Avoiding the “Robert Cline” Strategy: AKA Falling In Love With Your Extension

Sep 19 2011

You’ve undoubtedly seen the name.  Robert Cline. If there is anyone in this world that believes in dot co or the new .brand then it’s Mr. Cline.  To the point that no matter what the discussion or the article, his comment will certainly sing the praises of either of the tlds.  A man that will succeed or go down with the ship. There is no pivot, change, or strategy involved in this domain investing strategy.

I admit it, I don’t know nor have I ever met Cline.  What I do know is he is approaches domain investing with blinders.  There is certainly money to be made in non dot com tlds.  There are hundreds of people other than registrars and tld owners, that make money in IDNs, dot co, and other alternate endings.  There is also going to be money made on the dot brands.  But the stats show that most people will not.  My stats don’t come from numbers that say people are losing but rather the fact that people aren’t making.  Go through the dot co sales and it’s pretty simple.  Take Mike Mann out of the sales charts and you have little to no sales over a thousand dollars.  Contrast this with the million plus domains that have been registered in the tld.  It adds up to a present day answer of “not yet”.

This is where Robert Cline steps in.  Cline is very reminiscent of the guys from the Creative board.  What is the Creative Board?  Creative is/was a manufacturer of sound boards that brought out a music player that was to compete against the iPod.  The forum boards for Creative stock over at Yahoo were filled with people saying that this was the future.  It was going to dip into the market share of iPod and represented the next generation.  iPod backers responded with the argument of iPod’s early entry, present dominance, and the requirement of much better technology to displace the king.  All of which the Creative product didn’t have.  But it didn’t matter.  They kept on for years.  Even as the stock sank like a rock and the product didn’t sell.  They refused to admit there was no money to be made.  They all sounded exacted like Kline.

The point of this article is not to say that dot co and .brand will be unsuccessful, it is to point out that one must assess the risk and the current situation of your investments.  You can’t let pride, emotion, and past mistakes cloud your judgement.  Falling in love with any of your investments will result in financial failure.  Falling in love and confidence are completely different.  Rick Schwartz believed that his dot com investments would eventually be worth millions.  It wasn’t blind faith. He realized that at the time the other options for domain owners were limited. They didn’t offer the same opportunity that dot com offered.  I know that if he saw a new technology or tld come available that he thought threatened his investment, he would pivot.  He did hedge his bets as we remember with dot mobi.  The big losses in the alternate tlds perhaps strengthened his belief in his original investment strategy.  Schwartz’s strategy seems to have essentially remained the same.  Mostly dot com with a few other investments in other tlds. The Robert Clines have no plan.  They are all in and will be talking about it all the way to the end.  With failure will come excuses and not one of them being admission of a personal investment mistake. Even in hindsight.

So why do other commenters dislike the ramblings of this man? His loss or failure won’t affect them.  Is it because they don’t like dot co?  Most likely it’s because of his over the top and predictable responses.  Every offered price of a domain over $185,000 will be met with a “you could own your own brand for that” and of course, “dot .co is the future and you shouldn’t spend so much money on a dot com”.   Many people are offended or just plain tired of the persistence but I feel bad.  I feel bad that the man may actually have his financial future on the line and he is putting it in an investment that I personally think won’t pay off.  I could be completely wrong.  I’ve seen it too many times in my past stock trading and also over the years in domain investing.  I’ve learned to never be all in.  I always have investment in other areas that will cover me if one blows up.  I don’t feel Mr. Kline has this same approach.  So why does it matter?  Because we get to watch the carnage on a daily basis.  Post by post by post by post by post by post.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Paul

    I believe that the people who keep mentioning that “you can purchase your own tld for $185,000” are failing to realize that there will be hidden costs involved in running a new extension. They are leaving out, operating expenses, annual fees, marketing and branding costs etc. These people only demonstrate that they do not understand what the value proposition a .com. The branding and marketing for the .com is occurring around the clock 24hours a day every day of the week and these costs are shared among all owners of .com’s. and not just in the U.S. Just to name a few. Brazil is branding .com to their population through Globo.com, China is branding their population through many sites that are beginning to rival American online companies. Baidi.com, Youku.com, Soso.com. Do you think Robert Cline has a chance of winning over all these people with a brand new extension with no track record of success?

  2. Trico

    “Robert Cline. If there is anyone in this world that believes in dot co or the new .brand then it’s Mr. Cline.”

    Which makes this question puzzling:

    Why is RobertCline.co available for registration???

  3. Jon

    Robert Cline is either a paid .co spammer or just mentally ill. I have no idea why people do not ban him. He is obviously a total waste of space.

  4. peter h

    Hopefully this well written post of yours will not fall on deaf ears. Today you have given the Robert Clines of the world a chance to reflect on the strategy they have chosen. It’s not prudent to put all yours eggs in one basket, especially one that has yet to be tested foir its durability. For all who fail to take to heart your message I hope they have youth on their side so they can bounce back if their strategy fails them.

    Thank you for your efforts.

  5. M

    Ughhhh. You gave this guy his own blog post ??? He takes all the enjoyment out of reading blog comments. I’m shocked that bloggers haven’t banned him in order to maintain the quality of their comment sections.

    Now he’ll have more motivation !

  6. RH

    RobertCline.co is available because that’s not his real name, someone on the domains found his real name and posted it in the comments on thedomains.com.

  7. Norm H

    I know this may be hard for you to see, but even though Robert Cline is very annoying on Elliots blog, you have sunk pretty low when you created this article. I actually started to respect you for taking your first tentative steps into the world of ‘online startups’ but now see you as nothing but a shallow & vindictive domainer with no substance or style.

    1. Post author


      Wrong blog, the startup thing is Morgan. I probably never had your respect. I make bad decisions all the time but my opinion on him remains the same. It also looks like i’ve opened up the conversation on acceptable comments. And no, I may not have substance but I certainly have style.

  8. Trico

    “RobertCline.co is available because that’s not his real name…”

    Yes I know.

    It just seemed to me he should have regged it sort of like “put your money where your mouth is”.

    Not registering it doesn’t help his cause.

    1. Post author


      I’d love to write about the sale if it’s real. I’m not going to call anyone mentally I’ll, that’s a serious issue and not to be taken in jest

  9. RAYY.co


    “…“RobertCline.co is available because that’s not his real name…”

    No, you are wrong, …Robert Cline is going to reg i.RobertCline

    It’s much better for branding…it’s global…direct marketing…makes business more successful…and even more famous than anyone…!

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