Morgan linton's blog

Syndicate content | Domain Names, Startups and Everything In Between
A daily blog written by Morgan Linton
Updated: 7 hours 37 min ago

Out of the top picks for TechCrunch Disrupt 2019, 43% are branding on non .COMs

Sat, 2019-08-24 23:32

TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 is just around the corner and that means some of the hottest startups in the world will be converging on San Francisco and vying for the attention of top Silicon Valley VCs. I’m a big fan of disrupt, it celebrates innovation and does a great job of showcasing exceptional startups and founders that are pushing the limits of what’s possible.

One of the companies that I’m an investor in called Self Lender, launched at Disrupt back in 2014, and there’s a good chance that some of the startups you use today started on the same stage.

Of course, whenever I see TechCrunch announce their top picks for disrupt I can’t help but look at what domain extensions everyone’s using. It changes every year but usually most of the companies brand on .COM.

This year, things have certainly changed quite a bit as 43% of TechCrunch’s top picks at Disrupt 2019 are branding on non .COMs. The most popular .COM alternative is .IO which represents 18% of the domain extensions used.

Other domain extensions in the mix this year are .CO, .ME, .AI, .EU, .IN, .APP, .BZ, .ORG, .and BZ. I was pretty surprised that not a single .NET was there. It wasn’t that long ago that if a startup couldn’t get the .COM, they’d immediately go for the .NET, now it’s clear other extensions have become more attractive.

For domain name investors reading this, don’t fear. .COM is still king and my guess is the startups on this list that land funding and continue to grow will probably move from whatever extension they’re on, to a .COM. It’s happened over and over again and with .COM prices continuing to rise every year with demand, that’s certainly not changing any time soon.

What is clear though is that for startups, getting their initial idea out there on a .COM seems to be less of a priority. While I didn’t go back and calculate it myself I’m guessing this is the lowest number of .COMs Disrupt has ever seen…does that mean next year .COM could slip below 50%?

If you want to see the full list of TechCrunch’s top picks at Disrupt 2019, you can check them all out here.

What do you think? I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

Domain Investing News Recap for the week of August 19th 2019

Fri, 2019-08-23 22:50

While some people might be taking a break this summer, the Domain Investing world is more active than ever. From releasing a ton of sales data to the hijacking of a 3L .COM and some pretty impressive numbers around the adoption of .TECH domains, there’s a lot to catch-up on this week.

Below are the stories that caught my eye, so if you have some time this weekend, grab some popcorn and your favorite beverage and start reading. Enjoy!

  • Releases Their Q2-2019 Premium Domain Sales Report & Unveils New Office in Xiamen, China (Read more on DNJournal)
  • Three-letter .com owned by hospital “hijacked” (Read more on DomainIncite)
  • Sedo Announces New Sales Landers (
  • sells for $300,000 to lead Uniregistry’s top 20 sales this week (Read more on TheDomains)
  • sold for $35,000 in 2011 was resold for €150,000 in 2018 (Read more on TLDInvestors)
  • This week’s end user domain name sales (Read more on DomainNameWire)
  • Startups on .tech domains raise $2B+ in VC funding (Read more on TheDomains)
  • closes at $52,200 (Read more on TLDInvestors)

Mark Levine is hitting it out of the park when it comes to domain sales this year, what’s his secret?

Fri, 2019-08-23 04:42

It’s no secret that domain investors around the world are having one heck of a 2019. With domains hotter than ever in the startup world and blockbuster sales like for $30M, it’s pretty clear that things aren’t slowing down anytime soon.

Today on Twitter domain name investor Mark Levine announced two pieces of good news – first, he has already broken his 2018 sales numbers, and second, he sold two domains today, both through popular domain marketplace Afternic and Go Daddy Auctions.

With more than four months left to go in 2019 it’s safe to say Mark is going to have one heck of a year. Last year Mark hit $114,000 in sales by November and did a great interview with Andrew from Domain Name Wire last year detailing his sales, you can check it out here.

So if Mark sold say $120k+ in domains last year that means he’s already hit that number this year and is well on his way to a $200,000 this year. As for the two domains he sold today they are a .COM and a .IO, here’s the details:

So what’s Mark’s secret?

While some domain investors would wait and try to find the perfect buyer and sell each domain for top dollar, Mark is looking for liquidity and he finds that by selling names int he sub-$5,000 range. Could Mark have gotten maybe $10,000 or more for if he waited around for years for the perfect buyer? Very possibly, but he makes the sale today, heck, two today, and keeps them coming in breaking and because of that he’s able to bring in six-figures a year in sales.

