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.

18 thoughts on “Europe, this is your wakeup call.

  1. elimam

    I hear, we americans have a lot of domains that we thought we can sell for millions of dollars, but it looks like we can’t. so you europeans, be stupid and come buy them from us for a”discounted” price.

  2. Lucas

    Hi, from Spain (and sorry for my bad English)
    “Europeans are not great risk takers”: This is something I also say. I wouldn’t shout at the screen complaining, but rather support the reasoning, specially because its intention is constructive.
    “Like I said, risk taking is not high. Not sure why.” Let me have the pleasure of explaining something to the domain king: In my opinion there are 2 likely explanations for this.
    Firstly, we don’t have the capitalistic and market culture that the USA has. As you will know, our economic models tend to have the state as an important player. In fact a couple of months ago I read on a news paper headline “the Spanish dream doesn’t exist” (referring to our version of “the American dream”). They said that more than 70% of the Spanish youth hopes to become a state worker, and in my opinion it is not unrealistic at all.
    Secondly, we must remember that in the last century a huge mass of population crossed from Europe to America, which is a risk itself at the personal level for those who crossed. Hence today in America you have a more risk-taking culture. I guess it could be fair to say (at the mass levels) something like “the Europeans are the Americans that didn’t took the risk of migration”.
    I hope I placed my grain of sand.

  3. Lisa

    That’s a good point as I have noticed many Europeans own .us while Americans don’t have as much investment in that extension. I personally believe that other extensions like .tv have a better chance of success than .us. It has to do with mind frame. Europeans, Australians, and others specifically search for region relevant services and information. We Americans, on the other hand, assume everything applies to us default :)

  4. Andy C

    It’s true that we are more risk averse – we have an unhealthy attitude towards failure, and as Lucas said, the fact that your culture was built upon the shoulders of pioneers.

  5. UFO.ORG

    I can emphasise with Lucas, socialism has become a really evil political force and is growing all the time here in Europe. Whenever something goes wrong the Government steps in and spends taxpayer money which is generated by the productive private sector (The public government sector is just an overhead).
    In doing so, it creates an ever increasing dependency on the state and this translates into vested voting. It is nothing more than Communism. The EUSSR is growing.
    A very simple example is the public sector still basically has a job for life and a final salary pension (You get generally 60% of your final salary when you retire) now if you contrast this to the instability of work in the private sector and the lack of any good pension scheme you can see why Europe is slipping into communism. It is unsustainable and will topple at some point.
    I could say a lot more, but I won’t.
    Nb: Immigrants into most countries can spot the opportunities as they have additional perspectives that you don’t get when you’re submerged in the culture.

  6. Chip

    I also believe that the UK is well represented among domainers as well. Maybe the European issue has to do with language–English being the dominant online language and not their”Native” tongue. American business is also a few years ahead of europe in adoption of the internet and e-commerce as well. European would do well to heed the advice of Rick and look for opportunities. One of the advantages they hold is their language as well. Look to the model of what is working in English on the web and you might be able to find genuine opportunites in your own language because of the lag discussed above. Cheers

  7. Amanda

    I love the way you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts on China…

  8. Jim

    Hi Rick,
    yeah, I’ll fucking bet comments are moderated if you post shite like that. That’s fucking bordering on racism you yank bastard. I’ll eat my left ball with mustard if you publish this reply. What a complete and utter cunt you have made of yourself with most Europeans. Are you fucking insane?????

  9. Stephen

    Erm… risk averse. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing! Maybe if your fedRes, fannie whatsit and other sub primers had been a bit more risk averse, and not been teaching our hedge funders some bad habits then we’d all have a bit more money to come over there and buy some of your over-inflated domains, of which 90% really are dross. We’ve all got some stronger gTld’s now, and even the .eu is better thought of by non-anglophiles. 60%+ of UK companies want a .uk not a com. That’s rising.
    Maybe instead you should be asking yourselves… who needs .com?

  10. Fred Dugan

    Hey Jim
    yank bastard? racist? like rick said a few weeks back that he posts all comments even when it makes the person posting it look like a fool. you probably ate your left ball ten times in your life and are now without balls. rick posts his name to his thoughts. you did not even risk that. proves his point and adds spineless to it.

  11. Jim

    @ fred dugan… I posted my name. It’s Jim.
    I also posted my real email address. What’s your fucking point here?

