reality stings when you cover and pimp those numbers with rose colored scenarios and best case projections. Plug in the REAL number and you too will see what I see. The fallout will manifest itself in the next year or two and then within 5-10 years you won’t even recognize the place. Income is always king. Income adjusts to current conditions better than anything. So your income may be safe, but your empire will be located in a different looking and downsized world that is much less secure. Human nature prevents most people from studying the numbers and following the fallout and impact. They get hung up on emotions and that dog just won't hunt if you are looking for real answers and not just crossing your fingers and wishing..

Homelessness is not a huge problem at the moment but as sure as the sun rises tomorrow, that is going to change. What does it do to an empire when it is at risk? Hungry, hot, homeless,……..what will that look like? How will that manifest itself? We know the answer, but who wants to go there? The pitfalls on the horizon are more than I can even speak of. Time is about to write some very nasty history. But don’t believe me, believe the numbers. Just not the numbers you are being fed. The pre-pimped numbers before they are married to assumptions that are so ambitious that those rose colored glasses provide. In life you AIM for the best case scenario, but those that don’t prepare for the worst will always be surprised and always be behind the curve. 50 steps ahead trumps one step behind. That steamroller only flattens you when you are behind.

My blog posts are not islands. They all thread together. There is no way I can even begin to discuss a subject in one post. They have to be taken in totality. There are 2 things out there right now. Opportunity and peril. Opportunity for those looking for opportunity and peril for the masses that work for somebody else and are not in control of their destiny. Things may look better in some sectors, but the masses have yet to even feel the brunt of what is to come. The answer are not where anyone points to. The answer is in the unemployment and the variable is how large that will grow and how LONG that will last. If folks get a job in 6 months, they will make it. If it takes them 36 months, we have some major pain to go through and that will lead to other problems. Unforseen pitfalls that are easy to see if you look for them and invisible if you close your eyes to it.

Human nature and the masses prove over and over again that they don't prepare until after the fact. When it is too late. When they are 'Surprised' that the hurricane was as bad as it was.

Here is a story that just came out this morning. DO THE MATH!! Don't believe anyone. Believe NUMBERS!

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

Screwing with Success. A Change More Important than the Presidency.

Afternoon Folks!!

The presidency happens every 4 years so no big deal. What is a big deal is when the “Tonight Show” changes hosts and restless and horny America reacts. This will be only the forth time in my entire lifetime that will happen. Jack Paar back in the 1950's started it and did the gig for 6 years. Johnny Carson transformed the show and was the pulse of America for 30 years. Jay Leno for 17 years and now we are about to get Conan O'brien.

I really don't know how this will work out. My gut says not too well. Let's start with Conan O'brien. He went on the air in the mid 80's. I have watched his show many times by default. I laughed 3x. I can count them. I don't think he will do as well in that slot. I don't think sober America will laugh at his jokes. He had a much better chance for the that in the middle of the night when they were falling on the floor.

Now as for Jay Leno, he is/was #1. Not sure why you would want to screw that up, but leave it to the geniuses at Corporate America to figure out. Will folks make a date with Jay or will they watch an actual program at 10PM? See the motivation for NBC is it is a lot cheaper to do a Jay Leno show than an episode of Law and Order for example or some other creative drama etc. So this becomes a cost cutting move. If it works out they have 2 winners. If they both die, they have 2 losers. So this is a very big gamble for NBC and I doubt it will work out. NBC will basically give up their #1 ranking for the 11:30 slot because O'Brien is just not funny and people will go somewhere else. I think Jay Leno will do well at the beginning, however I don't think it will last. I think his audience will dwindle and NBC will have an embarrassing problem on their hands.

What does this have to do with domains? It has to do with honing skills of how the masses will react. Understanding the masses is key. A long time ago I was taught a simple saying. “If you sell to the masses you will eat with the classes. If you sell to the classes you will eat with the masses.” The biggest job we have as domainers is predicting human nature. This is the way you practice. The way you practice is the way you play. This one is difficult to predict. Changing habits is not an easy thing to do. I always enjoy when someone tries.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

Rick’s Time Machine. Prepare or be Shocked!

Morning Folks!

