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Is Domain blogging dying? Maybe, but these fine folks are still doing what they can to keep things alive

Sun, 2018-05-20 19:15

Rick Schwartz jumped back on the blogging scene this morning to write a post about how Domain Blogging is dead. I have to say, usually when Rick says something he’s done the research, has the data, and it’s usually right, or turns out to be later on. Love him or hate him (I’m in the love category myself) you have to admit, Rick says it like it is and does the work to prove it.

I don’t consider my blog to be a domain blog, this is MorganLinton.com and I write about a lot of topics from startups to gaming to crypto, and yes I still do talk about domains but it’s not my core focus. This is a personal blog and I write about the things that are interesting to me. Rick called me out in his article for writing a sponsored post on Friday…I wish Unity or Unreal or PluralSight were sponsors…but they aren’t, I’m just interested in learning how to build a game (for fun) and wrote about what I’ve learned about picking a game engine.

While I personally do still check Domaining.com daily, I also typically unplug on the weekends and have noticed, like Rick pointed out that there’s usually not a lot to miss if you do checkout for the weekend. Still there are a lot of great blogs that write super interesting content that I do read so I thought I’d mention them here to give them credit for keeping domain blogging alive.

My favorite blog right now is Michael Berken’s blog TheDomains.com, he is still going strong and Raymond has done a great job of continuing to make sure there’s solid content there every day along with running his own active blog at TLDInvesting.com. Shane is still rocking and putting out a ton of content on DSAD.com, Konstantinos is also still blogging up a storm and isn’t ever afraid to speak his mind on OnlineDomain.com. Elliot rebranded from Elliots Blog to DomainInvesting.com and he still blogs daily with a focus on domain investing.

Of course Ron Jackson is still writing great content at DNJournal.com and Andrew has done an incredible job of keeping an incredibly consistent and informative domain news blog at DomainNameWire.com. And I couldn’t possibly leave out what many consider their daily dose of domain humor – DomainGang which is still going strong and is the only domain blog I’ve seen to add hashtags to their post titles. Maybe Theo knows something we don’t know?

Last but certainly not least is the longest-running video program in the domain industry, DomainSherpa, originally run by Michael Cyger and now run by domain broker Andrew Rosner from Media Options.

Wow – looking back up this post, that’s a lot of links! But I think these guys all deserve credit for working hard to bring quality content to the domain industry. While I agree with Rick, the weekends can be a little light, and yes – blogs have sponsored posts that can be a bit boring to read…but still these fine folks are working hard to keep the domain blogging world alive.

But I agree with Rick, it’s just not what it used to be and maybe that will change or maybe writing text blog posts just isn’t as relevant for the next generation of Domainers? Millennials tend to prefer video content, Snapchat, and Instagram over text blog posts, maybe the next generation of Domain Blogs won’t be blogs at all but You Tube or Twitch channels?

I think the reality is that the world is changing, and with it comes the way that people consume content. I think the real trend is that text blog posts are becoming less relevant. I know for me personally I actually watch Twitch more than I do regular television, and I spend a lot more time on Twitch than I do reading domain blogs. Still, I think the domain bloggers who are still going strong and putting out fresh content daily about Domaining are doing a great job of keeping the community alive, the question is, will this need to change to grow the community as we move forward five, ten, and twenty years into the future?

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

How to pick a game engine: Unity vs. Unreal

Sat, 2018-05-19 02:02

If you’re playing a modern videogame, seriously, like just about any game you can think of, then it’s very likely made in either Unity or Unreal. These are both game engines, and if you don’t know what that is, you will in the next twenty seconds. A game engine is a piece of software that people use to build games. Game engines have a lot of game mechanics already built in which means you don’t have to build an engine yourself to cover things like movement, animation, lighting, etc.

While there are dozens of game engines out there  two have become the defacto standard. I am not a game developer, I’ve never built a game, I’ve never taken a game development class. That being said, I’ve always thought it would be fun to build a game so I set out on a research project to investigate which game engine would be the best to learn.

I choose Unity, but it wasn’t an easy choice and did require quite a bit of research. I found there really isn’t a great article out there about how to decide between the two. Most articles I found were just long reviews of both usually ending with little indication as to why you’d choose one over the other. So I kept digging, and I think I’ve come up with three questions that can help anyone narrow down the selection process.

So if you’re thinking of dipping your toes in the game dev world, here are three questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you want to build mobile games? choose Unity, period
  2. Do you want to build a game without writing any code? in that case choose Unreal
  3. Do you want to build your own models or use an asset to to buy pre-built ones? if you’re modeling yourself, you could go with either Unity or Unreal, if you don’t want to do the modeling, Unity does have a much deeper asset store so will probably be the better choice

Maybe this oversimplifies things a bit but at the end of the day, if you answer these three questions you’ll probably find yourself in one of two buckets:

Bucket 1: One engine would offer an advantage to you over the other based on your needs

Bucket 2: It doesn’t matter, you can use either engine and be happy as a clam.

