Rick Schwartz

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Country: USA
Website: worksmarter.com
Blog: Rocksblog.com
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@domainking


Rick Schwartz is the self-anointed "Domain King", who earns an income from domain names purchased in the mid-90s. He purchased his first domain name in 1995; paying $100 for LipService.com. Eight years later, he made international news when he sold Men.com for $1.32 million. He is particularly known as a pioneer of direct navigation traffic, and more generally as an expert on domain names and traffic[1]

Rick is the founder, CEO, and President of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. domaining conference, which has awarded him the "Domainer Of The Year" award and also inducted him into the "Domainer Hall of Fame".[2]

He is a visible domainer blogger who has "retired" from daily blogging on different occasions.

Contents

Background

Mr. Schwartz is a community college dropout [3] who eventually went on to work in sales. He is a past bankruptee. [4] For a time, he sold Asian made products at trade shows and in trade magazines. He recognized the benefit of the Internet to a salesman and claims the day that he learned about the File Transfer Protocol was the day that changed his life. He began putting his brochures and sales materials online, and around this time he discovered the monetary potential of domain names via acquiring such names as Porno.com.[5]

Domaining

Rick credits much of his success to being early on the domaining rush. His initial investment consisted of $1,800 dollars, but soon spent $42,000 on porno.com. To generate additional resources, he sold a "sales" business for 7 figures in 1998. Around this time he was purchasing domains such as candy.com, porno.com [6], men.com, childpornography.com [7] and gaycock.com [8]

In 2000, he expressed his belief that search engines would have little value, claiming ""I believe as time goes on, they're going to have less importance. My whole idea is why I believe in type-in hits. I say that human behavior will develop so that people will surf first and search later." [9]

Mr. Schwartz has over 4,300 domains that he claims bring in a combined traffic of 95,000 - 115,000 visitors each day. His sites tend to be parked pages with revenue-producing links. Schwartz's portfolio is managed by Moniker.[10] Many of his sites, approximately half, are "adult" oriented domains, though he insists that none of these pages have any actual illicit content, beyond the name, and that they are merely parked advertising space.[11]

Rick Schwartz has stated that he makes "a few million [dollars] a year" in revenue from his many parked pages.[12]

Given his persona, Rick has a large number of detractors who deride his behavior, ideas and actions.[13]

Notable Sales

Rick Schwartz does not usually buy domains to sell them, preferring to build up advertising revenues as opposed to one time profits.[14] Those he has sold include:

  • Flowers.mobi - $ 6500 [15] (Originally purchased for $200,000 [16])
  • RoomDividers.com - $75,000
  • OnlineCasinos.com - (Undisclosed)
  • ChinaTours.com - $200,000
  • TokyoHotels.com - $200,000+
  • PartnerCash.com - $110,000
  • SydneyHotels.com - $100,000
  • eScore.com - $100,000
  • 273.com - $50,000
  • RockStars.com - $180,000
  • 236.com to IAC - (Undisclosed)
  • Candy.com - $3M+Equity
  • Men.com - $1.3M
  • iReport.com to CNN - $750K[17]
  • Punchbowl.com to MyPunchBowl - (Undisclosed, 6-figure sum rumored)[18]

Rick included i-report.com to CNN for free in order to more quickly finalize the deal for the more desirable, ireport.com.[19]

Mr. Schwartz sold Property.com to Foreclosure.com in 2008; the actual sale price was never disclosed. Rick initially purchased the domain 3 years prior for $750,000 [20][21]

In November, 2011, it was announced by Michael Berkens that his site, MostWantedDomains.com, had succesfully brokered the sale of the domain, "meet.me" for a record $450,000. The domain was part of a portfolio that was acquired at an earlier T.R.A.F.F.I.C conference by Mr. Berkens, Rick Schwartz, and Ammar Kubba. Other domains in this portfolio include date.me, love.me, and marry.me. Michael Berkens speculated that by selling the domain for a record amount in the .me namespace, he effectively raised the price of the rest of their joint-owned .me domains.[22]

T.R.A.F.F.I.C.

