Where do you want to go this morning?

Each morning many of us
have a ritual we do. We check emails, stats, bank balances, stock portfolios, news,
blogs, scores, auctions, drops, domains,etc. We have our daily morning list of sites we go to. So today
I would like you folks to be the poster. Where do you go? What sites do you
visit? What does your morning look like when you open the lid of your computer
in the morning or move your mouse and start your day? 


Have a GREAT day!
Rick Schwartz


PS: 12 years ago TODAY, a morning like this, I registered my first domain name. A single act that changed my life and destiny. You just never know which seed you plant TODAY will change your life tomorrow.





The Slowest Day No More

Morning folks!!
This post was 12 years in the making. 1996 was my first
Christmas online in which I had an online business earning significant revenue.
From 1996 to 2006 Christmas Day was the single slowest day of the year. It wasn’t
even close. Earnings and traffic down as much as 75%. I would be lucky to earn
one SLOW days take on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day combined. Well 2007 is
much different. Christmas Day traffic was down by about 20% and earnings were
better than TEN other days in the month of December. This is simply
amazing and LONG overdue. It means surfers are surfing and retailers are
selling things. Did advertisers finally figure out that with every store closed
in the real world that people will shop online and many of the gifts are cash
or gift cards that are burning a hole in people's pockets? That online is
the ONLY game in town on Christmas Day no matter where in the world you are?



There is a LOT of
misinformation out there. For example, here is one nobody will agree with
because folks just listen and repeat and don't observe for themselves. TODAY is
the single busiest retail day of the year. The day after Christmas is the big
one. Don't listen to the baloney that it isn't. It is. The difference between
today and the day after Thanksgiving for example is today they are buyers. The
day after Thanksgiving they are shopping. Looking. Deciding. Today, it is ALL
about sales, returns, exchanges and spending those gift cards and cash. TODAY
is the busiest retail day of the year. Just go to a Target and look how many
extra registers are open today that were not open during the Christmas shopping
season. Nobody will agree because the experts tell you HOG WASH and people
repeat what they hear. There is no question in MY mind that TODAY, the day
after Christmas is the busiest day. NONE! Now let me give one caveat. While it
IS the BUSIEST day of the year, it may or may not be the day they ring up the
most sales. Because of returns and exchanges that number is likely to be
watered down. However I would venture to say that more total TRANSACTIONS are
conducted today and that is why you will see big retailers set up extra
registers and have a full staff. Going to the mall today? Going mid afternoon?
As you vehemently disagree with me give it a second chance when you start looking
for a parking space.



So the BIG news,
Christmas Day is no longer the slowest day of the year and someday may actually
being one of the busiest. Can you spell CAPTIVE AUDIENCE? I started my last
post with the following sentence that I am going to use to close this post
because I can’t wait to see it happen. AGAIN.  “
In the first few weeks of the
year we will hear how the experts are surprised about how strong online
spending was. The experts are really no experts at all or they would have
predicted what is coming not reacting to it.”



Have a GREAT day!
Rick Schwartz



Posted on | Comment (1)

Rick’s year end post 2007

Good Morning folks!! 


2007 has been a great
year. The challenges came from every direction and we emerge stronger than ever and ready
to tackle 2008. It's still a couple weeks away but 2008 is already in full
swing. In the first few weeks of the year we will hear how the experts are surprised
about how strong online spending was. The experts are really no experts at all
or they would have predicted what is coming not reacting to it.


The same may be true of
the Presidential primaries that in the next few weeks may change the entire
picture as the nominees from each party emerge. In all my life I have never
seen a more interesting race and be prepared for some surprises. I have no idea how it will shake out. What are your thoughts?


2008 won't be without
its' challenges. The economy is in a bit of turmoil but unlike past economic
woes this time employment is very strong so the dynamics may be quite a bit
different.  We are at a teeter totter point and I am not sure if we will
teeter or totter. We just might squeak through but not without some real pain
scattered through the economy. Then again it could get very ugly as we really
are in uncharted territory. The saving grace may be the Internet. But if the
folks begin to run scared and pull back, it will lead to a self fulfilling
prophecy and they will be responsible for their own undoing. In slowdowns you
don't pull back. You gun the engine and hope you can minimize the impact as
opposed to pulling back and let the tide be your destiny. You fight to stay
even or you lose very big.


Personally I am looking
forward to the coming shakeout. There will be all types of opportunities and
bargains spread throughout the business spectrum. Many things may manifest
themselves in an unpredictable manner. As Steve Forbes told us directly in
October, be prepared for a 'Roller coaster' of a ride. The key is having CASH to swoop down and score big. 


Like many of you I am
going to unwind and enjoy the next few weeks. I will return in mid January
ready to go for 2008. Until then I invite you to go back and read my 52 posts
that I made in 2007. Most will pay you dividends the minute you read some of my
points and think about it. Even if you disagree, I force you to engage. I force
you to reconfirm. I force you to take a second look at something that you may
think complex and actually find out it is quite simple.


To get you started here
is a list compiled by someone as 5 of the top 100 domain blog posts this year.
I encourage you to read all my posts like they were chapters in a book. With
the exception of a handful they are all related and entwined. 


The Line in the Sand


http://www.ricksblog.com/2007/04/the_line_in_the.html


Truth to power


http://www.ricksblog.com/2007/04/truth_to_power.html


The 'C' word
exposed:


http://www.ricksblog.com/2007/07/the-c-word-expo.html


How Madison Avenue let
corporate America down


http://www.ricksblog.com/2007/04/how_madison_ave.html


Domain 'type
ins' represent more eyeballs than American Idol


http://www.ricksblog.com/2007/04/domain_type_ins.html


Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy
New Years, GOOD HEALTH to all and see you when there is something to say.


