My Top 10 Domain Purchases, The Prices I paid. The $$$ they earned. The New Ones I am Buying.

Morning folks!!

I was looking for a post I thought I already wrote announcing our plans for 2013 and Las Vegas and stumbled on this little gem that I wrote back on February 20th but decided not to post at that time. I have a number of posts that I write and never publish or wait until the right time. This is one of them. This is basically Part 2 of a story I started telling here.

I was constrained by the times and my own knowledge. But my mission was to build a $1MM revenue engine that would act as an oil well and be able to pump for my lifetime and beyond that annual minimum. In 1996 I learned about the Internet. It was a period that started in December of 1995 and did not truly blossom until the spring and summer of 1997.

Like I was a learning process and I was not that computer savvy. I remember getting online with Compuserve back in the mid 1980's. I still shake when I think of those days. I was lost. Lost and in a dark place with few other people and was clueless on where I was or where I was going. I think it was 'Prodigy' by Sears that started illuminating things. I am not sure but I think that was about 1988?? 1987?

But by the summer of 1997 I started seeing things differently and started buying domains form 3rd parties. So I made a list of my top 10 purchases. Biggest bang for the buck. All I can say is I followed the money. I followed that path. I saw what sector was doing well and adult not only was doing well they were YEARS ahead on what they had discovered. Mainstream is still catching up with what the Adult Market discovered in 1996-1999. Those adult guys from that time have expanded into mainstream. I can verify that mainstream is just beginning to learn the lessons that we learned back then.

#1. It's no secret that the purchase of was what I call 'The shot heard around the world.' It was unheard of at that time to buy a domain for that much money. Most techies scoffed at the $100 price tag let alone $42,000. But they were techies and the business people had yet to arrive for the most part. I have never had a bona fide offer for even tho it has generated well in excess of $15 million as a redirect or a parked page.

But was not my first purchase. I had to build up to that and even in that moment I could only come up with about $15,000 cash. So a creative financing deal was used where I paid $15,000 up front and 9 monthly payments. But within the first 6 weeks I paid it off just on the earnings back then. Details of the deal are here.

So that is in August 1997. If my memory serves correctly it was about 3 months earlier that I landed my first 'Drop' which was unheard of at that time. But somebody emailed me and told me to register the next day as it woud be available. And so it was. May 1997. $100. Plugged it in and there was traffic and I was earning $200/day for my $100 investment. EUREKA!!! The MOMENT!! I already knew there was type in traffic, but not to that degree.

I did have one MAJOR type in domain before that. Two word very adult domain that was getting 5000 visitors a day and making $500 a day. That was at a time NOBODY beleived me about type in domains. They did not understand where the traffic would come from. They could not accuse me of sending them bad traffic because they had the sales that verified the traffic was real but they could not see where it came from. They still can't in may cases! So a 7 letter domain, Starting with 'Hot' and referring to some female anatomy that is 4 letters was the one that illuminated the path the most and the earliest and led me to everything else.

#2. During that summer of 1997, before I started with the purchase that I described many times. This was early July if I remember correctly. $12,500 and had to send the funds to Germany with no recourse. I did not sleep for 3 days. I could not afford a loss like that back then. It would have been a crippling blow if it went south. I was still growing my real world business and buying inventory many months before I needed it or got it. So the disruption in cash flow would have been a very tough setback.

#3 purchased for $15,000 also in August of 1997. I knew things were time sensitive and I wrapped up the deals as fast as possible. By the time I bought a few months later, I bought it at $20,000 and by the time I hung up the phone and got to the bank National A-1 wanted it and upped the ante. I paid $40,000 as the price doubled within minutes and with a threat of a lawsuit on one end and $40,000 cash in his account on the other, he chose the $$$ that were already there. While was a great purchase and has made 10x the purchase price so far, it does not make this list, but the story does.

I sold to an investment group led by Kevin Leto in 2003 for $1.32MM and finally demostrated that domains would go up faster in value than any other commodity in history. That sale ignited the domain space at a very low point, gave me some cash to buy more real estate and gave me the credibility to help create TRAFFIC.

