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Rick & Rick: Calling all Developers

It seems that Rick Latona and Rick Schwartz read eachothers’ blog quite faithfully.

One cannot explain how they both all of a sudden came up with the same idea: to seek developers eager to develop generic domains into businesses.

The dice was first rolled by Rick Latona, announcing Research Labs:

“Research Labs takes a very simple approach. If a web designer or seo expert wants to take a stab at developing a premium name, we give them the opportunity. We need them to focus on the site and they want to work on something worthwhile. We provide the web server and help with back links across our extensive network. They do the design and maintenance of the site. In addition to resources, the webmaster will get a very small and humble guaranteed amount to hold them over a bit while we work together to get the site profitable. Then, we share in the profits with them.”

Then today, Rick Schwartz joined the game of enticing developers – albeit, domainer virgins:

“The idea is to reach outside the domain industry to the developer world. […] Not freelance developers, but they would not be excluded, but top tier development companies. […] Domainers could offer up a domain they would like to get developed into a business. They pay an entry fee to have different companies build out their site. The winning developers would not only get a cash prize, but would be highly sought after for future development projects. I would think 50% of the prize money would come from folks that want a site built and to have 5 different versions to choose from. “

Rick Schwartz continues:

“The key is bringing in developers from outside the industry. A fresh set of eyes. Not mass marketed type sites. It could be large companies or solo acts. Sometimes a 1 hour simple site can catch more business than the fanciest of sites with all the bells and whistles.”

So while Rick Latona directly wants to include developers into the project and pays basic salary and offers a share of the profits, Rick Schwartz’s plan is to offer up to a $25,000 cash prize plus fame to the best solution.

Both projects are noble but have serious flaws:

  • Rick Latona’s plan offers no warranty to developers that join in: they have to develop the web site by taking ownership of the project, then given an unspecified basic salary after launch until the web site makes a profit.
  • Rick Schwartz’s plan offers a $25,000 cash prize but he doesn’t realize that “top tier development companies” eat $25k for lunch. The notion that those companies that would be awarded the prize would then be “highly sought after” does not make sense; per Rick’s specs these would already be “top tier development companies”.

It seems that both Ricks don’t have a good grasp of how web development works and are attempting to shape it so that it fits in the domainer world.

While this is acceptable in the world of domainers, seasoned web developers have little indication that the domainer industry is something other than a small, niche subset of the plentiful opportunities out there.

Which plan do you think would work best?

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Comments

4 Responses to “Rick & Rick: Calling all Developers”
  1. Unknown Person says:

    Hey gang!

    This is one of your best articles yet in that it’s interesting and analytical, thankyou!

    You make an interesting point about the ‘top-tier’ web development companies not needing to take part in this and I totally agree. What I don’t think both Ricks realize is that a domain name is just undeveloped land. Basically, they think that somebody will spend countless hours and money creating a store-front and business on the landlords behalf simply as rent is free whilst the property is being developed and then the tenants get kicked out. I doubt that any top-tier web-firm would even bother to reply to such a request and that anybody with good business sense would get their own domain rather than go down this path unless the domain is so awesome that people already are rolling in and clicking on advertisments. If Rick (x2) want a professional site built then pay for a project manager to to get it done for them and stop trying to be slumlords.

  2. RAYY.co says:

    The ‘top-tier’ web development companies will rather have their own domain names and develop for themselves…

    This way, they will make more money for developers themselves rather than just $25000 from Rick…

  3. I don’t know why you would compare a RAW IDEA thinking out loud as I explained in the post with an entire business plan and business by Latona. Ridiculous and silly.

  4. Not Offline says:

    if im getting it right, what schwartz is doing is spec work. any self respecting web developer or designer would never engage in that – do work without any security of pay in the end. it’s funny too how schwartz goes ‘don’t compare’ when obviously the idea and the business plan both have development by actual developers in it.

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