Frager Factor

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Muhammad Ali's Domain Heavyweight Answers Your Questions

"Absolutely brilliant and cool advice"
~~ Christoph Donath

"'I'm not that big on the other TLDs other than the dot com." For example, Niuyue.com in Chinese. There's relatively few people that use the actual characters, everybody's using the English language referral. I feel that the position we're in is the proper one with the English language."

"I had the privilege of working with Muhammad Ali, who, of course, is my idol, the greatest of all time. Probably spent about eight years traveling all over the world with Ali, working with him, in the early '80s on up. I'm very close with his family and him and all that."


Leland Hardy is Featured on ABC World News Sunday Network News July 16, 1989


Leland Hardy, who is the owner of NewYork.com and a brilliant businessman and marketer who has done some of the most amazing work that you will ever hear of including managing Hedge Funds, Muhammad Ali, Master P, Serena Williams, speaking fluent Chinese and more. His domain savvy is matched by his guerrilla marketing moxie. Hardy donned a NYC sanitation uniform to get a police escort to hang a NewYork.com banner beneath the MTV sign in Times Square. He placed NewYork.com cards in seats at O’Hare International Airport gates where New York-bound flights would board. He signed NewYork.com as the official concierge for the city’s renowned Jacob Javits Center. He signed Aretha Franklin to headline a New York.com “Tribute to the Troops” event.

Here is more of Brady Dillsworth's riveting interview with Leland that was first aired LIVE on DomainSuccess.com

BRADY: Owen would like to know how many domains you own and what are your plans for them?

Leland: I have a portfolio of a few thousand names. My plans for them are to develop them and market and promote them. I have offers for them, they come periodically. Offers for sales, some of them. Some I've overpriced and that kind of thing. I'm not really trying to sell. I just like the idea of having not just a portfolio of domains, but a large portfolio of actual websites and that's the way I'm going. I'm developing key relationships with parties that can contribute to that build out and development of a large portfolio of them into sites.

Brady: What about promotion? I know in the past you've done some radio work and you've obviously done the guerilla marketing. What about using the television or using print to promote the site versus strictly utilizing the Internet?

Leland: Oh, definitely. I think there's no question that traditional media is critical. Print, outdoor and all those kind of things, critical. Use your guerilla piece to replicate outdoor, because you can't necessarily afford the budgets for outdoor that are required. To put on a Super Bowl ad, it's $3 million for 30 seconds. You have to be creative and do other things. I believe all those things are important elements of promoting a website.

Brady: Jay would like to know how often you send out the NewYork.com newsletter and what type of content and what type of offers do you include in that? What type of returns do you see on that?

Leland: We send it out periodically. Some of it is weekly or when we have something going on. We had a newsletter go out about the Aretha event. Newsletters go out regularly about the City of Fame piece. We really believe it's such a celebrity-conscious society, everyone wants to get famous. It only takes 15 minutes to make it. We send out newsletters on that and regular newsletters on the dining piece and so on. We're going to increase that dramatically as we staff up in that area. We see very good returns. You've got to send a ship out to get a ship back in. We see respectable returns on the effort and the cost of putting out correspondence.

Brady: Eve would like to know does the majority of your traffic originate from the U.S. or outside of the U.S.? Before you answer, I want to ask do you know what the ratios are when talking about direct navigation type-in versus search, and do you have any idea what converts higher with regard to the travel revenue?

Leland: Yeah. It's probably 60-40 foreign to domestic, as well as about 70-30 search to direct navigation. Excuse me, flip that around, sorry. 70-30 direct navigation to search. What converts highest is hotel room sales.

Brady: Sanjay is curious about how many people it takes to run a website like NewYork.com.

Leland: We have about 12 full-time employees. I used to do everything, 18 hours a day from chef, cook, and bottle washer. We hired management. We have offices right diagonally across from Madison Square Garden, the world's most famous arena. We have some salespeople and beefing up as we go. Right now, during this period, just trying to keep the ship running and then poise ourselves for implementation of some of our other strategies. I think we'll have a fairly big platform.

