The Rick Schwartz 20th Anniversary Post. Trust Numbers Not People.

December 26, 1995-December 26, 2015

Morning Folks!

It is early November as I start to write this blog post; my first in about one and a half years and since my retirement over a year ago, and what a year it has been. But this post was 20-years in the making and it may be years before my next. When I look back to that period, the "Dark ages" as I call them, never in my wildest dreams did I expect the success I have enjoyed and the great folks I have met along the way. Thousands of folks. Some that have been helped and influenced by my words and thoughts and I by theirs as well. Some that were provoked by those same thoughts but also might be motivated by them.

That is the most rewarding part of the journey. To make an impact in the life of a family is how I define success. The by-product of their success is good karma. And that goes a long way because I truly believe that whatever you give out in life comes back 10 fold or more. Good or bad. I just learned early on that it was much better to have the good come back; I avoid the bad. I shut out the negative and I annihilate the evil. That's how I think and that's how I roll. It pisses off the evil. The negative get angry. And I focus on the good because they are focused on doing it right. Like I have said for years, "There is the right way to do something and there is every other way". My search is to find right not be right.

We are not politicians that have to stand by every belief. Some think they need to speak for me by twisting my words to suit.  As a businessman I have to reassess things whenever there is new information. It can never be ignored. Good, bad or ugly, it must be factored in. And truthfully, many ignore the bad and ugly and oversell the good. They don't want to hear what they don't want to hear.  That is a recipe for disaster on any level. If you believe something and proof comes that you are wrong, you must pause. It may be time for an about face and a reality check. If not, that's the definition of being lost.

20-years ago TODAY I saw something so big and so life changing that I just wanted to share it with the world. It could easily pay off the liabilities and so much more. I look back to what things looked like then and where we are today and it is like being in outer space. We have come so far. But the Galaxy is massive and we have barely scratched the surface. But the 20-year plan is intact and you are witnessing the booster rocket this year. The rocket that takes us all into the next 20 years.

Think of a 20-year old young man or young lady and ask what will they accomplish in their next 20 years? The point is their best years and our best years are just starting not ending. Domains ARE the real estate of the future. It was true 20 years ago and it is FACT today. The only difference is no one understood or cared  about that FACT 20 years ago when it happened. They do now . China is just the first of many frenzy's coming as different groups and different businesses and industries realize the power a great domain has. The power comes from EXTRA sales and growth. Massive sales. Boundless and borderless. Treasures to be unlocked like gushing oil wells.

Is a domain a commodity? An investment? A safe haven? Real estate? Yes and much more. It is the most portable asset the world has ever known. But bigger than all that is that a great domain name is an equalizer. When you see the world through my eyes you will see what I see. That was why I spent so many years publicly writing about it and each with a time stamp and my real name or trademarked handle.

I saw something and related to something that most folks did not see or relate to and THIS was the basis for my entire outlook on the Internet. I realized from the get go that this was an opportunity my father did not have, my grandfather did not have my great grandfather did not have nor his father before him. This was life-changing and there was no mistaking it.

I just wondered day after day, month after month, year after year, how could so many miss something so big? How is it possible? Where were the CEO's and Sales Managers? My jaw would just drop thinking about it.

More than anything else I knew the Internet gave power to the powerless. The greatest equalizer ever invented and the price of admission was low and if you were poor, you could access for free via the library. That leveled the playing field for everyone. And the first words I ever wrote on the Internet were based on Martin Luther King's words. Because when we were behind a keyboard, no one could see us they could only judge a person by the content of our words and thoughts and over time on our deeds and our character. White, black, rich, poor, New York or Timbuktu. Clean or dirty. Dressed nice or not at all. A new swiss army knife that would change lives in a way that few have still quite understood. But how long would it take for those very people to realize what was in front of them? 1 month? 6 months? A year? 3 years? Brick and mortar stores did not embrace the Internet. They saw it as a threat not an opportunity. It was attacked a s a "Fad" back then.

3 years had always been my horizon for watching a business mature and run smoothly and profitable. No, that would just not be enough time for this one. Very few businesses were online and not all even used email at that point in life and the 35-50 year old still were computerless because they were working too hard to have time to get that far. But their kids had computers and their own parents had computers. When do the people in the middle come? 10 years? Well I figured it would have to be an entire generation, 20 years! Yup. That would be about right. But 20 years was the START of the race not the end of the race. 20 years just to get to a place that I could begin to demonstrate what I had seen and why it was so strong and therefore the reason I would never waiver. 20 years before I actually started to earn money. The question for me was how do I pay for domains at $100 each knowing it might be 20 years? So when they paid for themselves and more, I had to adjust my game accordingly and there was not a moment to lose. I think that was when I stated to get time wasters out of my life. I had no time for nonsense. I had an empire to build.

I KNEW my theory was right because I saw something real, tangible and marvelous. Grandparents and grandchildren now had a daily way to communicate in a new medium. It was less intrusive because email allowed you time to respond on your own terms and maybe with a little more thought. Well when I saw this, I knew we were not looking at a fad. I knew at that moment that how we interact was about to change and relationships would change and it was a great thing that would happen. 1n 1995 the masses were not yet online. And while folks will laugh at things like Prodigy and AOL, those were the "training wheels" that many of us non techies needed. I remember early versions of CompuServe. Really?? It was very frustrating to even dial up and get online let alone navigate. There was not much to navigate either. We are several years before Google was even founded.