Oh and once you do pick an engine, I highly recommend checking out the tutorials over at PluralSight. Now I’d love to hear from any of my readers that have experience with either Unity or Unreal. How did you pick which engine to use? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Startup founders – it’s time to be less paranoid about your pitch deck

Thu, 2018-05-17 04:56

Mark Suster, one of my favorite VCs (who also has an awesome blog) wrote a great article recently about how the age-old advice to send your pitch deck as a link probably is well, aged, old, and out of touch. This is something that we learned over time as we were raising for Bold Metrics; we started out incredibly cautious and paranoid when it came to our pitch deck, and then learned that we just needed to make a deck that we were comfortable sending knowing that it could get distributed to anyone and everyone.

The advice we got early-on was, “send your pitch deck as a link, that way you can control who sees it and what they see.” The idea was, you could easily update your deck and make it harder for your competitors to get a hold of it. Over time we saw this added quite a bit of friction to a process (i.e. raising money from VCs) that you as a founder want to introduce as little friction as possible into.

Mark’s point is spot on:

Your pitch deck shouldn’t contain your deepest, darkest secrets and plans. That would be something you’d only reveal when you’re well into the VC process and have established mutual trust and they’ve proven engagement with you. Whenever you write your deck and send it out I think you should actually think to yourself, “my competitors are probably going to read this one day and this will be forwarded widely” and if your response isn’t “so what!” or “that would be awesome” then I think you’re doing something wrong anyways. (Source – BothSidesOfTheTable)

This made me think back to the early days, when we weren’t actively trying to raise money. We were really paranoid, back then we were afraid to even share what we were doing for fear of someone stealing our idea. We quickly learned that ideas are cheap, execution is hard, crazy hard, and there are very few people who are going to drop everything they are doing and dedicate their life to the idea you told them.

Still it takes time to get comfortable with the idea of sharing something that means the world to you, whether it’s with an investor or with another founder. There’s always going to be that feeling that you shared too much, or that the way you presented it wasn’t nearly as good or well-articulated as it is today. Welcome to reality, that’s just how it goes.

Pitch decks are sales & marketing decks and like in any sales activity, any great sales person assumes his or her competition will eventually get their deck. So what? Competition isn’t won or lost by your marketing decks — it’s won by how you innovate and by how you execute. A deck is a deck. Just send it. It’s all upside and limited downside. (Source – BothSidesOfTheTable)

Thanks to Mark for writing this article…now I just wish I could build a time machine and read this five years ago…

To anyone trying to sell all the .APP domains they just bought…good luck

Wed, 2018-05-16 00:57

So I have been contacted by a handful of people since I started writing about .APP, all have registered a long list of .APP names, and they’re looking to sell. As you guys probably know by now, I’m a nice guy (or at least I try to be) so I respond and take a look at the lists, maybe there’s one I want to buy?

Last week a saw a list with a ton of solid one-word .APP domains, many of them would be six or seven figures in .COM. But in .APP – who knows?

The reality is that there are always going to be people who buy a ton of domains when a new gTLD is launched, I’m yet to hear a story about someone who made a fortune using this strategy. It’s also why I registered only three .APP names and I might buy another two or three, but that’s it. As far as I know every single .APP domain is a liability, not an asset, the only real assets I know of in the domain name world are .COM.

I think sometime people see me writing about .APP but don’t read my articles, they think that I’m a huge fan of Domainers investing in them, when, if you read what I write, I say the opposite.

That being said, I do think .APP will be interesting to end-users, so I’d say you have a better chance of flipping your solid one-word .APP domain that the same name in something like .HOLDINGS, but how long you’d have to wait to make the sale and how much it would actually sell for really is a mystery.

What I do know is that trying to sell a huge portfolio of .APP names is going to be tough, especially with the high renewal fees. If you did buy a big portfolio of .APP names this year is probably going to be pretty darn stressful as you contact every domain broker you can think of to try to get them to sell names for you.

So while I commend people for taking risks, I would also challenge anyone that calls .APP domains an investment or an asset because there’s no proof that they are. It is incredibly clear that .COM domain names are a real asset, I don’t think anyone is going to challenge that, but don’t trick yourself into thinking that you’re sitting on a goldmine if you “lucked out” and registered a bunch of .APP domains before anyone else.

The hard truth is there’s a greater chance that your big portfolio of .APP names is going to cost you more money than it makes you.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh here? Comment and let your voice be heard!

MorganLinton.com Exclusive – Q&A with the company selling Austin.com

Tue, 2018-05-15 01:30

I recently learned that Austin.com was up for sale and being brokered by Toronto-based OODIENCE.com. While I was able to get some high-level details about the sale thanks to this press release, I wanted to know more and thought that MorganLinton.com readers would want to know more as well.