Have a GREAT day!!
Rick Schwartz



December is a time to STOP and take inventory!

Morning folks!!


Here is just a few little thought
widgets I decided to share:


#1 If you want to fly
the fastest plane first you need to learn how to fly.



If you want to make a
lot of money in the domain business the first thing you need to do is learn
what makes a domain have value. I see that as the #1 problem most have. They
don't know a good domain from a crappy domain. Nothing new. Been that way since
day one.



The domain business is
easy to get in. Take a few grand out of your pocket, search for a domain that
you think has more value than the price you can pay, buy it, flip it.
I will always be a .com guy and it is still my advice to focus on .com. However
never put blinders on. Sometimes it is ok to settle. But when you settle,
settle for a PRIME domain even if the extension is not .com. In other words, if
you want sex.com and most extensions are taken but you stumble on the weakest
extension .biz. GRAB IT!!!! But if you are going to get
moneyimadeatschool.biz.....what the hell were you thinking? If you are going to
get a crappy and weak domain like that, at least make sure it is .com because
if it is not, it is likely worthless.
#2 I have a few questions to ask domain investors today. 



Q1. How much money does
a PPC company make if domainers do not send their traffic to them?



Answer ZERO. It is OUR
traffic that is supporting all these companies. Without our traffic they are
not even in business.



Q2. How much is the PPC
service worth? If the PPC company makes ZERO without traffic, how much should
they be entitled to for the service they provide? What percentage is fair? How
do they arrive at that percentage. Is that before or after costs?



Q3. Since larger players
get a larger share wouldn't it be a smart idea for smaller domainers to unite
as a group and be able to offer a PPC company the same or more traffic than the
largest players? And if the largest players join can they not get another few points?



4. There is some vast
research being done and I can tell you that the numbers don't add up. So where
should the money earned from those domains go? The friends you made at the PPC
company or your own wife and kids?


Now don't get me wrong. PPC companies have over head. They provide an important service. But we need to sit down with our partners and see what's what. That is why transparency is such a vital issue as you will discover in the paragraph below.
This is December. This is the time to STOP what you are doing. HALT! CEASE!
Time to take inventory. Time to reflect on the passing year and set a course
for the upcoming year. Report card time my friends. Make sure you give yourself
honest grades. If your domains earn $1 million a year in gross ad revenue.....how
much should you get of that pie? And if your PPC company is telling you, that
you are getting 65%, don't you have a right and a DUTY to make sure? For
goodness sakes you folks count your frickin' change from a $20 bill at
McDonald's and don't do the same thing when MILLIONS may be at stake??? How
smart is that?


Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz




PPC or development? Kevin Leto has an interesting viewpoint.

Morning folks!!


I never had a 'Guest' blog post until now. But today I woke up and read something posted by Kevin Leto and asked his permission to reprint this. This should put some things in perspective to what lays ahead for domain owners and PPC companies. Change the numbers. Experiment. But there is a lot of truth in the way Kevin looks at things and it rings true with what I know as well. Kevin is the man that led the team behind acquisition of my Men.com domain in 2003/2004.


Parking vs. Development


'When looking at the debate of Parking vs. Development, much depends on
the objectives a domainer has for his portfolio and the types and
quality of his domains.


A high quality type-in domain will obviously have a higher CTR on a PPC
page, usually 30% to 40%, sometimes even higher. Whereas on a web site
you'll see CTR's of 5% to 10%. So you will see a drop in revenues
initially.


The down side to PPC is it doesn't create traffic growth, nor build a
user base, nor offer any other revenue or site feature options. Bottom
line you are limited completely. The upside is simplicity, especially
if you need a monetization solution for tens of thousands of domains.


The down side to web sites are initial drop in revenues (for type-in
domains), initial development costs, and then management of them. The
upside is you now have the ability to grow traffic, grow a user base,
and have total flexibility for implementation of all sorts of features
and revenue generators.


It kills me when domainers say PPC is better. It is ultimately not, and
if you sit down and deeply think about how much money you have been
leaving on the table you'd fall off your chair when the realization
sinks in.


If PPC was indeed better than we wouldn't have any problems selling our
fabulous sounding one word domain names to major corporations all day
long. They'd be falling all over themselves to pay any price we ask.
It's not happening and it's not going to happen, with rare exceptions
of course.


Major corporations don't want to acquire just type-in traffic for 20
years multiples, on an undeveloped domain. They do want to acquire
USERS and a branded domain with a site that provides those users with a
positive experience that they gain information, products, services,
interaction or entertainment from.


Business.com is a fantastic domain as an example. It went from a
$150,000 domain acquisition to a $7.5 Million acquisition for
development as a search engine with companies paying annual fees of
$199 to be included and paying for ad clicks to their directory
listing, and just recently to a $345 Million acquisition by the R.H.
Donnelly company. Most domainers would have that on a PPC landing page
and would be making a ton of money surely. But would they be making
$345 Million with that strategy? The answer is no. What surely turned
Donnelly on was not just the traffic, but that established advertiser
goldmine in Business.com's databases. Those advertisers could then be
further developed as advertisers across their entire ad network.


Web surfers come and either click and go on or just move on instantly
when they hit a ppc landing page. There is no customer aquisition for
the domain owner. Zippo. The most cherished and valued prize on the Net
walks into your store and in seconds is out the back door to someone
else's site. It that smart business? I don't think anyone could argue
it is.


Let's look at a big domain that has 30,000+ type-ins per day. Let's say
it's been owned for 10 years. That's 12 Million visitors a year. 120
Million since registration. Think about that number. 120 MILLION people
have come to your store in the past decade. How many are 'YOUR
CUSTOMERS'? Not a single one. How many of their e-mail addresses do you
have in a database? Not a single one. What kinds of stuff are they
looking to buy? You don't know a single drop of info about them.
They've come and they've gone.


