The Front Door, The Back Door, The Side Door. The History of Doors in Stores!

Morning Folks!!

If you have no sense of history it is hard to know where the future is going. I look to history for almost every new event and apply a test to see if it is consistent with other points of history.

It started with the 'Front Door'. That is how business started. That was the ONLY access. The Front Door. Then one day somebody got smart and told the good customers to come in the 'Side Door' as not to deal with the other folks or the lines. Then of course came the 'Back Door' for deliveries and still other folks. Some even used the back door for special customers! Imagine that.

See this was before there was a telephone. The 'Door' was the only way to get in. The only way to conduct business. Door guys were domain guys? Maybe. Must have been a hot business. Doors!

Then they came up with the idea of door to door salesman that would focus on the customers door instead of the business door.

Then comes along the telephone and there is a new 'Door'. A new access point for customers. WOW!! That was a huge milestone. But calls were sometimes expensive. So the '800 Number' appears on the scene. Another 'Door'. This one even bigger than the other 'Doors'. The 800 Number became the lifeline for many businesses. It is to this very day. Just like all the other doors that are still in use.

Now with the 800 number came the next door in the form of a catalogue. Another huge breakthrough. Each one transformed the business more than the one before. Now if you look back, so far, I don't see them closing any of those avenues of doors. They just add doors in different forms. Some work better than others.

The next door of course was the Internet. But the Internet started basically doorless. Then domain names came out and few used them. Most thought this new door would just be a fad. But they were wrong. This door transformed their business more than any other door. Oh but wait, not for everyone. Still many if not most are not using this door in the right manner.

First, many have doors that are hard to find or hard to remember or confused with others or all sorts of really important problems. But they would rather give up then actually figure it out. At least that was the way it was. Now everyone knows they need to survive. But are they willing to look and study the most important door in all of history so far??

They hire guides they call SEO gurus and they are supposed to lead them to the prize. Problem is any SEO guy worth his salt is not looking for new customers. He has them lined up and whoever he is working for keeps him locked up in a cave. So that leaves the 1 billion other SEO guys that have to spam you to get business. Most have ZERO results but take your money. I can trump 99% of SEO guys with one word. RELEVANCE!

So now it is time to stop outsourcing your future to SEO fakers. Time to understand the real way to get traffic, to keep traffic and to have an endless supply of traffic. Spamming the engines will do you long term harm and very little short term good. Businesses had all these years to put a 'Domain Strategy' into practice and get traffic for a lifetime for a fraction of the SEO faker. I don't know what your business is but I can ask the same question and you can fill in the blanks.

How much is a new customer worth to your business?

How much are 5 qualified leeds worth each day to your business?

How much is it worth to have 100 people stand in line before you even open the door in the morning?

How much would it be worth to have a FREE full page ad in your trade journal for the next 30 years?

I have spent years talking to domain investors but all along I have just been trying to reach out to the common businessman that may have outsourced his future to some kid that understands the Internet but does not understand business. Some techie that understands tech but is clueless in business. And what's worse is these business owners that have built businesses from scratch BLINDLY follow these guys instead of learning for themselves.

Blindly take the advice of people that have no clue about sales and marketing and growing a business and serving the customer and all the rest. They are clueless about what I have described here as far as the doors and history and that NOTHING on this planet happens until a sale is made.

Almost everyone reading this is losing more business online than actually doing business online. They are not asking the questions that need to be asked when somebody just leaves their site. They would never allow 1000 visitors to come into their real world store without any of them buying something. They would immediately address it. But online, you folks piss away 1000 customers like they were sand.

Questions I asked in 1995 have yet to be asked by MOST online business or websites. There is such a deep divide that it is hard to connect the 2 worlds. When I physically go into a business and engage the business owner while my wife is buying something at their store, seldom do they do anything but point to the nerd and run away. So sad. He would never do that if he truly understood what was happeneing. But the nerd rules and nothing will get in between him and his nerd.

More and more I am having conversations with business people from every type of business you can think of and many I never even heard of before. They are reading, they are inquisitive, they know there is more and they are missing something. That part alone is about 90% of the journey. Just recognizing there is much more.

Failure happens at the beginning of a journey not at the end. You just find out the result at the end. But almost every single failure happens at the beginning. The start of the Internet is a domain name. The door. Main Street is .Com. The Mall is .Com. Almost all important business is .Com. 95% of all advertising is .Com. So if you have a domain that is your MAIN DOOR on the Internet and it is not .Com, I don't care who you are, how big or small you are, how smart you are, you are losing customers because they can't find your front door. If pissing away 25%-61% of your business by confusing your customer is nothing to look at, then you are much smarter than me. Who cares that they might just end up at the one place you don't want them. Your competitor that did not confuse them. WAKE UP!

Folks can always point to the few dozen exceptions. But I can point to millions of carcuses along the path. I can point to UDRP's that are out of control because now companies recognize the value of the .Com and that they made a HUGE BUSINESS MISTAKE not securing the domain earlier so they try other tactics. The stakes are high and are getting higher by the day.