So…I asked OODIENCE if they would be open to answering a handful of questions, they said yes, and so I’m excited to share this with all of you. Given that Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and that the tech scene is growing there every year this seems likely to be a blockbuster sale so I think it’s a good one to do a deeper dive into. Special thanks to Rob Toth, the CEO of OODIENCE for taking the time – enjoy!

[MORGAN] When did the owner of Austin.com first reach-out to you to discuss the potential of helping them sell the domain?

[ROB] The client’s company purchased a media channel from a deal that my strategic M&A firm, OODIENCE, was representing last year. Soon after, he reconnected regarding a future plan to sell this domain from his portfolio. We didn’t initiate the contract right away and given the agreed on timeline due to our own bandwidth, the active marketing and outreach only started recently.

[MORGAN] How long has the current owner had the name for?

[ROB] He’s been the owner for a good number of years now.

[MORGAN] Why did the current owner decide that now was the time to sell?

[ROB] He’s been a prolific domainer but also investor in various other businesses for some time. In fact, two of the most common reasons business owners sell is either loss of interest, or, as in this case, to self-fund or fuel a new business venture. Which is precisely the case here too. He has business objectives and I guess he felt instead of selling flamethrowers, he’d liquidate a company asset instead.

[MORGAN] Do you think Austin.com is the most valuable city name in Texas (i.e. vs. Dallas.com or Houston.com)?

[ROB] Naturally my answer will be biased but I do. Austin is winning the attention across the board. Tthe global brand name of Austin is stronger than any other Texas city partially fueled by events like SXSW. The city’s growth is outpacing many metropolitan centers in the US. Austin is becoming a second home or a migration target for Silicon Valley types and, as a by-product, is already a hot startup and VC sector. It has a strong growth in alternative energy such as solar and wind energy. It’s becoming powerful in politics. And an already thriving crypto+blockchain industry calls Austin home. All Texan roads lead to Austin.

[MORGAN] Are you able to share if the owner is open to lease to own deals or if they’re looking for all-cash only?

[ROB] Naturally the best deal in any transaction is a frictionless deal, to a buyer who can best utilize the asset and will pay the top dollar, in all cash. But, in any win-win deal there is typically a bit of give. We’re hard set on a “best buyer” (we can afford to be selective), we do have a bottom price that we simply have no motivation to explore under … but we recognize that the mix of a right buyer, right price and right deal means the deal terms should provide some flexibility. So yes, there is opportunity for some form of lease-to-own or payments model though that deal too would likely see a bulk payment to engage the deal and would need to be a right Buyer. I guess the short of it: just as the terms have to make sense to a Buyer for them to engage, it has to be overall compelling and interesting enough for our Client to proceed.

Rob also told me that while he can’t disclose the exact price, he can say that it is in the seven figure range, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me.

Thanks again to Rob for taking the time to answer my questions. My guess is that if any of my readers have questions, Rob will probably be looking at the comments here so there’s a good chance you’ll get your questions answered too. So on that note – I’d love to hear what you think about Austin.com – comment and let your voice be heard!

Adding a BIN price to a For Sale landing page does impact inbound offer volume

Sat, 2018-05-12 01:38

So I’ve been running a little experiment over the last few months with the For Sale landing pages that I’m using at Efty. The change I made seems like something relatively small but the impact has been fairly noticeable. What did I do?

I added a BIN price.

In adding a BIN price I decided to retain the “Make Offer” form below so that a prospective buyer could still make an offer if they wanted to. Here’s a look at what the above-the-fold looks like on my current Efty landers:

The current landing page I am using is called “Hong Kong” hence the image in the background. One thing to note about this landing page is that you do have to scroll to access the form. Below is what you see once you scroll down the page or click the “Make an Offer” button:

So, like the post title says, after making this change I have seen an impact on inbound offer volume – it has gone down. That being said, while I’m getting less offers than I did before, I’m spending a lot less time dealing with tire kickers. Still I think there are two reasons that my offer volume has decreased:

  1. You have to scroll to get to the form. People are lazy, they see the domain, see the price, and if that isn’t the price they had in mind, they probably leave and never return.
  2. The BIN prices themselves might be scaring people away.

After running this experiment for a few months I have decided I’m going to move back to a more standard offer form landing page. I’ll take the tire kickers because sometimes a tire kicker actually turns into a real buyer so I’d rather engage with more potential buyers than less, period.

Still, I’d be interested to hear what you, my readers think. Have you experimented with adding a BIN price to an offer page? What was your experience? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

With the launch of .APP I think the value of .COM domains ending in “app” will decrease

Thu, 2018-05-10 01:56

Okay, I’ll start by making it very clear that this is only my opinion. Google is not a sponsor of my blog (although it would be pretty cool if they were!), nor am I someone that thinks .APP is a great investment as a Domainer. That being said, I have seen too many people over the last week say one of two things that I don’t agree with:

  1. Why would someone want <keyword>.app if <keyword>app.com is available to register
  2. If a domain owner has <keyword>app.com the price just went up with the release of .APP

Sorry but I just don’t buy the logic. The fact that so many <keyword>app.com domains have been available to register for so long (or are just sitting there with parked pages) IMO shows how little interest the general public has in them. Saying that you can just hand register it so why do you need the .APP doesn’t make much sense to me. If you’ve been able to hand register it for years, don’t you think that says something?

As for Domainers who have purchased portfolios of domains that end in “app” I think the logic that these domains have just gone up in value is very flawed. In fact, I think the exact opposite is going to happen, I think the price is going down. Let’s walk through a real world example:

Let’s suppose I’m a startup that is making a hiking app – I go and buy Hiking.app and shell out some extra money to get it early. First, let’s be honest, I was interested in the .APP extension because I’m building an app, so when it comes to rankings, I want to rank well in the Apple App store and Android App Store, that’s where the action is. Sure I could have bought HikingApp.com from whoever owns it, or hand registered it if it was available but that’s not why I bought the .APP domain, I wanted Hiking.app. The extension is without a doubt the best extension for an app.

I just don’t think that if I was that startup, building my hiking app, that I’d be that stressed about getting HikingApp.com…I’d honestly feel like I already had a better domain by getting Hiking.app. Now I would  say that I would be thrilled to get Hiking.com, that is without a doubt a much better name but when it comes to Hiking.app and HikingApp.com, I think companies will pick the .APP vs. the app.com all day long.

That’s my two cents, now I want to hear from you. Comment and let your voice be heard!

Uniregistry takes the cake when it comes to buying .APP domain names

Wed, 2018-05-09 06:09

I have been writing about .APP quite a bit over the past week and for good reason, it’s on fire and breaking records when it comes to adoption. Over 100,000 .APP domain names have been registered in the first day of general availability…and I accounted for three of those 100,000

Last week I wrote about my attempt to buy Scooter.app through Go Daddy and after paying $499 I received a notification from Go Daddy this weekend that I didn’t get the name and that $499 would be coming right back to me.

This week I decided to explore other registrars for .APP and after taking the Uniregistry experience for a spin I have to say, they take the cake when it comes to registering .APP domains. What I really like about the Uniregistry experience is that you’re able to search for .APP names and see availability in realtime, rather than having to type in a domain, press a button, wait, and repeat to find what’s available.

Here’s an example of the user experience, you simply type in the domain, press nothing and a second later it shows if the domain is available or not.

Along with getting a couple of domains at $19.88 I was also able to snag Scooters.app for $108, sure it’s not Scooter.app, but I didn’t want to shell out $1,500 for Scooter.app since I’m a .COM guy and don’t know much about the investment potential of .APP so I’m a-okay with the plural.

Of course this experience on Uniregistry isn’t limited to .APP, you can search for domains and instantly see availability in realtime across all the extensions they carry. Also it’s important to note that I could have also purchased Scooters.app through Go Daddy but Uniregistry won me over with their UX since it made it a lot easier to search for names quickly.

Have you registered any .APP domains yet? As I’ve said in my previous posts, I don’t have any idea if they will make good investments so I’m sticking to .COM, still I’ll register a handful of them, and when I do, I’m sticking with Uniregistry.

Explaining Containerization and Docker in under two minutes

Tue, 2018-05-08 04:02

I was at a wedding this weekend and got into a conversation with someone with a PhD in Biology who knew science like the back of their hand, but found this whole tech craze to be confusing. We started talking about servers and how hosting has changed over time and I mentioned that containerization, particularly Docker, had really changed the game.

They said,

“I keep hearing about Docker, but all I know is that their logo is a whale with a bunch of squares on its back. What the heck is it?”

I went on to explain Docker and containerization in about two minutes and they told me I should write what I told them somewhere because it was the first time someone had explained it to them in a way that made sense.

So…since I have a blog, and probably a handful of readers who don’t know what Docker is or how containerization works, I decided to take their advice and write about it, so here we go. Let’s start with containerization.

What is Containerization

The simple definition of containerization is – a way to deploy and run software in an environment where everything the software needs is neatly packaged with it so you can put it anywhere and it will actually work. This means that you can write code on your computer and run it on AWS, Google Cloud, or on your own home-built server, and you won’t be spending hours installing and updating libraries and trying to get each configuration to match the environment that you built it on.

You could get a lot more technical with this definition but I think this is an easy way to explain it at a high level. If you want to do a deeper dive, read this article on CIO.com.

What is Docker

Docker is the most popular software solution for containerization. Seriously…it’s that easy. If you understand basically what containerization is, then you understand the basics of Docker since it’s just the most popular piece of software out there for containerization.

Want to do a deeper dive, here’s a bit more from Docker themselves:

Docker is the company driving the container movement and the only container platform provider to address every application across the hybrid cloud. Today’s businesses are under pressure to digitally transform but are constrained by existing applications and infrastructure while rationalizing an increasingly diverse portfolio of clouds, datacenters and application architectures. Docker enables true independence between applications and infrastructure and developers and IT ops to unlock their potential and creates a model for better collaboration and innovation. (Source – Docker.com)

Check your watch, under two minutes right?

Five inventions that are worth knowing about

Sat, 2018-05-05 04:59

I recently watched a pretty interesting video on You Tube titled, “5 New Inventions in 2018 That Will Blow Your Mind” and I thought to myself…well none of these blew my mind, but they’re all worth knowing about.

So if you’re up on a Friday night or Saturday morning reading my blog, and you want a break from my normal banter about domain names, startups, or crypto, take a minute to watch this video. Like I said above, it won’t blow your mind, but all of these are pretty neat inventions. Enjoy!
 


If you want to buy a .APP domain should you try your luck at an auction or buy it outright?

Fri, 2018-05-04 06:50

Yesterday I wrote a post about the launch of .APP and mentioned that I had placed a bid through Go Daddy on a .APP domain. Yesterday Bill Kara, a friend of mine and someone who I definitely look up to in the domain world asked me a pretty good question:

So Bill brings up a pretty good point. Rather than going through Go Daddy’s auction process for a domain and shelling out $500, I could have spent $1,500 and just secured the exact domain I was looking for.

My logic here is that if I get lucky and nobody else bids against me, I could get the domain for $1,000 less, which would be nice. At the same time, I take a risk because other people could bid against me and bring the price way above $1,500 and then I could be kicking myself.

In this case my actual answer is that I’m not super interested in investing in .APP domains so I don’t really want to spent $1,500 on the name. I’ll take my chances and see if I get lucky on this one but I’m going to stick to .COM like I have for years.

Now some people said I should buy the domain I was looking for with the word app appended to it in .COM, but that’s assuming that I have some strong interest in keywordapp.com domains which I actually don’t think are very interesting. I think a startup would much rather have the exact match name .APP than they would a .COM with the keyword followed by the word app – but that’s just my two cents.

Either way I plan to buy either zero or one .APP domains so it’s not something I’m putting a ton of time or energy into. If I get lucky, great, but .COM is where my focus is for now and for the foreseeable future.

.APP domain names are now available to register, but it’s going to cost you

Thu, 2018-05-03 05:14

Yesterday Google released the long-awaited .APP domain name but don’t get too excited, most domain registrars are asking for $10,000/domain to register a domain in this long awaited TLD.

The so-called Early Access Period (EAP) for .app domain names started at 16:00Z yesterday. This Dutch auction starts with high registration fees that drop ever time.

Most registrars were asking for at least $10,000 to register a domain during the first day of EAP. That’s on top of the normal and premium registration fees. (Source – DomainNameWire)

Of course, even at $10k each some major words were registered in the .APP domain extension like Sex.app and Music.app. In total 40 .APP domain names were registered in the first day and you can see some of the names that were registered here compliments of OnlineDomain.com.

There are plenty of domains that don’t surprise me at all like Casino.app, Tax.app, and Q.app. At the same time, there are a few headscratchers like eBike.app that you would think might be worth waiting for since the price is going to come down over time.

Of course it was hard for me not to jump in and pre-register a .APP name…which I’m guessing will probably go beyond the price I’m willing to pay but I’d still like to be in the mix for.

I’m a big fan of scooters and living in San Francisco I can tell you there literally is a scooter on just about every block. Whether you’re using Bird or Lime, it’s not hard to hop on a scooter and get to your destination a lot faster, and let’s be honest, using a method of transportation that is more fun that walking, biking or Ubering.

My guess is Scooter.app is going to surge above $10,000 but hey, I’d still like to be a part of the bidding. You might think it’s silly for me to share what I’m bidding on but let’s be honest, I definitely won’t be on the only one bidding so I don’t think posting this on my blog is going to force me to pay more for it than I would need to if I kept on bidding.

If you could buy one .APP domain, what would it be?

Forbes breaks down what makes a “good” domain name

Wed, 2018-05-02 03:53

Forbes had an interesting article today that talked about the importance of having a good domain name to compliment a good business idea. Along with reinforcing the importance of domains in general, they put together a list of qualifications for a good domain:

Make It Foolproof

Typos happen. While you can’t control the occasional fat-finger mishap, you can minimize confusion on exactly what people should be typing when pulling up your site. Omit slang (using “4” instead of “for”) and eliminate words that have multiple spellings. Additionally, avoid:

  • Mixing numbers with words: (gØØd-dØmain.com)
  • Hyphens: (good-domain.com)
  • Homonyms: (suite-domain.com)
  • Abbreviations (2cool-domain.com)

You get the general idea. In short, make it virtually impossible for online surfers not to find you.

