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What search criteria do you use when looking for expired domain names?

1 hour 28 min ago

I got into an interesting conversation with another domain investor over email – the topic, what search criteria we both use to find expired domain names. I had a few reflections after the conversation, first – I probably could be a bit more dynamic with my criteria as it’s been the same for a long time, second – there really is no right answer here.

As for my answer to the question, I typically search for .COM domains that are expiring, that are at least three years old, have no numbers in them, no dashes, and aren’t longer than 12 characters.

I use Go Daddy Auctions for the vast majority of my expired domain purchases, here’s what the search looks like loaded up in there:

One of the questions that came up during our email string is, “why do I care about domain age?” I’m not sure I have a great answer here but my general logic is, if something was registered within the last few years, I think it’s less likely to be a great name, there are exceptions and of course people can hand-register and flip names for a nice profit. That being said, I think if a domain is something that is truly meaningful to more than just one or two people, someone would have thought of it and bought it more than three years ago.

As for why I try not to go over 12 characters, well, the 12 is somewhat arbitrary, 13 would be okay, 11 would be too. In general I’m just tying to avoid really long domains since I’ve never had much luck with these and since I focus on two-word .COMs and mostly ignore three-word .COMs, this also seems to do a good job keeping it to mostly two-word domains.

The person I was emailing with had a bit broader criteria, she also looks at .NET and .ORG, and she isn’t as concerned with how old the domain is or how long it is. Instead, she just wants to see a big list that she can scan through.

Now I’ll pass the mic to you – what search criteria do you use when you’re looking for expired domain names? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Domain Investing News Highlights for the week of May 12th, 2019

Wed, 2019-05-22 06:51

Hello, happy Tuesday, and welcome to another week of domain investing news highlights. Every week I go through all the news stories in the domain investing world and pick a handful that caught my eye.

If you ever think there is an important story that I should include in my weekly domain investing news roundup, simply email me before I bring the post live and if I think it makes sense to include, I will. Now onto the news!

  • New Escrow.com Report Shows Domain Sales Rebounding – Up 10% in Q1-2019 From 4Q-2018 (read more on DNJournal.com)
  • The Domain King 25 Point Step by Step Guide to Domain Investing (Read more on RicksBlog.com)
  • Ron Jackson was on the Domain Name Wire Podcast (listed to it now on DomainNameWire.com)
  • Rick Schwartz Has Made $30 MILLION via PPC Parking (Read more on DomainInvesting.com)
  • Emoji Domains – ROI, Tech Updates & More – with Matan Israeli (Watch now at DomainSherpa.com)
  • CENTR: domain growth now slowest EVER (Read more at DomainIncite.com)
  • Is .com still the number 1 extension? (Read more on TLDInvestors.com)

Think I missed an important story? Want to comment on any of the stories I shared above? I want to hear from you, comment below and let your voice be heard!

Google domain name penalties can stick around a lot longer than you might expect

Mon, 2019-05-20 23:05

I was reading an interesting article in Search Engine Journal this morning about how Google penalizes some domain names, and doesn’t lift the penalty even years later after the domain has changed hands and has a new site on it.

It’s something that some new domain owners find out the hard way. One specific case highlighted in the article is a company that purchased the domain name Girlfriend.com. Here’s the scoop:

“We bought the domain three years ago to have a brand called Girlfriend Collective, it’s a clothing company on the Shopify platform.
We haven’t had any… warnings from our webmaster tools that says we have any penalizations… So I was just wondering if there was any other underlying issues that you would know outside of that…
The domain is girlfriend.com and the query would be Girlfriend Collective.
It’s been as high as the second page of the SERPs, but… we get quite a few search queries for our own branded terms… it will not show up.
My assumption was that before we bought it, it was a pretty spammy dating directory.”

(Source – Search Engine Journal)

There’s now doubt that Girlfriend.com is a pretty darn valuable domain name, but with a penalty from Google, it’s certainly not working the magic that the new owners were hoping to get with such a good domain.

What’s particularly interesting about this example is that when they looked in Google Webmaster Tools no warnings showed up about any kind of penalty. This means there’s probably no easy way to check if the domain you just bought has been hit with a penalty from Google.

So what can you do to figure out if a domain you’re planning on buying could come with a nasty penalty?

Head over to Archive.org and take a walk through time and see what sites have been on the domain you’re looking at buying. If you find a spammy or scammy looking site, you might want to think twice. At the same time, it doesn’t sound like there’s really any way to actually know for sure.

