What does the Next 20 Years Look Like? A Business Plan Too Simple to be Respectable.

Morning Folks!!

If your goal is to have a commercial and worldwide presence then dotcom is the domain extension that is recognized in that manner. If you believe differently, that is fine, but the bigger your company is the more costly that belief will be over time and eventually you might be blamed for that belief. As far as the desire to get the dotcom version, it will never go away and each passing day makes it harder and more expensive to obtain. And if your competitor gets that domain, well they will likey hurt your company to the point of collapse. That is what 'I' believe.

Now country codes are just fine. But who can argue that it may be a more limited market that you target and maybe even confined to? The average person does not even know such a thing exists if you are in the USA. They don't know that hundreds of different extensions are already out there.

There were many short term business decisions made in the past 15 years or so that now they are finally recognizing there were long term consequences if they failed to realize the importance of what was happening and the time sensitivity. So that is what makes winners and losers and now the losers are whining. They bet the Internet was a fad and many of us bet it would be the new way to do business and provide a revolution in business the likes we had never seen before.

The laughs and jeers of 1996 tho distant, are still present. There is a large group that took their place. Some of them learned, some not. I am not kidding when I use the term 'Fad'. Many believed the Internet was a fad in 1995. I believed it was the best communication and selling tool ever invented. That it had the power to transform 3rd word countries into competing entities. Folks in shacks with an idea would become millionaires. The first time in history where no matter where you were or who you were, you had a shot at success.

'Unique Opportunity in Time'. I stated that and repeated that more than anything I have said. I explained why getting a great domain name was time sensitive. Why that had to be the first thing you address if you seriously wanted to build an empire. Like the game of Risk, the first thing you do is secure your countries. In this case it was to secure domain names that represented commercial and social audiences. Where there would be foot traffic. Where no many how many times you failed, with a great domain name you can reinvent yourself until you get it right. Just like the restaurant on the corner that went bust a dozen times and now has a 2 hour wait to get into. The landlord made out well through all the busts. He of course does better now with a stable tenant.

There are so many parallels with Real Estate and Commodities and Diamonds and the Yellow Pages, and Oil Wells and Gold Mines and People of history in all of those various fields and the dozen I did not mention and the 1000 I did not even think of. I have said that domain names specifically and the Internet in general represent an opportunity my Father did not have, My grandfather did not have, my Great Grandfather did not have nor his father before him. Think about that for a moment. And then LOSERS WHINE. How does anyone whine and complain when you are sitting in a diamond mine and the only thing you need to know is the difference between a rock and a diamond?

Never has there been so much unlimited opportunity and have it so close and convenient. I used to say that human nature is such that if you put folks in a diamond mine with all the free diamonds they could gather, there would still be those that would steal from each other. Go figure.

I knew the Internet was an Infant in 1995 and that like a real infant, it would need 20 years to be fully adopted by society IF that were to be the case. I believed with all my heart, soul and wallet, that it would happen and I bet it would take 20 years and I planned to survive many ups and downs along that path. My only mission was to hold on tight because a roller coaster ride it would be and if you get caught without certain elements, it all comes crashing down.

20 years to the starting line of understanding and embracing. What many of us learned nearly 2 decades ago is just being discovered. While I have always been disappointed about that I was never surprised by it because I expected it.

In 1996-1999 I tried to reach out and expected some folks to embrace what I saw. It was pretty simple. But few took the time to stop laughing and even consider looking at what I saw.

Today, it is different. I have more than 5000 of my domains no longer parked and going to Worksmarter.com. It took 5 years to accomplish that. Do they have traffic? For the most part, yes. But I have found greater value in talking directly to my future partners that I have never met and someday will be part of how my business plan unfolds.

I have another 1000 that are parked but have a link to the site. A site of just words and ideas. Nothing fancy. But I have a dozen different projects in the works. I stopped responding to emails about buying domains. I don't want to sell. Never did. But I did sell some to demonstrate what I saw and now that has been accomplished.

I do have more than a dozen active conversations with folks that have ideas. Now the idea alone does not make the deal. It has to be a 'Profitable' idea. It has to be well thought out and has to have certain elements in it for me to consider.

I intend to hold a private trade show in just 3 years for my partners and myself. My goal, 100 independent businesses with folks I have yet to even meet by some time in 2015.

