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A daily blog written by Morgan Linton
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Domain Pricing Game Launches and slams Domainers in the process

Tue, 2019-01-22 16:02

This morning I read an article on Boing Boing about a weirdly addictive new online game called The Domain Pricing Game. Essentially, the creator made a game where two domains are displayed and you have to pick which one is worth more than the other. I’m not quite sure where the pricing data comes from so it feels a bit more like a game with random domains with random values assigned to them.

I guess to make the game somewhat entertaining is that the creator decided to focus on names they consider to be junk, and going through a few iterations of the game, I can confirm, most aren’t amazing, but there are some that I could see selling for quite a bit more than they have listed in-game. Here’s what the game looks like once you’ve made a guess:

While I’m not sure that I agree with Boing Boing that the game is “weirdly compelling” it is fun for a minute or two and then I think that’s about the shelf life. What frustrated me about the game is the little disclaimer the creator put at the bottom:

“please don’t buy any of these domains, they’re all terrible and you’d be supporting asshole domain squatters”

Yikes. First things first, to say they’re all terrible feels a little silly. Just look at the example above, if I was a company called Krypton that sold CBD products, I’d probably think that $3,500 was a pretty fair price for that domain. SmartCBD.com sold for $5,999 last year so it’s not like KryptonCBD.com is a terrible domain worth nothing.

What I think this shows is the continued disconnect between most people and the Domaining world. You can own a house, never stay in it, not rent it out, and just let it sit and appreciate over time, and everyone will call you a smart investor. Do the same with digital real estate and you’re labeled an asshole domain squatter.

It’s almost as if the game creator didn’t realize that big companies like Google, Facebook, Estee Lauder all own and sit on domains they aren’t using, aka squatting. For some reason when these companies hold onto domains they’re considered smart businesses, but when individuals do, they’re squatters.

Using DomainTools I took a look at the creator’s own site, looked at the email he had listed as the registrant, and noticed that he owns 17 domains…and nope, all of them aren’t developed. So I guess he’s a squatter too then?

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

Monday Morning Walks with Morgan – Episode 5

Mon, 2019-01-21 16:55

Hello, happy Monday, and welcome to Monday Morning Walks with Morgan. This episode is brought to you from snowy Lake Tahoe California. I did my best to keep the video this week short and sweet both because you asked for short videos…and it’s cold and I forgot to bring gloves and a hat out with me.

Enjoy and as usual, links to the stories I reference in my video can be found below!

Thanks for watching, to learn more about any of the stories I covered this week, simply click one of the links below:

RDW.com: First LLL.com UDRP of 2019 (DomainInvesting.com)

Off the market since 1995? CustomerService.com is up for sale (TheDomains.com)

.Club makes price changes on premium domains (OnlineDomain.com)

Scottsdale.com Owner Fred Mercaldo Launches New Geodomain Brokerage Service at Cities.cc (DNJournal.com)

That’s it from me, TGIM! As always feel free to comment on any of the stories I shared in the comment section below. Comment and let your voice be heard!

What not to do when you’re making an offer on a domain name

Sat, 2019-01-19 03:30

Every once and a while a potential buyer does something that’s a bit of a head scratcher. At the end of the day things like this don’t bug me too much, but I do think it’s annoying and a waste of my time and theirs. I know there are a lot of startup founders and entrepreneurs that read my blog who are looking to buy a domain name so hopefully this can be useful to you as a lesson of what not to do.

Yesterday someone reached out to buy a domain name from me. We went back and forth and settled on a price. I started the transaction on Escrow.com, seemed like a pretty normal domain deal to me.

This morning he emailed and said, “I checked with my partner and it turns out he doesn’t want to spend any money on this domain, sorry for wasting your time.”

While this didn’t waste much time, honestly the whole thing probably took up around 5 minutes of my day, it is annoying and it certainly makes me thing, well if they come back in the future I probably wouldn’t want to go back down to the price we had agreed on before.

The moral of the story? If you’re making an offer on a domain name, make sure you actually want to buy the domain, it seems simple but since this isn’t the first time this has happened to me I can tell you that it’s not something that goes through everyone’s mind.

