My First List Ever Made of My Aftermarket Domain Purchases from 1996-2012

Morning Folks!!

The way I have always looked at the domain game was not in a contemporary manner. I don't compare it to today. I compare it to history. Hence I look at the domain game as gold miners in Alaska in 1898. I looked at how hard they had it. How many died. How many were just lost. The only think I suffered through was several bath robes.

It gave me chills up and down my spine when in 1998 I went to Alaska to find the Gold Rush Centennial. I just happened to pick the 100 year anniversary of what I was copying. Land and mineral rights. Land was the domain and traffic was the mineral. That made it extra special. Together they had great value.

I was on a cruise ship and learned a lot about a time I was trying to parallel and only had limited knowledge of. That August day in 1998 was exceptional as while all this was happening, I learned that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet were also on an Alaskan Cruise and had been in the same towns we were in less than 24 hours before us. Pretty cool. A mystical confirmation that I was on the right path.

But that has little to do with this story and this post. What it as to do with is 'Booty.' I looked at mining domains as booty. You don't count what you have in the mines. You DIG in the mine. There will always be time to figure out how much gold you mined later. And so I did. But until then my mission was to lay claim to as many mines as possible and then I would have the luxury of TIME to come back to explore and exploit.

I have an admission to make. Until just a few weeks ago in December, I had NEVER compiled a list of domains I had bought in the aftermarket. The 'Aftermarket' that was created 7 years after I started buying domains from 3rd parties. I NEVER added up those purchases. Never even had a list. I always knew there would be time to do that since I believed we were in a 'Unique moment in History.' I was just investing in them as fast as I could. Every available dollar would go back in to get more and more as I knew this was the most time sensitive thing I had ever seen.

So in December 2011 I compiled my first list ever and this is what I found.

I was able to reconstruct almost every domain purchase since my early ones in 1997. I even found out that while I paid $42,000 for, only $37,000 went to the seller. The other $5000 was a finders fee for the guy that sold the week before for putting me in contact with the new owner. So I doubled his take just for that info. I have the original faxes that are barely legible 15 years later.

I found the original contract and the contract and all the early 1990’s contracts. Not that there were that many. Most were in the form of an email.

1. I purchased about 750 domains from 3rd parties that I contacted 1 by 1. Never sent out a bulk spam. Always targeted at a specific domain name.

2. I purchased another few hundred in small portfolios. Usually targeting just 1 domain mixed in with many others. I did not want to tip my hand by isolating the one worth what all others together added up to. So I would make a bulk offer. Even if I did not buy the entire lot, I would still buy 5 or 6 not to isolate the winner in the group.

3. I spent a total of $6.5MM in the aftermarket. That is really not a very big number. However, when you look at bang for the buck, I think it represents a true value 10x-20x or more what I actually paid plus the daily dividends those domains provided for over 15 years now. Enough to bank roll that many times over and still continues.

4. This does not make me a big player. Quite the contrary. Some single domains have sold for more than my entire portfolio cost. So I am under no illusions. But I play in my comfort zone. I risk what I am comfortable risking. Diversification has always been my back up plan. Turning 'Virtual' Real Estate into 'REAL' Real Estate. And I think I got great bang for the buck at the time I was most active by recognizing the opportunity early on and following through with what I saw.

5. I never took a penny out of my pocket to get into the domain game. I charged $1800 on a credit card and by the time I was billed by Network Solutions and got the credit card bill I was able to pay it from the Internet earnings back in 1996 before Google was born, before PPC and when only 10% of the U.S. population was online and very few others around the world. I took the earnings from 1996 and the first half of 1997 and parlayed them into buys from third parties.

6. I overpaid for some and got some incredible money makers and bargains on others. Plus I hand registered more than 7500 others during this time. Of those hand registered domains I have sold 11 for $100,000 or more each without ever trying to actively sell them.

7. Total Value today of all those purchases? I guess we will see. But I think and tote the note and the other 748 are just gravy before we even discuss the hand registered domains.

8. Of the 750 domains I bought from 3rd parties, less than 20 actually had a contract. I beleive that the time element involved and the risk of losing the domain to a higher bidder was a greater risk than anything else. So I would just send the money as fast as I could. To me, that was the best way to seal the deal. I would use the emails as a contract if need-be. Only one deal went south in all that time for a domain I paid $1500 for and maybe someday I will lay claim.