We're obviously going to have some national media coverage in association with the Aretha Franklin situation based on who she is. If I can get some of these other parties I mentioned, Michelle Obama and all that, that should have us on the morning shows, the evening shows, that type of thing. We'll see what happens, and then we go from there. Staff up as needed to meet need.

Brady: Do you know want to tell me a little bit about what you see the future of NewYork.com being and specifically, what is your exit strategy? Are you looking to keep the name forever or sell it or take it public? Are there any plans or any dreams that you have for the future of the site?

Leland: Yeah. I would say that I have no intentions on getting rid of the site. Obviously, everything has a price, but I think so much can be done with it and so much good can be done with it. Again, as you look to the future, you don't know exactly what's out there. It could be all manner of ways that the site becomes a platform for communicating with the world because New York is such an important destination that you may have a platform where everyone can have their own TV station. It's like public access TV in New York right now. If you wanted to have a TV show sitting in your room, naked, interviewing people, you could do that. Obviously that wouldn't be the kind of content we would have, but anybody can do anything. There may be a situation where we have unlimited number of television channels that people can have on the site.

I would love to be the steward of that, just as for example, an ancillary business opportunity could flow from the City of Fame where we identify talent just like "American Idol" does and we end up signing a management contract to tout incredible performers, a singer we might find through that medium. That takes us offline in another business opportunity. Having the site, and creating and designing ways to do other business through the site, is something that you wouldn't have if you sell and just get dollars. You start all over again. That's what capitalism is all about. My plan and desire would be to keep the name, and that would give me opportunity to appear on chats with great people like Owen Frager and his audience.

Brady: Who or what have been some of the greatest influences in your life, whether it be for sports or for education or for business or for the Internet? Just across the board or specifically.

Leland: Right there in my own family, my father who's from a small town and an only child and grew up in a little town called Little Washington, North Carolina in the very segregated South. Graduated from college in the '40s in chemistry and business, which was nearly unheard of back then. I was named after my paternal grandmother who died before I was born. Her name was Leland Gorham . My name, of course, Leland, after her. I took great inspiration from him, what he accomplished.

My mother, who was the first black director of nursing at Pennsylvania Hospital. My late brother, Gilbert Hardy, who was a subject of a big article in "Business Week" for his and some of his colleagues' achievements integrating an all-white college in the Northeast, Holy Cross College, in Worcester, Massachusetts. When they came in the late '60s, there was essentially no blacks yet. They went on to all achieve, him and a small group of other blacks that were specifically recruited, went on to achieve greatness in their respective fields. My brother was a prominent attorney. He was roommates in college and at Yale Law School with Clarence Thomas. He was the best man in Clarence Thomas' wedding and all that. Ted Wells, who was considered America's top lawyer from Harvard Law School, he was at Holy Cross, Stan Grace, many others. I took great inspiration from my brother, who unfortunately met an untimely death in a scuba diving accident in 1989. My sister, who's a board-certified anesthesiologist. Right in my own home, I had those kind of models. I was the youngest of four.

Also, I had the privilege of working with Muhammad Ali, who, of course, is my idol, the greatest of all time. Probably spent about eight years traveling all over the world with Ali, working with him, in the early '80s on up. I'm very close with his family and him and all that. Ali, just to see how he was the most gracious person in addition to being the greatest. He did not have body guards. All these young stars you see out here with layers of body guards so they can go into a nightclub and all the craziness is . . . you have the greatest of all time didn't even ever have one because he was also the most beloved of all time in how he treated people. I look to learn from all those types of exposures.

Brady: The next question is more of a statement and it's from Owen. He's talking about the City of New York is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on an advertising campaign and they're not directing the visitors to NewYork.com. You sort of touched on this a while back with the official site of New York, and he wants to know what your opinion is about this and whether or not. . .

Owen: Yes. Can I just interject for a second? The particular thing has an Ella Fitzgerald's song that ends on the words "New York." It's not "I love New York," but it's something like that. The natural thing in your mind, just in your mind you're singing "New York, New York" and that's where you're going to naturally want to go and they've come up with some ridiculous, trumped up call-to-action. It just seems to spend $127 million on a campaign only will not get people to the landing page is crazy.

