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.LUXE is the first new TLD to resolve on both the web and Ethereum blockchain

Tue, 2018-11-20 15:22

Whether you’re a fan of cryptocurrency or not, I think it’s safe to say that blockchain has already changed the world. These are still the early days and yes, it’s very clear that we’re still sorting out how blockchain will be used, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a game-changer. Will we be using Bitcoin to make everyday purchases? Well that’s a tough one. Will blockchain find its way into our daily lives, behind-the-scenes, most likely so, and in some cases, it already is.

One of the newest entrants to the new gTLD space, .LUXE – is making history as it becomes the first new gTLDs designed to resolve on both the web and Ethereum blockchain. While this might not make sense to you now, something tells me ten years from now we’ll remember this is a pretty seminal move connecting domain names to the world of blockchain.

Currently, there is no interoperable naming convention across the World Wide Web and blockchain universes. On the fastest growing blockchain, Ethereum, 42 character randomly generated alphanumeric strings presently serve as the public identifiers for the 43 million Ethereum assets now in circulation on that blockchain. Through .luxe, human readable names can serve as the public identifier for businesses, individuals and assets on the Ethereum blockchain, thereby helping to improve ease-of-use and trust between counter parties. The same .luxe name can also be used on the World Wide Web, helping to further improve transparency and trust between counter parties. (Source – MMX Blog)

.LUXE went into Sunrise (i.e. for trademark holders only) starting in early August. General availability started on November 6th. If you’re looking to register a .LUXE domain the place I was able to find the best pricing was 101Domain which has them priced at $22.99/year.

What do you think about .LUXE? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Remembering my Grandfather, Andrus LaBarge

Tue, 2018-11-20 03:24

I don’t normally write about my personal life on my blog, but today I wanted to break tradition to take a moment to reflect on something that happened this past week. Last Tuesday my grandfather, Andrus LaBarge passed away, he was 89. I’m in New York now in an AirBnB on Lake Katrine with my Mom after spending Sunday and Monday honoring my grandfather’s (or Poppy as we would call him) life.

After spending two days reflecting on my grandfather, I think this picture most captures his spirit, it’s a photo of him with my grandmother on their wedding day.

I think the biggest reflection I have when looking back on my grandfathers life is his dedication to his family, his wife, and his community. Poppy truly lived the life he dreamed of, he fell in love and spent 61 years with his wife, my grandmother Jackie. They had five kids (one child died as an infant), and he was dedicate to making sure they all went to college – and they did. He worked hard, helped his community, and into his 80’s still was handing out turkeys during the holidays to those who couldn’t afford to buy one themselves.

In 2014 my grandmother Jackie died of cancer. Unfortunately it was a very painful death, and for my grandfather, watching the love of his life go through so much suffering took a toll. After she died he was never the same. I can still remember talking to him years after she died, “I miss your grandmother so much,” he would say multiple times in every call I had with him.

Some people find a way to move on with life after the death of someone they love…but sometimes they don’t and life loses its meaning. This is what happened to my grandfather, and from the moment my grandmother died, he was ready to move on to be with her. He died without suffering and was ready to pass on. In a way, he really did achieve everything that most people dream of achieving, a family, true love, great friends, and a real dedication to helping people while asking for nothing in return.

I will always remember my grandfather and the values that he stood for. For years I’ve said life is short. At the same time I think, sometimes, maybe it isn’t. Maybe sometimes you set a goal and hit it and then when the core part of that world starts to slip away, life becomes long, probably too long. I know my grandfather passed away knowing that he would be remembered for the man that he was, a great father, husband, and incredible contributor to the community. He wasn’t a millionaire, he didn’t invent some new technology or write a best-selling book, but in his own way he did change the world and for those who knew him they’ll tell you – he definitely made the world a better place.

So if you happen to have a glass in front of you, or if not go grab one, and let’s raise a glass to my grandfather Andrus LaBarge. If you want to read more about my grandfather feel free to read his obituary below:

One of the best “on page” SEO guides I’ve ever seen

Sun, 2018-11-18 05:08

As we all know, the SEO world changes all the time, at this point looking at articles even from six-months ago can leave you following tips that no longer apply. Two days ago I found a pretty darn comprehensive article about on-page SEO, and since it was published two days ago, it’s safe to say it’s still relevant.

In the guide they have a really interesting section dedicated to the importance of short descriptive URLS:

Take a look at this URL:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322345.php

Can you tell me what that page is about just by looking at the URL? I doubt it.

Now take a look at this one:

https://www.dietdoctor.com/how-to-lose-weight

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that it’s a blog post about losing weight. That’s because this is an example of a descriptive URL—it tells you what to expect from the page.

There are a few reasons why this is good practice for on‐page SEO.

Firstly, as we discussed in the previous point, searchers are most likely to click the search result that best matches their search query. Descriptive URLs help cement your page as that result.