Now lets analyze the valuations. Under the PPC model, let's assume a
high 60% CTR paying 15 cents a click ove the life of the domain so far.
The math works out to $10.8 Million you've earned over the past 10
years. That is great wealth and no one could deny a totally successful
business.


Now lets say the site had been developed. After 10 years not only would
you have those same 120 Million visitors, you would have captured a
percentage of them in some way as repeat visitors, maybe a
subscription, maybe just registered, maybe sold them something
directly, any number of ways. But the main point is you would have tons
of repeat visitors, and they would have provided free word of mouth,
which would have brought in even more traffic and users. The revenues
could be anything here since there are so many ways to generate cash
flow when you have a web site. Surely in that time at a bare minimum
you could have earned equal to the PPC and probably many multiples
more. But the key point is you have not only an incredibly valuable
domain asset at this point, but an even more valuable customer base
asset. My guess is after 10 years you'd have at least 10 to 20 million
users, probably way more. Now you own an asset worth a fortune, and in
the hundreds of millions, and probably even close to a Billion or more.


So both ways make money, but the developed domain model is the true
ultimate long term goldmine. And yes, not every developed site works,
we've seen the dotcom bubble prove that, but the good thing about the
Net now is the economies of scale are so efficient you can take down
one concept and do another without much investment compared to the
early days, and you always have your base type-in traffic. That is not
going anywhere. If one building doesn't work, knock it down and put up
another until you get it right. It's that simple.


Now to the points about mini sites. I personally have found mini sites
work especially great for no-traffic domains bought at reg fee. They
grow traffic, no if's ands or buts. You do the math and even doing 1,
2, or 3 figs of revs a month, the numbers get amazing very very fast.


For most domainers I've polled, the majority of domains in their
portfolio get litle or no traffic. Why did we buy them and why do we
continue to then? It's the expectation we all say that one day they'll
be good for development. What happens is domainers end up having
thousands of these no traffic domains and basically get overwhelmed in
their minds when they reach the point of saying 'ok now how do I get
these all developed?'. 99% of domainers aren't developers. Nor do they
want to be. It takes a lot of multitasking type skills and loads of
energy to be a developer and even more to then manage it all
effectively.


You also don't want to put simple sites on exceptional domains. Great
domains deserve and need great sites. And that doesn't mean you need to
spend an arm and a leg to get that. It certainly costs more to build a
more robust site, but Internet technoloy has dramatically reduced the
costs to an insignificant number compared to the early days. Over the
past couple months I've evolved my mini site concept and system
structure about 5 times over into something more robust, scaleable, and
integrated with lots more features and capabilities than the original
mini sites. I've now got a system designed to accomodate simple sites
for no traffic domains reg fee domains, enhanced sites for moderate
traffic domains and full scale sites for the premium type-in domains
and have figured a way to still keep the costs in check even on the
larger enterprise style sites. So its not just a strategy of instantly
doing a zillion mini sites. You have to evaluate each domain and how
much potential it has and then deploy a precision developed and custom
tailored site on it. Once you do a few, then keep on going and build
out more and more and more of them and you'll soon have an enterprise
sized ad network in your portfolio. Since a small number of domainers
have the really huge traffic type-in domains, this is a way for the
less fortunate domainers to get to that level too by having hundreds
and thousands of small sites doing hundreds of visitors each a day and
adding up to a big number of visitors network wide. It's not easy to
get small sites into thousands of visitors per day, but it is easy to
get double and triple digits of traffic per day on them. You build with
the end user in mind and they will come back and they will do word of
mouth for you and traffic grows.


I've researched all the stuff you hear about SEO inside out, and there
are some valid and genuine ways to optimize sites using SEO techniques.
There are also many 'black hat' ways that SEO wizards do to get high
page rankings for clients. Many of these don't last very long in the
SERPS. My position is look at Google's basic algorithm mantra. It's as
simple as their home page is. Sites that provide users with the best
experience go to the top of the SERPS for the long term. You don't need
all sorts of fancy SEO stuff to accomplish that, nor be an SEO rocket
scientist. You just need to do basic SEO optimizing and provide the
highest quality site experience you can. Not only will you get good
rankings, but users will tell other users, users will bookmark and come
back again and again.


As I've indicated above when you place a high traffic domain on a site
you'll see an initial rev drop, but you will begin the process of solid
traffic and user growth that will take you to the real treasure of
dollars.


And here is where you have to really open your eyes wide and see
exactly where the trove of money is. It is not doing thousands of bulk
basic sites with Google AdSense on them. There is nothing wrong with
AdSense. It works. It makes money. But it is NOT the treasure trove
when you begin developing. It's just the first step of the advertising
monetization process. The gold rush comes when you enter Phase 2 of
development and have traffic built across many sites with well targeted
niches and users and can then sell impression based long term
advertising deals directly to major corporate advertisers. This is
where major major money can be made from advertising on developed
sites. Plus at this point you now have the ability to implement premium
subscription based type services and products to users to create
additional revenue flows, do lead generators, and all sorts of exciting
moneymakers.


Let's go back to the 10 year domain example above. Let's say after 10
years and your several hundred million visitors you had developed a
site and out of all those surfers you grabbed 1/2 of 1% for a
subscription of some kind. Not even taking into consideration the
millions of extra visitors that would have been grown by a site on the
domain, and just using the native type-in volume during that decade for
the base factoring, you'd have roughly 500,000 subscribers paying you a
fee every month. Or maybe just 500,000 subscribers with no fee but who
you could then sell premium rate advertising on, such as in a
newsletter. What's 500,000 subscribers paying you $9.95 /month? That's
$5 Million per month, over 10 years thats $600 Million. So what's
better? $10 Million or 10 to 20x that number by having a web site asset
to sell one day along with a great domain.