#4 Sex in Spanish. Next to, is my #2 earner. With a cost of $10,000, has earned nearly $2 Million.

#5 One of my very best bargains. Paid $1000 for it and has earned that in as little as 5 days or as much as 30 days. I estimate total earnings approaching $1 Million.

#6 Another bargain with a cost of $920 with similar earnings about 50% of but since the release of .xxx, income has doubled.

#7 for $1000. Another huge bargain that produces steady income.Approx $350,000 in earnings so far.

#8 for $2500. Just a great domain that I bought early on from one of the top domainers in the world. Used mostly as adult. Lifetime earnings about $150,000.

#9 for $1000. Not only another 6 figure earner, but could be an interesting play someday.

Then I turned the corner and started to head to mainstream. I had been hand registerering mainstream domains since Day #1 even tho there was no commercial mainstream. was the #1 site in terms of sales back then. Very early adapters usually connected with the computer business which was pretty well established at that point. But now I was branching off and started taking the dollars I was making and putting it in a diverserve direction. That brings me to #10

#10. $5000. This is before there were Internet Widgets. This was when a 'Widget' was just a generic item you sell. So Internet Widgets became a very welcome surprise. It was not planned. It was just 'Stepping in Shit.' The beauty of a domain like this is that it is so universal. Time will tell where this baby goes.

I targeted the 7 dirty words you could not say on TV at first. 'Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits. And as Carlin would say.....'Tits did not belong on the list because it was such a friendly sounding word.' But those were either taken or not allowed to be registerd at that time. So I set my sights on the ones you could say but were right on the line. They say these words all night long during prime time. 'Horny, ass, bitch, slut, whore, orgy, booty and as few others. I went out and got them all. All registered to 3rd parties. All the defining line on what you can and can't say on broadcast TV. Why? Because Sex Sells!! Nipples sell. Ass sells. 'Leave it to Beaver' was a wonderful show. But Sex in the City sells more things and has more value. I was able to parlay ALL of my earnings back into domain names.

My very best buy may be my $62 purchase of A domain I would not even consider letting go for under 7 figures and a few points. See there can only be ONE that is truly the Cheapest! So I don't buy to sell like many do. I buy to watch an asset increse in value to where MY value is. I wait until the fruit matures. Yes, I am sure I could have sold that domain for DOUBLE! Whoopppeee!!! Domaining is much more than that. It is about KNOWING the value. That is why I compare it to diamonds all the time. Many look the same, but there is a huge difference in them when you examine them and see their depth and potential.

By this time there were others starting to follow what I was doing and some would emulate and even compete with me. So things became more urgent and I tried to get as many as I could as fast as I could as a lone wolf. About 10 days ago I hand registered a domain name having to do with a certain sector I saw that could become something. I grabbed a couple. Then this week Google announces their new Glasses which just happened to be the sector I targeted but froma different angle.

The Media dubs them 'Smart Glasses. Of course the first thing I do is try and register But it was already registered. But luckily there was a BUY IT NOW PRICE and so I popped that baby in the cart and for $3280 I have a possible category killer domain. We'll see. I see it as a great gamble. Maybe, maybe not. But everyone reading this had the same shot. It takes 3 things. Decision, action, risk. The last thing on my mind is selling it. The first thing is to measure traffic and study that traffic. Beleive me, there is traffic. How do I know? I have a better question, why do so many domainers not know??

While I would love to add another $1 Million domain to my portfolio, I would rather grow them nyself. I like $1 Million domains disgusied with a low price or $100,000 ones for pocket change. I added in December. A whopping $400. An instant full time business IF that was my calling in life. DomainShane listed that one on his drop list. I don't know if there is a contribution requirement, but I would gladly send him a $100 finders fee.

In 1997 I would pay folks $50 bounty on the YNOT board if they sent me a domain that was available and I registered. On Ynot I used the theme and changed the words from 'Kung Fu Fighting' to 'Everybody was domaining hunting' Those hands were fast as lightning' and went on there for about 4 verses. Did that on some Saturday Nights and would get 10-20 domains that would make money the next day. They all thought I was crazy to spend $100 a pop AND give a finders fee.