Business in my mind starts with an assumption. An assumption comes with variables. The variables are the moving parts of the equation that can change things drastically. But you start out with certain numbers that are assumptions. Then what you can do is go back in time and fill in the blanks or update them as needed. How well do you know your Algebra? How long into the future do you look?? Minutes? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? Decades? For a lot of us we have visions in all those time periods. Visions, predictions, planning and expectations based on assumptions. Below is a post for 2007 looking forward. The single most important variable in that post and equation was the low unemployment rate. Through the eyes of 2007 I can go back into 2007 and adjust the variable and then a new assumption is updated, adjusted and born. But the birth of this side of the assumption becomes much stronger as actual data is substituted for those assumptions.

Last year I made some pretty outlandish comments. I wasn't even going to post it because I know the fallout. But hey, it's what I do. Things like your favorite restaurant will close down. Thinks like malls will start to close down. Only a crazy person would have taken me seriously. But that was what I saw. That is what I still see. Only thing different is now we are close enough to see the reality of it and the fallout and the comment is now believable when just a few months back it was not. It was seen as an 'Exaggeration' and worse or so many thought at the time. Do you still think that sounds so crazy or is that something that now looks like it could happen? Is about to happen? Is happening?

That conclusion was not being a visionary, it was taking a set of assumptions and seeing where it would lead to. But HUMAN NATURE prevents most from looking that far down the road and seeing things that seem ridiculous at the time. If I were to predict life as it actually unfolded and did it 5 years ago and got it 100% right, I still would have been put in a rubber room. Seeing things that far ahead only get you in trouble because human nature weighs in and folks can't handle things they don't see. That they don't understand. Human nature has an ugly side and human nature is fueled by other human nature. History proves this over and over again. History is where you look to get answers for the future. It's all there. It may be disguised, but it is all there. Once you learn how to read the history in disguise, add a little reality and you can see things pretty clearly. You can plan instead of being surprised. You can avoid by seeing the pitfall. You can triumph because you see great weakness that can turn into great strength.

Here is my update. We are SOOO SCREWED!. Oh yes, screwed and tattooed and the greatest transfer of wealth is occurring below our collective noses as I write this. The greatest robbery in the history of mankind. The greatest shift in reality the world has ever known or seen. That is before we even talk about the political instability that will get worse as the economics get worse. The problem is 'Where do you put the wealth?' The dollar is going to collapse and then melt and we are going to have inflation the likes of which we have never seen. Before you jump up and down and cheer the downfall of the dollar, let me predict it will wipe out the Euro and every other monetary instrument in the wake of what is to come. My $2 million dollar turtle for your 4 million euro lizard.

The entire world economy is akin to a ticking time bomb. Each day we get closer to the collapse, meltdown and fallout that is to come. Don't believe the experts, they have gotten nothing right yet. They are always 'Surprised' or 'Late to the scene' or they did not 'Expect'. They work from a best case scenario POV. Can't do that in business. You have to work on a 'Worst case scenario' and work inwards. I think experts are largely just guys that are unemployed or fired from their last job.

So what do you do with that info? Honestly, I have no idea and I hope what I see is wrong. What I do know or what I fear is that it will break down and get out of control. Gold works for the short term but it is really not a solution. How much are you willing to put in gold? If you have $1 million cash, how would you diversify? Whatever you do you MUST BE PREPARED to lose 80% of your value. Stop screaming!! Yes, I said 80%. Between runaway inflation which is coming to the world very soon, or crashing stocks, or a meltdown of the dollar or too many variables to list. So 20% gold, 20% currency, 20% stocks, 20% property, 20% misc and a meltdown could wipe out 4 out of 5 sectors just on the initial strike. A shell game like none other in the history of the world.

Now that is just a scenario if everything goes smooth. It does not include a host of other variables and have not even factored in an assumption. First we have the Swine flu which is now predicted to infect 1/3 of the world's population. Not too good for travel. Collapse. Then if you were listening to the news, North Korea just tested another nuke. Something could go terribly wrong there. Israel and Iran have a showdown coming in a future close and near to you. An attack worse than 9/11. What would that do for confidence? A corruption meltdown that sweeps governments around the world. Hell, I have barely scratched the surface. I could list so many more it will make your eyes spin. Never in HISTORY have we had so much turmoil and a world in danger of screwing itself.

