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Sedo turns away .CO domain in favor of .CX in their latest domain auction

Wed, 2019-11-13 23:39

Well here’s a weird one. Sedo is running an iGaming auction and I noticed some interesting data concerning what domains they’re accepting into the auction. In short, they are turning away .CO domains but letting in .CX.

Domain Investor Johan (who goes by @DoseBuy on Twitter) posted this tweet sharing two of his names that made it into auction:

First, congrats to Johan – I’m constantly impressed with his hustle and some of the early results he’s seen with .CX. While I don’t see myself investing in .CX anytime soon, it’s been fun to see him run with this from the sidelines.

Now here’s the head-scratcher. After Johan shared his .CX names that got accepted, Josh Reason shared the following:

I’m officially confused. To me it seems like Gamers.co is about a good a fit as you can get for an Gaming-focused domain auction, especially if you are going as broad with extensions as to be a-okay with .CX.

Maybe someone from Sedo can jump in the comments here and shed some light on what’s happening. Does Sedo really think that .CX domains are more relevant for their customers than .CO? Right now, that seems to be the case…

Domain Investors weigh in on what NamePros should do about the troll who publicly slandered a top broker on their forum

Wed, 2019-11-13 00:07

In case you were living in a cave yesterday, I’ll give you a quick update. A troll on NamePros hiding behind the username @offthehandle attacked successful domain broker Kate Buckley – no data, no proof. I first read about this on TheDomains and since then a number of bloggers have covered the incident.

Some of the most well-respected people in the domain industry have weighed in on this issue, here’s comments from a few:

Shane from DSAD.com put together a list of three things that need to happen and I think he’s spot on with these. If @offthehandle can insult Kate publicly and call her out by name, he shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind an anonymous name, that’s about as cowardly as you can get. I also agree that NamePros should ban this member – letting someone get away with this only hurts the reputation of NamePros IMO.

The silver lining with all of this is that it has been great to see the domain community come together for Kate. Just look at any of the blog posts about the incident and you’ll find countless people who have come to Kate’s defense and shared how disappointed they are to hear about @offthehandle’s ridiculous accusations with absolutely no data or proof to back them up.

I hope NamePros does the right thing here. I think they should take Shane’s advice and do the three things he suggests, it will be good for their reputation and for the community.

Yes, changing domain names can be an SEO nightmare

Tue, 2019-11-12 02:13

I’ve heard countless horror stories about people who have changed domain names and ended up with major SEO problems. If your business depends on traffic from search, this could be devastating, and that’s just what happened to the startup LogoJoy that changed it’s name to Looka.

As detailed by BetaKit, six months ago, logo and brand identity platform Looka changed its name from LogoJoy as it embarked on an expansion beyond its AI-driven logo service. Dawson Whitfield, Looka’s co-founder and CEO, told BetaKit that his company anticipated a 20 to 30% drop in organic traffic as a result of the domain switch from logojoy.com to looka.com, with a three to six month recovery period.

Instead, Whitfield revealed that the company saw its organic traffic drop by a whopping 80%, a huge problem give that organic traffic had accounted for half of the company’s revenue.

(Source – econsultancy)

Its been a sad story to watch unfold as the company ended up laying off 80% of its staff. Twitter has been flooded with people from Looka looking for their next gig and the community has come to their aid with people recommending their friends that are now out of a job.

I think this also highlights just how important it can be to pick the right name the first time around. At the same time, LogoJoy (now Looka) did ignore some of Google’s best-practices when it comes to changing domains such as combining a domain name change with a complete site redesign. Here’s a complete list of things that LogoJoy might have done to upset the Google Gods:

Looka violated Google’s advice about site architecture

It removed or changed the URLs of pages associated with content marketing campaigns that were responsible for much of its organic traffic

The change of the domain from logojoy.com, which contains the keyword “logo”, resulted in the company’s ranking for “logo”-related searches dropping

The new content on the Looka site related to its expansion of services somehow caused a drop in its Google rankings

In highly-competitive markets, the Google hit can be much higher and the time-to-recover much longer than widely believed

(Source – econsultancy)

While nobody actually knows what caused such a precipitous drop in SEO juice, I think more people will make sure to heed Google’s warnings when it comes to changing domains. At the same time, I think many businesses, small and large will think twice about relying so much on Google for traffic. Yes – search engines can provide a nice (free) stream of traffic, but if your whole business is built on this traffic you have a single point of failure, and with that comes a lot of risk.

For any of my readers of the SEO persuasion, what’s your best guess as to what Looka did wrong?

Domain Investing news roundup for the week of November 4th 2019

Mon, 2019-11-11 04:43

Hello, happy Sunday, and welcome to my weekly domain name news roundup. There has been a lot going on in the Domaining world with some exciting new sales getting announced along with a fresh new Shark Tank deal for a company I mentioned on my blog no too long ago. Articles discussing both can of course be found below.