And think how much you could sell that asset for with 500,000 and up
subscribers, with major corporate advertisers, and a huge income
stream. Now you own a domain really worth the hundreds of millions of
dollars we all say our domains are worth.


Cha-ching $$$. Once you look at domains with this understanding and
vision, I think most domainers will quickly see the light, sit down
with a calculator and know the future much more clearly and without
hesitation, determine the wealth building strategy to aim for in the
years ahead.'


Kevin Leto
Decemebr 11th 2007


I think we can agree that was one hell of a post. Thank you Kevin!


Have a GREAT day!

Rick Schwartz


Is Fairwinds Partners guilty of spamming with an unsolicited email to me? PART 2

Morning folks!!



Where do I start? Let's
start with that I know a minimum of 3 people personally that have received this
form letter or what most folks consider a spam letter from Fairwinds Partrners.




The spam itself was
posted on the comments area of the previous post so no need to repeat. However
let's start with the a couple of quotes in the return email I sent them:



'So let me recap.
You THINK you are in the business of selling high end domains however you have
never actually sold one. Have you?? I think you misrepresent your abilities.
You call domainers cybersquatters and then send me that spam. That takes
BALLS!!!'



'So good job at
making your company look like a bunch of hypocrites. You trash domainers and
then want to broker sales by spamming them? That makes you ALL look like
FOOLS.'



To which I got a
response which included the following.



'While I am not
involved in CADNA whatsoever, I have read the materials closely enough to know
that CADNA also knows the difference between the two terms.  You may not
have read the CADNA Web site yourself so I will draw your attention to the
following text that appears at the top of the page'
        “Cybersquatting is defined by
CADNA as the bad-faith registration of a domain name that includes or is confusingly
similar to someone else’s trademark.
      
        CADNA is made up of many leading
edge adopters and generators of new Internet best practices, and as such this
organization knows the value of direct navigation practices and the importance
of direct search to making the Internet more navigable and rewarding to
worldwide web users.
      
        Many of the legal practices of
Domainers that deliver relevant content to direct navigators are not to be
discouraged, but celebrated. And as such, the object of CADNA is
cybersquatting, not domaining.”




ok, now
let's include some other points of fact about these folks who are heavily
involved in coordinating CADNA. I see them as disingenuous.



1. Josh Bourne
is still not telling the truth about the connection between DN tasting and phishing even after the
Anti-Phishing Working Group refuted it with a September report that found that
there was no relationship between domain tasting and phishing scams. Just to be
clear, I'm adamantly against tasting and am proud that the ICA adopted a Code
of Conduct
that calls for an end to abusive tasting and all domain kiting and
has called on ICANN and VeriSign to shut it down with new fees, but this is
just illustrative of how CADNA ignores the facts and throws out unsubstantiated
and disproven charges.



2. CADNA is a cybersquatter by
their own definition that was cited to me above   (CADNA.com
was registered by CADNA Automotive of Memphis, TN, which
subsequently regsiered CADNA as a trademark, long before Fairwinds set up CADNA
and registered the .Org). I have an entire blog post about this here. True,
the CADNA definition printed above calls for bad faith as an element - but
CADNA members have attacked the same bad faith reference in the ICA Code of
Conduct.



3. Sarah Deutsch, a counsel for founding
CADNA member Verizon, picked apart the new ICA code of conduct in a
recent debate with ICA counsel Philip Corwin at the INTA (International
Trademark Association) leadership meeting -- and had the temerity to
say that when Verizon ISP run ads against TM typos under their new Advanced Web
Search service that's customer service, not infringement, at the same time
she's calling for higher statutory damages and criminal law penalties for
domain registrants and questioning whether parked generic pages provide
anything worthwhile to consumers. I think that is outrageous.




4. Now this one should
make you all chuckle. Go to the Fairwinds Partners home page. Scroll to the bottom.
There is a quote there that came directly from Steve Forbes. However that quote was
made by Mr. Forbes specifically for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and released by us for   in a press release before our October show where he
was our keynote speaker.



'Internet traffic
and domains are the prime real estate of the 21st century,' comments
Forbes. 'This market has matured, and individuals, brands, investors and
organizations who do not grasp their importance or value are missing out on
numerous levels.'



http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/070920/clth050.html?.v=101



Nothing wrong, but Chutzpah is the only
word that really comes to mind. But don't worry, I am full of adjectives to
describe these hypocrits. I may have to blog just on that. This is going to
begin the unraveling of this garbage. I am not sure what their true agenda is
as it is confusing to me. When I wrote the organization in the summer shortly
after they came into being, my email was never answered to this day. I blogged
about it at the time. So what is really going on here?




Some may think this is
the end. Quite the contrary. This is the beginning. The only question is it a
new beginning of cooperation and working together for what we have in common or
will we have to slay this dragon as they continue to paint us all as
'Cybersquatters' every chance they get? Unfortunately we may already
have the answer and the evidence against them is mounting. The only question is
when do the companies supporting CADNA see the true picture? It is my opinion
that CADNA has the ability to tarnish the very companies and brands that they
represent. Wonder what their take on spammers is?



My advice to both these
companies is get your act together, contact the ICA and begin a constructive
dialogue. Short of that, expect blog posts like these from every legitimate
domain investor out there. It will eventually make its way to the media and
there is going to be a lot of folks with egg on their face. I can see it now.
Cybersquatters vs Spammers. the media would have a field day with that
match up. Let the games begin. However we will win as we define the difference
between Cybersquatting and Domain investing. On the other hand....a spammer is
a spammer is a spammer and EVERYONE hates spammers.



