The term “Premium” is thrown around way, way, way, way, way too often. I’ll be honest, I used to think all of my domains were premium too. Then I learned the crushing, but important truth (unless you are one of about 50 people in the world that this doesn’t apply to):

The vast majority of domain names in your portfolio are not “premium” domain names.

That’s right, it time to stop telling everyone that you have a portfolio of premium domain names. Be honest. What you most-likely have is a portfolio of domain names, some reasonably good, others notably bad, and a handful (or just one or two) premium domain names, the golden eggs in your portfolio.

golden-egg

I hear people say they have a premium domain name all the time. When someone tells me they have a premium domain I just ask them one question,

“how many offers do you get on the name each month?”

The answer I get is often, zero. Sorry, but a premium domain has one very distinct quality – people are constantly emailing you asking you if the domain name is for sale, or in many cases giving cash offers right off the bat.

I know many people with domain names that get 30-40 offers/month on a domain name, sure many are tire-kickers but every month they get a solid offer or two. Now look at that domain name that you have labeled as “premium” – how many offers did it get last month? If your answer is zero, or one, then there’s a very good chance the domain name you’re talking about is not a premium domain.

It’s a simple test but an easy question to answer and a great way to truly sort your portfolio and determine which of your domain names are premium. Of course this doesn’t mean that you don’t have domains that could sell for $25,000 or more also in your portfolio, but premium domains are like getting a hole in one in golf, they’re magic, rare, but with the right buyer they can command an incredible price.

Give.com is a great example of a premium domain name. It sold for $500,000 less than two months ago. Not all four-letter .COMs sell for $500,000 – but premium ones can. A domain like WolfSpeed.com is an interesting brandable two-word .COM, but you can instantly tell it’s not a premium domain. Still, if you hold out and wait for the right buyer it can still sell for quite a bit, in this case WolfSpeed.com actually sold for $70,212 just over two weeks ago.

wolf-speed

Don’t tell me. You’re surprised. $70k sounds like a lot for WolfSpeed.com, you might think I’m being unfair, right – that was a stellar sale. It is a great sale, but the reason you’re surprised is because it’s a non-premium domain. I can tell you it’s very unlikely this domain got a lot of offers every month, probably close to zero in most months, but when the right buyer comes along it can fetch a nice resale price. Still, you were surprised.

Now think of what it was like when you read that Give.com sold for $500,000 – a very nice sale without a doubt, but I’m thinking you weren’t as surprised. That’s because you can instantly identify it as a premium domain and yes, it is incredibly likely that it gets at least one inquiry a day, it’s Give.com.

So next time someone tells you they have a premium domain name (or you think you have one) – put it to the test. How many offers does it get each month? If your answer is zero or one, don’t be too sad, remember names like WolfSpeed.com can sell for $70k, just know that the non-premiums will probably never sell for $500,000.

People are constantly emailing premium domain owners trying to buy the domain, it’s consistent, and keeps going like the Energizer Bunny. Non premium domains can sell for big bucks but they usually don’t get many offers and they can sit on popular domain marketplaces likes Sedo and Afternic for years without getting a single offer.

Remember, non-premium domains are great, you can still resell them for an incredibly high ROI and they will most-likely be the bulk of your portfolio. The premium domains are your wild cards, the names that could sell for 10x or more what you’ve ever sold a domain for. Don’t be embarrassed that you don’t have a portfolio full of them, just be honest with yourself and admit that not all of your domains are premium, in fact most aren’t.

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What do you think of Google’s new logo?

googles-new-logo-5078286822539264.2-hp

Watch-out world. Along with a new parent company located at abc.xyz, Google has a new logo. Of course this really won’t mean much for any of us since the logo has no impact on how Google itself delivers search results. Still, it does show a brand that was once new, still working hard to show consumers that they are innovating.

I am also always interested with how people perceive branding changes like these. So my question to you is a simple one – what do you think of Google’s new logo?

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I am really looking forward to The Domain Conference at the end of September. For me and many other people who have invested in domain names over the years, coming to South Florida every year is a ritual that will never get old, in fact this year it’s getting a whole new groove.

The people behind The Domain Conference is what makes the difference. Whether you’re new to the domain industry or an old friend I can tell you that Barbara, Howard, and Ray will treat you like family from the moment you arrive.

Along with great people, the conference is really setting the bar high this year with a great hotel at a price that I honestly thought was a typo when I first read it. Barbara recently took this picture of the hotel:

hyatt-fort-lauderdale

Okay, now if you’ve made it down this far I thought I’d share my challenge with you. I happened to notice that there’s a giant chessboard at the Hyatt, and I’m a big chess geek, so I’d like to challenge any of my readers who also might be chess fans to a duel.

giant-chess-hyatt-fort-lauderdale

If you’re headed to The Domain Conference (register here) at the end of this month, and don’t mind losing at chess, feel free to challenge me to a duel below and I’ll see you in Florida! Oh and if you are going to the conference and haven’t booked your flights and hotels yet, do it now, booking both of these in advance will save you some serious money…which you can spend on a golden chessboard domains.

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california-coast

Hello, happy Sunday, and welcome to my weekend musings. I took the above photo while I was back in Northern California spending the weekend in one of my all-time favorite spots – Sea Ranch. When I was a kid Sea Ranch was our winter vacation destination and I’ve loved it ever since.

It’s about a three and a half hour drive from SFO to Sea Ranch on a very small road that brings you on what seems like an infinite number of deep twists and turns along California’s rugged coastline. Sea Ranch is famous for houses like this:

sea-ranch

Most of the houses at Sea Ranch are made of Redwood and they have gone to great lengths to make sure that the homes are spread out giving a reclusive and private feeling. While the homes are all on or very close to the coast this isn’t your Southern California surfing paradise. What I always really appreciated about Sea Ranch is that you can truly escape into the woods while still enjoying the comforts of being at home:

Sea Ranch Cabin in the Woods

I’ve found that most people who visit the Bay Area tend to stick to San Francisco, which is definitely an incredibly city, but if you’re looking for an escape into the woods, just know Sea Ranch isn’t too far.

Of course that was a week ago and like most weeks this has been an incredibly busy one. I was excited to see Fashion Metric featured in Silicon Hills News on Thursday:

fashion-metric-silicon-hills-news Daina and I could not be more proud of the incredible team we are building and a technology that is clearly solving an enormous problem. These are still the early days but I can tell you that so far this has been without a doubt the most satisfying, challenging, and interesting thing I have ever done in my life.

I can still remember when I used to dread Monday’s, now they’re my favorite day of the week. Okay, time to go, we just got back from Yoga and are making a delicious breakfast. Oh, and if you’re ever looking for a good breakfast potato recipe, I highly recommend this one. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I hope you’re as excited as I am for the week ahead, if not, it’s time for a change, life is short so you should spend it doing what you love with the people you love.

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Morgan's Flippa Five

Hello, happy Saturday, and welcome to Morgan’s Flippa Five. This week I saw a .ONLINE domain hit Flippa.com as a featured listing. It will be interesting to watch what happens here but I think it’s insanely early to resell new gTLDs however if you’re buying you could end-up nabbing one of these for even less than reg fee.

As usual, my focus is .COM however I have also included a .IO domain that I think really stands out and could have solid resale potential depending on how much you can get it for. Onward to five domains I have hand-picked from Flippa that I think are worth taking a look at.

JVD.com – only 19 hours to go and at under $15,000 it is still far below what I think it will sell for. There aren’t any new three character domains being released, this is it, and from where I’m sitting it looks like these are going nowhere but up.

FX.io – it’s rare that .IO names make this list but a two-character name like this in a TLD that is often a close second next to .COM is hard to overlook. Just remember, since .io is still a relatively unproven extension this is a risk, and without a doubt a domain you should plan to hold for five years or more to see a good return.

Feel.com – while this auction starts at $100,000 I can tell you that Feel.com is worth significantly more than that. There’s no telling what the reserve could be but this name absolutely has resale value in the mid-to-high six-figure range based on previous similar sales.

JFL.com – what I really like about this auction is that you don’t just get JFL.com, you also get JFL.net and .org which is about as good as it gets when you’re buying a three character .COM. Like JVD.com they aren’t releasing more of these and there are a lot less of these names than four character .COMs.

Foxo.com – starting to see a trend here? Yes, I do think now is a great time for investors to focus on short .COM domains, I see these as the names with the greatest resale potential over the next 3-5 years. While I’d much rather have Fox.com, Foxo.com is an interesting brand, and it’s short, easy-to-remember, and a whole lot cheaper than a meaningful three letter .COM like Fox.

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The One Domain MLB Cannot Purchase – Twins.com

Grantland.com published an article today that looks at Twins.com the one domain MLB cannot purchase. Monte Cahn is mentioned in the article as well. The domain is owned by actual twins Durland and Darvin Miller.

When you go to Twins.com you see:

D&D Miller

This web site is currently undergoing reconstruction.
For more information contact:
Durland & Darvin Miller
twins@twins.com
(408) 225-7436

From the article:

Twins.com’s strange story starts in 1994, a bad year for baseball. Mostly, it was bad because of the strike. But in retrospect, it was also bad because Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, a Philadelphia-based law firm, beat MLB to the punch by registering MLB.com. In 1994, no one knew that URLs mattered: It took until 1998 for MLB to create its own site, majorleaguebaseball.com, which took much longer to type than MLB.com. Fortunately for Major League Baseball, Morgan Lewis had often represented the league, and the relationship between the two MLBs was somewhat incestuous: Rob Manfred, MLB’s current commissioner, was a partner at Morgan Lewis before joining MLB as in-house counsel in 1998. In 2000, the firm sought to strengthen those ties by transferring the site to Bud Selig for free.

