segunda-feira, 7 de abril de 2008

Negócios com domínios, por Rick Schwartz

Fonte: Rick Schwartz: Domain King or Royal Pain? By Ron Jackson
O artigo fonte de onde retirei este clipping foi matéria de capa do Domain Name Journal, em março de 2004. As experiências compartilhadas por Schwartz continuam inestimáveis. Coletei aqui os trechos mais interessantes, para destacá-los e facilitar a consulta e releitura, mas principalmente com medo de que, passados já mais de 4 anos, o artigo eventualmente deixa de estar disponível.

Segundo o autor, editor do DNJournal, Rick Schwartz adotou o apelido "Domain King", ou "Rei dos Domínios" provocando críticas contra si. Ele tinha esse direito? Ele iniciou seus negócios em Internet com um investimento de US$1.800 e, em 8 anos, era dono de um portifólio de 4.3000 sites e ganhos acumulados de 20 milhões de dólares. Em 1995 comprou o primeiro domínio ( por US$100 e em 2003 vendeu o por US$1,32 milhão de dólares.

Adorado por uns (pelos números reais principalmente, bens tangíveis) e odiado por outros (acusado de egomaníaco e coisas do gênero), Schwartz certamente não deixa de ser uma coisa: um exemplo para ser examinado e, muitas vezes, seguido.

Apesar de existirem muitas maneiras de se ganhar dinheiro com domínios, Schwartz foca essencialmente numa estrastégia simples e a que dá menos trabalho: sites em quantidade elevada, com nomes que o internauta experimenta acessar diretamente (type in), conteúdo mínimo (apenas um diretório de links) e com remuneração baseada em PPC (pay per click, ou pagamento por cliques em anúncios do Google AdSense ou equivalente do Yahoo) em seus sites.

Ele não se preocupa em ter conteúdo algum nos sites... o seu objetivo é simplesmente que o internauta, uma vez dentro de seu site, saia de lá... clicando em um dos links patrocinados, que o Google e Yahoo colocam automaticamente baseados no tema do site, no caso, orientados pelo nome do domínio. Tática ideal para um portifólio com grande número de sites, como é o caso dos 4.330 dele, e com nomes que recebam acessos do tipo type in, já que os sites de busca não privilegiarão nas respostas essas páginas vazias.

Táticas mais trabalhosas, como as que eu mesmo utilizo, incluem conteúdo nos sites para atrair visitas não apenas do tipo type in, de acesso direto, mas também visitas vindas de sites de busca (atualmente o Google predomina nessa área) e sites de referência (links nos sites do grupo e em outros sites). Isso aumenta a média de visitas buscando compensar a adoção de um portifólio menor, num mercado menor como o brasileiro (o mercado americano de domínios .com é praticamente de acesso mundial).

Mantive o original em inglês, para não cometer nenhuma distorção na tradução por minha própria interpretação ou transferência de experiência.

Vamos aos trechos selecionados. Acrescentei negritos ao original nos pontos que considerei mais importantes.

He was one of the very first people to see that domains had the same potential in cyberspace that real estate had in the real world. He took that initial $1800 nest egg and started plowing the money into domain names even though his friends questioned his sanity for doing so. In hindsight it is amazing that everyone else missed what Schwartz saw. Schwartz said, “I think it was just too simple. It’s like not seeing the forest for the trees. When I think that I competed with 6 billion other people that had the same opportunity, at the same time and they all missed it...well that gives me fuel to do even more. It is the ultimate satisfaction!

The kid from California used good old common sense to trump all of those corporate guys with their advanced degrees combined. “They blew it…that’s the short of it, Schwartz said. “They failed to recognize the single biggest bonanza since the gold rush over 100 years ago. They failed to recognize it was time sensitive so they had no sense of urgency to act.