Has this ever happened to you? Or have you ever done this to someone? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Countdown to NamesCon: 3 Must-Attend Sessions For Anyone Trying To Sell More Domains

Fri, 2019-01-18 02:03

It’s official, NamesCon 2019 is less than two weeks away, and yes, I’m excited! I’ve been coming to NamesCon since it first started and have to say it has been pretty incredible to watch it continue to grow and flourish over the years. The reality is, like the Louvre, there really is too much to do and only so many hours in the day. Note – this is a very good problem to have.

So I’ve decided to help make life easier and will be highlighting specific content that aligns with general goals – and to kick it off, what better goal to focus on than selling more domains? Of course there are more sessions about selling domains than I’m mentioning here but like I said, there aren’t enough hours in the day so I’m just trying to make sure you still have room for networking, partying, and well – you know, sleeping.

Learn how to Price and Sell Your Portfolio
Who: 
Haseeb Tariq, FOX
When: 
Sunday, January 27th at 4:00PM
Where: .Global Keynote Hall

Domain Sales Optimization Strategies
Who: 

George Hong, Guta
Yancy Naughton, Has Traffic
Dave Evanson, SEDO
Simon Saleem, Above.com
Todd Cantwell, Afternic/Go Daddy
When: Monday January 28th at 11:00AM
Where: RegistryOffice Breakout Stage

Storytelling in Sales: How to Spin a Yarn and Land a Whale
Who: 
Kate Buckley, Buckley Media
When: Monday, January 28th at 1:00PM
Where: .Global Keynote Hall

Feel free to share any domain sales related sessions that you’re excited about that I didn’t mention here in the comment section above. Also if you’re planning on attending one of these feel free to chime in as well. Stay-tuned, more Countdown to Namescon posts are coming up – I want to make sure you’re ready for the domain name event of the year!

5 Brandable Names That Gaming Startups Would Dig, That Aren’t A Zillion Dollars

Thu, 2019-01-17 06:35

As I’ve become more and more interested in eSports, I’ve found tons of companies that couldn’t get the .COM they wanted and ended up branding around a .GG. While I get it, .GG could stand for “good game” the reality is that this domain extension is really only known by gamers, most consumers have never heard of it.

For games that you want a more broad-based audience to play, you really still do need a .COM. As usual, my friends tend to come to me for domain advice and I hear the same things over and over, “all the domains I want are taken or cost six-figures.”

This usually leads me down a path of explaining all the different places people can go to find good domains without paying a zillion dollars. One place that I find always has solid names and at prices that aren’t crazy is BuyDomains.

I recently went through their catalog of names and earmarked five domains that I thought would be perfect for a gaming company, all under $25k.

My personal favorite is Druids, but as a former Dungeons and Dragons geek I’m a bit biased. I used to play a really fun physical game (remember those?) called Kerplunk as a kid that’s a bit like Jenga. If you’ve never played Kerplunk, here’s a little video of it in action in the most 70’s video I’ve ever shared on my blog


The #Domainer Shirts are almost ready, and I’m bringing them to NamesCon

Tue, 2019-01-15 15:33

Yesterday I placed the order for my 11 year blogging anniversary shirt, the one that all of you helped me design. I’m really appreciative of all the MorganLinton.com readers who shared feedback and signed up to get a shirt. With NamesCon just around the corner I thought it would be a good idea to bring the shirts with me to NamesCon so you can let all of Vegas know you’re a Domainer

So, if you are coming to NamesCon and reached out to me (before yesterday) requesting a shirt, I’ll have one for you. To make it simple I was thinking of doing a little informal MorganLinton.com readers meetup on Sunday night where I can give out the shirts and we can all enjoy a tasty beverage together.

Looking at the agenda there is a break in the action from 5:00PM – 6:00PM so that’s when we’ll do it. This also means you’ll have a chance to change into your #Domainer shirt before the official kick-off party on Sunday night! To make life easy, we’ll meet at the bar at the base of the escalators – Chill’M bar.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the guy wearing this shirt, and soon, you will be too!

One last note. While I know there will likely be people who want a shirt who didn’t request beforehand I unfortunately won’t have any extra to give out. These shirts are to celebrate my 11 year blogging anniversary and I tried my best to give readers multiple chances to request a free shirt. I got a ton of interest which was really exciting, and means I ordered a lot of shirts, but I didn’t order extras so if you didn’t chime in over the last few months to claim yours I’ll apologize in advance for not having an extra one for you.