I saw it unfold and layout in my mind. I started writing about it in 1996. I was discovering things by the day. I never saw anything like this or as big as this or a more powerful equalizer than this. And for the folks that say they have no opportunity today. REALLY??? For a $10 bill you can put yourself in front of the world and make an impact. For the cost of a pair of Nike's you can become a domain investor. To this very minute. There is more opportunity than any 1 person or 1000 people could reap at anytime. I have watched people come into this field and make a mark quickly. I have seen people flail and fail year after year. Much more of those. But they fail because they have a basis that is not understood by anyone but them. They don't understand the masses and when it comes to sales and profits it gets even dimmer. If you have a solid business background, if you understand real estate, if you are a market investor, then you should be able to learn about domains in a very short time today.

The conversation now is much different than the conversation of 20 years ago. Now I come to the table with some level of credibility. Friends and foes may exist but my reputation is untarnished because I had the character to understand that reputation is everything on and off the net. And 20 years later I may be a foe but chances are they got screwed by their friends along the way. I never screwed them. I always tried to help them. And I love when someone realizes their foe has been a better friend than many "Friends" that crossed their paths over the past 20 years. And that is my single greatest accomplishment. I know I helped to influence many willing minds along the way. I get more satisfaction in that then almost anything else. But I have enjoyed riding the wave and in my first year of retirement having a plan come together and take a victory lap of sorts. What a ride, what a parade. The message about domains has been received worldwide and now there are thousands more that will spread that message.

And it just gets better from here. There is a time to reap and a time to sow. I saw that getting the right Internet real estate was the most urgent and time sensitive of all things. And I knew there was plenty of time to build. Just like oceanfront land or land in Times Square. Securing the location was the key and time was of the essence. I wrote many times about how I literally slept on my computer. My fingers hurt so badly from 16 or 18 hours of searching Network Solutions for available names. There were no tools. Nothing else to look them up. No one knew in the real world what a domain name was. But I pounded away day after day in the 2nd half of 1996 because by that time I was pumping out gold. Then the sense of urgency grew exponentially. By 1997 I was buying 3rd party domains. I was not alone. I was competing with a host of others. Not many. But enough to lose a domain by seconds. Literally. 5 seconds one time I remember. But that just gave me even more fuel to keep going. My fingers were in pain every day. But I used different fingers and slowly kept going. And of course I was laughed at and ridiculed along the way. I was told I had more money than brains on more than one occasion. After this year, they are finally right!!! lol

I LOVE this medium called the Internet. My words are all on record with my real name or known moniker since the day I came online. They are date stamped and they may be copied or circulated but all can be tracked back right to me and my thoughts. Even along the way I was mostly retired. I looked forward to every Monday and I could not believe people would not check their websites or their email from 5PM Friday to 9AM Monday. They were running 24/7 businesses, they were AWOL during business hours. Their sites would go down for days at a time and no one minding the store! Then they complained about business not being good and losing other people's money.

So you see the seed of my frustration. They were losing more business than they were doing and choking and in trouble while the key was sitting right in front of them. When I would point it out they would get all nuts on me. That made them lazy morons in my book. I just pointed something out and they generally went bat shit crazy. lol

I think there are more things that bond us together than separate any of us. However some focus on the negative while others choose to focus on the positive. The positive is what bonds us together. We love our moms, dads, family and friends, and we protect them. But some decide to focus on what makes us different and those are negative thoughts and come with bad or negative results unless there is a constructive way forward. You must clear the old land to make way for the new structure. So it is okay to identify something negative but to do that you need something positive and structural to hold things up and make it even better. Some people identify and fix problems. Some people make problems. Some people ignore problems. Surrounding yourself with like minded people is empowering. And listening to dissent is good as long as it is based on reality and facts.

King said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." The Internet was the perfect place for that to occur and maybe in time it will. But for the first 20 or 30 years, it has also been a huge breeding ground for hate and bullying. An out of control epidemic that is just a tweet or post or comment away.

Here is a perfect example of a business theory or principal as I see it. Something I use to measure the overall long term all viability of a business. I have many of these. They are simple and act as my guide through all aspects of business:

You can sell average or even below average food at a great location (like an airport, stadium or boardwalk) and still stay in business. You can't serve lousy food at a lousy location and survive. Now you are free to disagree. But you would be wrong. Do I have a strong opinion? You bet! You don't stick to a plan this long and be a wet noodle that changes with the wind.

Here is another one. Let's say you had great food at that lousy location. Great food but it was difficult to stay in business. Despite the advertising it was out of the way. Simple remedy would scare most. His best hope for survival is to have 20 other restaurants open up all around him. That "flotilla" is what can save him. Now apply that to today and you will see why I used the word Flotilla".