I Hand registered 38 more domains since December. (As of February 20th) Not to sell. To study and understand. Most I will drop next year. Not sell. Drop. I buy on a hunch. On something new. On a phrase. They are all longshots. But long shots pay big when you hit., and alike. Not mine. But demonstrates what I do. Predict Human Behavior. Predict how the masses will react. Predict how a group will react given the circumstances of life.

In January 1998 I sold all my traffic to Dean Shannon for a little over $1.5 Million a year. I sold my real world business for 7 figures in March. I had nothing to do. I retired. I just wanted to go out and have a nice lunch every day because the last 10 years I could not do that a single time. My home based business kept me home from the first calls in the morning until UPS showed up at 6PM or so to pickup our shipments for the day. Cell phones and call forwarding eventually helped to liberate me. But retirement was removing all those time constrainst and I now owned my entire 24 hours every day of the week.

Retirement was a full time job and I had no interest in working again. Life and work and investing would all take a back seat to being retired and it remains that way to this very day. That did not mean I don't do things. It is just about priorities. Work revolves around my life instead of my life revolving around work.

I goofed off for about 90 days and decided to do it again in my spare time. I just repeated what I had done from 1995-1998. By the summer of 1999 I had duplicated that revenue stream. I did that one more time in 2000-2002. I just wanted to fortify what I was doing so that no mater how bad things got my little empire could survive and do 7 figures a year in the most adverse times. A financial 'Ark' is probably the best way to describe it. I knew the net would go bust and it would likely happen more than once.

The little deals allowed me to do some big deals. And as I have said many times before, 'Sometimes doing nothing can get you further than doing something'

Now what I am trying to do is recreate that revenue stream by being a silent partner in the deals I do. I don't know how long that will take. But it is accelerating and I think before the 20 year anniversary I will have accomplished that mission as well. I think the biggest plus for me is giving my missions enough time to find success. I never try and rush it. I know when to go full out and when to let things evolve in their own way. You can't force time. That just comes back to patience. I define a timeline beforehand of how long something should take me to achieve. I know pretty quick if a mission has 'Legs' or not. I adjust as things move along and if things don't move along, I never kid myself into bending reality.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

39 thoughts on “My Top 10 Domain Purchases, The Prices I paid. The $$$ they earned. The New Ones I am Buying.

  1. Domain Shane

    One of the few posts in the last year I read twice. To me it truly represents someone putting their money where their mouth is and either reaping the rewards or accepting the loss. You have reaped the rewards. You also point out that the rewards, albeit perhaps different and with a few less zeros for each name, are still there for the taking in today’s market. Millions. Also glad to help on the dailyrentals find. The thank you and mention in your post was more than enough in return.

  2. Ann

    If the reports are correct, last year you spent millions of dollars on .xxx domains, yet you do not cite a single .xxx domain in your list of best purchases. At first I assumed that you had not included them because it is too early to tell–you’ve owned them for only 9 months. But then I saw that you had included”smart glasses” and judged this purchase to be a smart gamble, despite the fact that it is FAR too early to know the future of these glasses or this domain and you’ve owned it for a shorter period of time than the .xxx domains. So, I have to assume that you now understand that the .xxx purchases were not good purchases, and did not include them for that reason.
    Given all of that, I’m left to wonder why you invested millions of dollars in .xxx in the first place. Back in the 90’s you recognized that the Adult Industry was precient on issues of innovation and technology. You wisely followed their lead and made millions of dollars by doing so. However, with .xxx, all of a sudden, you decided that you know more about the Adult Industry than the Adult Industry does. While the Adult Industry rejected this domain, you invested in it. Why the change? Do you believe that the adult industry has lost that ability to see what’s just over the horizon?

