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Divine Inspiration: Why Bob Broxton Believes His Domains Will Help Save the World

By Ron Jackson
Editor/Publisher



All most of us are looking for from our domain names is some steady pay per click revenue, a profitable sale or perhaps a nice word to build a website on. When former administrative judge Bob Broxton retired a few years ago he started acquiring domains with a much bigger objective in mind. Most of the more than 4,000 domains currently in his portfolio were never meant to earn a commission, they were meant to fulfill The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). In those verses Jesus instructed his followers to go and make disciples of all nations on the earth.


Bob Broxton
Founder
ScriptureMail.com

For the last 2,000 years that command has been central to the Christian faith. Believers do not expect God to establish his final kingdom on earth until everyone has had an opportunity to hear the Good News and decide for themselves whether or not to accept Christ’s gift of salvation. Spreading the gospel is an unavoidable duty for all Christians and that is why you have been approached at one time or another and asked things like “where do you expect to spend eternity?”  Most of us answer something like “waiting on hold for a customer “service” rep at my  $%@# registrar!” but even that kind of response will not deter a dedicated Christian!

However, if  you regard going to church to be about as appealing as a trip to the dentist, you may not know that those encounters can be just as uncomfortable for Christians as they are for you. While their faith requires them to share the gospel (which literally means “good news”) they also have a genuine sense of joy they want others to experience, but many find it tough to bear witness in a way that will win people over rather than chase them away.


Enter Bob Broxton. He thinks he has found a perfect solution in the domain industry that will spread The Word in a non-intrusive way and get it distributed around the globe in a time frame that could never have been dreamed of before the Internet arrived. It’s quite possible you have already seen Broxton’s handiwork in your Inbox. It’s called ScriptureMail™ (www.scripturemail.com), a service Broxton recently rolled out that converts the world’s most popular Bible verses into email addresses. Christians can use these to convey their favorite passages to others every time they write a note.

For example, Broxton’s own email address is bob@psalm118-24.com. When you receive an email from him, there is a hotlink at the bottom of the message leading to the full text of the verse in three translations. In this case it says “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” There is also a link to ScriptureMail.com where recipients can select a verse to use as an email address of their own.

 

Screen shot of ScriptureMail.com Home Page


ScriptureMail currently has over 500 domains that are available as email addresses. Those are just a fraction of the thousands of Bible related domains Broxton owns, along with a couple hundred secular domains. Broxton told us ”I spent several years doing research to determine the best Bible verses to use as ScriptureMail addresses. I wanted to locate those verses that not only contained inspirational, dynamic, creative and life-changing thoughts, but also had to be among the most constantly cited and readily recognizable Bible verses. I wanted those verses that you repeatedly hear over and over again from the pulpits or when people are quoting from the Bible. What better way to spread the word of the Bible than make a service available where an unlimited number of persons can have their favorite Bible verse as part of their email address?”


Screen shot of a sample email from ScriptureMail.com



The service was exactly what Rebecca Dillard of Richmond, Virginia was looking for. When she was baptized at the age of 17, Dillard chose Proverbs 3:5-6 as her personal life verses. “That scripture passage always reminds me that God is in charge of my life and I should trust daily in his loving guidance,” Dillard said. The human resources specialist, who is now 27, was delighted to find Proverbs3-5and6.com available as an email address at ScriptureMail.com.  “It’s a great way to witness in a non-intrusive manner with a service that is virtually spam free.” Dillard added, “I’m helping to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. That’s what I am called to do as a Christian”.

Broxton has sunk a considerable amount of time and money in the venture. A little has been recouped through the $8.99 annual fee for basic ScriptureMail service. There is also a $24.95 enhanced service that adds increased storage space and automatic virus scanning. Of course, any time the subject of money and religion comes up in the same sentence, church critics are ready to pounce. Fueled by scandals involving preachers like Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and others, they are (perhaps understandably) quick to question a person’s motives. Broxton knows that but won’t let it deter him from accomplishing his mission. “I am not the least bit concerned about criticism,” he said. “A favorite Bible citation of mine is Matthew 5:11-12: "Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven." 

Mel Gibson has faced that kind of criticism after raking in hundreds of millions of dollars from the stunning success of his film The Passion of the Christ. No one expected the movie to reap such a financial bonanza, but for Broxton it was not a big surprise. He points out that there are 2.2 billion Christians on earth, more than one third of the world’s population. There are 215 million church members in North America alone. Broxton’s project was already off the ground when the movie arrived but ScriptureMail wound up benefiting from it. The opening scene of The Passion quotes Isaiah 53:5 (“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed"). Guess what email address enjoyed a huge surge in popularity after the movie debuted? If you guessed ScriptureMail’s Isaiah53verse5.com, you get a gold star.