Be Memorable

Your website isn’t only trying to wrest attention away from your industry competition; it’s actually fighting to be seen amongst millions of other registered domain names. Catchy and clever are must-have features. Test out ideas with friends to see if they love them as much as you do.

Embrace Concision

Using long, overly-complex domain names also increases the risk of typos or misspellings (or boring your audience completely before they even finish typing). Keep it short and sweet by using just one or two words, max.

(Source – Forbes.com)

The article goes on to cover what makes a bad domain name citing issues like domains that are too long, bland, or hard to type.

I personally always look at two tests – the radio test and the billboard test. Here’s what each of these means and why I think they’re pretty darn important:

Radio test – if someone were to hear your domain over the radio, could they remember it and type it correctly when they get in front of a computer or smartphone?

Billboard test – if someone drives by a billboard going 70 mph on the freeway and sees your domain, can they remember it and type it correctly when they get in front of a computer or smartphone?

One piece of advice that I don’t really agree with in the article is:

If you’re keeping things local, using .org or .net or other available choice is a potential solution to your domain name dilemma.

I personally don’t think .ORG is a great option if you’re trying to “keep things local” since .ORG really is a better fit for non-profits. Instead I personally would suggest .IO, .ME or .CO if you can’t get the .COM but like the article says, .COM should be the focus and you could be kicking yourself later down the road if you don’t pick .COM out of the gate.

What do you think? Did Forbes share some decent tips or did the article miss the mark? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Rick Schwartz hints at a potential return to the blogging world

Tue, 2018-05-01 03:32

When I first started buying and selling domain names there were a handful of blogs that I read religiously, Rick Schwartz’s blog – RicksBlog.com was one of them. What I always appreciated about Rick’s blog is that first and foremost, he is a very experienced and incredibly successful domain investor, period, no doubt about that, and second – he isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

Rick took a hiatus from blogging, but today he hinted that he might be getting back in the mix, starting with what sounds like it’s going to be a pretty epic post coming this summer.

It might be the shortest blog post ever written to get so many comments with 26 so far, many from fans excited to see Rick get back in the blogging saddle.

I am really looking forward to reading this post and do hope this means that we’ll see Rick get back into the blogging fray, even if just for a little bit longer. Now my only question is, when does “this summer” officially start…don’t leave me hanging Rick!

eSports Sunday: Yes, eSports are going to be in the Olympics, and probably sooner than you’d think

Mon, 2018-04-30 05:12

I’ve talked about this before and most of the time people tell me that I’m crazy. However as time passes I think I’m looking a little less crazy because whether you’re an eSports fan like me or not, it’s hard to ignore what’s happening in the world of competitive video games.

The eSports market is expected to hit $1.5B:

The coming year will see the Esports Economy grow to $696 million, a year-on-year growth of 41.3%. Brands are expected to spend $517 million, broken down into $155 million on advertising, $266 million on sponsorship, and a further $95 million on media rights. Brand investment will double by 2020, pushing the total market to $1.5 billion. (Source – NewZoo.com)

As the market for competitive video games continues to grow and viewership booms it should come as no surprise that the Olympics are on everyone’s radar. Last year more people watched competitive video games than regular season NFL games so what do all those people want to watch in the Olympics? Uh, duh – eSports.

In fact, competitive video games will be a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games and the Paris bid team is discussing eSports for the 2024 Olympic games according to the BBC:

The Paris bid team said it would discuss introducing esports with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) before being named host in September.

Competitive video gaming will be a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games.

“It won’t be possible to be an official discipline,” said IeSF acting secretary general Leopold Chung.

“But to be a demonstration title within the Paris Olympics.”
(Source – BBC News)

As someone who watches a lot more competitive video games than traditional sports I am excited to see eSports make their way to the Olympics. I also think that once they are included in the Olympics it will open the world to an entirely new kind of sport, one that is becoming increasingly relevant in a world where we all carry computers in are pocket that are more powerful than any electronic device on the planet at the time that any traditional sport was invented.

The times, they are a changing, and IMO this change is great news. Of course, I’m pretty biased so I’d like to hear what you think. Do eSports belong in the Olympics? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

How do .IO domain prices compare to .COM?

Sat, 2018-04-28 23:26

Recently I was talking with another startup founder about domains (yes this happens quite a bit) and she asked a really good question – how do .IO prices compare to .COM. I didn’t have a great answer so thought I would do a little bit of research and find some comparable sales. Here’s a few examples that I found:

  • HB.com sold for $100,000, HB.io sold for $16,000 (.IO valued at 16% of .COM)
  • Beauty.com sold for $800,000, Beaty.io sold for $15,000 (.IO valued at 1.8% of .COM)
  • Payment.com sold for $250,000, Payment.io sold for $8,888 (.IO valued at 3.6% of .COM)
  • RSS.com sold for $135,000, RSS.io sold for $8,823 (.IO valued at 6.5% of .COM)
  • Bucket.com sold for $30,000, Bucket.io sold for $7,000 (.IO valued at 23% of .COM)
    (Source – NameBio)

Okay so first things first…this is very far from a statistically significant survey, I just spent ten minutes trying to find five different examples of names that sold in .COM and .IO to compare. So the results here are probably almost completely meaningless, but hey I wanted to have some data to look at.