Point is I have no idea at this point where this roller coaster is headed. It is a ride that is out of control. When the population of the world figures out that nobody whatsoever has any control of any sort, the reality and gravity of what we are about to go through will become apparent. Doom and gloom? Hell no. Reality at its best. Deal with reality. Hoping and wishing and crossing fingers won't save anyone this time. We are all going to be tested in ways we have yet to even think of. We have all been bullshitted in ways history will write about. A train wreck is on the way. Where on the train is the safest place? I still don't know but with Chase Bank now paying .01% interest rate, the dividends domains pays is worth a great deal. So we are lucky in that respect. But we are very vulnerable in every other aspect. The fallout of all this is just beginning. A tornado in slow motion is about to hit. Each day of each week of each month will be much worse. What you can do is stay tuned to life. Keep your nose close to the ground. Find opportunity. Look for safety. Have a plan 'B' and plan 'C' and don't be surprised for both plans to not work out.

The crime rate is rising. Desperation will set in. Robbery could get to an alarming rate. Courage is only found in commoners. Those responsible for our future have little courage, no backbone and their word is cast in wet cement and soon to disappear.

The high end housing market is about to meltdown. The high end homes on the ocean that were going for $12 Million are now going for $6 million and THERE ARE NO BUYERS even at that level. So what you are likely to see is even the wealthy walking away from mortgages. Why pay on a $10 million dollar mortgage when the house is worth only $5 Million and the costs in taxes and insurance is weighing you down? So when these folks walk away this will present an entire host of other unforeseen problems and local tax base in free fall.

So why this post now? Well when I read the post below the key variable in my assumption was we were at 5% unemployment. Now we will soon be closing in and then eclipsing 10% nationally with pockets of 25%. That's a big deal in the equation and that equation will get worse. What we are going through is akin to the world spinning off its axis. The wobble is off center. The wobble could easily become out of control. Those that think about this stuff and prepare for it will not get hurt as bad as those that laugh in the face of something certain to affect them. Time will prove these words true or not. But I certainly would trade the embarrassment of getting it wrong for waking up and have this crisis over and gone and get back to the future!

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz

Here is the Direct Link to the actual post below which was written on December 20th 2007 long before the bailouts and the banking collapse. When a key variable changes (Unemployment) so does the equation.

Good Morning folks!!

2007 has been a great
year. The challenges came from every direction and we emerge stronger than ever and ready
to tackle 2008. It's still a couple weeks away but 2008 is already in full
swing. In the first few weeks of the year we will hear how the experts are surprised
about how strong online spending was. The experts are really no experts at all
or they would have predicted what is coming not reacting to it.

The same may be true of
the Presidential primaries that in the next few weeks may change the entire
picture as the nominees from each party emerge. In all my life I have never
seen a more interesting race and be prepared for some surprises. I have no idea how it will shake out. What are your thoughts?

2008 won't be without
its' challenges. The economy is in a bit of turmoil but unlike past economic
woes this time employment is very strong so the dynamics may be quite a bit
different. We are at a teeter totter point and I am not sure if we will
teeter or totter. We just might squeak through but not without some real pain
scattered through the economy. Then again it could get very ugly as we really
are in uncharted territory. The saving grace may be the Internet. But if the
folks begin to run scared and pull back, it will lead to a self fulfilling
prophecy and they will be responsible for their own undoing. In slowdowns you
don't pull back. You gun the engine and hope you can minimize the impact as
opposed to pulling back and let the tide be your destiny. You fight to stay
even or you lose very big.

Personally I am looking
forward to the coming shakeout. There will be all types of opportunities and
bargains spread throughout the business spectrum. Many things may manifest
themselves in an unpredictable manner. As Steve Forbes told us directly in
October, be prepared for a 'Roller coaster' of a ride. The key is having CASH to swoop down and score big.

Like many of you I am
going to unwind and enjoy the next few weeks. I will return in mid January
ready to go for 2008. Until then I invite you to go back and read my 52 posts
that I made in 2007. Most will pay you dividends the minute you read some of my
points and think about it. Even if you disagree, I force you to engage. I force
you to reconfirm. I force you to take a second look at something that you may
think complex and actually find out it is quite simple.

To get you started here
is a list compiled by someone as 5 of the top 100 domain blog posts this year.
I encourage you to read all my posts like they were chapters in a book. With
the exception of a handful they are all related and entwined.

The Line in the Sand

Truth to power

The 'C' word

How Madison Avenue let
corporate America down

Domain 'type
ins' represent more eyeballs than American Idol

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy
New Years, GOOD HEALTH to all and see you when there is something to say.