Luckily, there is something you can do if you find out a domain you bought seems to have been penalized. Contact Google and wait, they can do the research and verify that you’re doing something a-okay with the domain and remove the penalty.

“In the end, Mueller admitted that it might be something on Google’s side. However an issue that remains is that there is no solution for other publishers. This is not something a publisher can do on their own like a disavow. It’s something a Googler must be made aware of in order to fix.”

(Source – Search Engine Journal)

This was all news to me, is it news to you? Have you ever bought a domain that was penalized by Google? If so, were you able to get the penalty removed?

How did Thiink.com sell for $50,000? And why do some people think it makes total sense?

Mon, 2019-05-20 06:46

Well this is confusing. Apparently the domain name Thiink.com sold for $50,000. I might be late to the party on this one but I’ve been traveling in Japan and not as plugged into domain news as I normally am. Today, when I finally sat down to play catch-up I read about the sale of Thiink.com for $50k and thought…that can’t be right.

I first read about this sale on Konstantinos’ blog (you can read the original post here) and like him, I’m also scratching my head wondering what happened.

One of Konstantinos’ readers made a strange comment that is also a head scratcher for me as well:

I went through the rest of the comments and can’t find any meaningful explanation for why Thiink.com would sell for this much. Sure – brandables can sell for more than chump change so I could see this selling for $10k or $15k and I might not think much of it.

At about $25k you start to lose me, above $35k I’m starting to pull my hair out trying to understand what’s going on…and at $50k, I write a whole freaking post about how this makes no sense.

So please, let’s throw the argument out the window that Thiink.com is a great brandable domain that’s worth $50,000 – that just isn’t true. I’ve heard some people use the example of Fiverr.com. I believe the company either hand-registered that domain or paid a very small sum for it. The domain was so bad, that they did end up buying Fiver.com, which is a much better name.

There are brandable domains that make sense and justify a $50k or higher price tag, and then there’s names like Thiink.com that don’t make any sense.

What do you think happened here? And please, don’t give me the Fiverr.com example because that’s a bad one. I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

A few things I’ve noticed about domain names in Japan

Sun, 2019-05-19 00:49

Hello from Asuka, a beautiful village in the Japanese countryside about an hour from Nara. If you’ve never heard of Nara, well, Nara is an hour from Osaka which you have probably heard of! The photo above I took during one of my early morning walks.

Anytime I visit another country I can’t help but pay attention to domain names; of course I’ve only been in Japan for a week so take all these observations with a grain of salt. I’ve gone from a larger city like Osaka, to a smaller city like Nara, to a tiny village like Asuka. Here’s a few things I’ve observed when it comes to domains:

  • .JP or a variant like .CO.JP or .OR.JP seems to be the most common domain extension in Japan. This isn’t wildly surprising as there are many countries where the local ccTLD is the most popular.
  • I haven’t seen any IDNs yet so while most signs use Japanese characters (hiragana, katakana, and kanji), the domain names use the standard English alphabet.
  • Somehow I haven’t seen a single .COM domain yet but I did manage to spot a .NET and took a photo of it as proof that there was more than just .JP domains here!

Below are some photos I’ve taken of domains along the journey:

Now all this being said, I imagine that I have a number of readers who either live in Japan or who have spent a lot more time in Japan than I have. So I’m very interested to hear from those who know a lot more than me if my observations are right at all?

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

A few reflections on blogging daily while on vacation

Sat, 2019-05-18 01:32

This year I will be celebrating my 12-year blogging anniversary. When I started this blog I never thought I’d be blogging every day more than a decade later, but I am, and my blog has become a core part of my daily life.

Currently I am in Nara, Japan on a two week adventure with my Dad. Whether I’m at home, in the office, on the road, in the hospital, or on vacation, writing a blog post every day is incredibly important to me.

My Dad and I were having breakfast this morning and he was saying how interesting it is for him to see me putting a post together every day. We had a good conversation about it this morning and he said that in some ways he thinks it has become a way for me to meditate in a way during the day. I never thought about it that way, and I’m not really sure if I will ever think about it that way, more than anything for me this is a part of my life, part of who I am.

I told my Dad what I truly feel about blogging. Blogging isn’t something that I do for myself. I blog for you, my reader, without you there would be no reason to write. That being said, I did have some reflections on what it’s like to go from blogging on a normal day like I do most of the year vs. blogging on vacation since it is a bit of a different experience.