Leland: Oh, yeah. Basically, anything that the State does to promote itself, we benefit mightily in collateral damage. I love for them to continue promoting. They're doing everything. They set up offices all over the world for promoting tourism from those countries to New York. They all drive to NewYork.com. All the construction I see in the streets, I like to walk around and say that they're doing all that construction to the benefit of NewYork.com. I don't feel any, it's nothing but a benefit in my opinion.

Brady: Let's just say hypothetically the State of New York or the City of New York comes to you and says, "Leland, we've seen the errors of our ways. There's tremendous value in NewYork.com. How about we work out some kind of a lease agreement where we pay you a million dollars per month to take over the domain name?" Is that an arrangement you would ever consider, or is that strictly out of the question?

Leland: Like I said, there's a price for everything. I don't think a million dollars a month is a real number, and certainly, I would love for them to present me with that conundrum. Of course, I would consider anything that makes sense. I think you do yourself a disservice when you don't consider every option under the sun. If you're fortunate enough to put yourself in a position to receive offers such as that, consider yourself blessed. Yes, I would consider anything that makes sense. That's something that we'll consider.

Brady: Sanjay's question is about whether you think the market for NewYork.com is bigger domestically or foreignly? And before you answer that, I want to say obviously as some of the growing economies become significantly larger in the future than what they are today, specifically India and China, there are tremendous opportunities for people visiting New York for the first time who may have never been out of their country and coming to New York. I assume you're very excited about that. And what are you doing, if anything, to make NewYork.com very friendly and inviting to people who may not necessarily have any foreign experience with traveling or with maybe using English as a first language and so forth?

Leland: I think it's critical that we, again that's part of growth and expansion, that we offer the site in as many languages as possible, just like Google has had people around the world develop Google in foreign languages, almost as a volunteer-type project. I think it's critical that we make NewYork.com available in those languages and therefore, the growing middle class you're referring to, particularly in what we call the BRIC countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China, will really spell a great deal of growth opportunity for NewYork.com as people want to, again, check the site out. This is the first thing you would think of as a natural thought to go to NewYork.com if you want to investigate New York, if you want to travel to New York or whatever. I think we benefit greatly by the burgeoning and developing middle classes in these different regions.

Brady: The next question is from Steve and he is wondering what, if any, advertising you do specifically for the overseas market. I recall, at one time, you were doing geotargeted AdWords, but I'm not sure if that is something you're still pursuing at this point.

Leland: I've done that, done the geotargeting AdWords, but I've also done some things like distribution of printed materials, for example, in German in Germany at some big conferences and conventions. Done some things in Spanish and Chinese. I just returned, for example, as I mentioned earlier, from the Canary Islands where I was meeting with different entities and coming up with some ideas and strategies to target the 12 million tourists who visit there annually, which is huge for a small country with population of a total of two million, a small territory. Clearly, I think that with the opportunity to market and promote and present the name to audiences on their home turf is something that's very important.

Brady: I know we talked about using subdomains to allow businesses within New York to establish their own Internet presence, but what are your thoughts on using things like Hotels.NewYork.com or Airfare.NewYork.com, etc. for your own internal structure and for your own internal benefit?

Leland: As I said, I gave the earlier example I believe with beauty shop, where you have a singular variant and a plural variant. The singular variant could hypothetically go to the highest bidder. You just mentioned Hotel.NewYork.com. The Four Seasons could hypothetically be that entity or it could be the Mandarin Oriental, but Hotels, with an S, dot NewYork.com, could be a repository of ad opportunities for the hundreds and hundreds of hotels in New York that want to just add to what they're doing online. They can do that at a nominal figure and there could be many, many of them. There's numerous opportunities for those kinds of things in the leveraging of the subdomain.

Brady: Are you considering, or would you consider, buying domain names that were, say, NewYork.com where the New York is in German or in Chinese or in Spanish? Also, the second part, is would you consider buying New York dot various country code TLDs, so NewYork.in or NewYork.de? The third part is would you consider buying New York dot country code TLDs where New York is in the native language of that country? So maybe New York, where it's in German, dot de or something like that.

