So I think that every single domain investor who reads my blog knows who Frank Schilling is, he’s one of the leaders of our industry and a major innovator in the domain name space. When Frank does something, he goes big and he innovates, also in big ways. I have been a loyal Domain Name Sales customer since it’s launch and currently keep more than 90% of my domains parked there.

My favorite thing about products and services that come out of Frank’s company is that they continue to get even better over time. When I started using Domain Name Sales (called Internet Traffic at the time) I was really hoping they would release an app. Then, boom, they released an app that I now use just about every single day.

So when I hear that Frank was starting a registrar I was instantly interested, and as usual, he’s taken his experience to build what I think is fair to say is a next-generation registrar, or put more simply, the Apple of registrars.

Uniregistry

Not only is the U/X incredibly clean but they’ve taken steps to make one of the most secure and seamless experiences all backed by world-class support. A majority of the new registrations I’ve made this year have taken place at Uniregistry and I have recommended them to a number of startups I have helped acquire domain names.

New sponsorship spots don’t come available on my blog often and when one does I always look for a company that I personally am using and truly love. So I am very happy to welcome a registrar founded by one of the most experienced leaders in the domain world, backed by a team of equal caliber.

So please join me in welcoming the newest addition to MorganLinton.com and a company I hold in very high regard. If you haven’t tried Uniregistry before give it a shot and please let me know what you register, it might just end-up getting featured in a future post.

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The best decision I ever made

Today is a very special day, it marks the two year anniversary of the best decision I ever made in my life. That’s right, two years ago I asked my best friend in the entire world to become my wife. We just got back from a wonderful dinner and now it’s time for some Star Trek. Yes, we’re both geeks :)

Here’s a few photos from the Malibu wedding we always dreamed of and finally had two years ago day.

Morgan Daina Linton Wedding

Morgan and Daina Linton

Morgan Daina Wedding

Today is not about domains, startups or anything in between, today is about appreciating what really matters. Many of you have been reading my blog since 2007, a year after Daina and I first met. I told you back then you’d be coming along for one heck of an adventure and those words couldn’t have been more true.

While today is about me and Daina I want to also give a special thanks to all of you who have joined in the journey. I still feel like it’s just beginning, so let me say once again, come along for the adventure because it only gets better!

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It’s official, we have now been in Austin for over two months and already we are seeing the Austin startup scene change. I can see a lot of similarities between what we’re seeing now in Austin and what we saw in LA as the startup scene was developing there. That being said, and this is not to say anything negative about LA but I do like it here in Austin more, which is also why we’ve decided to move Fashion Metric from LA to Austin.

Austin Startup Scene

I’ve heard a lot of people say that SXSW has had a major impact on the Austin startup community but I think that is more of a self-contained impact that happens while the conference is in town. That being said, I think it also might be what inspires some startups to make the move to Austin.

There are a few clear catalysts that are moving the Austin startup scene forward and as they evolve, the Austin startup scene is evolving with it. Of course I’ve only been here for two months so what do I know? Still, I’m in the middle of it being part of Techstars Austin and for those who know me you know I have no problem sharing my thoughts and opinions.

I thought now would be a good time to share some of the key drivers I see moving the Austin startup scene forward and driving the evolution that we’re seeing, literally in realtime since we are an active part of it.

Capital Factory

Capital Factory – this is where it all started and Capital Factory without a doubt is at the center of the Austin startup scene. I haven’t made it over there nearly enough this summer since we’ve been so busy but I plan to go more once things slow down a bit. There are startup events there daily and I’m pretty sure they host the highest concentration of startups in the city at the moment.

Techstars

Techstars Austin – Techstars is one of the latest entrants into Austin and it has made a big splash attracting some absolutely amazing startups, some of which are staying in Austin. We are staying and I know three other teams who are doing the same, none of us are from Austin and I’m not sure any of us thought we’d be staying here, but we love it here and we’re staying.

Techstars also brings with it an incredibly powerful network of mentors and alumni. This year Techstar’s annual founders conference aptly called FounderCon is taking place in Austin so Techstars founders from around the US will converge in Austin in September – needless to say, I’m excited.

Angel Investors - there are a lot more angel investors in Austin than I would have thought, however now that I’m here I understand it 100%. I see this as a domino effect in the making and as more startups in Austin see solid exits more angels will be created.

VC Firms – while Austin VC’s haven’t been super well-known for early stage investments that seems to be changing as startups flood the city. Sure, the Bay Area is still without a doubt the leader in early-stage investments and I know that Austin loses some early-stage startups to the valley for this reason, but as the investment climate changes I think more and more early stage startups will call Austin home.

Low cost of living – while I still hear people complain about Austin getting more expensive, compared to SF, LA or NYC everything is on sale from apartments, to gas, to beer. One bedroom apartments in San Francisco and NYC are $2,500+/month and beer costs $8/glass, those costs are literally cut in half in Austin.

The only downside to Austin is that it is insanely, mind-numbingly hot in August. Still, I’m told it will cool down soon which is good because I do miss afternoon jogs. All-and-all Austin is poised to be the next mover-and-shaker in the startup world if it’s not already.

Since we now call Austin home you can expect a lot more coverage of the Austin startup scene here on MorganLinton.com. I’ve been blogging since 2007 and all of you have followed me from Boston, to Los Angeles, so let me be the first to say, “Welcome to Austin!”

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Weekend Musings

Austin Skyscrapers

Hello, happy Saturday, and welcome to my weekend musings. The above photos is the view from our living room at our new place in Austin. As I think I’ve said about a million times now, we are absolutely loving it here, which to be honest is something I never thought I’d say about living in Texas. Sorry, not to be mean to Texas but growing up in Berkeley all I thought of was country music, guns, and BBQ.

Well I was right about the BBQ, and it is damn amazing here, but Austin is actually an incredibly modern city with beautiful skyscrapers, an amazing lake, awesome bike trails, and a music scene that has earned it the nickname, “The Music Capital of the World”

This has been another incredibly busy week at Fashion Metric as we are working with more clients than every before while still having more new clients coming in than we can handle. We are also hiring and have three open positions right now, feel free to checkout our angel list page for more details on the jobs we have available.

Given how busy things are we are working weekdays and weekends but I wouldn’t have it any other way since we absolutely love what we do. We’ll most likely take a break in the action for a bike ride on the lake and probably some live music on Rainy street tomorrow afternoon.

On the domain side I actually have a pretty exciting announcement to come next week, but I’ll save that for next week. Just stay-tuned to this blog and make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter. Okay, back to work, thanks for reading and I hope you’re all having a great weekend!

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Hello, happy Friday and welcome to another Flippa Friday here on MorganLinton.com. In case you missed last week’s Flippa Friday I just wanted to highlight that Flippa recently opened a domain marketplace where you can list domain names in a non-auction format.

I think this was an excellent move made by Flippa and once you add in the fact that there are no listing fees it really is a slam dunk. Okay, now onto my top picks for this week:

Approved.org – 12 year-old one-word .ORG and the reserve has been met at only $338 which means this is going to sell. I think this could end-up being a very good deal depending on where the price lands 8 days from now.

DroppedNames.com – the owner of this name emailed about this last week but I didn’t really see the value, however now the name is at $3,050 so I think I probably missed something. I think this shows that there are a fair amount of domain investors bidding on Flippa so I can see why this is such a hot one. Throw in the fact that it’s 14 years old and I see this continuing to climb in price over the next 17 days.

Tutorly.com – the online education space is growing like crazy and this is a pretty solid brandable in the space.

Biking.info – while I don’t see this as a great flip I do see it as a good development candidate for someone who is really into biking.

CoffeeHouse.com – I’ve covered this one before and I still love it just as much, nice brandable two-word .COM. Currently at $9,800 with 14 days to go.

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I have been using DomainNameSales since it first came out, in fact at that time it was called InternetTraffic. Over the years the team over at DNS has been busy adding some very useful features and a nifty iPhone app that I absolutely love. I’m also someone who loves to test things and figure out what produces the best results.

DomainNameSales

Recently I was thinking back to all the little tweaks I’ve made to my account and I thought now would be as good a time as any to share a few of them with all of you.

Before I go any further I do have to tell you that I probably use DNS in a bit of an unconventional way. I field inbound offers through it but I don’t use their email system. Instead I just pull the email address and/or phone number and follow-up directly outside of the platform. I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way, I think they built a kick-ass system for managing emails, sending automated follow-up, etc. I just like to do it myself.

So here are a few tweaks I’ve made to my account at DomainNamesSales to optimize my how I handle inbound offers on my domains.

  1. Adding my own phone number to the for sale banner – this is by far the most effective thing I ever did. It sounds simple but it’s actually really effective. Just think about it, if someone really wants to buy your domain they’ll probably just give you a call. I’ve had this forward to different brokers over the years and you can always do this if you don’t want someone to call you directly. I don’t get a million offers a day, my call volume is actually pretty darn low, but every call really counts.
  2. Sticking with a parking page with a for sale banner at the top – this is probably where I’ve done the most testing. I was convinced for a long time that going straight to the “Make offer” page was the best move. The problem that I ran into is that while my inbound lead volume increased like crazy, the quality was so low it really didn’t end-up being worth it. I also found that people got confused and would end-up asking questions as if the offer page was a lead capture form related to the site. Having a bright for sale banner at the top really keeps the inbound leads focused on actual potential buyers.
  3. Setting a minimum offer price – this is another one I’ve oscillated on quite a bit over the years. I used to set my minimum offer low at $99 but I found I got too many tire kickers. Now I keep it in and around the $500 range. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do this and it might be different for everyone but that’s where I am now with it.

If you’ve been using DomainNameSales for a while feel free to share some of your own tweaks and tips or comment on any of mine. Comment and let your voice be heard!

P.S. For anyone that thinks this is a sponsored post, it’s not, but I would love to have them as a sponsor since I do love the platform :)

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My Shortest Blog Post Of The Year

Got your attention? I’m interested because I’ve started to dig into my analytics and understand if the length of my posts has anything to do with how many reads it gets.

At the end of the day I’ve found that the title of the post has a lot more to do with the number of reads than anything else. However here’s the silver lining, the number of comments has nothing to do with the number of reads.

Here’s what I’ve learned about comments – the more controversial, the more comments, period. On that note, thanks for reading my shortest blog post of the year, feel free to comment if you want to share your own experiences with headlines, reads and comments.

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Plated.com

Last week I said it feels like every week another Techstars Alum raises a monster round, and well, it has happened again. This week Plated, a startup that delivers recipes and ingredients weekly announced that they have raised a whopping $15M.

Alan Patricof, founder and managing director of Greycroft Partners, said his firm was impressed with the startup’s fast growth to date, especially in light of the fact that it built its business on relatively little capital and word-of-mouth and social media marketing only.” (Source – Wall Street Journal)

Techstars

Plated went through the Techstars New York class last year and has absolutely dominated in a market that has grown considerably over the last 2-3 years. What’s interesting is that Plated could have raised even more money but decided to hold back not wanting to grow too quickly too soon.

A“We had more money chasing us than we thought we needed until our next inflection point. We made a conscious decision after seeing some other New York-based e-commerce companies raise too much money early in their life cycles, to be more conservative.”  (Plated CEO, Nick Taranto)

If you want to dig a bit deeper into Plated, Huffington post did a great video on them that is definitely worth watching. Huge congrats to Nick and the team, I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the Techstars family and it also proves that a week really can’t go by without another Techstars company making big news!

 

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This morning I wrote a post about an annoying bug I found while trying to check-out some new gTLD websites on my iPhone. I had some solid comments including a few readers who noted they experienced the same problem on their Android phone. One of my readers with an iPhone noted that it looks like this problem had been fixed in a recent iOS update.

So I looked in the good old setting menu and noticed I had an update. After running the update, viola, the new gTLDs were suddenly being treated just like .COM, phew.

However as the title of this post says, I wish I was completely wrong, it does sound like this problem still exists on Android so I’m hoping that more of my readers with Android phones can comment and let me know if they experience the same problem.

As you all know I’m a pretty big fan of the new gTLDs so anything holding them back is disappointing to me and as many of you know I’m never one to be afraid to take a stand. I do believe that widespread adoption of many new gTLDs will take place, yes, it will take time but with the big boys like Apple clearly making a change for the better that process will happen even quicker.

Now it sounds like Google just needs to follow in Apple’s footsteps…

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This weekend I was trying to look at a few new sites that have popped-up on some of the latest-and-greatest new gTLDs and I found a pretty big issue. First, I’m not trying to ring the alarm here, I’m sure this issue will be fixed but without a doubt it is an issue that new TLD owners and registries will have to work with.

Here’s the issue, and since I only have an iPhone this is the only mobile platform I’ve tested on. I’ll walk you through a few examples so you can try it for yourself.

Suppose you find-out about a cool new website that just popped up on bingo.guru, and since you’re a bingo nut you want to read all the awesome tips and tricks they have to share. So you fire up Safari on your iPhone and type in the URL bar, Bingo.guru…but instead of going to Bingo.guru (which is would do if you type in Bingo.com, Bingo.net, Bingo.org, Bingo.co, Bingo.me, etc.) it instead does a Google search for “bingo.guru.”

I did the same test with a few other TLDs and ran-into the same issue. For example I own Morgan.xyz which when I type into my browser on my desktop navigates to a Go Daddy parking page…but when I type it into Safari on my iPhone it does a Google search for “morgan.xyz” which has this as its first result:

Houston, we have a problem. My guess is that Apple is just playing catch-up but in the near-term it’s hard to ignore this given that over 50% of my traffic comes from mobile and the same is true for many people.

I’m interested to know if anyone has tried this on Android and if they are experiencing the same issue. On the plus side, the video of the dancing baby (also named Morgan) is pretty darn cute.

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