With these five sample sales, .IO indexed in on average at roughly 10% of the .COM price. If I was going to really get to the bottom of this I would have to look at probably 1,000+ sales or at least a few hundred to get a more meaningful sample size.

So I thought I’d turn this question over to you. Do you think 10% is a fair estimate of .IO value when compared to .COM? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Must-read article for any startup with a remote culture (or thinking of building one)

Sat, 2018-04-28 02:12

I’m a big fan of a remote work culture. Ten years ago it was a challenge to pull off, now it’s becoming the new norm. Thanks to tools like Slack and Zoom, teams can now be distributed and still connect up, look at each other when they talk, and easily share and communicate in realtime. The result is less time spent sitting in traffic and more time getting real work done.

We started moving to a remove culture at Bold Metrics last year and the result has been increased productivity, a happier team, and my favorite, parents that get to spend more time with their kids while also being incredibly productive members of the team.

I recently read a really interesting interview with the CEO of Zapier who runs an 100% remote dev team. He shared some very interesting insights about building a remote culture and why some startups are still afraid of making the move:

I think there’s probably two pieces. One – most people are used to going to the office, that’s how they’ve done all the work before. That’s a pretty classic way to work. If you paint for a living, you can’t paint remotely; you have to be at the canvas, you have to be at a certain location. There’s no other option for this type of work. In tech, however, not all people realize that’s not necessary anymore. (Source – YouTeam.io)

If you’ve been thinking of going remote I encourage you to talk to your team. Learn about their commute, understand the sacrifices they have to make to come to the office every day. Also remember, you don’t have to instantly go completely remote, we started with “work from home Wednesday” and grew it from there. Now I can tell you, I don’t think I could ever run a company that required people to come to the office daily, I know too much about the benefits of letting employees avoid the commute and focus on what matters.

You can read the full interview with Bryan Helmig, the CTO of Zapier on YouTeam.io here.

Taking NamePulse for a spin to do a deeper dive into how new gTLDs are really doing

Thu, 2018-04-26 14:37

Ever since the new gTLD program was launched I have been fascinated by how different domain extensions perform and more importantly, the metrics that we should really be using to judge performance. I have talked in the past about my issues with using registrations as the KPI for adoption since this number is so easily manipulated.

In my mind, the most successful new gTLDs will be those that see mass consumer adoption, and by adoption I mean development. Sure, you can have one person register a million domains and instantly rocket a new extension into a top spot…but once again, that’s just aligning yourself with a number that honestly doesn’t mean too much, to me, or to the true long-term success of a TLD.

There are some great tools on the market for doing a deep dive and really understanding the intricate details behind a TLD. One of the most high-octane solutions out there is NamePulse and I took it for a spin and have been really impressed. Not only does NamePulse provide a ton of data, they’ve done a great job of organizing and visualizing the data so that or normal person like me, can make sense of it.

One of my favorite new gTLDs and one that I think is probably doing one of the best jobs of actually getting their domain extension into the hands of real people is .CLUB. So I thought it would be fun to use NamePulse to do a deeper dive into .CLUB to see what the data can tell us about some of the secrets to their success.

To start with, since development is what I’m always the most interested in, I took a look at the breakdown of how .CLUB domains are being used. I really like this breakdown because it can help to differentiate between parked domain and actual developed names. I have seen people in the past try to calculate % developed by looking at the total number of domains that resolve period, and that doesn’t really give you the right number since parked domains will resolve a-okay.

As you can see from the data above, more than one fifth of the .CLUB names that have been registered are developed. Also from the breakdown that NamePulse provides you can see that 5% are redirects and 32% are not resolving. I think it’s probably safe to say that some percentage of the domains that aren’t resolving are probably going to get developed, and the redirects are almost always to existing sites so combining this together I’d say that 30% or more of the .CLUB domains out there are in the hands of people who are actually putting them to good use.

Now let’s go a bit deeper. Let’s look at the language distribution for developed .CLUB sites:

Chinese and English represent more than 50% of the languages found on developed sites followed by Japanese at 6.72%. One thing that you can see right-away when looking at this data is that .CLUB clearly has taken off globally, in fact Asia and Europe account for roughly 70% of the developed sites.

Now let’s go even deeper and look at the specific registrars with the highest concentration of developed .CLUB domains. Once again, I like looking at the data that specifically corresponds to developed sites and NamePulse makes it easy to do this.

