This weekend a friend who is starting to get into the world of domain names asked me where I go to buy expired domains. I shared some of my favorite sites for buying expired domains and was surprised that he had only heard of one of the five. After sharing my top five list with him he said, “you should really put this on your blog as I know a lot of people who have no idea where to go for expired domain names except for Go Daddy” – so here we go:

  1. NameJet – this has been one of my favorite aftermarket sites for years, they often get really high-quality names and have one of the best backend platforms out there.
  2. Pheenix – from the creator of FreshDrop, a service I used a ton back in the day, Pheenix has a pretty slick system for sorting through expired domains to narrow down to exactly what kind of name you’re looking for.
  3. Go Daddy Auctions – I’ve been using Go Daddy Auctions for a long time, given that they’re such a huge registrar it’s not surprising that they have a massive inventory of names.
  4. Park.io – when it comes to non .COMs, this has quickly become my go-to. While the site lives on a .IO domain they sell a bunch of other extensions like .ME, .LY, .VC and more.
  5. ExpiredDomains.net – while I have the least experience with this site, I know a fair amount of people who use it and like it so I thought it made sense to include it in here.

Like anything new, I always recommend that people start slow when buying domains, expired or not. Just because you win an auction doesn’t mean you bought the domain for a wholesale price. It takes knowing not just what a good name is, but what a real wholesale price is to make sure you don’t end up buying a great name at or above retail (i.e. leaving little or no room to resell).

Feel free to share your favorite places to buy expired domains below, there are plenty of other great sites out there but I wanted to limit my list to five to keep things simple for people who are just getting started.

{ 6 comments }

Last week I wrote a post about trying my hand at Ethereum mining. As a complete newbie to Ethereum I quickly learned that I couldn’t dive into mining without at least getting some basic knowledge under my belt. Sure, I knew what Ethereum was, but the buck pretty much stopped there.

So I’ve been reading the subreddit on Ethereum Mining (reddit.com/r/ethermining) to get a better understanding of what’s going on in the mining community, and their Ethereum Mining 101 guide has become my go-to resource for learning the basics.

One of the first lessons I learned is that you can’t start mining until you have a wallet to store the ether that you mine. Yes, some of you might be saying “duh Morgan,” but like I said, this is all new to me. I also learned that there are two kinds of wallets, desktop and online and it is highly recommended by the pros to use a desktop wallet as your primary means of storage.

Though an online wallet is never suggested as a primary means of storage (see this screenshot of a service that was compromised recently), it can be done. (Source – Ethereum Mining 101)

So…I decided to stick with a Desktop wallet and it looks like Mist is the most widely used, and for all I know it could be the only one out there since every tutorial on Ethereum Wallets that I found seemed to point to Mist. Here’s the steps that I followed to get everything up and running.

Step 1: Go to github.com/ethereum/mist/releases and scroll down until you find the download that corresponds to your operating system. If you’ve never downloaded anything from Github before this might be a little weird but trust me, it’s as easy as clicking the link that corresponds to the operating system your running. Just scroll down the page until you see this:

mist-wallet-download

Step 2: This will create a folder, that in the case of windows is called “win-unpacked” so don’t expect it to be labeled as Mist, not sure why they didn’t call the folder Mist but hey, it still works. Inside the folder you’ll find an application that is a little more aptly named called “Ethereum Wallet”

ethereum-wallet-directory

Step 3: Next launch the Mist Ethereum Wallet app and get ready to wait, I mean really wait, as the blockchain downloads to your computer. This process took under an hour for me so it’s not endlessly long but I’d say expect between thirty minutes to an hour based on your Internet connection.

ethereum-wallet-downloading-blockchain

Step 4: Once the blockchain is finished downloading you’ll see the screen below which contains your wallet address which you’ll need to send and received ether. You can spot the wallet address just below “Main Account” – it’s that long string that begins with 0x.

ethereum-wallet-main-screen

Stay-tuned, as I continue to learn more about Ethereum and Ethereum Mining I’ll continue to post it here on my blog. Now time to figure out how to get this crazy mining software up and running!

{ 8 comments }

ethereum

So it’s no secret that there’s a bit of an Ethereum craze going on right now. With Bitcoin at over $2,400 the world has what can only be compared to the gold rush in the mid 1800’s except instead of gold fever, it’s blockchain fever. People around the world are now kicking themselves for not buying Bitcoin years ago, and now everyone’s trying to figure out what the next Bitcoin is going to be…and Ethereum or Ether (which is the actually currency) is getting a lot of attention.

Here’s the problem.

Most people don’t really understand what Ethereum is, which actually makes sense since it’s relatively complicated (no seriously, anything blockchain-related can be tough to truly wrap your head around). Of course, when the world is confused about something, the Internet is where they go for answers. There are a zillion websites and You Tube videos out there to help people demystify Ethereum, like this one where a guy tries to explain it in 100 seconds and likely confuses 80% of people who watch it.

Today I noticed a new site trending on Y Combinator’s Hacker News and they used a domain that I think is also getting it more attention than some of the other “What is Ethereum” sites – whatthefuckisethereum.com

what-the-fuck-is-ethereum-dot-com

So if you’ve been hearing about Ethereum but don’t really understand what it is, no more excuses.

{ 2 comments }

This post brings me back, way back, since I actually wrote my first post comparing Sedo and Afternic back in 2007, almost ten years ago. Since then I’ve continued to use both services and while I honestly don’t see a ton of sales through either, I do get a sale here and there.

Last week I sold Employ.io for $5,000 on Sedo (was listed as “make offer”), it was a pretty quick process but I’ll be honest in saying that I’m pretty surprised at how old and clunky the Sedo interface is. While Sedo did give their main site a facelift, the backend still looks like it’s trapped in the 90’s.

The last domain name I sold through Afternic was Jonas.io back in January of this year for $2,000.

Update: There was/still is a bug in Afternic that doesn’t show all the domains I sold, I actually sold two other domains this year through them, Time2Dance.com and Godo.io.

No I don’t just sell one-word .IO domains (I sold a one-word .COM through an inbound offer via Uniregistry last month) but for some reason these are the ones that have sold through Sedo and Afternic this year. With a sample size of two (four) I can’t say I have enough recent experience with either of these platforms to really share which one performs better. For me, most of my sales come from inbound offers either through Uniregistry or Efty and their respective landing pages.

I have a solid track-record with Uniregistry/Domain Name Sales and that has been the #1 referrer for domain sales for me. Efty is a new one for me and I just started using it a few months ago so I can’t comment on how well their landing pages perform yet.

Which is why I’m now turning to you. For those of you who have done more than one or two sales this year with Sedo and Afternic I’d be interested to know which one performs better for you and feedback that you have on either.

Now it’s your turn, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 5 comments }

I’m always curious to see what happens to exact-match .COM domain names targeting holidays so I thought I’d do a quick search to see what was happening on the following domains:

  • 4thOfJuly.com
  • July4th.com
  • FourthOfJuly.com
  • JulyFourth.com

Out of these four domains two are developed into sites, one selling 4th of July related merchandise, and the other focused on helping people find 4th of July events and tickets.

july4th-domains

Looking at the registration data I was surprised to see that it looks like JulyFourth.com was originally registered back in April of 2004. I would have thought someone would have scooped this up in the 90’s but it goes to show how many solid domains were still available in the early 2000’s when guys like Frank Schilling were buying up a storm.

4thofjuly-dot-com

4thOfJuly.com on the other hand was originally registered back in 1996 and is apparently listed for sale for $99,999. July4th.com is parked FourthOfJuly.com doesn’t resolve, still two out of four isn’t bad.

It does look like “July4th” is the hottest term with both the .NET and .ORG also developed. That being said I was surprised to see that 4thofJuly.net is actually owned by Volvo and forwards to this page…

volvo-owns-4thofjuly-dot-net

I can’t imagine much traffic goes to 4thOfJuly.net but it is interesting to see a huge brand like Volvo use this domain and my guess is that it showed up in some kind of marketing campaign which would make the most sense.

Feel free to share any interesting 4th of July related domains that you find and of course – happy 4th, be safe and enjoy the fireworks wherever you might be!