I’m getting excited for NamesCon which is now just around the corner. I heard this week that the first block of rooms at the Omni sold out but they’re getting another block for anyone that still wants to lock-in the discounted rate. I’ve seen a few people get confused when they go directly to the Omni website, remember you’ll need to book through the link on the NamesCon site to get the discount.

Okay, now enough chitter chatter – let’s get to the news. Here are the stories from around the Domaining world that caught my eye last week:

  • Scenes from ICANN 66 in Montreal (Read more on DomainNameWire)
  • Supply.co gets $300,000 deal on Shark Tank (Read more on TheDomains)
  • .EU domain extension continues to shrink in Q3 (Read more on OnlineDomain)
  • Uniregistry weekly sales led by Placemaker.com (Read more on TLDInvestors)
  • Sedo weekly sales led by Kama.co (Read more on TheDomains)
  • Donuts Banters with Rick Schwartz About Rick.TV (Read more on DomainInvesting.com)
  • Interview with the one and only DoseBuy, a new Domainer who isn’t afraid to speak his mind (Read more on my blog)
  • Phenomenal Outing for Phenom.com – James Booth’s Brokerage Banks Over $750,000 With 4 of Week’s Top 5 Sales (Read more on DNJournal)
  • GoDaddy to do a share buyback of $500 million (Read more on TheDomains)
  • Rick Goes to Youtube on the way to Rick.TV (Read more on Rick’s Blog)
  • How to go to NamesCon for cheap (Read more on DomainNameWire)

If your company name is taken in .COM, you have three options

Sat, 2019-11-09 17:12

First things first, yes – pretty much every company wants to get their exact match .COM. That’s a given.

But more and more companies want to call themselves something that would be a big juicy six or seven figure purchase in the .COM space, or it might already be taken in .COM by a company doing something completely different. So they have three choices:

  1. Add a word like “Get” to the front of the .COM
  2. Change your company name entirely
  3. Buy the exact-match domain in a different domain extension

Two good friends of mine that went through Techstars with me hired a marketing agency to help them come up with a name for their company. They spent quite a bit of time going through what kinds of words, colors, etc. resonated with them and their customers. After spending a good amount of time and money they landed on the name – Convey.

The challenge was, Convey.com was taken, so they launched their new company on GetConvey.com. While the domain creates confusion, and some people think of them as “Get Convey” rather than Convey. It hasn’t really impacted their ability to raise money, grow, and build a great product. They’ve raised over $25M to-date without owning their exact-match .COM.

Even without the matching .COM all of their marketing material says “Convey” as does their tradeshow booths, website, etc. The same is true for a company like Mercury.co – they have ads all over San Francisco right now, and just like their website and all their marketing materials, it says “Mercury” not Mercury.co.

When it comes to option #3, going with a different domain extension, I think the vertical you’re in plays a big role in determining which extension you should pick. Recently Josh Reason shared his thoughts on this topic and I think he was spot on:

I would say that .CO out of all the new domain extensions has the most versatility as it could be used for really any category. Domain extensions like .AI or .GG are much more vertical-specific.

When it comes to picking a domain name, there really is no right answer, it really is up to you and your team to decide what’s best for you.

Forbes article highlights challenges for Verisign despite their ability to increase fees

Fri, 2019-11-08 06:03

Ah Verisign, the company that we all love, because we love .COMs, but also get annoyed with as they increase our registration and renewal costs. Of course, as a business, I’m never surprised to see Verisign increase their pricing…they have found a way to literally print money, so when they can print more money, they do, it is what it is.

Today Forbes wrote an article that touched on some of the challenges Verisign faces to grow revenue despite increasing fees:

Notably, while the demand for domain names remained strong over the period, first time renewal rates were weaker due to emerging markets contributing a higher proportion of the mix. As this trend is expected to continue over coming quarters, VeriSign’s Revenues are likely to see muted growth

(Source – Forbes)

I’m not exactly sure what Forbes means by “emerging markets” but I’m guessing they’re talking about a combination of new gTLDs and ccTLDs. The reality is that we do live in a world now where people have more options than ever before when it comes to domain extensions.

Rewind 20 years ago and people essentially could choose between .COM, .NET, and .ORG, now there are close to 2,000 different options and no matter how you slice it, that takes money away from .COM, which means it takes money away from Verisign.

All that being said, of course Verisign will be fine, but I do think we’ll continue to see registration and renewal fees continue to creep up as other extensions chip away at the .COM market. I think .COM will continue to be king, that’s probably not going to change anytime soon, but given all the different domain extensions available it’s hard to ignore the fact that people can and will choose on of many other options if they find the .COM they wanted is taken.