 

Broxton’s path to the domain industry and the ScriptureMail project started over 6 decades ago in Montgomery, Alabama. His dad made ends meet by setting up carnival stands every summer up and down the Eastern seaboard.  Young Bob would go along to run the popular midway game in which he would guess the player’s weight. The money they made on the road during carnival season had to carry them through the year so Broxton quickly learned the value of a dollar. Bob’s mom was a devout Christian so he was taken to church every Sunday morning and again every Sunday night as far back as he can remember. 

He learned first hand how faith in God can get a person through hard times when his sister contracted polio at a very early age. Broxton recalled, “For the rest of her life, she had to have help to do simple things like dress herself. She then died in her forties of heart failure from what they believe was the effects of the early polio. Despite all that, she was still very accomplished and wound up earning a PhD. During her entire lifetime I never once heard her complain. Her faith was as strong as anyone I have ever met. I’ll always be eternally grateful for the example set by sister and mother,” Broxton said. 

Like his sister, Broxton was able to get out of Montgomery and pursue a higher education. He got into The Citadel, the famous South Carolina military college, where he earned a degree and acceptance to law school at the University of Alabama. Upon graduation he was commissioned as a lawyer in the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps where he spent the next four years.

During that time, Captain Broxton served as a legal assistance officer and a prosecutor at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was there during the Vietnam War and sadly recalls having to verify that he had witnessed the wills of many Ft. Bragg soldiers who were killed in Southeast Asia. The Army later moved him to Washington D. C. where he defended solders who appealed their court martial convictions to the Boards of Review and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals.

When his tour of duty was up, Broxton stayed in Washington to begin what would turn out to be a 30-year career as an attorney with the federal government. During that time he took a seat on the bench as an Administrative Judge handling appeals of government contracts. In 1995 Broxton finally “retired” from the legal profession and moved to his current home in Richmond, Virginia, but his true life’s work was just beginning.




Broxton


Like others in the mid 90’s Broxton stumbled upon an incredible new means of communication, the Internet. Broxton’s initial interest was secular. He registered his first domain in the fall of 1999, ConsumerMoney.com and later added ConsumerCash.com and CashInADash.com with intentions to develop them. Broxton now says he will sell them because a new idea has pushed his original plans to the back burner.

 

That of course is ScriptureMail. Broxton said he was watching the enthusiastic worldwide adoption of email when it suddenly occurred to him that this would be a great way to disseminate the Good News. He started assembling domain name versions of key verses in the Bible. Broxton said “ScriptureMail.com's collection of email addresses includes all the verses selected by Norman Vincent Peale for his three pamphlets "Thought Conditions", "Spirit Lifters" and "Faith Builders”; highlighted verses from major ministries (for example, Robert Shuler uses Psalm 118-24 to open his weekly TV show); and special verses from the Bible such as the Ten Commandments, Beatitudes, and the Lord's Prayer. If there is a well known and frequently used Bible citation there is a good chance it is part of the ScriptureMail collection of domain names.”

After spending several years building his domain name foundation, Broxton hit upon the idea of adding a link to the bottom of each email leading to the actual verse. That allowed recipients to quickly read the passage referenced in the email address. “What a marvelous way to spread the word of the Bible!” Broxton said. “Anywhere in the world a person does not need a Bible or need to go to a special web site to read these wonderful verses.”


Once he had the ideas in place, Broxton still needed three more elements to turn his dream into a reality. “I needed an email service provider, a public relations and marketing firm and a website designer for ScriptureMail,” he recalled. “After an extensive search I located and selected ApexMail.com to be the email service provider. They provide an exceptional email service and have developed a reputation for their ability to reduce spam dramatically”.

Broxton’s search for a public relations & marketing firm ended in his own backyard with an added bonus. The Richmond company he chose, RightMinds.com, also provided the site design services he needed. “They have done a marvelous job and are wonderful to work with,” Broxton said. There is evidence of that  in the Media section on ScriptureMail.com. It is full of news reports that have featured the company in both the Christian and mainstream press. 