Secondly, and more importantly, descriptive URLs tend to include the keyword(s) you’re targeting. According to our previous study of 2M keywords, there’s a slight correlation between rankings and keywords in the URL. (Source – Ahrefs blog)

Honestly this guide made me realize a number of things I should be doing both to optimize the on-page SEO for my blog, and our on-page SEO for Bold Metrics. If you haven’t given much thought to your on-page SEO, now might be a good time to look through this guide and see what tweaks you can make.

When it comes to SEO, little changes can go a long way and this guide is full of little things you can do to improve your on-page SEO. Oh, and I know it sounds like these guys must be a sponsor, but they’re note, I just think they wrote a really kick-ass guide to SEO that is relevant today, so I wanted to share it with all of you. Enjoy!

How expired domains can lead to credit card theft

Sat, 2018-11-17 06:28

Well here’s something I never thought of – criminals are using expired domain names to steal credit card numbers. As a domain investor I see expired domains as potential investment, I’m less concerned with if there was or wasn’t a site on the domain in the past, I’m more interested in who might want to build a business on it in the future.

For scammers, well, they’re wired a bit differently and for them expired domains mean an easy way to trick people into giving them their credit card number. How big of a problem is this practice? It’s certainly more prevalent that I thought:

“We have observed more than 800 sites hosting these brand impersonation/skimming stores since June 2018,” the report notes.

“This group’s strategy appears rather simple: the perpetrators set up a large number of stores impersonating as many popular brands as possible and drive traffic to these fake stores with a variety of methods,” the report continues. “Some visitors will attempt to make purchases, entering their payment information into the payment form where the skimmer copies it and sends it to a drop server. The payment page even displays badges from various security companies in order to appear more legitimate.” (Source – KrebsonSecurity.com)

So what does this mean for you? Here’s the rub. Let’s say you ran a business for a few years on a domain. The business never took off so you let the domain expire…well now someone buys the domain after it expires and boom – somehow you’re linked to a scam site.

“Giving up on a long-held domain name — particularly one tied to your name — is always a tough call, because you simply never know what it will be used for when it falls into someone else’s hands.” 

For most Domainers this will be a non-issues since you’re not developing your domains, but if you do, and that website has your name on it, be careful if you decide to let it expire. If it ends up in the hands of a scammer you could end up getting confused with them, and unraveling that could cost you a lot of time and money…

Efty beefs up Google Analytics support and continues to make Domainers lives easier

Fri, 2018-11-16 06:45

As many of you know I’ve been a big fan of Efty’s for some time now. One of my favorite things about Efty is that they’re always adding new features to make life easier. Last month they introduced a pretty slick feature that I wanted to quickly highlight in case anyone missed it.

So back in 2016 Efty added Google Analytics support which allowed Domainers to connect their Google Analytics account to their for-sale landing pages. Given all the data Google Analytics provides this is a very handy feature. The problem is, you had to leave Efty to view the stats, i.e. log into Google Analytics. As of last month you can now view your Google Analytics stats directly from Efty.

“Once you’ve linked your Google account you can view visitors stats for all your Google Analytics accounts and properties right into Efty.

You can select the date range in the top right corner and get a quick snapshot of Sessions (visitors), popular pages (keep in mind this works best if your landing pages are hosted on EftyMarket.com), Sources, Medium, Devices, and Countries. To switch between Google Analytics accounts, you use the drop-down menu in the left-hand corner.” (Source – Efty Blog)

Here’s a nifty animation to show you what the new feature looks like in action:

If you already have an Efty account you can start using this right away. It’s little things like this that separate good software from great software. Thanks to Efty for continuing to go above-and-beyond, now to get this setup in my own Efty account!

Have you used the Google Analytics integration in Efty? If so, what did you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Here it is – my interview with Giuseppe Graziano on investing in liquid domains

Wed, 2018-11-14 23:10

Many of you already know Giuseppe, but in case you don’t, he’s one of the top minds in the liquid domain space and publishes quarterly reports on the liquid domain market at GGRG.com. He actually just released his latest report this week which was highlighted in DNJournal yesterday.

As I’m looking at shifting my own investment strategy to focus more on liquid domains next year I really wanted to pick Giuseppe’s brain. Then I thought, why not turn it into an interview that I can share with all of you? Huge thanks to Giuseppe for taking the time to answer these questions, first a quick disclaimer and then onto the interview!

Disclaimer: The minimum entry tickets, prices indications, and advice in the interview are for information and illustrative purposes only. Any of the information mentioned in the interview should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular domain purchase or course of action. 

