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3 Tips For Anyone Who Wants To Start Following eSports

6 hours 6 min ago

Fast forward twenty years from now and watching football and baseball is going to be a bit like watching lawn bowling. Okay, I’m kidding, regular sports aren’t go away quite that quickly, but it’s safe to say that since eSports has outpaced traditional sports, music, and tv for the last three years there’s a very good chance that 10 – 20 years from now, when you say “sports” eSports could very likely be the first thing that comes to mind.

That being said, most people have no idea where to start when it comes to eSports. Let’s face it, you know the rules of football, baseball, basketball, etc. inside and out, you’ve been watching it for years, you have a favorite team, suffice it to say you’ve gotten comfortable with sports as you know it.

While I’d love to say that following eSports is simple and you can start watching right away, that’s not really true. eSports, like regular sports, have a lot of rules, complexities, teams to learn, players and coaches to follow, and tournaments to become familiar with. That being said, if you think it’s only teenagers that are playing and watching eSports, think again.

eSports is here to stay, it’s not going anywhere and like I said above, the industry is growing faster than traditional sports, music or TV, so now is not a bad time to get familiar with them.

So how do you get started? Here are three tips to help you kick off your new eSports addiction, just remember like I said above, there’s a bit of a learning curve so be patient.

1) Create an account on Twitch.tv – just like ESPN is probably your go-to resource for watching sports, Twitch will quickly become your go-to resource for watching eSports. To get started create an account and then pick a game that you might already know, while you’ll find games like League of Legends and CS Go, you might not be as familiar with them. If you spot a Mario game you know and love, or really any game that you recognize this will be the easiest way to just get comfortable with the idea of watching game streams.

2) Pick a popular eSport to start following – once you’re comfortable with Twitch you’ll want to pick a popular eSport to start following. There are really four games that I recommend watching to get started since they are four of the most popular and have tons of major stadium-filling tournaments associated with them. These are, League of Legends, DOTA 2, Counter Strike, and Starcraft II.

To decide which you want to start with really depends on what kind of game you like. I’m a big fan of strategy games so League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Starcraft II are my favorites to watch with DOTA 2 being my current fav. Not into strategy? Then watch Counter Strike, it’s a first-person action shooter and is a bit easier to follow than some of the strategy games out of the gate.

3) Find out when the next major tournament is – just like it’s more exciting to watch the playoffs or the finals, it’s also more exciting to watch eSports when there’s a big tournament going on. You’ll be happy to know that ESPN actually follows all the big tournaments so feel free to head over to ESPN.com and take a look at what’s coming up.

And there you have it. Follow these three steps and you might just find yourself watching some eSports on Sunday in between your favorite football games. Enjoy and feel free to post in the comment section below if you have any more questions about getting started or if you want to share how you got started following eSports yourself.

Comment and let your voice be heard!

I just discovered BrandAftermarket, a new place for startups to buy domains for under $500

Sat, 2017-09-23 02:16

Brandable domain names have taken over as a very viably options for startups looking to built their brand online, but not looking to spend a fortune. For years BrandBucket.com has been a go-to resource for brandable domain names crossing the $1M profit mark in 2016.

BrandBucket has a unique model, domain owners can list their domains for sale and get connected with a logo designer that will create a custom logo for the domain. BrandBucket then generates a landing page for the domain, including the logo, and lists it on their marketplace, charging a $10 listing fee and 30% commission if the domain sells. When the domain sells you also pay the logo designer, usually somewhere in the $100 – $500 range.

Most of the domains on BrandBucket sell in the four figure range but this year they are growing the marketplace to support more high-value names. As BrandBucket moves more up-market, a new player has entered the space – BrandAftermarket.com offering a marketplace for brandable domain names but here’s the twist – they are all priced at $495.

I think it’s safe to say that while not all startups can afford a name like Resolution.com which is listed for $175,000 on BrandBucket, they can definitely afford a name like BlogDNA.com listed for $495 on BrandAftermarket. Of course there are still plenty of domains in the low four-figure range on BrandBucket like CareTaker.io for $2,995 and GuardParrot.com for $1,695 but $495 is hard to beat.

There are already thousands of .COM domains on BrandAftermarket and it looks like their inventory is only going to grow. As a big fan of BrandBucket myself (have been for years!) I’m still happy to see a new entrant into the space. Anything that can help connect startup founders with brandable domain names for reasonable prices deserves some love in my book.

Congrats to the BrandAftermarket.com on the launch, cheers to one more place for startup to find domain names without the hassle of haggling over price!

How did a four-word .COM sell for $100,000?

Fri, 2017-09-22 04:51

I have to say I was pretty impressed with Uniregistry’s latest list of sales, with close to $30M in domain sales already this year it’s fair to say Uniregistry Market is on fire. A lot of the sales made perfect sense, one-word .COMs like Kombucha.com or Squeeze.com selling for six-figures is pretty darn normal.