  12. Steve Russell

    Hello Rick et al:
    As an American who has lived in Europe for 18 years, who is a domain investor, a business operator in the European paradigm, an MBA, and all around decent guy, I believe you’ve got it a bit skewed.
    Firstly, Europeans are quite different to Americans when if comes to business. We are much more concentrated on relationships, often forged over a coffee or quiet dinner than these big hullabaloos and exhibitions. Whereas Americans are loud, brash, showy and often showoffs about their wealth and or accomplishments, Europeans are much more quiet about their successes and confident to the point that they do not need the attention. If, as you say, you follow the money… you’ll have a hard time finding it here because we don’t broadcast from the rooftops.
    Next, I think you have to make a distinction between those of us with bona-fide Internet presences and domainers who trade only in domains and never develope. We are just as hip, just as up to date and have embraced the Internet just as much as in the States. Those of us who also invest in domains do so with much more exactitude that our American cousins, we just don’t shout about it. We do so quietly, and just get on about our business.
    Domaining exhibitions? Yeah, I was one of those who encouraged you, Rick, to come over to Europe. But since then I’ve had an opportunity to see what happens at the shows. The biggest sponsors, in fact almost all sponsors, are parking companies who are awash in PPC profits. When Europeans see the lavish parties, the limo rentals, the entertainment, the over the top dinners, we wonder… hey, cool it on the parties and increase my revenue share instead, buddy!
    Europe is very different to the States. We are 27 countries, each with its unique language, culture and way of doing business. But, because we all do business with each other, we have to know much more about business law, taxation and bureaucracy. Those of us who deal in domains already know what’s going on with the cc registries and ccTLDs. So bringing together speakers to tell us what we already know is superfluous.
    We Euros really watch the money! So, we are thinking… hey, if you want to throw a free piss up (cocktail party), we’re there!! But if you want me to pay $1,495 + travel + hotel + meals +++… what am I getting? Somebody telling me stuff I already know? An auction I can attend online? A limo ride? Thanks, I’ll spend the money on domains, or on hiring a webmaster, instead.
    Ya know, when I first came here I was all full of myself with,”Well in America, we do it this way.” And the response every time was,”Well if America is so f*cking great, why don’t you leave and go back there.” Instead I embraced the difference, made cultural adjustments, and built one of Europe’s most successful glossy magazines from scratch… in a foreign country, in another language with a completely different business culture.
    So, mate…. don’t be so quick to judge us. You banging through a few European countries in a few weeks does not an expert make. And, you might be shocked if you knew how much of the domaining pie we really do own, hehe. We just don’t feel the need to say anything about it.
    All the best, and thanks for bringing TRAFFIC to Euroland. Just be cool.

  13. winston

    Your just a former colony of the british empire who interbred over the years and now like to high-five each other over everything from taking a dump to bombing allied soldiers. You stick to your chilli dogs, twinkies and weekend canoeing trips. Take a big stick and poke your .com up your bum. We’re doing fine without you.
    p.s. Thanks for Saving us in the second world war. Could of entered it a bit earlier though.

  14. Altaf

    I think you are moderating before publishing any comment,correct? It is good to believe in democracy, but minding our own language is important here as well. How the posting by Jim was published in such a esteemed blog,I wonder!
    Folks, it is up to you, u wanno learn / read what is contributed by Rick. Why to use nasty words?


    Hello Rick,
    We all are experiencing a breaking point in the development of cyber assets,that is creating a grand illusion, that yes even us mortals are swallowing. This grand illusion can be characterized very nicely by a statement that you have made in your post.
    You may all say who is this guy Jeff Schneider and how does he know what he is saying is so. Well I may not have a handle on many subjects, but when it comes to marketing and economics I assure you I know a few things.
    Mind you I am not targeting you Rick, and I have the utmost respect for your super intuitive mind.
    You stated that in the USA we have reached critical mass and then some as far as Cyber asset oportunities are concerned. FALSE
    This concept is well documented and one of the favorite mantras repeated over and over by registrars and all other interests that lust for quality .com names. Their only interest is in subverting valuations for their own best interests. The truth is that of all investments intellectual property .com names, intrinsic values, will never decrease in value.
    Money velocity in an ever increasing stream is aimed directly at Intellectual property .com names and that is something that very few people really fully understand, at this juncture. Of course ,really deep down, you surely know this Rick.
    Some will be fooled but surely not all. A lucky few will capitalize on this illusion.


    As someone in the UK who runs US based .com sites I am interested to know where you got your stats from?
    Besides, history has shown that not every domain has value. Knowing when to take the risk is something I think we are better at.

  17. TruthHurt

    I do not know you but you have an honest assessment of what you experienced and it is indeed a fact of your assessment. I live in the U.S & in the U.K and i do understand where you are coming from so let me put it more straight & a bit blunt.
    If you ever find yourself living in the U.K most likely that you will continue doing one thing for 50 years with no vision of thinking outside the box. 2 years ago i carried out a survey in facebook about home business, affiliate programs etc’s i particularly targeted U.K network because they were the second largest country then on facebook. Surprisingly out of the 5 questions i asked which centered on working for yourself, becoming an affiliate or still work to be paid by someone else, i got about 70% responses on ‘I don’t know what affiliate program is’ The rest responded that they would like to work for someone else to be paid salary.


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