Here’s a few of my reflections:

  • Blogging on vacation (at least for me) is always fun and something I really look forward to. There is something about being in a different environment that gets the creative juices flowing. I wake up in the morning, walk around whatever city we’re in, find a peaceful place to sit, and just start writing…in many ways blogging is more meditative when I’m on vacation than it is when I’m at home.
  • You can blog from just about anywhere in the world, and thanks to International plans, I don’t even need to look for Wifi. Two days ago I wrote my blog post in a small coffee shop in Nara, they didn’t have Wifi so I just fired up my personal hotspot. This definitely wasn’t possible when I started blogging so I feel very fortunate. You really can travel all over the world and blog in a more seamless way than ever before.
  • There’s something about being in a different country that always makes me think a bit differently. I find my blog posts change a bit when I’m on vacation, I can’t put my finger on it but I write a little differently, you can tell me whether it gets better or worse!
  • Working with the time difference is important. In Japan, I need to write in the morning, if I write towards the end of the day like I sometimes do in the US, my post will publish at 2AM for people on the West Coast which, uh, isn’t when you’re going to be awake and looking for my latest post.
  • Last but not least, I can’t imagine being anywhere in the world without writing every day. As I’ve said many times before, I plan to blog well into my hundreds and since I also plan to live all over the world, I can’t wait to see how my blogging style changes with my environment.

So thanks to all my readers around the world for reading, now it’s time for me to get packed up and ready for the next stop in our adventure. We’re leaving Nara today and heading to a small village called Asuka that has a population of less than 6,000 people.

While I love living in big cities (although SF is actually a pretty small city – maybe too small for me) I do love getting off the beaten trail when I go on vacation. Once we get to Asuka we’re going to be renting bikes and going on what I think is going to be a pretty incredible adventure.

Yesterday we went hiking on the Kasugaya Mountain Trail which is without a doubt one of the most amazing hiking experiences of my life. Along the trail we found an old monastery and actually walked up and meditated there – definitely an experience I’ll always remember. Here’s a picture of me and my Dad at the trailhead.

After Asuka we’ll be heading to Kyoto so if any of you have suggestions of what to do in Kyoto definitely feel free to share them in the comment section below. Thanks again for reading, like I said above, I do this for all of you, so as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

See you tomorrow!

Sample Email: What should you say to someone if you want to buy a domain name from them

Fri, 2019-05-17 01:40

BuyDomains.com has been the longest running sponsor on my blog, and needless to say, I’m a big fan. If you’re a startup founder who is looking to buy a domain, BuyDomains.com is definitely somewhere you should look. Over the course of the next year I’ll be putting some articles together with BuyDomains.com, this is the first – I hope you enjoy it – now let’s get to the post!

I talk to a lot of other startup founders, often at events completely unrelated to domain names, but we end up talking about domain names, since this is such a strange and mysterious world to most people. One of the most common questions I get is, “if I want to buy a domain from someone, what should I say in the email I send them?”

I often hear many founders say, “I sent an email to buy someone’s domain name and it didn’t go very well.” When I ask them what they sent, my palm quickly covers my face to make what would resembled a facepalm emoji…or as a Star Trek fan I’d like to think it looks like this:

The other day I was talking to a startup founder who asked me if I would be okay putting together a sample email for them to use for reaching out to a domain owner about a domain name. I thought, well, since this is a question I get a lot, why not write a blog post about it so other startup founders can have access to the same email?

Before I share the sample email, I do want to share some tips in case you want to put together an email yourself. Since I’ve seen this go wrong so many times, I’ll start with what not to say.

What not to say in an email to a domain owner

  1. I see you aren’t using this domain name – remember, there are many people (like me!) who buy domain names just like other people buy land or homes, as investments. Many domain investors don’t develop their domains, it’s an investment, so don’t be surprised if it’s not being used according to your definition of the word. This often comes off as insulting or naive, neither of which is a great way to kick off a negotiation.
  2. Offering a ridiculously low price – get to know market prices for domain names. Sites like DNJournal and NameBio are great resources for this. Offering someone $100 for a domain that’s similar to one that just sold for $75,000 will not go well.
  3. Pretending you want the domain for a “student project” – this is the oldest trick in the book and we’re all used to hearing it. Domain investors don’t want to sell their prized assets at a low price for a student project just like you don’t want to sell your 100 acre plot in Lake Tahoe for a student project at a cheap price.

