In a few days, I mark the day that I got my very first Domain Name. LipService.com on December 26th 1995. I have had several monikers along the way. RickS, Mr800King, Webfather, DomainKing but I have always been Rick Schwartz.
It really was not until months later, in May, that I got my 2nd and 3rd domains. A birthday present from my brother. My 2 company names at the time.
Then I sent him an email and asked if he could get me 1 or 2 others. Then 1 or 2 more. Then 1 or 2 more and after a while he got sick of the work (Smart) and says go to this link and register them yourself.
AND THAT was my first day in Domaining.
I did not know how to cut and paste. I did not know how to search. I could barely navigate anywhere and when I did get there, I had no idea where I was, how I got there or how to got back.
So my only point of reference was a domain name. I knew how to type in http://www.lipservice.com etc. But it would take me a while to grasp the http:// part and you had to put in the www in those days. (Some sites still have not figured out that one)
So I was a know-nothing lost pup in a land of techies. Techies and I see a different sun and a different moon. Oil and water.
I was an idiot in their eyes. They were right of course. But I had a different path that they could not see or get their head around.
How do you advertise 188.8.131.52 on tv or radio or magazines or Billboard? Of course I was an idiot for asking that cuz everything comes from SEARCH.
“You don’t advertise on TV, you have links you idiot!” And that was how the table was set.
This idiot was dependent on those idiots!!!
I got kicked off my first host because of makeout.com and listing party chat lines. So I had to find another provider and another idiot to deal with. After a few idiots I finally found a host that understood how to point as many domains as I wanted to one page. Redirecting.
Funny part is all the genius idiots I had already dealt with told me what I wanted to do was impossible. So maybe now you understand why genius idiots don’t impress me. I actually like SMART people not those that think they are.
So remember I am in the wilderness. I am BLIND to where I am. I've been having the genius idiots lead me until then. I was dependent on idiots. And they were idiots for multiple reasons. They thought they had a 9-5 job as a hosting company for starters.
Their servers were up and down like yoyo’s and they had no sense of urgency. I was out of business, they were out of business and all their clients were out of business but they were GONE!! Gone on weekends and gone 16 hours a day.
Now they are CERTIFIED IDIOTS!!
So I discover I am a businessman in a sea of idiots. That sounds like opportunity to me. So I find this guy in Pennsylvania that hosts and has a brain and still has issues being a techie, but we found common ground. Maybe paying $1500/month for my domain hosting helped!
But I would have to rely on him to make update changes to my page or link changes. Until the day I learned to FTP. LIFE-CHANGING!!
I could finally take updates in an instant and not rely on 9-5’ers that may take DAYS and a 2nd email or even 3rd email to get something done.
The next thing I learned was to cut and paste. CONTROL-C, CONTROL-V, Then CONTROL-F
I was in pig shit heaven!!
With those simple tools, I was able to change my destiny. To this day I can’t do much more. Though I do know now how to search like a bloodhound now!
Through all this I am alone. I know nobody. That is until I started hitting the chat boards and getting banned from those chat boards and my posts pulled.
Then I stumbled into Ynot.com Life-Changing!
Professional businessman many of them with adult sites. They were talking BUSINESS!!! The business was TITS and ASS, but the discussion was almost all business!
That was when I finally came out of the wilderness for the very first time. Little by little I worked my way into the group. It took me about 2 weeks to make a name for myself.
“Serge” was the guy on board that everyone feared. One day Serge offered a $5 challenge. I stepped up and I said I would take that bet.
So now I owed Sege $5. Serge was in New Jersey, I was in Florida. Serge sends me his addy, I send him the $5. But it was the manner that I sent the $5 that got the attention of Serge and everyone else.
I spent $12.95 to overnight that $5.
Well, Serge knows class when he sees it and of course he loved it!! That $5 check is framed and still hanging on his wall, until this day. That made me a name. That made me credible and in a cyber world of the invisible, that made me real.
I always say all successes and failures happen at the start. That ladies and gentlemen, that was my start.
From there I developed the most potent traffic any of them had ever seen. My domain traffic sold at rates 100 times MORE than the rest! They need 10,000 visitors to sell a membership, my traffic needed less than 100 to sell one.
Remember, there is no mainstream back then. There was CNN and now much else. Amazon is 1 year old. Google was yet to be founded. eBay was months old. Graphic User Interface, GUI, had just barely arrived. Remember MSDOS?