Mark also has made it no secret that .IO domains account for a meaningful chunk of his domain sales revenue and is a great example of a short one-word .IO selling for roughly 100x what he paid for it. In 2018 Mark’s average sale price was $2,375 – a sweet spot that helps buyers pull the trigger faster and helps Mark sell more names faster.

Congrats to Mark on a great 2019 so far! With more than a quarter of the year left it’s going to be interesting to see where he lands at the end of December.

Yowza – 70% of newly registered domains are considered “not safe for work”

Thu, 2019-08-22 01:10

Well here’s an interesting one – Unit 42, the security division of Palo Alto Networks recently analyzed a boatload of newly registered domains and look what they found… (note: they use the acronym NRD to stand for newly registered domain)

Our analysis shows that more than 70% of NRDs are “malicious” or “suspicious” or “not safe for work.” This ratio is almost 10 times higher than the ratio observed in Alexa’s top 10,000 domains. Also, most NRDs used for malicious purposes are very short-lived. They can be alive only for a few hours or a couple of days, sometimes even before any security vendor can detect it. This is why blocking NRDs is a necessary, preventive security measure for enterprises.

(Source – Palo Alto Networks)

When you think about it, this isn’t wildly surprising. Buying a brand new domain and getting a site on it usually takes some time. If you’re doing it quickly, there’s a good chance you’re used to quickly launching thin sites, and who likes to do that – spammers and scammers.

Of course, like most things in the domain world, all things are not equal when it comes to domain name extensions. The same is true for newly registered domains, here’s a breakdown of the top ten domain extensions when it comes to newly registered domains:

(Source – Palo Alto Networks)

I’m not surprised to see .TK in second place, this domain extension has been a favorite of spammers and scammers for longer than I can remember. Honestly, have you ever been to a legitimate .TK site?

What was surprising to me was .ICU, a relatively new domain extension making the top ten actually beating out .TOP. Of course, just having a lot of new registrations doesn’t mean the domain is used by scammers. Here’s a more interesting chart (IMO) that shows malicious use by domain extension:

(Source – Palo Alto Networks)

As you can see in the chart above, some of the extensions shown in the previous chart don’t even make the cut like .COM, .TK or .ICU. In fact, .TO, .KI, and .NF are the top offenders and to be perfectly honest, until reading this article I didn’t even know .KI or .NF existed!

The whole article is a really interesting read and I have to say Unit 42 did a great job doing a deep dive here. Have you ever been to a scam site on a .TO, .KI or .NF? What do you think about the data Unit 42 put together here? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Efty releases their sixth marketplace theme, and with it, a new approach that I think is pretty darn interesting

Tue, 2019-08-20 23:16

Efty just released their latest marketplace theme, Spinoza bringing the number of available theme options up to six. In their blog post about the new theme they also shared some interesting data that I thought was worth mentioning – Efty marketplaces are now seen by over 1 million people a month.

With Spinoza Efty also decided to try something new, rather than featuring a search box front-and-center on the landing page they now have two buttons. Here’s a closer look:

The idea here is that rather than prompting someone to search right away, you’re trying to get them to pick a path – look at domains, or reach out to you for help. Given that the “Get in touch” button is highlighted in white my guess is that it’s going to get more clicks.

I personally think this is a pretty interesting idea. Think about it – if you’re interacting with a buyer directly, you have the chance to ask them questions about their business, keywords they care about, budget, etc. You know your portfolio better than anyone so can now narrow it down to names you think uniquely match what the potential buyer is looking for.

The Spinoza theme also features a “Shortlist” option to allow potential buyers to favorite a domain and one feature I’m pretty jazzed about is a custom page option. This means that you can now add your own custom page that will show up in the navigation bar. I can think of a lot of creative things domain investors could do here like mention lease-to-own options or share other incentives that could make buyers who are on the fence move forward.

As always, I’m incredibly impressed with Efty, hats off to the team for continuing to release new themes, features and functionality, and all at no additional cost to Efty users. Efty – you rock!

Which will sell for more – or

Tue, 2019-08-20 01:55

Two auctions are neck and neck at Go Daddy auctions right now, a one-word .COM and a two-word .COM. As of this post being written is slightly ahead at $15,750 and is $500 less at $15,250.

Both auctions have almost exactly the same amount of time left so it’s going to be interesting to watch these continue to climb over the course of the week.