Have a GREAT day!!
Rick Schwartz

My Greatest Lesson in Human Nature…..

Morning Folks!!

We are all held hostage to “Human Nature.” Human nature is a prediction of a reaction by someone before it actually occurs. You know the reaction. It’s a knee jerk reaction that can usually be predicted with great accuracy. Someone spits in your face, you spit in theirs. An eye for an eye. Screw you! Screw you! Asshole! Asshole. He cuts you off when driving and you return the favor. Or if you think you are civil, you may just give them the finger.

We all have the ability to fight human nature. To throw human nature a curve ball and therefore get a different result. Human Nature is akin to gravity. It is very hard to defy gravity but we have learned to do just that with many things. It’s not easy. It’s a tough thing to LEARN how to do but once you learn you have the ability to do things that others cannot.

Here is an example. It’s a silly example. But it is also the one I remember more than any other in all my life. It taught me more than anything else. Really. From this simple story my life changed in a way that I don’t often share.

Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s and as recent as just a few years ago before they closed up, there was a deli in Miami Beach like no other. This place was a legend. Sometimes the wait to get in for breakfast was an hour long. Folks flocked from all over the country when they came to Florida for a place called the “Rascal House.” The stories of the history of the Rascal House alone are mind blowing. A lesson in business for all to learn. Google it. It will probably be there. But Wolfy Cohen was a legend in South Florida. His fingerprints were on many a business. But this post is not about the Rascal House nor the legend himself. This post is about “Stella” the waitress.

Stella was one nasty piece of work. Never a smile. I was not in the mood to deal with it. I was hungry and I just wanted to get my order and be done. Now I ate at the counter of this deli for many years. Dating back to about 1973. When I came home, everyone knew where to find me. Breakfast at the Rascal House. Sometimes as early as 5AM when they opened and even then there was a line to get in.

Well one morning Stella was taking care of me, or actually was not doing such a good job. We did not have words but the back and forth tone was not the best. In those days the breakfast special was 99 cents. For that I can’t even list here how much food they would give you. Danish, rolls, bagels, rye bread, three varietys of Danish. 3 varieties of bread. More stuff that I even forgot about. All for 99 cents. Most left a quarter tip and thought they were doing good. I always left $1 for my 99 cent meal. That was me. But then this one day we had both had enough of each other. I could have stiffed her. Most would. It would have been human nature. It was what I wanted to do as her overall attitude really pissed me off. Then I did something different. I fought that human nature reaction. Instead of stiffing her. Instead of just leaving my $1 customary tip, I left her a $5 bill and left.

The next time I came there, and every time I came there for the next 30 years, this waitress would see me come in and she would drop what she was doing and bring me my cup of coffee. She became the smiling “Stella'. Still with her less than warm demeanor with most, but the brightest smile imaginable for me. So that taught me a really great lesson in life. Trying to break the mold. Trying to defy Human Nature. It won’t work in every situation and some situations the middle finger still work just as well. Instead of reacting I just say something like sorry you are having such a bad day. I'd rather tell them to 'Fuck off' but what's the gain? But hey, we are all human and sometimes we fly off the handle. It goes with the territory. I have yet to meet a person that has never made an asshole of themselves at sometime. In this there are 2 groups. One group understands this and one group does not.

It’s okay to rub folks the wrong way sometimes. I have a phrase I use….”Time is my best ally.” When you speak freely and frankly it rubs many the wrong way. But in time that wrong rub takes on a different characteristic because fair minded folks see consistency and honesty and eventually a respect builds. Others are much more charming and personable. They get along with more people and make friends much more easily, but then they screw you at some point of their choosing. They leave you on the short end of the stick. Usually with your money in their pocket. But they are charming. So you excuse getting screwed over by them and continue on. Some will get screwed again and again. I have seen this phenomenon for the past 35 years. So which one has more credibility? Your good friend that takes advantage and screws your ass or a loud mouth like me that you can take at face value because I say what I think and sign my name to it? I may have a number of detractors out there. Most never met or even talked to me and few if any have done an actual business deal with me. That’s okay. But none of them can articulate a single deal that I ever did with them that went bad. It’s the thoughts that they can’t deal with. In time even they come to respect that a person has more value sharing a thought even when it is provocative than to be a wall flower and never rock the boat. The Internet comes down to one word. CHARACTER. Your character, my character is our reputation. Our legacy. Our words, thoughts and deeds. They live on long after the day is over. Einstein said: 'Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression;
in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be
spirit of tolerance in the entire population.'
Good luck with that one. We live in an era of intolerance. An era that every word has to be politically correct. Folks have put themselves in a box and human nature is keeping them there.