Many real world examples have a perfect online parallel. Point is when you have BOTH, that is the ticket. So on the Internet great content matched with a great and easy to remember and spell domain name increases your bottom line in every respect. But since few can see it or measure it and extrapolate the sheer volume over a 10 year period, they ignore it. I am just saying that we are talking an invisible 15%-25% increase in business and  (or more) that is the cream of the crop because your expenses are all paid. But the beancounter never sees it on their excel spreadsheet. That 15% is a huge number (and it is so damn conservative because it could be 100% or more) if you do the math for your company. Want to argue? OK, make it a 2% increase. Do the math of what just a 2% increase would look like over a 10 year period. Once you make your nut, the next sales are the ones that grow your company and grow your wallet and propel companies and people to higher levels. Make hay when the sunshines. Means we work extra hard when things are good so when things are bad we can just take a lot of vacations and not worry or be stressed.

Sorry, I got a bit off track.....

Very little is talked about Highest and Best Use (HBU) for a domain name. The reason I TRY and get top dollar is I start at Highest and Best Use and work down from there. Very few of my domains will be used that way in my lifetime. But I don't care. I KNOW the value and until somebody gives me an offer that at least is on the path to HBU, I am not even going to respond. It s well known for a reason why my prices are high and stay high. But I am not unrealistic.

I tried to sell my names for $50k each. They all laughed because it was too much. When they stopped laughing and started paying I was already at $100k. When they reached $100k in offers I was at $250k. When they reached that level, I was $350k. Then $500k. Then $750k. Then they finally caught up to me at $800k. The ones now priced at $1 Million I am told are too high. Stay tuned.

My basic premise that I employ is asking one simple question. How much would just one location cost in the real world. Rent, insurance the whole 9 yards. So if a small store has a $2500/rent that is $30k a year and over 10 years is $300k plus the other 9 yards. And the domain has much greater value now and in the future! And you only need one location in the .com world. Just one! Now that is an example on a small store.

Let's talk about my favorite whipping boy, Sears. Sears who at one time was the world's largest retailer. Maybe for about 100 years. They could have afforded the forward thinking minds to buy the domains that would have insured their future. It's been a decade since I was in Sears. How about you? They formed a flotilla with K-mart. Whoopee! But the point here is how much does it cost to operate ONE STORE?? Folks need to answer and focus on this to see the value I see in a domain. Here is the post I wrote when they closed up their flagship store in Chicago and the posts I made before they did it in which I suggested they close.

Another restaurant example. Do you know what the difference is between a restaurant with 100 people in line all the time as opposed to just one person in line all the time if they both have the same amount of seats? NONE!!! Absolutely NONE! It has nothing to do with sales or profits. A full house is a full house. Period. So folks are free to disagree and they usually do. But it is a standard I use. A measuring stick that is universal to all businesses.

However you could argue that one may be more efficient than the other and can handle more people in a shorter time even without adding tables. You can argue that one has servers that suggests food faster to prepare or more expensive or more profitable. My point is adding more people to a line you can't even serve does not help and you need to look in other directions to correct that. A perfectly tuned machine would always have one party waiting for a table and serving them well and efficiently once they get in.

In the furniture industry it manifested it's self in a different way and I can help show what I mean by efficiency. If I sold a truckload of wall units to a store in Houston and it took my factory 6 weeks to manufacture and one week to ship and the store 4 weeks to sell and then they place a re-order and have to wait 7 weeks, how many times a year can they order and how much will they spend? Want to increase that number in a very big way? I would BEG my factory to build that ONE UNIT for inventory. It was universally our best selling item by far. They had the room and the material. That way when an order came at 4 weeks, they could have it in store in one week! That saves 5 -6 weeks. They would grow their business and be more efficient if they built their number one selling item for inventory instead of each order. Simple!

First order January 1 for $100,000 deliver February 15th and sells out on March 15th.

Second order comes in March 15th and delivers May 1 and sells out on June 1.

Third order comes in June 1 and delivers July 15th and sells out on August 15th

Fourth order comes in September 30th and sells out October 30th

Fifth order comes in December 15th and the year is done $500k total.

Now if they were efficient:

First order comes in January 1 and is delivered January 8th and sells out on February 8th

Second order comes in February 8th and delivered February 15th sells out on March 15th

Third order comes in March 15th and delivers March 22nd and sells out April 22nd.

Forth order comes in April 22nd and delivered April 29th and sells out by May 29th

Fifth order comes in on May 29th and delivers June 6th and sells out by July 6th.

Compare the two.

Efficiency is the key to business without being cheap or cutting corners. 2x the business with a simple adjustment. And then look at the invisible perks. HUGE perks!

They know you deliver fast and are reliable. You never lose your floor space when they run out of goods. They are more likely to expand their relationship with you by adding new items. Now multiply that by your number of customers. Getting the picture? Problem is beancounters see a different picture or none at all. The factory foreman sees a different picture. The techie sees a different picture. All I can do is try to paint the picture I see and persuade my counterparts that it is in everyone's best interest. This is about math and being smart. PERIOD!

It's an ego boost to have a line or a bunch of orders to fill. But in business while your ego is getting a boost, your wallet is not and that does not make a smart business or businessman. You are free to disagree with math. And of course there are other variables. But one can't miss big things like this. I come from a place and I look at things through a multitude of lenses. It never scares me to find a new truth. It only scares me to hang on to being inefficient with an old one.

