As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been buying more and more from Park.io, a marketplace for buying expired .IO, .TO, .ME and other non .COM extensions. As many of you know, I’m not the guy who spends five figures on a domain and flips it for six. Instead my bread and butter has been buying domains for under $1,000 and selling them in the sub $10,000 range.

Over the last year I’ve found that Park.io has become one of the best places to find domains that get a good level of inbound offers and flip in the price ranges I usually sell in. While .COMs are still my focus and I wouldn’t recommend anyone suddenly switch to only buying and selling non .COMs, I have found some great repeatable flips thanks to .IO, .ME, and .TO domains I bought on Park.io.

This week was one of those weeks where I just have to smile and be thankful as always that I’ve picked domains as my main investment vehicle over stocks or real estate. I’m on vacation in Mexico (hello from Tulum!) and on the first day of my trip I had one domain I bought on Park.io less than a year ago sell for $1,500 and then the next day got a $2,000 offer on a .IO name I bought for $99 also on Park.io under a year ago.

Today I woke up to another offer so it looks like it’s going to be a good week and a vacation that literally pays for itself…while I’m on vacation. Of course every domain investor has a different strategy and I’m not saying to stop doing what you’re doing and only flip .IO and .TO names from Park.io. What I am saying is that the market changes, new marketplaces spring up, and by constantly evaluating what we buy and what we sell, we can all evolve to the changes happening around us, which is always a good thing IMO.

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domains-for-startups

PaperCup.com – 17 year-old two word .COM, easy to remember, easy to spell brand that could be used across a number of different industries.

BrightKite.com – solid two-word brandable, I really like this one, shouldn’t be too pricey but is a very memorable brand name that passes both the billboard and radio test with flying bright colors.

DronePress.com – while this was only registered three years ago I still think it has a nice ring to it and would be a great fit for a drone new site. I wouldn’t spend a fortune on it but I don’t think it should go for too much so it should be a good buy for someone.

Sell.io – one of the best .IO names out there for a sales tool or platform, or really any startup that does something that has to do with sales. Currently at $3,050 with 11 days to go and a no reserve auction so it will sell.

Onions.com – I’ll be honest, I’m a bit on the fence about this one but thought I would include it anyways. The issue I have is that there could be some real confusion with this domain and Onion.com which belongs to the popular satirical news site The Onion. Still it’s a one-word .COM which as you all know I’m a big fan of and if the reserve is low enough it could be a good deal.

 

 

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startup-cities

We all know that Silicon Valley is the undisputed king of the hill when it comes to startup funding but a new study just dubbed New York #2 now ahead of Boston which is seeing a small decline.

Of course, New York and Silicon Valley may be the top hubs in the US according to the Compass report, but how do they stack up over time? To answer this question, we analyzed over 21,000 Angel, Seed, Series A, Series B, and Series C deals made between 2006 and today. We also included startups based in forty American metropolitan regions. (Source – Mattermark)

Want to see how your city ranked? Here’s the full list of the top 15 startup cities from the study below:

  1. Bay Area
  2. New York
  3. Boston
  4. Los Angeles
  5. San Diego
  6. Seattle
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Chicago
  9. Austin
  10. Atlanta
  11. Salt Lake City
  12. Miami
  13. Philadelphia
  14. Dallas
  15. Denver

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Today Amazon announced a brand new feature – Amazon Vehicles, which when you first hear it might make you think that Amazon is selling cars. That’s not the case, instead Amazon is dipping its toe in the auto world with a section of the site dedicated to detailed research and reviews of new and classic cars.

amazon-vehicles

Along with researching cars you can also create your own “Garage” and buy parts for it. Let’s say you’re lucky enough to own a 2014 Ferrari 458 Italia, here’s what you’d see:

amazon-vehicles-ferrari

This move is likely to make make a real impact on Google since it makes it easy for users to now completely bypass a popular Google shopping category, and one of the last that Amazon had yet to conquer.

“Amazon Vehicles could help solidify Amazon’s place as the search engine for shopping. Bypassing Google’s own Google Shopping search engine could train consumers to start thinking about a purchase at Amazon first, even in the rare case the company doesn’t sell the item. That way, Amazon can condition shoppers to keep coming back to its site.” (Source – CNET)

No matter how you slice it, it’s hard to imagine this isn’t the first step towards Amazon selling cars online. The only question is, can I still get two-day free prime shipping when it happens?

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How do you price your domains?

domain-name-pricing

It’s something I’ve been trying to improve for years now, stripping emotional attachment out of the equation and focusing on ROI when it comes to domain pricing. Since I started in the domain name world I’ve tried to sell domains for at least 10x what I paid for them. Compare this to any other industry on the planet and those would be ridiculous expectations but as we all know, domains are different.

Here’s the challenge I always run into. There are plenty of domains I paid $100 – $200 for that I get inbounds on but quote at $2,500 – $7,500 based on the name. Every time I do this I think to myself, “am I just preventing a sale and a 10x ROI because I feel like I could get a better price for a domain?”

Since I’ve sold my fair share of domains for 20x or more ROI I do know it’s very possible, especially when you’re looking at domains that you bought for a few hundred dollars. Hand regs are the hardest for me since I’m not interested in selling a domain for $100 – $200, and I’ve sold hand regs for $5,000 in the past so I know what’s possible.

The question I always ask myself is, should I focus on making sure I hit a specific ROI goal or should I keep going down the path of evaluating the price of each name and trying to get what I think is fair market value for each?

How do you price your domains? Comment and let your voice be heard!

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domains-for-startups

Freetime.com – 19 year-old .COM that comes with the corresponding Trademark. This could be a great fit for a number of different niches and is one that easily passes both the billboard and radio test

Mutually.com – solid one-word .COM currently at $2,150 and the reserve has been met with two days to go

Drove.com – 14 year-old one word .COM perfect for a ridesharing app

Previous.com – as I’ve said many times before, I love one-word .COMs, they made for easy to remember, easy to spell brands and while this one is longer than I usually like it’s a word that everyone knows, can spell, and will remember

TrueAds.com – great two-word .COM that is perfect for a startup in the advertising space

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motorcycle

Yesterday .MOTORCYCLE launched exclusively for entities in the powersports industry. In a sea of new domain extensions with more launching every week it’s easy for an extension like this to get lost in the sauce, especially one that is so vertically focused. Couple this with more stringent validation processes that go into buying a .MOTORCYCLE domain and it’s unlikely you’ll see a ton of these get registered right out of the gate.

The .Motorcycles registry goes beyond the standard requirements set by ICANN. The registry validates each applicant before releasing a domain name to ensure the applicant is from an eligible category of the powersports industry. This validation gives consumers confidence that any website ending in .Motorcycles will contain relevant content from a legitimate powersports entity. (Source – Yahoo Tech)

Along with a more rigorous validation process the extension is a long one at ten characters which made me think – does this impact the chances of mass adoption? While I don’t think an extension needs to be two or three characters to be a success (just look at huge gTLD winners like .CLUB) – I do think that probably once you get over five or six characters it could make it harder for consumers to easily type or even identify as a domain name extension.

Of course, we are also moving into a new world, a world where consumers are starting to get used to the idea that the main website for a brand can end with something other than .COM. The question is, are new domain extensions like .MOTORCYCLE at a disadvantage because they are so long?

Photo Credit: linie305 via Compfight cc

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It’s a topic that is ever-evolving and one that I’ve changed my go-to solution on a number of times over the years. I’m talking about “Domain For Sale” landing pages, those handy landing pages that make it easy for someone to know if your domain name is for sale, if you’re using DomainNameSales.com to generate your landing page (my current go-to solution) then it could look something like this:

domain-name-sales-landing-page

The reason why I’m a proponent of a “Domain For Sale” landing page (for most domain names) is that it makes it easier for a potential buyer to get in contact with you. Not every potential buyer knows how to do a WHOIS lookup and even those who do may still not think your domain is for sale and pass on reaching-out.

Why I say landing pages like this are a good choice for most but not all domain names is that if you have a domain that is making good money parked, this will eliminate all your parking revenue which isn’t a great choice. That being said, I think it’s safe to say that most domain investors don’t have portfolios full of domains making a fortune parked so for all those domain that are indeed for sale, a landing page definitely increases inbound offers.

Since I’m asking the question it’s only fair that I answer it myself. I have used DomainNameSales.com for the last few years, here’s why it’s my current go-to solution:

  1. Simple landing pages – the landing pages are clean and simple, not busy or confusing
  2. Solid backend system – the DNS platform is solid and makes it easy to quickly respond to and log offers. Over time it’s also easy to go through past offers so it can also help to bring old forgotten deals back to life
  3. Optional broker option – while I don’t use this option myself it is handy if you want to have an domain broker from DNS handle your inbounds

So now for my question to you. Over the years more and more services have emerged offering easy ways to get a for sale landing page on your domain, what service do you currently use and why?

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responding-to-domain-offers

Like most people that have been in the domain industry for a while I’m used to getting offers on my domains. Also, like most people that have been in the industry for a while, I’m also used to the fact that most of these offers are going to be well below market or even wholesale value. Heck, I’ve known people who have seen a legitimate $500,000 and $500 offer come in on the same day (for a name they later sold for over $1M).

So let’s just say, inbound offers can be all over the board. In most cases they tend to be a lot lower than your expectations, which sometimes leads to a response. How you respond here can either help or hurt you in the long run. I’ve seen Domainers respond to offers typically in one of three ways:

  1. No response – this is the most common and you’re doing no harm here
  2. A short and kind response – something like “sorry but your offer is too low, I was looking for something in the $x,xxx – $x,xxx range for this domain, let me know if you can increase your budget?”
  3. An angry, crazy, and just plain mean response – something like “you idiot, your offer is way too low, I would never sell it for that little!”

Here’s the deal. At the end of the day (or at least in many cases) you don’t really know who you’re dealing with. The person on the other side might have a much bigger budget than you thought, or maybe they don’t but they’re just a nice normal person that doesn’t know anything about our industry. Either way I’m a big believer in treating people with respect because I think what goes around comes around.

I also find that people who are unhappy in their own lives tend to take it out on other people who really don’t have anything to do with the problems that person is having. So next time you get a low-ball offer and are ready to fire off a snarky email, think about your life, think about how you would like to be treated, and go with option #1 or #2 above. Honestly, lives to short to take your anger out on other people.

The truth is, people like doing business with people they like. The person making an offer on your domain might not be someone you’ll ever do business with but a friend of theirs could. You never know who is on the other side of an offer but I’ll tell you this, whether the deal works out or not, I’d much rather make a friend than an enemy.

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domains-for-startups

Smaller.com – perfect for an audio/video or file compression service. With photos and video being shot for VR now file sizes are bigger than ever and more companies will be working hard to make those files smaller.

VRNetwork.com – nice VR domain but it’s hard to know how high the reserve is given the $25k BIN price. I personally don’t think this name is worth $25,000 but if the reserve is under $5k I’d feel more comfortable with it.

LeanStartup.io – I’m a big fan of the lean startup methodology and have been a mentor for Lean Startup Machine for years after going through it myself. This domain is very specific, but that could be perfect for a company or organization focused on lean startups. Currently at $1 with ten days to go, no reserve so this will sell to the highest bidder.

SoundEffects.com – I can still remember making videos in Adobe Premier when I was in High School and searching around for the right sound effects for hours. If you run a startup focused on making and selling sound effects it doesn’t get much better than this domain.

Quenched.com – a longer one-word .COM but still a nice meaningful word and if you make a sports drink or something related to “quenching” someone’s thirst this definitely hits home. Originally registered 17 years-ago so some nice age on this one as well.

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