9. My motive was figuring out how to hold on and afford these domain names for 20 years without selling and at $100 a pop ($50/year with a 2 year minimum) that was a consideration at least 7X-8X more important than it is today. Maybe exponentially more important. How would $100 per domain name and $50/year do to your equation or business model? So when it went to $70 and then to below even $7, that took the pressure off me because my equation was $50/a year and now it was on $6 or $7 a year. Plus $100 back in 1996 had a lot more buying power than $100 in 2012 making it an ever riskier investment.

10. Luckily the earnings for the type ins more than paid for the renewals and a fairly nice war chest for additional buys. I had to focus on adult because there was no mainstream and we were years from a mainstream model. However I took those dollars and bought non adult domains knowing that someday this sector would not only develop but dwarf the adult market. Even tho there was virtually no traffic to those domains but I did correctly believe that traffic would develop in time.

I had to balance looking for domain names with retirement in 1998. Retirement was more important and domains would be what I did when I was doing nothing. So my retirement schedule has always trumped my working schedule. It is to this day. I don't like having to do something by a certain time or having to be someplace at a specific time. I want to work when I want to. Many times that is 18 hours in a day. But that is SOLELY up to me. When and where I want. My own drum and drummer. My own beat. My own time and rhythm. That has great value to me. Life is short and I believe we have been trained to work in excess.

I am not motivated to earn billions. I just look at my hopeful lifespan and ask what will I need to sustain it in exceptional comfort and do what I want when I want. How do I create oil wells? The less maintenance the better. The less time the better. I am also very sensitive not to CREATE WORK! Any moron can create work. The most important part of exploring a business opportunity is time involved vs the reward. Getting tied down on one project could derail everything else I am doing. On the other hand, if there is a calling, I will follow the path.

The mining I did in 1996 and 1997 was enough to sustain me a lifetime. I still invest 6 figures year after year after year and have hopes of increasing that for the right domain name or associated business. The one thing I have learned is 1 great domain trumps 1000 fair to mediocre ones. Quality is the key.

Now the kicker. Now the biggie. Look around you. Outside your window that is. See much building going on? Look inside your screen. See the difference? The Internet is building and growing faster than I can write this post. How many new businesses came online as I wrote this?

Question: What makes land valuable in the real world?

Answer: Assuming there are no minerals like Gold or Oil........Bringing people together by building something that they want and will go to. Then it starts.

Once these people are there, they will need other things. That's what I try and focus on. I don't have to be a casino in Las Vegas to make money. I can sell sunglasses. Provide a service. Open a gas station. The same holds true on the Internet. Patience is the key as I allow folks to build what they build and then see what I have that matches up well with what they are doing. It's just one way to look at things. One way out of hundreds if not thousands of ways.

Parallels with domains are in every direction you look. But you need historical perspective sometimes to easily take advantage of what is coming. I am the hamburger stand next to the steak house. The gas station on the corner of where the largest mall in the region is located. We together own bridges from one place to another and those bridges require a toll.

It's not what is happening today or what happened yesterday. It's about the next minute, the next hour, the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year, the next 2 years, the next 3 years, the next 5 years, the next 10 years, the next 20 years. And every idea goes thru that time warp in a split second.

I look at the Internet as a series of mountain ranges. Each bigger and more spectacular than the previous one and hard to believe that once you find the peak of one mountain range you only discover the higher peak of the next one. That has happened and repeated itself more times than I can remember. The only thing that kept me sane was knowing these mountain ranges existed and the only test to navigate through them comes in the form of TIME. Then there becomes a point in that time that you can barely keep track of things as you hop to each new mountain range in a shorter and shorter amount of time until it turns into a blur. That is where we are entering now and I believe patience today will pay dividends far faster than in the past. Warp speed. Things are changing too fast to even keep up with but we are in the path of everything coming. It's really that simple.

What's the value of to Overstock TODAY as opposed to 1 year ago? 2 years ago? They just discovered early what many will find out later. WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW! That cost MONEY! That lesson cost MONEY! The value of if it is ever auctioned off went up exponentially. Maybe 2 years ago $500,000-$1MM. Today, could easily be 10X that or more. That's what happens when the SECRETS we discovered YEARS ago are discovered by companies throughout the world. That is why I look at domains as 'Passive income' and compare to savings bonds. The game there is to hold them until they mature.

What I saw back then needed these 20 years to fully materialize and now we are where I expected we would be just 3 years from that target. How cool is that? I saw it so clearly back then but never anticipated the truly colossal business this would become in registrations and a sizzling aftermarket doing HUNDREDS of millions if not billions of dollars in very active transactions and we are just at the starting line.