There has never been a better time for financial equality in history. Those protesting on the street would be better served behind a keyboard and seeking their dreams. No one is responsible for their happiness and success. It's not your fault or my fault that they are misguided and miserable. The only thing that holds them back is their mind, attitude, how quick they can learn, adapt and their work ethic. Some will learn that, most will wallow in self pity as a way of life.

What would my life have looked like if I was a professional whiner instead of sacrificing early on and working until I fell over? What if I gave up? What if failure was something that could defeat me? Instead failure empowers me because I am likely one step away from a success. I feel sorry for those that have to blame and excuse. It takes up more effort and energy than actually learning, overcoming and succeeding. But they are in a rush to nowhere. So just get out of the way and let them get there.

Here is the secret of failing. Fail for a reason. Fail and then ALWAYS go back to the point before the failure. Usually decisions come down to an either/or. Go back and just go down the path you rejected and you will likely find success just laying there for the taking. Problem is most people keep going forward and that is where the road map goes off the chart and direction is lost. Secondly and even more importantly, define the most essential and largest part of your challenge. I wrote about that here with my "Pyramid Post". The top of the pyramid will define success or failure in nearly 100% of all cases. If you ignore that piece of the puzzle, save it for last, or get it wrong; you lose! 

Identify the most important and time sensitive THING first. That is how I can spot failure a minute away; an hour away, a day or week away; a year away; 5 years away; 20 years away. And if I get it right, I can spot a success a year away; 5 years away; 20 years away as well. That top piece is worth at least 50%. Get it wrong, you automatically fail because all the other pieces of the pyramid add up to 50%. Where I come from, 50% is a failing grade on almost any level. It makes one directionless when they miss the top piece.

So with one 20 year plan in the books, It is now time to enjoy and capitalize on what the next 20 years may bring. OMG!!!! 20 years in which I employed the Rip Van Winkle and Rope a Dope strategies.

read the other day that if you bought $1000 of Apple stock in 1980 after the IPO you would have over $90,000 today plus the dividends along the way. "Since the Companies initial IPO in 1980, Apple stock has delivered a 9.072% return, excluding dividends."

So looks like my sales alone eclipsed that many times over in a much shorter time span. About 18 years shorter and about 80X the return since it was a $100 investment vs a $1000 then in the world's #1 stock. Even my smallest sale this year provided a larger return than Apple in HALF the time. And I also made dividends along the way via pay-per-click many times more than all the dividends with Apple.

Then you would have to factor in that the value of $1000 in 1980 vs $1000 in 1998. Adjusted for 18 years of inflation and you could easily be talking about $2500-$3500 or more. The price of a new basic Cadillac in 1980 was about $10,000. The price of a new Cadillac in 1998 was about $35,000. home prices went up even more percentage wise.

And what do I do with the money I earn? I'll buy APPLE!!!

Let me just end with this. I am in no rush to sell appreciating assets but you may see my sales in often. Each time trying to set new records and blaze new trails that others can come and reap the rewards from. Domains, like land and developed real estate, will be passed on from generation to generation; from merger to merger. The content may be scrapped but the domain will always survive. It is fireproof but it is far from theft proof.

I believed one simple and basic fact 20 years ago. I guess that was the top of the pyramid for me; "Domains are a unique opportunity in time and will go up in value faster than any other commodity ever known to mankind." I identified getting the domain as the single most important, time sensitive and urgent part of the puzzle. That was a race against the clock and everything else could wait. Wait 20 years for the dust to settle and then decide what and where to build and expand. And for the record, I am referring to .com domains only and specifically. I think collectively we have more than proven that theory and can now establish that as fact. But it may take another 20 years for that part of the equation to be recognized by the "Experts".


Have a GREAT Day!

Until next we meet......Be healthy, happy and

Rick Schwartz

20-Year Post Part 2; gTLD’s

Morning Folks!! 12/21

Tomorrow is my last post to celebrate my 20 years and then I am back off to being retired, silent and enjoying life. Hope to see you for the 25th in 2020.

If you have read my writings over the years you will know that I like to look at both sides of an issue. I can play devil's advocate. I enjoy balancing information and coming to a conclusion. Many close their eyes to new information. They get threatened by it. They have to lash out. Never understood why. Let the weight of what is discovered be the map forward not a meandering way to a dead end. I always adjust accordingly.

I may not be to the leading edge of technology but I have tried to keep up with it throughout my life because I always devised ways to work less and make more. I still have my original 12.5LB Radio Shack Cell Phone from 1981 and my collections of phones is over 100 including 12 iPhones. Cell service was expensive back then, but I devised ways to make it pay for itself and then some. Each new gadget I would buy may have been a bit speculative and some would say wasteful, but I always figured out a way to make whatever it was pay for itself. That way I could justify my purchases and continue to nourish my appetite for cutting edge whatever.

I have watched the evolution of the cell phone from a "Wasteful luxury" to one of the most important necessities in life. I have watched necessities of life reduced to complete insignificance. They still have a place, but their importance has been greatly diminished. Knowing the difference is key. Recognizing which items are candidates for that and which are not. Which have staying power and which will evaporate.

