Fred Krueger “Dot Com Will Be Dead in 10 Years”: One Side of Over Invested Blindness

Jan 19 2014

There were a lot of great talks at Namescon but one of the more “exciting” sessions was entitled  “New TLDs + ‘Domainers’ : The Opportunities“.  The session panel was made up of Mike Berkens, Adam Dicker, Ari Goldberger of ESQuire, and Fred Krueger of Mind and Machines (a subsidiary of TLDH, publicly traded)  .  The panel was moderated by up and coming comedian Braden Pollock.

Going into the session I was not as skeptical as the rest of audience. Some came in adamantly thinking new gTLDs are a waste of money.  Most domain investors were like me. In a sit and wait mode and merely came for a laugh.  New gTld owners aren’t laughing and they need buyers now.  It’s the reason they came to the show,  to convince us that we need to be part of the new names………now.  Some took the approach of “watch us and join when you’re ready” method.  And then there was Fred Krueger.  In Fred’s exact words “Dot Com will be dead in 10 years”.

As you can imagine his words caught the attention of the panel and the audience.  Not one to hold back words, Adam Dicker had the microphone queued up before Fred added the time frame of death to the end of his sentence.  Immediately the session took a more interesting turn.  People went from taking photos, reading their email, and slouching, to setting everything down and sitting straight up.  Of course Fred really couldn’t give a reason why they would die other than to say how strongly he felt and how much money he had invested in his new gTLDs.  And then I knew he was over invested and had the passion blinders on.

Passion drives us to our goals. It takes that passion to keep the the motivation and hours needed to get there.  Add in a personal investment and you are all in.  It becomes “I will not fail” attitude.  Often you become so invested in your journey and goal that all those who get in your way become the bad guys.  Your goals become more than just being successful, but to trying to take out your competition along the way.  Regardless if they impede your progress or not.  Fred Krueger and Rich Schwartz are on the opposite side of the new name battle but are both “All in”.  And in my opinion are both right in their opinions but are dead wrong about the success of their “opponents”.  Their opponents will succeed as well.

This name expansion is not an either/or situation.  Both can succeed despite the antics and words of those that are invested in only one side.  The headline statements like the said one above are merely trying to convince themselves that their investments are the right investment.  While neither probably need others to say they are making a good move, they have earned their money by making decisions and sticking with them, but it’s human nature to want to have others say “you’re right”.   And they are both half right in my opinion.

So how do I know they are half right?  Because I went to this same session 20 years ago and I know how it played out.  Yes, in the late eighties and early I started getting involved in trading.  As I got out of college I went and worked in the Chicago Options Exchange and the Board of Trade.  At that point in time things were changing.  It had been dominated by corn and beans, bonds, and over at the Options Exchange, big stock options like IBM and the indexes.  The pits were large.  Tons of actions and large spreads for the market makers.   But the exchanges wanted to add more stocks, add more things to trade like soybean oil, soybean mash.   The more things that could be traded, the more money that could be made, in theory.

Not everyone wanted these new additions.  They were afraid that that things would be too spread out.  That money into these new things would come out of things that were presently being traded. Brokers and money would move over.  It was similar to the new TLDs in that some investors were asking for options to be opened in new stocks despite the known initial low volume.  The exchanges knew they needed to expand to attract new investors.  As a new trader I was glad to see the expansion. The pits were so crowded I couldn’t get a trade because the good old boys got all the fills of the orders and I got scraps.  And you could trade on computer back then but the orders still went down to the pit so there really was no advantage.  Adding new things to trade would give me a chance to move over and be in a less crowded pit and be part of the “new” crowd. Sure I wasn’t going to make the money of the big pit but at least there was a market that I could make SOME money.

The old boys told us we would never make as much as they were in the old pits and chastised us for leaving.  The new pit books and brokers told everyone that they were the future and the old pits would die out as the old guys retired.  They were all right but not because of their reasonings.  It changed because something they didn’t see.  It all turned into computers.  Computers killed the exchanges.  There are still people down there but not like it used to be.  But they all made incredible money because when the exchanges went public they all sold their seats (memberships) for millions. Both old pits and new pits.  Anyone that was involved at bought a seat in the 90s or before did fine.  And in my opinion this is exactly how this is all going to play out the same way in domains.

Those that are invested now are going to do well.  None of us know the future of our industry.  To say that dot coms will die or that new tlds won’t be successful is being naive.   All of it will die as we know it at some time but we will most likely all be rewarded for our investments.  I know that the new tlds in general will be successful.  I also know that it will take a lot of time.  It will most likely take a slow build, a new generation,  and new money to come in, to slowly build the numbers.  Many of them new tlds will not work because they can not wait. They will not have the financial resources to hold on long enough to let the new money come in.  gTLDS will not be taking money out of the hands of premium domain owners.  Much like it didn’t take the money out of the people trading Soybeans.  The person buying SherlockHolmesBook.Club was not going to buy a premium name.   The person that owns is going to get free traffic for life from the owners of   This is not a case of old Las Vegas.  Where a new Vegas was built away from the original so now it’s simply a historic visit to the old clubs.  No, the dot com owners own the whole strip and they merely tear down an old hotel and build another one.  The new gTLDS are expanding the main strip and merely need a little map to get their until everyone memorizes the route.

So while this is a whole post of analogies, you get the point.  To take a hard stance on either side means to me that you are heavily invested financially and emotionally in your position.  Mike Berkens and Frank Schilling are by far the best positioned players in the world because they are heavily invested in BOTH sides. There is a reason why Frank Schilling is where he is and this conference proved why.  He has the financial means to wait.  To let this play out.  He is making money on the old AND the new.  There is money to be made in both and no amount of headlines and shock statements of opinion is going to change that.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Morgan Linton

    Great post Shane, love the analogy! IMO this is the best article I’ve read on new gTLDs, well said and agreed.

