Arno Zimmerman in The Nine Rules

The one in which Arno Zimmerman writes to Paul Scrivens.

In today's Arno Zimmerman episode, Paul Scrivens hones in on the money in 'The Nine Rules'.

Of all Arno's contacts, Paul was the only person to name a figure. Arno would have been pleased to pay it too, if only life were so simple.

The Nine Rules

Arno's first approach

My sincere apologies for writing to you unannounced. My name is Arno Zimmerman and I am CEO of an Internet domain name acquisitions agency based here in Los Angeles, California.

My agency is currently engaged by a well-known Hollywood studio. The studio is producing a new religious movie called The Nine Rules. Although I cannot give you full information about the movie, I am authorized to tell you that the movie is about Moses' early years before he was given the Ten Commandments. The story tells of his early experiences and the first nine rules that he was given by God. The movie has an all star cast, including Brad Pitt in the title role, and will be released in the fall.

My client is therefore very keen to purchase the rights to the domain name from you.

I am sure that you will understand that I cannot provide you with much in the way of information about our client at this time. However I can assure you that they are sincere in their offer, and that they are keen to conclude this purchase quickly. I would be interested to learn how much you would require for this transfer of ownership.

Arno Zimmerman

Scriv's reply

I would gladly consider the sale of the domain, but a major issue is that my company, 9rules, Inc. uses the domain obviously for our own business purposes so I would have to say that we are looking at something more than just a transfer of a domain. This would require us to come up with a new name for the company amongst other things.

I'm always interested in listening to whatever offer you are willing to put on the table, but I do admit it would take a considerable sum for me to part with the domain. And honestly the lack of information about your company makes me hesitant to further this conversation. I understand why you cannot release details of your client as to prevent me from contacting them directly, but some further information about you and your company would put me at ease a bit more.

Arno backs it up

Many thanks for your prompt reply. I can understand how cautious you must be in circumstances such as this. Hopefully I can allay your concerns.

My company, Zimmerman's has been working with our studio clients here in the States since my wife and I moved from London, England to Encino, California some months ago. We have been working with several major film studios and we are currently engaged by a number of Hollywood studios as we specialize in the acquisition of domain names for the film industry.

Recent years have seen a decline in the number of religious movies being made in Hollywood. As I mentioned in my previous email, The Nine Rules tells the story of the young Moses . The Nine Rules will inject new life in the genre and will star a number of popular actors of today.

Moses will be played by Brad Pitt who has grown a beard especially for the part. Natalie Portman has been cast as Esther, a young servant girl with whom Moses falls in love. In the climax of the movie, Moses must choose whether he is to marry Esther or to go walking in the mountains (where he meets the burning bush and is given the tablets containing the Ten Commandments). While the story of Esther and Moses is not told in the Bible, the writers hope that this aspect of The Nine Rules story will present a more rounded character for Moses than has been seen in previous movies. The Nine Rules is adventure, romance and religious epic all rolled into one movie.

Ed says Arno knew that nowhere in the Bible does Moses fall in love Esther (who has her own book) and that Moses fell in love with (and married) Zipporah (if you believe that kinda stuff).

Being the CEO of an Internet based organization yourself, I am sure that you will know of the increasing difficulty in acquiring original domain names. I also fully understand that your organization uses this domain name for your business purposes.

I can assure you that my clients are sincere in their offer, and that they are keen to conclude this purchase quickly. I would be interested to learn how much you would require for this transfer of ownership.

Scriv's sets up for the big one

Hope you enjoyed your Easter Sunday. I have given this a ton of thought and these are the issues that arise with the selling of the domain:

3 years worth of backlinks will not be easy to build back up again. A name and brand go behind 9rules and therefore starting over from scratch is not an eviable position to be in.

Since our company has already received a number of inquiries for investment I can not part with the domain for less than $1.7M and understand I must throw a number out since you were reluctant to put one on the table. I am more than happy to listen to any counteroffers.

Arno pulls the rug

Many thanks for your prompt and considered reply. Under normal circumstances your proposal of $1.7 million would have been perfectly acceptable and we would have been happy to agree to your terms. However I have some unfortunate news.

My agency has been informed today that in light of the sensitive situation in the Middle East, the direction of The Nine Rules project has been changed and a new script has been written.

The movie will now not be about a biblical Moses, but will instead tell the story of a young man growing up in the mountains of Mexico. In this new story, Manuel (Moses) falls in love with a young senorita, but despite his love for her, he must travel into the mountains accompanied only by his donkeys. The new movie will be called The Nine Mules.

I am very sorry that we were not able to conclude our business and I will be sending you and your associates VIP tickets to the opening night of The Nine Mules (traditional Mexican costume optional) in compensation.

So Paul says, So I can't make my partners happy because of some mules? Ain't that a bitch. Sorry, not this time Paul ;)

Thanks to Paul for being a great sport, and for writing up his experience. More from Arno another day.


  1. #1 On April 18, 2006 10:01 AM Paul Annett said:

    I love the idea that they would go to all the effort of rewriting a script in such a way as to almost keep the title exactly the same.

  2. #2 On April 18, 2006 03:39 PM Jan Korbel said:

    Great prank man, great prank... Brad Pitt as Moses with 9 rules :) That's just too much...
    Thanks for sharing it.

  3. #3 On April 19, 2006 05:21 PM topfunky said:

    My wife and I both laughed hard about this one.

    And she doesn't even know what 9rules is!