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Yes, the times they are a changing and while Google is still bringing in the big bucks with a whopping $15.42B in revenue in Q1 cost-per-click fell 9%. While CPC fell total paid clicks increased by 26% y/y which makes the 9% not look too bad, but still it’s hard to ignore. The search giant has long dominated the online advertising space but lately companies like Facebook have been encroaching on their territory.

Google Mountain View

Google’s revenue grew 19% y/y which helped buoy the stock 4% in regular trading today. Still despite strong revenue growth Google failed to meet analyst expectations with an EPS of $6.27 vs. an $6.40.

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At the end of March I covered a “Lead Generation” themed auction that Above.com featuring a pretty extensive list of names. Well, like most good things, the auction is coming to an end tomorrow so I wanted to put out a quick reminder for anyone that may have put this on their to-do list.

Above.com

I think that themed auctions make a lot of sense since many investors and developers focus on one or two niches they know well. Lead Generation is one of the hottest spaces online and some names in the auction like Debit.com are big names with big potential.

Some of the other names that I like that I mentioned before are TaxMastery.com,  AutoInsurancePremiums.com, and ConsolidateLoan.com. So, if you’re in the market for a good lead generation name, and looking for some way to turn your tax return into a much bigger return definitely take a look at this auction before it ends.

You can view the full list of inventory here.

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Must-Read Mondays: The Lean Enterprise

Hello, happy Monday, and welcome to Must-Read Mondays here on MorganLinton.com! Today I wanted to share a book that I think will most-likely be one of the most popular business books of 2014, it’s called The Lean Enterprise and it is the most comprehensive book ever written about applying the lean principals in larger organizations.

Lean Enterprise Book

Dave McClure from 500 Startups had this to say about the book:

Corporations who miss this book have their days numbered. 

Brad Smith, the President of Intuit had this to say:

The Lean Enterprise presents a framework for companies to create an environment that empowers the greatest entrepreneurial talent to thrive inside the organization, retaining the great innovative minds and reaping the benefits of their greatest inventions.

As many of you know Fashion Metric was born out of Lean Startup Machine and the lean principals have been critical to help us get to where we are today. Here’s a quick look at what’s in the book:

  • Chapter 1 - Roadmap: The Lean Enterprise
  • Chapter 2 - Strategy
  • Chapter 3 - Corporate Structure
  • Chapter 4 - Compensation
  • Chapter 5 - Vision: The Innovation Thesis
  • Chapter 6 - Lean Enterprise Process
  • Chapter 7 - Experimental Methods
  • Chapter 8 - Innovation Accounting
  • Chapter 9 - Incubate Internally
  • Chapter 10 - Acquire Early
  • Chapter 11 - Invest When You Can’t Acquire
  • Chapter 12 - Innovation Flow

Of course the key to a good book is the author and I can tell you that Trevor and Obie are two of the most respected thought leaders in the Lean Startup space and the best people I could think of to write a book like this.

So if you’ve been curious about the lean principals and how they can be applied beyond the startup world I highly recommend this book. You can read more about it here or buy it now from Amazon.

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I have been following the rise of .IO on my blog for some time now and it is more clear than ever that this TLD is hotter than ever. You might remember a company called Kickfolio that raised a million dollars and changed their name to App.io. Well they have been testing their tech for the last 18 months and now 15,000 developers strong are making a big move into the mobile ad space.

app-io

The concept is pretty cool, try-before-you-buy applied to mobile advertising. Here’s the really cool part, they are crushing conversion rates of image and video ads, here’s the numbers:

Image Ads – 4.9% conversion rate

Video Ads – 5.7% conversion rate

App.io Ads – 17.9% conversion rate

In a world that has gone mobile, App.io has positioned themselves in a very interesting place and as a viable alternative to Facebook and Google who have for a very long time dominated the space.

Hats-off to the App.io team, and one prediction, if Facebook doesn’t buy these guys in the next six-months I’ll be surprised. I’ll come back to this post when it happens :)

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Flippa Friday

Hello, happy Friday and welcome to Flippa Friday here on MorganLinton.com! We are in Chicago today and it looks like we arrived just in time to welcome the warm weather. You’ll notice some TLDs like .IO and .TATTOO on my list this week, while I typically stay pretty far away from these TLDs when it comes to investing I do think there are some solid premiums that make sense, and I’ve included those in this week’s selections as well.

Remember, I still very strongly recommend that investors put their focus on .COM. Still the Internet is evolving and while I’m still .COM-focused as an investor, I do see a bright future for some of the new gTLDs. As you all know, Frank Schilling absolutely loves .COM, he’s made his fortune with it, but he still believes in the new gTLDs just like Daniel Negari and the team at Donuts. Not there yet? Don’t let the world pass you by, it moves fast! Now for today’s list:

AspenHotels.com – I’m not always crazy about citynameHotel.com’s however Aspen while not a big city, does have some pretty pricey hotels. This could make a great lead gen site if put in the hands of the right developer. That being said, this isn’t a great flip so I’d only buy it if you have experience in the lead gen space specifically for travel. Otherwise you’ll quickly find that no hotel in Aspen will pay more than $10 for this one.

Send.io – the developer community has fallen in love with .IO. Couple this with the fact that companies like Intercom.io have raised over $6M and it’s clear that the investor community has also embraced this TLD. Send.IO is about as solid a .IO name as you can get.

Draw.com – I absolutely love one-word .COMs. Their values can go from $25,000 or less all the way up to $10M+. This is a great name, nobody will ever forget it and someone, someday will pick this as their brand.

Tattoo.directory – I’m not a huge fan of .directory but I do think there are some keywords that will do well, this is one of them.

OJV.com – I love the smell of a good 3 character .COM in the morning. Not the best 3 character .COM but still plenty of companies that use this as the acronym for their name and some good potential buyers out there. Of course you’ll have to get to this one before the Otter Jogging Venue :)

Sushi.net – I love sushi and while I’m not too bullish on .NET because I actually think TLDs like .GURU and .APP are stronger, this isn’t a bad one and it’s a great brand for someone who can’t afford Sushi.com but wants to do something on the Interwebs related to sushi.

Okay, that’s it for me, have a great weekend everyone!

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How many times have you seen a page on Facebook that says, “Like or share this page!” Maybe it’s a page for hilarious cat videos or possibly a one of your favorite brands. Now Facebook has decided to put the kibosh on this behavior by officially announcing that pages asking people to “Like or share” their content will be punished.

Facebook-logo

According to Facebook:

Today we are announcing a series of improvements to News Feed to reduce stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see. Many of these stories are published by Pages that deliberately try and game News Feed to get more distribution than they normally would. Our update targets three broad categories of this type of feed spam behavior. (source – Facebook Newsroom)

Like Google Facebook is trying to clean things up and if Google’s Panda and Penguin updates are any indicator of what’s to come, it could be a rough ride for some brands. Habit changes are hard, especially for brands that use Facebook as their main source of customer acquisition.

Just like JC Penny was crushed by Google’s algorithm updates, the same could very likely start happening to other brands on Facebook. Of course this is how the Internet works, products and services launch, become popular, and then work hard to curate the massive amount of content they manage.

I see changes like this as opportunities, the chance for some companies to get an edge that might not have been available before. Where that edge is I don’t know yet, but since Facebook is a major customer acquisition channel for us you bet I’ll be testing quite a few different techniques.

If you want to read more about Facebook’s move to clean up their Newsfeed make sure to read the full post in their newsroom.

 

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While you might not have heard of Longreads there’s a good chance you’ll be using it either on your own blog, or your favorite daily read. Founded five years ago, the company has never taken outside funding and has been doing just fine thanks to $30/month paid subscriptions for premium members.

Longreads-Automattic-Blog-RetinaLongreads CEO Mark Armstrong had this to say about meeting Matt (founder of WordPress/Automattic) and sealing the deal:

I first met Matt four years ago, and we have always had a deep respect for him and the principles of his company. We also quickly realized that Longreads’ goals and Automattic’s goals were complementary: For us it is to serve readers the best storytelling in the world, and for Automattic it’s to power a world where publishers and writers have the freedom and independence to own and control their own space on the Internet, and to then produce their best work using those tools. (Source – Longreads blog)

So what exactly is Longwords and why were the folks over at WordPress so interested? Longreads makes it easy to send curated links to long-form content. Given that WordPress blogs tend to have a lot of long-form content, and making it easy to share that content is pretty darn important this is a pretty logical move for Automattic.

Huge congrats Longwords CEO Mark Armstrong and the whole team. They stuck to their guns and built something they believed in, they did it without funding, watched it grow, and just sold to one of the most influential Internet companies of our time. Well done!

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.CO.COM Landrush Begins Today

There are few people in the domain name industry that I have more respect for than Paul Goldstone, Ken Hansen and Gregg McNair. In short, this is the dream team and .CO.COM is their horse in the new gTLD race. (You can read more about Paul, Ken, and Gregg here)

team-co-com

.CO.COM expects to see strong demand in the 69 countries that use .CO.SOMETHING as their go-to TLD. Countries like India (.co.in) and England (.co.uk) have long been used to .CO.SOMETHING. Of course it has to be easy for people all over the world to register .CO.COM domains and with 200 registrar deals now closed that’s a done deal.

The .CO.COM landrush starts today and runs through Tuesday July 8th when it goes into general availability. To see the full list of registrars carrying .CO.COM click here. Congrats to the whole .CO.COM team, this is the beginning of a great adventure and I look forward to watching them do what they all do best; building a great company and a brand that people know and trust.

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Moki.com Buyer Turns out to be Moki Mobility

Back on March 14,2014 the domain name Moki.com closed on NameJet at $66,100. The winning bidder had the name Moki Orphanage and it was assumed that was the buyer.

The domain MokiOrphanage.com was registered the day before the auction closed, the registrant has this on their linked in page:

OUNCE OF WEED.COMJune 2013Present (10 months) Scottsdale, AZ

Ounce of Weed is the largest marijuana/cannabis/hemp domain holder in the country. We currently own over 6000 .coms relating to this market and are acquiring more every day. The medical marijuana industry is estimated to be $40 billion in the next 3 to 5 years and $120 billion once the government approves marijuana for social use, as is liquor. We will be starting our MissMarijuanaAmerica pagent shortly, when our new site is done. Sign up at www.OunceOfWeed.com for further information.

The buyer turns out to be Moki Mobility a company that was featured last April on Tech Crunch:

Salt Lake City-based MokiMobility announced a $2 million seed funding round, just a little over a year after the cloud-based mobile device management was officially founded. MokiMobility has since shifted focus from a broad-based MDM approach to one tailored specifically towards single-purpose devices, like the iPads you’ll often see installed as ordering kiosks in restaurants, or used as point-of-sale terminals at stores, which is why their partnership with SF-based Revel is also big news.

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The virtual currency market is still incredibly new, and many people see it merely as a fad that will be gone just like Beenie Babies and MySpace. Still, there’s no denying that Bitcoin has seen some incredible early adoption, even as the currency itself sees dramatic swings in price.

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As technologists it’s just too hard not to imagine a future with virtual currency. No matter how you slice it, the world has gone digital and currency is most-likely next, even if it has some shaky beginnings. At TechCrunch disrupt last year Naval Ravikant (famous Angel Investor and founder of Angel.co) shared a possible scenario where virtual currency could be used in an oh-so-cool way:

This means that Bitcoin can fit into places where normal currency has never managed to squeeze into. It opens new horizons. Srinivasan posited the following example as indicative of what Bitcoin can become: Imagine it’s a few years in the future, and you are driving down the road in an Uber, built by Tesla and auto-driven by Google software. You are in a hurry, so you decide to accelerate and pass the other cars. Your vehicle could then interface with the other cars, and pay them a sliver of Bitcoin to let you pass. You get where you are going faster, and everyone is happy. Programmable currency. (Source)

SJMN_NTPDELEVETT

Last week Naval wrote an article on his blog virtual currencies that I think every single one of my readers should read. It’s called The Fifth Protocol and he quoted my favorite book of all time Snowcrash which made me like it even more. Naval sees Cryptocurrencies as a fifth protocol, a new property of the Internet itself:

Cryptocurrencies are an emergent property of the Internet – almost a fifth protocol in the Internet suite. If Satoshi Nakomoto did not exist, it would still be necessary to invent them. Someday, they will be used by the machines in our network, on our desk, in our garage, and in our pocket to exchange value and achieve consensus at blinding speeds, anonymously, and at minimal cost.

While we might not be there yet, I think Naval is spot on with where things are going. Sure, over the next 3-5 years you could lose a small fortune investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but over the next 20-years, well that’s a whole different story.

So if you’re one of those people who thinks that virtual currencies like Bitcoin will go the way of the Dodo Bird, listen to what Naval has to say, he’s been right a few times before :)

Photo Credit: btckeychain via Compfight cc

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