BULLETIN! Cavemen spotted on TechCrunch!

Morning Folks!!

Before I get started on the Neanderthals (Lighten up, I have been called much worse), I want to thank TechCrunch.com for following the Candy.com deal. They have written about it twice now and that is a good thing. Their articles have been good. So I have nothing bad to say about TechCrunch.com and want to thank them for following the sale. What this post focuses on are the comments, the readers, the closed minds in light of years of evidence.

Now what is funny is about 2 hours after I write this blog post and decided to sit on it for 24 hours to see how the comments developed, Mike Berkens wrote a great analysis that frankly I would find too frustrating to actually invest the time to articulate what he did in a pretty calm manner. So my tone is slightly different……but then again I am a lot more frustrated after 14 years and it shows. I really hate when folks ignore facts. I give them points when they make sense, we deserve the same.

You would think after so many years of the Internet, the booms and collapses, folks would actually progress. But one just has to look at the comments and see that the same ones were posted a dozen years ago. However in face of all that evidence and progress, they remain locked into their box and the only thing they can do is lash out. The difference today is instead of me fighting a lone battle, this has erupted into a great opportunity to educate by an entire industry.

I don’t see why it is so hard to grasp the concept of making more sales with a recognizable and targeted domain name. You pay a premium for a great location in the real world. Where is the disconnect? The great location provides more traffic and more opportunity to make sales. But it is important for domainers to keep things in perspective. These attitudes still exist and they are hardened. It does not matter that they are wrong. These type folks never look for answers. They are locked into beliefs as if both feet were in cement and they become prisoners of their own close mindedness. It illustrates why things are the way they are.
Now they make some valid points but have a bad habit of dismissing our valid points. So until that changes, we are stuck in 1997. Opportunity missed.

Imagine folks out there running businesses, marketing for corporations, in charge of sales and when you show them 500, 1000, 1500, even 50,000 customers lined up at the front door of your store (Domain Name) before you even open it and that happens with a different set of people each and every day, week after week, month after month, year after year and they don’t see GREAT value there, well what can you say? It would be like talking to a rock, a rock in a cave. They seem so proud to remain ignorant. How does one justify remaining ignorant in the fastest moving business environment the world has ever known? It would be laughable if it were not so sad that so many companies actually listen to these fools like they were oracles. They listen to them because they too are ignorant. Hey Mr CEO, Hey Mr. Owner, kick these folks to the curb and start LEARNING the Internet for yourself. YOUR survival depends on it. It is no longer okay to say so and so takes care of that part of the business. You best get involved because just like 15 years ago, TECHIES are making BUSINESS decisions and techies make lousy business people. They don’t get it. They don’t see anything but a screen and a keyboard and have no concept of consumers and human nature and sales and customer service. They need to be locked in a room and YOU need to tell them what to do not the other way around. Some folks hire lawyers and listen to every word they say. Others hire lawyers and direct them. Both have value given the situation. But if you don’t know the difference from one situation from another, GOOD LUCK!
A Great domain name does not guarantee success. It just puts the wind at your back and increases your chances of success. If you are successful, you won't be mildly successful, you will be wildly successful. How many of you heard of Melville Candy Company before the candy.com deal?? How does it affect their stature in the industry? Will it open doors that may have been closed to them before? Does it cary some heft? Does it give you some credibility? No guarantee, but if you tap into all the assets associated with a great domain name, you won't be at the mercy of an overpriced and underperforming media. I could go on for 2 hours and not repeat a single benefit. If you don't see all the benefits, take off the blinders and read some of the comments over there. I rest my case. Still not convinced? Go watch some GEICO commercials.

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz

24 thoughts on “BULLETIN! Cavemen spotted on TechCrunch!

  1. David J Castello

    I ran straight into this phenomenon when I began in the domain business in 1997. 100% of negative feedback I encountered about the value of domain names came from my techie friends. They would constantly try to mute my excitement by saying,”What’s the big deal? It’s only a domain name.” Most of them were webmasters and their blindness cost their business clients dearly when it came to acquiring domain names for their companies.
    It’s now 2009 and, even though we’ve long had the stats to back it up, they still don’t get the marketing and branding power of domain names. Perhaps they never will. It may all be rooted in some kind of a bizarre left vs right brain thing. Then again, if they’d”got it” back in 1997 there would have been far fewer great names available for all of us to build our portfolios.

  2. James

    Great post! Your points about the CEO’s turning to the Techies for strategic decisions is a very valid one – you wouldn’t ask a builder to design your next home, you get an architect. Employed bosses aren’t entrepeneurs; they aren’t programmed to make ‘real’ decisions – just to watch their own backs.