Domains are the Real Estate of this century. The oil wells and gold mines of this century. The hub of every new business created as far as the eye can see. Facebook is training 800 million people to be online savvy. Many will open websites. All will need domain names and as they grow more successful they will have the desire to move to bigger and better locations. Just like they do in the real world. Expansion and understanding are the two driving forces and that vehicle is moving at full speed on the Internet.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz


Surviving the Test of Times. Naysayers from 2000 Sound Just Like the Naysayers in 2012. I have Proof.

Morning Folks!!

Words that can stand the test of time are words to be thought about. Nothing makes me sadder than a good person working way too hard and not getting what they want in life. I have done everything over the years to reel those folks in. The guys that have a tug of war between a 'Good Attitude' and their comfortable 'Bad Attitude.' Trapped in the world of 'Mediocrity.' A place I once resided. Dare it be me to say something. To point it out. To show the difference and show the new result.

Work hard for 3 days, then destroy 4 days of work as the MIND takes control instead of them taking control of their minds. Most of you were probably not domaining in 1999-2000. But do you know these NUMB NUTS thought like some reading this right now. They had the opportunity 12 years ago and they BLEW IT! Most of you would give your right arm to have been investing in domains in 2000. But look at the SAME argument then as now. This way of thinking will always make it too late. Even if it was 12 years ago. And I was frustrated and at my wits end at that point in time as you can plainly read. I expected a lot of head wind on this journey. My only surprise in my 17 years of domaining is domainers provide the most head wind of all.

Domains are like jumping rope. It does not matter when you start, it matters how long you can jump and endure and thrive and set records and not be tripped up by the rope or your mind. The timing to jump in and start is still where most get tripped up jumping rope and the same with domainers. They never quite make that parallell and so they jump into domaining without any plan. If you were jumping rope wouldn't you time it just right? If not, you fail before you even start.

So my GIFT to all those 2012 naysayers of the same ilk as the ones in 2000, is my post from that era and see that while few agree, I have not changed my thoughts. Now those domains don't earn that much today. But they do make me more money each month then the $$$ I have parked in bank savings. The dollars they have earned will take care of renewals for thousands of years. That bar is a little low but seems to be the one many use.

From October 22, 2000:

Morning Folks!!

Many, maybe most believe you could not do what I did again. In some respects they are right. In others, they are completely wrong.

I started in 1995 with $1800. So I decided to do an experiment recently.

I bought for $760
I bought for $500

I bought ??? (still looking for 1 more domain)

The #1 thing is BE PICKY!! Choose well. THIS is THE most important part of your job.

The above 2 domains make $80/day

Both of these domain have been bought RECENTLY.

With $75 a day PROFIT I have 2 basic choices. I can buy 5-10 domains a DAY for free. Or I could realize that they will earn $2250/month. That $2250 a month now gives me BUYING POWER.

The next thing will determine what kind of businessman I am or you are. It's the ART of the deal. The FORMULA you must CREATE in which 2 parties walk away happy and getting what they want.

I can buy a domain for $2250 can make a deal and buy a $25,000 domain and pay the guy $2,000 a month for a year. Or you can buy a $2,000 domain EVERY month. or a THOUSAND different scenarios.

Point is:

#1 You can STILL do this.

#2 The FIRST domains are more important than ANY other domains you EVER buy. It is the FUEL you need to get to the next level.

So to those folks that BELIEVE it is all over.......BULLSHIT!!! You just have a BAD attitude and have given up.

I just proved you wrong. But it you buy WORTHLESS domains, you will NEVER make a cent.

Here's the roadmap folks. I can't make it simpler than that.

I REFUSE to even answer a question about this cuz it is in such SIMPLE language that I just don't have the temperament to deal with naysayers.

Got it you Afternic lurkers without the balls to even post??

NOW you understand why I don't deal well with MORONS. If they are not capable of following a SIMPLE example, they are not capable of going to the next level and the next and the next. Morons populate this planet in numbers too high to measure. :-)

Have a GREAT day!!
Rick Schwartz

Sun Oct 22 08:01:16 2000 - - message #4991

So 12 years later, has anything really changed? You have folks that know how to embrace success and those that seem to be allergic to it. Folks that defeat themselves by counting their shortfalls and focus on them and folks that count their strengths to build on them. A destructive force vs a constructive force. Those 2 groups will never see eye to eye. Oil and water. Folks that change ignorance into knowledge and power and those that try and impose their ignorance on others.