James Booth just got his hands on some pretty stellar .IO domain names

Thu, 2019-11-07 06:29

If you don’t know James, you should – him and his brother, known as the Booth Brothers have played a role in some of the biggest domain deals in history. I often hear the Booth Brothers talk about some monster one-word .COM that they either bought or sold…but today James announced his latest acquisition, and as you can see from the list below, they’re all .IO:

Like most things the Booth Brothers do, the focus is on truly premium names and I think it’s safe to say this is a very solid list of names. My favorites are Smart.io, Gaming.io, and Sun.io but any one of these could sell for five figures IMO.

Of course this doesn’t mean James or his brother are suddenly moving away from .COM, I’m sure the vast majority of what they will continue to buy and sell will be .COM. That being said, they’re making a nice splash into the .IO space with a very solid acquisition.

My guess is over the next few months we’ll see some pretty interesting sales materialize as a result of these acquisitions. If I were to guess I’d say Smart.io will take the cake as the top sale but only time will tell.

What do you think is the best name on this list? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Interview with the one and only DoseBuy, a new Domainer who isn’t afraid to speak his mind

Wed, 2019-11-06 01:52

There been a new addition to the Domaining world this year that has caught my eye and many others, his name is Johan Jönsson but you might know him as @dosebuy on Twitter.

If you’ve followed Johan on Twitter then you know he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and he’s been particularly vocal about his passion for .CX domains. Of course, he is investing in .COM and in fairly short-order has managed to cover his renewal fees so if he plays his cards right will end up with a profitable first year in Domaining.

At first I was annoyed by Johan’s constant promotion of .CX, I didn’t get it. Then, as I got to know him better, I became pretty impressed with his willingness to try new things and share what he’s doing so publicly. While I might not agree with everything he’s investing in, I have a lot of respect for his enthusiasm for the industry and openness, and something tells me we’re all going to watch him continue to grow his investments and surprise us over time.

I asked Johan if he would be game for an interview and he was all for it, so without further ado, let’s get to know Johan a bit better.

[MORGAN] How did you first discover the concept of Domain Investing?

[JOHAN] I had a couple of domains way back. .se domains for personal use. Then this summer I was in an argument with a friend and we always end up in confirming things via Google. So as I joke I wanted to create a page called CanItBeConfirmed.com. And when you type it in the page would just say ”Yes”. That way I could win every argument.Then it just took of from there I guess.


[MORGAN] What are some of the resources you’ve been using to learn?

[JOHAN] Its mainly Namepros and the Darryl Lopez Domain Talk group. Awesome people all around. Also got a lot of new friends, both newbies and experienced domainers. Its been really fun.



[MORGAN] What do you currently do for a living? 

[JOHAN] I work as a Application Consultant for a Warehouse Management System. Configuring and developing stuff so the Logistic processes in a warehouse and supply Chain will be executed in a more smooth way. Yes, I know it sounds super exciting right? Zzzzz



[MORGAN] You’ve been very bullish on .CX domain names, what % of your portfolio do you think will be .CX vs. .COM?

[JOHAN] I have 330 names. Only 18 .cx.I just have a good feeling about them. CX is insanely big as a industry since its the abbreviation of Customer Experience. And also the crypto-crowd are fond of the name. I truly belive it will be some big .cx sales in the upcoming year. So I had to reg some keywords.But I only sold 1 .cx so far. Herbs.cx to Herbs.com.



[MORGAN] You recently made some sales that have now covered your renewal fees. Do you have a revenue goal in mind for this year that would make Domaining feel like a good conversion of time to money?

[JOHAN] No, I only had the goal to cover my renewals. Now I need to sell for around $1500 more to cover my investment. And that will be no problem it looks like.I have no number-goal. Im just glad I can sit safe in the boat for 1.5 years more before panic will arise.

[MORGAN] How many hours a week do you think you spend on Domaining now?

[JOHAN] 2 hours a day maybe. Mostly during lunch-time and the occational toilet break, haha. So maybe 14 hours a week?It has replaced my Facebook/Instagram/Netflix/PS4-time more or less.



[MORGAN] Do you invest in the stock market and/or real estate? If so how do you think about dividing up your investments?

[JOHAN] Nope. Nothing like that. I own some but its long term and nothing Im following to close.



[MORGAN] What are your career goals? Do you plan to continue to work where you do now or is there something you’ve always dreamed of doing that you’re still striving to do someday?

[JOHAN] I’m a journalist at bottom, so to have a chance writing about hockey again I would love. Have worked as a sports journalist before and really love to express myself in writing. So a book or something would surely be fun to produce.

[MORGAN] Are you coming to NamesCon next year?

[JOHAN] Haven’t thought about it. But If I can get some big sales done and the economy allows it, it would for sure be a fun experience. Im all about learning and Im humbled by many of the domainers reaching out with tips and tricks. It’s a great community.



[MORGAN] Tell us one fun fact about Johan that we might not know.

