I noticed a press release today that caught my attention, it was a press release specifically for Casino.cn. While I’ve seen press releases for big juicy one-word .COMs I haven’t seen it as much in other markets, and nor have I seen them put out that they expect the domain to shatter the previous price record.

I-Promotions expects demand for this domain name to be high, anticipating that the successful bid will beat the previous record set for the sale of a .cn domain name sale, set by Game.cn in January 2014. (Source – BusinessWire)

I can’t say that I know enough about the .CN market to guess if this could be true or not but I did do a cursory dive into the data behind similar sales. The word Casino is definitely seen as a valuable one with domains like Casino.Global selling for $28,000. Still when you look at what the exact-match of Casino has sold for in other TLDs, it looks like most end up at $5,000 or less:

Casino.live – $5,000
Casino.bb – $2,000
Casino.nf – $1,495
Casino.st – $2,750
Casino.gs – $2,050

Now Game.cn sold for a $512,307 back in 2014, could Casino.cn beat that record?

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brandable-domains

LoanSpace.com – great brandable domain for a startup in the loan space, literally. One thing to note is that it was only registered a year ago, still I think it’s a solid brandable and I’d venture to guess this would sell for under $1,000.

ARGlasses.com – you probably know by now that I’m a pretty big fan of VR and AR. In case you missed the memo, AR stands for Augmented Reality, if you’ve ever played Pokemon Go you’ve already tried an AR game. Microsoft Hololens is probably the most popular AR glasses on the market now but many more are coming. If you make AR glasses or want to build a marketplace or blog about them, this is a pretty solid name to have.

MortgagePlace.com – originally registered back in 1996, this is a nice aged two-word .COM perfect for a company in the mortgage space.

VRAssistant.com – as you all probably know by now I’m a big fan of VR, and yes, I’d love a VR assistant as I’d imagine many other would, right?

Accordion.com – solid one-word .COM, could really be used for anything but I’m not 100% sure everyone can spell it so I’d probably also try to get a few typos of it to make sure to get all the traffic.

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You probably already knew that there were You Tubers out there making millions of dollars a year. If you didn’t, read this. The most popular You Tuber, known as PewDiePie makes a whopping $12M/year and has amassed over over 40 million subscribers. Sure, you might not watch, but millions of people are and sponsors are paying.

What you might not know is that the same opportunities exist on Snapchat, and Cyrene Quiamco is becoming one of the best examples of Snapchat success. Of course, like most social media influencers it didn’t all happen overnight. Cyrene started-out by making funny cartoons of her co-workers and sharing them on Snapchat. This evolved into creating caricatures of celebrities, one of those celebrities was Ashton Kutcher whose media company who featured Cyrene in an article that played a role in jump-starting her new career.

cyrene-quiamco-selfies

Fast forward to today and Snapchat is now Cyrene’s full time gig, and the sponsors are coming to her to the tune of up to $30,000 per snap.

Early on, Quiamco says she was making about $500 per snap. After a year, her average went to $1,000 to $10,000 per Snapchat story. Quiamco told The Hustle one of her more recent clients paid her $30,000.  (Source – the Hustle)

While Cyrene gained her notoriety by drawing herself with a cartoon image of someone (or something as pictured above) she makes money from sponsors by putting together 100 second stories, often sharing experiences with the sponsors product, service, or location. Here’s an example of one of her sponsored snaps, this one for Samsung:


Remember, don’t look at You Tube views…this is a video from her Snapchat account which is where she’s getting all the eyeballs and reaching an audience her sponsors are trying harder and harder to reach in more creative ways.

As traditional marketing channels like newspapers, billboards, and radio ads go the way of the dodo, social networks like Snapchat give a glimpse into a future that’s much closer than you might think. It’s a future where reaching your target audience might mean doing something like what you see above.

Huge congrats to Cyrene, it’s great to see someone innovate like this in a whole new way, in a whole new medium, and likely help to shape the future of marketing. It also goes to show, you’re never too young (or old) to change the world…it just takes thinking about things a little bit differently.

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Front End Development = Product Design

front-end

There was a time, not so long ago that writing HTML, CSS, and other front-end languages often meant you were considered a programmer. Now it’s very clear this falls a lot more on the design side of the house as the line between front-end development and product design are blurred.

Over the coming years, the delineation between “product design” and “front-end development” as separate functions will disappear. Many companies have already adopted this approach, hiring individuals (often referred to as Creative Technologists) who are skilled in product design and front-end web technologies, preventing any required hand-off to bring designs to life in code. (Source – TechCrunch)

So what does this mean for startups as they look to hire front-end developers? It means that they are going to be looking for a bit broader set of skills, the ability to not just write HTML and CSS but to also be able to collaborate and work with different teams, and to iterate and update designs continuously.

