The Domain Industry, Lunch Trucks and Sunday Morning Ramblings….

Morning Folks!!

Go to any construction site and you will see the "Lunch Truck" come by several times a day to sell food.

So imagine that the internet is the construction site, the address is of course the domain name and the lunch truck is the domain industry. Now imagine there is a HUGE construction zone and multiple structures are all being built at the same time. Now you have many dozens of those Lunch Trucks serving those workers.

What happens when the construction is over? There are no longer 4000 projects but only a few here and there? What happens? You know what happens! Those trucks go bye bye. They go out of business or they have to move to another place that is developing. But if things are pretty well developed, not many lunch trucks will survive. The numbers will shrink dramatically.

Well, that is where the Internet is. It's built up. It's matured. The Lunch Trucks are gone! Yes, some may choose opening a restaurant, but the cost difference between the two is no small matter. Most can't make that leap.

Point is things are always evolving and you need to see that evolution on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years basis. It takes time and effort to develop this skill and part of it may be just a gift or is natural or whatever. But it's always about practice. Predictions are not a whim if you hone this skill. They are based on facts and elements and conditions and a host of other things like life long experience and history.

Point is the demand for domains is down. Way down. We went from almost 100% end user need and customers to nearly 100% domain speculators with very few end users. The Internet is built! In 1993-1995 the building started. The Internet has passed Critical Mass. It is now mature. No longer an infant. All grown up. The game has changed. It will continue to change.

The most promising sector today are those businesses upgrading to better domain names. The .Net guys acquiring the .Com. The extra word at the beginning of a domain that gets eliminated. or or etc.

Then you have the startups. Most of them come and go very fast. Usually they make a mistake with the domain name and that becomes their biggest hurdle and they don't even know it.

The high end domain investor class is all but gone. Simply put, the risk is too great and liquidity is no longer there. It's no longer a safe and good investment.

The last quarter of the year that starts on Monday is important. Important to domaining and business in general. Big business is done and big decisions are made. October/November/December are HUGE month in domaining. And I like February and March as well with new budgets and fresh cash. Domain Buying Season is HERE!

Is the big money in domaining over? Probably not. 2018 sales seems inline with 2017 sales so far. But it may take a multi-year break at some point and that will change the landscape of what the domain sector looks like and who participates in it.

Supply and demand folks. Supply is overflowing and demand is going down like Sears customers. The Need, Want, Desire, Project levels out there are not what they once were. Not even close. And, it never will be ever again. Sorry to burst your bubble. But the #1 part of business is dealing with reality and that reality is in constant change.

If it were not for the China Frenzy, the entire domain industry would have already been unrecognizable today. Frenzy's come and go. The best you can do is put yourself in a good position for the next frenzy. What's the next one? Who knows? That's why you need to pay attention and evolve with the times. Times are a changin'!

I made my fortune by buying domains from domainers. Those same domainers lost fortunes by selling to me. Sell your domains and dreams to dreamers. Don't sell to domainers. But soon, many may have no choice as the walls begin to close in.

My income was mostly PPC and rose to about $4.5MM/year until the crash. In 2009 it went down to $750,000. The first year since 1998 that PPC did not earn at least $1.5MM-$3.0MM or more. Today, not even $100k from PPC. But still enough to pay all the renewals. My goal since 1995 was to make at least $1 Million/year online.

PPC was a bonus. I never depended on it because I knew it could go away overnight. But that crash is directly related to the value of domains and the marketplace of buying domains. The equation changed drastically. I could no longer justify buying a $100k domain from another domainer because I could no longer calculate a return. Before then, I had a decent idea of how many years or months I would have to hold to break even. That would make my domain purchases free. They were all free.

The $42,000 mortgage for was paid in the first 6 weeks. The $12,500 mortgage on was paid in 125 days. Some were paid off even faster. The slower ones still were paid off. Every prime adult domain I bought was FREE! Paid for themselves in spades and then still had the domain itself.

Then I took those profits and bought mainstream domain names before there was even a mainstream. There was no way to get a return for those names back then. They could not be monetized. But I kept ploughing that money back into them regardless as I knew that was the future and that basket was huge compared to adult. Eventually my mainstream domains dwarfed the adult ones in size and scope.

There was a sense of urgency to BUY. That sense of urgency is GONE! The "Unique moment in History" has all but passed. It lasted 20+ years, but that window is about closed for the first stage. The second stage has to come with very big money to seize YESTERDAY!

In 1999-2000 I wrote many times about the collapse of the Internet. Brick and Mortar stores tried to kill it off. Said it was unsafe etc. etc. But I had a saying: "From the ashes will rise the REAL Internet". And it did. The collapse left ashes but those ashes rose to where we are today.

Business is about 2 things. History and the future. You can't see or predict the future without a keen understanding of the past. Direction comes from history and your future comes from the destination you decide on.

So it may be a great idea to be in the Lunch Truck business but part of being in business is to see the future trends and not being blind to them. Change is coming. It comes every moment of every day. Your mind has to be as fluid as the things around you. Time to move that lunch truck to a new city. A new project. A new destination or the food will rot and you will go broke!

Rick Schwartz