What you should say in an email to a domain owner

  1. Start with a reasonable offer – once you’ve done your homework and understand the basics of pricing, make an offer, and be realistic. If you think a domain is worth $50,000 – it’s okay to start at $25,000 but don’t start at $1,000.
  2. Be nice – this should go without saying but it’s amazing how many startup founders end up insulting domain owners by implying that they are “squatting” on a domain. Cybersquatting is illegal, domain investing is not. Just like stealing someone’s land is illegal, you wouldn’t want to be called a land squatter if you bought land 50 years ago and just haven’t developed on it yet.
  3. Don’t be afraid to tell them why you want the domain – being dishonest in any negotiation is always a bad idea. While you don’t have to lead with what your company is and why you want to buy the domain, if they ask, don’t be afraid to tell them. Domain investors like to see their domains put to good use in the end, or at least I do!

Okay, now for the good stuff, here’s a sample email that is very similar to an email that I’ve seen other founders used to kick off negotiations that end with a deal getting done.

Sample email to buy a domain name

Hi ___________,

I’m interested in a domain name you own – BongoLongo123.com. Let me know if you would accept $12,000 for it?

Best,

Morgan

Wait!?!?! It’s so short and simple, what’s the deal here? Yes – it is short and simple. You really don’t need to tell your life story, the most important thing you can do in the email is to make an offer, and make it a realistic offer.

That will get a domain owner’s attention and even if your offer is lower than they are expecting, if it in some reasonable range, they will (possibly but not guaranteed) take you seriously and respond to continue the conversation.

The goal with your outreach email shouldn’t be to instantly close the deal, instead it should start the conversation, kick off the negotiation. You should expect to go back and forth, and yes, you can also expect to pay more than your first offer so don’t lead with the very top of your budget.

I hope this is helpful. Now I’d love to hear from you, if you’re a domain name investor, feel free to share your thoughts and if you agree or disagree with my tips here. If you’re a startup founder, let me know if you’ve ever sent an email that backfired, those are always fun stories to hear.

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

Domain Investing News Highlights for the week of May 5th, 2019

Thu, 2019-05-16 07:06

This week I am in Japan with my Dad, currently in a really special city called Nara about an hour outside of Osaka. While I do my best to unplug while I’m on vacation, as a daily blogger, this continues on as part of my daily routine.

I also find that reading domain investing news is a nice part of my daily routine so sharing the stories I’m reading with all of you is actually a lot of fun, whether I’m on vacation or not.

That being said, I’m going to reduce my highlights to five stories this week since I’m actually about to go down to the Onsen (think Japanese hot tub). So with that, here are five stories that caught my eye over the last week and a half. Enjoy!

Domain Investing News for the Week of May 5th, 2019

  1. Latest #domain acquisitions by James Booth and BQDN (Read more on DomainGang)
  2. A Two-Character .COM and One of the Year’s 5 Biggest ccTLD Sales Headline This Week’s Domain Sales Chart (Read more on DNJournal)
  3. Future of .io domains has become party-political issue in the UK (Read more on DomainIncite)
  4. Rick Premiers Daily Twitter Video Podcast with Rave Reviews! (Read more on Rick’s Blog)
  5. Medidata.com domain name changed hands for $600,000 (Read more on FreeSpeech.com)

I hope you’re all having a great week. As always feel free to share any stories you think should be highlighted that aren’t on my list in the comment section below!

Here’s one expiring two-word .COM on Go Daddy Auctions I think is going to see a lot of interest

Wed, 2019-05-15 23:13

As I’ve said many times before, I’m a big fan of Go Daddy auctions, it has been my go-to place for buying expired domains for a long time. Over the years I’ve built a few common searches that I do to identify potential investment opportunities.

One of my newest searches is to search by Go Daddy’s estimated value. While I don’t think this appraisal corresponds to the exact price, there is some logic to it and sometimes it can help to uncover some really solid names that other people might have overlooked.

Today when I did the search I was interested to see a two-word .COM that I really liked that is #2 on the list with no bids. The domain is ToughGuy.com and Go Daddy’s price estimate is $10,902 which I actually think is probably pretty realistic. Sure, if someone held onto the name for a while they might be able to get someone to pay $20,000 or more, and yes – if you wanted a quick flip, selling it for $3,500 might move it faster, but around $10k feels right to me.

With more than 9 days left the auction doesn’t have any bids, yet, but I expect to see bidding activity climb quickly over the next few days. Here’s a quick look at the top ten domain auctions on Go Daddy sorted by appraisal price.

Out of all the domains in the top ten (sorted this way) I’d say ToughGuy.com is my favorite and my guess is it will sell for more than any other name on this list. What do you think? What’s the most you’d pay for ToughGuy.com and what do you think it’s worth?

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

What’s the best domain in your portfolio you’d sell for $10,000 tomorrow?

Tue, 2019-05-14 22:40

First things first, I deserve absolutely no credit for this post since I go the idea 100% from a Tweet I saw today from domain investor Josh Reason, here it is:

I saw that Josh had 59 replies to his tweet so it’s clear this is a hot topic and a really interesting question that he’s asking. So I thought, why not pose the question on my blog as well?

Of course, it’s not fair for me to ever post a question without answering it myself, for me, the best domain in my portfolio that I would sell for $10k, today (or tomorrow) is ClosetDesign.com. Ask me a year from now and I might not have the same answer, but today, that’s my answer.

Josh responded to my tweet and said, “There’s a domain I would put in my portfolio” so who knows, maybe we’ll make a deal?

There was a wide range of domains people listed in response to Josh’s tweet, some were names I thought seemed pretty reasonable at $10k, others seemed way over-priced, but that’s pretty par for the course in the domain industry. The reality is, sometimes I see domains that sell for $20,000 or more that look like junk to me, something me and most people I know would probably drop.

The other day Mike Mann sold JazzYou.com for $24k, that’s a name I’d be thrilled to get $2,400 for and some people commented that it’s a name they would expect to have very little value. That’s what makes the domain name industry so interesting, you never really know what could happen.

So now I’ll pass the mic to you, what’s the best domain in your portfolio that you’d sell for $10k today, or tomorrow? Thanks to Josh for the inspiration!

These five people are getting a free .COM for their baby compliments of Namecheap

Mon, 2019-05-13 19:21

I’m a big believer in owning your own domain name. People often ask me what my best domain is and I always say, “well that’s easy – MorganLinton.com” ask me for my second best and that’s a little harder.

As more and more of my friends have kids I’ve found myself encouraging them to register their baby’s names and a lot of them are doing it, I think they’ll be very glad they did.

So I was excited to see that Namecheap feels the same way and was running a promotion to help parents secure a domain name for their baby.

Of course, I couldn’t resist asking Namecheap if there was a way that I could help get the word out since this is something I feel passionate about and they were nice enough to give me five coupons for free .COMs.

So I went to Twitter and posted this tweet:

With 23 retweets and 28 likes it looks like a lot of parents out there were interested in getting a name for their baby. I’m excited to announce the five winners – they are:

  • Shannon Finn
  • Chad Ellis
  • Pino
  • David Whinray
  • Subhash Mishra

If you read my blog and see, “hey that’s me!” expect to see an email from me this week with your coupon code. For anyone else that wants to register their baby’s name, Namecheap is still running some great specials that you can check out here.

Huge thanks to Namecheap for supporting the cause here and for allowing me to do this giveaway, there are going to be five happy baby’s…once they’re old enough to know that they have their own domain!

Here are my three most-read posts from April 2019

Sun, 2019-05-12 16:50

April was a big month for my blog with a number of posts really taking off and getting lively conversations going. One thing I’ve always found interesting is that sometimes my most-read posts are the posts that get the most comments, other times, it’s posts that get very few comments.

At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to whether what I’m writing about is just something topically interesting to people or polarizing. What you probably already know by now is that I don’t censor or delete my comments. While the day may come where someone writes something so outlandish that I have to take it down, it hasn’t happened yet. That’s why I end almost every post the same way, “I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!”

If you’re looking to relax and catch up on some Domaining-related reading today, below are my three most-read posts from April to add to your reading list. Enjoy!

  1. Rick Schwartz shows “the power of No” in the email that closed the $8.88M deal for Porno.com (read it now)
  2. There’s an interesting debate going on between Andrew and Theo on Twitter (read it now)
  3. Should you set BIN prices on your domains? (read it now)

Remember, the comment section is still active on all of my posts so if you read a post, go through the comments, and want to add your own two cents, be my guest.

As always, thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there, I’m going to see mine in a couple of hours!

Could $24,888 be the sweet spot for pricing two-word .COMs?

Sat, 2019-05-11 21:55

I saw an interesting tweet from Domain Investor Mike Mann yesterday after announcing the sale of JazzYou.com, a domain he bought for $20 three years ago and sold for $24,888 today. Here’s the tweet:

First – that’s an awesome flip, and second – please remember, Mike owns a ton of domains so don’t think that you can just go out there and buy domains for $20 and flip them for $24k all day long. If you could, or I could, we’d all be living on an island somewhere together, we’d call it Domainer Island, and yes – it would be awesome.