So Alibaba, NameCheap, and Go Daddy hold the top spots for developed .CLUB domains with Alibaba very firmly in the #1 spot at 42%. It’s interesting to look at the % changed numbers as well since these can also give an indicator into where development is growing and where it might be declining. In this case it looks like Go Daddy is seeing a nice increase in developed .CLUB domains while Alibaba is losing a bit of ground.

Looking at the Zone Count Summary you can see a little dip at the end of March this year. Usually when you see movement like this it is related to the one-year anniversary of a promotion. In this case .CLUB lost about 10,000 registrations or roughly 1% of it’s registered domains which doesn’t seem too harsh.

NamePulse allows you to look at the Zone Count over a specific time period so I decided to zoom out a bit further to look at how .CLUB has performed over the last year.

Up and to the right, those are the kinds of charts that I like myself. Yes, you can see some dips along the way but this clearly shows growth and adoption. Comparing this to another new gTLD like .XYZ, tells a different story.

This is another example of the impact a promotion can have on registrations, as you can see .XYZ lost millions of domains going from July to August of 2017. I believe this was due to the expiration of their $0.01 registrations which had a lot of takers on the front end, but not nearly as many ponied up when it came time for renewals.

At the same time, .XYZ has roughly the same percentage of developed domains as .CLUB right now with also 20% of their names being developed.

This is another great example of why you can’t just look at the raw registration numbers. Sure, .XYZ saw a huge drop in total registered domains, but they still have close to 380,000 developed domains which means people are putting these names to good use as well.

It will be interesting to continue to slice and dice this data over time. These are still the early days of new gTLDs and only time will tell which ones will see meaningful consumer adoption. What I can tell you is that tools like NamePulse can definitely help us all do a deeper dive to look past the vanity metrics and focus on what actually matters when it comes to building a sustainable brand.

As a domain name investor I’m a fan of .IO…but not a fan of LLL .IO domains

Thu, 2018-04-26 03:01

First things first, as a domain investor my focus is .COM, period. I don’t see that changing anytime soon and two-word .COMs are where I put most of my investment dollars. Next to .COM the only other extension that I’ve put some love into is .IO, and when it comes to .IO I’m laser focused on one-word .IO domains.

Typically I like to find a .IO domain that would sell for six or seven figures in .COM. That being said, I did some experimenting with LLL .IO domains and I decided years ago stop given the poor performance I saw with them.

When it comes to .IO domains I have a pretty simply heuristic to evaluate investments, how many offers per month does a domain get. Some of my one-word .IO domains get 3 – 4 offers a month and that’s typically what I’m looking for. Sure I’d love to get 30 – 40 offers a month, and if they were the same word but in .COM they probably would get it, but you pay a lot less for .IO domains and get a lot less offers.

When I experimented with LLL .IO domains I found that I would get typically between 0 – 1 offers per month and in general I found that they were much harder to move than one-word .IO domains. I spoke to another .IO investor who said he saw similar results. So I decided to stop investing in LLL .IO domains and stick to meaningful one-word .IO names.

All this being said, like I said above, .COM is my focus and I don’t see that changing. Still, I continue to buy .IO domains and I will keep buying, but my days of buying LLL .IO’s are over. This post was inspired after seeing a new thread on NamePros about LLL .IO names so I thought I’d share my two cents.

That’s my opinion, but I want to hear from you. Are you investing in LLL .IO’s or staying away? I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

Calling all AI startups – you can now easily buy expired .AI domains

Tue, 2018-04-24 04:08

When it comes to getting a good deal on domain names, expired domains are often one of your best bets. While this likely won’t be a good solution if you have a specific name in mind, if you’re open to a range of potential options, expired domains typically sell close to their wholesale price.

For years now I’ve been buying .IO domains through a service called Park.io and I was excited to learn this weekend that they decided to add .AI to the mix. Here’s a look at some of the .AI domains they already have available for bids right now:

If you haven’t purchased an expired domain name before, here’s a quick primer on how it works. When a domain name expires, the owner is usually notified over, and over, and over again by their registrar to give them a number of chances to renew it. 99% of the time, when a domain expires, the domain owner has decided they don’t want it so don’t want to keep paying the renewal fee.

There’s a common misconception that somehow expired domains are those that people had taken from them or were removed from their account without their knowledge. Unless someone changed their email address after they registered a domain and didn’t update their registrar, they’ll know when a domain is expiring. I have been buying expired domains for ten years and only once in this time period has someone contacted me saying that they had no idea how they lost the domain. In that case, I sold it back to them for the exact price that I paid, and if that ever happens to you, I recommend that you do the same.

On sites like Park.io, when you place a bid on an expired domain, other people can bid against you and like most auctions, the domain will sell to the highest bidder. If you want to do a deeper dive into the domain expiration process, Go Daddy has a pretty solid rundown of it here.

I don’t know many places that you can buy expired .AI domains so I am very happy to see that Park.io added this, something tells me it will quickly become one of their most popular domain extensions, next to .IO of course.

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