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Are domains more liquid if they’ve been approved on BrandBucket or Squadhelp?

Thu, 2020-09-24 16:54

One of the things I’m seeing more and more these days is domain investors talking about names that have been approved on popular brandable marketplaces like BrandBucket and Squadhelp. In many ways, getting a domain approved at one of these marketplaces validates the price you think the domain could sell for to an end user.

At the same time, as we all know, marketplaces don’t sell every name listed, and while the average sell through rate varies, it’s safe to say somewhere in the 1% – 5% range is realistic. So this means as an investor, if you have 100 domains listed, you can expect to sell between one and five of those names.

The challenge brandable marketplaces have is that they want to have good inventory and lots of options for customers so it’s certainly in their best interest to approve names they think people will like. At the same time, the price those names are approved at can often be conflated with valuation, and to be fair to Joakim, he did follow-up to his tweet above to say:

I think what Joakim says here is important – he realizes that the price a brandable marketplace allows you to list a domain for doesn’t necessary mean the domain is worth that or will sell for that price. That being said, I know there are a lot of domain investors out there who don’t know this and think once a brandable marketplace allows them to list a name at a certain price point, that the name must be worth that to an end user.

All that being said, getting back to the topic of my post I am now seeing people all the time mention that a name was approved at a certain price point on BrandBucket or Squadhelp when they’re trying to sell a domain to another Domainer. My question is, does this improve liquidity when selling names between investors?

What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

Google continues to emphasize that keywords in domains do nothing for SEO

Thu, 2020-09-24 05:56

For years now Google has been sending a clear message when it comes to the role that domain names play in their ranking algorithm, in short, it doesn’t. Recently Google’s John Muller continued to emphasize this message and expanded it to cover new gTLDs:

“This is a really common question that comes up for the new top-level domains.

In short, no. You don’t get a special bonus like that from having a keyword in your top-level domain.

Anecdotally you can see that by searching naturally for anything that interests you.

I’d venture a guess that the top results don’t have those keywords as a domain ending. Often it’s not even in the URL at all. That’s by design.”

(Source – Search Engine Journal)

John actually answered this questions specifically about the .JOBS TLD and recorded a whole video about it. So if you feel like hearing this directly from John, here ya’ go:

What I think always gets missed in these conversations is the fact that one factor that Google does look at in their ranking algorithm is how many time people click on a site when it comes up in their search results. I think (and I know I’m not alone here!) that people are more likely to click on a strong, meaningful domain than a junky one.

So, just throwing this out there – if a good domain gets your site more clicks when it comes up in search…and if Google ranks your site higher if more people click on it, then I think there’s a point to be made that a good domain certainly does help you in search.

But that’s just my two cents, what do you think?

RemoteOk.io makes $65,000 a month…and the whole site is just one PHP file

Wed, 2020-09-23 02:53

So here’s an interesting one. See the website above? It’s all contained in one single PHP file, and it generates $65,000/month. Yes, you read that right, it’s on a $780k/year run rate and it illustrates how much you can do if you know what you’re doing.

I first learned about RemoteOk.io from this tweet:

When I saw this I thought, uh – this is total BS, there’s no way this site makes over $65,000/month. But I read on and the website creator, Pieter Levels goes on to shares more data:

It turns out this isn’t Pieter’s first rodeo, he’s been building some pretty high-traction sites for a while now, Nomadlist.com being one of the most notable.

I think it’s safe to say, Pieter is pretty badass at growth hacking and I’m interested to learn more about how he’s build some of the brands he’s operating today.

After publishing this post I’m going to send Pieter a link to the post and ask if he’d be open to doing an interview on my blog as I’m sure many of you have some questions you’d love to ask him.

On that note, please feel free to post questions below and if he says yes, I’m happy to include them in the interview. No matter how you slice it, this is one talented guy, and I’m hoping he can drop some knowledge for all of us to learn from.

Congrats to Pieter and if you’re reading this, please say yes to my interview request!

Help me pick the first category for the “Best in Domaining” Awards

Tue, 2020-09-22 02:33

As I’ve said many times before, we have an amazing community in the Domaining world. While the industry sometimes gets a bad rap from the outside, anyone I know who has taken the time to get to know the movers and shakers better on the inside knows this is a special group.

From amazing founders, stellar developers, SEO gurus and business mavens, the domain investing world is full of bright and talented people.