Okay, now back to the post. In this tweet Mike makes a very interesting statement, “$24,888 seems to be my sweet spot pricing.” Given that I see Mike selling a lot of two-word .COMs I take this to mean this seems to be a good price point for these names since I don’t think that’s a sweet spot for one-word .COMs or two-word .NETs.

I’ll include Mike in the Tweet as I’d be interested to see if I’m reading into this right, but if I am, it’s some really interesting data to have, and very nice to Mike to share that with the rest of us.

When I hear things like this it always makes me wonder if I’m not asking enough for some of my two-word .COMs. If I owned JazzYou.com, and I bought it for $20, I feel like I’d probably sell it for $2,500 and be pretty happy. I might have to change my tune and test out this price point given that Mike has a lot of sales data to back this up.

What do you think? Could $24,888 be a sweet spot for two-word .COMs? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Trademark owners can now get better protection with .CLUB thanks to new Unlimited Name Blocking Brand Protection Service

Fri, 2019-05-10 18:52

One of the challenges brands have faced in a world with a lot more options than .COM, .NET and .ORG is protecting their Trademarks across multiple TLDs. This week, .CLUB, one of the leaders in the new gTLD space came out with a new service that will be music to many company’s ears.

The .CLUB TRADEMARK SENTRY Unlimited Name Blocking Service protects your trademark from appearing in any portion of a domain with the popular .CLUB extension – literally covering trillions of permutations of your qualified trademark. Blocked at the Registry level, protected names show up as “unavailable” through any registrar’s domain search.

(Source – TrademarkSentry.club)

Just to break down what this means, let’s walk through an example. Suppose I have a Trademark on “Apparel Insights” which I actually do With this service I could prevent anyone from not just registering ApparelInsights.club but also domains like FindApparelInsights.club, or MyApparelInsights.club.

For large companies that are constantly having to police their brand this does all the police work for them automatically which in the end will likely save a small fortune in time and legal fees.

I’ve said before that .CLUB has really raised the bar…and, well, they seem to keep raising it. Hats off to Jeff, Colin and the whole team over at .CLUB. If you’re interested in learning more about this service they have a website dedicated to it at TrademarkSentry.club.

Hostgator founder Brent Oxley just put his multi-million dollar domain portfolio on Efty

Fri, 2019-05-10 02:28

This morning when I logged into Twitter I saw a tweet from Domain Investor Joshua Schoen about Hostgator founder and investor Brent Oxley listing his domain portfolio on Efty. Not surprisingly, Oxley owns Oxley.com and that’s the domain he’s using for his Efty Marketplace.

Here’s a look at the marketplace which he’s been updating a bit throughout the day:

As Brent says at the top of the page, his domain collection is worth over $25M, not many people can say this but once you look at his domains, I think you’ll agree. Here’s a sample of what he owns:

Drone.com
Broker.com
Bride.com
Document.com
Hybrid.com
Uno.com
Deposit.com

and the list just keeps going with more amazing blockbuster domains. When you click on a specific domain it takes you to a super clean “make offer” page that Efty is famous for:

If you have a few minutes I encourage you just to browse through the domains that Brent has, they really are incredible. His site also does a great job of showcasing how slick the Efty marketplace is.

Do you have your own Efty Marketplace? If so feel free to share it in the comment section below.

How to do a quick spot check to make sure a domain you’re buying doesn’t have Trademark issues

Thu, 2019-05-09 01:50

Here’s a common misconception that I’ve heard time and time again when it comes to buying domains – “if it’s listed for sale on a reputable marketplace, then it must be free and clear of any Trademark issues.”

The reality is, that’s just not true. Marketplaces don’t check for Trademark violations, that’s up to you as the buyer.

The good news is, in most cases it’s not rocket science and it only takes a minute or two to do a quick search. I’ll give you an example I came across recently.

As I’ve said many times before, I’m a big fan of Go Daddy Auctions, it’s where I buy most of my domains, have for years, still love em just as much as I ever have. Yesterday I was looking through some auctions when a domain caught my eye – econolight.com.

I’m a big fan of two-word .COMs and this felt like a domain I might want to buy. It was at $55 when I looked at it with about 19 hours to go.

This is the kind of domain I could see buying for maybe $200 and selling later for $2,000. Sure, it could be a five-figure name, and there are plenty of people out there who could hold out for the perfect buyer and maybe sell it for $15,000 or $20,000…but a name like this feels to me like a much quicker flip in the $2k range FWIW.