That being said, you’re still welcome to come and hang out and grab a drink! Looking forward to seeing everyone at NamesCon in less than two weeks.

Monday Morning Walk with Morgan – Episode 4

Mon, 2019-01-14 15:56

Hello, happy Monday, and welcome to another episode of Monday Morning Walks with Morgan, this time live from my hometown of San Francisco, California. If you’re interested in reading more about any of the stories I cover in the video, just scroll down and you’ll find links to all of them.

Thanks for watching and if you enjoy the video feel free to give it a thumbs up on You Tube. Also, I do plan on recording more videos on my You Tube channel beyond what you find here on my blog so if you want to know when new videos are uploaded, feel free to subscribe.

Last but not least, what did you think of this week’s video? I ordered lav mics that should be coming in this week so that should help with the audio, and a stabilizer is next. I also was finally able to keep a video under 5 minutes so let me know if you like the new, shorter, format.

Either way, I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Weekend Musings

Sun, 2019-01-13 03:07

So I used to do a weekly post called Weekend Musings. It was the one post that took a step back away from my usual articles and instead gave me the chance to share a bit about my own personal life. I stopped doing these some time ago but miss writing them so think I might try to start back up again.

Right now I only have about ten minutes since we’re heading to the Symphony tonight (yes we both are big Classical music fans) so I’ll make this one short and sweet.

So here they are, in no particular order, my weekend musings:

  • I booked my flights for NamesCon yesterday, I tend to wait until the last minute to book them given how my schedule can change so much from week to week. I’ll be getting in on Sunday afternoon and leaving Tuesday evening. I’m really looking forward to NamesCon, it’s always a great way to start the year and I can’t wait to catch-up with everyone!
  • This morning we went to a class about Zazen at the San Francisco Zen Center. If you don’t know what Zazen is, it’s a core part of the Zen practice and is simply seated meditation. While it sounds easy to just sit in silence focusing on your breath, it’s much harder in practice. I really like the Zen center, beautiful building and not surprisingly, a very peaceful place, here’s a photo I took in the courtyard this morning.

  • This afternoon we went to Japantown for lunch and spent some time in one of my favorite bookstores in San Francisco. I’ve been slowly learning to read Japanese and there’s something awe-inspiring about being around so many books written in Japanese. That being said, even when I pick up a book meant for a four year old, I still can’t make it through a single page…so safe to say I have a ways to go.

  • A friend of mine told me about a new Javascript framework called GatsbyJS that I’m really digging. If you like building things in React, you should definitely check out Gatsby.
  • Tomorrow morning I’m going to my Mom’s house to watch the Warriors game from Friday, she’s become a serious basketball fan and I’ve really been enjoying watching games with her. It’s nice to be able to just hop on BART and be in Berkeley 20 minutes later.
  • Tomorrow afternoon I’m going to a comedy festival in SF with two of my good friends from college who also live in the Bay Area. We’ve been trying to get together every month and have been doing a good job of making it happen. It’s pretty awesome that we’re all in the Bay Area at the same time after living in different parts of the country since college.

Okay, that’s it – time to change out of my jeans, put on some slacks, and head to the symphony. I hope you’re all having a great weekend. Feel free to comment on any of my musings or share your own weekend musings in the comment section below.

Either way, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

.GOV now appears to have become one of the least secure domain extensions

Sat, 2019-01-12 04:05

When I think of .GOV domain names, I usually think of a government website (which is what .GOV is used for) and expect the highest-level of security available. For the most part this assumption has been true, but that seems to be changing. Here’s what’s going on.

You’ve probably heard of SSL Certificates right? That’s what provides that nice safe lock icon and starts with https rather than plain old http. Well, there’s also something called a TSL Certificates. TSL is another cryptographic protocol for authentication and data security (geek talk for “something that keeps your data safe”), and actually came out after SSL and was touted as the next generation of security.

So it wouldn’t be surprising to hear that the government uses TSL Certificates on their site, but what might surprise you is that about 80 of those have expired as a result of the government shutdown. This means that suddenly, 80 government sites will become less secure than ever before, or in many cases, just stop working completely.

