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


30 thoughts on “Defining a New Mission, New Path for a New Era vs.”A Kodak Moment”

  1. Paul

    Great post Rick. I am currently doing some seo/domain development work for a fortune 300 company, and they finally”get it” and in turn have started to become very active in the domain space to lock up category type domains.
    I think part of the reason for this was what happened to Kodak – they saw an example of a once-great company that didn’t adapt to change, and they are on the way out.
    Sometimes the motivation comes from within, but for large corporations, I think they have to be beaten over the head with a”real” example before they finally understand.
    Just my $.02

  2. Meyer

    Excellent posting.
    You made a number of important points.
    Thank you for keeping us focused along this bumpy ride.

  3. Gene

    Excellent thoughts, especially your”mineral rights” and”savings bond” analogies.
    As you said, so long as you have the day-job and can afford to keep accumulating (quality) savings bonds, you’re in the driver’s seat.

  4. InGurus

    Post is full of pearls. Difficult to pick which one is the best. Great clarity and thought has gone into each line.
    I loved the statements”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.”
    Keep them coming Rick! You are your own competitor!!

  5. BetterDomains

    Lots of great info … but the world’s population is only about 7 billion, not 700 billion (so there are only 6,999,999,998″other people”). ;-)
    Response by Rick: Thanks! Fixed.

  6. Rafique Ahmed

    Hi Rick,
    This is what I was waiting for. You in depth analysis and insight is our inspiration.Please don’t stop sharing your thoughts. You are always ahead of time
    Thanks again.

  7. FUTRS

    There are times you really can nail a post Rick, and this is one of them – impressive!
    Some really great perspectives that everyone, in any industry can use.
    “The seller sets the price. The buyer sets the value.” – instant classic
    thanks for the food – I’ll be chewing on some of these for a while :)

  8. TopDomainDeal

    As the domain business needs to survive it was widely advertised to the public and people were hooked onto the domain business with promises for quick and easy money(same like – Currency trading promises). It is not for day or two, developing a domain business is hard and needs a lot of efforts and knowledge.90% of the new domainers don’t survive and this makes the big ones even stronger.

  9. TopDomainDeal

    Commodities are something people need and people buy them to use them.
    In the domain names there very precious domains and there domains that are worthless and they should not cost anything more than a penny!

  10. Michael Hallisey

    It is crazy how people don’t get it! It’s a great thing for the little guys to compete with the big guys in business if they ever see it themselves! I am sure Apple killed Kodak, the iPhone has an amazing camera. Kodak should have bought to let people know their was a camera out there that was not connected to a cell phone hahaha or just made the Kodak cell phone, I would have wanted one!

  11. earl adkins

    Hey Rick where have you been… its good to hear from you.
    Please next time STAY a little longer

  12. DavidDean

    Hi Rick,
    Welcome back. We missed ya.
    Loved the analogy to buying a boat.
    Do people realize that every one of the new gtld’s will have not just leaks, but gigantic holes? Seems clear to me that traffic will hemorrhage away from them in favor of their .COM brethren.
    There are many fools out there so I’m sure several will actually sell, but they are doomed to be the leaky vessels of the ocean – not seaworthy at all. Until, of course, they completely sink and the program goes totally under. Bound to happen. Just a matter of when.

  13. Jackie Joyce

    Every time I read this blog I get fired up!!! It doesn’t matter what type of day I am having, this is always a place I can come back to”get real” and”get my head right”… Rick Schwartz is the man and he is kind enough to take the time out of his day to share information and thoughts where a lot of people in his position would have an over inflated ego and not be willing to share with the new guys. If I had the choice between someone giving me money, or a resource, or sharing knowledge, I would always choose the shared knowledge because then I can put it to action and make something happen for myself. Thanks Rick!
    I thought I’d share something with this board that I saw yesterday on the Bloomberg Business Channel (my favorite tv station). Maybe some of you knew this already, but I didn’t and it wrecked my mind a bit…They had a quiz question pop up that said”What was the average cost of a 30 sec Superbowl commercial back in 1967 for SuperBowl 1?”
    The answer: Around $42,000 Think about that! That’s about what Rick paid for…look at the similarities. Imagine if you bought the rights to those commercials for 3 or 4 decades at those prices…Rick went and bought just one commercial and it lasted for a lifetime, everyday 24 hrs a day…just one 30 sec commercial, but just one payment!!!
    Next time someone runs their mouth about domains here is yet another example of what is”ass backwards” as Rick Schwartz often says!

  14. Island Woman

    Greetings Rick,
    I have been following your blog for quite some time, mostly because we are kindred spirits with regards to the outlook on the domain name game (pun intended) :).
    I inadvertently, got in the game, in 1997. My profitability in the industry was between 1998 and 2002 with a domain registration and web hosting service; which also gave me the opportunity to build my own private portfolio.
    When ICAN came into being I opted to sell my customer base to one of the emerging registrars, and I put mine on simmer.
    Although I have been inactive in the Industry since 2004, I have kept informed and recently I have started to develop my domains; one at a time.
    I can confirm one of your marketing proponent. Organic traffic from direct domain type-in is alive and well.
    But I have also learned that good domains are still to be had.
    A friend who is a storm chaser and lighting photographer, approached me to build him a website so he could share the huge database of pictures he has accumulated.
    “Well, first you need a good domain name.” I told him. Imagine my glee when I searched and found that was available.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom Rick. I plan to continue to follow your blog, but now that I have introduced myself, I plan to be a more active participant :).
    All the best, Island Woman.