Since 2000, Major League Baseball Advanced Media has conducted a stealth campaign to take over every team domain, undoing any damage caused by its slow start in registration. MLB and other leagues have tried to snap up team sites not only to attract more traffic and ad revenue, but to avoid the unwanted attention that can come from a site like Cowboys.com, which became an “online dating community for men who enjoy the same country living lifestyle,” after the NFL’s Dallas franchise passed on it at auction.1 Both to streamline the process and to avoid hurting its leverage by letting potential sellers know there was big money behind its overtures, MLBAM has worked mainly through intermediaries like Monte Cahn, the founder of URL registrar Moniker.com and the president/director of RightofTheDot, LLC.

Read the full article on Grantland.com

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7 Places to Find Your Startup’s New Hires

1Everyone in the startup sector is hiring right now. How are you going to compete to get the people your startup needs? I’m not referring to outsourced freelancers, but team members that will be working alongside you in the “trenches,” helping you build your organization.

It’s a several stage process that can take months if you’re hiring for an integral position. Don’t take it lightly, and don’t hire the first person willing to do the job for the amount you offer. There are endless statistics to this effect:

  • The average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first year potential earnings. – U.S. Department of Labor
  • As much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. -Harvard Business Review
  • Employers have lost more than 79% of negligent hiring cases. -Public Personnel Management

Hiring the right employee means more than fulfilling the basic job qualifications. The first phase in the process is often the most important one: creating a large and diversified group of applicants to choose from. Expand your search to the 7 categories below and you’ll have a better chance of finding someone that exceeds your expectations. Just as you do everything in your power to gain sales, you’ll have to put an equal amount of effort into hiring. Make the beginning part of this process easier on yourself by casting a wide net.

  1. Advertise on Major Content Sites – Target the largest content sites in your industry and place an inviting ad announcing that you’re hiring. For example, Bodis has advertised on the largest domain community for some of their past hires.
  2. Social Media – Reach out on your platforms with the most followers. Getting one of your industry’s social media thought leaders to repost your message can work wonders. Remember that social media platforms should act as a delivery method to relay your content to draw applicants in. The medium where the actual content is hosted should be on your company website. If you have a listing on a job board you could also forward leads there, but why send your applicants to a source you have no control over or you may have to pay a commission on?
  3. Company Blog and Site – People often forget how integral this one is. It’s the first place any potential hire is going to visit if they’re worth their salt, so give them a clear avenue by which to apply, and what they should expect in the process.
  4. Job Boards – The sheer number and variety of job boards can be daunting. Look into a job board manager that helps you simultaneously post and manage your listings, like ziprecruiter, or religiously track them in a Google doc. Hone the process over time by conducting A/B tests to see what works best and why. Just remember to post the identical ad on each site during the same time frame so you don’t receive confusing mixed results. Here’s a list of the major employment sites to get you started:
    • Indeed.com
    • SimplyHired.com
    • Monster.com
    • Job.com
  5. Search Firms – Headhunters can be an asset in delivering results, however, don’t solely rely on outsourcing your hiring process to a 3rd party or take everything they say for granted. Keep in mind that they work on commission.
  6. Local Newspapers and Trade Publications – This could be a possibility depending on which industry you’re reaching out to. If you’re advertising for a startup based around a suite of domain tools, you’re probably not going to advertise in the neighborhood gazette.
  7. Networking Events and Other Opportunities – Attending events and keeping in touch with old colleagues improves your chances in the hiring process and lets everyone know your company is growing. Here are some of the most common places to start:
    • Meetups –  Make sure the meetups have more than 80 people in attendance from your industry or it may not be worth your time. By far one of the best ways to find a potential hire is talking to them in an inconspicuous setting. People often drop their guard a bit more in this environment. You’ll get more natural responses to your questions and the initial interaction won’t seem as “life or death.” Just remember that you’re at a social event, not a speed-dating contest.
    • Conferences – Look for a minimum of 500 attendees or more.
    • Alma Mater Groups – What better way is there to look for talent than at your old stomping grounds? Forge deeper connections with potential hires and mull over what’s changed since you’ve been away.
    • Friends, Family, and Professional Network – Personal referrals are often the “bread and butter” of pre-qualified applicants. Anyone in your personal or professional circle will often know someone to forward to you. Try reaching out to your accountant or lawyer and tap into their large networks.

If you utilize all these mediums together, you should be able to draw a large enough stack of applications to find your personal “ninja unicorn.” Bear in mind that this is just the first phase in a process that has several steps. Be wary of hiring the first applicant you interview, or only having a single interview in your vetting process.

For more seasoned advice and tips on new hires and the entire process, make sure to read Morgan’s previous posts on the subject:

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Mining for .CLUB Gold

panning-for-gold

.CLUB is one of the most successful new domain name extensions and one of the five most registered of the new gTLDs to hit the market. It’s now a bit more than a year after .CLUB launched which means that the first round of drops is here. However there’s a twist that you might not know about.

.CLUB is also including some of their premier reserved names,

“Beginning today, deleting domains will be available through SnapNames for auction.  Just like other domain extensions, there are some excellent .CLUB domains that are dropping. Additionally, in the interest of fueling a thriving marketplace for .CLUB domains,  we will be including certain premium non-renewed deleted domains into these auctions for a limited time.” (Source .CLUB Blog)

Before I go any further, this is usually the point where I recommend reading my stance on the new gTLDs. In short, know that investing in new gTLDs is a risk and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. A small percent of my portfolio consists on new gTLDs, those that I buy have to be in the top ten for there to be any hope of them taking-off in the future.

Like most dropping domains, there will be a lot of junk, it’s all about sifting through the dirt to find the gold. That being said, the game is a bit different here since .CLUB is throwing in some premium non-renewed deleted domains. Here’s a few names that jump out at me:

Carpool.club

Bonds.club

Tablets.club

AIS.club

Applications.club

Of course there are a lot of names and more coming up every week. You can view the full list of domains available to bid on Snapnames.

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Morgan's Flippa Five

Hello, happy Saturday and welcome to Morgan’s Flippa Five. I have found that lately Flippa has really stepped it up when it comes to short .COMs, and as many you know, these are my favorites. Enjoy!

Feel.com – short, memorable, premium one-word .COM. This is one of those domains that you look at and just know it’s a monster. The fact that it was registered 20 years ago doesn’t hurt either.

JVD.com – nice 3L .COM, not the most premium but still a solid name.

MAJ.com – my favorite format for a 3L.com is CVC and while I’m not crazy about the “J” but I like the name and without a doubt it has resale potential in the five-figure range.

Sewing.com – I covered this name last week and it’s now at $33,000 with three days to go. This name is an absolute steal under $50k and still a good deal under $75k IMO.

Vido.com – short, brandable, one-word .COM. The only thing that counts against this one in my book is that it could be confused with Video.com so you’ll probably have to explain to everyone, “think Fido with a V”

 

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I started MorganLinton.com back in 2007, at that time my blog was hosted at Typepad and it was originally called Domain Flip Blog. Fast-forward eight years later and what started as a personal journal has turned-into one of the most-read blogs in the domain name world.

I couldn’t be more proud of where we have gone over the last 8 years, but I also know that to take things to the next level over the next eight years, we need to do more. Doing more means expanding beyond me and hiring a Senior Editor that will both write articles, coordinate with sponsors (many of whom have renewed for 4+ years) and help add new voices to the blog.

So today I am excited to announce the new Senior Editor of MorganLinton.com, Chloe Brooks! You can read more about Chloe in her own words, below.

ChloeBrooks_headshotI was a junior in high school when I discovered blogging. I started with a free Weebly site where I would post short stories I’d written. That morphed into a Tumblr blog in college, which became a WordPress site the next year.

You see, I have always written, and blogging was an easy way to share that with the world. When I became the Blog Editor for a news website in college, I knew I was hooked. Blogs were my life.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I got a call from Morgan Linton which turned into an offer to join his team of writers and become the Senior Editor of MorganLinton.com. I would be contributing to his blog on Domain Investing, there was one issue – I didn’t I know what that was.

I didn’t.

So I read his Domain Investing Handbook (and if you haven’t, you should too). And then I spent a few hours perusing Domaining.com. And then I realized that I may just be hooked again.

Here’s the thing: To run a good blog, you need a good domain name. To drive traffic to your website, you need a good domain name. To brand yourself and your business effectively, you need a good domain name. This is some powerful stuff we’re dealing with, and even if you never plan to invest in domain names on the scale of some of the industry’s leaders, Domaining is still pretty darn cool.

All I know about Domain Investing I’ve learned in the past two weeks, and I admit, it’s not a lot, but I am passionate about the online world; about blogging; about creating and growing a brand, and most importantly, about good journalistic content. In writing and managing the writing team here on MorganLinton.com I’ll be drawing immensely on my background in news reporting, and talking to Domaining experts and industry leaders I’ll be using my background in journalism to make a major contribution in taking MorganLinton.com to the next level.

Thank you, Morgan, for the opportunity to join the team and to usher in the next eight years of MorganLinton.com!

To read more from me, check out my blog, Tall Drink of Chloe, and my portfolio website, ChloeRBrooks.com.

 

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