Of course, we’re all also busy people and I think not enough time is spent celebrating the achievements of both companies and people within our industry. And the fun part about having a blog is that it’s a one person committee over here to get things approved and so I was excited to see I had unanimous approval when I asked if we could host our own awards, aptly called – Best in Domaining.

I’m still finalizing the category list and like most things I do, if you read my blog I’d love to hear your suggestions. Here’s the list I’ve come up with so far, I’d like to hear what categories you think I’m missing as well as which category you think I should start with.

  1. Best domain monetization company
  2. Best domain name registrar
  3. Best domain marketplace
  4. Best domain escrow service
  5. Best domain development solution
  6. Best domain SEO tool
  7. Best domain podcast
  8. Best domain blog
  9. Best domain broker
  10. Best domain tweeter (individual award)
  11. Best domain photographer (individual award)
  12. Best software developer (individual award)
  13. Best UX designer (individual award)
  14. Best account manager (individual award)
  15. Best industry evangelist (individual award)

There are a few steps I’m going to take to both make this a meaningful award. First – I’m going to actually verify each vote, I’m still looking at systems that do this but I am really going to do my best to make it hard to game the system. Second – I’m not going to allow votes from people who work for a company that is in that specific category, i.e. if you work for a domain escrow service, you can’t vote in that category. Third – I’ll be using as many channels as I can to get the word out to make sure there are a representative amount of votes before I crown a winner.

So what category should I start with?

How many domains do you need to own to be considered a Domainer?

Mon, 2020-09-21 04:40

Here’s a question I’ve seen asked quite a bit over the years and it popped up again on Twitter this weekend:

In general I think looking at the number of domains someone has can be misleading at times. There are domain investors that make very good money with smaller (say sub-500 names) portfolios because they have a higher average sale price.

On the flip side, there are domain investors with larger portfolios that lose money some years. I remember when we used to run the Los Angeles Domain Investors MeetUp group I met a guy who owned ~3,000 domains and he was yet to turn a profit, and he was five years in. At the same time, I met an investor at a domain conference that had a ~300 name portfolio that made $500k+ a year very consistently.

My point is – I actually don’t think number of domains is the criteria anyone should be looking at when it comes to defining someone as a Domainer. I also think that really anyone who buys and sells domains really can call themselves a Domainer.

Now, let’s get to what I think the meat of the question is – what makes a successful Domainer? Which is what I think this question really comes down to. While there is of course no right answer here, I’ll take a stab and defining a successful Domainer in my book:

  1. Turns a profit
  2. Generates revenue that registers as meaningful for them
  3. Is able to repeat #1 and #2

Rather than putting a dollar value in for #2 I think it’s best just to say “meaningful” since this can vary by person. If you make $100,000/year then making $25k Domaining could be very meaningful, heck it’s 25% of your income. At the same time, if you make $500,000/year then making $25k might not be very significant. It really all depends on what is meaningful for you.

I’d say once you’re at the 25% mark of your regular day job salary that’s when things certainly start to get interesting. While it would be hard to generate meaningful income with a 10 name portfolio, you could do it with a 200 name portfolio or a 2,000 name portfolio, and you could probably generate the same money with both since it’s either a quality or a volume play.

So I’d say, if you buy and sell domains, congrats – you’re a Domainer. If you’re losing money every year, you’re not a very good Domainer but you’re still in the club. If you make $200,000/year at your day job and $10k/year Domaining, you’re also still a Domainer, but it probably isn’t life changing in any way.

The real fun starts when you have a year that makes life-changing money. Then of course, it’s what you do with that money that can set you off on an entirely new trajectory. But in all cases, you’re a Domainer in my book

What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

Interview with James Chance, CEO of Yourself.online

Fri, 2020-09-18 15:23

I was talking with my good friend friend Brian a couple of weeks ago when a new startup he was working with came up. Quick note about Brian because he’s awesome – he’s an amazing pixel-perfect designer, he built the website for Bold Metrics and has done some pretty cool sites for companies like Akamai, Kammock (such a cool product), and many more.

Okay, now back to our conversation. Brian mentioned he was building a site for a really cool startup called Yourself.online. I checked out the site, thought what they did was super cool , and was also interested to learn more about why they picked a .online domain. So Brian connected me with James, their CEO – this is James

I asked James if he would be open for doing an interview on my blog, he said yes, and here we are. I think Yourself.online is really onto something and I’m really looking forward to watching their adventure unfold Thanks again to James for taking the time to answer my questions – enjoy!