I give folks a choice. I can tell them what they want to hear and be Mr. Popular…..or I can tell them how I really view a situation. Now when I am asked, I just give them the choice….'Do you want me to tell you what you want to hear or do you want to hear the truth as I see it?' Does not mean I am right but I figure I have no value in bullshitting somebody. But it is their choice. When I write, the choice goes away. But the value does not. The reactions are human nature and predictable. Seeking out others that can understand and defy human nature is an interesting experience. Folks that can understand playing the role of the 'Devil's Advocate' to find answers. Life is about doing great things. This era is about doing great things. Folks reading this have the resources and the smarts to take advantage of the world right now. To make fortunes. To create need and demand. The era is laced with opportunity. It is also laced with fear, with anger, with reacting in a predictable manner when human nature is in charge and you are not. This is not the time to be controlled by human nature. This is the time to fight human nature. This is the time to take the risk of a lifetime. This is the moment. This is the window and when it closes it will happen so quickly it will be hard to believe. Things are going to continue to be bad, but folks are now capitulating. They are giving up. They are facing reality and that is the foundation of the opportunity out there. Point is to defy Human Nature as much as you can and at the points where it can pay dividends. It may not be easy to do, but if you can conquer it, you can conquer the world.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

Europe, this is your wakeup call.

Morning Folks!!
Let me put it bluntly, Europeans are not great risk takers. Ok, stop shouting at the screen. But regardless of the yelling, what I am saying really can’t be argued. It’s just a fact. Not all Europeans of course. But the masses. Even the masses of domainers.

So why do I say something like this? First I started saying this about 2 years back when the dollar was the weakest against the Euro. With such a discount you would have expected them to step up and get some bargains. Few did that. Very few.

Now with domain prices lower than at any time in the past 5 years or more and still a strong Euro, same result. I really can’t explain it. Yes, payouts are usually in dollars. But they don’t have to be. There are European programs and vendors as well. But little evidence they are changing from before.

Europe is still ripe when it comes to the net. And domains There is more opportunity here than in the USA where we have reached critical mass and then some. TRAFFIC Amsterdam will either be the break out point or it will prove what I say is true. There won’t be anything in the middle.

For years we have been asked to do a TRAFFIC in Europe. In a little over two weeks that will be a reality. TRAFFIC has done more shows in the last 14 months than any period ever. 3 continents. 3 corners of the world. 5 shows. So will Europe show up in mass? Is the European domain community really aggressive and looking to move to the next level? Like I said, risk taking is not high. Not sure why. Maybe just the renegade in us in the USA. Let me be clear, there are voids in the market here. I saw a number of businesses that I could open here and do very well. Some things are just not offered here. Some silly things. Silly things that could make someone a small fortune. Beats working for somebody else. One business idea is already in formation. Buying a product for $1 and selling it for $10 and having them lined up to get it. In a few months I will tell you about it. All I can say now is that I found a void and I found a market. The name of the game is to sell enough product fast enough so when the copycats come we are so far ahead that it really won't matter. Then just milk it until it becomes unprofitable. But 10x return is a GREAT place to start.

So when TRAFFIC in Amsterdam opens up in just 2 weeks what will be the story? Rick Latona has pulled out all the stops. Great speakers. New sponsors. An auction focused on cctld. All the things folks have clamored for. Or was it just clamor?

We are all about to find out. Hot air or real business? Oh stop yelling at the screen! If the shoe fits…… with it. I asked merchant after merchant about doing business on the web. I got a lot of empty stares. A lot of “I do not do that.” “My son handles that.” The web literacy rate by small business in the countries I visited is lower than I expected. So much to gain and so many not embracing it. That was the #1 thing that STUNNED me the most on my trip.

My job is to be aware. To notice differences. To question those differences. To try and understand those differences. Now this is not a personal reflection on the people. They were all great. I enjoyed talking to every single one. But to not notice the disconnect would have been impossible.