There’s been a notion of continuous deployment that has become a must-have on the back-end side of the house, and now it’s fair to say this applies to both sides, or at least it will in the near future. The good news for all of us here is that as these two once different roles converge, the cohesion within companies will likely grow and innovation will happen faster.

Of course, the challenge for any organization, big or small, is introducing this change without rocking the boat in a way that adds inefficiencies into an already finely-tuned machine. The art is introducing this change the right way so that everyone works together better than ever before and the once narrowly-focused front-end developer spreads their wings and flies in a whole new way.

Photo Credit: http://tvorbaweb-stranok.sk Flickr via Compfight cc

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ycombinator

The well-know Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator has released their gift guide for 2016, and I’ll be honest, it’s pretty awesome. As you might expect, their gift guide features products and services from companies that went through their accelerator, here are some of my favorites:

VetPronto – think of Uber for veterinarians. A high-quality vet will come directly to your home to take care of your pet…because you know they have zero interest in going in the carrier.

Automatic – I’m a big fan of Automatic and use it myself. This is a great way to instantly allow you to become more connected with the onboard computer in your car.

BlueSmart – yes, it’s 2016 so it should be no surprise that “smart luggage” is a thing, and BlueSmart seems to be the leader of the category.

OneMonth – awesome service for anyone that wants to learn how to code, and do it in a month.

Nebia – while it’s not out yet, this is a pretty slick showerhead that creates ten times more surface area than a regular shower, at the same time it saves water.

There’s a lot more on the list than what I shared so feel free to take a look at the full list of YC gift ideas for 2016 here.

 

 

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brandable-domains

Valuable.com – 20 year-old one word .COM, my favorites. With a starting price of $8,888 it does take a more serious buyer but names like this have a solid track record of selling in the five and six-figure range.

BackupService.com – currently at $30 but it hasn’t hit the reserve price yet. If you run a backup service this would likely be a nice name to have, even if you just forward it to enjoy some free direct navigation traffic.

HowToCode.com – for anyone starting a coding school this name is about as good as it gets. Not much more to say, the name speaks for itself.

RealPrints.com – 13 year-old .COM, immediately makes me think of a service that can physically print photos you take on your Smartphone. Easy to spell, easy to remember, a great brandable.

Black.car – I think this might be the first time I’ve featured a .CAR domain in here but this is a solid one. I could see this as a great fit for a startup that’s doing a ride sharing service focused on black cars. Funny enough this is how Uber started out.

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morgan-linton-thanksgiving-2016

It’s amazing to think that nine years ago my blog was just getting started and here we are in 2016, I’m still blogging (almost) every day, and I have more readers than I could have ever imagined when I first started. While I have a lot of people I’d like to thank, I’d like to first take a minute to thank each and every one of you, from Europe to Asia, Africa to Australia, Canada to Mexico, my readers are truly global and while not all of you celebrate Thanksgiving, that’s not going to stop me from being thankful to have you along for the journey!

Right now I’m sitting in my Dad’s living room in Northern California, the house smells amazing, the table is set, and we’re about 45 minutes away from showtime. I’m in charge of the stuffing which means I have about ten minutes to write this and then it’s onto cooking duty. So here it goes.

Daina, the love of my life. We are so lucky to be able to spend every day working together building a company that we can already see is fundamentally changing commerce. As anyone who has ever run a startup knows, there are lots of ups and downs, and I couldn’t think of a person I’d rather go through this journey with than Daina.

My family, I am so lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive family. As we get deeper into the startup world we find ourselves in the Bay Area more and more which means I’m actually seeing my family more now than I had when we lived in LA.

Our incredible team at Fashion Metric. I couldn’t be more proud of the team we have built, we have some of the smartest, most passionate people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Together we are changing the world, these are still the early days but I am more confident than ever that this is the right team for the job.

techstars-logo

Next up is Jason Seats and the entire Techstars team. We joined Techstars at a pivotal time for our business and it absolutely changed our life. Jason saw something in us at a time where few did, and for that and everything he and the rest of the Techstars Austin team did for us.

Along with Jason and team, Brett Hurt (co-founder of CoreMetrics and BazaarVoice) was a major early supporter of ours, and since then has been an incredible investor and advisor. Brett has gone above-and-beyond for us, and for those who know him, you know he’s an incredibly busy guy – we are so grateful for the time and energy he has given to us.

Okay, last set of Fashion Metric thanks. I am incredibly thankful to all of our investors, John Ives from Tahoma Ventures who gave us our first term sheet and serves on our board, Braden Pollock, a good friend and angel investor that has been an incredibly strong supporter, Elementum Ventures, Corsa Ventures, Geekdom fund and many of the other angels like Dario Meli (co-founder of HootSuite), Ammar Kubba, and the list goes on.

Last but of course not least are the incredible friends we have made in Austin, from Brian Fryer to Josh Kerr, Brandon Marker to Jason Bornhorst, we have met some truly amazing people over the last couple of years.

Okay, well I’m out of time, and yes, like usual I went way over time but it’s Thanksgiving so I couldn’t possibly go through the day without giving thanks. If you’ve read this far you really should put down your iPhone and go back to spending time with your family.

Happy Thanksgiving and as always, thanks for reading!

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uniregistry-black-friday2

One of the questions that I get pretty much every single week from other startup founders is, where should I go to register domain names. Let’s face it, there are a zillion different domain registrars out there and most people default to someone like Go Daddy (which I’m also a fan of!) because that’s all they know. For startups I usually recommend Uniregistry for a few simple reasons:

  1. Uniregistry is often considered the “Apple of registrars” because of their incredibly UX. Most registrars have an old-school interface that looks like it was designed in the 90’s, Uniregistry has set a high bar for what a modern registrar should look like.
  2. Uniregistry itself is a startup run by an awesome entrepreneur Frank Schilling
  3. The pricing on Uniregistry is very startup friendly, they’re not gauging startups and trying to make more money off of inflated prices

There, so that’s why I like Uniregistry. For Black Friday Uniregistry is dropping prices on a ton of domains, some down to $0.25 for the first year. Here’s a look at some of the deals they are offering:

uniregistry-black-friday

Some of these deals are pretty crazy, .HOST reduced from $98.88 down to $1.88, the wildly popular .CLUB down from $12.88 to $0.85, you get the point. So if you’ve been waiting to buy some domains, your waiting has paid off because Uniregistry is going to hook up a lot of happy startups this Friday. You can check out the Black Friday deals in detail here.

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The .BLOG domain name extension went live today which means that anyone can now register a .BLOG domain name at $23.99 up to, well, a whole lot higher. I took at look at Morgan.blog and saw that it’s selling for $6,999 but then, here’s the kicker, after spending around $7,000 I then have to pay $6,999 a year, every year going forward. Ouch.

morgan-dot-blog

Sorry but this seems a bit crazy to me. Yes, there are other new domain extensions that sell a name like morgan.something for close to $700 with a renewal of $700/year (which also seems a bit high) but morgan.blog is definitely a new high.

morgan-domains

As I looked at some more .BLOG names I found a bunch priced at $13,999, like DomainName.blog which seemed high…until I stumbled on Computer.blog which is listed for $139,999 with a renewal cost of, you guessed it, $139,999. Given how many amazing one-word .COM domains you can buy for $139,999, and knowing that those stellar names cost less than $10 to renew every year this math just doesn’t make sense.

computer-blog-domain-name

Just in case it’s too small to see, here’s a close up of that pricing:

139999-dot-blog

To be fair, there are plenty of .BLOG domain names available at the lowest registration price of $23.99, but the pricing on their premium domains is intense to say the least. What do you think? Has .BLOG figured out something the other new domain extensions haven’t, or is this going to be a pricing fail?

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If you grew up in the 80’s there’s a good chance that Super Mario Bros hold a special place in your heart. Not only did this iconic Nintendo game come with the console (and often bundled with Duckhunt) but it also got many of us hooked on Mario. While you might not be able to remember the whole game level-by-level, and heck let’s be honest, you probably never won because the game gets exceptionally hard towards the end. But either way, Level 1-1 and the music to go with it is etched our heads.

super-mario-bros-nes

What made this Mario Bros different from Mario’s of the past was the fact that Mario moved into an entirely new magical world. Remember, Mario started as a character called “Jump Man” in Donkey Kong, his mission, as it continued to be forever was to rescue the princess. One fact you also might not know about Donkey Kong is that Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario’s creator actually wanted to make it a platformer initially.

Miyamoto’s early ideas for Donkey Kong also saw the action scroll from left to right as the player avoided the rolling barrels. The technical limitations of the hardware Miyamoto was forced to work with meant that the action had to take place on a static screen. With this in mind, Miyamoto took the elements he originally intended to sprinkle around his scrolling platform game – conveyor belts, elevators, springs – and reworked them as four separate levels. Miyamoto would finally get to make his scrolling platform game years later, of course, with Super Mario Bros. (Source – Mental Floss)

While you might think that Super Mario Bros came right after Donkey Kong, there was an original Mario Bros game that you might remember which also introduced the concept of Luigi. If you don’t remember this game, it looked like this and in many ways, it helped to define modern platform games.

original-mario-bros

With Super Mario Bros the creators wanted to get away from the black background and move Mario into a fantasy land that would truly captivate the player. The first introduction to this world was none other than Level 1-1, it also introduced you to music that will stay in your head for the rest of your life.

If you ever wanted to know what went through Shigeru Miyamoto’s head when he first made Super Mario Bros, here it is.


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