But there was one sale that I can’t get out of my head and I thought was important to highlight, a four word .COM, UsedCarsForSale.com selling for an even $100,000. Yes, that’s right, a four word, fifteen character domain name sold for six-figures and I think that’s kinda awesome.

There’s already a site on the domain so you can see what the buyer did with the name:

Yes, not surprisingly it’s a site that helps people find used cars online. It doesn’t look like the site is fully operational yet since clicking on some of the popular cars leads to an error page, but I can see where they’re going with this. I can’t say I’m blown away by the design but I thought, hey – let’s do the math and see why this sale might make sense.

Suppose the average used car on the site costs $20,000 (probably a low bound estimate), and let’s say they make 5% on each sale, this would be $1,000 per car. Okay but let’s say 5% is too high, instead let’s say they take a 2.5% commission, well that would be $500 per car.

With these estimates, the owner would need to sell 200 cars to break even after that, it’s all gravy as they say. So even though this might seem like a ridiculously high price to pay for a four word .COM, given the potential of a site in this space it might not be so crazy after all.

All that being said, I hope the owners are planning on spending a few extra bucks on a better site because this one looks, well, pretty junky, not quite the image I want if I’m trying to get the feeling that I’m buying a solid used car. My guess is that the owner also knows that getting on the first page of Google is going to be next-to-impossible given that ads and local searches appear above and below the fold, followed by some pretty monster companies like Enterprise.

So here’s what I’m thinking. The person who bought this domain likely has a nice budget for a new site (please tell me this one is just a placeholder!) and also knows that the type-in traffic alone is worth quite a bit since they’d likely pay a few bucks a click to advertise on Google. They also know that making a few hundred dollars or more for each car they sell means a real chance to pay this bad boy back and start enjoying the profits.

Of course, I don’t know anything about the used car market so I could be totally wrong and maybe the buyer was just crazy…but it feels like there should be some logic here. What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

Don’t know how to get started watching eSports? Watch this video

Thu, 2017-09-21 04:00

I was talking to a friend the other day about some of the eSports competitions I’ve been watching. So far my favorite has been The International Dota 2 Championships but I also have really been enjoying some of the Starcraft II tournaments lately. When I told him about some of my favorite games he said, “I don’t get it, how can you even watch those games and understand what is going on?”

So I sat him down, fired up Dota 2 and showed him the game. No, it’s not easy to learn, and yes – it is without a doubt more complex than games like Chess. That being said, once you get it, it’s one of the most fun strategy games on the planet to follow, or at least it is for me.

After spending about 15 minutes walking him through the game he got the basics and I was able to show him a tournament and walk him through the action and explain what the heck the announcers were talking about. Honestly, if you just listened to the audio of an eSports game you might think you’re listening to a football or basketball game…but look at the screen and it’s a whole different story.

This whole experience made me realize that there are plenty of people out there who would probably really enjoy eSports, but they don’t know how to watch them. So I found this video on You Tube that is a great primer for anyone who wants to understand the basics and start moving from physical to digital sports. Since many of my blog readers moved from physical to digital real estate I’m thinking this might be right up your alley!


Uniregistry Marketplace continues to solidify itself as a top domain marketplace with close to $30M in sales so far this year

Wed, 2017-09-20 04:34

Well the numbers are in and they are damn impressive. Uniregistry, which quickly gained notoriety as the startup-friendly registrar, then opened a marketplace that is quickly becoming the go-to resource for startups acquiring domain names. And the numbers don’t lie, with close to $30M in sales so far this year it’s safe to say that Uniregistry Market is on fire.

The news of the monster sales number broke on popular domain name blog DomainInvesting.com and not surprisingly .COM is the dominant extension amongst the top sales with one-word .COMs stealing the show as usual. The highest reported sale was Kombucha.com for $200,000 followed by Squeeze.com at $150,000.

It was interesting to see some one-word .NETs in the mix with some pretty solid sales like Odds.net for $70,000 and Juegos.net for $60,000 which just goes to show that one-word .NETs can still command some really nice sales numbers.

I was also surprised to see a couple pretty long three-word .COM like SmallBusinessMarketing.com sell for $30,000 and TexasDWIAttorney.com for $25,000. So if you thought that only one-word .COMs were yielding high sales prices, know that even three word .COMs and one-word .NETs still might sell for more than you think.

You can see a nice big long list of sales right here on DomainInvesting.com along with some interesting comments well worth reading, currently at 34 as of the time I am writing this post. Congrats to Uniregistry, in a relatively short period of time they have build a strong marketplace – you can check out what’s on there now at uniregistry.com/market.