With around 400,000 federal employees currently furloughed, more than 80 TLS certificates used by .gov websites have so far expired without being renewed. To compound the situation, some of these abandoned websites can no longer be accessed due to strict security measures that were implemented long before the shutdown started. (Source – Netcraft)

And what happens if you don’t have SSL or TSL on a site? Security expert Paul Mutton explains that,

“This introduces some realistic security concerns, as task-oriented users are more likely to ignore these security warnings, and will therefore render themselves vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.” (Source – OODALoop)

It’s likely that this problem will only grow as the shutdown continues, which means that for now .GOV has suddenly become one of the least secure domain extensions out there.

Grab.co.id (almost) sold for $250,000 – now two companies are going to court over it

Fri, 2019-01-11 03:55

If there was ever a domain soap opera, this might just be the first episode. What makes it particularly interesting is that the subject of what has now turned into a serious lawsuit is a .CO.ID domain name. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of .CO.ID but there are plenty of ccTLDs out there that many of us haven’t heard of so nothing too crazy there.

Apparently two guys met in July of 2017 and inked a deal for the acquisition of Grab.co.id for $250,000, yes – that’s a quarter of a million dollars. The buyer had a pretty strong need for the domain given that their company is called Grab and operates in Indonesia.

So what exactly happened? Well like I said, it really is a domain soap opera and reading through the details of how the lawsuit started is a bit like trying to follow the move “Usual Suspects” for the first time. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened:

In July 2017, GrabTaxi Holdings’ head of partnerships Shawn Heng expressed interest in buying the domain name grab.co.id during a phone call with Mr Mark Ho, a director and sole shareholder of 3 Corporate Services.

Mr Ho allegedly told Mr Heng that the firm did not register grab.co.id, but it could help transfer the domain name to GrabTaxi Holdings.

Mr Ho is also a director of Top 3 Media, which registered the grab.co.id domain name through a representative.

Later, the two men discussed the proposed sale of the domain name to GrabTaxi Holdings over WhatsApp through a series of text messages.

3 Corporate Services, represented by Selvam LLC, is alleging that both firms entered into a written agreement on July 22, 2017, and that 3 Corporate Services was to procure the transfer of the domain name from Top 3 Media to GrabTaxi for US$250,000.

However, in September that year, GrabTaxi Holdings purportedly informed 3 Corporate Services that it would not honour the agreement. (Source – TodayOnline.com)

I would recommend reading the full article if you really want to dive into the details because this certainly doesn’t seem like a straight-forward predicament to me. At the end of the day, what this does highlight IMO is how powerful ccTLDs still are and that one-word domains, even in a domain extension you’ve never heard of can be worth six-figures.

For anyone that took the time to read through the article, who do you think is going to win the battle for Grab.co.id?

Lucasfilm wins UDRP for two TM-infringing domain names

Thu, 2019-01-10 05:15

It still amazes me that people think that they can register domains with long-held Trademarks and get away with it. Yes, in some cases people just don’t know that you can’t register domain names with Trademarks in them…but in many cases they do and just want to see if they can get away with it. Well in the case of Lucasfilm, if you register a domain name with the words “star wars” in it, expect to be hearing from their lawyers.

Recently the company went after two domains and won in a single panelist UDRP. While I think anyone would lose these names regardless of how many panelists there were, a single panelist UDRP can very easily go poorly for domain owners, TM squatters or not.

The registrant, Ben Clark, was accused of controlling the domains to prevent Disney from “reflecting its mark in corresponding domain names”.

According to Disney and Lucasfilm, Clark was intentionally attempting to gain internet traffic for commercial gain.

Sole panellist Charles Kuechenmeister ruled in favour of Disney and Lucasfilm, agreeing that the domains were registered in bad faith and that they were confusingly similar to Disney trademarks. (Source – FanthaTracks)

I’ve given many warnings on my blog about the dangers of registering domains that infringe on Trademarks. In some cases you might not know there is a trademark but if you’re registering a domain name with “star wars” in it, or “Microsoft” or “Facebook” or anything else that you know is Trademarked, don’t be surprised when they come to claim their domains.

Brexit could outlaw .EU domain names in the UK

Wed, 2019-01-09 05:36

There has been a lot of buzz lately about Brexit, and more recently, the possibility of a “no deal” Brexit. No matter how you slice it, a lot of going to change for people in the UK, and one of them that most people probably aren’t thinking about right now is their domain portfolios.