  3. Rick Schwartz

    Never saw one of those reports and I can assure they are not correct. I did not spend 7 figures for .xxx domains. Another domainer did however. Not me.
    I may have invested$50k- $100k. I don’t know. Maybe less.
    I have a very limited number of .xxx domains and as you say it is too early to tell but still a longshot either way.
    The purchases I cited were just a couple of the ones I got since December and I don’t think any of them were .xxx.

  4. Joe

    Nice article, Rick. With the release of .xxx domains, I handregistered some premium domains like and and they’re actually receiving traffic (both type-in and from search engines).

  5. Tony

    Rick Schwartz = Genius
    Thanks for a riveting and inspirational story (I’ve read parts of before but still affects me each time).
    Easily one of the greatest success stories of all time.

  6. steve

    This is why T.U.R.D needs your support now more than ever. We have one mission, to take all of Rick’s domains. We have raised $50 million so far. Donate at

  7. Samantha Stewart

    “Work revolves around my life instead of my life revolving around work.”
    Love it.
    I believe George Carlin said -“Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”

  8. RaTHeaD

    great story… use to scan ebay in 1999 to see what the 800king was bidding on. been learning from you ever since. most of my best domains were purchased there as i had no real trust in my idea that domains would become valuable someday but i went with it anyway.
    keep posting and frig the haters.

  9. mike

    Rick, I usually don’t like your posts. Mainly because of your tone and condescending attitude, but your post above is very well written and actually inspiring. So to that I’ll say thanks and tell a few folks to read it. Cheers

  10. Altaf

    Hi Rick,
    Thanks a lot for posting your experiences. But you did not say how those quick cash was coming in. Is it from parking or devlopment and leads.

  11. Donny

    Oh the old YNOT days, I remember waiting for Rick to talk about some domain vein that he had found. I remember reading some of those posts, I remember when you started registering everything with e or i in the front of the domain.
    Great Story.

  12. Bob

    Do you own any Manhattan real estate? LOL.. How much do these domains earn you today/day? Do you see in the future the numbers going back up if the economy improves?

  13. Yoddler

    Rick Rocks! You are my hero, man!
    I agree with you that .XXX is on a direct flight to nowhere. Same with the new gtld’s if they ever even occur. you da man. Keep it up.

  14. John King

    so you were the only person in 6 billion who knew exactly what domain names future would and that’s all you got??

  15. The Other Adam

    Nice post rick. Appreciate the historic”look back”
    You’ve been doing some accounting lately eh?

  16. Kevin Davis

    Hello Rick and great post.Always enjoy reading the pages of your life.Social Gifting is a new buzzword floating around.I have aquired some great ones if it pans out that would be great if not no worries here mate.You might want to check it out.Good days ahead indeed.Cheers,KD

  17. Enrico

    wow.. Great lesson !
    Now, what do you think about”eco”,”green” or”bio” domains ?
    i mean,,, …. is there any future?

  18. Chadi Ghaith

    Amazing story!! Am Interested to knw if u invested in the .xxx thing and how u see things differently those days from back then for an aspiring new domain king in the making…

  19. Stephen Douglas

    Lesson learned:
    Buy porn domain names when the new”communication network” (the internet) forms. Then make lots and lots of money off them. If they are all bought up, try”future trend” domains. You might get lucky without making your mom embarrassed.

  20. Rick Schwartz

    I think my mom would be more embarrassed if I went around making idiotic comments on blogs to push their”Future Trend” domains and pretending to be something I was not.
    She is pushing 90 and lives in an oceanfront home that I bought for her after my dad passed away over 13 years ago. My 2 brothers live within 1 mile of her instead of the 45 minute drive they used to have and I am only minutes away myself. Not many mom’s can say all her children are that close. Every Sunday we all have breakfast together.
    Back in the mid 1990’s before my dad passed he used to call me in the morning and asked me”How did the whores do last night?” That still brings a smile to my face. The only two people on this planet that had to approve of what I did was my mom and dad and they used to IM me all the time with new domains to look up. I guess they were a little more open minded than you are and were suggesting”Future Trend” domains long before you as well. :-)