Have a GREAT day!
Rick Schwartz



Is Fairwinds Partners guilty of spamming with an unsolicited email to me?

Morning folks!!


I am working
on a post where I am going to expose and share an unsolicted email I got the other day. IMHO I call this spamming. (Some may have a different take) by Fairwinds
Partners
who is involved with  'The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse' (CADNA). At the very least it is an unsolicited email from somebody I don't know and addressed to 'Sir' not my actual name. Stay tuned for this explosive post. It just
may blow the lid off this organization that has a bad habit of painting
domainers as 'Cybersquatters.' I am going to give you the details and
you can decide for yourself if spammers are what they are or not. I was stunned when they contacted me wanting to represent several of my domains for sale at a discounted commission rate of 10% given their past history. It was obviously a form letter and I doubt I am the only one it was sent to. In their defense it was signed by a real person and  I told that person directly what I thought. Spam? You decide.
See you then!


Rick Schwartz


UPDATE!! Seems I am not the only one gettting the same SPAM. Another person has posted in the comment section and pasted the EXACT same email that I got. In Addition, another domainer has posted on Frank Schilling's board that he too has received this SPAM. The folks that are calling us 'Cybersquatters' may be one notch below.Have you been SPAMMED?? Send us the letters. Stay tuned for much more.




Are cybersquatters and out of control registrars hurting the domain industry?

Good evening folks!!


Let's set the record
straight. Having a generic domain name does NOT make you a cybersquatter. It
makes you a smart investor as prices for these valuable assets just keep going
up in value. Just because you have a domain somebody else wants does not make
you a cybersquatter. However some of those crying 'cybersquatter'
are getting domains they should not win by flawed WIPO decisions and flawed UDRP
rulings. Some call them thieves while others accuse them of 'Reverse domain
hijacking.' Aided by a system with no rhyme or reason and a system that
has no room for setting precedent or following it. In my opinion some of those
rulings will be overturned in the years ahead and those domains will be
returned to the original registrants.



On the other hand, those
that buy domain names with company names and trademarks as part of the domain
name are probably cybersquatters or worse. We are not talking about folks with
portfolios that could have a handful of domains that could be in the 'Gray'
area. We are talking about those that register tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of infringing
domains and everybody is profiting from it from Google and Yahoo to everyone
down stream. I wish Google and Yahoo would take the profit out and stop paying
for that traffic. Ban that traffic!! Ban it TODAY!! The result will be rising payouts for
everyone playing by the rules with quality traffic. So as long as they pay, they are a big part of
the problem. They fuel the problem and the public needs to know.



But they are far from
the worst offenders. The worst offenders are the registrars. Not all, but many.
They are the real whores of the industry and they are harming legitimate domain
investors and developers. Many registrars are out of control and Verisign gave
them the license to do it and ICANN has done little to stop the abuse. Add to
that the $$$$ that Google and Yahoo pay for this traffic and that only fuels
the problem.



Earlier this week Dell
filed suit against some of those registrars. I applaud and support Dell and I
hope they put the fear of God into the other registrars who are abusing their
roles and hurting our industry. The entire story is here. But from what I understand Dell  has gone a little too far and used some tactics that will soon be made public. They themselves have over reached imo. What is in the wind is that Dell is using some counterfeiting law to seize computers and records with no notice.




I think it is incumbent on
the professional domain industry to speak out against these abuses. To separate
themselves from that sector. That sector is largely made up of registrars and
those newer to the domain business. They see it as a way to make a quick buck
and Google and Yahoo and others are also profiting from this practice. They are
confusing the public and it is out of control. So out of control that the
backlash is going to hurt all of us in a significant way. That is why it is
TIME for professional domain investors to speak out loudly and often about the
state of things. We need to make it clear this is not OUR doing. This is the
doing of people and companies much higher up the food chain and it should stop
and stop now. The only way it will stop is to stop paying for that traffic. Make that traffic worthless. Let those with infringing domains collapse and disappear. That's my opinion. Yours may be different. This is a complicated subject. But from where I sit, this all stinks and needs to be corrected.
Have a GREAT day!
Rick Schwartz


Competition Insurance for Corp America sold here!


Morning folks!
The lesson of 1-800-flowers and Hotels.com and a ramble to Cyber
Monday. Before you disagree with me, first allow yourself to visit the other side of the coin. Remaining ignorant in the face of facts is still your choice so don't feel too threatened. Clinging to failure is just human nature. Are you bold enough to look at the same thing in a different way? Give me your mind for 5 minutes and let me see if I can get you really wound up.


Companies buy all types of insurance to protect them from this
and that and things we have not even thought of. However they don't buy
'Competition insurance.' How silly is that? No insurance to make sure some new
guy coming along does not steal some of their market share. Even with lessons to
point to, 'Competition Insurance' is not bought. Why? Well they can't figure out
who the hell is responsible for that. Corporate thinks it is up to Sales Dept.
The Sales Dept tells Manufacturing but they told them that they need to see Legal since it is an insurance matter. Meanwhile the CEO is playing golf and
spending the bonus he may have not earned on merits but since his attorney got
him such a great deal that's just the way it is.
So Sales now has to explain to
Legal why they need this insurance that really does not exist. See this
'Insurance' is not an ' Insurance Policy.' It is much more important than making sure you are covered in case somebody slips and falls. It is the
insurance to make sure that the company keeps steaming along and keeps that
market share growing. It's the part of the company responsible for thwarting
threats from new startups and their old historic rivals. What they have yet to
see even with example after example is that by owning a generic category name in
a dotcom it is not only good business, it prevents another 1-800-flowers or Hotels.com from coming along and disrupting an entire industry. Yet with these
examples we still have generic category domains floating around. Domains that receive thousands of targeted visitors that don't use Google to get there but type the domain directly in the browser bar. It becomes a 'Destination' just like you would probably type in Sears.com as opposed to going to Google to see where Sears is. The domain may be
floating today and the CEO may be yachting today, but the shareholder will all
live to regret it tomorrow if these companies FAIL to secure their generics before their competition does.
If I am Xerox I want copiers.com. If I am HP I want
printers.com. If I am Kleenex, I want tissue.com. If I am McDonalds, I want
hamburgers.com. If I am MasterCard, I want Priceless.com. If I am Rolex, I want
watches.com. If I am anyone THINKING I am the leader in that category, I want
the domain name associated with the category. And for all those CEO's that don't
have the VISION to say the same thing.......your shareholders should fire your
butts right now. Click on those generic names above to see which companies get it and which companies don't.