You can make a living flipping any extension you like. I am not talking about that. But if you want to be a serious player with a serious business on the world stage and join the biggest franchise in the history of the world then .COM is your only smart choice. We can certainly disagree and after all these years you are still entiltled to be WRONG!

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz
'Success is just a matter of luck. Ask any failure'

15 thoughts on “The Front Door, The Back Door, The Side Door. The History of Doors in Stores!

  1. Anunt

    You need to publish this article on front page of all newspapers and magazines to let the old-timers and new-comers know what a dot com is…everyone who will read this article from your site ricksblog already knows that dot com is king!!!

  2. Rick Schwartz

    If it were up to me in would be all over the place on every front page. All I can do is put it out there and hope somebody or entity of influence picks it up. It’s all about circulation I agree with that. Hopefully it hits a nerve and does just that.

  3. Steve O'Brien

    Spot On again Rick! I hope folks appreciate this valuable information. You are so right – it started with a door and a”name over the door”. Bill’s Paint Store, Al’s Hardware Store, City Grocery and on and on. The business keywords were there from the start. Another great article!

  4. Martin

    Hey Rick love your blog.
    That said, think you are a little to hard on SEO with your ‘its about relevance’ statement which you have stated before.
    Yes, relevancy is key but if no one can find you, you will never be relevant.
    For example, lets say you sell ‘doors’ – if you dont SEO your site, no one will no your doors are for sale.
    You will see once you begin developing that it aint that easy.

  5. Mason

    I am of two minds on this subject. At best, if in the future, bad SEO is merely viewed as spraying whip cream on your domain then it is a waste of money. However, if in the future, bad SEO is viewed as asbestos then you are ruining your domain.
    The velocity if SEO must be consistent in order not to be flagged as webspam by the Google. Therefore, do not start SEO unless you have the pockets to keep the velocity constant over the intermediate or long haul.
    And it goes without saying, if you dont have truly valuable relvant content on the site, then you are just wasting your time.

  6. JamesD

    @Martin -“For example, lets say you sell ‘doors’ – if you dont SEO your site, no one will no your doors are for sale.”
    You didn’t understand a word of the article, did you.
    If your business was selling ‘doors’ you have a choice; buy and get free highly targeted traffic forever (and own a stunning asset that’s increasing in value) or pay an SEOer to try and bring people to your site, with no guarantees, and no residual value.
    The domain is an investment that keeps on paying – the SEO guy is a cost that keeps on costing.

  7. Leo

    Your illustrations get better every year Rick.
    I agree. I admit, sometimes I get a bit down at how backwards, ignorant, an blind businesses are.
    I’m sometimes surprised more companies don’t fold up and close with how poorly they run their businesses Online.
    Regarding SEO, I mostly think it will last no more than ten more years, maybe even less. Why? I expect Google to eventually charge for 80% to 100% of every spot on the first page of commercial searches.
    Newspapers, radio, TV, print, etc….don’t give you one single thing for FREE in advertising. Where else can you get FREE advertising besides the Net? Only gorilla marketing can do that. Nobody else gives FREE advertising.
    Get your great generic domains now, before Google takes even more of your traffic by pushing everyone to page #2, and you need some kind of hedge to stand out in a much more competitive Net than we know know.
    It’s evolution.

  8. Doorman

    There was a somewhat sleezy night club in Atlanta in the early 70’s. Left over druggies from hippydom etc. It was a box about 150 long on the street with a door at each end on the street.
    The place, being the sleezy place it was, used to change hands a lot.
    Every time they changed hands they started using the door at the other end. I went in once to see what was going on but couldn’t see for the cigarette smoke.
    We renamed the club. It was called”Move the door to the other end and change the name.” It’s always about the door.

  9. JamesD

    One thing to remember going back to the brick and mortar stores….the ones who pay the most are the ones who go in through the front door.
    Thats what type-in traffic is – the front door.

  10. Joao

    I used to email companies with an offer about a .com i had. Then the person that got the email, would forward it to the nerd.
    The answer was almost the same for all companies. Something like”we dont need your generic .com domain because we already have our company domain.”
    This was allways written by a nerd, expert in SEO and the generic .com in question was the product they were selling. Exact match. Clean. Direct. Priceless.
    Is anyone here able to explain me wtf is a nerd doing in a company nowadays?

  11. ScottM

    Rick you nailed it perfectly, it’s not only about doors and getting people in them but also making sure they are real buyers or customers. For anyone that believes they are going to make a killing on Facebook’s IPO, hold off, your better invetment would be .com domains. The Facebook IPO is pegged at opening at 87X earnings, while Google’s IPO came out at only 19X earnings. And no proof that FB’s ad model is working well (see GM pulling it’s FB ads) or any better than Google’s. Eventually even when you find the right FB ad targeting formula that gets you”LIKES” there is no guarantee it will translate into any new revenue or customers for you, i.e. return on advertising invesment. Here’s an interesting case study:


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