With a name like this thought, I always think – jeeze, that seems like such a good brand name…I wonder if anyone else thought the same thing and went and Trademarked it. To do a quick Trademark check you can simply go over to USPTO.gov and do their free Trademark search. To run the search from the top menu select “Trademarks” –> “Search Trademarks” – you’ll then see the following:

I usually go with “Basic Word Mark Search” but if you want to get really thorough you could try some other options as well. When I did the search for “econolight” here’s what I found:

What you want to look for here is that last row that says “Live/Dead Indicator” which in this case says LIVE. That means there is an active Trademark on this word and that’s enough for me to stay away from the domain.

Now, one thing that’s important to point out. You could do a Trademark search, have it come clean, and still lose a domain in a UDRP. This is not a failsafe way of checking a domain for potential Trademark issues, but, in a case like this, it can be very helpful in mitigating risk.

If you know there is a Trademark on a domain name, my advice is – steer clear. I hope this is helpful and of course I’m not a lawyer or expert in Trademarks in any way so if anyone has more advice on this topic please feel free to share it in the comment section below.

Domain Investing News for the week of April 29th, 2019

Tue, 2019-05-07 15:31

Hello, happy Tuesday, and welcome to my weekly Domain Investing news roundup here on MorganLinton.com. You’ll notice I’ve been changing the day that I write this post. I’m experimenting with different days and times and then letting the analytics tell me when to land this post for it’s regular weekly spot.

I am also going to start including this news update in my weekly newsletter. If you’re not subscribed yet you can get on the list by clicking here.

Now, let’s get to the news!

Top Domain Investing News – Week of April 29th, 2019

  1. These people support scrapping .ORG price caps (read more on DomainIncite.com)
  2. VK.app UDRP: Don’t email TM holders (read more on DomainInvesting.com)
  3. Canada’s Prime Minster Bought JustinTrudeau.com for $2,701 (read more on NamePros.com)
  4. Caveman.com sells for $20,460 less the second time (read more on TheDomains.com)
  5. Sales and Trends report for April 2019 (read more on TLDInvestors.com)
  6. A One-Word .COM and the Year’s Biggest ccTLD Sale to Date Headline This Week’s Domain Sales Chart (read more on DNJournal.com)
  7. Ten Year Renewal In Advance of Domain Name Fee Increases Is Inadequate Protection (read more on FreeSpeech.com)
  8. NamesCon Europe 2019 Announces Topics of Expert Panels (read more on OnlineDomain.com)
  9. Poll: Will JE.com Sell at NameJet? (read more on DomainInvesting.com)
  10. Toni.com buyer revealed (read more on TheDomains.com)

As always, I want to hear from you! Feel free to comment on any of the stories above or share a story you think I missed in the comment section below. Comment and let your voice be heard!

Andrew’s latest interview with Logan is a must-listen IMO

Tue, 2019-05-07 05:23

Like most other people in the Domaining world, I read and listen to as much as I can about other people who are buying and selling domain names. I do the same thing with startup and VC blogs. In my opinion, you can read as many books as you want with “theories” about how to do things…but there’s no better teacher than someone who is actually doing it.

Andrew, publisher of the popular domain blog DomainNameWire.com shared an interview today with Logan Flatt, a domain investor based in Dallas that’s one of the best I’ve heard.

What I like about Logan is that he’s always been very transparent about the sales he makes, what kind of names he buys, and where he buys them.

The vast majority of names Logan buys (around 85%) are expired domains and he stays pretty darn focused on .COM. What Logan shares in this interview is something that many new Domainers can learn from and at the same time, there’s some solid nuggets for more experienced Domainers which is what I think makes it such a good one.

Thanks to Andrew and Logan for putting together such a solid interview. For anyone out there who thought they were “too late to the game” listen to this interview and get to it, the opportunity is still very much alive and well, for those willing to listen and learn.

You can check out the interview here, enjoy!

For those wondering where my weekly news post is…don’t worry. I’m experimenting with different days so seeing how Tuesday looks this week!

JoeBiden2020.info outranks Joe Biden’s exact-match .COM on Google, and it’s causing some problems

Sun, 2019-05-05 22:36

While I’m a big believer in owning your full name in .COM, if you’re running for political office, or a celebrity, owning it across a wider range of TLDs is probably a good idea.

If you don’t believe me, well then just do a Google search for something like “Joe Biden website” and you’ll see one of the top sites above the fold is JoeBiden2020.info which contains a pretty official looking site, with, uh, lots of photos and animated GIFs of Joe Biden getting a little too up close and personal with some people.