[JOHAN] I was a twitter phenomenon in Sweden under the last active years as a Hockey player. Mostly due to this profile pic from a statistic-page 
https://www.eliteprospects.com/player/4817/johan-jönsson

The most recent DNW Podcast with Richard and James is a must-listen

Tue, 2019-11-05 04:31

I’m a big fan of the Domain Name Wire Podcast, it’s part of my regular podcast regimen, which consists of only three podcasts so it’s on a very short list. Andrew just recorded his 260th episode and it is one of the best I’ve ever heard so I thought I’d let all of you know, if you haven’t been listening, now is the time to start, or at least, don’t miss this one.

If you don’t know who Richard Lau and James Morfopoulos are, they are two of the nicest people in the domain industry, and also two of the most humble. I’ve been friends with Richard and James for almost a decade now, and while you might know them as the creators of NamesCon, they are industry OG’s that have been making big moves for a long time.

When it comes to people I look up to in the industry, Richard and James have been at the top of my list for a long time and I think everyone from new to experience domain investors can learn something from this interview.

So, I’ll stop there and just tell you to take some time this week to listen to this episode of the DNW Podcast, I think it’s one of the best. You can listen to it by clicking here.

Domain Investing news roundup for the week of October 28th, 2019

Sat, 2019-11-02 16:29

Hello, happy Saturday, and welcome to my weekly domain investing news roundup. There’s been some breaking news this morning that was picked up by Elliot from DomainInvesting.com that IJ.com has been sold for $550,000 by James Booth.

As for the story that I think likely trended the most this week, well that goes to the Examiner.com auction. If you didn’t follow along with this one, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered, let’s just say it’s worth making some popcorn first.

I’m in Southern California for BlizzCon so I’ll be watching eSports (major Overwatch tournaments today) and listening to some pretty fun talks and panels. If you want to follow the adventure feel free to check out my updates on Twitter throughout the day. Now, onto the domain investing news from last week – enjoy!

  • Emoji domains get a after broad study (Read more on DomainIncite)
  • Latest Domain Sales Trends Revealed in Escrow.com’s 3Q-2019 Domain Investment Index Report (Read more on DNJournal)
  • Doron Vermaat on Growing Efty To 900K Domains & What We can Learn to Sell More Domains Ourselves (Watch on DomainSherpa)
  • Examiner.com up to $126,000 as some wonder about what’s going on with the name (Read more on TLDInvestors.com)
  • Examiner.com gets renewed (Read more on TLDInvestors.com)
  • Gorilla.com Goes Ape! Smashes Door Into the Year’s Top Ten with a $496,000 Sale (Read more on DNJournal)
  • Trivago argument falls way short in cybersquatting complaint (Read more on Domain Name Wire)
  • IJ.com Sold for $550,000 (Read more on DomainInvesting.com)

Have a great weekend everyone!

With over $100M in funding combined, these three startups are innovating like crazy, and building their brands on .CO

Thu, 2019-10-31 23:43

Since I live and work in San Francisco, it’s safe to say I see a lot of billboards and ads on the street aimed at startups. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of .CO domains so I thought it would be fun to highlight a few of them that caught my eye.

It’s no secret that startups branding on .CO have raised tens of millions of dollars or more. The top angel investment platform in the world, Angel List, has been on Angel.co since inception and along with seeing .CO around town I feel like I read about another startup branding on .CO getting funding almost weekly.

To kick things off, let’s start with a startup I literally just found out about this week on my walk to the gym – Mercury.co.

With $26M in funding and backing from an incredibly impressive list of investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Mercury is trying to re-investing banking for startups. The banking world is a space that is ripe for disruption and as someone that has banked with traditional banks for a long time I can tell you that I’m certainly ready to see a startup take on this challenge.

From my experience big banks are old and clunky, their online systems are difficult to navigate, and connecting to bank APIs is a nightmare. Mercury has two taglines, “Banking for startups” and “engineered by engineers” – the second is pretty powerful because I think this is where most big old traditional banks have fallen short…they’re designed by bankers, not engineers, which is whey their backend UX is so darn clunky.

Given the amount of funding Mercury has already raised, and the stellar list of investors they have behind them, my guess is we’re going to be hearing even more about them over the years. And like I said above, they’re jamming away building their brand on Mercury.co.

Next up is Mirror.co, a startup that is disrupting the home fitness market with smart mirrors. The idea is – imagine being able to put a mirror in your home that has a workout instructor built into it? If this sounds like something out of Blade Runner, think again, it’s here and given that the company makes a smart mirror, Mirror.co is a solid choice of domain names.

To-date Mirror.co has raised over $40M in funding from some great VCs like First Round Capital and Spark Capital. Based in New York Mirror.co is pioneering what I think is going to be a huge industry.