  21. Chadi Ghaith

    I don’t see how the genre of the domain name itself could ever be a source of embarassment. On the contrary, if u wanna be too moral on this issue (and on the flip side of the matter), Rick can be seen as someone who made it harder and pricier for mega developers of such porn sites to get the names they’re after.
    Also, i think the fact tht he went early into this has made him grow out of it and perhaps arrive more gracefully to the finish line than some of the sweaty jealous ones who proclaim the fruits to be too sour just cz they were not able to race him into it…
    I don’t believe God is with morality anyways, God is with the MIND. Use ur mind, u will find GOD with u; or spend ur life blaming the wrong God for what u cannot achieve…

  22. Ed emery

    I liked your 20 year plane idea Rick a few post back, built around Times Square and Las Vegas. Great idea as these places are truly amazing and get bigger and bigger every year. So I picked up and .net hey they were just sitting there $21 bucks? Maybe a advertising site down the road, hey may work…
    The weird part is the incorrect spelling (Time Square reg date 1999) has all the major TLD,s taken even .biz and .info with a TradeMark or two? Hey maybe typos work?
    Well anyway thanks for the idea Rick, just a newbie.

  23. Michael

    Thanks for sharing your story. You are a very smart gambler.
    It is fun to try to guess future trends and hand register domains ahead of the trend. It adds a layer to every magazine I read and a sense of adventure when I find available names. I just don’t have the balls to gamble at aftermarket prices for the ones that are already taken… probably by someone who read the same article a few days before I did.

  24. Holographic Domain Names

    I love the breakdown… Thanks for sharing
    … However, you only list ‘earnings’ – no mention of operating cost, overhead… What it cost to build certain stes out… etc…
    Can you give us a bit of an insight into this as well as this is just as important as how much you have paid for the name itself.


    I like your approach Rick, honest and forward thinking. I have left a few domain forums when they belittled some of the domais i purchased. I registered in 2009 and was asked why would i register a domain like that? well Rick like you i research and think of the future industries etc some you win some you lose. will sit there until i know what to do with it as its one of my little favourites. Keep up the great i love your blog its a real help.

  26. Steve1

    “ in December. A whopping $400”
    Great article, thanks for taking the time to enlighten.
    There is lots of low hanging .com fruit on the trees at the moment.
    I picked up a few dot coms’ in the last week or so for basically almost free?? Worth the gamble imho.
    WinterParkOrlando dot com – cost $33 (geo directory?)
    ManchesterAccounting dot com – cost $12
    AmeroGirls dot com – cost $12
    HomemadeBurger dot com – cost $13 (it will go well with BBQSausage(s) dot com )
    I wonder if there is therapy for domain hoarding?
    Great article best of luck with everything.

  27. John"Jackie" Joyce

    Mike Said:”Rick, I usually don’t like your posts. Mainly because of your tone and condescending attitude…”
    Mike no offense but the condescending tone is the whole reason I read this blog!!!
    Rick Schwartz said: …before my dad passed he used to call me in the morning and asked me”How did the whores do last night?”
    Hell Yeah!
    Brother Schwartz, this post was awesome, thank you for sharing numbers. It helps everyone out in many ways. I was wondering what some of your other non-adult names do, in particular
    It would be great for the domain king to post a lifetime traffic stat of all the top names in the portfolio, maybe top 100 instead of top 10…

  28. Dude

    Rick, you mentioned”points” here:”My very best buy may be my $62 purchase of A domain I would not even consider letting go for under 7 figures and a few points.”
    I assume you mean percentage points, but of what line on the income statement, revenue, revenue minus expense line items, which ones, etc. Thanks.

  29. UFO

    Great read Rick, you and a few others should all get together with a shadow writer and knock out a book. It really would sell. Loads of people now on the net would like to ready about the early days.

    Such a small community but such big plays.

  30. hentai

    Wow! I’ve discovered this article linked on twitter.
    I did not know RIck’s history and works.
    This is amazing, a man make a lot of money with domain names is really amazing.
    You saw an opportunity in 95 when people said: “Internet? What is internet? I don’t/will use it”.
    Congrats Sir.


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