I have been is sales for 50 years. I understand the art and science of sales. I have seen sales through the eyes of 55 different industries. But what you sell is always what determines your level of success. That is where Need, Want and Desire are filters I use to qualify or disqualify any item that I might see. It was how I found success when traveling to Hong Kong and Taiwan and hundreds of trade shows.

What I knew in the years 1995 and 1996 was everything I had done in my life, everything I learned, every success or failure I had, was to prepare me for this domain name journey.

When it comes to the gTLD's, I just don't see the same thing. The demand is being driven by the sellers and domainers and end users are more focused on their .Brand as they should be. THAT is smart and that will keep them in the game no matter what happens. But domainers can't play in that pond. So for me, the top of the pyramid is not even in play.

The USA is .com centric. I don't see that changing to any degree. They will go to any url if it is in their self interest. Content will be what it is all about. Trust may become a big issue.

The reality is that 2 years into this experiment I have yet to see a single commercial on TV in the USA using anything other than .com with only a few exceptions for .org, .net and .tv. I have seen 3 and 4 words .com advertised. I have seen a number of things ending in advertised. I have seen domains with "dashes" in them .com advertised. I have seen one commercial with a .tv and I would expect more at this point. Sorry, that is directly related to the new gtld's. .TV vs .Horse. You decide which one is going to be used to advertise first and most. Lots of folks still waiting for .tv to take off. But no extension will have great value like .com until you see them used in real and long term advertising campaigns by folks that advertise all day long.

What do I see coming? My last post called the "Rick Schwartz Equation" is still fully intact. Still too early to see any clear winners. But there are several hundred losers and their carcuses are there for all to see. They are much easier to spot. The story really won't unfold until a truly strong new gtld comes along. In my mind .web still has the single best chance to shake things up. I think when .web is released you will see more registrations in their first week than whoever holds the number one spot the week before. That's what I see. And even that won't guarantee a success. But if .web were already out, it is my opinion half of the gTLDs would be on life support if they are not already. .web could become the next .com or the next .net. Either position is stronger than all others imo.

And speaking of the poor orphan .net. The stepbrother to .com. There are more .nets registered than all gTLD's combined. .nets that have a 1% value of their brother .com and 1/1000 the demand. We all have some .nets. So what? I get more inquiries on my .orgs. .Nets have been a piss poor investment. Thankfully they were all hand registered. You should see the arguments I had with folks about .com vs .net back in the day because techies looked down on .com. Does not mean there are not some .nets sold. So what? Who cares? But I would be scooping up .nets and .orgs today before .horse and most of the others. When they go into the boardroom, all the old extensions will be reviewed and .net, .org, .tv, .me, .info, .biz and others will be discussed and carry weight. It means that one may eventually break out as an alternative. Just not sure what happens to all the others. And when push comes to shove, .brand may be the way to go.

Despite what some say, I have welcomed new gtld's in the sense that it brings thousands of domain evangelists out into the public square spreading the word about domain names. There was a time there was only ONE doing that. Now there are thousands. That helps me and you. But that is a different discussion than taking hard earned money and reinvesting in a riskier side of things. Sorry, just not a path that interests me. Some believe that hurts .com and other extensions. Sorry, I don't believe that one either. Awareness is the key and that's what they bring. Whether the gtld flotilla will each fly on their own? Two words come to mind. Massive consolidation.

That said, the number of registrations will not determine value. The consumer and end user will decide their fate and therefore value not domainers selling to each other. Domainers are financially and emotionally invested. That is fine. But when you have that much emotion in something, you might not be open to the information you need. I am sure great collections are being put together. But the question is will those collections increase in value or become irrelevant in time? For every 1 gtld success there may be a minimum of 35- 40 failures the way I calculate. Possibly much more. Sorry, same or worse odds as Roulette. Gambling vs investing. Yes there will be winners and you will hear about them. But the losers will be a much larger group and they will multiply faster and they will be silent.

Then I always hear they are for "Start-ups." Well if I was looking at a startup and arguably the name you choose and your website are among the most important decisions you will make early on, and you chose a non .com at this moment in history, I would question your judgment. I would say you gave up looking too soon. I would say that for less than $1000 you can find a suitable and very good .com name. The headwinds in the way of lost sales will be more than you can afford. So if you can't afford a grand for a .com, you certainly can't afford a new gTLD. So cheap, misguided and lazy is the picture I see; Sorry. 

I think the keyword for the future is despite massive expansion is also massive consolidation. Folks that ignore the math will eventually be consumed by the math. But numbers don't have emotion or feelings. They are one of the few absolutes we have. That does not make me likable or charming. It makes me focused on facts and value. And if that pisses off those with skin in the game, they need thicker skin. The main fact of my focus is value, and you always must factor in circumstance and life expectancy. So if something is going to have great value in 85 years that's great! But you will be dead and so will your kids!  So it's more important to eat, pay the mortgage now and enjoy each day.

Clearly 3 out of 4 new gtld's are underwater by number of registrations. Of course the number of registrations may have little to do with the actual commercial success of a gtld. It just happens to be one of the only pieces of data we can judge by early on. Number of registrations may not matter to an end user. Then again, it may! I will judge by the total amount of money spent to advertise and promote any single gtld. That includes all Radio, TV, Magazine, Billboards etc.