  3. Robin Wauters

    Thanks for chipping in (I’m the author of the TechCrunch article) – this type of debate rages on in comments every single time we talk about anything remotely connected to the domain industry (which by the way, I know quite well).
    I’m not sure why either, and yes, the arguments made from both sides are always the same.

  4. owen frager

    What David said. And I have binders of rejection correspondence to document it (like Federated Department Stores saying we have the”Bloomingdales” and”Macy’s” brands why would we ever want to buy boys, girls, furniture or shoedepartment.com? (interesting that 10 years later the guy who signed that letter is in charge of ecommerce at IAC- now I’d ask him why would you spend $57 million for a bunch of multiple word darting domains).
    (insert owen screaming!!!)
    Hey who would buy popcorn online?
    I wondered that until the 10 times a year the grandkids send gandpa his gourmet tin of $75 treats at $10 shipping. Flowers, candy, popcorn buy mail is what vendors sell but love is what consumers buy.
    As for the ezcart and Yahoo comments- I know they’d love to over design and flash it out so people walk away cause they can’t figure out how to order- but closing the sale is key. Looking like the old fashioned store stands out on the web and is memorable.
    Spend money on what makes the business- customers. Everything else is commodity.
    Like a new dentist who buys a retiring dentist’s practice for the patients he starts with from day on versus the money on a fancy building and laser new tools.

  5. Gordon

    Owen – he didn’t spend $57 million on a bunch of multiple word dating domains. He spent $57 million on a bunch of BUSINESSES, and until this industry understands the difference we are no wiser than anyone else.
    Do you really think macy’s, with one of the greatest brands in the country would be wise to buy shoedepartment.com? That is silly.
    I’m as much of a domain proponent as anyone, but way too often we get too easily offended, and frequently go far overboard with the perceived value of our names.
    There are two sides to every story, and while I will usually take the domainers side – we all have to remember that just because somebody doesn’t agree with us doesn’t mean that they are an idiot.

  6. A Fellow Domainer

    Hi Rick,
    I saw your story referenced on http://www.OceanfrontDomains.Com and think the answer is clear: jealosy.
    Some of the cavemen you referenced feel foolish that they just didn’t see this train coming — as loud and as obvious as it was, they missed it and feel foolish about it. Looking back, it was pretty obvious, no?
    But then again, we all should have bought land on South Beach 20 years ago. As you correctly stated…same exact thing.

  7. Steve C

    I have been a domainer since 1997 and went through the same experiences that David Castello did. I have been working to improve perception of the direct nav names. I own many myself.
    Recently I started participating in Wikipedia’s Domainer page. When I first went there it was laced with negative cyvbersquatting dominance. I worked on the article and got it to a point where it was starting to be finished.
    I went back 3 months later work on it and they have redirected it to the Cybersquatter page!
    I have complained but it yet is to be discovered if it will make a difference. Not really a trueted source, Wikipedia is read by a lot of people who do trust it. Check out the”Domainer” page.

  8. Roger Collins

    I’m saving this quote because I think it is a great one:”A great domain name does not guarantee success. It just puts the wind at your back and increases your chances of success.”

  9. James

    From Gordon:
    There are two sides to every story, and while I will usually take the domainers side – we all have to remember that just because somebody doesn’t agree with us doesn’t mean that they are an idiot.
    It does when when they are too dim to see reality. To deny the value in something that brings you business, is nonsense. There is a cost to getting every customer you have, therefore there is a value to anything that brings you a customer – if anyone denys that, there ARE an idiot.

  10. LewR

    Even if you feel negative to opening your original forum – such an open space will assist in a better broadcast – and understanding of not just the business and its aspects – but to those who are involved in it.
    Most other (private) forums have become personal humiliation sites.
    There needs to be a source for those in the business world to obtain accurate and timely information and understanding as well.

  11. michael todaro

    exactamundo… it’s like the GoldenPalaceCasino paying thirty thousand dollars for a grilled cheese sandwich with the virgin mary on it. they got millions of dollars of free publicity in the first week. with domain names you’re not buying space on the internet (that is virtually unlimited) you are buying space in people’s minds.

  12. john andrews

    We’ve suffered similar experience in SEO, and continue to meet otherwise serious tech developers who don’t value search accessibility *at all*. They are so used to tech innovations paving the way forward, they don’t pause to recognize value in societal aspects (marketing, sales, users perceptions).
    Once you witness the VC-funded startup culture they live in, you come to understand how it continues. Rarely are the rewards directly connected to true market success metrics.