Leland: One of the things that is to be noted is that New York is pretty much translated as New York, with the exception of the pictograph languages, as it is. Everybody knows, excuse me, everybody knows New York as it is. It translates. Of course in Spanish, for example, Nueva York is the translation in Spanish. However, the average person in Spain or Mexico or Latin America, they know New York as New York. We benefit from the fact that it's a universally recognized and referred to name. I'm not big on the pictograph language TLDs, for example, Niuyue.com in Chinese. There's relatively few people that use the actual characters, everybody's using the English language referral. I feel that the position we're in is the proper one with the English language. I'm not that big on the other TLDs other than the dot com.

Brady: Tasha is curious if you have any insight or opinion about what various investors or hedge fund managers might do in the future with regard to considering domain names or developed websites as assets that are investable.

Leland: I think it depends on what the asset is, what the names are, what value there is. In the case of the hedge funds or whatnot, or any other investor, they want to know what . . . you got to be able to do an independent valuation because you're trying to sell it to somebody else. It doesn't have value unless you can sell it to somebody else. That question really depends on what the quality of the name is.

Brady: In your experience doing some hedge fund work, though, have you seen that they are becoming on the radar screen of the hedge fund managers, or is it something that's totally foreign, out there, that nobody knows about yet?

Leland: Yeah, I would say that it's something that's totally out there. It's not a class of assets that is a part of any type of securitizations. The domains are the domains themselves. There hasn't been any "stock market" for domains or any type of derivative product based on the domains yet.

Brady: This is going back to the subdomain element again, which people really seem interested in, and Owen is wondering if you'd ever pursue some kind of social networking element on NewYork.com where people could set up their own clubs? Maybe there could be StampCollecting.NewYork.com or GrandNames.NewYork.com or MedicalForum.NewYork.com etc.

Leland: Very, very interested in that. I think that is a wave of the future, and it's something that definitely is on our plans to develop. We think that the City of Fame, even though it's a separate domain, it's really a part and parcel of NewYork.com. There's an element of that social network where people can comment on the performance of the people and so on. The shared experience piece which Owen is referring to, something very much interested in.

Brady: Kate is curious if you have ever leased any of your domain names in your portfolio, and is it something that you think is going to catch on in the future? And if so, how do we start to make that a more common practice?

Leland: I have not. I know of some parties, including those that have LetThis.co.uk, which let in British English is lease, for domain name leasing. I think the issue is when you build a property up, if the lessee goes away, goes out of business, whatever, you probably have some inherent built-in traffic, the nature of the Web. You may have links out there and so on. To retool and make that domain something entirely different, you have to start from ground zero again. I'm not a big proponent of the lease concept.

Brady: Obviously, right now, the majority of the domain name transactions are domainer to domainer. There's a pretty limited amount of end-user sales. What do you think will have to happen before you see mainstream end-user adoption? I mean literally every company in the country saying, "I got to get a domain name that makes sense. Not some horrible dot biz, but a domain that actually represents my business." Do you think that we will see, any time in the future, companies paying the amount of money that the domains are truly worth?

Leland: I think they will eventually get to that, just like companies pay huge dollars for naming rights on stadiums and other things. So too will they come to do that for domains to a slightly lesser degree. I think we'll definitely see that. And to answer your question, it's all about education and value or case study examples of how much more business you receive by having an appropriate domain name that it did not get before having an appropriate domain name.

Brady: I believe that Kate is curious about your views on CBS acquiring CNET and if, in your opinion, that acquisition was strictly for the domain names, or if there is some underlying long-term business strategy that maybe you see that many people don't.

Leland: CBS is probably a unique case. They've been very inquisitive in the domain space. You had CBS Market Watch, for example. Market Watch was standalone. You had, I'm trying to remember the name of the service or a browser type thing where you can basically gamble and win prizes every day for doing a certain number of searches. I can't remember the name of it at this time. They've been fairly inquisitive. I think that they may see the future. CBS, some very smart guys there and they looked at all aspects of the media space as they continue to build a very broad network.

Brady: With regard to very large companies that are traditionally perceived as the media giants, what are your thoughts on some of the various lawsuits that YouTube has been involved in with regard to copyright infringement, and how do you think copyright law needs to change, if at all, for the new Internet era?

