When I think of the groups among domainers I think of the tale of the Wright Brothers.
"This morning at 3:15, Wilbur passed away, aged 45 years, 1 month, and 14 days. A short life, full of consequences. An unfailing intellect, imperturbable temper, great self-reliance and as great modesty, seeing the right clearly, pursuing it steadily, he lived and died."
--from the Diary of Bishop Milton Wright
“Arriving under a cloud of skepticism, the Wrights left France hailed as masters of aviation”
“Rather than calling attention to their historic feat, though, the Wright Brothers actually concealed their invention, opting to retreat to their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. Fearing a rival inventor might make off with their design if they observed the plane in flight, the Wright Brothers became obsessed with obtaining a patent for the Wright Flyer. Over the next five years, the Wright Brothers rarely flew - and if they did, it was for themselves, not at public demonstrations.”
The next domain billionaires include a man who took this to heart. He's been in "stealth mode" since he made this statement in 1999:
"New technologies will replace much of the web as we know it and traffic will shift in new directions. Many APP's will sprout up and steal users online time from the WEB but the web still has the potential to grow enormously even with new technologies. I just think MS has the quickest route to mass delivery of such an Application. Don't forget Prodigy, AOL, Compuserve, BBS's and all the other networking environments that were once web free and still are in most part."
He got the first part right and now I know that he was sitting out the first round, not buying names for domain urls- but names for the $100mm worth of widgets coming i8 years down the road that would be much more successful if only THEIR name and their dotCOM home base camp site- matched. ie. What they do and where they live.
Few developers will be able to do that. And few domainers will be in a position to help. It's because this genuis understood that you don't work on what's now, you figure out how to kill it by working on what's next.
Search centric name inventories and Overture thinking was his target. Because he knew they'd be as revolutionary as the fax was in its day, something you'd never think anyone could ever live without.
Until eMail. Then FTP. Now Twitter.
Think about search like maps. How often do you use a map every day? Not much, because once you find what you like the first time you know how to return forever.
And what good is typo thinking when you'll touch or talk icons which will still need names but also an exact dna match to a visual so when they see a diamond the voice in their head says diamond (and quality)-- the heart says LOVE- the Golden Gate Bridge says Vacation. Now think how more reduced the prime domain assets become when they also have to serve that need. Because the Internet is not an island alone. You are now naming life- globally. Red/Yello/Green lights, stop signs, airline safety cards, deer crossing signs- all have universal appeal.
And you will come to learn what I already knew from a lifetime of diverse experiences that borrowed all that equity in emotion to jumpstart the understanding of what it is my clients products or services can do.
And that's why another like-minded thinker is not only sitting on the most valuable portfolio of widget names known to man, he's got Widgets.com up on eBay now. Yes, Rick. He too has been hanging on to very carefully selected names talking about time and patience as his greatest asset.
He may not have figured out what a widget was, but from the exchange of ideas on this forum that he LISTENED to rather then flamed, and insights that were rooted in street-smart business experience...
that began in door to door sales, that experienced firsthand the benefits of automation moving from typewriters to word processors for his own proposals...
and that had solid "hands-on" experience in related fields like direct mail advertising and 800#s, as well as a learning curve of 5 years building a profitable adult model.... (the webs only revenue success), the only thing that he knew for SURE was that the way things were was not what they would become.
While others were "talking the talk and walking the walk" in the halls because no speaker who hadn't could ever teach them more then they already know.. Rick was telling everyone exactly where the domain train was going. His take:
"First of all you MUST visualize a domain as a PHYSICAL piece of property, land, undeveloped land. Second you must realize that it is a MULTIDIMENSIONAL object because of "Product branding" and WORLDWIDE address.
Third you must realize the special "Uniqueness" ALL domains inherently have. Fourth......it is FREE to get to and hopefully EASY to remember and SPELL. Fifth and MOST important, you must realize just how VALUABLE that real estate REALLY is.
"When I talk about domains I talk of PRIME domains. Not some of my silly "cams" or "gos" or "starts" or other such veins. I am talking corner properties in Manhattan, Beverly Hills, South Beach. 1 or 2 word domains that are TARGETED to a SPECIFIC group of people. Find those and you'll hold numerous domains that will become next to priceless BECAUSE they WON'T be for sale"
When he told EVERYONE what to look for in the late 90s, he never mentioned search strings because Overture and Google didn't even exist then. He was talking classic things that never go out of style. Black for evening. White for wedding. Men. Women. Sex. Wether your toilet is in the air, Spain, Maine or Cairo, the names on the restroom doors transcend language and tell you exactly where to go to do what you need to do. This about cultural connections not algorithmic ones.
And while Widgets.com stands at what some consider a paultry $150K, consider that in a time of great economic strain when the need for liquity in traditional assets can wipe out years of growth, he could take any one of 5000 names selected with his strict standard for human-centric criteria, put it on eBay and have a six-figure offer within 24 hours.
Can you do that? And can you understand why not?
For a $200 investment in 10 years... even if he gets $150K, it delivers exactly what he knew would happen if he made the right choices--- domain names would outstrip all other instruments to become the fastest growing and most valuable commodity known to man. When people heard this they FAILED to absorb why this would not apply to their windchimefuel.biz holding. So they got excited and thought they could become rich of human beings by throwing up a robot and hoping for the best.
Too bad because they probably spent more and dropped out when if they listened, they could have had the $150K offer on eBay last night.
I can remember in 2000 there was the dotCOM bubble and all hope was gone. People were dumping names like garbage because whatever they could get it was more then they had to meet the renewals. The names were e-this and y2k that and all kinds of other combinations people in the forums bragged about- they paid $1000 and they were "going to get rich when the clocks stop." Rick kept saying- buy one name, one name of quality-- one name like any of my names.
So this guy goes out and registers three trademark infringements with a dotTV. He tells Rick that for his $30K investment each year it will only be a couple of years until the web will be TV and no brand would still want a dotCOM name. And these short-sighted brands who didn't see this would be at his mercy to save their businesses.
Dismissed Rick's advice saying he was just jealous because he missed the TV land rush and that within 10 years, he would become the TV King while Rick was the long forgotten Domain King.
Rick responded by announcing a prime one-word domain he bought for half of the TV guy's transaction (with only $10 renewal after that) he was closing while the TV King was typing. It had been $60-100K prior but there was panic in the world and people were actually think what if the TV guy is right- I better dump these dotCOMs and trade up.
But what the owner never thought about is what made that name different and more valuable because it had those classic cultural triggers that would apply to anything new and everything old. That wasn't covered in his appraisal that judged # of characters, generic and dashes and traffic.
And so 8 years later- was the TV guy right? Well not only did he loose hundreds of thousands, but his evangelism steered many others away from the oil that Rick struck- the $15K investment that night that sold for over a million years later.
How many others spent and lost more than $15K with all the toil and hard work and have nothing to show when they could have been millionaires tonight because the opportunity was there for the taking. Or had they saved $15K until the day the $60K domain dropped. And THEY let it slip away.
Think about it all Rick spent was a smart reinvestment of money he already earned to get further.
That's what qualifies some as the expert and them as the dummies.
So if there's a lesson in all this as I feel your pain and uncertainty right now- don't start registering thousands of invented widgets names like dollwidgetsmy.com- start working on what's going to blow that way. It will still be a human-centric solution to a human-centric problem. A classic that you won't find on a keyword suggestion tool, but only by getting out and watching people live, love, surf, buy and communicate.