1. If an investor is looking to build a liquid portfolio, would you recommend numeric domains, letters, or a combination of both?   There are 2 ways to answer this question based on 1) how much money you can invest and 2) if you are a buy-and-hold type of guy versus a trader who likes quick flips.   Let’s look first at #1, the entry tickets. If you are starting out, I would definitely go for the least expensive liquid categories like the 4 letter .com (4Ls) domains, the 5 number .com (5Ns) domains and the 3 characters .com (3Cs) domains. These categories have a $100+ entry ticket and are accessible (and recommended) to most newbies. When you graduated from the low ticket items, you can move up the ladder to 3Ls, 4Ns, and 2Cs, which have a $10k+ entry ticket. These categories are less liquid because of their steeper price. Finally, for the high-stakes pros, there are the premium items like the 2Ls, 2Ns, and 3Ns, with an entry ticket of $100k+.    About your investing style: if you prefer a buy-and-hold strategy, (i.e. you buy a domain and then you are comfortable waiting for an end user), I would look at the most developed categories, which are the ones with the highest percentage of end-user ownership. We call that percentage “development index”. According to our latest LXDO report (which we publish quarterly in collaboration with Escrow.com, Intelium, and ShortNames, and which you can receive for free by signing up for our newsletter at ggrg.com) the most developed categories are the 2 letter .com (35%), followed by the 3 letter .com (28%) and, finally, the 2 characters .com (26%). If you are looking instead at making frequent trades with smaller margins, I would look at the most traded categories like the 4Ls, 5Ns, and 3Cs. These are the categories which register a quarterly turnover higher than 0.5%. What does this mysterious quarterly turnover number mean? It means that the market for those domains is very active (thousands of transactions per quarter) and it is easy for you to resell your domain if you want to. — 2. How have you seen the dynamics of the numeric domain name market change over the last year?   According to the data in our reports, all liquid domains categories covered by the LXDO have steadily declined over time in terms of floor price. We are still in the aftermath of the Chinese bubble of 2015, and today there are a lot less Chinese buyers active in the market. Conversely, we have noted an increase in activity by non-Chinese investors, especially for the most developed categories, that is 2 letters, 3 letters, and 2 characters .com. — 3. Where are the best places for investors to look if they want to buy wholesale?   A good rule of thumb for buying domains (or anything really) is “go where you have less competition”. It’s the universal law of supply and demand. In practical terms, the best place for buying domains wholesale is almost always private deals, because you are likely the only buyer negotiating with the owner. Conversely, if you are a seller, you want to sell where the largest amount of active buyers are, like the most popular action houses, marketplaces or the best domain brokers. For the low ticket items like the 4 letters, 5 numbers or 3 characters, I would definitely look at GoDaddy or Namejet because they probably have the largest user base.   For the mid-range items (3L, 4N, 2C), we recently launched an investor marketplace specifically for 3L .com domains called LXME.com (Liquid Domain Market Exchange). All the largest investors are active there and you can manage to sell your 3 letter .com domain very quickly at industry low fees. One of our Danish customers managed to sell his 3L .com literally within 15 minutes of setting the right price!   Finally, for the high ticket items like the 2 letter, 2 number or 3 number .com, I would hire a professional broker to represent you, because that allows you to target end users and not just investors. You can seriously hurt your chances of getting top dollar if you go about selling your ultra-premium domain the wrong way, for example by listing it on auction with an incorrect reserve price, or by hiring someone who is going to carelessly shop it around. We have extensive brokerage experience at GGRG.com, with over $10M in sales in liquid domains only, so if you are looking for a broker for a high ticket item, I would definitely recommend to contact us. — 4. What kind of margin should investors expect to see on liquid domains? i.e. should I expect to buy at 50%-off the liquid value, 25% off, etc?   There is a sensible saying in real estate: “You make money on the buy”. The same rule applies to domains. If you can buy a domain at 50% off its floor price, fantastic! If you manage to do that, you stand to make 50%+ in profit when you sell it. The issue though is that liquid domains is a competitive market and there are lines of investors wanting to buy at 50% off. Just imagine selling an apartment in Manhattan (or central Lisbon, these days) – how many buyers do you think would queue up to buy at half price? Tons!     More realistically, it is easier to catch opportunities at 10-20% off, although even these are rare. It is easier to find great deals if you are ready to buy high ticket items (like 2Ls .com) or if you buy in large volumes. — 5. While the word “liquid” is used, what is the realistic time it would take to sell a liquid domain?    I will answer this question the long way. Please bear with me. The liquidity of a domain is directly proportional to the number of buyers interested in buying your domain. If you want to sell a 4 letter .com, there are probably 1,000+ buyers ready to buy your domain around floor price, which means that you can liquidate your domain within a few days, provided you have a way of reaching those buyers, for example through an auction platform.    But if you want to sell a 2 letter .com, the number of buyers out there is much smaller, which means that, unless you are happy taking the first offer that comes along, you would have to wait a longer period, which could take up to several weeks. On average, the longer you can wait, and the more buyers you can reach, the highest is the amount you can sell your domain for. If you read this again slowly, you will realize this is not rocket science.   To give you a concrete example, a competent broker would be probably able to get you 6 digits offers for your 2 letter .com within 7 days – just do not expect it to be top dollar. Similar timing, different offers, for a 3L .com. This is the reason why I started LXME.com in the first place, to allow owners to liquidate their 3L .com domains at the highest wholesale price, in the fastest way possible and without needing to rely on an extensive network of people within the industry. — 6. Do you consider a domain “liquid” if the buyer is an end user or only if it’s another investor?   A domain is considered liquid independently if the buyer is an investor or an end-user. If you do sell a liquid domain to an end-user though, you stand to make a lot more money, which is why the most successful investors I know, look for liquid domains with end-user potential. The liquidity limits their downside (in case an end user never shows ) and they stand to make a large profit if they manage to sell to an end user. I noticed a pattern where good domain investors buy any liquid domain around floor price and resell it quickly, and great domain investors buy good domain names at fair prices and then hold them to sell to an end user for a large margin.    If I recall correctly that’s also how Warren Buffet’s strategy evolved – he went from buying bad companies at bargain prices to buy great companies at fair prices. Maybe it is a sensible advice for domain investors too. — 7. What is the biggest mistake you see people make when they’re trying to build a liquid portfolio?   Jumping into the market without first trying to understand the market dynamics. For example, a newbie might start out buying a few .org or .net domains because they are cheaper and their .com counterpart sold for top dollars. Wrong. What you really bought is a domain (or portfolio) with no end user upside and for which there are only a handful of active buyers. But this mistake is nothing compared to what I am going to write about next.
  The mistake that unfortunately, I see too many people doing, despite dozens of newsletters and blog posts, is that they go out and hand register domains believing they are liquid. Stop the madness. This is by far the most common way of losing money in domain investing and I say this because I lost a lot of money myself in this way. As my friend Yoni says: “If a domain is available for registration, it is the most crowd-sourced method to tell that it is worthless”. There is this unfortunate myth which says you can register a good domain and then sell it, but I’ll say it again in the hope people do not make this mistake: do not register available domain names for investment purposes! While there were times in the history of mankind where this was possible (like the fabulous TRAFFIC’s decade, the 6N .com run in 2015 or the typo domains), those times are gone. There are over 300M registered domains, so your chances are less than slim. There is the occasional lottery winner who manages to sell a domain, but 99,9% of new registrations never sell. You only read about these lottery sales but you do not hear about the millions lost in hopeless renewal fees. I will say it again: unless you are a wizard or Mike Mann, do not hand register domain names. I said it 3 times, hopefully, it works. — 8. I’ll end with a fun one! Giuseppe, what’s one thing that most people don’t know about you that they’d be surprised to learn?   3 things about me that might surprise:
  • I got so obsessed with the Chinese market that I developed a mild OCD with numbers. For example, whenever I catch the metro, I always go through the gate that has the more auspicious numbers. If there are multiple exits, I would always take the ones containing 8, repeated patterns and, obviously, no 4s. For years I got off the metro station at exit 008. It got to a point where my girlfriend knows this and can tell already which exit I am going to take. And makes fun of me.
  • When I was first studying domain names, your videos [Morgan’s] were one of the first resources I came across. I particularly recall one in which Morgan compared real estate to domain investing [you can link the video if you want].
  • Oh, and I used to have long hair! This surprises quite a few people. (see below)