Schwartz on the other hand did recognize there was no time to waste and it led to many a sleepless night. “This was a unique opportunity in time that I knew would never come again,” he said. “I only slept when I could go on no longer, or my hands would hurt too much, or I collapsed on the computer! I understood I did not have the luxury of time and I KNEW I was missing domains by SECONDS!

While Schwartz piled up domains, his friends became more concerned about him. In August 1997, he spent $42,000 to buy, even though the seller had just acquired it a week earlier for $5,000. Surely he had gone crazy! But even at 42K the domain turned out to be a bargain. “What surprised them and was impossible to keep secret was earned enough to pay for itself in just a few weeks! They discovered that it was akin to buying real world property and paying off the mortgage not in 30 years but in 30 days!” Schwartz said.


Schwartz continued to acquire adult-oriented domains (a source of high profits but also the root of much of the criticism leveled at him today) but also landed some amazing mainstream gems, including and, the million dollar baby he originally acquired for just $15,000.


“I actually learned and was influenced by everyone I have ever worked with, called on or met. Each person has gifts of knowledge and special traits and each had sides I wanted to avoid. I took the best attribute from every person I encountered and I continue to do that. Then I add to that the total unwavering integrity that my dad had and the spirit, class and warmth my mother has and there you find what I am constituted from. That’s why my standards are so high and I am allergic to B.S.


While Schwartz remains amazed at the opportunities others missed in the mid-90’s he is even more stunned that so many people still don’t recognize traffic as the internet’s Holy Grail. “Here it is almost 10 years later and of the 6 billion on the planet, there are still only a few hundred that actually understand the science of it today”, Schwartz said.

The Internet is the greatest salesman of all time and premium domains with targeted traffic is your guarantee that you will have a constant flow of qualified customers for as long as you want.” Schwartz added “the business world missed this opportunity TWICE. The first time was for the domain itself as virtual real estate. But even worse was when the big websites then started buying advertising on TV and in magazines. They got small short term gains while an opportunity to get long term results was IGNORED!"

"For what little they received from their multi-million dollar 30 second commercials they would have been much better off buying domains. That’s like buying a commercial on TV that runs every day forever with no additional charges." Schwartz said "inexcusable is the only word that comes to mind - the know nothings blew tens of millions on wasteful advertising when the opportunity was sitting right in front of them!


“Over the next few years the masses will learn what we discovered 9 years ago, “ Schwartz said. “It took TV more than 20 years to mature and over 50 years to get where it is now. The Internet will surpass all accomplishments of TV and add several new dimensions.”

“Business will start to take the net more seriously. They will educate themselves to understand that traffic is the fuel that runs the net. A domain with traffic is like a perpetual base of fresh new customers every single day, forever. If it isn’t already, domains will become the hottest commodity in the world and everyone will want a piece of the action. Schwartz added “I also think that you will start to see a consolidation in pay per click companies after a war between them that will drive prices up and weak ones out.”

Though the golden opportunities of the mid-90’s are gone, Schwartz thinks the web’s future is so bright that people can still make outstanding returns with domains. “It is still possible to do well IF you know what to look for and IF you work smart. It is much harder now, but it is still doable. There are still many quality domains for $50-$500. However that window of opportunity closes a little bit more with every passing minute of every passing day.

Schwartz went on to say “it also depends on what part of the domain business you want to participate in. If you just come in to buy and sell there may be more opportunity. I focus on domains that can earn enough to support themselves and then to return a profit. Today it is still about traffic and type-ins. I have over 4,300 domain names and combined they get anywhere from 95,000 to 115,000 daily visitors all by way of type ins. I see it as buying oil wells. It is just as easy to buy oil wells that pump oil as ones that don’t. The ones that pump have less risk and higher rewards”, Schwartz said.

Working smarter and not harder and making more revenues in a shorter amount of time are the keys to wealth. The sooner someone learns this the wealthier they will get. You get a good portfolio one domain at a time and there is no other way. One foot in front of the other will always get you where you want to go. Those that skip steps on a ladder always fall down, waste time, fall behind and are constantly starting over again with nothing to show for their efforts. The only shortcut is working smart and realizing there are no shortcuts,” Schwartz said.