Do city-specific domains like .BOSTON have any hope?

Tue, 2017-09-19 02:39

It’s no secret that a lot of the new gTLDs are struggling. At the same time some new gTLDs have found a solid path to success with extensions like .CLUB, .LOAN, and .ONLINE seeing real interest from end-users. I’ll be honest in saying that I thought .CITY domains were going to take off like a rocketship given how valuable real estate is in New York City.

Still, we’re now years into the new gTLD program and there isn’t a single .CITY domain in the list of the top 30 new gTLDs. Today the results of the .BOSTON sunrise came out and only 170 domains have been registered. I think Michael Berkens nailed it in the headline of his post today:

.Boston Domain Extension Off To Slow Start With Just 170 Domains Registered in Sunrise

In his post Michael points out that major sports teams like the Boston Bruins didn’t bother to get their domain names and with 35 Universities in the surrounding area Harvard was the only one to claim it’s matching domain in .BOSTON. Of course, like I said above, there are no .CITY domains in the top 30 new gTLDs so I guess we can’t be too surprised.

The real question is, do .CITY domains have any hopes or are companies, sports teams, and public figures in cities like New York and Boston going to turn a blind eye to their corresponding .CITY domain? Yes, these are still the early days but jeez, I would imagine that in a city like Boston more than 170 people would participate in Sunrise.

As a domain investor all I can say is that I’m steering clear of .CITY domains for the foreseeable future, it’s pretty clear the end-user interest isn’t there and I’m guessing that out of those 170 registrations it’s safe to say that at least half were simply for brand protection, not because someone was dying to get a .BOSTON domain.

What do you think? Are we still just living in the early days or do .CITY domains really have no chance of taking off?

Domains for Startups: Five names on NameJet that I think startups will dig

Mon, 2017-09-18 04:19

Hello, happy Sunday and welcome to my new weekly “Domains for Startups” post. Each week I’ll be sharing five domain names on the popular domain marketplace NameJet that I think would be a great fit for startups. If you’re not familiar with NameJet, let me break it down.

There are a number of marketplaces out there to buy domain names. You’ve probably heard of Go Daddy and Flippa but you might not have heard of other marketplaces like Buy Domains, Uniregistry, and NameJet. While these aren’t new marketplaces, they are new to many startups which is why I’m starting to highlight them more and more on my blog.

Buying from a marketplace has a lot of advantage, the main one being that you don’t have to haggle with a domain owner who is asking for a ridiculous price. Instead you’re dealing with someone who actually wants to sell and usually is asking for a price that’s reasonable.

I don’t use any automated tools to find these names, instead I use my own gut and my experience helping startups find domain names to highlight five names that I think will be interesting to other startup founders like myself.

Last but not least, I have no affiliate links attached to these domains so if you buy one, I don’t make a penny so don’t think you’re doing me any favors by buying, there’s really no way to track it. That being said, NameJet is a sponsor of this blog because I think they rock but like I said, I don’t make any money if you buy a name on this list. Okay, now after that super long, probably really boring five paragraph rambling from me, here are this week’s names, enjoy!

CoderVault.com – great domain for a company that has anything to do with coding. Could be used for a coding education site or a site that hosts code similar to Github, either way it’s an easy name to spell and remember and a solid two-word .COM.

Ship.net – I’m not usually a huge .NET fan, in fact, I’m not much of a .NET fan at all. That being said, I make an exception if it’s a truly premium .NET, something that would sell for 7-figures if it was a .COM, and that’s why I like Ship.net. Let’s be honest, the .COM is probably $2M+ and this name will likely sell for less than a tenth of that price. Great domain for a startup that does anything related to shipping.

HerbProject.com – it’s no secret that the Marijuana industry is booming right now and this is a great name for someone in that space. It’s relatively broad so would fit a wide range of companies. Also it’s another great example of an easy to remember, easy to spell, two-word .COM.

EasyRide.com – while I’m not sure I’d want to dive into the ride-sharing market right now with two major players like Uber and Lyft in the mix, if you did want to do it, this would be a great name to do it with.

Yoko.com – I’ve said it many times on my blog and I’ll happily say it again, I’m a huge fan of one-word .COMs, especially short ones like this. Great brand and as broad as you can get so this could be used for any startup in any space.

This is what a typical sporting event will look like in the next ten years

Sun, 2017-09-17 02:22

I didn’t truly understand how big eSports has become until I saw a talk at SXSW this year by one of the top execs at the company that runs some of the largest stadiums in the US. In his talk he said that as a company, they are starting to tweak their strategy to move from building stadiums that are made to support athletic sports like football, baseball, and basketball to support the growth of eSports and the changes that need to be made to make a stadium eSports ready.