.DEV domains are coming – here’s how to get yours

Wed, 2018-11-14 06:19

So in case you missed the memo, Google is the proud owner of a new domain extension – .DEV. The new TLD comes out in January and many are expecting it to provide some pretty serious competition for .IO which has been without a doubt the most popular domain extension in the dev community next to .COM.

So what’s the big deal with .DEV? Here’s the skinny directly from Google:

“.dev is a secure domain for developers and technology. From tools to platforms, programming languages to blogs, .dev is a home for all the interesting things that you build.” (Source – Get.dev)

As many of you know, next to .COM, .IO has been a favorite of mine, and while I do like .DEV, I personally think that two character extensions are pretty darn neat, and .IO has a really solid base of dev-centric startups that have built amazing companies while branding around the extension.

That being said, I try to be realistic (when possible) and I do think that .DEV will chip away at .IO and will likely become a popular choice for developers.

So how can you get your hands on a .DEV domain?

There are two ways:

  1. If you have a trademark, you can register the corresponding .DEV domain during their sunrise period which kicks off on January 16th 2019
  2. Starting Feb 19th 2019 you’ll be able to register .DEV domains earlier, but at a higher price
  3. On Feb 28th .DEV goes into General Availability which means that anyone can buy one

What I always try to remind people when new domain extensions come out is that the very best names get scooped up before GA (General Availability). So if you want to get a killer .DEV domain you’ll likely need to be a Trademark holder or pony up for your top choice domains prior to GA on the 28th.

Will I be buying .DEV domains?

There’s a good chance I’ll buy 5 – 10 domains but I’m not setting my expectations high. I’m happy to spend $1k – $2k on names prior to GA if I can get them, and then I’ll buy a couple more that nobody got to on the 28th. My expectation is that I will never develop or sell them and they’ll end up being a big waste of money, but I’m willing to roll the dice.

As I’ve said time and time again, the only true investment-grade extension that’s ever worked for me is .COM, so when it comes to investing, that’s where I’m putting my focus. That being said, I think .DEV has potential to be a pretty popular extension so I’m happy to have a little skin in the game if it takes off.

But that’s me. Now I want to hear from you. Do you plan on buying any .DEV domains? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

PC Magazine Article Cites Registrars Ability To Delete Your Domains For No Reason

Tue, 2018-11-13 06:46

So PC Magazine UK recently wrote an article titled – How to Register a Domain Name for your Website, which like it sounds is a pretty straight-forward article about registering domain names. While the article covered a lot of basic topics, it also went into strange territory as I stated in the title of this post, here’s the quote:

“Many contracts contain a clause letting the registrar delete your domain name for no apparent reason. The implication, of course, is that the domain name is the registrar’s, not yours.” (Source – PC Magazine UK)

Huh?

Did I miss something? While I’m sure there are clauses around deleting domain names, it seems like the domain world would descend into chaos if registrars just started deleting domains for no reason. Something tells me someone read a registrar’s TOS and interpreted things incorrectly…but I’ll admit, I’ve never read the agreements in detail myself so who knows.

That being said, if I bought a domain for $500,000 and the next day my registrar delated it, safe to say I’d be a little upset.

What do you think? Can registrars just delete your domains for no apparent reason? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

A few interesting things I’ve learned after watching Twitch for over a year

Mon, 2018-11-12 04:52

So I have now been watching Twitch for over a year and for those wondering, yes – I do watch people play video games more than traditional sports like baseball or basketball. Of course, for those who know me, you know that I never watched sports very often so the reality is, I’m watching sports more than ever before, just in a different form.

As I watch more and more eSports I find myself paying more attention to trends I can glean from Twitch. What I pay the most attention to is this screen below:

As you can see from the image above. Twitch shows you all the games that are streaming right now, how many people are watching, and the genre of the game. While the full list of games is much larger than what you see above, it’s usually really just the top ten that I pay attention to.

Here’s a few nuggets I’ve picked up looking at this over the past year. Yes, you could write software to do this, if I had more time that would be a fun project, but I don’t so we’ll have to stick to observations made by a human.

  • Fortnite has been consistently in the #1 spot for most of the year, the only game that seems to unseat it for any sustained period of time is League of Legends. Note, before Fortnite, League of Legends was the top game so this makes sense. Lately I’ve been seeing the two switch off more frequently than before which I think is due to the fact that new games like Call of Duty Black Ops and Warframe are getting quite a few eyeballs.
  • Warframe has been in the #3 or #4 position for the past few days, seemingly out of nowhere. When this happens, it usually means a new game, or an update to an existing game came out. In this case it’s an update and it looks like people are interested.
  • Call of Duty Black Ops and Red Dead Redemption came out around the same time and were in the top ten together for a little bit there. Now Red Dead Redemption has fallen off the top ten but Call of Duty is still going strong
  • Given how popular Fortnite became, people have been wondering if Call of Duty with their new Battle Royale mode could be a reasonable competitor. It’s still too early to tell but given that it continues to enjoy some time in the top five it’s definitely getting some solid viewership
  • A growing number of people are coming to Twitch to essentially watch a podcast. That “Just Chatting” image you see in the #5 spot is people who are just on Twitch talking about stuff. I think we are going to see this category grow a ton over the next year and more people look at Twitch as their primary content source which means streaming more different and interesting content to keep people engaged

Phew – okay, that was a lot but I wanted to write down my observations. To some of you this might be one of the most boring posts I’ve ever written, but if you’re into gaming and eSports, I’d be interested to hear what you think of my observation and of course any you’ve had yourself.

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

Three of my most-read posts over the last few months

Sun, 2018-11-11 06:47

I’m always interested to see which of my posts seem to spark the best conversations or interesting debates. As a blogger, learning what you, my audience likes to read is critical, otherwise I could end up writing a bunch of posts that are interesting to me, and nobody else.

So, since I’m looking anyway, I thought it might be fun to share three of my most popular posts in the last few months. If you missed any of these, the comments are still very much open so feel free to read and jump in to share your opinion.

  1. Hand registering domains is a fools game – this post was inspired by a tweet from popular domain broker Andrew Rosner, the conversation took off and it now has 31 comments and some great perspectives shared.
  2. Verisign just called Domain Investing a “questionable practice” – I want to fly to Virginia to understand why the sudden change in positioning – well the title says it all, and yes – I want to make this happen.
  3. Two-word .COMs continue to be some of the most powerful branding assets on the planet – I honestly wasn’t expecting such a lively conversation to erupt on this post, but it did and I think it’s a really interesting one so thanks everyone for sharing!

Wait, where can I see Morgan sitting on a yellow couch, wearing an Atari shirt, talking about domains and startups?