Many think IDN will be the answer. Maybe, maybe not. I see no evidence of that even with the predictions I have heard for year after year that next week, next month, in 3 months it will explode. Just like cctld's or dotcom not all have value. I see IDN as a limited market in limited countries. Now that does not mean some folks won't make millions with them. It does mean that if you don't know how to pick a great domain and don't know the difference between a great one and a worthless one that the extension or whatever does not matter. Geography counts! Buying power counts! Attidudes count! That does not mean failure. It means a crappy IDN, a crappy cctld has the same value as a crappy dotcom. Nah dah. A liability is a liability no matter the extension. Most domainers don't understand to this day what makes one domain have great value and another one worthless. A liability. Now this is not universal in Europe. Some countries are much more aggressive and progressive than others. Some countries may favor IDN or cctld. Buying power of that group is key. But the market is still a long ways from maturity. Germany is a leader. Other countries like the UK have found success. But many have not yet gotten there. They are literally years behind and that spells opportunity.

I wonder who owns more cctld’s? Europeans or Americans? Each country is different.You could
have every domain in the country of Somalia (yes I know this is not in
Europe) and not make a penny. You could have one domain somewhere else
and make a fortune. But I bet there are countries in which foreign folks own more domains than the folks that actually live there. I bet German domainers own the most. That is just a gut guess based on absolutely nothing. But the Germans come to all the USA shows in mass. Canada too. I can’t think of another country other than Australia with more representation. Seems like they too are risk takers. Risk takers. Folks, THAT is what it is all about. Taking a risk. Risk losing. Risk winning. Risk failure. Risk success. Risk what you believe in. But risk must be attached with reality.

So stop yelling at me and the screen. It is just a provocative post to provoke discussing. Discussion produces ideas. Produces solutions. Produces opportunity. Like they say, nothing personal, just business.

I am not for or against any extension. Any cctld. Any IDN. But I follow the MONEY and the MONEY decides who is right and when they are right. Success decides. Society decides. We don’t have the power to decide for them as much as we would like to. The only thing we decide is which action to take or not take. I am not asking for you to agree with me. Most won't. 99% won't. It is a position in life I deal with on a daily basis. My thinking is almost always against the grain. I simply just state a view from where I sit and what I see. I share that view and it would be much easier to hit the delete key and not deal with the fallout. So call me stupid for posting what I see. But that won't make you a single penny or give you a single success.

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz.

Business sucks for everyone except Hogan Shoes and Apple

Morning Folks!!

No question that business sucks everywhere. I talked to hundreds of merchants in the last 2 weeks in Europe and they all said it was not good. Yesterday at the Vatican there were people everywhere, but only a fraction of the usual crowd. The store owners were doing little business.

Then we went to look for some shoes. I saw a brand on the way here and I liked the look. So when I passed the Hogan Shoe Store I was excited. But the 6 Foot 5 inch door man would not let me in. I had to get in line behind 10 others. I had to wait 10 minutes to get in. The place was packed. The place was doing real business. Everyone was buying and everyone was walking out with big bags of shoes. It was not prime time either. It was 7:30 on Saturday night. Wonder what it was like at 3PM?? They closed the store and it was still wall to wall. Excitement creates sales. This place was exciting. The energy level was off the chart. They had sizzle AND the steak. A rare combo.

Recession? Depression? For many yes, but for Hogan, selling $300-$500 sneakers and walking shoes, business could not be much better. Why is this important? Because it proves that when you have products consumers want, no matter the times, they sell. Period.

I wrote before about the recession of the late 1970’s. It was much worse than now. Opportunities were much less. It was a different era. But General Motors came out with a new spiffy Camaro and Firebird and THAT was what ended the recession. People flocked to the dealers and bought those suckers for years. People buy what they want no matter what. So stop teasing us with 'Concept cars' and start making DREAMS instead of metal with 4 wheels. Morons are in charge and THAT is the reason we are here.

Look at Apple. If they announce a new iPhone is coming out, the line will be hours long. Recession? What recession? Maybe a recession in exciting new things to buy. Maybe a recession in other areas. But the best way to get out of a recession is exciting new products that people want to buy. That is the secret. They can have all the stimulus they want, but nothing trumps things that people want.

So there is a lesson here. Is Twitter having a recession? Facebook? Apple? Hogan? There numbers may have been better if times were good, but they are all doing one hell of a job.