It was truly the dark ages of the Internet.
But I took a good chunk of my earnings and kept buying mainstream names even though there was no mainstream. Mainstream rejected the Internet. Mainstream tried to bury the Internet. Mainstream tried to discredit the Internet.
They were all schmucks and idiots cuz they should have been embracing it. They rejected the idea of selling cars online. Rejected it!! How much were those sales worth that they rejected??
They did that for a DECADE before they figured it out. They were IDIOTS for letting so many years pass. I simply can't excuse their shortsightedness nor should anyone. They failed miserably and hurt their companies.
Give them an award! What the hell you want me to do? Praise them!!?? They did not see the single biggest tool in business history. So whatever education they had, did not work as planned.
And even today, 25 years later, they still have not figured out the value of great and strategic domains. And while they dither, those domains went from $15,000 to $15 Million and now accelerating.
I will leave you with a few recent Twitter thoughts and DEEP beliefs!
I hope I have explained my attitude towards idiots and where it came from and why it is so strong. But how do you respect incompetence? What is the point of having a degree or degrees if you miss something life-changing like the Internet itself? They failed the biggest test of their lives and that does not make them smart! It may make them irrelevant.
Have a GREAT Day!
Great Post. Thank you for your years of shared insight and knowledge. Have a great 2021.
Ah… Love that rant every time I hear it. I got my dozen domains back when you were starting out. Your words have seen me through those moments when I waver and think “maybe I should just sell the rest and be done with it.” I *have* sold about half of ’em — they put me into retirement at 50, paid for my kids college education, funded our http://www.PrairieHaven.com project, and left so much money in the investment account that there’s no way I can spend it all…
And five of them are left… :-)
I read your story in one breath take, your blog inspire me.
Thank you and congratulations!
Great post as always.
I was on a conference call this week when a member of the finance department of an international multibillion dollar company said “our dot com has become our most important store in the world.” Finally they are getting it!
Awesome post Rick and thanks for your words of wisdom. Happy Quarter of a Century and looking forward to the next 25!
Happy Anniversary Rick!
I can remember highly educated business leaders saying people will never give up their credit card numbers over the internet. Look how that worked out.
Great Post Rick! 25 years just flew by. Our company registered their first group of domain names in 1994 to support our publishing company. What a great ride it has been. Good to see your posts again. Happy Holidays – Steve
Happy Anniversary Rick!
Thank you for sharing the knowledge and wishing at least another 25 years successful journey ahead :)
What an incredible journey. You have a great vision and executed that vision with a great perfection.
You are indeed an inspiration to me , certainly learned a lot from your twitter messages and your blog posts over years.
Keep inspiring us!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2021.
As always, insightful & entertaining.
Thanks again, Rick!
Congrats for 25, Happy Holidays.
You have the best blog and learn a lot from the real domain King.
Happy Anniversary Rick!
You were and are still the most authentic.
Excellent! you are missed… Now tell us about the sequel?
When you learned about ppc, changing registers test, test ,test for higher payouts. And of course your first million dollar acquisition domain name.
Specifically why this domain was worth million and the others less? Bigger target audience? More type in traffic?
Enjoyed this read. It was the IGNORANCE of Corporate end users, that allowed the aftermarket to develop. Good thing the corporatists had no clue in the beginning.
Their lost, win for Domain speculators.
Congrats on 25th Rick!
Congratulations on your 25th anniversary .
Thank you for helping with the guts to say no and hold on.It has helped to enjoy investing in the business.
Wishing you more years ahead in good health .
Serge vs Fantasyman is my main memory from roughly 25 years ago. Ynot was so important back in the day if you were in the adult business…so long ago.
I started a live videoconferencing site using CU-SeeMe after reading about Virtual Dreams in Wired magazine. I miss those days of being young with so many dumb executives not embracing the Internet. Still happening to a degree…
Serge had a list about honest and bad affiliates:
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Going into 2021 there’s one piece of advice that sticks in my mind – Domain Observer
[…] the one piece of advice I’m keeping front-and-center as we go into 2021. Rick recently wrote a great blog post celebrating his 25th year as a domain investor and continuing to hammer home this critical […]
Quarter of a century, nicely done. Excellent example of vision, and sharing it with anyone who was paying attention.
Anyone who was paying attention to most of what you were saying, and to the reality of online commerce, it is very good shape today.