Fri, 2018-11-09 06:34

For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you can probably remember back to the days of Domainvestors.tv where I went around interviewing people in the domain industry. In the early days I used to also listen to a podcast hosted by Ed aka Oz Domainer who lives in Perth Australia. A few years later I was able to meet Ed in Perth and I’ve had the chance to sit down with him and chat on his podcast a couple of times over the years.

I was excited to hear that Ed has a new podcast alongside a new co-host Rob located at Domainer.com.au. A few weeks ago Ed reached out to ask if I wanted to come back on the show and yesterday was the day. The interview was a lot of fun and we cover a range of topics from domain names to the early days of Bold Metrics and unlocking the secret to the “Puppies” boxes behind Ed (you’ll have to watch until the end to understand that joke).

It’s a podcast, so if you want to stare at our talking heads on video, you can, but you’re welcome to just sit back with a beer or a glass of wine and let us serenade you with 30+ minutes of what is essentially, three geeks talking about domains, startups, and of course – puppies.


Let me know what you think?

Two-word .COMs continue to be some of the most powerful branding assets on the planet

Thu, 2018-11-08 03:08

As I’ve said many times before, if you’re building a brand online, your domain is the single most important asset you can have. It’s the center of your brand’s universe and many of the most successful brands on the planet learned that early and ended up lightyears ahead of the competition as a result.

Like one-word .COMs, two-word .COMs sell for six-figures all the time, especially in cases where those two words together represent something meaningful. A good example here is HomeCare.com which sold for $350,000 in 2015. If the buyer bought Home.com or Care.com, well first, they’d probably pay seven figures, and second, the name wouldn’t actually make it as clear what the company does.

Another great example is CallTracking.com which was purchased by CallRail for $120,000 in August of this year and is being turned into an educational resource for all things call tracking related. Call.com or Tracking.com are great domains, but they’re broad, CallTracking.com makes a lot of sense for CallRail since whoever goes to the site will expect to see something about Call Tracking, it’s incredibly targeted.

I recently came across two really strong two-word .COMs, DogToy.com and DogToys.com. Just like my example above, a company that makes dog toys would benefit massively from these domains. I’m actually blown away that both of these names haven’t been picked up by one of the many dog toy makers out there. The pet toy market in the US is huge, it actually crossed the $1B mark in 2017:

“Toys is the largest durable dog and cat pet care category with sales crossing the $1 billion threshold in 2016, up from $851 million in 2011.” (Source – PRNewsWire)

Now I might be a little biased since I’m a cat owner, but as I did a little deeper dive into the data, I found out that dog toys actually account for 75% of the pet toys market.  This means that the dog toys market alone is a $750M a year industry.

I can’t help but wonder if I just stumbled onto two of the most valuable two-word .COMs still available for development? Maybe so. What do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

The one video everyone should watch if they want to know what Machine Learning is

Wed, 2018-11-07 06:17

As the co-founder of a company with Machine Learning at its core I spend a lot of time explaining Machine Learning (ML) to people. While I have tried to really hone my approach to explaining machine learning in two minutes – the reality is, you need more time to truly understand ML, even the fundamentals.

I often tell people – “if you want to do a deeper dive into machine learning without writing any code, watch this,” and I send them a link to the video below.

So if you want to go beyond the buzzword and actually understand the basics of machine learning watch this video. If you want to take it a step further I highly recommend Data Camp to learn how to write code that does everything you learned in the video below.



 
Oh and fun fact, MachineLearning.com is owned by my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon…and it’s safe to say they could put a little more love into the UX…

Stop Everything and Vote

Tue, 2018-11-06 05:51

I have decided to pause our regularly scheduled programming here on MorganLinton.com to write what just might go down in history as my shortest blog post ever. In fact, this blog post really should just be one sentence long, so ignore everything you just read above, and read this below:

Vote Tomorrow!

 

Seriously. We are so lucky to have the privilege of voting. Even if you haven’t registered yet, remember that same-day voter registration is available in 15 states (see list here).

Verisign just called Domain Investing a “questionable practice” – I want to fly to Virginia to understand why the sudden change in positioning

Sat, 2018-11-03 20:08

I was absolutely blown away when I read the following quote on Domain Name Wire yesterday, the source was a blog post by Verisign themselves, in it they say:

“Flipping domain names or warehousing them to create scarcity adds nothing to the industry and merely allows those engaged in this questionable practice to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers and businesses.” (Source – Official Verisign Blog)

Given that Verisign has had a presence at just about every single domain investing conference I’ve been to I find this quote and change in positioning to be incredibly confusing. What I’m even more confused about is that Philip Corwin, the former lead council to the ICA, an organization that champions the rights of domain investors, is currently council at Verisign.

I have met Philip a number of times before and he has always been a strong supporter of Domainers, now he’s working for a company that just called Domaining a “questionable practice” – wow. Sometime tells me that Philip is probably as frustrated with Verisign’s blog post as I am.