IMO should sell for more and Go Daddy’s appraisal system seems to agree valuing it at $20,925 vs. which it values at $7,475. My guess is that the price estimate for is being buoyed in Go Daddy’s algorithm since it’s a one-word .COM and I’m also guessing there are a lot of smaller sales with the word “bike” in it bringing the estimate down on

But hey, I’m no algorithm so who knows! What I do know is that has a pretty wide range of uses from technology to health I could see a number of startups putting this domain name to good use. While I certainly like more, that’s a six-figure name whereas I think it’s pretty clear is going to sell for something likely in the low-to-mid five figure range. honestly is a bit of a head scratcher for me. I get it, “sports bike” refers to motorcycles (or at least I think it does, someone correct me if I’m wrong!) and I know people around the world are into motorcycles…but I don’t see this being something many people buy online. This domain is also, obviously, very niche-specific, there aren’t that many things you could use it for.

All that being said, I don’t know much about motorcycles so I could be missing something here and something tells me you’ll let me know in the comment section below if I am. So I’ll put my bets on selling for more, now I want to hear from you – what do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

Weekly Domain Investing News Roundup – Friday, August 16th, 2019

Fri, 2019-08-16 17:53

Hello, happy Friday, and welcome to my weekly Domain Investing news roundup. Below are some of the top stories that caught my eye this week, and if you just want a quick update before you head into the weekend, here’s a brief summary of this week’s news below.

Weekly domain investing news brief:

The week started out with Neustar announcing that they will be taking control of .COMPARE and .SELECT and will also become the backend provider for .VU. News also broke this week of what could possibly be the worst new domain extension on the planet, a spelling of .eu using two greek letters that resemble an “e” and a “u” – yikes!

Popular domain sales catalog NameBio released an API giving people and companies direct access to over $1.8B in domain sales data. Speaking of sales data, Uniregistry released data on their top 20 sales this week with taking the cake at $25,000. Something very interesting also happened this week when it comes to sales numbers with locking in the #1 spot at $56,055.

Efty debuted a new Marketplace theme called Spinoza this week and Radix shared their 2019 premium domain report going into the second half of the week. There has also been some discussion about hotel options for NamesCon Austin with some people expressing concern around pricing, Alvin (who lives in Austin) shared some alternative options for those looking for less expensive options.

To end the week, Sedo released the results from their .UK domain auction, the top sale was at 4,350 GBP which comes out to around $5,200 USD.

Weekly domain investing news stories:

  • Neustar takes control of two new gTLDs (read more on Domain Incite)
  • Worst domain extension will soon launch (
  • NameBio rolls out an API for interactive domain name data queries (read more on DomainGang)
  • Neustar new backend provider for .vu (read more on TheDomains)
  • Who bought the top 20 sales at Uniregistry this week (read more on Domain Name Wire)
  • A ccTLD & a .Com That Was Quickly Flipped for a 400% Profit Top This Week’s Sales Chart (read more on DNJournal)
  • Presenting Spinoza. The Sixth Efty Marketplace Theme. (read more on the Efty Blog)
  • Radix 2019 premium domains report (
  • 9 Alternative Hotel Options for NamesCon 2020 (read more on TheDomains)
  • Sedo’s .UK Auction Results (

I hope you all had a great week, if you think I missed a story that should have been included in here, feel free to mention it in the comment section below.

Of course, if you want to share your thoughts on any of the news from this week, share away – I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Let me be crystal clear, as a domain investor I focus on .COM, not planning on changing my tune any time soon

Thu, 2019-08-15 17:04

For some reason, whenever I write a post about any extension except for .COM some readers get confused and think I’m suddenly suggesting that people should invest in other TLDs. I don’t know how many times I’ve repeated it on my blog but I may as well do it once again so it’s crystal clear.

The vast majority of my investments are in .COM domain names. From all the data I see, my guess is I’ll continue to stay focused on investing in .COM domains forever.

Yesterday I wrote a post about .CO, in the past I’ve written posts about .IO, .ME and some other domain extensions that I see startups using. I think right now startups have been flocking to .CO and .IO, as a domain investor, I’m not, but as a domain blogger I think it’s interesting to write about.

A lot of startup founders and entrepreneurs read my blog, they’re interested in reading about domain names, not investing in them. At the same time, I have a very loyal foundation of readers from the Domaining world (love you gals and guys!), so I try to write articles that resonate with both sides.