    1. Post author

      Thanks Morgan and Mark. I had two speeches prepared for the conference. One from a domain investor looking at the new tlds. A “Short term, Long term Domain Investor” talk and a Brick and Mortar to Online type speech. But it just didn’t work out from both Richard and I’s sides. He had some great people and didn’t need me and I had two talks the week before and got nervous that I couldn’t deliver 4 different talks well so I asked him to not include me a few weeks before

  2. Rick Schwartz

    The only thing I am “All in” on is countering the stupid and completely baseless statements being made mostly by Minds and Machines and Donuts and a few others. I am on the wait and see bus like many others.

  3. Robbie

    You always know someone is over invested when they need to predict total world order to the current reining champion… Instead of always attacking .com, these guys never come out, and point out facts why, pros, AND CONS. Always one sided, I know there are guys in the industry who have spent dollars, and it hasn’t panned out, and it could be a lack of marketing, or lack of consumer awareness… but they feel the data is true to them.

    True Story, just put a name into escrow yesterday for a, the name is available to register as Keyword.Name for $10, but the end user felt the need to spend $6K to purchase the .com, and they are aware of this .NAME TLD which even I knew little about…

    I am neutral to these gtld’s don’t know enough about how the end user is going to react in terms of buying, do not want to be paying premium purchase prices, and inflated renewals, to hold names nobody wants… so right now best course of action is sidelines… It is going to take a lot of time, and a lot of money to get this off the ground.

    There are guys who made money in the .com space early on, and exited, that have come back onto the gtld bandwagon, what I have learned is that usually the second time around, the same circumstances are never the same, there is always the initial tease, and then the kiss off of death, where you know you just bought into a sucker’s bet.

    When something is more new, and unknown you have a lot more risk tolerant money thrown at it, when given returns are not capped, I feel even the domain industry is still young, it has matured quite a bit from the point where people are willing to throw stupid money at it. There are so many more resources online now, than there was in 1997 when I registered my first name. I would read the same articles over, and over, trying to take any sliver of info out of them.

    Best of luck to all

  4. Viljami Y.

    Great, thoughtful post, gotta love the pic 🙂

    I’m fairly new to the game and I absolutely love the fact that the new gtlds are on their way. Not that I’m necessarily planning on buying a whole lot of them (a few, for sure), but because they will level things a little bit knowledge-wise, i.e. the intel they’ll provide is pretty much same for me as it is for the industry veterans (granted, they probably interpret it better). And that intel can be used for your advantage in a numerous ways also in .com namespace imho.

    The new gees won’t probably break you, but they just might make you is how I like to see it.

  5. David Rankin

    I think it’s important to take a balanced approach . New gTLDS are interesting but I think there will only be a few winners – mainly the big brands who need to protect their names. Dotcoms are going to be around for a long while yet. The great thing about the internet is that you don’t know what is going to happen next

  6. Mohammed Zaki

    Good Post but Mis Leading Title… Nice way of Writing felt like i was sitting at Namescon Live.

    After Reading for 30 Minutes, I was thinking when I will come to know what will happen to .com after 10 years. lol….

  7. christine

    Great article Shane im also new in domaining but I have got a great dot com name in an industry that is going rapidly and wondered if you could tell me the best place to sell it.
    ShaleGasShares and obviously the cheapest. I’ve put it on Twitter and ive tried some domain names on Flippa but unless you pay a lot they don’t seem to get seen. I have started a website where people can advertise them for free and I want to make it pay for itself buy advertising revenue. Any help would be appreciated thanks

  8. Frederick Tappan

    Well Written Shane and plenty of food for thought!

    “The old boys” are going to make their money no matter what. Buying a new TLD or an old Dot Com domain name starts the process of; everyone needs to be paid along the way. What domain extension people choose is the least of their worries.

    Many people are confused about the whole online process but know they want a website online for their own and that desire all starts with a domain name.

    I agree “the big boys” of both sides will be able to make some money selling domain names, but I’m not so sure about the people buying the domain names because buying a domain name is like winning your first game on the way to the Superbowl.

  9. Steve R

    Good unbiased, balanced article Shane. I’m with Rick on this one though. Dot Com has earned it’s right as king and it will take some time for the new Tld’s to earn the same status. Too many businesses have invested too much money in their dot com, however with that being said, some of these new start-ups are branding their names with the new Tld’s. It will take some time before we all know what emerges as the best new tld’s.

  10. Rashed

    Time is a key factor .

    Would the computer arrive before anyone makes money on the new Tlds?

    Do we investors need to wait 10-20 years to see if we will ever make money on new Tlds. This looks like R&D or a Government projects , this is too long .

    Domains are not they only kind of investment available to many of us , it will be much easer to invest in stock again .

    Take care

  11. Ed

    Must be that China does not share Fred’s Insight. They just went public that the state-run-media purchased China dot com……for Millions……Hmmmmmmmmmmm……

  12. Xavier Lemay

    Softwares use .exe noy .executable.
    Country and area codes are short.

    .stupid is a waste of money.

    .me is growing beacause its short and means something.
    Same for .co

    I would register 1000000 x .ws before 10 .websites!

    Its not out yet. All other .words failed. Google doesn’t care about exact match domains anymore. New gtlds are already worthless.

    Keep your money and take vacations.

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