It turns out that the .EU registry is pretty strict about who can register and renew their domains, and they’ve already issued a warning:

As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date.

Accredited .eu Registrars will not be entitled to process any request for the registration of or for renewing registrations of .eu domain names by those undertakings, organisations and persons.(Source – European Commission)

What this means is that unless someone decides to specifically carve out something in the Brexit deal that would allow UK citizens to hang onto their .EU domains. But let’s be honest, nobody is prioritizing domain names when it comes to squeezing things into the deal this late in the game.

Of course, there are loopholes (I’d imagine, but certainly don’t know for sure) and for people in the UK with a large portfolio, having a business registered in a country in the EU might do the trick. Either way, there are going to be some pretty disappointed people in the UK, and a LOT of .EU domains dropping in 2020.

One easy mistake new domain investors (and gamblers) make

Tue, 2019-01-08 04:48

I had a friend who used to brag to me about how much money he made playing poker. It felt like every time I saw him he had a new story about how he made $5,000 in the last tournament. Eventually I realized that over the last year, every time we spoke I only heard about him winning at poker.

So I asked him, “you certainly have won a lot of poker tournaments this year, have you lost any?”

I could see the gears turning. “I have lost quite a few, I’m not sure how much money I lost in total but I’m sure if you added it all up I’d come out ahead.”

To this my reaction was the same as yours likely would be, probably most aptly represented by the facepalm emoji.

This same kind of logic happens all the time in the domain name world, and if you’re not careful, you can end up in the same situation as my friend the gambler, because well, you’re playing the same game.

As a new domain investor it usually goes something like this. You spend $5,000 hand-registering domain names, and you now have a portfolio of 500 domains. A few months later you sell one of your domains for $600. Immediately you think, wow – so that $5,000 I spent has allowed me to build a portfolio worth $300,000 or more!

So what do you do? Buy more names! I’ve nicknamed this little right of passage as the “great domain name buying spree” and I did the same thing myself as did just about every other domain investor out there.

The problem is, you buy more names, now you’ve spent $10,000. Six months passes, no names sell. A year later, still nothing. Now the domains are up for renewal and you’re convinced that you’re onto something, hey one sold for $600, you just know that next year is going to be your year…so you renew everything.

Now rather than buying more names, you’re letting it ride, and playing the same names for another year. Sometimes it takes two or three years until you realize that over that time period you’ve spent thousands in renewal fees and that money could have been used to buy much better domains since you now actually do have more industry knowledge.

Of course, just when you’re getting ready to drop a bunch of names, one sells for $5,000 and you tell everyone you know. Suddenly, you’re a successful Domainer, you can buy domains for $10 and sell them for $5,000 – boom!

Well, not really.

Instead you’re just like the poker player. You’re still forgetting to factor in the money you’ve spent initially buying domains, then renewing them, even with that $5,000 sale the reality is that you turned $10,000 in $5,600 in two years. Guess what, a lot of people can do that…and with a lot more to show for it.

If you’ve been running your business this way, it’s time for a change, you don’t want to be a gambler, you want to be an investor.

There’s no better way to start out 2019 than to look at the numbers and really see where you stand. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. How much did you pay for all the domains in your portfolio?
  2. What is their renewal fee each year?
  3. How much do you need to make to actually turn a profit?

Imagine if you started each year taking every dollar you made from the domains you sell and putting it directly into paying yourself back for what you originally invested? Then, once you hit that number, taking every dollar you make on sales and putting it into renewal fees for the domains you own.

Then, finally, after doing all of that – taking a percentage of the money you make, which now is finally a profit, and putting that money towards adding new, quality domains to your portfolio.

You can break this down into what I’ll call the three Baby Steps of Domain Investing:

Baby Step 1: Pay yourself back for all the money you invested in your portfolio

Baby Step 2: Pay all of your renewal fees for the year (for the domain you want to keep)

Baby Step 3: Use a percentage of your profit to buy more domain names

Until you get to Baby Step 3, hold yourself back from buying more names, just try to sell what you have and drop what you think/know is garbage, stop renewing junk. Then, when you sell a domain for $600 or $6,000 you can actually say that you made $6,000 and mean it.