Btw, notice many signs missing? Like the ones that won’t allow you to bring a drink in the store? Amazing how a good recession can make silly rules go away. Right now anything goes because many are getting to the desperation stage. I was waiting for somebody to throw me out or warn me not to do this or that. Never happened. It’s a buyers market and if you are a buyer it sure is a lot of fun.

The point of each of these posts is to show the dire situation we are in on one hand and finding the silver lining on the other. If you are reading this, I am telling you that times have NEVER BEEN BETTER to do business. To make business. To share ideas and take risk. NEVER better. But for those that are trapped in a bunker mentality, they will surely pay a price IF they survive. It’s just a tale of two minds. Two outlooks. Two approaches. This is a time to steam roll the competition. To put folks out of business. To buy their business. This is the time. Folks it does not get better than this. Talent is out of work and available for the first time in some 20 years. That alone makes for a great opportunity to start and build companies. This is a great time to approach companies that last year would have laughed in your face and not given you the time of day. This is the time like no other. It may even get better. A bad summer is a GREAT thing. Many merchants are holding on for the summer season, if that does not materialize, it is over for many of them. The rest are waiting for the Fall and Christmas seasons. Again, if it does not materialize, it is going to be a carnage the likes of which none of us have ever seen.

Many can hold on through 2009, but if 2010 comes and we are still in this mess, it is over for them as well. But Hogan, Apple and companies that produce what people want, will survive, thrive and probably expand by buying weaker companies that they can transform.

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz

25 countries, 5 continents, 49 states…..more in common than not

Morning Folks!!

After visiting Naples and Capri in Italy, Istanbul, Kusadasi and Ephesus in Turkey, Athens, Santorini and Mykonos in Greece, I am back in Rome and on the way to the Vatican. I have visited less than 10% of the world. However about 50% of the world I have no desire to go see. So that makes it about 60%. But like Dorothy said….”There is no place like home” no matter where “Home” is. Had I not travelled so extensively around the USA when I was young, I might have the desire to travel more often now. To me, being home is a great gift. A gift I could not afford for many years. Home was a hotel, suitcase and a car back then.

My takeaway is that even with the country codes that are very popular, many also have their .com version of their domain. Any successful business also wants to secure their dotcom even if they only promote their country code domain locally. There is still a lot of room for Internet growth and acceptance in these countries.

While others sight see I am much more comfortable talking to the local merchants at each place. The international language of business breaks all barriers. In a word, business is not so good. They all anticipate the summer season, but are also worried it may not materialize to the numbers they need to make a living.


As a traveler, the downturn is a good thing. Upgrades to suites is now common. Service is better than ever because folks are scared and they want to keep their jobs. That turns mediocrity into superior service.

The ship I was on was full. But there are reasons for that. First, it is the newest ship afloat. Secondly, the line we use is already known for great service and great food. But while our ship was full, the ships we encountered were largely empty. Our ship had 100% capacity. The ships I saw looked liked about 25%. Many of them will not survive. The consumer now has choices like never before.

Bargaining was interesting. When we got to the point where they would say….”I am only making 10% profit” that became my opening to explain why they should sell below cost. Explain why turning dollars was more important right now than turning a profit. If my home is down 20% then they should absorb the loss as well. Their choice is to leave it on the shelf and maybe sell it later in the season or turn it into cash now and pay the rent. Some did and I walked away with several super bargains. Others did not….so I just walked away. It was their choice, not mine. My job was to make the offer.

The more I travel the more things are the same. Thinking is different sometimes. Reactions may be different. Lifestyle is different. But the day to day life is very similar no matter where you are assuming you are in a civilized part of the world. Even more similar when you go to the areas that tourists want to see. The faces may change but business is the same. Universal. Almost no difference.

The highlight was when I saw my slippers yesterday when I checked into the hotel. The name of the hotel printed on it followed by DOTCOM! In 1995 I said that eventually every brochure, every billboard, every ad, every letterhead, every label and every piece of material they produced would have their dotcom address on it. Few really believed that at the time. I was POSITIVE that would happen. Positive and stubborn in my belief in the face of disbelief.

As early as 2000 I knew I nailed it. One of my early beliefs is that someday I would walk through Times Square and every billboard would have a dotcom ad. When the reality happened in 2000 I had tears running down my cheeks. Even though I believed it with every fiber of my being, seeing it in the flesh was truly overwhelming. So when I saw it on the slippers, it brought back that day and confirmed just how powerful a domain name is. How powerful this new medium is.