I am not a full time domain investor, never have been, likely never will be. I am a full time startup founder – that’s where I spent just about every waking hour outside of writing a blog post here once a day and spending an hour or two on the weekends looking at expired domain names. I don’t have any kids and am not planning on having any so I do have the time to spend 30 – 45 mins a day writing for this blog and 1-2 hours on the weekend managing my portfolio and looking at expired domains.

So don’t get confused when I write a post about seeing a bunch of startups using a domain extensions, I’m writing that because…I’m seeing a bunch of startups use a domain extension. This is very different from saying, I think you should stop buying .COM and start investing in another extension.

Domain investing has been a life changing thing for me both financially and personally, and that’s because of .COM. If you want to make money investing in domain names, .COM is the way to go.

That being said, if you’re a startup founder, there are other domain extensions to brand on, and tradeoffs that you make if you do deviate from .COM. Right now I think .CO is pretty darn hot with startups, I’m seeing .CO everywhere and it feels newsworthy to me, enough to write a post. So don’t get confused, remember, this is a domain blog that’s read by startups, entrepreneurs, and Domainers – I talk about domain names in all my posts, but not every post is about domain investing.

As a domain investor .COM is it, the end, period, done. As a startup, .CO and .IO are pretty hot right now and I’ll continue to write posts when I see cool innovative startups branding on these and other extensions.

Clear enough?

One-word .CO domains are hotter than ever with startups

Thu, 2019-08-15 01:47

No matter where in the world I go, I see a startup branding on a one-word .CO domain name. In July I was in Denmark and one of the top scooter companies there, Wind was branding on

Then, I get back to SF and I’m walking to the office, and there it is again, another startup, another one-word .CO, this time with a new headphone company.

Today I was taking a look at DNJournal’s list of top domain name sales and there’s .CO again, taking the #3 and #4 spot with selling for $39,500 and selling for $27,500.

As we all know, .CO has been popular with startups for a long time but I have definitely seen the popularity grow a lot and it really seems to be on fire now.

This of course make a lot of sense, .CO is short, easy to remember, and is a generic TLD so doesn’t peg a startup to a specific niche like many of the new domain name extensions do. And then there’s price. A domain like would likely sell for six-figures so buying the .CO for under $50k is a great deal.

I can still remember the early days of .CO, I was there with Juan, Lori and team at TRAFFIC in 2010 when they were getting everything off the ground. It’s been amazing to see the growth and I still get goosebumps when I travel halfway around the world and see a .CO name being used by another innovative startup.

Congrats to the whole team over at .CO and congrats to all the startups crushing it using .CO domain names!

Thanks for all your feedback on my newsletter idea…I decided not to do it, and here’s why

Tue, 2019-08-13 03:13

One thing I really like about having a blog is that it can be a great way to vet ideas and get feedback. Last week I wrote a post about a new idea I had, a newsletter that curates domains that people are thinking of dropping, and offers them up for sale for something in the $25 – $50 range.

A number of readers chimed in on the idea and brought up a really good point that I don’t think I had thought through enough – going through lists of names and managing all the back-and-forth communication is going to be pretty darn time consuming.

I spent the weekend camping on Mount Tamalpais, which was a great way to disconnect and let my mind just relax a bit. I find getting into nature is a great way to think through things, by just letting things sit in the back of your mind you can sometimes get surprising clarity.

Here’s a few of the comments that really resonated with me…and I have to start with Snoopy since he’s one of my most active commenters and honestly does tell it like it is:

Another one of my readers, Ravi did a solid deep dive into the reality behind what it would really take to do this:

Another reader, Steven brought up a problem with my pricing strategy that I also thought was pretty spot on:

Of course, there were a number of people who liked the idea and said they would be interested in seeing the newsletter get off the ground. What was nice about getting all of the feedback is that I had a couple days to really think it over and take into account what everyone had said.

While I think someone could run with this idea I do think Ravi said it best, “needs lots of time (yours) and prompt execution” – given that I work 60+ hours a week running a startup, the only time I have for Domaining is on the weekends, and well, I like hiking, camping, and generally unplugging during the weekends. Giving myself a task that’s going to plant me in front of a computer all weekend or for hours at a time doesn’t feel like something I want to do.

So for now, we’ll file this under “ideas I had that if I had more time might be worth doing but aren’t going to happen right now.” Thanks again for the feedback, now back to your regularly scheduled program!