The moral of the story here is that you need to actually keep track of how much money you spend building your portfolio and how much your portfolio is going to cost you to keep each year (i.e. your renewal fees). It can be all too easy just to focus on your sales (just like the gambler does on their winnings), but don’t forget that as an investor you’re trying to reliably make a profit.

What do you think of the three Baby Steps of Domain Investing? Am I missing a step? Over-simplifying? Just plain stupid? I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

I’m thinking about writing a new weekly series about coding – would you read it?

Sat, 2019-01-05 21:52

Lately I’ve found more and more people in my life have come to me interested in getting started in the software development world but not sure where to start. On the plus side, there are more free coding tutorials online now than there ever were. There are also amazing coding schools like Lamda School, and subject-specific schools like Metis that focus on Data Science.

The challenge that I’m seeing people who want to get started in the software development world face is what path they want to take. Should you learn front-end or back-end, build iOS apps or become a data scientist? The reality is, some of these paths will be interesting to you, others will be incredibly boring, the key is finding what you like.

I personally have been coding in Python for quite a while now and I’ve been writing HTML/CSS/Javascript for almost twenty years. I’m pretty excited by how much Javascript has grown thanks to continual innovation and the introduction of amazing libraries like React. Python is now starting to take Java’s place as the go-to language for Computer Science students which is also really exciting and something I thought might happen given how powerful Python is.

Since I spend a lot more of my time in the software world than the domain name world I thought it might be interesting to put together a series on coding, starting with the basic question of – do you want to be a front-end or back-end developer and then doing a deeper dive into each.

While I think there are already a zillion good tutorials out there, I do think I could put my own unique spin on it, and hopefully inject a little fun and humor into the process. My idea was to start with these three posts to kick off the series:

Coding with Morgan – Lesson 1: Font-end vs. backend development

Coding with Morgan – Lesson 2: Introduction to HTML, CSS and Javascript

Coding with Morgan – Lesson 3: Introduction to Python

From there I can go deeper into both the HTML/CSS/Javascript path and the Python path depending on how well these first three posts do. I know that there are plenty of domain investors out there who want to put websites on some of their domains but don’t want to spend a bunch of money on a developer. The reality is, I could teach you how to build a basic website with HTML and CSS in under an hour, spend a bit more time and I could show you some cool ways to make it a bit more interactive using Javascript. Also, for Domainers who really want to get scientific about buying expired domains, I could show you how to use Python to analyze a ton of data and even learn from it to come up with your own machine learning models.

At the same time, as I’ve learned in the past, it’s important to keep my blog focused so I’m not sure if these would deviate things too far from what you, my readers, have come to expect from my blog. Which is where you come in. Do you think it would be interesting if maybe a post a week on my blog was focused on coding? Do you like the idea for these first three lessons? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Two of my favorite new domain blogs that should be on your reading list too

Thu, 2019-01-03 14:27

I’ve said it many times before but it never hurts to say it again, the domain name industry is a pretty incredible place full of inspired and passionate people. Last year I started reading two new domain blogs, both of which I really enjoy and thought were worth a mention so you can add them to your regular reading list.

The first is Alvin Brown who has his main blog at www.kickstartcommerce.com, where he shares insights on domain name investing and and Internet Marketing. Alvin also recently started writing for Domain Name Wire and has written some really solid posts so far.

What I really like about Alvin’s writing style is that he is incredibly detailed when it comes to sharing specific tips and techniques. I’ve learned quite a few things from Alvin’s blog posts and some of the tips he’s shared are making their way into my Domaining practices this year.

The second blogger I’m really enjoying reading is Joshua Schoen, who started blogging in the second half of 2018 at JoshuaSchoen.com. What I really like about Josh’s blog is the insight he gives into the domains that he buys and the way he thinks about buying domain names. He’s a really insightful person who clearly puts a lot of research into buying names, and I’ve been very impressed with the quality of names he’s been buying.

I hope both Alvin and Joshua are going to be at NamesCon this year and if so, let’s grab dinner guys! If you haven’t read either of these bloggers, add them to your regular reading list, I can tell you that you will definitely learn a thing or two.

Too often people confuse domain age with domain value

Wed, 2019-01-02 19:21

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was first getting started in Domaining was putting too much emphasis on the age of a domain name. I can remember finding domains for the late 90’s that were dropping, picking them up for $100 or less and thinking that I was building an incredibly strong portfolio.