On October 20 - 23, 2004, the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C.. conference took place in Delray Beach, Florida; it was the first major trade show specifically aimed at the domaining industry.[23] Rick co-founded the event with his longtime lawyer, and domaining attorney, Howard Neu. The conferences provide domaining forums, workshops, and obvious networking opportunities. The inaugural event counted some 125 attendees, by the next year this number was more than doubled to 300.[24] The conference has since been held in both an East coast and West coast format, wherein a meeting takes place on each U.S. coast during the same year. It has travelled the world, going to Amsterdam and Australia in addition to a U.S. event; and it continues to go new places and be held at least once a year.[25] The shows are not intended for day-domainers, but aim to help those that consider domaining their profession a chance to learn and meet with other successful domainers. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences are invitation only events, in an attempt to keep the show focused and not let it fall into the category of general trade shows.[26]

The conferences have begun to incorporate live auctions of domain names, via a partnership with Moniker; those auctions accounted for 39 of the top 100 domain sales for 2007.[27] That year's New York T.R.A.F.F.I.C. auction brought in some $12 million.[28]

In December, 2011, Mr. Schwartz announced that, while he had signed onto T.R.A.F.F.I.C. through 2013, he did not know whether or not he would continue with the conference. At the time he was also announcing his retirement from daily blogging on the domain industry. Mr. Schwartz said that T.R.A.F.F.I.C. would continue if he could turn it into "something very grand".[29]

Litigation

Mr. Schwartz became involved in a high-profile lawsuit and counter-suit when Lilly Industries Inc., claimed that his goofoff.com address violated their trademarked Goof Off paint remover. Rick was informed by Network Solutions that Lilly had filed a dispute on the namespace and that he would have to litigate or face his site being placed on hold. At that time, the site was running as a travel and entertainment portal. He saw this as another example of "Fortune 500 Bullies" using their financial resources to push small business owners away from legitimately acquired and retained domains.[30] A visit to goofoff.com today shows that the site remains in Rick's hands.[31] The settlement agreement allowed Rick to keep the site under certain restrictions, and Lilly Industries assumed all legal fees.[32]

Rick filed a suit against Afternic, Network Solutions, and Register.com in May, 2001. The alleged incident involved the illegal transfer of a domain he purchased, properties.com, from Afternic, back to its original owner via Network Solutions.[33]

Business Practices

Schwartz claims that he has received so many cease and desist letters, he acquired ceaseanddesist.com.[34]

In 2005, Schwartz filed a complaint with National Arbitration Forum to forcibly seize control of the domain name voyuer.com. [35] The panel held: "The Panel is most disturbed by Complainant’s additional submission. The Schwartz declaration is unsupported by any evidence." referring to his affidavit as "misleading" prior to dismissing his claim. [36]

In 2005, on the matter of AirFranceSucks.com, the World Intellectual Property Organization found that Schwartz "registered and used the domain names in bad faith" and ordered transfer of the domain to Societé Air France [37]

Awards

  • Domainer of the Year, 2005 (T.R.A.F.F.I.C Award, the conference he co-founded)
  • Inducted into the Domain Hall of Fame, 2006 (T.R.A.F.F.I.C Award, the conference he co-founded)
  • Received the Epik.com Domain Industry "Pioneer Award", 2010[38]
  • 2008's Domain Name Wire ranked Rick as the most influential domainer, and T.R.A.F.F.I.C as the best domain conference.[39]

References

  1. Ricksblog.com
  2. Ricksblog
  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. DNJournal
  6. [3]
  7. [4]
  8. [5]
  9. [6]
  10. DNJournal.com
  11. BizJournals.com
  12. ChefPatrick.com
  13. DNJournal.com/ Royal King or Royal Pain?
  14. bizJournals.com
  15. [7]
  16. [8]
  17. Ricksblog.com
  18. Fusible.com
  19. DNJournal.com
  20. DomainNameNews.com
  21. DMueller.com
  22. MostWantedDomains.com Brokers the Sale of Mee.me, TheDomains.com]
  23. DNJournal
  24. DNJournal.com
  25. TargetedTraffic.com
  26. WebmasterWorld.com
  27. WebmasterWorld.com
  28. DNJournal.com
  29. Mission Accomplished, RicksBlog.com
  30. eRealEstate
  31. GoofOff.com
  32. NeusNews
  33. FindArticles.com
  34. BizJournals.com
  35. [9]
  36. [10]
  37. [11]
  38. Ricksblog.com
  39. DomainNameWire.com
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