In hindsight who should own hotels.com? Look at all the
companies that blew this one that now have to pay for those reservations for
EVER. I wonder how many millions that adds up to over a years time? 5 years? 10
years? And not a single person with the vision at Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Ritz
Carlton, Sheraton, etc. Doesn't anyone see the HUGE GAFF that was made here? A
costly gaff. Perhaps the biggest in business history. Except of course
1800flowers and flowers.com who took out one of the oldest category leaders in
my lifetime. I can't wait to hear the story at TRAFFIC direct from the horses
mouth and ask Jim McCann how many horses asses he had to deal with before they
figured it out? So BRAVO to Corp America and Madison Ave that have yet to figure
out that 2 + 2 = 4. Branding is a great thing. But you don't turn away millions
of customers just because they wanted a hotel room or flowers and did not ask
for you by your BRAND. They asked for the GENERIC. (Read my hotels.com and Madison Ave  blog rant here.)


Imagine if this was 50 years ago and you thumbed thru the
yellow pages. You come to 'Hotels' Instead of there being you and 200
competitors, what if you could have just bought the entire listing? You look
under Hotels and ONLY your hotel came up for all those tens of millions of
people. I guess that would have no value?? I guess you don't want to be listed
first. Guess you don't want any of that? Oh you do? So why can't you make the
connection with the domain names being the same as that category heading in the
yellow pages? Except of course the domain name is much more valuable and be seen
by more people that turn into customers. By the way, how much is that yellow
page ad costing? The one you come up number 24 even though you are having a bold
display ad? How many books are you in? How many years? How many under 18 have
ever even used that antique called the 'Yellow pages?' They may go to
YellowPages.com and that single domain name is the generic for every yellow
pages book ever printed. So which has more weight? One yellow page book from
one company for one area or YellowPages.com which virtually swallowed up all the
other Yellow Pages on the planet?
'I SAY IT IS BS!
Branding without increasing sales is FAILURE!'

I could sit here and write example after example for DAYS
without running out of stories that make big business look silly and Madison Ave look like they could care less about increasing sales for their clients. They will tell you it is about 'Branding.'. I say that is BS. Branding without increasing sales is FAILURE! They
continually miss a source for new customers that provides a never ending stream
of new business every day of the year for perhaps as long as the net itself survives. A source that has no ongoing costs or
upkeep and for those so hung up on branding please consider this. If the
hotels.com domain was pointed to Marriott.com and that domain as a generic
domain with no advertising or promotion received 25,000 visitors a day. Day
after day after day. EVERY day 25,000 visitors and since when they get to
hotels.com they would be landing on the Mariottt.com  reservation site that would
provide the BRAND with 25,000 new eyeballs everyday going to Marriott.com. For
some idiotic reason few on Madison Avenue and few in Corporate America can get
their heads around something so simple like taking a generic domain and pointing it to their regular website and instead of paying for traffic from Google, they get it DIRECT from consumers typing the name to the browser bar. Does it matter that the ADDED sale came from somebody that said HOTELS instead of MARRIOTT??! Does it look different on a spreadsheet?

'CALL ME THE FOOL!'

Like I have said before, the best
branding is more sales. What would the value be of renting out another 1000 room
nights each night for 365 days? The rooms that would not be rented. The rooms
sitting vacant! Had ANY chain had the VISION to figure it out, that hotel would
have purchased hotels.com and transformed their company. That one domain name purchase would
have cost a FRACTION of building a new hotel and would have provided more
reservations than any other single source they could ever get.  But hey, laugh
at me for even suggesting how it could have unfolded if any one at any of the
hotel chains or their elite Madison Avenue agencies were not asleep at the
wheel. Call me the fool for even suggesting such an outcome. Tell me what a know
nothing I am and I don't understand about branding. Fine I am a fool but I see
all of you as failures for still not recognizing the obvious.
Do the damn math
already and see what the world could have looked like if even one of you folks
had a little vision of what was to unfold. I point to this example as it is too
late in the hotel industry to own the category. Barry Diller made you all look
like fools. Yes he did! However it is not too late in other industries. Those generic
category names may still be bouncing around the market and able to be obtained.
So happy cyber Monday. Maybe this will be the year that folks realize that
traditional media is shrinking and splintering as the new media is pumped and
hot. Maybe this will be the year that folks finally make the leap and realize
the opportunity that may be available in your industry. Maybe not. The bottom line is a generic domain name, especially one that describes an entire category, is one of the most cost effective, long term marketing and branding tools you can acquire. The cost of delay is bigger than one can imagine. Where is the sense of urgency in Corp America? Most don't actually figure it out until their competition does and by then it is too late. You already lost the  game.