1) When did you start Yourself.Online?
I first started working on yourself.online back in 2018, and we launched our paid product in April 2020. 

2) How did you come up with the idea originally?
A few years ago I used to work at Google as a Data Analyst, focusing on e-commerce.  Whilst I was there, I saw first hand how the digital trails consumers left behind were used to make deductions about who they were. As I looked deeper into the topic, I found that people weren’t getting jobs, credit or even things like dates because of the content they had on their profiles, even if it was from years ago. At the same time, managing the stack of privacy settings on different sites and cleaning up old content is difficult and takes time.

3) How did you decide on a .ONLINE domain name for the company?
I wanted something that encompassed our vision of being the online guardian to consumers, and was clear to understand. Given we’re just getting started with the features we have right now, it needed to be broader than just the name of a feature and yourself.online was available and worked really well. The price was affordable too, I paid around $500 for it, whist yourself.com was just way too expensive!

4) You offer a number of different services to help with privacy online, which is seeing the most traction now?
We launched with 3 features; social media clean-up, privacy settings management and password breach monitoring. Of these, Facebook clean-up has been getting the most traction. Around 50% of our users connect and scan their Facebook; typically we analyse around 1,000 posts and photos per user for any profesionally damaging content. The feedback from our users has been great too, they’re finding it easy to shed those cringy college photos and lockdown their privacy. 

5) When it comes to Social Network Clean-up, is there anything people should know about to mitigate risk?
We’ve found that large employers are now widely using screening tools like Fama.io to assess new candidates and their current employees, which has a huge implication for someone’s privacy. They’re looking for anything that could be damaging to their brand but also to get an idea of ‘company fit’ for the new hire. We recommend people clean everything up and lockdown the accounts they want to keep private and then create the online persona on their public accounts that aligns with the job they want to get.  We’ve written a handy blog about it here (https://yourself.online/blog/the-age-of-digital-transparency/)

6) Are there any new features you’re planning on adding over the next few months that you’d be willing to share?
I’m really excited about launching a browser extension that connects with our service in the coming weeks. This makes it super easy for a user to delete pieces of content or lockdown their privacy settings as we’re able to drive their browser for them saving them stacks of time vs. them doing it manually. It’s also the next step towards us becoming a proactive assistant that deals with people’s privacy settings as they use different sites and services.

7) Last but not least, what is one fun fact about you, James, that people might not know?
Good question! I really love adventure travel. A few years ago, a friend and I drove half way around the world from London to Mongolia as a team in the Mongol Rally. It’s a bit like a ‘Gumball Rally’ trip, the only exception was we did it in a car we bought on eBay for $1,000. Took 6 weeks driving 11,000 miles through 17 countries but we made it in the end with a few good stories to show for it!

Does anyone actually sell domain names on Twitter?

Thu, 2020-09-17 16:08

This morning veteran domain investor Michael Curving asked a question that I’ve always wondered about myself, does anyone actually sell domain names through Twitter?

If you click on the tweet you’ll see a number of people have chimed in and overall it sounds like investors are positive about the concept. The general feedback I saw is that it’s just another marketing channel and really the more eyeballs you can get on your domains, the greater chance they have of selling.

As I thought about this more I think it really comes down to approach. I’ve seen people say “Domain X is for sale!!!” followed by 20 – 30 hashtags ranging from #domains and #domainsforsale to #greatdeals and #domainsarecool. Personally I think tweets look insanely spamming when they’re plastered with hashtags and IMO it makes it look like the person doesn’t know how to use Twitter.

At the same time, I think there is a right way to do it and Michael Cyger showed a good example of this in a tweet from Aishwin Vikhona that caught the eye of Braden Pollock. Here’s the tweet:

I’ll ask Braden to let me know if he ends up acquiring this domain as it would be a pretty good example of someone selling a domain on Twitter and maybe a better way to do it. Aishwin didn’t pepper his tweet with hashtags, instead he included an image with the domain in it, which definitely gets your attention, and then two hashtags.

I might give this a try myself and report back. Michael Curving also put up a poll on Twitter which still has 21 hours left if you want to share your own results with selling domains on Twitter.

Thanks to Michael for bringing this up, I’m pretty active on Twitter and honestly just discarded the idea of selling names through Twitter years ago…now I’m wondering if I might be missing out on a potential sales channel? What do you think?