{ 1 comment }

One of the biggest issues I’ve had with the domain industry is unrealistic expectations. There are way too many articles, books, and videos out there making it looks like you can quit your job, become a domain investor, and then poof – you’re rich.

The reality is, it’s hard to make money with domain names and most people are only going to afford to be able to do it part-time vs. quitting their days jobs. Also most people lose money their first year (or two) trying their hand at the domain game.

That being said, there are more realistic expectations to set if you really apply yourself part-time and I think Frank Schilling’s brother-in-law is a great example – he made $35k in his first year.

frank-schilling-brother-in-law

While I still think most people who get into domain investing should set even lower expectations for their first year, and maybe even expect to lose money while learning, I think this sets a much more realistic bar for what you can do if you really apply yourself for a year part-time.

The one question I don’t know the answer to is if this is $35k in revenue or $35k in profit so if Frank is reading this that would be an interesting datapoint to know. Either way I think this is a great example of something much more realistic for new domain investors rather than thinking you can quick your day job and make a six-figure income right out of the gate.

What do you think? Is $35k a reasonable expectation for someone’s first year investing in domain names?

{ 17 comments }

I’ve been using WordPress for a long time now, I think in the ten years I’ve been writing this blog, I think around seven of those years have been proudly powered by WordPress. When I first started out I was on Typepad but since I switched to WordPress I stopped keeping track of other blogging platforms.

It’s no secret that Wordpres holds the #1 spot when it comes to blogging platform but I thought it would be fun to look and see, after all these years, and the massive growth that WordPress has seen, who holds the #2 spot? Then I realized, it doesn’t look like there’s really any authority that keeps blog platform rankings. If there is – please tell me because I couldn’t seem to find it.

From what I can tell, the second-most popular blogging platform is likely either Blogger or Tumblr but it platforms like Medium have been gaining steam. So now I thought I’d turn the question over to you – what do you think the second most-popular blogging platform is?

{ 3 comments }

reverse-domain-hijacking

It’s a conversation that I have at least monthly, and lately I feel like it’s happening even more frequently. I’ll be talking to another startup founder and they’ll say, “we want to rebrand but a squatter is sitting on our domain name, so we’re going to get our lawyer involved.” To which I usually respond by saying, “why do you think they are guilty of cybersquatting?” This usually leads to a blank stare, and often once they do contact their lawyer, it turns out that their lawyer doesn’t know very much about domain name law and the UDRP process.

Here’s the deal.

Just like my parents bought a house 30 years ago and can sell it for a lot more than they paid, so can someone who bought digital real estate five or ten years ago. I know plenty of people who own property, don’t live it themselves, and then charge more money than they paid for someone else to buy that property. Be it physical or digital, that’s fair game.

What’s not fair game is someone finding out that your company is called “Cool Bean Corp” and going out and registering “CoolBeansCorp.com” and then putting up a site that looks confusingly similar to yours in order to trick people into thinking they are you. That’s squatting and it’s a totally shitty thing to do and there’s a legal process called a UDRP that you can use to get a domain name in this scenario.

Then there’s the case of generic domains that people invest in.

This can be single words, two-words, three words, three characters, etc. Investors buy these domains like real estate investors buy homes in the hopes of selling them for a profit. Now where confusion comes in is when startups or business owners in general don’t know the law and think anyone that owns a domain name that isn’t using it directly for their business is a squatter. If this was the case then Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and plenty of other businesses big and small would be squatters, but the reality is, they’re not.

If a startup or small business decides to go after a domain owner they consider to be a squatter, and they’re wrong then they could get hit with a Reverse Domain Name Hijacking claim, essentially saying that they tried to abuse the UDRP system to steal a domain, and this is bad, really bad, and has far reaching consequences.

Here’s an example.

The business behind Queen.dk recently tried to get Queen.com through a UDRP, they thought that the owner of Queen.com was squatting and tried to take the domain through a UDRP. Obviously, it’s pretty easy to look at Queen.com and know that this is a generic word that could be used by a zillion other businesses. That’s what the arbitration panel found as well and the owners of Queen.dk then got hit with a Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.

