I just wanted to repost this interview I did withSully’s
Blog. It touches on some interesting items and I give my usual frank and in your face answers to
the questions posed. I hope there is something of value for you in your quest for greater success.
Mike: You recently posted about “the domain industry
expanding, but domainers are shrinking” as related to possibly keeping
the 2011 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. for domainers only. There are, as you point
out, a limited number of full-time domainers. What are your thoughts
around part-time domainers? That is, those with full-time jobs in an
unrelated industry that are trying to become full-time domainers. Is it
possible for someone to achieve this at this point in the Internet’s
cycle? In your experience, do you see part-time domainers come and go
or is there growth in this demographic of the industry?
Rick: Every domainer I know started at this part time. Every single
one including myself. So I applaud and encourage all that are getting
into it. I always say don’t quit your day job until it interferes with
your money making abilities in domaining. However there are different
types of new folks. You have folks like Tia Wood who get in, learn,
understand, marry what she learns with her skills and then is able to
contribute to help others. But unfortunately she is the exception not
the rule. In the early days we were all Tia’s put together and then
bound together. Many made no money but had that desire and passion to
learn without peeing over other people in the process. Just classy
people with the strong desire to do better for themselves and their
families. (btw, Tia, I was not sure if it was 'Wood' or 'Woods' so I took the liberty of registering 'TiaWoods.com' for you this morning. Let me know where to push it. Likely it will become more valuable to you as word of mouth is still the greatest advertising on earth and you will have some dumb folks like me not sure which one)
Today we have domain bloggers that are not even domainers but blog
only for profit. That is fine, but folks that come in today are
confused. They certainly don’t have to look up to me, but they can
certainly look at who I look up to and respect and applaud because they
know what they are doing. They can certainly look at dozens of others
and their success stories. No two stories the same. There are so many where would you start? I know, you would start with folks that already found gold and know where to look as opposed to those still searching for their first strike. Imagine a gold miner that refused
to sift thru dirt. Would not find any gold either. So that person is
what I would call 'Noise.' Do you think other Gold Miners want to spend
time with a guy like that? They would know he was a fool at best and now you know how to weed out the 'Noise' Pretty simple test. Too lazy to apply the test? Then you get what you get and chances are you too will become noise. It is not up to me, never was, never will be, but there it is.
With so many success stories why would anyone in their right mind follow failure and be proud of it? But don’t confuse
that with keeping score for success and failure. All the guys I look up
to fail a lot and have no shame for it. They embrace failure because
that is a stepping-stone to success when you are a trailblazer.
But their secret is OPM. They LEARN from 'Other People's Mistakes.' They don't copy failure, they copy success. They actually know the difference. So when others laugh
at your failure, what they are really doing is excusing and masking
their own lack of success as they sit on the sidelines or just put on a sideshow. Time to know the difference. The folks I hang with don’t root for failure
or get off when others don’t succeed. They encourage folks and are
happy when their friends find success. I think most folks yearn for that again. When business was done by reputation and a handshake.
The mindset of so many new folks is they want the $$$ first and then
they think they are entitled to something. The only thing they are
entitled to is to work hard and find a niche that works for them that is
profitable. But first you got to be on the right path so simply being a
part time domainer does not mean much. You need to have successes along
the way. But let me be clear, even the newest domainer can offer
something of great value to the conversation. Domainers come from many
different backgrounds and cultures. They have info to offer and share.
That is what built the industry. Sharing. TRAFFIC is built on sharing.
You never know who holds the single most important piece of the puzzle
because they are all important pieces. You never know who you are going to meet at TRAFFIC. But they all have one thing in common. They have all invested time and dollars to travel to a distant place to actively make things happen and make things happen right then and there. These are folks of action meeting with other folks of action. Just another secret behind TRAFFIC. I got my reputation for not encouraging the 'Noise' and 'Naysayers' sitting on the sidelines to come and the 'Noise' and 'Naysayers' always makes more 'Noise' because that's what they do with their time. As time goes on more and more serious folks see why I would do this and I have no plans of changing.
Mike: You are considered among many to be the leading expert
in the industry. What is your opinion of the .CO TLD? Is it the next
best thing since .COM or an over-hyped release of yet another ccTLD
trying to rebrand right out of the gate?
Rick: It’s nice that many say that but just as many would argue it
and I can’t say I blame them. Many have done much better than me and
have many more accomplishments. I have just been very outspoken and
bullish on something when nobody else was. I figured a smaller piece of a
bigger pie was a winning hand. That said I know domain names better
than anything I have ever been involved in. It’s as if I was groomed all
of my life for this. I live it, breathe it, feel it, taste it. Just something hard to explain but very deep.
As for .CO……Sorry, I am not smart enough to figure any of that out at
this point. What determines the success or failure of any extension
will not be domainers. It will be determined by end users and
advertising budgets, brochures, billboards and all the rest. No ad
dollars spent on an extension means RIP. It’s all about the ad dollars.
Not the moon, the stars, the registry, the hype. So that is why each new
extension is speculative. But that is what domaining is about so you
need to do the job and get in or out based on what you believe and not
what anyone tells you. But listen to your wallet the most. If it is
getting fatter, keep going. If it is getting thinner. STOP and try
.CO is an interesting extension. It will be years before we know if
it is truly embraced or not and that is why patience is always a huge
piece of the domain game. Meanwhile many domainers will make a lot of
money buying and selling to each other and some end users. I have bought
about 2000 myself. Time will tell. Right now, it’s a 12 month option
and then I will re-evaluate and see. One thing I will say…..every
domainer at a pretty equal shot at getting some domains of value. Of
course if all folks do is register Pigeon Shit, then they won’t make a
dime and they will lose their money. On the other hand the ones that do
understand domains will pick a few winners that will pay for their
entire investment and more. What do all the whiners say then? Who do
they lash out then for keeping them back? Who will even take them
seriously again? The answer, newbie’s who don’t know any better. There
will always be an endless supply of ignorance and a limited amount of
talented domainers that will hit gushers once again. Some that came into
the industry 30 days ago will be bigger and more successful than 50% of
the folks reading this. Then what do the whiners say? It basically
impugned every word they ever uttered and the basis of their every
thought. So at that moment they have a choice. Get even more angry and
more frustrated or give it up, take a deep breath and give it a fresh
shot with a good attitude.
Mike: This next question can apply to both new and
experienced domainers. There are many bloggers and forum posters, each
with their own and often conflicting opinions. Particularly for those
new to the industry, what do you feel are the best sources of quality
information to learn from?
Rick: Well, I certainly would focus on blogs where the blogger has
enjoyed some level of success. Some bloggers as I suggest above are not
even domainers or just regurgitate or plagiarize posts by other domains
bloggers or talk without much to back it up. If you want to know what is
going on in the domain Industry I look to TheDomains.com, DNJournal.com
and then Domaining.com to see who else has something of value to
contribute. But I hate blogs that I have no idea who the author is and
that takes away a lot of the credibility.
Don’t believe half of what you read and question the other half.
Follow the financial motive of folks giving advice. Don’t be lazy. Find
the source and verify. Successful domainers as a rule have hearts of
gold and are more than willing to help others. Lashing out at folks
contributing their time and thoughts and asking nothing in return is
just not very classy and whether you succeed or fail folks should have
the dignity to treat others with respect. If folks take what I say
personally without me naming a single domain name or single domainer’s
name then I guess they have indicted themselves. If the shoe fits, they
bought the damn store. So my plain spoken words are aimed at failure of
the idea, failure of making a profit, failure of a successful plan.
Failure to find the success they are looking for. Where is the personal
name? But the shadows I talk to speaks back in highly personal and mean
spirited ways and I will never make any apologies for not wanting to
surround myself with narrow minded lowlife losers like that. When they
grow up and get some class, then we can see until then, the nameless
will name me without me ever mentioning them and those cheering them on
are in the same league. So pretty easy to spot the losers. They call
themselves out and it is amusing to those that know the difference.
Invisible to those that don’t know.
So to the newbie’s….if you are reading a post or a blog and they
spend their time taking pot shots at me…..it’s the definition of a
loser. Not for disagreeing, we can do that and debate that all day if
the motive is to find the best solution or answer. But for the mean
spirited personal pot shots that are uncalled for and unnecessary. For
those folks, I registered FuckYou.co and a few other socially negative
domains. Like Asshole.co and Morons.co. Come on! This is the most fun
profession in the universe and if you are not making money, having a
good time doing it, then all I ever suggested was try something new or
something different until you find something that does. Those 3 domains
were all just registered. Total cost $103. Does anyone reading this
seriously question I can’t flip for a nice profit right now regardless
of the destiny of .CO?
Mike: I believe you coined the term “Pigeon Shit” when
referring to registering domains that are worthless. I confess that I
collected a lot of pigeon shit before I started to get a feel for what
had some value. In your experience, is this a trap most people fall
into when they start to acquire domains? Why do you think that
registrars don’t include some advice, even to end users, on how to
select a good domain name?
Rick: Yes absolutely. We all own pigeon shit in our portfolios. Some
domains pan out, some don’t. Like panning for gold. Knowing the
difference is what domaining is all about. There is no guidebook nor
could there be as the industry will always change and evolve and that is
why there are so many ways to make money.
A registrar could not care less if they sell a premium domain or
pigeon shit nor should they. Except for their premium auctions which is a
printing press, their job is to register as many domains as possible
and that’s that. Anyone saying anything else is not dealing with reality
or just not being candid. So never listen to a registrar when it comes
to domain names. Two different goals and agendas and they are not wrong.
The ones not knowing and understanding the motives of each are wrong
for not understanding this.
Mike: Back in May, you posted on your blog about possibly
starting up some domain trading based on a small subset of your
domains. Have you done anything with that? Received any trade
requests? Do you think that, if this develops, it could be an equitable
means of strengthening a domainer’s portfolio?
Rick: It basically falls flat every time I bring it up. But someday
this will be common place. So now I do the trading 2 step. I sell a
domain and then take the proceeds to buy the domain I would have traded
for. I seldom go into the funds I have already set aside. I want new
funds to buy new domains. My business has always been self-sustaining.
That means all the dollars I use to buy domains come from the dollars I
made with domains to begin with.
Mike: Do you still actively acquire names? If so, how do
you go about purchasing them (private transactions or through brokers)?
What criteria do you look for?
Rick: I do nearly every day. Some hand registered, some aftermarket. I
buy many at auctions or private emails. But I get domains that fill a
need or diversify what I do. The criteria I use is when the domain
stands alone, it means something and is easy to spell. I focus on
commercial but have a lot of social type domains. Knowing the difference
is important. I was the first to even talk about the two
classifications. Am I as aggressive as I was back in the 1990’s? No.
That was a unique opportunity in time and I have said so many times. But
there will be more unique opportunities and the key is recognizing them
when they cross your path. I have never seen an industry with so many
ways to succeed on a daily basis.
Mike: How about selling names… do you seek out buyers or do they typically come to you for the domains? How do you decide what you feel is a fair price?
Rick: I have never really actively or formally tried to sell a domain
name. I emailed Hershey’s twice and have had some domains included in a
bulk domain ad. The whois is my best salesmen. As for price, there are
so many factors at play and then circumstance is always a huge part.
What would I do with the dollars I get? Is there a reason to sell? Is
there a reason to keep it? Is there a domain I could buy with those
dollars that would make my decision important. Is there a toy I want to
buy but don’t want to put out the dollars? Does it make my overall
portfolio stronger or weaker? Do I have a plan for the domain? What is
the value of that plan? So many factors at play and I am not forced to
sell to pay renewal fees. Some registered for fun or a hoot or a one
Mike: What advice do you have for those that are new or less experienced in the field?
Rick: Don’t just run off and buy or register a domain name. Learn the
elements that make one domain have value or potential value and one
that is something with an extension on the end. Your first buys become
your foundation and most important. It is not rocket science. The domain
is the centerpiece of every new business. There is still ample
opportunity. So many qualified domainers do share their ideas and
methods and they are often met with resistance. Some of it pretty ugly.
What they do is not working yet they resist what is. So the first piece
of advice is to not be so stubborn and defensive that you refuse to
question your own decisions when they are not working the way you
thought they would. The second would be stop chasing yesterday’s news
and events and focus how things will unfold in the future.
In closing let me say that In domaining there is opportunity every
day at every corner. Some seize that opportunity and others whine when
it passes them by. Black and white to me and I hope what I have said
makes it clearer for you as well. My words are designed to sometimes be
uncomfortable. Change is never comfortable and IF what you are doing is
not working you have a choice, get mad at me for pointing it out or try
something different until you find what works. If my delivery style is
not to your liking, get over it or don’t read it. That’s like being
stuck on something that does not matter. Stuck on stupid. In 20 years
they can tell their grand kids how Rick Schwartz held them back from
success because of his words and delivery. They won’t even buy that
bullshit, why would they think folks are buying it now?
So nobody conveniently twists my words to suit their story line which
seems to be in vogue these days, this is what I believe. I believe that
Domainers, developers, IT, graphics and SEO folks along with others
should be working together with a common purpose and goal. I have
believed that since the day I got on the net. Unfortunately there are
too many jealousies, prejudices, and Type A personalities to allow that.
Together we could build empires, alone, a lot of ugly frustration among
In the real world you might have a landowner, a developer, a general
contractor, an architect and hundreds of workers working well together
to bring an idea to life. Seems like that blueprint has been in place
for a very long time and one day will be common online as well. We are
the ones that should be making that happen.
Hope this answers some questions and provides some insight. In closing all I can say is I have done all I can do to reach as many willing minds as possible and these posts over the past years will stand the test of time for anyone that has the desire and passion to keep moving to the next level whether in domains or anything else in life.
Have a GREAT Day!