Leland: YouTube is always going to be in a dilemma because they can't police the placement of content to the extent they would like. It would take a zillion men and women to do that effectively. It becomes a place where everyone's policing videos. Technically, you're not supposed to place any music videos on YouTube. Of course the copyright owners, the record companies and all that, but every kid is placing videos as well. It becomes a particularly difficult task for you to monitor and police that. I just think that they're going to continue to have battles and they'll win most of them.

They didn't really get YouTube, meaning Google, didn't get YouTube to really make money on it. They wanted to corner a market on something they saw as a means of aggregating eyeballs, and they can then deliver their message and content to those advertisers ultimately resulting in revenue, of course. YouTube, with a couple of Google ads on the side, is not really what's driving money. They have a platform that is in the hands of increasing numbers of zillions of people, and they will monetize that effectively by delivering messages to them or otherwise exploiting it.

Brady: It seems like a lot of people are pretty excited about dot TV extensions, really taking over and being a big hit due to the common language of TV representing television and TV representing video. Do you have any thoughts about dot TV in the future and whether or not it has the power to take away from dot com?

Leland: Oh, definitely doesn't have the power to take away from dot com. I think it's a decent TLD. Again, dot com is the granddaddy of them all. Dot TV is relevant to some TV stations and whatever. It's a nice TLD, but I do not think in any way it will be a rival of dot com or threaten it in any way or have the kind of adoption that dot com has. It's not a bad TLD.

Brady: This next question is from me and I had talked to Mike Mann about this a while back and I can't recall if you can I had talked about it. But are you aware of ICANN proposing tiered pricing for domain names? If so, do you have any concerns that maybe in the future it could cost you $50,000 or $100,000 a year to register NewYork.com?

Leland: No, I don't think that will ever happen. There will be too many zillions of lawsuits against that. No, I do not have that fear. I actually ran for office in ICANN way, way back in the day, I believe there's some reference to that still. I think I ran for office of secretary, probably in the '80s or early '90s or something. I've always been respectful of the organization and monitored its doings. I don't think that we will see the day when those kinds of changes occur.

Brady: Obviously, mobile browsing is in its infancy, and it's certainly going to increase and catch on. I know you just got a BlackBerry, and I'm not sure if you use it for browsing the web so much as just do email. But do you have any thoughts on the dot mobi extension or any thoughts about the iPhone being able to browse most websites as they are and any value in big companies creating mobile versions of their websites?

Leland: Oh, definitely. I'm not a fan of the dot mobi. I think that particularly an emerging economy, again we're back to this issue of the growing middle class, one of the first things that the emerging middle class wants to get is a cell phone and a scooter or a motorcycle. The cell phone is increasingly becoming the platform for which people interact with the rest of the world, whether it's surfing the Web, transacting, buying something, paying their utilities, using the cell phone, and so on, in other countries. In fact, when I was in the Canary Islands last week, one of the parties I was with paid for their garage parking fee by tapping in their cell phone number into the vending machine, you get the parking ticket. Those kinds of things.

The handset is definitely increasingly will be become the only device more people will have than will have them, of course they have computers already, but more people will have that as their primary point of Internet connectivity than using laptops or desktops. The more and more sophisticated it can become with the delivery of applications via the cell phone, I think the better off we are.

Brady: Kate is wondering whether you use interns or really young, fresh out of college employees within NewYork.com for their unique views on media and the Internet and business. And if so, Steve is wondering if they are salaried or commissioned and whether or not you know which gets higher results in terms of productivity and employee satisfaction.

Leland: We have definitely used some young interns, became employees for different aspects of the site. We've paid them as salaried individuals. We benefited from some of their perspective, but I think what's important is to scour the Web for opinion leaders information. Reading blogs and just talking with people to stay fresh and whatnot. Have stuff that appeals to whoever the larger growing audience is for your particular type of site.

Brady: I know you have the City of Fame as your first real step into social networking within the NewYork.com brand. And AR on the forum is wondering, what are your plans, if any, for future rollouts and development of various social networking elements within NewYork.com to increase brand loyalty and user loyalty for your brand?

Leland: We definitely want to do that, roll out some other interest area specific channels and social networking opportunities. It's a critical area for growth and it brings a lot of return visitation. We definitely have a great interest in focusing on that area.

Brady: Steve is curious if you have any other major geo dot coms up and running. I know the answer to that, so I'm going to lead into the second question, which is more of a statement, and that's Leland and I have discussed and are working on developing a couple of geo names that I own and have picked up on drops over the years. I think I can answer his question which is no, he doesn't have any other major geos. But we are working on some, and Leland might want to tell you about that. It's his choice.

Leland: Yeah. We'll surprise the audience and that'll give us reason to come back for another chat with Owen here.

Brady: As a little hint, we're focusing on cities that have a great amount of history to them as well as a great amount of tourism, much like New York, but not necessarily of that same category where it's the greatest city on earth. We touched on this a bit in the beginning, but George is wondering whether you have any interest in collaborating with other people in the industry.

Leland: Oh, definitely. You definitely can always strengthen yourself. Again, look at the Obama example. You got to be bipartisan in your focus and collaborate and pull strings and pool talent, so of course. Again, I had occasion to deal with and have a chance to interface with very, very smart people in this industry, people who have accomplished a great deal, visionaries and whatnot. Of course, I always look to strengthen what I bring to the table by adding the brainpower of some other people and trying to make things happen.

Brady: The next statement and question is what you and Owen and I were talking about this afternoon. That's something more along the lines of marketing in a broad scale. If Owen's on the line, he can jump in. It's specifically about how you build brands and market brands to take into account various filters that the consumers may have. Obviously, you're not going to market to somebody from Kansas the same way you're going to with an individual from Harlem or with an individual from Australia. As a marketer, not necessarily as an Internet businessman, but as a marketer, do you have any feedback on people who have properties they're trying to develop that appeal to a broad range of people or they need to reach a broad range of demographics?

Leland: If you're on the Web, it's unlike past media models, it's very democratic, and it's a thing where the user can come and go as they please. You have to have something for someone who, in a very instantaneous level of access to them, you've got to be able to capture their attention. You've got to develop something that's broad and appeals to as broad an audience as possible. Depending on what the content of the website is, if it's a site for cowboy boots, then that might appeal more to the person from Kansas than the person from the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

By the very same token, you can have a site about cake baking where your content could well appeal to both of those audiences. I think it's going to be based upon what your site is about and how you can tailor it to be as visually captivating, we're talking about the Internet, so people are looking at the site. You have audio elements to your site, something that would be attractive enough to get some further buy in from audience who's very transitory, whose attention spans are very short, who wants the information right away and if they don't see it, they're moving on.

Brady: I know that you are a guy who does a million projects in a year, and you're involved in more businesses than most people could imagine. You're talking things from reconstruction in Iraq to development in South Africa to hedge fund management to talent management, the whole nine yards. I'm wondering whether your focus is more on the Internet portion of business right now or if you're really sticking to the traditional type of businesses that you've done your whole life?

Leland: I'll tell you it's a mixture. I think that with the change in the economies, the growth of different areas, they all merit attention. But because the Internet applies to everything, you always should have an Internet aspect of whatever business you're pursuing. A domain that you can come up with that's very relevant. For example, just to give you an idea. I'm doing some business now with a large defense contractor who has been around for probably 45 years and they have top-level security clearances. They're one of the prime contractors on the Department of Defense's ENCORE II project, for example. They are also now looking to migrate their technology that they've developed with all this top secret, redundant, unique identifying data and all that for the service sector for all the branches of the armed forces, now take it to commercial application with the digitization of patient medical records.

In my talks with them about that, I happen to have a domain EmergencyCareCard.com, which is 100% totally relevant to what they're trying to develop, an emergency care card. Looking to harness all the capabilities and strengths they've developed over the years with the encryption of data for the government side of things, take that in to doing it with patient records and of course President-elect Obama's talked about $50 billion going toward digitization of patient medical records. When Hillary Clinton was on the campaign trail, she talked about helping realize $77 billion in savings by getting rid of paper and having patient medical records online. The EmergencyCareCard.com domain is perfect aligned to any discussions I may have with the defense contractor who's doing that.