ROW.com hits $150k on Flippa

Wed, 2020-09-16 17:59

I was reading the Domain Smoke newsletter this morning when a name caught my eye, ROW.com which has an $150k bid on Flippa. As many people know, NAS.com sold for $720,000 and I think it’s safe to say ROW.com is right up there in terms of quality. Of course the question is, will it reach a price this high when listed for sale on a marketplace?

This is the conundrum that many domain investors face. Selling a name in the $500k+ range usually means having a name first, that’s worth more than $500k and second, waiting for a very motivated buyer that wants to buy the name from you.

When you list a name for sale or contact someone directly to buy a name from you, the leverage often flips, and not in your favor. I think this is what we’re seeing with ROW.com right now. It’s no secret that Flippa has buyers with six-figure budgets, now the question is – does the owner of ROW.com want top-dollar for their domain, or are they looking for liquidity?

My guess is there is a real opportunity to meet in the middle here. If the owner of ROW.com wanted something like the $720k the owner of NAS.com got, I think they know they’d have to be patient and wait on inbounds. The advantage a marketplace like Flippa, Afternic, Sedo, etc. offers is the ability to get more eyes on your name and let people know you are actually motivated to sell the name.

Okay, so here’s my two cents on what could happen here. First, yes, ROW.com could sell for $720k or even $800k, it’s possible. That being said, it could take one year, ten years, or twenty years for that to happen. My guess is the owner wants some cash sooner. Knowing that I’d say the sweet spot is in the $250k – $350k range where someone like a Brent Oxley could swoop in and pick it up.

What do you think?

Selling a four-word .COM for a 280x ROI

Tue, 2020-09-15 16:43

I talk a lot about two-word .COMs on my blog, have for years and don’t plan to stop anytime soon – they are the bread and butter of my domain portfolio and the core type of domain I invest in. That being said, I think it’s always important to point out that three and even four word .COMs can and do sell all the time for solid ROIs, albeit often at lower overall price points.

One example was just announced today by veteran domain investor Logan Flatt who announced the sale of ChargingStationsNearMe(.)com on Twitter this morning, here’s the tweet:

What’s pretty interesting is that Logan could sell almost the exact same name again given that he also owns ChargingStationNearMe(.)com. I think that setting a BIN of $2,500 is spot on, pricing a name like this at $4,500 would likely mean never selling (or waiting a LOT longer to sell) and pricing at $1,500 would have clearly left money on the table.

For years domain investors have tried to hone in on the magic price point that isn’t too high and isn’t too low, i.e. just the right amount where there’s money to be made but the buyer doesn’t have to think twice about hitting the buy button. It looks like $2,500 is the sweet spot and by making this clear with a BIN on the landing page just makes it that much easier for the buyer.

As we all know, or at least what the data has shown for years, domains with BIN prices have a greater liquidity than names that push the buyer for an offer. While it goes without saying that the seller is likely leaving some money on the table, it’s worth it for the liquidity for many portfolio owners. Many investors I know take a balanced approach segmenting their portfolio with “cashflow names” that are priced with a BIN, and longer-term investments that they take offers on.

Congrats to Logan on the sale, here’s to the next one!

Creative use of a .WORKS domain – HowHTTPS.works

Tue, 2020-09-15 05:10

We all use https pretty much all day every day since in 2020 just about every website you visit will use it. Of course, you use a lot of things in your daily life that you probably don’t truly understand and HTTPS might be one of those things.

Of course if you’ve been in the domain name world for long enough you might know HTTPS like the back of your hand…but if I ask you the difference between symmetric and asymmetric encryption can you explain that? What about TLS?

If some parts of HTTPS confuse you, fear not, there’s a fun little comic that is currently trending on Y Combinator’s Hacker – in fact right now it’s in the #3 spot which is pretty badass.

What’s also interesting, at least to a domain geek like me, is the fact that the site resides on a .works domain, howhttps.works. In this case, the TLD is being used as a word in the sentence, “how https works.”

This is a topic that came up at NamesCon last week and that I’m seeing more and more, new domain extensions being used to complete a sentence or as the second word in what would normally be a two-word .COM.

Is this trend taking off like a rocket ship I’d say no. I don’t see this often and I’ll be honest, I’d personally prefer the .COM, I think these are confusing, but who asked me! What I can say is I’m seeing this happen more than ever before and in this case, I thought whoever built the site did a pretty clever job with their comic.