The picture that you see above is from an eSports competition, and yes, those are all screaming fans cheering for their favorite team exactly like most people have for the last 100+ years for their favorite traditional sports team. If you think this is a fad, it’s not, it’s actually a trend, and a growing one with the next generation of sports fans.

eSports — basically video-game competitions — came in second only to movie watching among the demographic’s most popular modes of online video consumption. It beat TV shows, news, and traditional sports. (Source – Business Insider)

Yes, you read that right. This study applies to you men between the age of 18 – 25 and they like watching eSports more than any traditional sport, Netflix series, or news program, the only thing they like more than eSports. There’s a growing divide and just like your average 22 year-old sees Facebook as the social media network for their parents, football is also starting to be seen more and more as a traditional sport, watched by an older generation.

Of course, I know just writing this is going to be controversial and I’m likely going to get comments saying that I’m crazy and this is just a fad, and football and baseball and basketball are here to stay. And you’d be right, traditional sports aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. That being said, twenty years from now you’re going to be the crazy one for not seeing how big eSports really is.

If you want to really understand the eSports landscape, read this article on Medium – honestly it might just blow your mind and at the very least it will show you how serious all of this is and how strikingly similar many of the facets of eSports resemble traditional sports. Fans are fanatical about their favorite players, merchandise sales produce meaningful revenue, and yes – coaches can make a big difference, and yes, they can also get fired if their teams perform poorly.

So I encourage you to scroll up at this point, to the image at the top of my post. What you see there isn’t a one-time thing, a blip in the radar. It is what a very typical sporting event will look like within the next decade. As someone who isn’t a huge traditional sports fan, but is a big eSports fan I can tell you I am really looking forward to this future. Are you?

It’s official Cryptocurrency domains are #1 but resale prices are mostly under $10k

Fri, 2017-09-15 05:39

The cryptocurrency space as a whole is growing like crazy, with Bitcoin and Ethereum seeing massive growth trajectories and what feels like a new ICO every day the entire world has now become obsessed with all things blockchain. So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to domain names, cryptocurrency domains are a hot commodity and based on Verisign’s Q2 report, they were the hottest commodity in the last quarter.

According to the report “Coin” was the top trending keyword in both .COM and .NET in Q2 and “Crypto” was number two in .COM. While you might think this means that owning a domain with the word “coin” in it means a five or six-figure price tag, a lot of these domains seem to be selling in the sub $10k range.

This week the two highest coin-related domain sales on NameBio were ToyCoin.com for $2,849 and SECoin.com for $1,966. The highest “coin” related sale in September was ChargeCoin.com for $3,000. August saw some higher sales like CoinRate.com for $8,888 and CoinTime.com for $5,000. So I think it’s safe to say, if you invest in “coin” domains you can probably get a nice ROI but if you’re expecting a sale in the five-figure range you might have to wait a while for the right buyer to come along.

Crypto has seen similar sales prices with CryptoAlerts.com selling for $5,000 and .IO also getting some love in the with CryptoMarket.io selling for $5,525. Sedo saw a five-figure “crypto” .COM sale in August with CryptoNews.com selling for $50,536. I also dipped my toes in the cryptocurrency domain waters as I brokered Crypt.com for $64,000 a couple of weeks ago.

Given how fast the cryptocurrency space is growing I think we’ll continue to see demand for “coin” and “crypto” related domains continue to increase in value over time. Of course I don’t have a crystal ball so only time will tell, and if cryptocurrencies crash, so could the value of crypto-related domains.

What do you think? Is now a good time to invest in coin or crypto related domains or have all the good ones already been taken, leaving only scraps for your average investor?

.HK and .COM.HK are king in Hong Kong and IDNs are nowhere to be found

Wed, 2017-09-13 03:00

It has been twelve years since I have been to Hong Kong. In my early twenties I opened up distribution for Sonos in Hong Kong and used to be here all the time so it has been pretty exciting to see back and to see what’s changed and what has stayed the same. As usual one of the first thing that catches my eye whenever I leave the US is what domain name extension reins supreme and in Hong Kong it’s not .COM, it’s .COM.HK and .HK.

While there’s no doubt that .COM is a global TLD and yes, people around the world use .COM more than any other gTLD, it is incredible to see what a major force .COM.HK is here, and also not too surprising. I would say that so far 90% of the domain names I’ve seen so far in Hong Kong use .COM.HK or .HK, honestly – it’s everywhere.

It’s also interesting to see that while Chinese is the dominant language here, the URLs all use English characters, it certainly doesn’t seem to me like IDNs have really taken off yet. When I was here twelve years ago I remember meeting with people from the domain industry that live in Hong Kong and they were betting that IDNs were about to really take off. Given how much time has passed it really makes me wonder what kind of legs IDNs have.

