Call Him the Comeback Chassid

An American Lubavitch Chassidic entrepreneur rebuilds his site, his business and his life in Ukraine.

Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, December 07, 2007 --( It sounds like the stuff that movies are made of. A Chassidic Jew from Brooklyn, whose outward appearance suggests that he barely knows how to use the Internet, cannot sleep one night. Bills are piling up on his desk, and he needs a solution. So, he skips sleep, and instead he quickly puts together a money making site using open source Joomla, learning as he does it. The site opens to great critical acclaim and an early, fast, success, but it slows down as the owner tries to find resources to add necessary features. All of a sudden, our hero moves to a small city in Ukraine because one of the members of his site needs a business partner. Then, after taking a few months to set his new business on the road to success, he sets up a team to get his site rolling again. And most of all, he remains who he is, even though in his new home, where he stands out with his trademark beard, jacket and hat, he substitutes simple herring and apples for the elaborate meals he enjoyed back in Brooklyn.

This is the real story of Itzhak Schier a/k/a ZiQui – call him The Comeback Chassid - and The Million Word Site. Last winter, this entrepreneur, a very strict adherent of the worldwide Chabad Lubavitch Chassidic movement, started his site with just the funds needed to register a domain name, free open source software, and a lot of confidence. It took perhaps a day for the first users to sign up, and Schier was already able to purchase software upgrades to improve the site. Then, more and more people heard about it and a mini-boom began. But while the idea was and is one of the most innovative new concepts on the Net, Schier knew that technically, the site was barely in Web 1.0 territory, whereas his plans for it were somewhere between Web 3.0 and Web 3.5. So, Schier seized an opportunity to become a partner in a Web related firm in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, where he also built a programming and design team to redo his site. In the meantime, his loyal users stood beside him and a trickle of new users joined the site.

The concept of The Million Word Site is simple, yet brilliantly original. It combines old Web 1.0 concepts and simplicity with the centerpiece of Web 2.0, namely encouraging users to contribute content. But when users contribute content to The Million Word Site, they are boosting their own publicity as much as that of the site. It is as if Schier reinvented the Internet, because when a customer joins the site by buying a word, it is as if he is buying an exclusive domain in the Million Web Site web universe. After all, she can use her word to link to her own site and at the same time to build an exclusive mini-site which will get her higher rankings in search engines for her own site while she adds to the value of her domain on The Million Word Site. And, while Itzhak Schier does not recommend speculating in words, the fact is that within the next six weeks or so, as new features are added, it will be easy to sell already purchased words via the site or possibly via links to Ebay or similar sites. Demand for both new and existing words is expected to explode shortly.

So, the Comeback Chassid is back, and his social and financial revolution on the Web is moving from a cult secret that only insiders knew about to a Web icon.

The Million Word Site
Alexei Bronshtayn
+38 067 170 47 25