All that being said, next time someone asks me how https works, I’m sending them to howhttps.works

3 key takeaways from NamesCon Online 2020

Mon, 2020-09-14 05:14

Well the first online-only version of NamesCon is now in the books and it’s safe to say it was a hit, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a regular thing. Raymond, owner of TLDInvestors and blogger at TheDomains said it best:

My biggest takeaway from NamesCon Online is it needs to be permanent. In April I wrote on TheDomains, is the future of NamesCon virtual? Well it’s certainly part of the future in my opinion.

NamesCon Online has been great in my opinion, to be able to just move in and out of meetings, to the social wall, to people’s private messages has been great.

GoDaddy has really done a great job. The UI and UX are fantastic and it’s the best virtual platform I have been on. I expected this event to be ehh, ok. It has been really great.

(Source – TLDInvestors.com)

I agree with Raymond 100% – an online version of NamesCon should exist even after the world returns to normal (which is happening at some point, right?)

While I don’t know the numbers I do think this event likely brought together more domain investors from around the world than ever before. You could feel the energy and the Twitterverse was buzzing with activity all day every day which made it even more fun to hop on Twitter every morning.

I’m still watching sessions, and the fact that every session was recorded and is still available makes it possible to really soak up a lot more content than I normally would at an event. I’ll be doing posts covering some things I’ve learned from certain talks but to kick off what is likely going to be weeks worth of content, I thought I’d share three key takeaways from NamesCon 2020 that are pretty hard to ignore.

  1. The domain investing community is global – never has it been more clear that we are a part of a truly global community, and to see different ideas and perspectives from around the world was both eye opening and energizing. For me personally, it made me realize I need to spend more time connecting with domain investors in Asia and Europe and I have some great new friends in both regions that I’m looking forward to getting to know better.
  2. Investors are getting more comfortable going beyond .COM – the days of our community being .COM focused are behind us. Investors are seeing strong results across a wider range of TLDs than ever before and this trend is only accelerating. While I think we all agree .COM is king and will always command top-dollar, there’s never been a better time to stray outside of your comfort zone, you’ll find yourself in good company and with other investors that can help you learn the ropes.
  3. Development and SEO is top-of-mind for investors – while I won’t say parking is dead, when it comes to monetizing domains most investors are looking at development and SEO as their path towards passive income with domain names. The NamesCon Online talks about SEO were pretty darn popular and I kept hearing from investors who were looking at backlinks as a key criteria when buying expired domains. Heck, this week ConstitutionUS.com sold for over $100,000 at Go Daddy and it’s the backlink profile that propelled that name into six-figure territory.

Those are three key takeaways from NamesCon that are top-of-mind for me, if you have some of your own please feel free to share away in the comment section below!

What keywords sell the best on Squadhelp? Here’s the full list

Sun, 2020-09-13 02:33

When it comes to domain investing, my core focus is one-word .COMs. What I’ve always liked about two-word .COMs is the wide range of resell pricing and the strong end-user demand that continues to grow every year. There was a time where product names were hot in the two-word space but that ship has sailed and right now brandables win the day.

Marketplaces like BrandBucket and Squadhelp have emerged as popular destinations for startups looking for a brandable domain. Of course the question on every domain investors mind is – what keywords sell the best? And I can tell you part of the answer since Darpan, the CEO of Squadhelp just shared the sell through rate by Root Word on Twitter, here’s the data:

I was actually pretty surprised by the top keywords, namely that “key” took the #1 spot. Skill came in at #2 which isn’t that surprising given the explosive growth in the online education space which the word “skill” lends itself nicely to.

Here’s a list of the top ten keywords by sell-through rate:

  1. Key
  2. Skill
  3. Innovation
  4. Infinity & Med
  5. Maven
  6. Oak
  7. Home
  8. Nature
  9. Pivot
  10. Nest

While this sales data certainly includes some three-word domains I think it’s safe to say most are two-word .COMs. Also, it’s important to note these are Root words, which is why you don’t see words like “online” in there which I can assure you would show up if you looked at all the words in a domain.

Thanks to Darpan for sharing this data and I’d love to see the other half of the equation, i.e. what are the most common keywords endings if you have it!

Efty shares a preview of major platform redux, and I want it now!