So I’ve decided it’s time to sit down with someone from Verisign (hopefully the CEO, James Bidzos) to get to the bottom of this sudden change in positioning. I would like to do the interview in-person, on video, and I’ll happily pay for my own flight out to Virginia to do it.

Today I will start by emailing people I know who might be able to connect me directly with the CEO of Verisign. As an industry, we deserve to know why the owner of .COM just did a complete 180 on the community they’ve been supporting for as long as I can remember. If you’re interested in me flying out to Virginia to get to the bottom of this, please show your support in the comment section below!

Trumped.com from $1,000 purchase to $15,000 sale to developed site

Sat, 2018-11-03 01:15

There’s nothing like a good flip, and while in most industries doubling our tripling your money is seen as an out-of-the-park homerun, in Domaining the sky really is the limit. It’s not uncommon to see domains sell for 10x what the owner paid and in the case of Trumped.com serial entrepreneur and domain investor Braden Pollock turned a $1,000 investment into a $15,000 sale.

The new owner didn’t waste any time getting a site on the domain, and it’s actually a pretty funny use of the name. As you can see from the image above, it’s pretty explanatory, enter some text in the box, hit speak, and you’ve got Trump’s voice saying whatever you wrote.

My guess is more than a few people will use this site/web app to prank call their friends or setup interesting voicemail greetings. The site was developed by Brandon Thomas who goes by the Twitter handle @echelon. Now let’s not confused Brandon with Braden because I could easily see someone reading this post quickly and thinking – “why did Braden build that site?” He didn’t Brandon from Atlanta did.

I think this flip shows just how powerful brandable domains can be and the ROI they can provide. That being said, this is a particularly topical brandable which I think lead to the quicker flip (Braden bought it only a few years ago). I’m also impressed at how quickly the buyer put a site on it but my guess is they already had the site ready to go, wanted this specific domain, and put the pieces together.

Congrats to both Braden and Brandon, great flip and pretty funny site, I might just be using this over the weekend to make some interesting phone calls

Does the Air.Space sale mean good things for .SPACE domains?

Fri, 2018-11-02 06:57

So the big news this week in the new gTLD world is the sale of Air.Space for $17,500, and – as you can see from the image above, the new owner already has a landing page up. One of the questions that I find people ask me quite a bit when they read about sales like this is – “so does this mean .SPACE domains are a good investment?”

My answer usually is, “no” and to cut to the chase, in this case it’s also no.

The challenge with new gTLDs is that there will be some nice juicy five-figure sales, but unlike .COM where these can represent a real meaningful comparable sale, these are honestly just one-offs. It’s also important to note that Air.Space is probably one of the best .SPACE domains and as we’ve seen with a number of new gTLDs, the very best domains can sell for a pretty penny…if you’re lucky.

All that being said, the more people who buy and develop on a new gTLD, the more consumers start to learn about it. My guess is that almost nobody knows that .SPACE exists yet…but after this sale, and after this site goes live, more people will.

Of course, you need a lot more than one or two solid active sites, and this is where TLDs like .CLUB and .XYZ have been able to see meaningful traction. It’s also why I never look at the number of registered names in a new gTLD because that number is relatively meaningless, it’s developed sites that matter, and if you do a deeper dive, developed sites used by real and interesting businesses.

So as a domain investor, I wouldn’t touch .SPACE with a ten foot pole. As an end-users, I might now finally learn that .SPACE exists, and hey – if more people like Air.Space start building interesting companies on these domains that could certainly drive more end-user adoption.

What do you think? Am I being too pessimistic here, is there something about .SPACE I’m missing? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

I took Uniregistry’s brokers for a spin and I’m pretty impressed

Thu, 2018-11-01 04:10

I’ve been using DomainNameSales.com landing pages for some time now. One of the first things I made sure of was that the inbound inquiries went right to me. Over time I’ve realized that I actually don’t really have the time to field or follow up with these inbound offers, I’m just too busy. Now this doesn’t mean I never got around to it, but usually it took until the weekend for me to respond so if someone put in an offer on a Monday, they might not hear back until Saturday or Sunday.

In many cases I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. I’ve always felt that if you respond right-away you probably look pretty eager to sell. I’ve also found that I (almost) always get a dialog going even if I do respond after a few days have passed.

What I’ve never been diligent about doing is following up on old offers. So I thought it was time to see what happened if I flipped the switch and let Uniregistry brokers loose on my old inbounds. This all happened a few weeks ago and this week they sold a name that I honestly forgot that I owned.

Then I looked at the email log. The broker at Uniregistry had followed up with an old inbound from 2014 and had a TON of follow-ups and got the dialog re-started. We came to an agreement this week and if the broker is okay with it I’ll happily share their name, the domain, and the sale price. It’s not a blockbuster sale, just $1500 – $1,250 after commission, but it’s a domain I completely forgot that I owned and would have probably dropped.