After years of preparation, Broxton finally opened ScriptureMail.com in 2003 and his excitement has only grown since then. “The goal of ScriptureMail is to spread the message of the Bible in a new, unique, and powerful way. Email is the number one use of the Internet, and because of its repetitive nature we believe that the Bible email addresses available through ScriptureMail may prove to be the most effective and relevant way to spread the message of the Bible around the world in our generation. We envision that hundreds of millions of ScriptureMail's email messages will be circulating the globe at any given time. ScriptureMail literally transforms Christians into 21st century e-missionaries with just a click of the computer mouse!” Broxton said.

He added, “Use of a ScriptureMail address provides Christians a creative and relevant way to follow Romans 1:16 ("For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ"), as well as 2 Corinthians 2:14 TLB ("But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, he has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume").” Broxton added, “Even if a person does not accept the Christian message or become a Christian is this not going to be a better world as people are exposed to the language of the old and new Testaments of the Bible?"

Broxton expects that ScriptureMail will eventually become a free service, and in fact will need to be a free service to achieve the ultimate goal he has for it which is to spread the verses of the Bible around the globe to the greatest number of people in the shortest possible time frame. Broxton is already eying partners that can help him make it happen. “There is a huge war currently among email providers (Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Google) to obtain email users. The reason for this is the revenues that can be derived from many sources (advertising, selling other products and services, directing customers to portals and search services, etc.) by obtaining users through a free email service," Broxton said.

“If we associated with or sold to one of these firms and that firm offered the email addresses for free, we could provide that firm with a huge advantage over their competitors. That firm could offer these special email addresses as alternatives to the one email address they currently offer. This would give that company an exclusive way to access the largest affinity group in the world, more than 2 billion Christians”.

Scale certainly wouldn’t be a problem for ScriptureMail. ”An unlimited number of users can use the same email address. Microsoft has over 100,000,000 users that use the single domain name hotmail.com,” Broxton said. “As the domain names used in ScriptureMail would not be available to any of its competitors this could provide one of these firms the hook it needs to far surpass all of its competitors.”

“We could also associate with a retailer like Wal-Mart or Amazon that wants an exclusive way to attract large numbers of new visitors to their website. Every time someone checked their emails they would go thorough the home page of that retailer. Wal-Mart is already a huge seller of Christian books and other Christian related merchandise so the email service would be a natural,” Broxton said. 

He sees other potential avenues as well. ”We could associate with a large non-profit ministry or charity that would offer the free email addresses to obtain users who could be solicited for donations or product buys. Instead of traditional expensive direct marketing, this ministry or charity could use opt-in email to solicit the email users to obtain donations and sell products.”

We also could associate with Christian Radio or TV networks as ScriptureMail could be an exclusive draw for listeners, identification with stations on the network and to bring traffic to the website. Similarly, religious bookstore chains or religious publishers could use ScriptureMail to drive traffic to stores and/or websites."

Broxton said one global Christian expert told him “it is realistic to project that within two years, 10% of the 215 million church members currently in North America (more than 21 million people) could obtain one of these email addresses. As Internet usage grows, the total use in a few years could approximate 20% or 43 million North American users. These may be conservative projections and the use could be much greater.”  Broxton realizes such projections are highly subjective and speculative, but since these numbers take only the North American market into account he thinks the ScriptureMail user base could reach such gargantuan proportions given that the global market is far larger.

While looking for a partner that can take ScriptureMail to the next level, Broxton’s firm is using the platform to help local churches and Christian ministries raise funds through an affiliate program. They put links to Scripture Mail on their sites and receive $3 for every basic email account they refer and $5 for each enhanced account. They also collect $1 for basic renewals and $ 2 for enhanced renewals year after year. 

Of course any good idea always draws competitors, but Broxton sees no cause for concern. “No one can duplicate ScriptureMail’s collection of domain names. It contains now and always will contain the most popular and frequently cited passages from the number one best selling book of all time.” Broxton added “I get so excited about the idea of having Bible verses encircling the globe every day and bringing people closer to God, just as Christ commanded us to do with the Great Commission!”

But what happened to the retirement he supposedly began 9 years ago? “I believe the Lord wants me to be actively serving him in some capacity for the rest of my life," Broxton said. “I doubt very much I will ever truly retire. Each day is a real joy when you are working for your Lord!”

 

Footnote: Bob Broxton is an elder in the Presbyterian church. He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife of 38 years, Marcia, and they have two daughters, Kelly and Clancy.

 


 
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Editor’s Note: For those who would like to comment on this story, we invite you to make use of our Letters to the Editor feature (write to editor@dnjournal.com).


If you missed our previous Cover Story click on the headline below: 

The Pool.com Story: How A Tadpole Turned Into A Killer Whale in Just 12 Months!

All other previous Cover Stories are available in our Archive

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