Let me tell you how I define success...When I see 3 or more different corporations using the same extension to heavily and consistently advertise on TV and billboards etc. and promote their products and the campaigns last more than 90 days. That to me would be how I define a success. .Net is not what I would define as a success. But it has many millions of registrations. More than all the gtlds added together.

A registrar success is not a domain investor success and that has always been my main point. But through the lens of the registry game there are only a few clear winners out of the 400 extensions released so far IMO. And again many of the stronger extensions have yet to hit the market.

Here is a perfect example from just a few weeks ago and it is quite stunning. This headline from says it all when it comes to efficiency:

".XYZ Has More Domain Registrations Than Donuts 183 gTLD’s Combined"

Simply put one company has done better than another at this stage. Numbers don't lie even if they are skewed by people. You just have to factor that in. You can't discount it 100%.  10 extensions control 51% of all gtld registrations. The other 400 share the other half. The top 50 account for 75% leaving the other 350 sharing 25%. That is before we even have the other 1000 extensions.

As I write this the top 10 gTLD's have about 5.5 Million registrations.

That is more than 5.2 Million the next 400 gTLD's COMBINED!!!

Remember when .Kiwi was going to have millions of registrations? Well nearly 2-YEARS later, they just broke the 10,000 mark ranking them at #140. That means nearly 300 extensions have yet to even reach 10,000 registrations. By the time you get to the 5000 registration level you are at #220. Meaning over 200 have not even gotten to 5000 registrations. Sorry, these numbers are pitiful. MANY will die on the vine regardless of what is being said. They will most probably be propped up by consolidation for the purpose of saving face by others in the space. But don't kid yourself, they are bleeding dollars on a daily basis. Numbers don't lie.

No one is in business to lose money and the numbers paint a picture that are VERY clear to me regardless of the spin.

When you factor in the fact that most registrations are domainers, then you can easily see the collapse coming.

They may be lucky to see consolidation. There is little room for the end user. The oxygen in the room has been consumed by domainers. Sorry, it was much different with .com so why would folks expect the same result. So many factors that are different.

See everyone is looking for the second coming but there is a HUGE difference.

With .com 98% were registered by businesses with the intent of having an online presence.

Practically every business in the Fortune 10,000 had a .com

Practically every business had and still has a .com

And for the vast majority of business, one domain is all they will ever need.

And my single biggest point during all these years is the collective advertising dollars spent promoting .com. From almost every TV commercial, to almost every advertisement, to almost every piece of literature printed, to almost every promotion piece, etc. etc. etc. If you were to add up all dollars spent, it would wipe out the $19 trillion national debt. In the history of mankind no other anything has ever been promoted that heavily by so many for so long with no end in site. I made this up of course because no one measures such a thing. I have to fill in the blanks beforehand. I don't have the luxury as a businessman of using 20/20 hindsight. I have to come to strong conclusions and stick with them. Folks are free to argue a point like this, but I won't budge an inch and one day it will be proven. It's a fact in my mind and I know it is accurate.

With gTLD's it is the reverse. 98% or more are registered by speculators. You really can't see the picture of what is coming and why it is so different? What is the total global spend on advertising new gTLD's? What is the total spend of 400+ registries promoting them? It would not put a ripple in a pond. THAT my friends is what many are missing. That is the key.

I can sit here and pick apart these numbers like a vulture on a carcass all day long.

I can come at it from a multitude of different angles and directions.

I can make grown men cry.

My posts on gTLD's were written early on, many of them and are time stamped.

How long will it be before hundreds of these extensions die on the vine? Numbers don't lie. These folks have ongoing expenses and many have peaked in their registrations. Sorry, but 5 registrations a day won't pay a single salary and dozens and dozens are doing 0-5 registrations a day. Will the other profitable operators pick them up just to help save themselves? That clusters*ck I have been talking about is starting to take shape. Can't see it? Have too much invested to want to see it?

Brands and Geo's have the best shot at success in my view and I have been on record with that for years. But .Brands are not a domain investor play. Plus many .brands will be internal and no one will be giving up their .com in lieu of their .brand.

Even Geo's with all the fanfare of the likes of .Vegas,  are stuck under 15,000 registrations.and declining after peaking at 17,000. That may be enough to keep them in business. It is not enough to make them important. The only thing that can make it important is heavy and consistent advertising by many. The entire advertising spend. That is the oxygen that can breathe life into an extension. The other is fantastic content available nowhere else. So until that happens, this is much ado about nothing and the entire domain industry is being consumed by tumbleweeds.

Once you factor in domainers that are not buying billboards and not buying TV time, how many registrations are from  businesses that are? And .vegas is a strong geo extension. I do believe we will see advertising by end users in time.

.Horse? Not so much. 4500 registrations in over 2 years and nearly 50% were registered in 1 day indicating a domainer.

Take away that day. .Horse averages about 3-4 registrations a day at best. And now I will make some cry. .Horse has nearly 200 gtld's that are doing even worse!

Kleenex anyone?

Give me a break! Success? Really??