It goes to show that all of us probably have a handful of names that we think aren’t going to sell. If we just had the time to go through all our old lead and see which are still alive. Like the post says, I’m impressed, let’s see what happens next.

Of course this is just one isolated experience so I don’t want this to get confused with something I’ve seen as repeatable or made a fortune with. That being said, I do think it highlights how old leads, even years old, can still become buyers, but if you’re like me, you probably don’t have the time to go back and email them, over and over again until they respond…but Uniregistry does!

Now I want to hear from you, what do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

If you’re trying to be a daily blogger, note – it does make an impact on your life

Wed, 2018-10-31 02:45

So I realized recently that I don’t talk about blogging very much on my blog. Which makes sense since my blog is focused on domains, but as a blogger I feel like every once and a while I should talk about what I do every day.

When I started this blog I had absolutely no idea I would still be writing eleven years later. I also didn’t realize how this would impact my life because it does, and mostly in a very good way, but in some ways it certainly creates complexity.

As you know I run a startup, which means that I work pretty much all the time. While people who work at big tech companies like Facebook or Google get to enjoy a “work-life balance” I get constant stress and work that really never ends. Of course, as a founder you give up this work-life balance because you should be doing something you truly believe in. So for me, this sacrifice as been well worth it.

Then you layer in my blog. I write blog posts usually after work so typically sometime after 7PM. After working all day, a lot of people come home, decompress, have dinner with their family, etc. When my day ends, I usually try to have dinner, and then it’s often back onto my computer to write my blog post.

Sometimes what I want to write about just pops in my head, other times I start to search around and see if I can find something interesting that I think all of you would enjoy. Over the years I’ve kept an eye on which posts/topics get the most reads and comments, and I try to keep those coming. This means, sometimes something pops into my head and I think, eh – I don’t think my readers are going to find that very interesting.

If I ever miss a weekday, which does happen from time to time, I feel guilty. It’s a strange feeling but if I go to sleep and didn’t write a blog post that day, I actually have trouble sleeping and feel compelled to write a post right away, if I don’t then it just eats away at me all day.

Vacations are also tricky. Usually, if I’m planning on going away for a week and actually “trying” to unplug, that means I will spend typically an entire weekend day just writing to schedule the posts for the week. This year we went to Yosemite and I wrote four posts in our tent the day before we went on a backpacking trip and actually were completely unplugged.

Okay, now I’m making it sound like blogging is a hassle – but it isn’t, it is a commitment though. What I learned over the years is that blogging is actually incredibly relaxing (for me), in some ways it’s a bit like meditation. For over a decade now I’ve been writing, pretty much every single day, and it has become a lot more than just writing a post, this is a core part of my life. It’s the way I center myself at the end of an incredibly busy day and I honestly can’t imagine life without it.

Okay, so now let’s get back to the title of this post – I’ll remind you so you don’t have to scroll up, “If you’re trying to be a daily blogger, note that it does make an impact on your life”

I was talking to a friend last week who was interested in starting a blog. They asked me how hard it is to stay consistent and keep blogging every day. And well, I told them pretty much everything I wrote above. They told me, “wow – I need to think about that, I’m not sure I like writing that much”

Blogging every week or writing a Medium post here or there is one thing, but running a daily blog is a serious commitment. It’s a commitment to your readers to make sure that your content is a priority and that you pay attention to what they’re reading and commenting on and bringing as much of that as you can. If you can make writing part of your daily zen practice, then it can make a very positive impact on your life.

At the same time, it’s not for everyone and if you want to live your life as you do today, this might be more of a sacrifice then you’d want to take on. All that being said, I hope all of you live well into your hundreds because my plan is to keep on writing! If you made it this far, thanks for reading

Why did User.com sell for so little?

Tue, 2018-10-30 03:12

Last week I wrote an article about Deposit.com selling for a lot less than I thought it would have, and today I found out that User.com sold for just $150k. While of course I’m happy for the buyer and seller, I’m officially confused.

This year Super.com sold for $1.2M, Great.com for $900,000, and Liquid.com for $750,000. Let’s be honest, User.com belong amongst the ranks of these names, not down at $150k with WJX.com.

Here’s what I think is happening. First – no one-word .COMs aren’t suddenly seeing a drop in price. Instead, some one-word .COM owners need liquidity, and in the domain game, if you need liquidity you could find yourself selling your domain(s) for one tenth of their actual value.

So while I see this as a huge win for the buyer and a major brand upgrade for User Engage (read more on Elliot’s blog) I think this is far below what this domain is worth. One of my readers pointed out to me last week that Deposit.com had actually sold for $1.5M in 2000, so 18 years later and the domain went for a tenth of what it sold for back then.

I think User.com sold for about a tenth of what it was worth. Like I said, happy for the buyer, they got one heck of an incredible deal. As for the seller, I think they needed money, fast, and they got it, but they left a LOT of money on the table with this one IMHO.

What do you think? Is $150k a totally fair price for User.com or do you agree with me that this is low, way low? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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