As time went by I learned the hard way that there are lots of crappy domains that were registered in the late 90’s, and have been dropped, picked up, dropped again, and again. In reality these really aren’t “aged” domains at all, and I thought Theo from DomainGang made a good point in a comment string that I saw recently but now can’t remember the post. If Theo’s reading this, or someone who read that post feel free to include it in the comment section below.

It’s important to remember that when you’re investing in a domain name, you’re buying something that you want to be interesting to an end-user, not a Domainer. End-users are interested in the domain itself, they aren’t concerned with how old the domain is. Also, a domain from the 90’s that has dropped multiple times and you’re picking up now is probably just a really bad domain…in most cases.

That being said, yes – from time to time a real gem does drop, but you’re not getting it for $100. What I’m talking about in this post is that 23 year-old domain that you snagged for $60 that you think is going to be worth a fortune, only the domain is xxjflksdflka.com, “but it’s an aged domain!” you say.

Just to emphasize my point, here’s some “aged” domains dropping right now – all are 20+ years old.

Let’s look at Mauidiscounts.com, it was originally registered in 1998. So you might say, wow – a two-word .COM from 1998 with no bids, jackpot! In fact, as you can see, this whole list has no bids, you can buy them all and with little competition…why? Because they’re junk, and while you could get lucky some day and sell one of them to an end-user, the reality is you’ll waste your money buying names like these just because they are old.

So let’s put the whole idea of a domain being valuable because it’s old, that’s just not true. It is true that there are a lot of really valuable domain names that were registered a long time ago. Just don’t get these two statements confused or you’ll end up with a portfolio full of old junky domains.

My Domaining New Year’s Resolutions

Tue, 2019-01-01 20:32

Well that’s it, 2018 is in the books and I am really excited about the year ahead for many reasons. Every year I put together New Year’s Resolutions, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to get better at setting realistic goals. I have three sets of resolutions – life, business (Bold Metrics), and Investing of which Domaining is a major part of.

One thing I’ll note is that New Year’s Resolutions are often fairly specific to that person, so this is one of those posts where maybe one thing makes sense for you, but it wouldn’t be too crazy if nothing does. I thought Rick Schwartz wrote a really solid post recently about Domaining being an “Individual Sport” and that really is true.

Yes, the Domain Industry is full of amazing people, and it’s awesome how many people share their thoughts, strategies, and advice (and often for free). I have made some amazing lifelong friends thanks to Domaining, and I think it’s fair to say we have one of the most welcoming and incredible communities on the planet.

All that being said, our own life situations, techniques, past purchases, sales, what we do with our profits, our losses, etc. It’s all individual. So when you read the ways in which one person is thinking about their investment strategy, it really might not be relevant at all to yours. In short – take this as my own thoughts for me, not as advice for anyone else. With that said, here are my Domaining New Year’s Resolutions for 2019.

  1. Say yes to more inbound offers – I say no to most inbound offers and have for some time now. This hurts sales velocity and often because I’m trying to lock in a 10x ROI. I’m going to start to try to be a little more comfortable with a 2x or 3x ROI since every time I make a sale I can book a profit and add more domains to my portfolio that can create an even bigger profit down the road.
  2. Increase my average purchase price – in 2018 I’d say my average purchase price for a domain was between $100 – $200. This year I’d like to increase that to $500 – $1,000. In the end I’ll likely buy less domains but put a bigger focus on quality.
  3. Work with brokers more – I don’t have time to do outbound on my domains, and given how busy I am I also realized last year that I don’t really have time to do good follow-ups on inbounds either. In Q4 I started letting Uniregistry brokers handle more of my domains and it has produced better results than I could have myself. Looking back on their conversation log I can see how much they really work it, lots of emails, phone calls, etc. I think good brokers can really work magic, they do this all day every day so they’re going to be a lot better than me, and I want to work with brokers more this year.
  4. Keep better track of what domains I have set to autorenew – I need to do a better job of evaluating which domains I want to renew. I accidentally renewed some names last year that I really should have dropped, this year I want to be more relentless about really thinking through if a name is worth keeping, especially if it’s something I hand registered.
  5. Go to NamesCon Europe (as well as Vegas of course) – I’ve been to every single NamesCon in Vegas but I really want to connect up with the European Domaining crew more. So this year I plan to go to both Vegas and Portugal. I have an amazing time at NamesCon every year so this year going to two NamesCon’s really does just sound like twice the fun.