Any business you want to get into, I think it makes sense to right away try to tie in and tap onto getting a relevant domain to go along with that business opportunity and then you can integrate that. It adds an instantaneous level of additional value to whatever you're doing. You'd be surprised at how often you'll find a short word, English-language domain relevant to whatever you're trying to pursue.

Brady: That's a really good point. Without going into too many details, I'll say that it's critical that, as a business, you have the name that you want. What I'm wondering, Leland, is if you were given the opportunity to start a new business today but the dot com was taken or if it was very expensive, would you consider pursuing that business still? Would you try to form an alliance with that company who owns the dot com of the business you're trying to enter into? Or would you just say, "Forget about it. It's really not worth it without that. There's too much business being done online"?

Leland: It all depends on what the nature of the business is. Certainly, I would say in 99% of the cases, the fact that the domain wasn't available would not in any way deter me from pursuing the business opportunity because, as I said, being creative, you can come up with a domain and it's relevant enough. You just have to be very creative. Going back to the Kansas example you gave earlier, one of the domains I happen to have is KansasBakedBeans.com. It so happens it's one of the biggest things in Kansas is baked beans.

I'd tell you a business I would enter into if someone was going to start a baked bean business in Kansas, that domain would certainly be prime for what I was trying to do. If I was trying to launch a baked bean business in Kansas and it wasn't available, then something similar. I'm just picking a name out of the hat right now. BakedBeansOfKansas.com I would use to accompany my baked beans business if the other was unavailable or whatever. I would suggest always trying to tie in a domain to go along with the new business. You can be creative enough to come up with something if you're unable to buy it. I would not let the inability or the fact that the domain is already reserved that's 100% the same spelling as your business, I would not let that deter me from going into business.

Brady: Have you seen a decrease in revenue within NewYork.com that's on par with, greater than, or slower than the general slowdown of the economy as a whole?

Leland: I would say everything is remaining pretty much consistent. Again, because New York is a unique animal, you got to realize you got the Christmas travel season. More people come here, spend the holidays, to see Christmas in New York. How many songs have been written about that? People want to see the Rockettes, they want to see the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in New York, they want to see ball drop at Times Square. All those things are never going to go away, so I think we're a unique animal from that standpoint. We have not seen that kind of a fall off.

Brady: I know that you did a lot of trading at Bear Stearns back in the day and you did short selling and so forth. Kelly's wondering if you have an opinion about the stock market either as a very broad animal or something very specific that's pertinent to today or tomorrow.

Leland: I think that we're seeing, we're in a very, very unpredictable time as it relates to the movement of the various stock market indices because new securities and new categories of securities that were derivatives of other securities were invested in by large, large pools of assets and pools of capital. The failure of many of the underlying instruments or organizations, entities, that's what's unbundling right now. We see a tremendous amount of volatility. I think it's, again, unpredictable. You had Citibank go down 60% one day and come back 60% the next day because of a $20 billion proposed infusion by the federal government. It's a time now where you can't really predict what's going to happen.

I think you'd be well served to be very cautious about new stock market investments. Will the real companies that have real substance still be around when the smoke clears and are they potential opportunities right now? Just two, three days ago, for example, if you invested in Citibank 14 years ago, your investment had returned two, three days ago to exactly what it was 14 years ago. So 14 years of wasted opportunity. Will Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, IBM, and those companies be around and be more valuable than they are today 10 years from now? 20 years? 30 years? Probably. Again, the growing middle class is going to buy those products.

Then you look at a GM, which was the standard bearer of the American economy for many a year. In fact, my first job after Wharton was at GM representing them in China doing some projects out of the headquarters in Detroit. I forget what date it was, but the total market value, market cap at GM was like $2 billion. Many individuals could have acquired GM, something completely unthinkable a generation ago.

The world is changing. I think one needs to be cautious in looking at investment opportunities, but the market, this is the overriding factor is that the world's global markets will never cease because the population will continue to increase. More and more people will need goods and services. What those services are? You'd have to find them. How you deliver that is through the new mechanisms. One of them is the Internet. They're will be others. I think that's what's critical to look at. When things turn around, it will be pretty obvious that they have turned around and therefore, I think that will be a time to get back in the situation.




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