  15. Jeff Schneider

    Hello Rick,
    I see Parsons is up to his shameless .Com Oh sorry I meant to say .Co propoganda. I have a superbowl bet that 90% of people that respond to this ad will punch in Godaddy.COM.
    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  16. Domain Agency

    Anyone who focuses on short term planning without looking ahead is asking for trouble! I also think there still needs to be more credability given to the domain industry…it’s reputation has been dented a few times over the last number of years. This could lead to a ‘going south’ attitude amongst some.

  17. Patrick Cowan

    Great blog rick glad to see the comments back,i think your analogy of being in the playoffs is dead on you can see the crap getting left behind as the dot com super team wins again, and business is paying close attention but it is hard to hold there attention with all these new tld’s coming up or Godaddy/Sedo/ect. promoting dot CO will only add to the confusion of end users maybe that next three years your talking about is who will end up the king, i think dot com is the winner already look they will type in dot CO and naturally put an M on the end just out of habit”ah the irony” keep up the great oratory been following for two years and you have been as consistent in your beliefs as Ron Paul.
    and he foresaw the crash and housing crisis..

  18. Altaf

    Always great posts are made on this blog by Rick. We learned a lot about domains from him as well from other respected folks with their profound knowledge of Domains.Thanks for that. But a few things still not clear of agreeing with either type-ins or Tlds/ext. Many brands were created without meaning anything of domains except how it was sounded after a lot of ads. Again,many folks proved that, with other TLDS .Com enough traffic or money could be generated either by developing or even parking with good companies. So it remained unclear the road map so far. Many folks challenged of these two issues here or any other boards or forums by posting their observations. But one thing we observed that no more good .coms are dropped now a days. They are rather held by investors or Corp. What does that mean? The domain market is ripen & more & more Tlds, or CCLds are coming up in the market. However, with tightening the policy by ICANN domain markets will be limited in near future, IMO.Any views please.

  19. peter h

    Anyone who listens to this advice and acts on it will be singing your praises for many years to come.

  20. steve

    Cuz when you work for others they never see the true value and you can preach your heart out and they still won’t budget any amount close to what is needed.
    Businesses are stupid and will always be stupid because they are run by people who have No Vision. Most are old and don’t want to do anything new and don’t even see the dangers of not doing anything.
    Groupon was probably a bunch of people that got sick of working for idiots and set out to on the Internet and were probably laughed at.
    You find out those who talk Bullsh*t all day long go nowhere. They just waste their time and yours if you let them. Those that have a lot don’t want to risk losing it on the Internet. So those few that are left do and they succeed eventually.
    The thought of when I was working for these people and I had to listen to their stupid tripe and their horrible decisions that just wasted my time. I couldn’t believe I was working for these idiots. They were like 10 years behind me and like Rick said you either get it or you don’t. Domains were the best thing to ever come to the tech age and everyone has a blank stare.
    I quit that job in disgust and had tried to recruit people but they wasted my time until I realized I had to do it alone. And it was a huge amount of work.
    Now I understand how both worlds work and see these people are really full of all sorts of wrong thinking that creates hate in them. They will never understand they are headed in the wrong direction. But I said fuck them as I gave so many a shot to know none of them will ever see the light.
    What really pissed me off was getting all the ‘Partner’ ideas from people now. Not the ‘What can I do for you’ that they should have come to me with but they came with ‘What can you do for me’ which just made me stare at them.
    It is funny that they are thinking ‘I am bring you me!. You are getting me!.

  21. steve

    One more point Rick was right about, SEO. For those that found out how to make money on SEO , good job. I would go to companies that would claim no money but wanted me to show them what I could do. They wanted me to teach them for free is what they wanted. I just thought what fools missing a great opportunity because your so dam cheap. You will never know the secrets I was here to teach you and change your whole companies future.
    The last company I quit once I realized they didn’t get it and I wasn’t about to try. I told the owner she was just a sleaze ball and I was out of here because she was to stupid to compete without cheating. She sold the company and didn’t pay anyone money that she had made promises to…guess they should have gotten it in writing… She went to Florida and bought houses right before the real estate crash. These are geniuses running companies in the great USA. Dumb bitch got what she deserved.

  22. Altaf

    Thanks for the insights. You are very much right. We need to read/study a lot & follow the teachers to be in right direction.But before that trial n errors are obvious. You & Rick are doing a great job, we must appreciate it.Gratefully,

  23. James

    @Island Woman –
    Sorry, but using Ricks analogy, you’re domain is sunk already.

  24. Critical illness insurance

    One article where after review I went back to reread. I like to believe I am on the right path but it is nice to know Ive most of the same views and plan, and for those I don’t I’ll just stop being so ignorant, I mean stupid.
    Ive two questions if can get answered would be great.
    First why 3 years, or that since the economy now and lots of drops or am I missing a bigger picture in which case glad Im asking??
    Finally what do you foresee if anything with changes advancing so much in way of apps, new technology and such, are their any roadblocks ahead in 20 years for domains?
    Thank you.


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