Who is kidding who? Don't be too gullible. Don't let greed get in the way of common sense,

When you strip out the domain investor registrations, you have a pile of NOTHING! If you don't know about TULIP crash you are in the wrong business. "Human beings have always been prone to want things that are difficult to get, especially if everyone else seems to be doing it. Nutty behavior becomes commonplace when enough people are following along. It’s only afterwards that we stand back and shake our heads and wonder what came over us."

They will trample each other just getting to 5000 registrations. Pitiful. It takes TIME to shake out success. But failure is like a big full moon. Hard to miss unless you are invested. And now you see why the keyword is consolidation and the other is collapse. I would hate to be the fool that built a successful business on a bad extension and have it go dark one day. They may be putting some of these on the endangered species list pretty soon.

And while ICANN has so-called plans for this, it is not perpetual. Extensions will go dark unless they are propped up by those that are heavily invested. Numbers don't have emotion. They have no motivation. They are perfect and absolute. They are universal. They paint a VIVID picture that says more than the loudest voice or the best salesperson. Numbers don't lie. People lie.

When .web comes out, it may suck ALL the oxygen out of the room to the point where we might see mass casualties and huge consolidation. That could be the end of the party for many. I have a multitude of extensions and still waiting for the second coming.

Let me be clear on what I see in gtld land. If you want to point to .xyz as a success, then so be it. If you think .horse is the future. So be it. Everyone is free to believe what they want and invest as they choose. All I can do is share my vantage point and give it some basis. You can choose to ignore or embrace or even employ. No one is pointing a gun to your head. Take it or leave it. If my view threatens your view, that is your problem not mine because I don't care either way.

The current aftermarket, if there is one, is domainer to domainer and speculator to speculator by a huge margin when compared to end users. The demand by the end user is VERY SOFT! With 11 million gTLD's registered that is a minimum of $100-200 Million on the primary market possibly much more with the various premium and pricing schemes. The ratio between the primary market and the aftermarket is growing not shrinking. The aftermarket has yet to develop. Will it? I don't know. There is certainly strong evidence that it is very weak. Until that gap closes, IF that gap closes, is an important tipping point to watch and track. This is just another way to track what direction things are moving. Especially since now we are entering the third year of this.

What I see is based on the countless emails I get to sell me .whatever that would have no value if it were .com. What they are really trying to do is look for a bigger sucker than they are. Unfortunately most are suckers for one main reason. They still don't understand what makes one domain valuable and another domain worthless. Imagine jewelers that could not differentiate between diamonds and glass. Between tin and gold. You would laugh. Well when I get spammed everyday with the crap I see, oh my!!! Truly swampland and quicksand have much more value.

If you want to even be in the game of a gLLD success, I would focus on strong one word domains that are a known phrases and have commercial meaning. I have never posed a list of anyone's domain name that they have tried to sell me. If I did, it would make any professional domainer pee in their pants from laughing so hard. Remember, one domain that means something has more value than 1000 domains that don't.

The one thing I have stressed for years is to know the difference between an asset and a liability.  If you don't understand the difference, go learn it, understand it, then apply it. Your nice car may be an asset or it may be a liability. Depends on you. If it is paid off, it is an asset. If it is worth $20,000 and you owe $30,000, it is a liability.

My main point is please don't compare this to the domain rush of 20 years ago. The factors are so much different. The times are different. The world is different. Supply vs demand and Need, want, desire. Sorry, no one can hide from theses truths. Most importantly, the consumer has to embrace them and still holds the ultimate trump card. They will have the final say so. They may be more apt to adapt in areas where cctld's are used than the USA market which is dominated by .com. So region may play a role in this. is still to this day the only canary in the mine we have seen using a non .com extension in a heavy advertising blitz. They failed miserably. But that was years ago and I am anxious to see the next big splurge by a non .com and see the results. Maybe the Super Bowl  will provide us that chance.  So if you want to look at a barometer each year and keep score, THAT my friends is the place to do it. The Super Bowl and Times Square Billboards. These are "Ground Zero" for forward thinking advertising. So until those venues are populated with gTLD's on their signs, and they are there long term, we still have a long way to go.

Let me end with this. I have never seen so many negative variables in any business in my life. Does not mean there won't be a HANDFUL of successes. Does not mean they won't be trumpeted loud and by as many as possible. But I would focus on eliminating the hundreds and hundreds of losers, that many want to just ignore, from the few with success. At least ask the question which ones can survive the long term? Ask what happens when a true and dominant extension like .web comes along? Will you have the funds to invest if ones does come along and catch on fire and is embraced?

I wish everyone great success in whatever path you choose. The surprises along the way will be many if you only see blue skies. The key is not being surprised but being prepared as to what will unfold; when and if it will unfold; and also get it right.

Tomorrow is the actual anniversary post I started with and then as I added these elements, realized it would be too long for just a single blog entry.

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz


The Rick Schwartz 20th Anniversary Post! Domain Names Then Now and Beyond. Part 3

Morning Folks!!


It's been a while. Just a couple fun things as I countdown to my 20-year anniversary in the domain investment business this coming week on December 26th.  A 3-part series before I go back to retired life waiting for the 25th. But just like it was 20 years ago, people will be distracted with their holiday vacations. Today, just a little silly fun and humor. Hope you enjoy it!


Twas the day after Christmas when all through the house not a phone line was ringing so I just clicked my mouse.