I have already done the hard part. I have spent a lot of money putting contracts together for Candy.com and Property.com. 6 figures and then some to create the framework not for just these deals, but all future deals. I have developed contracts on a different level for domains like Luv.com and Punchbowl.com. These contracts offer folks with passion and an idea a way forward to build something with 'Sweat Equity', 'Cash' and a 'Percentage' of the new business. It offers me the protection I need and the chance to build something I don't have the talent to do and be part of that domain forever.

At the core of my strategy was understanding that the $750,000 website of 1998 that was obsolete by 1999, would be a $75 template by 2010 and then FREE! So if you knew and believed that in 1998, why would you spend the $$$ then? You would wait and in that time do something useful. Like figuring out how to build an empire. 100 sites in 1997 at $750,000 each would be $75,000,000 before you even open the door. Today you could do it much better and it could be done for pocket change. Folks would ignore that part of the equation and that was what allowed me to look at things in a long term way. 20 year plan followed by a 20 year plan. I knew it would take 20 years for domain names to take center stage. Every business starts with a domain name and while that was true in 1996, most did not recognize it until many years later. Location, Location, Location. Real world or Internet still has great value. Still gives you a leg up. Still gives you the wind at your back. Still can make the biggest difference. Still can be deadly if your competition is the one that has the better location and gets the first shot at potential new customers.

So folks can say what they wish about my plan, and many have laughed at me along the way, but it is a plan and whether folks understand it now or not does not matter much to me. I can guarantee you they will understand it when I have 100 partners. And when I get to 100, I will set a new goal of 200. And when I reach 200....

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz


28 thoughts on “What does the Next 20 Years Look Like? A Business Plan Too Simple to be Respectable.

  1. José Féria

    Brilhante. Brilhante por partilhar exatamente da mesma opinião. Muita gente ri-se quando não compreende o futuro, mas na internet o futuro já se transformou em presente e é num domínio .com que nós encontramos a solução para as questões que procuramos, seja no Google, seja diretamente.
    Se podermos desenvolver um negócio com a”localização, localização, localização” no domínio que os clientes procuram por defeito, estamos localizados em todo o mundo, 24 horas por dia…
    Congratulations on your vision

  2. Puranjay

    Excellent post as usual, Rick. I’m afraid the sentiment will fall on deaf ears, though.
    Most entrepreneurs I know don’t care about 20 year plans. They’d much rather build an Instagram than a Google. They’re happy to cash out for a few million after an year or two of operation. Buying the relevant dot com isn’t a top-priority in such a scenario.
    It’s unfortunate, but it is true.
    I wrote a longer follow up post here:

  3. Guy

    ba da ba ba baaa!
    I’m lovin’ it!
    great to see u back Rickster, great piece
    also in relation to what you’re saying, you know when you check the whois, who’s going to own it
    without checking
    shame site not resolving properly, again another thing typical of large corporates
    the story of mcdonalds.com itself dovetails in again with your message
    useful link: http://www.bitlaw.com/internet/domain.html
    scroll down
    classic article from 1994:

  4. BullS

    “many have laughed at me”
    Now who is laughing at them!!!
    The problem those don’t see it is because it is an easy plan.
    When it is an easy plan, people just brush it off.
    and dot com is KING!!

  5. Leo

    I started when you did Rick, but somehow you did see it would take 20 years. I thought by 1998 everyone would”see it”….crickets in 98′ !!!
    Here we are in 2012 and domain values are starting to be accepted. I have a hunch that we are at the very beginning of”critical mass” of domain sales. I’m under the impression by 2015-2016 we will in the heart of critical mass adoption of the notion that domains are a must-have.
    Anyhow, I was wrong about 1998, so maybe I am wrong about this, but I’m am seeing leads, sales, and more serious buyers starting to show up in good numbers now and feels like there may be no turning back.
    The caveat here is another economic crash, though, which could stall the ascent.