Fri, 2020-09-11 17:04

Today Efty shared a tantalizing look at it’s platform redux featuring a brand new marketplace, seller profiles, DAN payment integration and more. As usual I am super impressed with Efty’s UX design, they do a stellar job of making clean, crisp UX that looks great on desktop, mobile, and tablet.

With the redux comes brand new landing pages that leverage five years of learning what works and what doesn’t, here’s the skinny:

Once we push the launch button on the new marketplace, Efty sellers with an active subscription will be able to automatically redirect all their domain names to SSL-secured landing pages on Efty.com. These are our best For-Sale landing page yet, designed, and optimized based on over five years of conversion data.

(Source – Efty Blog)

One little update I noticed that I like a lot is the “Last active” indicator next to the seller profile. My guess is you can use this to your benefit by logging into Efty and making it clear to buyers that if they reach out to buy a name, you’ll be there to close the deal.

If you want to see the updates in action, Doron put together a great video that’s available in this blog post. As a long-time Efty user I couldn’t be more excited about these updates, can’t wait to get these new landing pages up and running, maybe I can be the first to log a sale using one

What nuggets have you taken away from NamesCon so far?

Fri, 2020-09-11 04:53

At conferences sometimes all it takes is one or two nuggets to make the whole thing worthwhile. I’ll be honest, when I go to domain conferences, I rarely go to any talks, I spend my time hanging out with old friends and making new ones and I always learn more than I could ever have expected just from the conversations I have.

That being said, an an online conference, things change a bit, the content is much more available and accessible on your own time schedule. While I’m not able to catch much during the week, this weekend, and probably next weekend, I’ll be watching some sessions and hunting for nuggets.

So what’s a nugget?

A nugget is that little bit of brilliance that comes out, often when you least expect it, that sparks something in your mind that inspires you to do something differently. Or at least that how I’m defining it.

Like I said, I’ve been busy working so haven’t had much time to do anything conference related so I’m short on nuggets, but I’m interested to hear from those of you who have been to sessions and picked up a few nuggets. As I watch more sessions I’ll be sharing some of the nuggets I learn.

Of course, it would be lame for me to not share anything in this post and by now you’re probably thinking, jeez, why am I reading Morgan ramble on about nuggets when he just wants me to share! So I’ll share someone else’s nugget. I was talking to my buddy Braden Pollock last night (who moderated the SEO session), and he said one of the panelists mentioned that when evaluating domains for SEO value, you can get a good estimate by valuing each backlink at $1.

Of course, there are some caveats here. A really good backlink, i.e. from a super high impact source like the New York Times is worth a lot more than $1, some people pay $5,000+ for a name with a backlink like this. On the flipside, 500 garbage links with low domain authority aren’t going to be worth a buck a piece.

That being said, decent backlinks on a name can translate to about $1/each and yes, there are people buying domains for their backlink profiles and flipping them using that as their valuation metric. Boom – a nugget!

And here’s a little bonus nugget that Bill Hartzer was kind enough to share on Twitter today in advance of his session tomorrow…

Yes, you read that right – Google prefers .NET to .COM

I’ll have more to share as I start watching some sessions, for now I’d love to hear a nugget or two that you’ve picked up so far. I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Tweets, videos, and content galore – it was a busy Day One at NamesCon Online ????

Wed, 2020-09-09 22:25

The first day of NamesCon Online 2020 is now in the books and the Twitterverse is buzzing with excitement. Feedback so far has been extremely positive and I wanted to thank Soren, Helga, Timo and the whole team for putting together one heck of an event jam-packed with great content. I definitely echo what Josh said earlier today in this tweet:

Honestly, the sheer amount of content and quality talks today was top notch. There are also some solid quotes from the talks circulating on Twitter, here’s one of my favorites from Anthony Kirlew quoting Bill Sweetman from Name Ninja:

One of the other things I am really enjoying about NamesCon Online is the ability to watch talks after they happen. My workdays are slammed so it’s nice to know that I can catch-up tonight and over the weekend on everything I wasn’t able to make it to.

Below are some videos that are on my shortlist to watch:

The State Of The Domain Industry

The One That Got Away (moderated by Braden Pollock)

If you want to watch more videos, you can actually watch every single session on the NamesCon Online platform. According to NamesCon they’re going to keep the content up through September so if you need a weekend or two to binge-watch Domaining talks…you can!