My numbers were done and a spreadsheet confirmed that 1995 was over and 96 had begun.

The kitty-kat was nestled on top of my bed.  While visions of millions danced in my head.

I went out on a limb and there arose such a chatter, I sprang to my feet to climb the tall ladder.

Away to Windows I flew like a flash, tore open my mind and was just a bit brash.

To the moon and beyond in the new fallen idea the luster of money should soon appear.

With a few extra dollars so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick

More rapid than eagles the coins they came and I whistled and shouted and called them by name.

Dot Com this and Dot Com that. Oh my goodness and look at dat!

Now pennies then nickels and dimes all day led me to discover new ways to make hay.

I plowed and plowed and plowed til May thinking of a time a score away.

I planted the seed to grow a tree and planted another to frame the sun. Oh my what a forrest it has become.

Two decades later I survived the zoo, Know one thing you never knew.

Whoever reads this and whatever they do. I'll promise right now to never bore you.

Domains to the rescue and on to the stars, to the moon and beyond and even Mars.

And time right now to fly away, I think I've had my my final say.

Good luck to all and to all a good night!


And here is a little extra bonus to twist your brain. I know it twisted mine!!

In 1996 I started writing using domain names I owned in a post I made that actually made sense. It was a little more colorful using only adult domains as you will see below and a bit easier confining it to one basic subject. So here is my modern day version: RATED R++. So be warned! 333 domains (at last count) used possibly making this the longest domain speak in history. Where is Guinness?

So while sitting with my who was wearing that I bought at the, sipping some singing on my having a little and watching some,  I got off my to go into where I figured I could make some It was like all over again. It would help and the take down their sign to be able to in or get and become so they could get the Maybe someday make and make the or even the That might send the looking their way and they will never

So let's and then then so we can on the way to and and make new Some were born in while others were born in or or even I thought of all the that would need to and who the would be and how that might impact the who can

Some wanted to I wanted to do Some thought I was But I thought of all the and I was not looking for a

So first I went to the where I saw and then to find the with on the way to the next to the where I thought of some for the but I still wanted the

I looked at the and the worn by the and going to the hanging with the but I was still focused on the The in their and want to go to the They get the at the and eat at the But I am still looking for the on the at the But the are going to the with the on the all because they are and make the and and become the usually started by the and then they have to leave by finding the and wherever they go they will still be the in town.

I saw domains as and and focused on I saw domains as to I saw domains as that would aid and capable of The in the world and wanted to be the

I had but I had to worry about them as they were from the and It forced me to become an expert on Because these were the and and would need a issued by a and then because or a silly letter was just going to be my They were nothing more than a to me and I became their Thanks to and RDNH I was able to give some to the instead of

They would that I was a and and that was but I was just not even posting

The came to and it cost many thousands in me and you and hopefully the would support that. My vs Campbell's;  My vs Lilly Inc.; My vs Carnival Cruise Lines; My vs Warner Brothers; My vs Toronto Star Newspapers. vs who even cares? Slam Bam!! I won the  because I had the before there was a UDRP process and vs the world when there was one! NEXT!

What I was doing was but I had a to as I could and reside in the because I wanted to go to the and knew that if I had long term aspirations the Internet, the, who may be the, would understand the and sense of urgency at making my stake and would like to be rich too. It's a that most people understand just like folks like and the I decided to on it because and I could because Netsol had no to pay for and that gave me that I would have never had.

When I was born was It was all sold and owned. There was no more or But I did see that could be planted throughout the world and I could compete with the with the That gave me the that would help me and then use by at and to about the where companies were

I don't eat but I can sell some. I don't wear but I can sell some. I know nothing about but it could become a full time career. I am not into but I can get the with and and even a I can and then  I can and I could and I can, and look for the and and then and and like and with in 100 different that for a then and with with the to send my to and

I may have had the but the that led to the made me millions by and I was still getting by the with the They never saw before and that provoked a good and every so often for my "Fake" traffic. I would say and tell them if they continue with like me that they will earn a spot on and I would make them the on the internet with their and let folks know what they were and that gave me the power to be an and I was not They put me in the business.

I guess I was a who was with a of money and looking for honest so I could become an and promote and add to my I started buying at looking at because I knew wanted to look for and The only way to make back then was with because there was no in 1996 and 1997. Google did not exist. So a would not even get you a or if you are like on the way to see with,  and a doing Some liked and and the and became They would, then go to and and look at the in the as they their while that they are their before the showed up. and were everywhere. think they can because they think they are a, get and start the and if I write anymore it will be and the will get upset even tho and etc. are used all day everyday on TV that our kids and they are not them and either are the because they are just to the to have a and make

Makes you so and by so you can so that you can not being a because you and then you can get, speak to and become a and maybe even a and as you the ladder.

So after 20 years they can at the idea because has written on his that many a like me have used to make the year's I'm not and I can make you that can give me some rights while relaxing on my and watching

This all just that were not a and by a capable of finding and and at the  looking for and someday folks could even have a then start at the  Just That's says

And now that you made it through all of that I hope it brought a few smiles to your face and a few memories. Now on to my 20-year anniversary  posts next week..... Happy Holidays and the best to you in 2016 and beyond!