Expired domains offer great opportunities for investors, but here’s another buying strategy that’s often overlooked

Mon, 2019-08-12 02:23

Most people get started in the domain investing world the same way. They read an article about a domain name that sold for a lot of money, or they find a list of domain sales and boom – they’re excited. Then, they head to their favorite registrar and start hand-registering domains like it’s going out of style.

They “think” the names they are registering are so similar to names that sold for thousands of dollars that they must be sitting on a goldmine. Soon they take to Twitter and online forums to share the names they bought, they email domain investors and domain bloggers, they’re reading to start cashing in.

Then reality sets in. They just bought a bunch of junk, and suddenly the dreams of domain riches are washed away. I would guess that more than half of the people who jump-into Domaining by hand-registering domains quit after realizing the domains they registered aren’t worth anything.

For those who don’t quit there are two categories of people:

  1. Those who realize they made a mistake and start looking online for advice from people who actually know what they’re doing.
  2. Those who cannot admit they’re wrong and instead hang onto every name they registered, renewing them every year and refuting anyone who tells them to explore a different route to buying investment-grade domains.

For those in Category #1, what they usually learn is that buying expired domain names is often where they should be putting their focus. This is true, expired domain auctions offer investors a real opportunity to buy investment-grade domains, the complexity is often buying at the right price.

What I think often gets overlooked is another way to buy investment-grade domain names. Reaching-out directly to the owner. I know a number of successful domain investors who along with buying expired domains put a fair amount of time, energy, and negotiating wizardry into buying domains from end-users, at wholesale prices.

Now I’ll admit, I personally don’t do this too often, I mostly focus on expired domains. The reality is, reaching out to domain owners and negotiating deals is time consuming and I just don’t have the time. But I did this in the past and one of my favorite examples from my own experience is

Back in 2011 and 2012 I had more time on my hands (yup, before I started running a startup, go figure!) and I was actively reaching out to domain owners. I reached-out to the owner of and we landed on $3,500. At the time I knew this was a screaming deal, and four months later I sold the domain for $17,500.

Now hindsight is 20/20, if I could do this over again I would have waited and sold the domain for a lot more since I think I could have likely been able to get six-figures for the name if I waited long enough. Still, at the time I was happy to make $14,000 and making 5x your money in four months isn’t bad no matter how you slice it.

While I still don’t have time to do this direct outreach, yes – running a startup does take up just about every waking minute…I know that in the future, if I were to ever decide to do Domaining full time, this would definitely be something I’d get back into.

For those reading my blog who do have more time to commit to Domaining, you might want to give this a try. Of course, I’d still probably stay focused on expired domains, but if you haven’t tried direct outreach yet, you might be surprised at the opportunities that are out there.

Okay, now back to looking at expired domains!

Weekly Domain Investing News Roundup – Friday, August 9th, 2019

Fri, 2019-08-09 22:25

Well this is embarrassing. I got so busy that I actually completely forgot about the weekly domain investing news series I started on my blog. Thanks to one of my blog readers for sending me an email and asking “hey – what happened to your weekly news series, I like that!” for jogging my memory.

I also liked this series so let’s just pick it right back up and get rocking. Below are some of the news stories from the domain investing world that caught my eye that I thought were worth a read, enjoy!

This weekend I’m going camping on Mount Tamalpais which should be a blast. That also means I probably won’t be writing a blog post tomorrow but very likely will once I get back on Sunday. Have a great weekend everyone!

I have an idea for a new newsletter but I need your feedback…

Thu, 2019-08-08 21:47

So spending time with ~80 domain investors in Asheville last week sparked an idea, and I thought I’d give it a shot. Here’s what I’m thinking.

A lot of domain investors have to pick some names from their portfolio every year that they’re going to drop. It’s a fact of life, we can’t all pick names that end up being winners, or so we think. At the same time, one person’s trash could be another person’s treasure and I know many people have had the experience of watching a name they drop sell for hundreds of dollars on a drop.

This got me thinking, what if there was an easy way to broadcast out names you’re planning on dropping that you would sell for say $25 or $50? The reality is, you’re planning on making $0 on the name so why not make something on it?

Of course the first thing that came into my mind is that this could easily be abused. People could list names that they actually do plan on renewing just to see if someone else will buy them for $25 or $50 but I feel as long as the price stays low, the abuse will also stay low…but I could be too trusting, who knows.

I also know if I let people list as many names as they want this will become a huge junk newsletter which I also don’t want. So here’s my idea and the way that I’ll keep people from spamming junk names.

  • First – there’s a cost, $5 to have you names included in the weekly newsletter. I’m not going to do something like this for free and I think having “some” cost will limit this to people who are actually serious about selling names.
  • Second – you can list a maximum of five domains
  • Third – I can tell you that a name sucks too much to be included and you have to be okay with that
  • Fourth – one strike and you’re out. If you refuse to sell a name or end up renewing a name you submitted, you’re out for good. Same goes for buyers, if you decide not to buy a name after committing to it, you’re out.
  • Fifth – it felt like there should be five rules but I can’t think of a fifth, can you think of something I’m missing?

So here’s some things I’d like your feedback on:

  1. Is this a good idea at all? Be brutally honest, I can take it.
  2. Is $5 the right price to charge?
  3. Should there be one fixed price for names or should sellers be allowed to pick a price within a range? If you think they should be able to pick a range, what should that range be?

Thanks in advance for your feedback. If everyone thinks this is a bad idea, I won’t do it, but if enough people are in, I’ll give it a shot. The reality is, we’re all dropping names every year, if you made an extra few hundred dollars a year selling names you’d normally drop that wouldn’t be too bad would it?

Here it is – Michael Berkens’ talk from the Asheville Domain Investor’s MeetUp

Thu, 2019-08-08 01:16

Michael Berkens and his wife Judy were two of the first people I met in the Domain Investing world. I first met Michael at TRAFFIC Vegas back in 2010 and he made me feel incredibly welcome to the industry, and was one of my first guests in my video interview series (you can watch it here). Over the years I’ve had the chance to get to know Michael and Judy better as we’ve traveled the world together going to domain conferences. Judy and my wife Daina quickly became buddies and spending time with them in Asheville was a blast!

Now if you don’t know Michael, he’s someone you should know, while he’s probably the most famous recently for selling his portfolio to Go Daddy, Michael is one of the sharpest and most successful Domain Investors in the world and has some landmark domain sales under his belt.

I’ve learned a lot from Michael over the years and my guess is every single one of you has too through his blog What you might not know about Michael is that he has done some experimenting with new gTLDs over the last few years and in Asheville he took the mic to share his experiences with the group.

Well, I was filming as I tend to find myself doing quite a bit lately and am excited to share Michael’s talk, plus some of the additional Q&A that followed, with all of you.

Huge thanks to Michael for taking the time to share this with the group. Michael could have easily sat on the sidelines but he took the time to share data and insights with all of us, that’s the kind of guy Michael is and we’re lucky to have someone like him in our industry.

Some people won’t even spend $1,500 to get their name in .COM

Wed, 2019-08-07 03:25

I’m always surprised when I read stories about people who refuse to buy a domain name because someone else owns it and wants a few thousand dollars for it. At the same time, I’m not a huge fan of people buying someone else’s first and last name .COM and trying to sell it to them for a profit, something about that just feels slimy to me.

While technically buying someone’s name isn’t cybersquatting, I feel like it’s a moral grey area and one that I’ve never had much interest of getting into. If you look at domain names as an asset class then it’s really generic domains and brandables that truly make sense as assets. Buying someone’s name when they forget to renew a domain feels less like buying an asset and more like trying to extort someone.

Still, I think everyone should own their name (first and last combined) in .COM and I do think it’s worth spending a few thousand dollars to secure it. Well, one guy didn’t think so and he decided to play the waiting game.

In 2010, Jerry Alex neglected to renew, and woke up one day to find his website had turned into a squatter’s template, with a $1500 ransom. So he waited 9 years before pouncing on the drop.

(Source – BoingBoing)

Now waiting 9 years feels like a long time, especially if you could have done something useful with the domain. Still, I understand why he felt like the $1,500 fee was a ransom, at the same time, I’m sure there’s other people out there named Jerry Alex so he doesn’t really have the exclusive right to it but I get it.

At the end of the day, the guy who bought the domain ended up renewing it for nine years which means he paid about $100 to hold the domain and then finally let it drop.

Like I said above, while no laws were broken here I just don’t think it’s good form to buy someone else’s name and try to sell it to them for a profit, but maybe that’s just me. At the same time, I’m really surprised that Jerry didn’t want to spend $1,500 to secure his domain, nine years is a long time, hopefully he does something with it now to make up for the lost time!

What do you think, is it slimy to buy someone’s name or am I just being too sensitive here? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Lead generation experiments with Unbounce – let’s give it a go

Tue, 2019-08-06 03:08

One of the main ideas I walked away with after spending the last three days with other Domain Investors is that I could probably benefit from experimenting with lead generation on some of my names. It’s not too hard to figure out what domains would be good candidates, the ones that get people trying to buy something other than the domain itself are probably the best place to start.

In case you don’t know what I mean, here’s a good example. You have a “For Sale” landing page for a domain but people keep putting in an offer for the product or service that the domain refers to. Suppose you own (not sure why that popped into my head?!?) and you get someone who makes a $1,000 offer and write a message, “Looking for a good couch for $1,000 or less.” Well – it’s probably safe to say that person doesn’t want to buy the domain from you, they want a couch. Get the idea?

Like most of you though I have absolutely no free time during the week so any kind of domain-related project needs to happen on the weekend…but I like relaxing on my weekends so I also don’t really want to spend much time sitting on front of my computer. This means I need a simple solution to whip up a landing page.

In the past I’ve used LaunchRock and Unbounce to build quick lead gen pages, and after looking at how both have progressed over the years it looks like Unbounce is probably the way to go.

While I know HTML, CSS, and Javascript and could certainly turn this into a fun light coding project, I’d prefer to spend more time hiking, biking, eating, and relaxing on the weekend so I’ll go with a no code option.

One of the domains that I currently see people getting confused with and submitting numbers for a service rather than the domain is so I think I’ll start with that one. To get inspiration for the kind of data I should be collecting I’ll do a quick Google search for “closet design” see what comes up at the top (organically) and then see what data they’re collecting.

What I’ve always liked about UnBounce is that you can run simple A/B tests to try out different things so I’ll likely design two variants and then see which one converts the best. As I keep saying, my weekend time is precious so I’m going to give myself a maximum of one hour this weekend to work on this…and of course I’ll share what I learn and build with all of you.

Now all this being said this is pretty new territory for me as I don’t have a ton of experience with lead generation. If you do, I’d love to hear more about what’s worked for you and any other tips you’d like to share.

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

Reflections on the 1st Annual Asheville Professional Domain Investors Meetup

Sun, 2019-08-04 17:34

I’m at the airport now getting ready to make the trip back to San Francisco. I had high expectations for Rick’s Asheville MeetUp and can tell you, those expectations were exceeded. The combination of people and location was about as close to perfection as you could get.

As always I really enjoyed catching up with old friends, and at the same time, I made some new friends and met some truly inspiring people that I’m really looking forward to staying in touch with. I know I keep talking about the venue but I can’t emphasize it enough – being in such a beautiful place really allowed all of us to relax and unwind in a really special way.

Staying an extra day in Asheville also turned out to be a great idea, Saturday was a blast from the awesome brewery tour sponsored by Go Daddy to an incredible Stephen Marley concert in the park, and ending on another one of Asheville’s rooftop bars.

I took a lot of notes as I tend to do and learned a lot, if I don’t make 10x my travel costs from attending the event I’d honestly be pretty surprised. Of course, I want to share what I learned with all of you, but let’s start with what’s top of mind. Since my videos seem to be resonating well with people I decided to shoot a video with some of my reflections – here it is:

Okay, now it’s time to get on my flight, San Francisco here I come!

Video highlights from Friday at the Asheville Domain Investing MeetUp

Sat, 2019-08-03 16:29

Well, I think I can say with confidence that yesterday was a huge success and everything that Rick has promised, was delivered, and then some. It’s pretty amazing what can happen when you get the right group of people together in the right place and yesterday it all really came together.

I started the day at the gym and since I seem to be in a video mood this trip, I shot a little video – see if you can spot two other Domainers in there with me?

The day started off with opening remarks from Rick, if you haven’t seen those yet you can check-out the video of it here. Braden and I got lost trying to find the room, and of course I couldn’t help but film our adventure so if you want to join us in getting lost, feel free to watch the video below:

After that Domainers were able to hop on the mic and introduce themselves, and as I mentioned in my post yesterday, Michael Berkens gave a really interesting talk on new gTLDs and sparked a great discussion. I’ll be sharing that video soon so stay-tuned for that.

After that we all enjoyed time talking and exploring the property, the weather was perfect and energy level was high. Before I go any further I have to say, I think this hotel has the biggest fireplace I have ever seen, so big, I also had to take a video to share it with all of you…

I had a lot of great conversations yesterday and as usual learned a lot from talking with other Domainers. It’s always so interesting to hear how other people structure their portfolio, learn what’s working, what’s note and share ideas. One thing I’ve always appreciated about the Domain Industry is the incredible community, rather than competing with each other it really feels like we all want to win together, and that’s something special that not many industries have.

Somehow I managed to sneak in a quick nap and then we headed into downtown Asheville…where the bus first dropped us off at the wrong location, so we crossed the street, and then crossed back and got back on the bus. While it’s not the most exciting video, if you want to share in that experience, here it is:

The ghost tour was fun…but we got distracted by all of the excitement in downtown Asheville and before you knew it a few of us had deviated from the tour and made our way to an Arrested Development concert. I don’t know how many of you listened to Arrested Development but they were my jam back in Junior High so I was pretty excited. Here’s a little clip from the concert:

After that we headed over to the Rooftop party which was a blast, I would share videos of that with you now but if I did that I’d miss the bus to the brewery tour that Go Daddy is hosting…and well, I’m going beer tasting.

If you want to follow along with the adventures today just stay-tuned to my Twitter account @morganDOTlinton. I hope you’re all having a great start to your weekend, thanks for reading and watching!

Here it is – Rick’s opening remarks at the 1st Annual Asheville Domain Investor MeetUp

Fri, 2019-08-02 22:24

Okay, before I start I have to say…I honestly can’t get enough of this view. I feel like I’ve taken dozens of photos of the same view…but every time I see it I can’t help myself. The photo above I took this afternoon after the first half of the day’s activities came to a close.

The weather in Asheville has been pretty much perfect since we got here. Last night it rained for about five minutes, otherwise it was a nice warm night and today has been beautiful.

Today kicked off at 11AM with opening remarks from Rick which I recorded and just uploaded to You Tube. After Rick’s remarks the mic opened up to anyone who wanted to introduce themselves and share a bit more about what they’re doing in the Domain Industry and what synergies they’re looking to find at the show.

During the afternoon session Michael Berkens gave a really interesting talk about new gTLDs sharing some very interesting data from his own portfolio. Michael opened it up to questions when he was done and we had one of the most interesting discussions I’ve heard about new gTLDs, and don’t worry, I got that on video too which I’ll likely be uploading and sharing this weekend.

Now I’m back in my room and I’m going to try to sneak in a quick nap before the ghost tour and rooftop party. So, with that, here’s the video of Rick’s opening remarks today, enjoy!

First impressions of the Grove Park Inn – home of the Asheville Domain Investors MeetUp

Thu, 2019-08-01 22:14

Well it’s official, I’m in Asheville at the Grove Park Inn, and it’s even more spectacular than I had imagined. My Uber driver told me more about the hotel on our way over, and it’s safe to say this hotel is steeped in history, and has played host to some of the most famous people in the world. You can read more about the history of the hotel here.

A number of readers asked me to share videos, and after seeing the hotel in-person, I can tell you that pictures don’t do it justice so videos it is! This hotel is huge and it’s hard to really capture in a photo so I’ve had some fun taking videos which I’ll be posting on You Tube and sharing on my blog. If you don’t already subscribe to my You Tube channel, now’s a good time to do it.

When I went to grab lunch today I bumped into Mike Robertson (from Fabulous) who I’ve known for over a decade. While I’ve known Mike for a long time, we normally just have time for a quick hello at conferences. Today we had the chance to sit down, have lunch together, and property catch up. Both of us were in the moment Rick announced the event because we liked the idea of getting together with a smaller group and having the chance to sit down and really catch up like we did this afternoon.

As we were finishing lunch, Bill McClure ( walked by and joined us for coffee (which makes sense right!). Bill is another person who I’ve known for years but haven’t had the chance to sit down and catch up with for probably five years.

I’m pretty sure this is exactly what Rick had intended when he planned this event, and given that it’s already happening and the event hasn’t even officially started yet, this is a very good sign.

It’s conversations like these that spark new ideas and I actually got a really good idea from Bill that I took notes on and will likely be putting into action when I get back home…once again, the event hasn’t even officially started yet and I already learned something new. This is also what I really appreciate about the domain investing community, we all love sharing new ideas and talking about what’s worked and hasn’t worked for us. There really is no better way to learn than from other people that have been either where you are, or where you want to be.

Okay, so now I should get going – I’ve been in my room working all day so it’s time to get back out there! Of course, I promised you some videos so here they are, the first is when I first arrived at the hotel, the second is the view from the back of the hotel. More to come!

Arriving at the hotel View from the hotel

If you’re here in Asheville I look forward to seeing you tonight! Now, time to put on my #Domainer shirt and get out of this room – Asheville, the Domainers are coming!

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