Couple this with the fact that Joe Biden’s own website actually doesn’t show up on the first page of Google and it shows how an exact match domain with some good SEO juice can be even more powerful than owning your exact-match .COM.

As you might imagine, Joe Biden does own JoeBiden.com and this is (from what I know at least) to be the main website for his campaign. Whoever built the site for him could brush up a bit on their SEO skills as you would think they should be able to get his exact-match .COM to outrank a .INFO domain, but they seem to have missed the mark for now.

Taking a look at the WHOIS data on DomainTools I can see that JoeBiden.com was registered back in 1997. JoeBiden2020.info, on the other hand, wasn’t registered until 2017, almost twenty years later.

For years there’s been an ongoing debate about whether domains will rank better if they were registered a long time ago. Google has put this one to rest multiple times, and this is another great example.

At the end of the day, the trick here seems to be really good SEO because someone is outranking a 22 year-old exact-match .COM with a three year old, .INFO.

My guess is Joe Biden’s team is probably scrambling to find some SEO help and we’ll likely see him back up on the top of Google when you search for him, but for now, JoeBiden2020.info is likely getting a lot of traffic, and they’re certainly getting plenty of publicity a I first read about it in this article on CNBC.

Of course, the detective in me couldn’t help but to do a little research into who owns this domain. Here’s what I was able to figure out:

  • the domain is registered under the email elizabeth@goldstandardgroup.com
  • going back in time I was able a woman named Elizabeth Riegal from Worldwide Corporation in Clearlake Park
  • this is likely the same owner since Clearlake Park also shows up in the registration info for JoeBiden2020.info
  • WorldWideCorporation.com has been under privacy protection since 2018, so I went back to 2017
  • That’s where the trail goes cold. While I could spent a lot more time researching this, I’m not going to, it’s pretty clear the owners don’t want to be found as they’ve hidden their identity across a slew of domains

If anyone else does more research than me and can figure out who put up the site, feel free to share in the comment section below. For now, SEO’s around the world are waiting to hear from the Biden team, who definitely needs some help right now because what you currently find on Google is the exact opposite of what they want people to see.

Microsoft just showed the world what happens when you screw up your DNS records

Fri, 2019-05-03 15:48

Okay, this might actually be worse than the infamous “blue screen of death” that people used to tease Microsoft about. Yesterday, a huge array of core Microsoft services like Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics, DevOps and more went down…for two grueling hours.

How did it happen?

Like the title of my post says, someone made a big mistake while updating DNS records, here’s the scoop:

Summary of impact: Between 19:43 and 22:35 UTC on 02 May 2019, customers may have experienced intermittent connectivity issues with Azure and other Microsoft services (including M365, Dynamics, DevOps, etc). Most services were recovered by 21:30 UTC with the remaining recovered by 22:35 UTC. 

Preliminary root cause: Engineers identified the underlying root cause as a nameserver delegation change affecting DNS resolution and resulting in downstream impact to Compute, Storage, App Service, AAD, and SQL Database services. During the migration of a legacy DNS system to Azure DNS, some domains for Microsoft services were incorrectly updated. No customer DNS records were impacted during this incident, and the availability of Azure DNS remained at 100% throughout the incident. The problem impacted only records for Microsoft services.

(Source – Microsoft Azure Status History)

While Microsoft calls it “intermittent connectivity issues” the reality is, they were down for almost a full two hours.

A few things came to mind when I read the news. First, yikes! This is a great warning for anyone who is making DNS changes, double, triple, heck – quadruple check your changes because if you screw it up, bad things can happen.

The second thing that comes to mind is, why were they down for so long? I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve screwed up DNS records in the past, and it took a minute or two to get everything back in order. Two hours is an insanely long amount of time to get everything back up and running.

So here’s what I think happened.

If it was you or me that made this mistake, we would have realized it, and fixed it in a few minutes. The problem here is – Microsoft is a HUGE company with a lot of laborious, draconian processes. So, once the issue was identified, rather than immediately fixing it, they probably had to hold a meeting, document exactly what happened, document the fix, get the fix approved by a Director who would then confirm with a VP.

If this isn’t what happened then I’m completely confused as to why it would take so long to correct this. I don’t think things were down for two hours because nobody knew how to fix the problem, I think things were down for two hours because they have so many rules and regulations for what to do when there is a problem, that it took them a million times longer to fix it.

Either way, it’s fixed now, and should serve as a good lesson to anyone updating their DNS records to really make sure you’re doing it right.

What do you think? Is my theory for why this was down for so long right…or do you have another theory? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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