What I can say is that we have barely scratched the surface. That there is still so much room for growth. More room for understanding. We are less than 50% of the way there. This economic period will force the world over the 50% mark. However I am still amazed about the lack of understanding the average business has about the power of the Internet to transform their business. And while that is disappointing, it is evidence of how much more can be mined. How much more can be achieved. How much more business can be done.

I come back on Tuesday after nearly a month on the road. I am exhausted on one hand and ready to harness the universe on the other. Timing is everything. I have written about timing very often. My friends, THIS is the time. THIS is the time to do great things. THIS is the time to take risk. THIS is the time to allow yourselves to become great. There is a window of opportunity that is NOW OPEN. I don’t know how long it will last. My gut says about a year. Maybe a bit less, maybe a bit more. When it does close, it will close fast and without notice. The greatest opportunity will be gone and simply a memory.

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz

On Day 8 I had a question, On day 9 I found the answer….

Morning Folks!!
So I was in Istanbul for 2 days and 1 day in another part of Turkey (Kusadasi and Ephesus pictured below). I like to look at local magazine ads. I noticed something a little unusual. While almost all had an email address in their ads, only about one third actually had a website listed. Brought me back a few years when that was more common here. But it still made me wonder. Especially with a young population with an average age of about 35.


Then my wife was interested in an item and she told them that she did not want to make a decision right now and would email them when she got back and have them ship it to her. Which they replied that they 'don’t ship.' I thought that pretty weird and that made all of us question the legitimacy of the business even though they seemed to be solid.

I later learned that Turkey was one of the few countries in the world in which the US Post Office would not insure or even guarantee delivery. It seems their mail system is so wrought with fraud that some 20%-30% never make it to their final destination. Many have found ways around that by opening US offices and sending boatloads of merchandise. But a disconnect to be sure.

There was a noticeable difference with their next door neighbor, Greece. Websites were common, to the ads, still not to the U.S. numbers, but .gr was everywhere and .com was pretty solid there as well. The folks that can benefit the most from the Internet also seem to be the ones to embrace it last. Go figure.

On the ship I strolled in to a “ get together. There must have been about 100 members there. I was looking for the culinary tour at the time and joined the wrong group. Just shows the power of the Internet once reserved for techies and webmasters, now includes so many different groups and interests that will again transform the net to what it was meant to be. The greatest communication device ever invented. The greatest shopping tool ever invented. The greatest information resource ever invented. The greatest learning tool ever invented. The greatest gaming ever invented. The greatest this, the greatest that. I could go on all day all night and still barely scratch the surface. The greatest social gathering mechanism ever invented and that includes millions of things I would have to list here once again.

Domains are a sliver of the opportunity out there. It is a foundational sliver and that guarantees a value that can only be judged when most folks truly understand the power of this medium. I have lived and breathed this medium for 14 years as a domain owner and years before that. And while I have always understood the power that could be achieved, even I am still getting my head around it. So how long for the casual user to get their heads around it? Be patient my friends. The true value of domains may not reveal themselves until we are all long gone from this planet. Even inventions like Ben Franklin and electric are still bearing fruit hundreds of years later. Look at all the things that we would not have in our lives had there been no electric. Think old Ben would be amazed beyond words? More invented after his death. After the death of all in that era and many eras since. Perhaps the real building blocks of civilization and progress. No electric no nothing. No computer. No modern medicine. No anything we come to use and live with and get comfort from.

There will be a reason that we will not have a great depression like 1929. The reason is the Internet and the reason is much beyond. So many new products will be hitting the market and they will all be internet enabled. Things you would never even imagine. Your dishwasher. Your oven. Your refrigerator. Any electrical device. Any battery operated device. Maybe even in furniture.

We are on the edge of history. The cutting edge. That edge is about to get red hot. Hotter than anything anyone has ever seen. Once all income had to come from a local market. Today that market is any point on the globe. The realization of the power that has yet to be tapped into will unleash a wave that will last for generations. So many models to copy in one ring and apply to another ring. Another market. Another group.

Greatness comes from despair. Success is born from adversity. Depression and recession produce motivation to think and create. If you have all the food, no reason to farm. Point is getting the world out of their “Comfort zone” is the greatest thing ever to happen to the internet and to domains. After the pain will come the gain.

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz