What Did the Internet Look Like on Christmas Day 1995?

Morning Folks!!

What really amazes me.........

When I look back at those 15 years I think the one that really impresses me the most is that I saw something before there was something.

There were no Domain Forums. Matter of fact, there were very few forums. Nothing like the forums of today.

There was no Google.

There was no PPC

There were no ebooks

There were no blogs

There were no Domain Trade Shows

There were no domainers

There was nobody else to talk with or compare notes.

There were no commercials

There were barely any websites of importance at all.

It was a desert!

It was barren

It was lonely

Less than 10% of businesses had an Internet connection

Less than 5% of homes had an Internet connection

It was a huge risk on something that was new, had little traction and basically went to a bunch of dead ends.

The domains were $100 each and there was but one registrar who was completely incompetent.

Network Solutions was probably the worst run company any human being had ever seen. I can’t tell you how many different domains I had to register 3x to actually get the domain. The 9 month lag in sending the invoice to get paid was my “seed money” to get into business. So while this was the worst run company I have ever seen, it also took them 9 MONTHS to send out the invoices to actually get paid. That financed my entire endeavor.

I never saw a company FORGET to put in a cash register for the product they were selling. Network Solutions was the first in History I think. I believe.

Now I don’t want to turn this into a “Knock Network Solutions Post” because they have improved so much over the years. But try to get your head around the following example.

NSI had a monopoly on every domain registration. They had 100% market share. Very few companies ever had such a deal like they did. 100% of the marketplace and selling a product for $100 with no real cost basis other than the service aspect. From there they got their lunch eaten over the next 10 years. Godaddy comes to town with a funny name and then knocks NSI off the throne before NSI could throw a single punch back.

So who is responsible for this calamity? I don’t care either way, but what a stunning story.

Whoever is reading this all I can say is that even if this is your first day in the world of domains, there has never been a better opportunity that was available to more people than this. Never in the history of mankind. 99% may choose not to believe that. That is unfortunate for them. And while I would have expected that 15 years ago and got more laughs than you folks will ever know, today we have 15 years of history and sales and accomplishments. Facts speak louder than every post all of us have ever made and I have waited 15 years to say that. The real game starts NOW. So nobody is too late. Take what you know and recalibrate.

The first thing to do when you recalibrate is to stop what you are doing, see where you are, List what you have accomplished, List your disappointments, consider the different directions and then modify whatever it is you are doing just enough to have a big impact.

Have a GREAT Day!
A Merry Christmas.

Rick Schwartz

14 thoughts on “What Did the Internet Look Like on Christmas Day 1995?

  1. Keldon

    Funny Rick, I was there regging like crazy in 1995 and 1996 but never got lucky like you did with the late invoices.
    I had garbage bags fulls of invoices b/c they kept coming everyday. I was a very unique time in history, no doubt.
    I regged my first 100 or so domains before I even had a computer. I went to a friend’s house with a list of words to check at first. I then bought my first computer in March 1996, a Gateway, for $3,300, which was a lot of money back then seeing as how no money was coming in from domains or the Internet for me.
    There are only a few people on the planet that we can share those early experiences with. I twas magical really. :)

  2. Rick Schwartz

    On Friday I stumbled upon my original invoices from those days. Most are still in envelopes and unopened!
    I wonder if there is a market for original domain registration invoices? ;-)

  3. hamburgler

    1995 internet, god… that was spookily, creepily very early.
    I didn’t get a PC till 97, and get online till 98.

  4. Ed Keay-Smith

    First off Rick, Merry Christmas to you mate!!
    Thanks for a great years worth of blog posts, brilliant stuff.
    and thanks for shining the light and leading the way back when there was no evidence to back you up, well it is there now and for those not listening they will regret it in years to come.
    Let the games begin!
    Ed Keay-Smith

  5. howard

    MERRY CHRISTMAS PARTNER! You have done a tremendous job in promoting an industry that to this day, not many care about. You have tried to bring the secrets of your success to others, only to get knocked down over and over by those who cannot accept the words of success. 2011 is going to be a great year, so keep up the good work.

  6. Ace

    Wow, it’s like going back to the Jurassic age of domain names. I salute all the folks who had the vision to register domain names back in 1995. Imagine a company like Microsoft did not see potential in internet back then, but a few guys did. Hats off and Happy Holidays !!

  7. todaro

    Netsol… incompetent? ok… so they didn’t even own the domain name network solutions. but i think it was a brilliant idea to hire one person to answer the phone for several million registrants. saved them over fifty dollars a day minimum.

  8. BullS

    1995…where was I…oh yea..my head was in the sand.
    The last 10 years, the internet has made alot of people rich and those are ones that are creative and look to the future.
    You know who you are!!
    Anyway, it is never too late.
    Merry x-Mas to all.


    I must now confess to my IDIOCY upon reading this post.Back in ’95-’96 I was living in S.Fla. working in a do-nothing bartending job.One of my running buddies was this rich kid who would become one of the first on-line porn kings.He hired me to work the phones as he tested a model of selling stakes in the sites as he developed them.As you said Rick…a lot of the way that people would generate income from the internet was still being figured out.He tried that one.One day I walked into his office and for no particular reason asked him why such intense focus today-since he was typically a rather mellow dude who paid other people to sweat the details.He responded that he was registering something called”domain names”…and that by doing so he was securing”prime space” on the internet.He mumbled something about he was sure he’d be able to”clear fat margins” even if he did’nt put a site on it.:-) Was I actually listening to what he was saying & taking the hint? Duh…NO.BTW:He and his partner did end up making millions from his day job.Fast forward to mid-2005.I’m STILL nowhere near rich.I live on the west coast,& I subscribe to a now defunct magazine titled:Business 2.0.One of the final issues hit my mailbox.On the cover is a BOLD title: THE MAN WHO OWNS THE INTERNET…with a picture of Kevin Ham.I read the article-which really became more about some swaggerin’ loudmouth in Boca named Rick Schwartz.(whatever happened to him?) The story was all about domains being the base for generating huge money.I had a flashback to that 30 second inquiry that just went in one ear and out the other 10 years before.I.WAS. GRIEF. STRICKEN! The very next day-I opened an account at Network Solutions…and proceeded to OVERPAY(35 bux per)
    registration for just pure pigeon shit.Figured I should probably run with Go-Daddy a few months thereafter.(quick study I am) Have been at it ever since.My portfolio is just now beginning to show some coherence.I’m starting to get offers and of course I’m now a voracious reader of the forums.(this one especially)Thanx for the great inspiration & straightforward blogging.I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed…but at least I can learn something from someone who is.

  10. ValueDrops.com

    hi Rick,
    I think part of the reason is that it’s a very hidden industry. I have been developing websites for 10 years and only recently got interested in domaining.
    Merry Christmas!

  11. larstr

    Internet in 1995 was not as underdeveloped as you may think; it was just different. Everything doesn’t have to be web based you know.. (or maybe you don’t)
    You could discuss online with people on irc.
    You could play online games on mud.
    You had discussion forums in nntp (commonly known as news).
    You could read news using gopher in addition to the web.
    You could search for online files using archie.
    You could search the web by using webcrawler.
    I probably spent more time using internet back then than I’m doing now. I just wasn’t opening a web browser as frequently: Most of my time online was spent on nntp and irc


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