By the way......have you figured out who
is responsible for competition insurance at your company or is that
somebody else's department Mr. CEO? If everyone in the chain FAILS....and they have.....then it is up to the CEO to save the day. If not, join PetSupermarket.com who has yet to open and sell items online. The CEO there is the POSTER BOY for corporate stupidity. 100 stores and no online way to purchase in 2007!! How do you EXCUSE that?


Have a GREAT day!
Rick Schwartz

*Disclaimer. I had no idea who owned the generic domain names listed above at the time I wrote this piece.


The REAL story behind the flowers.mobi purchase

I bought Sirius
Satellite Radio at 49 cents. I bought hundreds of thousands of shares and made
millions of dollars when the net was at the lowest point. I wonder about the
rumors on Wall St. lol


I bought that stock for
ONE main reason. I looked at the impressive list of companies backing Sirius. I
FOLLOWED THE MONEY!! I do that all the time. In anything. ALWAYS....follow the
money. I did the same with .mobi. What caught MY attention were the companies
backing it. Why would they do that? I also saw a POSSIBLE difference in .mobi
if it ever became adopted as a standard by these folks that were investing.
Taking $200k out of my pocket to buy flowers.mobi given my financial position
was no big deal to me. I have lost $200k in the stock market quicker than it
took me to write this SENTENCE! Remember iOmega.com, quepasa.com, etoys.com? It
was left over $$$ that I had nowhere to invest. Seems it became a big deal to
everyone else as rumors by those with an agenda were planted within minutes or
hours of the auction. To me it was just one transaction out of thousands that I
make.


Just to set the record
straight.


First let me clean
things up. Seems there are rumors circulating that I need to put an end to. The
only way to do that is to state the FACTS from the horses mouth so all the
speculation of what 'Really' happened are finally put to bed and the
record is set straight.


I get no kickbacks or
anything from .mobi whatsoever. Not a penny, not so much as a dinner. NOTHING!
The share TRAFFIC makes off the auction is our business. But we make the same
off of any sale off any extension. The only relationship is their sponsorships
which have been modest but appreciated. Before the TRAFFIC show in October 2006,
I had never met, spoken to, emailed or had a relationship with anyone at
.mobi. I didn't even know that .mobi was not spelled .moby. :-)


So let me take you
inside my mind over a year ago when I bought flowers.mobi. First of all I never
registered a single .mobi domain during the sunrise period. My interest was not
there until about a week before the auction or whenever Moniker announced the
premium domain list. See, when I speculate with domains of ANY extension, I
focus on one word domains or 2 very meaningful word domains. But if I am going
to speculate on any extension other than dotcom, I am going to buy premium
domains. So I decided to wait until the Moniker auction at TRAFFIC because that
was going to be the first time that PREMIUM names with that extension would
become available. I immediately picked flowers.mobi as the most valuable domain
on the list and one of the premiere domains in the space should .mobi take off.
So I decided before the auction I would bid up to $100k to get it.


First of all I think
even if .mobi takes off it will be very narrow. It won't be the same as .com. I
believe folks will concentrate on different things. So I decided that
flowers.mobi was the prize. However I was interested in many of the other
.mobi's because I wanted a stake in some of the best premium domains. If I am
going to invest in a risky new extension, I am going to do my best to get
domains I believe have the best balance of price and future.


So quietly I bought
Laugh.mobi for $3k, celebs.mobi for $2250  and a few others like
eat.mobi. early in the auction for about 8k. Then wow.mobi for $9k, gossip.mobi
for $5k, Fun.mobi came up. I had also wanted that as well. When it hit $95 or
$100k I dropped out. I also tried to buy party.mobi.


As I stated earlier, I
was going to bid up to $100k for flowers.mobi. I knew that the
flowers.com attorney was there and bidding. however I could not see him
and I have no idea when he dropped out of the bidding. Some of told me $40k
while others have stated $100k. I still don't know as I write this. I know
there are other big companies investing in .mobi and I
ALWAYS.....'Follow the money.' But when several others bid 6 figures
it created a 'Market value' and that gave me confidence to bid higher
than what I planned. Now a 'Floor' was established as 3 or 4
people in the room were willing to pay over $100k and 2 or 3 of them went to
$120k I think. Then I duked in out with my friends at EuroDNS. Their last bid
was $190k if I recall correctly. So what others see as this great risk, I see
as a domain that the market said was worth between $100k and $200k set by the
market not a worthless appraisal. Not a rumor started with somebody with an
agenda.


I had no idea what a
firestorm that would create until I began reading what was said after the
auction on the boards when I returned to my room late that night. The rumors
were flying. They just made stuff up. They were not even there but once someone
starts a rumor, the mindless followers spread it like wildfire. Everything is a
conspiracy to them. THAT was the REAL story. But they were too busy looking in
the grassy knoll for some BS that somebody with a motive planted. Not that it
is possible that I saw something different in .mobi than any other extension.
Something I really don't need to reveal here but I have even tho that's MY
business. But I am setting the record straight regardless and maybe some of the
mindless folks that talk out of their butts will learn something instead of
making it up.


But there is ONE thing
different and it has nothing to do with compliance or anything like that. Let
me put it this way....If there are 450 lemonade stands lined upon a street and
I wanted to do business where would I start? Some would say get some lemons and
a table and sell lemonade. I would say let me focus on grape juice and I
bet I will do more business than most of the lemonade stands in my first day
than those there for YEARS!. That's the best I can do at this point in
time. But just like .com, I reach a point of investment and I slow down or
stop. I decided that $500k-750k was what I would RISK with .mobi.  Is it a
good investment? Ask me in 5 years. That is how long I expect it to be before
the seeds from my investment germinate or die. On the other hand, if I flip
them TODAY, the value of my investment has gone up and I will show that in a
minute.