Okay, there you have it – my Domaining New Year’s Resolutions. Feel free to comment on any of mine or share yours. Either way, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

Monday Morning Walks with Morgan – Episode #3

Mon, 2018-12-31 16:37

Well it’s the last Monday of 2018 and where better to end the year than in a peaceful village in Lake Como. This week I’ve done my best to keep the intro short and hold the camera even more steady, if that’s possible! Thanks to Jamie from DotWeekly for suggesting a pretty cool device to help stabilize the camera for future videos, I’ll definitely be using one next year.

Also I noticed a silly mistake right at the beginning of the video…I say that today is the last day of 2019, so I’m a year early for that, but I don’t edit these, it’s a one take things otherwise I won’t have time to do these weekly videos. So maybe I’ll re-use this intro a year from now? Oh well, so it goes.

Enjoy the video and make sure to scroll down below the video for links to the articles that I highlighted.



Articles mentioned in this week’s video

I hope all of my readers have a safe and Happy New Years, see you in 2019!

.TK is touted as the #1 ccTLD, but is it for the right reasons?

Sat, 2018-12-29 20:53

ZDNet published an article this week about the popularity of .TK and it’s position as the #1 ccTLD with .CN coming in at #2. That being said, I think .TK is the #1 ccTLD for one reason and one reason only, it’s free, not because it has anything to do with the tiny island of Tokelau and popularity of websites and content related to the island.

The small Pacific island Tokelau is still the most populated country-level domain in the world, outnumbering the 20.8 million domains that use China’s .cn. 

UK registry for .uk domains has published its latest topsy-turvy map of the world, with land mass weighted according to the number of registered country-level domains. 

As it was two years ago, Tokelau remains the world’s ‘largest’ country, thanks to its free registration policy; the number of .tk domains reaching nine million in 2012 and from there tripling to 31 million by 2016. Today, the number of .tk domains stands at 21.2 million, but it still remains the largest, just ahead of China. (Source – ZDNet)

.CN on the other hand, and other popular ccTLDs like .DE, .IT, .ES and many others are popular because they are used for real websites in those regions, you know, like ccTLDs were intended to be used for.

.TK on the other hand is mostly used for, well, spam and scams. While .TK is still technically a ccTLD I really don’t think it’s fair to include it in articles alongside legitimate ccTLDs like .CN and .DE that are being used like they were intended. In this case, just like .TV isn’t popular because of Tuvalu, it really should be thought of as a gTLD, one of the only free gTLDs out there.

When it comes to ccTLDs I think the reality is, .CN is #1 and .DE is #2. Am I being too harsh here? What do you think? I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

Update on the MorganLinton.com 11-year anniversary shirt

Fri, 2018-12-28 22:21

This past October my blog celebrated its 11 year anniversary, and with it I decided to have my readers vote on a t-shirt design. The top choice was a design with #Domainer on the front, and the color, was also picked by my readers, here’s the final selection:

I had hoped to get the shirt shipped out before the holidays but Q4 ended up being a lot busier than expected, which is a good thing, but also meant that nobody got to wear this awesome shirt over the holidays.

Another lesson that I learned in corresponding with my readers is how truly global my audience is. In the end, it looks like I’ll be sending shirts to over ten countries which is pretty amazing. It also means this is a much bigger shipping adventure than I initially planned but hey, it’s practically 2019 and internationally shipping isn’t rocket science.

Still, this turned into a bigger endeavor than I had time to complete in Q4. So I wanted to write a quick post just to let you know that the shirts are coming, by truck and by plane, #Domainer shirts will be making their way around the world.

I’m also planning a special event for my readers at NamesCon this year connected to the shirts but I don’t want to give away too much yet. Suffice it to say, if you are coming to NamesCon, make sure to bring your #Domainer shirt with you as it will come in handy.

Thanks again to all of my readers from around the world – you are the reason I’ve been blogging for 11 years and why I think 11 years from now I’ll still be blogging away! Oh and if you didn’t email me to claim your shirt yet, this also means it’s not too late – just shoot me an email at morgan(at)morganlinton.com and I’ll make sure you’re on the list.

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