  6. Aggro

    Excellent post. More polite than I would’ve said it
    No-one gives a fook about 20 yr plans
    Certainly not the domainers in their 40’s and 50’s & later who will probably”expire” or get senile dementia or cancer before they cash out.
    They’ll be in their 60’s & 70’s before their”plan” crystallizes. LOL
    Tell the 20 yr plan to all the lucky early Facebook employees with early shares..not to mention all the early employees (not even founders) in startups who got filthy rich thru-out history..
    For most domainers (outside early birds or those who spent wisely), domaining will only ever be a slightly lucrative hobby.
    Gives them something to talk about to while away the time.
    Makes the dorks feel important…without knowing any real tech…
    Nothing happens until the entrepreneur comes out with the big idea…with the desire & cash to spend on the domain.
    I’ve said it before & will say it again:
    “Entrepreneurs make it happen, domainers wait ’til the entrepreneur makes it happen”

  7. José Féria

    reading this article written in 1994 lead me to think,”how I would have thought, and I would have done if I had this vision 18 years ago … Some did, some did not have the vision!
    Again, congratulations to those who had the correct view, and continue to have the vision … As Rick Schwartz had!

  8. jeff

    Go get them Rick! Your on a mission and focus. Simple as that! Your the king for reason and done a lot for this domain industry.
    People have dreams and very wise. Some people talk a good game without action in this crazy domain business we are in. Your all facts, honest and visions are coming true.
    I have a vision but surly not on a scale you have. Opportunity each day for the newer investor. Were all climbing the mountain one way or the other.
    Keep it going Rick and thats why I read your comments very, very carefully. Same goes with Frank. Same goes with Berkens.
    Congrats Rick!

  9. Trsitian Tyme

    Aggro your disrespect for age and wisdom is the least of yours despicable character traits which al,one with your total lack of knowledge, success and integrity makes you the stain on the domain blogging carpet. Please shut up and go away.

  10. Tommy

    Inspirational as always. Right on mark as always. I get so annoyed at times when clients / friends want to register .nets and .info because they think it’s better than the a .com. I guess that’s why I focus on my own projects more now :)
    Keep the knowledge flowing our way Rick!

  11. Steve M

    They look, but they do not see.
    They hear, but they do not listen.
    They speak, but their words have no meaning.
    They do not know what they do not know.
    Which is the most dangerous knowledge gap of all.

  12. IMultiscreen

    Worksmarter.com is a nice domain, and I appreciate your effort to realize the true long-term value of domains, which bring up the value for the entire industry.

  13. johnny

    why would 100 websites you have shares in want to go to the same convention in 3 years time? is it part of the contract? lol
    and what type of businessman would give you a share in a business just for some
    very average generic domain name? start ups sure
    b.t.w your story gets better and better every time you tell it

  14. Chadi Ghaith

    Amazing insight ! I so wish I was old enough and had a credit card with funds at those old times when the .com internet started !
    Am betting on the .co now; don’t laugh at me, but I believe i felt in the .co landrush something similar to wht u Rick may have felt back in the 90s towards the .com
    I knw .com will always be king, but if there is a prince out there, it must be the .CO; and it amazes me tht u can still find .net and .org domains available yet their .co version has been taken.
    Something about .co tht is forbiddenly simple, forbiddenly obvious, something like the emperor with no clothes on , everyone can see the fact, but no one has the gutts to speak about it…
    Also, something about the .co resembles the French revolution and the storming of the .com Bastile by the mob; the .com folks has simply grown too non-middle classed…

  15. Eric

    I’ve sold a lot of .COs for a profit. some of my better ones include:
    Im not a large domain player, just a small timer. I was pretty lucky to get these.

  16. Ray

    I remember you saying most of the things you’re now espousing – back in 1996 when I was running that small ISP in Royal Palm Beach.
    It’s refreshing to see you at the top of the game now…how I wish I’d been more attentive to what you were saying back then.
    All the best!

  17. Rick Schwartz

    Hello Ray!!
    The guy that introduced me to Ray (Ron) was the guy that taught me to FTP and that was a life changing moment! Surprised and glad to see you here my friend!!

  18. Collabo

    Rick has clearly been on the money with his endeavors regardless of what others say. I am surprised there aren’t more individuals and companies duplicating his efforts and offering up premium domain name partnerships.