Andrew wrote a solid article today on the Ethics and Best Practices in Domain Brokerage panel that I highly recommend you give a read. The panelists all agreed on the central issue – trust:

The panelists seemed to agree that it comes down to trust. If you’re asking your broker for a copy of the email communications, then there’s probably an underlying trust issue at play that should be addressed. Are you concerned they are doing something unethical or not in your best interests? If so, you might need to find a new broker.

Source – Domain Name Wire

Tomorrow I will be on a panel talking about nTLDs that I think is going to be a lot of fun, it’s at 9:15AM PST – here’s a quick overview of the panel:

Congrats to the whole NamesCon team, they’ve done an amazing job and moving from a physical to digital show, looking forward to the next two days!

Q1 2020 numbers are in for Radix, here’s some data that caught my eye

Tue, 2020-09-08 14:58

Radix, the registry operator of domain name extensions like .TECH, .ONLINE, .STORE and many more just shared their Q1 2020 data, and it’s safe to say they’ve had a pretty solid year so far.

I went through all the data and thought it would be interesting to share some data that caught my eye. First, let’s talk numbers, Radix did close to $2M in premium sales revenue in the first half of 2020 led by .TECH. Here’s a quick look at the top five TLDs by sales numbers:

As for the average sales price of premium names, here’s a good overview of what people are paying:

$250 was the most popular price tier followed by $500 and $1,000. It was also interesting to see a bump at the $5k mark. I recently wrote an article about how below $5k is where the action is today in the domain name world and it definitely matches what Radix is seeing here with premium sales.

One metric I always like to look at with new domain extensions is how many people who bought a name end up renewing it, Radix is seeing 78% of people renewing domains for a second time which is definitely encouraging.

Some notable sales that Radix saw the first half of this year are:

  • sp.tech – $22,000
  • history.press – $13,549
  • collective.space – $8,000
  • hex.tech – $7,500

Congrats to Radix on a great year so far, looking forward to seeing how the second half goes!

Is mentioning what domains you’re bidding on and the price you’d pay against TOS?

Tue, 2020-09-08 02:24

Tonight Drew Walsh posed a good question on Twitter, one that I think is becoming increasingly more relevant – is it okay to share what domains you’re bidding on and the price you’re willing to pay publicly?

I’m with Drew on this one, I’ve always avoided mentioning auctions I’m bidding on and the price I would pay, and honestly I’ve just assumed there has to be a rule at every auction house that makes this a big no-no.

That being said, I’ve never looked into the TOS in great detail at places like Go Daddy Auctions or Park.io which are the two places I am the most active on, like, I visit them every day and they are a part of my life kind of places.

I do think it would impact the integrity of auctions if people shared publicly what they’re bidding on and what price they’d go up to. With this information other bidders could decide to participate in an auction or sit it out which would without a doubt impact the bidding activity.

Like I said, I haven’t done a deep dive into the TOS of auction platforms but I’m guessing one of my readers has…if that’s you, I’m just as curious as Drew is. Is this a written rule or just a general code of conduct we all (mostly) seem to be following?

This article about the best domain registrars in 2020 was strange in so many ways

Mon, 2020-09-07 02:35

I might be late to the game on this one but I thought I’d write about it anyways. A couple of weeks ago techradar wrote an article about their favorite domain registrars. Rather than going with a top five or top ten list they went with a top six list, which is a little weird but who cares.

Before I go any further I know you want to see the list so here it is:

  1. Domain.com
  2. Go Daddy
  3. Hover
  4. Dynadot
  5. NameCheap
  6. Google Domains

Oh, one other weird thing, the url for this article is: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-domain-registrars-in-2019 which would make you think it’s about their favorite domain registrars in 2019, but it’s actually about their favorite domain registrars in 2020. I think they actually just wrote over their 2019 post?

Okay – now whether you agree with this list or not (note, I don’t but I’m not going to do a deep dive into my favorite registrars right now) one thing I didn’t quite get was the pros and cons they came up with for each registrar.

I’ll run through these because honestly, they are weird.

Domain.com – the pro is listed as “free website builder with domain purchase” and that’s the only pro. This is something that a ton of registrars offer and while it’s definitely a pro, it shouldn’t be the only pro and it’s not really a pro they have over other registrars, like their #2 pick Go Daddy which also has a free website builder.

Go Daddy – so with Go Daddy one of the pros is “telephone support” but Domain.com also has telephone support and I think most if not all of the other registrars on this list do too…and like I said above, Go Daddy also has a free website builder. The only con listed for Go Daddy is “high prices” which is confusing since Go Daddy has some of the best pricing out there.