Let's be clear. There are dozens if not hundreds or more ways to make money with domain names. Make FORTUNES with domain names. The entry bar is lower than any other investment or industry I can think of. One can come in and build an empire with a direction and an idea and a keen understanding of domain names or at least basic business and sales and understanding the market and the FUTURE needs of that market. I can only feel bad for those that struggle to see it. But keep looking. You only lose when you turn to the 'Destructive' mode. The self pity that human nature seems to have an abundent supply of. Don't be the victim of self pity, be the defeater of ignorance, one step at a time.

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz

Defining a New Mission, New Path for a New Era vs.”A Kodak Moment”

Morning Folks!!

Mission Accomplished. I had time to think, reflect and verify. Mission Accomplished. So what I have tried to do is re-adjust and re-evaluate to a world where Domain Names are no longer an unknown. Quite the opposite. The entire world now knows that it all starts with a domain name. Every business, every idea, every child born. That's the first step. It is also a step they may need to repeat and revisit if they did not get it right the first time and found any degree of success. That is happening already.

We live in a world today where domain 'Evangelists' are in every corner of the world. Where there are more 'Domain Bloggers' than there were domainers back even as late as 1998 or 1999.

So where do I pivot to from here? What do we as domain investors see? That has been the question I have needed to answer and have wrestled with. I am not looking to create work. That is never a consideration. I retired in 1998 and even the thought about being trapped again is enough to make me run. I do 'Missions.' I don't do 'Jobs.' Is there a difference? You bet your sweet ass there is.

I don't look at domains as a business where I buy and sell. That is always a fallback plan but not the main plan. I look at it as a gold reserve that protects my financial independence. Strictly as an investment with expansion potential when and as I see fit. Each year I buy many more domains than I sell. I don't need a lot of new domains, I just need to invest in some every year that I see as safer than owning dollars and will rise in value faster than other riskier investments.

I defined my financial needs for a lifetime back in the 1990's and my gold bullion came in the form of a .com on the end. Storage was easy and very portable. It had so many faces I am still counting. Many parallels with many things. All making domains exponentially more valuable than the very things we can compare it to. As a commodity. As a collectible. As Real Estate. As the Yellow Pages. As the 800 Number. As Social Media. As Media. As an Address. As a Business. As a Movement. As a Stock. As a Location. As an Investment. As a TV. As Gold and Oil. So many more. What is yours?

I have sat behind a number of monitors and keyboards for 17 years now and I still don't see anything so universal, so meaningful to the future, so multi-faceted as a great domain name. Plus the annual overhead is something paid within the first days of each year.

We are entering an exciting time. It's akin to going to the playoffs. The regular season is over. Domaining now is entering the 'Playoff' stage. A stage that I would guess would last up to 3 years. Possibly less. Then we go to the 'Super Bowl.' The 20 year plan.....EXECUTED!

In the face of naysayers and laughter, my plan is still intact and right on target. What I have had to do was take the 20 year plan and now redefine the last 3 years of that plan to get everything in focus for the trail ahead.

I wish folks could see things in true focus and since they can't, they not only laugh, but have no patience whatsoever. But where was the Telephone after 20 years? The Automobile after 20 years? The Airplane after 20 years? The TV after 20 years? It would be 20 years more before these industries exploded and they are still exploding. Bigger and better and faster and more refined. Point is we are still on the frontier of everything to come. That insures that domain values in the future will continue to rise exponentially.
We are DECADES from a ceiling but we are only months away from the outer edges of the 'Sweet spot' in many cases.

We all now have a collection of FACTS to work off of. proved another fact. You need just 1 entity on earth to want and NEED what you own. The only thing between that being a $5000 domain and a $1 Million domain was the seller and the buyer. The other 6,999,999,998 folks on earth don't count in that equation. That was what you call a 'Perfect Match' and that is what you want and need and have to have the patience to achieve.

It has long been argued who has the power and actually sets the price. Some think the seller is in charge, some thing the buyer is in charge. I have found the TRUE answer. The seller sets the price. The buyer sets the value. When those two either overlap or are close, a deal can be struck. Ultimately the seller is the decider. PERIOD! He is the only one that can actually pull the trigger and say 'Yes.' So I think we can finally put this argument to bed.

More domains were sold in the aftermarket in 2011 than any year in history. More dollar volume was done selling domains in 2011 than any other year in history and the increase from 2010 was staggering. How do I know this? Just like I knew everything else. If you wait for certain things to be reported as fact, you will always chase yesterday. These are just facts that have yet to be reported because they can't be reported. Most deals are private. We hear about a fraction of what actually happens. Nobody has to believe this but me, and I do and I will, and someday it will be reported as fact.

