He wears a full beard, but don’t call him Fidel Castro. You can call him ZiQui.
Itzhak Schier, a/k/a ZiQui Million (pronounced in Cuban revolutionary style as Zee-KWEE mil-YONE), is a Chabad-Lubavitch Chassid from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and a strict, conformist one at that. By his own admission he “doesn’t go six feet from his house” without the typical Lubavitch black hat and jacket. As a fan of Jewish religious music, Schier eschews the hit Chassidic reggae of his fellow Lubavitcher, Matisyahu, as “not for me, to put it mildly.”
But this burly, bearded, black-hatted self-confessed conformist is actually a highly creative and original international entrepreneur who has just started a “social revolution” on the Internet with his new site The Million Word Site.
“It is the greatest revolution on the Internet since the Net itself,” claims ZiQui, who goes on to say that “Al Gore may not have invented the Internet, but I just might be able to say that I invented it all over again!”
The concept is simple. Schier charges a small fee, now discounted to eight dollars but officially set at fifteen dollars, for the right to place one unique word or two word phrase, of the customer’s choice, on his site. The site will close to new purchases as soon as it reaches the one million word mark. Once a word is purchased, its “owner” can set up a mini-site of up to five pages, link it to his own site, or hold on to it for future use. All words are unique, and when someone buys a word, it is no longer available for sale via the site itself. However, by early March, when the beta phase officially ends, site members will be able to offer their words for sale or auction at free market prices via the site. For instance, ZiQui explains that “if you sell shoes via Ebay, and you buy the word shoes, it does not matter how much the big guys in the shoe business try to offer me – that word is yours and soon enough you’ll decide whether to sell it to the big guy and you’ll choose the price.”
It is as if all of the domains in the Latin alphabet world are available again. However, a word on the Million Word Site (millionwordsite.com) has an additional advantage, since as the Million Word Site takes off, site traffic will be almost a given for anyone who buys a word and takes advantage of even a small fraction of what the site has to offer. As word gets around, people will be naturally curious to see what words are up on the site and what they are linked to, and it is only a matter of time before The Million Word Site becomes a true Internet phenomenon.
Schier came up with his idea in order to pay off debts which he incurred when another web venture, a portal for his community, did not take off on schedule. “I actually lived in Russia for 13 years where I operated a successful marketing firm. Then I came back here, and I kind of jumped into my portal without enough research. When I looked at the stack of bills that kept piling up, I knew I had to think big, and fast.” So, he started a blog, in which he brainstormed toward his goal of making one million dollars in six months, ending on April 7 2007. One night a number of weeks ago, he came up with his idea while trying to fall asleep after a session of what had been fruitless brainstorming. Schier put off sleep that night, registered his URL’s, and he built The Million Word Site himself, using open-source software for its flexibility and cost advantages. A couple of days later, he was selling words to contacts on his small mailing list that he built up from his portal. In the meantime, he streamlined and added features to his site, and people began taking notice. Now, with the holiday season over, The Million Word Site is “headed for the big time, and fast!”
Given the initial positive response to the Million Dollar Word Site, Schier says: “With all respect to Alex Tew (Million Dollar Home Page) without whom I may never have come up with this, and with no respect due to all the me-Tews who simply copied his success, a word is worth a million pixels!”
Experts give Itzhak Schier a great chance for success. They recognize the combination of originality and familiarity in the Million Word Site, and they give its creator high marks for his almost constant, improvements to the site.
Ziqui has “another million-something-or-other site” ready to launch in the near future, and he says: “My sites will be among the best known permanent sites on the Net – 15 minutes of fame is not enough for me. I aim to keep my sites as exciting and refreshing as possible and I will keep them truly alive long after the million goal has been reached.”