Since Schwartz has already accumulated so many prime properties he is focused more today on developing what he has and, as with his approach to many other aspects of life, he is a maverick in that area too. "I like to build sites with limited content. In other words, I have mostly crappy sites! But even that is for a reason. I don’t want anyone sticking around on my sites. I want them off as quick as they came via a revenue producing link."


By this point you might be saying to yourself, “Hey, this guy doesn’t sound like the raving lunatic I was expecting!” This brings us to what makes Schwartz a real paradox. How come a guy who is this sharp and who has been this successful is still the object of scorn from so many. Schwartz has one explanation. “I am not one to tell others what they want to hear. If I did, I would make loads more friends, but then I would be a phony and no real value to anybody. Nobody should ask me a question if they don’t want an honest answer. Honesty gets you respect from some and anger from others.”

Schwartz continued, “Some also have a problem with me owning adult domains but I think they just object to my success, since I don’t have any adult content on ANY of my sites. It’s one thing to own and run a strip bar. It’s another thing to lease property to someone that has a strip bar. If 55 hotel guests charter a bus to go to a strip bar would these people criticize the hotel they came from? How about the bus company that transported them there? Are these same folks upset when their kids hear whore and slut and bitch all day long on NBC, CBS and ABC? What am I doing that they are not?”


Though people take frequent jabs at Schwartz there is an equal number that would gladly take a punch FOR him. Monte Cahn, CEO of (the high-security company that handles Schwartz’ domain portfolio) told Domain Name Journal Rick has earned the respect of others by following through with his commitments and leading by example. He has been willing to share his vision and teach others. By letting others in on the big domain opportunity, the whole concept becomes reality rather than one man's crazy idea that a domain name would be worth millions one day.”

Cahn added “Rick is all about sharing opportunities so that everyone gains. I consider him the Warren Buffett of the domain name market - sticking to a philosophy both short and long term because it works - he meets every definition of being pragmatic.”

Cahn has a comment about the critics too. “There are many jealous of Rick and what he has created for himself and the others that he has shared his success with. Rick tries to surround himself with people that have a great deal of integrity, forward thinking ideas and knowledge. Those excluded from this elite group dislike the fact that they are not included and spend much of their time wasting time by trying to bash and discredit him and the Board he has created,” Cahn said.

The Board is a private forum Schwartz runs for domain associates. Some have been unable to get in and others who have gotten in have been booted out. Some of these people have turned their anger toward Schwartz as a result. “The only way to get in is by recommendation and acceptance of our committee.” Schwartz said. ”So people that are not known, have bad reputations or unsavory business practices are rejected as board members share their past experiences with new applicants. Some people were on the board and didn’t play well with others so their passwords were deleted.”

Schwartz added, “I have shared my findings with whoever would listen. I asked nothing in return. Those that did listen to what I have learned made a ton of money, transformed their lives and appreciate that I was generous with my time and ideas.” Gordon Martin of is one of many who backs Schwartz up on that point. “I’ve literally had a million dollar net education given to me free,” Martin said. “I can’t thank Rick enough for including me on his board as I was a complete neophyte in net terms.”


Schwartz sums up his philosophy by saying, “I just believe there is RESULTS and there is everything else. I don’t just talk about results I have shown results over and over again through the years. At the end of the day, I run one of the single most efficient businesses on the planet. Say what they want, nobody can argue with numbers.”

In one last salvo, Schwartz noted “While this sector was being ignored I quietly built a multi-million dollar business with no employees and an annual overhead of less than $50,000 and declining! I run the entire empire from a 7-pound laptop and wake up with absolutely no job to do other than what I decide to CREATE for the day. This all grew from an $1,800 investment in 18 domains. Then, using only the funds generated from those domains, I was able to grow the business from the ground up without outside investors or any of my own money. Now that’s a story that needs to be told!”.