At the same time, it’s also easy to forget that these are still the early days of the Internet and fifty yeas from now things will be different, the question is how long is it really going to take for IDNs to take off, and will they take off at all? Of course maybe I’m missing something, I’m definitely no expert when it comes to ccTLDs or IDNs and like I said, I haven’t been here in twelve years so if you’re reading this and thinking, “Morgan has no idea what he’s talking about” please comment below and share your experience!

This afternoon I’m grabbing lunch with Doron from Efty so I’m looking forward to talking with him about this as well since he lives here so definitely has a lot more expertise than me. Either way, it’s pretty interesting to see .COM.HK everywhere, I’ll continue to take more pictures of domain names here in Hong Kong so I can put together a more comprehensive post once I get back.

Okay, now time to head out for the day. As always, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

Weekend Musings: Next Stop Hong Kong

Sun, 2017-09-10 15:20

Lately I’ve been feeling like the phrase – “never a dull moment” has become pretty much an every week mantra for me. It’s an exciting time and without a doubt the busiest I have ever been in my life, but I’m loving it. Bold Metrics is at an incredibly exciting place, we’re making a big impact and I can honestly say that it does feel like we are changing the world which is pretty darn cool.

As I write this it’s 8:07AM and I’m sitting at LAX getting ready to board a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong for a week of meetings. I used to go to Hong Kong quite a bit when I was opening up the Asian market for Sonos back in my 20’s but it has been probably twelve years since I’ve been to China.

I don’t have much time to write this post since we have a number of last-minute things to do before I leave so I’ll leave it at that, but expect to see some fun blog posts from me while I’m out in Hong Kong. If any of my blog readers live in Hong Kong and want to meet for a coffee or a beer please feel free to shoot me an email (morgan(at)morganlinton.com). Okay – now I really need to book my hotel, bon voyage!

Forget Football on Sunday, I’m watching Starcraft on Saturday

Sat, 2017-09-09 23:40

I think I’m getting more and more into eSports by the week. Now on a Saturday morning I find myself going to Twitch and seeing what’s on, and usually watching some kind of tournament, often of a game that I don’t quite completely know or understand yet, but I still find it incredibly engaging.

One of the first strategy games to capture my attention was Warcraft II and after that Starcraft so I was pretty excited to find out that the Starcraft II World Championships were going on in Montreal today. When I first logged-onto Twitch there was a countdown timer with about 12 minutes left.

After the countdown timer finished, like most sporting events, announcers popped onto the screen and started covering the competitors, standings and games ahead for the day.

It’s pretty interesting, the players are profiled a lot like athletes are before a major championship game. The announcers even compared today’s tournament to the energy and excitement that comes before a major football game. As the players took their positions in front of their computers the competition began and when the camera pulled back panning across the crowd you could really feel the intensity.

Lucky for me, Starcraft II not surprisingly is pretty darn similar to Starcraft which is a game that I knew and loved a long time ago so the longer I watched the more the dynamics of the game came back to me. Without the announcers I’m not sure I would have been as sucked into the action but with play-by-play coverage I was soon at the edge of my seat (or bed in this case since I was still not officially up yet) waiting to see who would win.

At this point, since I don’t know any of the gamers I don’t necessarily care too much who wins but I could see myself getting a lot more excited if a player that I knew and had been following for years took the stage. This is why everyone in the audience is literally at the edge of their seat as the games neared the end and droves of aliens stormed giant pod-like bases on opposite ends of the screen.

The Starcraft World Championships is broken down into two three different stages, in each stage players compete to win by playing three different maps, the best of the three moves onto the next stage. If you want to tune in yourself just head over to Twitch.tv, it’s free to watch and from what I can tell we’re in Group Stage 2 (someone correct me if I’m wrong here) so there’s still plenty of action ahead!

I couldn’t be more excited to hear that there’s an eSports arena opening up in LA

Fri, 2017-09-08 01:45

I’ll be honest, I do watch sports, probably now more than ever, but I don’t watch the typical “sports” that you’re likely thinking of. Yes, I know tonight is opening night for football, but I don’t watch football, baseball, soccer, hockey, okay sometimes I watch basketball but usually only when it’s crunch time. So you might think that I just don’t like sports. I also felt like I was probably someone who wasn’t that into sports until eSports became a thing, now I find myself watching eSports more than I would have ever expected.

If you haven’t watched eSports I’ll tell you that you likely won’t get into it until you start playing one of the popular eSports games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, Overwatch, IRL, Overwatch, and yes, the list goes on. For me the game that peaked my interest in eSports was DOTA 2. As someone who has always enjoyed strategy games like Chess, I find DOTA 2 is like Chess on steroids, more moves, more characters, and a lot more complex scenarios to think through, in short – it’s a mind fuck.