Hover – for some reason a pro for Hover is “fair pricing” but it costs more to register a .COM there than at Go Daddy…but Go Daddy’s con is high prices?!?

Dynadot and Namecheap – both had no cons and I’ll be honest, both of these registrars rock IMHO. That being said, there are some things that Domain.com and Go Daddy offer that they don’t so weird that they didn’t get a single con, seems only fair right?

Google Domains – while Go Daddy got hit with the “high prices” con, Google Domains got “Fractionally above average prices” when I think their prices are almost always higher than Go Daddy’s.

So yeah, while I am a fan of techradar I think this article came out pretty strange. From the top six list to the weird URL and the strange selections of pros and cons that seem to miss the true pros and cons of each it reads like an article trying to get clicks and generate revenue rather than providing useful well-researched content.

That being said, this is a solid list of registrars but they missed a few like 101Domain which is must for ccTLDs, still I like it more than this article that lists Shopify as one of their favorite registrars, so I guess it could be worse!

Stock market Saturday: my biggest stock investment (so far) this year – Peloton

Sun, 2020-09-06 02:10

Before I do a deeper dive here let me give a quick disclaimer for those just joining me. I’m not a big stock market investor, the vast majority of my investment dollars go into domain names. For the last thirteen years I’ve seen such a solid ROI on domain names that I’m fairly certain it will be my primary investment vehicle for decades to come.

That being said, I do want to be somewhat diversified and the stock market is one way I’m doing that. Last but not least, not only am I not a stock market expert or guru, I wouldn’t even classify myself as an intermediate investor in the stock market. I’m a total newbie and I’m also not putting much time in to become an expert so take my advice for what it’s worth!

Okay, now onto the investment I’ve put the most money into in 2020 – Peloton. Why am I so bullish on Peloton? Here’s why in three bullet points:

  • With gyms closed more and more people are looking at establishing home workout routines, Peloton has quickly become the market leader. I think this “new normal” will cause people to create new habits for years to come and Peloton will be the key player here.
  • Peloton has a 93% retention rate for their SaaS service, this is a big deal IMHO
  • The major issue that people cite about Peloton is the high price of the bike. With a new lower-cost bike coming out as early as next week I think Peloton’s market is going to grow exponentially.

I’m a big fan of SaaS, apart from running a SaaS company myself I also really like companies that can deliver incremental revenue with 1’s and 0’s vs. physical product. While Peloton does have a physical product, it’s not a product I see having a lot of complicated issues like a car where there are a zillion little things that could break.

As for the price I bought Peloton at $71.34/share and as of me writing this post I’m up 13%. While I did put a good chunk of change into Peloton, if it went to zero, everything would be a-okay and I can’t stress enough, whether domains or stocks, nobody should put in money they aren’t okay losing.

What do you think about Peloton?

Could Offer.io be a record-breaking sale on Park.io?

Fri, 2020-09-04 18:32

If there’s one trend that has been hard to ignore in the domain name world this year it has been the rise of investor interest in .IO domains. This has catapulted Park.io, the go-to marketplace for expired .IO domains into the limelight, and for good reason – great .IO names drop all the time, and Park.io get them.

There have been some truly stellar sales on Park.io this year like Wiz.io which went for $28,888 or Insurance.io which sold for $22,500. Now I see that Offer.io is expiring and bidding has crossed $2,000 with about a week to go and I think a record-breaking sale could be in the works.

Lately we’ve seen more and more end-users getting in the mix, most recently Notch.io sold for $3,574 to the owners of Notch.co.uk, who make some pretty nifty rope bracelets.

I personally think Offer.io will break past the $20k mark, it’s such a strong word and could resell in the $50k – $100k range to an end-user IMHO. That being said, this all goes back to a post I wrote earlier this week which brings up the question – what ROI are you looking for when you buy a .IO domain.

I’m looking for 10x or higher myself since I know that .IO doesn’t sell with the same kind of liquidity as .COM and I may be holding onto the name for 5-10 years before I find a buyer that will pay top dollar for the name. I’d probably feel okay buying Offer.io in the $2k – $4k range but I can tell you, there’s not a chance it’s going to sell for less than $10k, and like I said above, I think it’s going to go past $20k.

What do you think? Could this be a record-breaking sale for Park.io?

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