  13. UFO

    One thing I would say though Rick is that anyone can post a comment about an article, not just anyone owns a successful business.
    Even the most stupid person recognises that the domain is a great URL for a Candy store so in reality the only question then is one around how much it is worth.
    When talking to people about business especially when I was orginally kicking some of them off I heard all sorts of excuses, most from people reflecting their own failings or inabilities. Same too with people commenting on domain names and online businesses.
    People who are worth selling to know what things are worth, they are the ones that actually have the money in the first place, the rest are tire kickers…

  14. Kevin

    REPOST of my TechCrunch Comment:
    $3 Million is Whopping??? In today’s world?
    We’re in a new era folks where”Whopping” is Billions and Trillions.
    In the financial world, $3 Million isn’t a big number anymore. In fact $3 Million isn’t even a blip on the screen to corporations that play in the Billion dollar playgrounds of business everyday.
    Rick is one of my top clients and best friends but I’m not afraid to say he could have sold it for even way beyond $3 Million had he stayed on pursuing one especially targeted corporate buyer he’d been negotiating with over the past year who could have taken this domain right alongside another major generic brand they own already and are the market leader with. He could have seen Candy.com fit right in with this brand’s existing TV commercials that you see all the time. With a creative JV deal it would have been $30 Million over the long haul instead of just $3 Million. But Joe & Greg’s offer came along and Rick decided to go with that one. This is another multimillion
    dollar sale for Rick, so it’s still a nice profitable deal regardless.
    People can laugh all day long about the high end domain investors and the seemingly”crazy” million dollar price tags that hang on their gem domains. But, they’ve all become multimillionaires from this business, so they gotta be doing something right. Whether its genius or just luck and being in the right place at the right time and having made the right moves, the mega million dollar reality of these deals can’t be denied and you’re seeing more and more big deals getting done each year.

  15. Chappie

    Imo it’s more about some aspects of human nature and locked-in belief systems rather than sensible unclouded rational business decisions.
    For example look at the crazy way the planet is being run and the way most people just go along with it.

  16. jp

    All I have to say is that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. The smarter horses drink. Not all horses are equal. Ok thats enough analogies, I think everybody gets my point.

  17. Jon

    As a professional ebusiness developer and industry consultant (11+ years), I would never deploy on anything other than a generic domain. First and foremost, the majority of the deployed rank on the first pages of Google and Yahoo and that is exactly why they are used. Type in traffic is nice, but rankings are even better. In competitive categories, high quality generics are the difference makers. Even the SEO industry recognizes this. Bottom line- brands be damned, searches are overwhelming generic in nature.
    As a part time domain broker (DiabetesDomains.com) targeting high profile end users, I will readily agree with your assessment on techies (non-ebusiness professionals). Most often domain proposals directed to upper management (the smart people) and marketing get kicked to IT departments for their input. This action immediately kills any deal as their in-house experts know nothing about conducting ebusiness. Most feel threatened and are defending their sphere of influence. Bottom line- a webmaster is not an ebusiness developer.
    Given my experience, it comes as no surprise that Candy.com sold to the eventual buyer. The domain could very well prove to be the best weapon in their business asset arsenal. Bottom line- online entrepreneurs and guerilla marketers may not have access to the money, but they get it, which makes them very attractive prospects.
    In closing, domainers have what others were not smart enough to create. Jealousy breeds contempt. Bottom line- your business is digital real estate and many got in early and cheap. Ignore the critics and continue developing.

  18. James

    Could you show some numbers for candy.com such as unique IPs and CTR? Without numbers you cannot convince people. I do not see any reason some traffic numbers need to be hidden.

  19. Stephen Douglas

    I think my post in defense of the Candy.com purchase on TECHCRUNCH pretty much summed up exactly what you’re saying.
    Please don’t deny me THAT connection with our thinking process. ;-)
    I gave my time and marketing expertise to back your CANDY.COM price… maybe you’ll mention my name!
    Stephen Douglas

  20. Ryan Libson

    Congrats Rick,
    I think that you let it go too cheap.
    At what point do you take some of this money and start a VC dedicated solely to developing domains that haven’t found a buyer. IMHO thats where the real value is locked up.
    Rather than make 100k per year with a parked domain put 40-80k into initial development and make 400-500k annually.
    //forgive my ignorance if you already do this.

  21. Amanda

    Great points as always. Great example of how common sense ain’t so common…

  22. jelpalils

    From the moment the first Mercedes-Benz CLS four-door”coupe” was introduced to the public, other German luxury automakers hit the drafting board. According to the German auto experts at AutoBild, Audi is just over a year away from unleashing its own cleverly packaged sedan.


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