One of the most famous domain investors on the planet, known as the Domain King, actually runs a site called HallOfShame.com where he posts people and companies that have tried to steal domain names from domain investors. On this site he also explains a bit more about what Reverse Domain Name Hijacking is and how you could end up with your name and your company name stuck on the Hall Of Shame forever…

Reverse Domain Name Hijacking is when an person or entity tries to steal a domain name from the rightful and legal owner by claiming Trademark Infringement and/or Bad Faith among other fabrications in order to get a governing panel to award them the domain name. In lay terms, they are folks too cheap to pay the owner and so they abuse the process and try to steal or hijack the domain name that they have no rights to whatsoever. Panels may find that they are guilty of this practice and not only deny their claim but find that the over reach is in deed Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. (RDNH). At HallofShame.com we expose these people, companies and the attorneys that represent them and sometimes aid and abet! (Source – HallOfShame.com)

So next time you come up with a domain name that you want to buy, find out its taken, and immediately label the owner a squatter. Think twice about what you do next, because taking legal action could end up costing you a lot more than you think.

{ 7 comments }

It’s a question that comes up a lot when people are looking at one-word domain names. In most cases it’s pretty clear if the singular will sell for more than the plural. Here are a few examples where the singular is without a doubt (or without any doubts from me for whatever that’s worth) the singular is worth a lot more than the plural:

Fast.com vs. Fasts.com

Buy.com vs. Buys.com

Search.com vs. Searches

Find.com vs. Finds.com

And the list goes on. Seriously, there are a lot of singular domain names that get crushed in value once you add an “s” or “es” to the end. Of course, there’s also the opposite case but I’d say it’s pretty darn rare to find a domain that is equally valuable in both forms. That being said, of course there are plenty of domains out there that are valuable in both cases, but I’d say the vast majority are not. Just to play devils advocate, here are a few domains that where it would be hard to say one is more valuable than the other:

Car.com vs. Cars.com

Hotel.com vs. Hotels.com

Picture.com vs. Pictures.com

So here’s the question. Is there a hard and fast rule you can apply to really “known” if a domain is more valuable in it’s singular or plural form? Is exact-match search volume a good way to estimate? What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 6 comments }

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away I got interested in the idea of mining Bitcoin. Yes, I know it’s at around $2,500 now, don’t remind me, I only doubled my money when I could have grown it 10x…I never got too deep into mining, while I did try it out, most of the Bitcoin I owned I bought directly. Today, you’re honestly only making money mining Bitcoin if it’s your primary business, you live somewhere cold (or your servers do), and you have some unfair advantage that other people don’t have. No seriously, the people who made big bucks in mining could get asics and GPUs before anyone else – it was a hardware race.

I gave up my Bitcoin mining dreams long ago but now I keep hearing about Ethereum mining and to be honest, it sounds a lot like the Bitcoin mining crazy talk that got me interested in Bitcoin mining in the first place. When it comes to cryptocurrency mining I think that by the time it’s getting covered on the Huffington Post, the big mining opportunities are probably long gone.

ethereum

Today I was talking with my Dad on the phone about Ethereum mining and I was telling him how I think these “mining crazes” that people go through with new cryptocurrencies are silly…but then I couldn’t really back it up with data. I also happen to be typing this blog post on a super high-octane gaming PC that I built for my VR setup so I have all the core components one would need to dive into the Ethereum mining game.

So I’ll give it a shot. I’m not planning on making a huge investment, in my mind all I probably need right now is to determine if my GTX 1060 is a powerful enough graphics card to get started with or if I need to go with something more powerful or perhaps more specialized for mining. I noticed that Asus recently introduced a graphics card specifically for cryptocurrency mining so that might be worth looking into if I want to really give this a real test.

As you can tell from what I’ve written above…my hypothesis is that I spend money getting some silly video card that’s apparently “made for mining” only to find out that I can make a $10 – $20 profit each month after I pay off my higher-than-normal electricity bill. But I could be wrong, which is why, without data to tell my Dad that there’s no way it could work, I thought I just have to dive in and try it myself.

Stay-tuned, I don’t have much more to share now but I’ll try to report back here on my blog every week or so to let you know how it’s going.

{ 7 comments }