If you think about it, for far too long working out at home has been a pretty boring experience. Usually you buy some weights, maybe find a workout class or two online, then try to encourage yourself to transform your living room into a gym on a regular basis.

By having both a dedicated piece of hardware with a trainer built-in, and the ability to track progress and continually get new content, I think Mirror.co is on a similar path to that that Peloton just took, and is clearly paying off.

Last but certainly not least is a startup that’s actually only a few blocks away from our offices in SF, Brit + Co which has branded on Brit.co since inception. After working at both Apple and Google, Brit + Co’s founder and CEO Brit Morin decided she wanted to start a company of her own and Brit.co is the realization of that vision.

Now, Brit.co has become a leading online media company with over $40M in funding and an active community of over $10M members. It’s not uncommon to find the CEO, Brit on CNN or the Daily Show and given that Brit.com is already the domain for another company, my guess is they’ll be happy on Brit.co forever.

Congrats to all three of these amazing startups, Mercury.co, Mirror.co, and Brit.co – together they’ve raised over $100M and something tells me there’s a lot more coming given how fast they’re all growing!

Here it is – 2019’s list of the top ten domain extensions used for phishing campaigns

Thu, 2019-10-31 02:09

Akamai recently released their 2019 State of the Internet / Security Report and in it detailed how criminals are leveraging a range of domain extensions to trick their victims. If you don’t know what phishing is, think of it as essentially trying to trick someone into giving you their username or password, often by pretending to be someone you’re not.

Back in the early days of computer hacking, phishing was actually done over the phone. A hacker (at that time often called Phone Phreaker) would call someone on the phone pretending to be say, an admin from AOL. They would then tell the user that there was a problem with their account and they needed their login and password to get everything fixed. As technology progressed, so did phishing schemes and today many of them are hosted on confusingly similar domains to make users think they’re actually logging in on a real company website when in fact they’re just giving away their user credentials to a hacker.

While phishing attacks target a lot of different company’s users, Microsoft took the cake with 20% of the domains. Here’s a look at the top four from the report:

(Source – Akamai)

When it comes to the domain names that are used for phishing attacks it should come as no surprise that .COM is the most-used by a pretty wide margin. If you think about it from the hackers perspective, they want the user to be confused and think they are on a real company website and .COM is what people do know and trust the most.

At the same time, hackers are cheap and often will gravitate towards domain names that offer specials, i.e. promotions where they can buy lots of domains for a dollar or two. Here’s the full list of the top domain extensions used for phishing:

(Source – Akamai)

I was pretty surprised to see .SCIENCE on this list, but at the same time, I’m guessing that criminals feel this might be a particularly trustworthy sounding domain extension, or at least that’s my thought. The domain extension that I was the least surprised to see was .TK, it has been one of the most scammy domain extensions out there for a long time so it makes sense to find it in the top three.

The moral of the story here is relatively simple. If you click on a link and land on a site that doesn’t quite look right, it probably isn’t. Even if the site is on a .COM domain, look at the spelling of the domain name, check the SSL cert, be careful anytime you enter your password. This is also why password managers like Dashlane and 1Password are so handy, if you’re not a legitimate site it won’t populate your password.

Were you surprised to see any of the domain extension on the list? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Google makes its .NEW domain extension available to the world, will it catch on?

Wed, 2019-10-30 01:57

In case you missed the memo, last year Google rolled out the .NEW domain extension as a way to easily create new Google Docs. Even though I remember reading about this, I quickly forgot and don’t think I ever tried it out. The concept is pretty simple though, rather than going to Google Docs or Google Sheets and creating a new Doc, or Sheet, you could go to sheet.new and poof – there’s a new Google Sheet a few seconds of your life back.

From what I can tell, this never really took off but it was a creative idea for a way to put a new domain name extension to work.

Now Google has decided to roll out .NEW to the rest of the world so other people can try their hand at using a domain extension to perform a specific action, in most cases creating a new document or video.

The domains are designed to get users straight to the action. That is, instead of having to visit a service, sign in, then find the right menu or function, they could just start creating.

However, some of today’s new domains aren’t quite as seamless as Google’s own. Because most Google Docs users are already signed in to Google, it’s easy to jump right to creating a new online document.

But other services aren’t used as often. That means Medium’s “story.new” doesn’t let you immediately start writing your blog post, unless you’re already signed in to Medium. If not, it drops you on a “Join Medium” sign-up page instead. This doesn’t make it necessarily any easier to use Medium — a better use case would have allowed the user to just start writing, saving their text under a temporary account, then prompt them to join Medium upon exit or clicking “publish.”

(Source – TechCrunch)

I don’t mean to rain on the parade but I’m going to have to put my hand up and guess that this is something that’s just not going to take off. While I applaud Google for trying to find innovative new uses (no pun intended) for new domain extensions – this seems like a habit change that’s probably not going to catch on.

Google is pretty famous for trying lots of things and killing most of them off. IMO there’s nothing wrong with this, innovation is hard and the reality is you do have to try a lot of things until you get something that actually takes off. Google has the resources to try lots of things and yes, they find out that most of the things they try don’t work, but let’s be honest, the things that have worked have made Google one of the most successful technology companies in the world…so I think the formula is working.

If you want to take a look at all the projects Google has killed, there’s a site dedicated to it at KilledByGoogle.com. As many of you know, I’ve tried a lot of different experiments on my blog and killed most of them. I’m all for experimenting and learning from mistakes, continuing to iterate and try new things until something sticks.

So once again, while I think it’s awesome that Google’s experimenting with new ways to use domain name extensions…I think we’ll see this on the “Killed By Google” site in the future.

What do you think? Will .NEW catch on? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

The cost to register and renew .COM domains is very likely going up…but it probably won’t make much of a difference to most people

Mon, 2019-10-28 23:56

In case you haven’t been following the incredibly boring world of big companies working out agreements with the US Department of Commerce, here’s the skinny.

Verisign, the company that currently runs .COM has been working on inking a deal that could allow them to increase prices by 7%. They have approved from the US Department of Commerce but in order to get the deal done they need sign off from ICANN.

The good news for Verisign here is that ICANN wants to distance themselves from regulating domain pricing…which means, if it was already approved by the DOC, they’re likely going to defer to them.

Now before you get too upset, the reality is we’re talking 7% over the next four to six years which means very little impact to most people. If you own thousands or tens of thousands of domains you’ll feel a bit of a sting but if you own hundreds of domains it’s honestly not going to impact you very much.

Let’s do the math here. Let’s suppose you own around 500 .COM domains, and you’re going to renew every single one next year. If your current renewal price is $9.99, your new renewal price will be $10.69. So rather than spending $4,995 to renew your domains you’ll now be spending $5,345. That’s an extra $350.

While I know nobody wants to spend an extra $350/year I don’t think it’s going to break the bank for someone that owns 500 domains, nor will it for. someone that owns 1,000.

Now once you’re at 5,000 domains, an extra $3,500/year might sting a bit but I sure hope you’re making quite a bit of money if you own 5,000 domains in which case, it’s all relative and that $3,500 should feel like the $350 does to the person who owns 500 domains.

Of course I know what you’re going to say now. Why the heck should these big companies continue to take money off of normal people for no additional value add? I don’t have a good answer for you there and like everyone I’d love to see things get cheaper, not more expensive. That being said my point is, unless you have thousands or tens of thousands of domains, it’s not really worth getting too upset about because the impact is pretty minimal.

Well that’s my two cents. What do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Sunday is the one day a week I devote some time to domain investing. Here’s what a typical day looks like for me.

Sun, 2019-10-27 20:43

As many of you know, I look at domain name investing just like stock market investing or real estate investing, it’s an investment strategy, not a full time job or business (for most). While there are people who day trade stocks full time or flip houses full time, most people I know who invest in the stock market or real estate do it as an investment strategy, not a career path. The same is true for most people (like me) who invest in domain names.

Since my week is focused on running a software company here in San Francisco, and I like to really devote Saturday to R&R – Sunday has become the day where I chisel out some time for domain investing and I typically spent between 1 – 2 hours total.

Here’s a look at where the time goes:

30 mins – add any new domains I’ve purchased to Efty and Afternic, make sure any domains I’ve sold have been remove from Efty and Afternic.

30 mins – search for expired domains (usually on Go Daddy Auctions), place bids on any that I want for the week. I don’t actively monitor auctions, instead I just put in the most I would pay for a name and just let it run for the week without monitoring it. If I lose all the auctions I bid on, so be it.

15 mins – follow up with any inbounds that are still in negotiations.

15 mins – send follow ups for any brokerage deals I’m working on

15 mins – review renewals for the coming week

Another 20 – 30 mins can go to any one of these four things taking longer than the time estimate I’ve mentioned above. I’d say it’s pretty rare for me to spend more than two hours, and that’s it for the week. I don’t do anything related to domain investing during the week or on Saturday. I’m very diligent with my time, running a startup forces you to be given how demanding it is.

I’m not a big sports fan and don’t watch football so Sunday has never been a sports day for me. The rest of my day I usually go to the gym, practice Japanese, and make a nice dinner. I try not to do any major social activities on Sunday, my weeks are so busy that I like to try to keep Sunday as low key as possible.

And there you have it. I’d be interested to hear how other domain investors spend their time. Feel free to share your own schedule in the comment section below. I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

Domain Investing news roundup for the week of October 21st, 2019

Fri, 2019-10-25 20:16

Hello, happy Friday, and welcome to my weekly domain investing news roundup. I can never really figure out what to write in this first sections so I thought I’d spend a few sentences talking about the first story on my list.

This week Elliot wrote a good article that referenced a Tweet from Rick Schwartz about the problem with having a BIN + Make Offer option on a landing page. I think Rick made a really good point here and am glad that Elliot wrote a post dedicated to it. Why would anyone take your BIN price seriously if you make it clear that you’re willing to consider other offers?

To me, a landing page with BIN + Make Offer is more like a page that says, “Looking for $x or best offer,” it takes all the wind out of your sales when it comes to really standing behind the price.

Okay, there’s a little commentary from me on the news, now let’s get to the good stuff. Below are the stories from the domain investing world that caught my eye this week, enjoy!

  • BIN + Make Offer Isn’t Ideal for Me (Read more on DomainInvesting.com)
  • Sedo weekly sales led by Sentai.com (Read more on TheDomains.com)
  • Eko.com domain name sells for $1.5 million (Read more on DomainNameWire)
  • Brexit hell: .eu suspension plan put on hold (Read more on DomainIncite)
  • 97 Newly Funded Companies and their Domain Names: MadBox.io, Firedome.io, Foundries.io (Read more on DNGeek)
  • Ad Practitioners LLC acquires Money.com for a reported $20 million (Read more on TLDInvestors.com)
  • Some major generic domains have just changed hands! (read more on DomainGang)

I hope you all have a great weekend and for those who are watching basketball now that it’s back on, please send the Warriors some love this Sunday!

Defensively registering similar domains to yours is a good idea…but what should you do with them?

Thu, 2019-10-24 21:37

I saw an interesting article on CircleID earlier today about defensive domain registration that asked a question that I’ve heard many times before. Yes – I think in 2019 most people know that defensively registering similar domains to your primary domain is a good idea…but what the heck do you do with them, i.e. where should they forward? Or should they forward anywhere at all.

Here’s a nice nugget from the CircleID article that I think touches on some of the key things to consider:

When deciding where to point defensive registrations, there are generally three different approaches. The first is to try and direct users to their intended location. For typos and misspellings, this is typically straightforward. For other defensively registered domains, this may require working cooperatively with web marketing or digital marketing teams to determine exactly where domain names should resolve. This could include ensuring ccTLDs point to matching language sites, product names point to product pages, and executive names point to management team pages.

There is another school of thought, which is that redirecting defensive registrations could inadvertently teach website visitors to use the wrong domain names. In these cases, pointing domains to parked pages with a message asking whether the visitor meant to visit the company’s primary website is an option.

And for domains that have been previously used to perpetrate the sale of counterfeit goods, to commit fraud, or divert traffic to unauthorized content, pointing to a page that explains that the name has been recovered as part of the company’s brand protection program is yet a third option.

(Source – CircleID)

I personally think that all defensive registrations should take the user to where they initially intended to go. If they typo your primary domain, I think they should end up at your primary domain, not a page that says, “is this where you wanted to go?” because that’s just an extra step.

At the end of the day, I think for most companies defensive registrations are more about getting the user to the right place faster vs. protecting against other people maliciously squatting on something similar to your brand but there’s certainly a bit of both.

I also think it depends a lot on what kind of company you’re running. If you’re a B2C company that has billboards and ads all over the place, registering typos of your domain will be a lot more important than if you’re an Enterprise B2B SaaS company that doesn’t advertise.

Another hot topic around defensive registrations is domain extensions – i.e. should you register your domain name in other extensions to further protect your brand, and if so, what extensions? Like I said above, I think once again this comes down to what kind of business you’re running – if you’re building a big consumer brand with broad reach you might want to register in a wide range of extensions.

Like most things in life, there really is no right or wrong answer, it depends on your business, your target market and a number of other factors. That being said, it’s a good thing to keep in mind when you’re first starting your business and acquiring your primary domain.

Efty is on fire, launches two new updates this week

Thu, 2019-10-24 06:55

Well I think it’s safe to say that Efty is officially on fire this week, the popular platform used by domain investors to manage, market, and monetize their portfolio rolled out a brand new Enterprise along with a “Price by Request” feature within two days of each other.

Let’s start with Efty Enterprise. Here’s the scoop from the Efty blog:

Many of the large domain name portfolio holders have chosen to develop custom solutions to host their landing pages and or marketplace over the years or opted to use less-desirable PPC landing pages to be able to yield inquiries and offers for their domain names without having to pay a third-party marketplace commission.

The challenges that come with developing,  hosting and maintaining a custom solution are especially demanding for portfolios with a large amount of traffic and unless you have a developer on the payroll you often end up paying one on a regular basis for fixes and updates.

Many of these large portfolio owners have reached out to us over the years to explore the possibility of using Efty so I am super excited to announce that we are now able to support portfolios of up to 100,000 domains. Yes, that is quite the step up from the previous maximum number of domains in the Professional plan which stands at *just* 5000.