  19. DRASK

    Hey Rick,
    Been doing my thing for past 14 years like you. A day doesn’t go by
    without me finding a good domain name. Those who don’t get it, will never get it. Love to read your posts. Keep them coming.
    Best Regards,

  20. johnny

    why would 100 websites you have shares in want to go to the same convention in 3 years time? is it part of the contract? lol
    and what type of businessman would give you a share in a business just for some
    very average generic domain name? start ups sure
    b.t.w your story gets better and better every time you tell it

    no answer, didn’t think so. sounds good, but in reality
    b.t.w if you”knew everything you say you knew”why did you only get a pretty small number of generics? or maybe the truth is like anything else in life, you only had a hunch, a could be, and lucky for you it worked, well done, but get off your high horse

  21. johnny

    you should have cleaned the world of generics if you knew all of this so clearly, what didn’t you?

  22. Stephen Douglas

    Hmmm… seems I remember some nut actually starting a group of domain buyers based on”future trends” and ‘waiting it out”. They actually had an auction to see if the market was”ripe” (educated).
    Oh well, those Future Trend domain investors haven’t yet seen that”20 year plan”, all your idea, pan out, except maybe show you why you paid $4,000 for”smartglasses.com”… a FT domain if we ever saw one. I guess”pigeon shit” domains don’t really mean what you said a while back:”But then wait until it turns to gold and THEN sell. Because right now, it is yet to be transformed. It is still Pigeon Shit.
    I have Pigeon Shit. Yes, me too. The difference is I don’t try and sell Pigeon Shit. I let them drop.”
    Can’t wait to pick up”smartglasses.com” on the drop! ;-)

  23. Chadi Ghaith

    Hey Eric, congrats :), those r very nice ones…
    Hold on to the better ones, as I don’t believe .co has matured yet.
    Coming from an international orientation, I can see how this TLD will gather mass appeal once more and more people get online and become more aware of the importance of a clean generic domain name.

  24. Rick Schwartz

    If you owned something that was worthless at one time because nobody even wanted it for free but you paid $100 for it anyways because you believed something with every fibre of your being, what would you do?
    Wait 5 years and it was worth $5000
    Wait another 5 years and it would be worth $50,000
    Wait another 5 years and it would be worth $500,000
    Wait another 5 years and it would be worth $2,500,000
    What would you do?
    How long would you wait?
    What’s your 20 year plan??
    Sure you can laugh and brush it off. But let me ask you again,”What’s YOUR 20 year plan?
    Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
    How are you going to get there?
    What are the steps along the way needed?
    What’s the actual plan to get there?
    Sure, it’s easy to give me the laughable answer that you don’t know about 20 minutes from now let alone 20 years. But how about being rationale for a moment and actually focusing a few minutes of your time for that plan. Maybe the 20 minutes would be a great start to figure it out.
    You can still be spontaneous and have a plan and a direction. Nobody forces you to go in a straight line. You can smell the roses along the way. But on the way to where?? I am just pointing out that ANY destination is better than meandering in circles of frustration on the way to nowhere.
    Do you think Companies like Apple and IBM are just going along month to month and year to year??
    Countries like China have a 50 year plan. When I was growing up the USA had plans for 25-30 years.
    When you go to college you figure there is a 4 year plan buried there somewhere.
    It is the plan that will determine your success or failure. If the plan is too rigid, it will break. If the plan is to weak it will be of no value either. A plan needs to be firm but with the flexibility to adjust to the reality of life. The hardest part of a plan is sticking too it. Not to be swayed by those that can’t understand or just don’t have the ability to understand. Those folks will always laugh. But as those 20 years go by they find themselves without words.
    I am not the type that sets goals and writes them down. However I do set milestones and I do put a timeframe with each milestone. I wrote about that more in depth a couple years back with this blog post.
    When I went broke nearly 25 years ago the one lesson I learned was that it was ALL about overhead. All about recurring bills. All about spending. So until you learn to track your income and expenses and have it on a spreadsheet as a living document, you will be without a compass and at the mercy of others. Living without debt is the key that unlocks one of the biggest monkeys we have on our backs.

  25. Robert McLean

    Thank you Rick Schwartz.
    Impatience and a lack of a coherent plan are
    areas for me to work on.
    Thank you for your generosity Rick.
    Robert McLean

  26. @chrisco

    Hi Rick,
    Any chance you can share the latest and greatest version of the documents you mentioned:”with”Sweat Equity”,”Cash” and a”Percentage” of the new business. It offers me the protection I need”?

  27. business consultant firms

    It is too difficult to predict what will happen that much into the future. The best thing to do is to come up with a plan flexible enough to adapt to whatever changes come its way.


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