Well there are the
facts. I get no preferential treatment from .mobi. I get NOTHING WHATSOEVER in
return. Not even a Christmas Card. lol But if I get one, I will let you all
know. I just buy things at one price that I believe their value will go up in
the future. I may be right. I may be wrong. That is what investing is all about
and I ain't done that bad for myself over the years. If folks decide that since
Rick Schwartz is buying .mobi they should too.....that has nothing to do with
me. They may buy because I buy but they do it silly and blindly if that is the
only reason. I just have a hard enough time taking care of my own business
and my own concerns and wiping my own butt in the morning to worry about the
other BS, rumors and such made up by folks in this business that have a motive
and an agenda.


Lastly.......


Some folks think that
just because I run a tradeshow, just because I have a private forum, just
because I am who I am that I should not be allowed to bid at the TRAFFIC
auctions. Well to those folks, I would say I never abdicated my being a
domainer when I decided to share my knowledge and promote the industry. I take
folks on the boat I created and the next thing I know I have to deal with folks
trying to throw me off my own ship. I am a domainer. I have been a domainer for
a dozen years. I am going to continue to buy domains whenever and wherever.
That includes TRAFFIC and the Moniker auction and any other auction I feel I want
to participate in. Those that don't want me to bid because they perceive that I
have an unfair advantage are wrong. I am a domainer just like them. The next
thing they will complain about is my bank account has millions more than they
do and so THAT gives me an unfair advantage. To those folks.....GET OVER IT!
Work hard, make good decisions and get rewarded. Every second you are minding
MY business, you are ignoring yours. Does THAT sound like a good decision? A
good investment of your time? It sure looks foolish to me.


As far as Sahar and the
'rest of the story.' I have no idea what he is referring to. It could
be something simple like all the publicity the flowers.mobi sale created.
What's the value of that? But I will ask him before I finish this just to see.
(Already revealed above)


Anyway, that's the real
story from the horses mouth. Take it or leave it, those are the FACTS. If you
want to make up lies in the face of facts, knock yourself out. But don't expect
me to allow you to get away with it. The industry now knows the story behind
the story. I may have written it earlier but I was still actively buying .mobi
and was not in my best interest. Now I have the stake I want and it's on to the
next investment. And that is what it is.....an investment that may or may not
pay dividends. Those that say I am promoting .mobi are making it up. Look at
any of my posts about the extension. They are well balanced. They show BOTH
sides of the coin. I have no idea if .mobi will be a hit or a bust. If it is a
bust I lose up to $750k. If it is a win, then who knows. I like bets with
'Who knows' based on my gut. Some go to Vegas and gamble, some do it
on Wall St., I prefer to do my own gambling on my own business using
a gut instinct that has served me well.


And in the interest of
full disclosure. Jim McCann the CEO and Founder of Flowers.com will be our
keynote speaker at TRAFFIC in Las Vegas. So now you will have some other
conspiracy theories to make up and talk about. I hope you will be more creative
with this one. Do you think I should wear my Flowers.mobi shirt to dinner?
Deliver flowers to his room from FLOWERS.MOBI? Have the limo pick him up with
Flowers.mobi all over the sides? Nah....not my style. I'll just enjoy the talk
from a guy who has walked the same path as us and has one of THE greatest
success stories of all time to share. I will learn more from his words than the
$200k Flowers.mobi cost me and I will still own the domain name. Besides, I
would rather discuss Candy.com with him. Shazaam!


Now that we took care of
that, lets peel back the NUMBERS. The numbers tell all. Numbers  don't lie....people have agendas. People make things up. But numbers tell a story. A story most are AFRAID to look  at and even more afraid to understand. My best business friend is numbers.


If you read my comments
I have always addressed both sides of the .mobi debate. I am in the middle. I
admit I am not smart enough to know what others THINK they know. I know to trust the numbers and tune out the bullshit on both sides. Whatever extension folks focus on there is
a narrow line between just investing in the extension and promoting that
extension. IDN won't be big because somebody says so. It will be big when/if
the market says so. When the numbers say so. Same with .tv, .biz, .info .whatever. It will be big when Ron
Jackson's chart shows it is big. Shows by real world, verifiable sales. In 2007
so far of the top 100 reported sales 91 are .com. So dotcom is KING, not
because I say so but because the market says so. Of the 9 that were not
.com......2 were.mobi.......3 were .net.........1 was .org.........1 was
.info.......and there were 2 country codes, .co.uk and .de. This covers domains
with reported sales from $82,000 to $9.5 million so far in 2007 as of last
week.


Then we can jumpover to
the 'Global contenders. Their range for the year is $15,000 to $300k. Here
is the BIG answer. Of the top 100 there are 28 .mobi's occupying those spots.


.net = 43
.mobi = 28
.org = 16
.info = 9


Lastly the country
codes. With the exception of two 6 figure sales, the range was $10-$85k. That
also included .cc, .tv IDN and some 335 individual country codes competing for
this spots. So if you just sit there and study Ron's page and FOLLOW THE MONEY,
it is pretty easy to pick the finalists. You pick them from REALITY by sales
not wishful thinking by me or you or anyone.


Here are the extensions
in the order of what the MARKET says by actual real world reported sales.


.com
.net
.org
.mobi
.info


Then .co.uk, .de, .tv,
.us, idn



http://www.dnjournal.com/ytd-sales-charts.htm


Follow the money, look
at the numbers, gage the market, don't listen to rumors. The newest extension
on the list is outperforming extensions out for many years. THAT is the
reality. They may become another 'Tulip' run. But at this point
nobody can say definitively either way. Those that think they know on either
side, know nothing. It's just too early to tell.


Have a GREAT day!
Rick Schwartz