(Source – Efty Blog)

I know a number of people that have been waiting to make the move over to Efty once Enterprise became available so there are going to be a lot of happy Domain Investors making the move this week.

Along with support for portfolios of up to 100,000 domains the new Enterprise offering also comes Zapier integration which allows Efty to integrate with 1,500+ other solutions from Salesforce to Slack.

On Monday Efty announced their Enterprise offering, and today they announced yet another update – the addition of “Price by Request” For Sale landing pages.

At Efty, we’re already offering a myriad of For-Sale landing pages with different wording. You can choose between Make Offer, Buy-It-Now, Buy-It-Now & Make Offer and we even have a design that simply states “Contact us for business inquiries”. But we didn’t have a theme that allowed visitors to request a price. Yet.

As of today, a new section with three different “Price Upon Request” For-Sale landing pages can be found in your landing page theme gallery.

(Source – Efty Blog)

Efty credited the Domain King, Rick Schwartz for inspiring this feature, in the blog post I liked to above you’ll find Rick’s tweet on the importance of having this as an option on For Sale landers.

I will likely be playing around with these new landers myself since it’s something I’ve been interesting in seeing and as usual, Efty has rolled this one out without any additional cost to users.

Congrats to the whole team at Efty – what a week!

In 2020 I’m going to buy more .IO and .CO domains than I have in the past

Wed, 2019-10-23 04:29

Okay, so as you all know, I’m a .COM guy. Don’t let the title of this post fool you, I’m still going to be. That being said, I’ve typically balanced my portfolio with ~90% .COM, and ~10% everything else. In 2020, I’m changing that and at the core of that change is .IO and .CO.

Now I’m not planning on making a dramatic change, still the vast majority of domains I’m going to invest in are going to be .COM, but I am going to rebalance in a somewhat meaningful way with ~25% of my investments next year going into .IO and .CO.

I have been buying and selling domains for twelve years now and every year I examine my business and decide if I should keep doing things the exact same way or if data is telling me it’s time to make some adjustments.

The strongest trend I’ve seen period is the power of two-word .COMs. This will continue to be the core focus of my acquisitions. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the activity in the .CO and .IO space and I think now is the time to start balancing my portfolio a bit differently to now make a bigger move into these two extensions.

Now that being said, when it comes to .CO or .IO my focus is one-word domains that I could see selling for $50,000 or more in .COM. I will not be investing in many two-word .CO or .IO names like I do with .COM, instead I want big juicy names that either have sold, or anyone could see selling for a reasonable amount of money in their .COM form.

Of course I could course-correct mid-year if I feel like I’ve made a huge mistake but from where I’m sitting, it looks like there are some good opportunities in the .IO and .CO space and I’m done being a .COM-only guy, it’s time to broaden my horizon. Could it be a huge mistake? Sure, but at the same time I also think it could be an even bigger mistake to just stick with .COM when there are some real opportunities in other extensions.

Like I said above, .COM will be my focus and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, but for the first time in my twelve years buying domains, two other TLDs are going to start to become a more meaningful part of my portfolio.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Think I’m an idiot? Will that 25% that I put into .IO and .CO be completely wasted? You know how it goes, I don’t censor my comments so let it rip – I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Buying a domain for its backlink profile is similar to buying a used car, you could end up with a lemon

Tue, 2019-10-22 05:18

There has been a lot of talk over the years about buying a domain name specifically for its backlink profile. At the end of the day it is true that you can benefit from backlinks on a domain name that changes hands, but as John Mueller from Google points out, the experience can be a bit like buying a used car.

Someone recently took to Twitter to ask John, a Webmaster Trends analyst at Google if there’s any way to make sure you don’t end up buying a domain that is penalized by Google, here’s the thread:

In short – when you buy a domain because you want the SEO juice from its backlinks, you could also end up dealing with the fallout from what turns out to be an ugly mess of backlinks, some good, some bad…and this could mean a lot of time (or money if you’re not an SEO guru yourself) to get it fixed.

SearchTides.com has a list of some common reasons why a domain you bought could end up with some serious clean up work before you’ll truly be able to benefit from its backlink profile:

Some domains have a poor history. Google de-indexes or blacklists websites associated with activities in the past such as the following:

Publishing duplicate content

– Keyword stuffing

– The overuse of anchor text

– Manipulating rankings using deceptive SEO methods

– Your site used to be a porn site

– Your site has been hacked

– Your site received a flood of malicious backlinks

(Source – SearchTides.com)

Now all that being said, I think there are still a ton of advantages to buying a domain with backlinks vs. starting with a brand new domain. If you can find a domain that someone else spent years building backlinks on you can instantly benefit from years of work and rank way better, way faster.

Just try to do your homework and make sure you aren’t buying a lemon first, but know, like John says, it really is impossible to know ahead of time how much work/time it will take to get things cleaned up.

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