Seriously, it is, as are many of the new eSports that challenge players to think more moves ahead than you ever would in a game of chess and require lightning fast reflexes. Sure, you might not be showing off your physical might but you absolutely are sporting some serious mental dexterity in combination with keyboard and mouse movement that is up their with what a concert pianist goes through.

Okay, enough about gaga I am about eSports, let’s talk about the subject of this post – a new arena, in LA, dedicated to eSports. The arena is being created by Blizzard, the game studio behind hit eSports games like Starcraft and Overwatch and of course Warcraft III which is what inspired both League of Legends and DOTA 2. It’s a lot smaller than a typical sporting arena seating only 450 people but it will include practice facilities, two control rooms, and of course – a gift shop full of Blizzard merchandise because just like you buy your sports jersey at a football game, you buy your eSports swag at a DOTA 2 tournament.

“We’re at a tipping point for esports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment,” said Mike Morhaime, Blizzard chief executive and co-founder, in a written statement. “As we open the doors of Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and welcome fans from around the world, we’re honored to bring the best in Blizzard esports to the same stage that some of the biggest names in entertainment have called home.” (Source – Forbes)

The arena is scheduled to open the first week in October and will host a series of championship eSports competitions. I know what you’re thinking now…”Morgan – are you going to actually go to this arena and watch people play video games?” And my answer is – “no” – I’m going to go there to watch them compete at eSports. This is a great move by Blizzard, it’s going to not only help grow their brand but help grow eSports as a whole. I can’t wait to watch some amazing tournaments in the arena and think we’ll see a lot more of these eSports-specific arenas and stadiums popping up all over the US.

The end of an era – DomainSherpa says goodbye, but don’t worry all 404 videos will live on

Thu, 2017-09-07 02:17

I was shocked to see one of the top posts on Domaining.com this evening. It was from DomainSherpa and it was titled, After Six Years and 404 Shows, DomainSherpa Bids Farewell. Honestly I thought this was joke at first, I couldn’t believe it. I know that a number of my readers aren’t completely plugged into the domain name world so to give a quick primer – DomainSherpa has been the go-to resource for domain names investors to learn from seasoned pros through video interviews. If you go to a domain conference you’ll find Michael Cyger, the shows host is a bit of a celebrity and it’s safe to say he’s helped to inspire countless new domain name investors.

Earlier this year Michael had thought about scaling DomainSherpa up and was on the lookout for a producer to join the team but after thinking about it deeply he decided he was ready to take a different path.

“In July I posted an open position for a Producer of DomainSherpa. Eight motivated and highly qualified professionals submitted video applications and completed their first round of interviews. They are very impressive.

But as I spoke with these applicants – each eager to take on a new role – I realized that I too was ready to try something new. Delegating some of the responsibilities of the show to a producer was not enough.

It is time for me to move on from domain name publishing.”

(Source – DomainSherpa)

I have really enjoyed Michael’s interviews over the years and have learned a lot from them myself. I can’t say I’ve seen all 404 of them so now that there aren’t new videos coming out I might finally be able to catch up!

That being said I can’t say that I’m not a little sad tonight, the DomainSherpa show has been an amazing resource and something I guess I’ve just assumed would be around forever. It’s like DNJournal, I can’t really imagine a world without it, it’s become ingrained in the community, a staple. One of the most impressive things about Michael is that he started, built, and sold a successful business in the Six Sigma space before diving into the domain world. When he does something he does it well, and it was awesome to see him build a top notch resource in the domain world…so something tells me whatever he does next, it’s going to be a home run.

Also, all the DomainSherpa videos will stay up and continue to live on as will Michael’s domain investing course, DNAcademy. So it’s not really goodbye, but instead the opportunity to continue to learn from an incredibly vast library of content that is going to continue to be relevant for a long time. Thanks Michael, your videos will definitely be missed, but I’m very excited to see what you’re doing next and since we have a history of having lunch and catching-up at NamesCon, I think it’s safe to say – I’ll see you in Vegas!

Flying taxis are getting closer as Lilium raises a whopping $90M Series B Round

Wed, 2017-09-06 02:33

If you thought flying taxis were just something that you saw in Back To The Future II, and, like the Hoverboard would only become a reality as part of a bizarre publicity stunt…it looks like you’d be wrong. With $90B in new capital from some pretty awesome investors like Obvious, Atomico and Tencent to name a few, Lilium is working hard to make flying taxis a reality and it’s not as far off as you might think.

Here’s a fun video of the maiden flight of the Lilium jet:

If you’re wondering if $90M is a normal Series B round…it’s not, the average Series B round falls in the $10M – $15M range (source). B Rounds this big go to only the biggest ideas and well, flying taxis are a pretty big idea if they take off (pun intended). The new round is critical to the company’s success since it will provide the funding for a jet that can hold five people because that’s what you really need to play ball in the flying taxi world.

“This investment is a tremendously important step for Lilium, as it enables us to make the five-seat jet a reality,” noted Lilium cofounder and CEO Daniel Wiegand. “This is the next stage in our rapid evolution from an idea to the production of a commercially successful aircraft that will revolutionize the way we travel in and around the world’s cities.” (Source – VentureBeat)

I know what you’re thinking. Okay, but if these jets ever see the light of day they’re going to be ten times the price of a taxi. Actually, Lilium expects to be able to fly people from popular destinations like the JFK airport to downtown Manhattan for less than what a taxi charges today, here’s a look at their planned route from JFK:

Congrats to the whole team at Lilium, I love people who do things that most of us think is impossible, heck it’s been my mantra for some time now. I also think that technology is moving at such a fast pace today that things like this that once sounded impossible are actually starting to sound more and more possible by the day. With an incredible team and some truly visionary investors behind them, it’s safe to say the sky is the limit, literally.

What’s an ICO? Let me break it down in under a minute

Tue, 2017-09-05 02:04

I was on the phone with my Dad the other day, he’s getting into cryptocurrency, which right now means that he’s watching the price of Bitcoin go up and thinking…there might be something to this cryptocurrency thing. The other day he asked me what I thought of Ethereum which I thought was pretty awesome and I dove into the whole concept of Ethereum and distributed computing. If you don’t associate distributed computing with Ethereum, read this.

The other day, thinking that my Dad was now totally in the know about all things crypto, I started talking about ICOs. That’s where I lost him. What’s an ICO? He asked me. My Dad is heavily involved in the stock market and has been investing in stocks for a LONG time, and he’s invested in a number of IPOs as well.

So I thought it would help if I explained ICOs to him using analogies to things he understand very well, stocks and IPOs. I explained it to him in under a minute and thought I might as well share the way I explained it with all of you since I think there are a lot of long drawn out articles out there that can make the entire ICO concept confusing.

So here it is, the answer to your question, “what’s an ICO?” with less than a minute of reading ahead of you.

Understanding ICOs in under a minute

ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering. In the stock market you have IPOs or Initial Public Offerings which is the very first sale of stock issued by a company to the public. So now you might be thinking, well then, an ICO must be the same thing except investors get stock in the coin itself? Almost but not quite…confused? Let me explain.

An ICO is actually an unregulated form of crowdfunding (think Kickstarter) except instead of getting some cool product that might never see the light of day, you get a coin that also, uh, might never take off. If you participate in an ICO, what you’re hoping is that the coin that you’re getting goes up in price, way up from what you paid, and you buy a Ferrari and start bragging to all your friends about how you’re a cryptocurrency guru. Unfortunately the ICO market is full of scammers so it take a lot of research and diligence to really understand what you’re actually investing in…and even if you figure it out you still have almost no chance of breaking even. Still, if participate in an ICO and the coin takes off, you’ll make a small fortune and yes, you can then go buy that Ferrari.

Unlike an IPO where you pay real cold hard cash for stock in a company, in an ICO you pay cold hard virtual cash using an already (relatively) proven cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum in exchange for the new coin. While normal companies use an IPO as a mechanism to raise money for their business, ICOs are a way for new cryptocurrencies to raise money for their coin or the business/technology around their coin.

In short (for those who want the 20 second version) – an ICO is kinda like an IPO but it’s also a form of crowdfunding – a way to get people to buy something that you’re selling, in this case a coin or a cool blockchain-related technology that has a coin associated with it. Just like your kickstarter backers hope you ship that hoverboard because you convinced them it’s actually going to hover…your ICO backers hope that your coin actually takes off because if it does, they make a lot of money.

Is my one-minute explanation not enough? Here’s a five minute read from BlockGeeks that goes much deeper.

This VC firm just wrote one of the most spot-on articles about Seed financing mistakes

Mon, 2017-09-04 03:47

Earlier this year we had the chance to connect up with a pretty incredible VC firm called Emergence based in Silicon Valley. We met with one of the partners Joe Floyd for lunch at a crowded diner in San Francisco and I was instantly impressed both with him and the thoughtful process that the firm goes through in picking their investments.

Quick but pretty badass sidenote – Joe also published an incredibly cool comic book called Silicon Heroes which as the title implies, is a fictional comic book story that follows five tech workers and their journey to discover their entrepreneurial superpowers.

Along with being a pretty impressive VC firm with $920M under management, they also share some great content through their blog and podcast. Their most recent post (which happens to be written by Joe) is an absolute must-read for Seed stage founders. It actually covers a topic that we struggled with a lot in the early days – should we raise money using a convertible note or use a different instrument?

In the end, we have gone with priced rounds for the last four years for a number of reasons, and while there are still plenty of ways to use convertible notes in a way that works out well for founders, there are some serious pitfalls to look out for and I think this blog post does a great job of highlighting a number of them.

Okay, enough of me gushing about how awesome Emergence is, or how risky convertible notes can be, let’s get to the good stuff – here’s the latest blog post from Emergence – How to avoid the 7 deadly sins of seed financing.

Do you use an app for WHOIS searches?

Sun, 2017-09-03 01:26

An interesting discussion started on Twitter about using a WHOIS app vs. a WHOIS service via the web. While I definitely am a pretty heavy app user overall, there are still plenty of things that I do on the web, and thanks to mobile responsive design it’s easier than ever to make a site that looks and works almost exactly like a native mobile app.

Here’s a look at the thread on Twitter which was started by Timothy Evans (@timothymevans) and hat’s off to him for getting the conversation started!

Timothy asked the question to a number of people including TheDomains, DNJournal, Domain Name Wire, Adam Strong, Elliot Silver, Michael Cyger, and me. Like I said above, while I do use apps for a lot of things there are still plenty of services that I use on my phone via their mobile responsive site. I’ve been a DomainTools user for a long time now and their mobile responsive site probably looks exactly what a native app would look like.

Adam Strong, a long time Domainer (he’s been doing this a lot longer than me) said, “call me old school but I don’t need an app” and I think I’m probably in the same boat. I was surprised (and pretty impressed) that Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com) uses the Terminal app on the Mac – that’s pretty badass IMO

Gunheart, the gold-standard for VR shooters puts out its biggest update yet

Fri, 2017-09-01 04:30

I was lucky enough to be a part of the closed beta for one of the top VR games and without a doubt the gold-standard for VR shooters – Gunheart. The first game by DrifterVR, a studio founded by industry experts, Gunheart puts you into alien worlds as a badass robotic bounty hunter with the goal of keeping humans safe from some seriously scary aliens. The graphics are amazing and the gameplay, designed from the ground up for VR sets a new standard, seriously, I can’t tell you how incredible this game is.

The funny thing is, I’m not a big fan of first person action shooters. I never got into Halo and none of the shooter-related VR titles appealed to me. Honestly it was the team behind Gunheart that first attracted me to the game and then being part of the closed beta was an honor and a ton of fun.

Gunheart just released their biggest update yet and they shot a video with Brian, the Creative Director walking you through all the new goodies. Whether you’ve played the game or not I highly encourage you to watch this video – it’s an incredibly example of a game studio doing everything right…and no I’m not being paid to write this. Oh and if you have a Rift or a Vive, buy the game the moment you finish watching this video and come blast some aliens with me!


Now is the time for us to come together as an industry and help

Thu, 2017-08-31 01:36

If you’ve been reading Domaining.com today then you’ve probably noticed a number of blogs talking about Eric Lyon, a very familiar name to many people in the domain industry as a long time admin at NamePros. Eric lives in Houston and luckily he was able to escape the floods with his family and two dogs, unfortunately his home, cars, and everything he owned did not make it. As many people know there are many more cities impacted by the floods, some like Port Arthur are completely underwater, yes – the whole city.

I actually woke up last night at around 3AM and went onto Twitter to read the latest Twitter moments. It was one of the most terrifying and sad experiences I have ever had. One of the top trends was “port arthur” and all of the tweets were people sharing their address and asking for help. Many of these were families with children, stranded and calling out for help as the water levels rose. Beaumont is another city hit hard by the flooding and as we all know, there are still many people that are sitting on their roofs or in their homes waiting to be rescued.

Lately the domain industry has been more divided than I have ever seen it before. Today I think it is more important than ever that we come together to help people in need, people like Eric, and people in cities like Port Arthur, Beaumont, Rockport and all the other places impacted by the Hurricane.

Below is a link to the Go Fund Me page for Eric, I can’t imagine what he’s going through now. We emailed back and forth about an hour ago and he said that he is truly humbled by the experience of losing everything overnight but so touched by the response that he’s seen so far from the domain industry. So let’s keep it going and help him reach the $15,000 goal. You can click the link below to see Eric’s Go Fund Me page:

Eric Lyon’s Go Fund Me Page

Like I also said above and we all know, there are so many people in so many different cities impacted by the Hurricane. I also highly recommend that we all donate to the Red Cross to help people in Port Arthur, Beaumont, Rockport, Corpus Christi, Houston and all the other communities impacted by Harvey. You can make a donation at the link below:

https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has had their life turned upside down by the Hurricane and to those who are still being impacted. It is times like these that we forget our differences and come together as people because in the end we are all more similar than we are different.

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