Let me put it bluntly, there is no longer an EXCUSE for Corp America not to get it. For ANY company for that matter, not to get it. Not to make the real world connections and parallels. That dog just won't hunt anymore. Folks either get it and get it NOW, or they will forever be lost in the wilderness of a past century.

At this point you have to use a lot of energy to remain ignorant. It's one thing to be ignorant when you don't know something, but the thresh-hold of fools and moron-hood start at the point you are no longer ignorant but act that way anyhow. Cling to that ignorance. Make decisions still based on that ignorance. Refuse to accept new facts and see how that affects the overall picture.
Companies should have had a 'Domain Strategy' over the past years. They were so busy is short term gains via SEO that they missed the long term strategy that would have given those SEO folks the wind at their back. Short term planning at the expense of the long run.

If you were buying a boat or even a yacht, the FIRST thing you would verify is that there are no LEAKS. The first thing. In domains it is not only the last thing, in most cases it isn't even a thing. Some are completely unaware. When their ignorance is cured, certain domains will have more value.

The FIRST thing anyone should do when buying a domain name for a business is to make sure when that domain is promoted it does not LEAK! With a domain, leaks come in the form of confusion. In the form of misspells. In the form of hard to remember. In the form of the wrong extension. In the form of how it sounds.

Those are just a few. So when I see folks that don't even consider these things, I have to wonder. If he were buying that boat would he still be so foolish? Yes, that person is a fool. Why would that fool get mad at the person for pointing out the leak? That behavior clings to foolishness and ignorance as opposed to understanding it. A moment to climb a step on the ladder of knowledge is lost to losing many steps as folks fight to remain ignorant.

Some folks have a pass and can remain ignorant if they choose. However, CEO's, VP's, Marketing, have no excuse whatsoever to stay ignorant any longer. The buck stops with them and most have failed their companies miserably. The only question now is whether they will cling to ignorance until they are obsolete and looking for a new gig. Budgets are no excuse for staying ignorant. Leaders must lead. They must make decisions others have no spine to make. They must recognize the difference between a 'Time sensitive' decision and all other decisions and make their case. If they can't persuade and sell their own folks, then they are weak and they are not qualified to hold the position they have.

I have said since the 1990's that sometimes doing nothing trumps all the busy work in the world. Sometimes just setting up an umbrella and waiting for the masses makes more sense than trying to hunt them down. But if you do hunt, wait for the hunting season coming soon. Once their ignorance is cured they will beat a path to where ever you decide to camp out or they will have their own 'Kodak Moment.' What's the recipe for a 'Kodak Moment?' Have your company run by Dinosaurs, Lawyers and Accountants. No leader. No vision. No direction. No excuse! We are even seeing it in the domain industry. Corpoations in domaining and not a NATURAL domainer in sight.

Corporate America can't sustain itself without understanding why one of the best run companies at one time has gone south. They won't be the last. But I think many people had a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach when they heard that one of the mainstays of business for over 100 years was going south.

The 'Domain Industry' has been abused and misused for many years. Some are fairly good stewards and some use a 'Scorched Earth' approach. Just like the real world. Some folks felt a responsibility to throw their trash away while others felt a need to just throw it out the window. Some saw a need to keep the water supply clean and others just pissed in it. The Industry is now a Multi-Billion Dollar one and expanding faster than most. Those that sell the tools keep inventing new tools and that draws more and more folks into domaining. This industry is getting bigger. But it is getting bigger on the edges. The core business is hard to penetrate. You can do it either socially or financially.

I think on the financial aspect more folks will get into the industry the way I did. Slowly. Deliberately. Targeting specific domain and specific types of domains. Not to flip. But for security, for growth, for future development. While I started in 1995, I did not start earning anything substantive until late 1996 and then did not really hit pay dirt until 1997 and 1998. I never sold a domain in that time. Never wanted to sell a domain at that time. I just wanted to accumulate them like little Savings Bonds and Mineral Rights on the Property I owned as well. I learned when there was no information and it blows me away that so many are having a hard time with so much information out there.

The way I look at domaining is like most would look at a savings bond. You don't buy them today and sell tomorrow. You buy and you hold. And eventually, it matures. That's the domain game. That's the way to play and win. You don't quit your day job to buy savings bonds. You have your day job just for that very reason to collect as many as you can and put them away. When you have more savings bonds then you know what to do with, then you are in the domain game. In the center of it. Not on the edges. But it won't happen unless you look at life via years not hours and days.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz