It’s safe to say there are more new domain name extensions out there than any of us can remember. There are some clear leaders when it comes to registrations like .XYZ and .CLUB, .TOP and .WIN, but did you know that .LOAN is in the top ten along with new extensions like .BID? Probably not, unless of course, you’re a domain geek like me in which case you can skip this article because what I’m going to tell you is something you already know.

I’m talking about how to stay on top of the statistics behind the new domain name extensions (or new gTLDs as they say in the Domaining world) without writing custom software or trying to sort through data yourself. Lucky for all of us this is pretty darn easy to do and you can get all of this data for free thanks to my personal go-to for stats – nTLDStats:

ntld-stats

When you first go to the site you can simply click the “New gTLDs” link at the top (or just click here) and you’ll instantly see a list of the top new domain name extensions along with who their backend provider is and other handy information that you might want to know. If you want to integrate some of this data on your own site, nTLDStats recently came out with a beta of their API so if you have some dev chops you can build something completely customized.

There’s also a new service out there, or at least new to me, that popular domain name investor and new domain extension owner Frank Schilling was tweeting about over the weekend called NamePulse.

NamePulse

While NamePulse isn’t a free option (plans start at $500/month) it does look like a pretty badass service for registrars and registry operators to use to really do a deep dive into new gTLD stats.

namepulse-site

While $500 might sound like a lot of money to you, if you’re a registrar or registry making millions of dollars a year this really is a drop in the bucket for access to all this data. If anyone from NamePulse is reading this, I would of course be happy to have a “Media/Bloggers” version that I might be able to use to share some of the awesome data you guys are putting together, but I know this might be a bit of a pipedream given the complexity of running a service like this.

So if you want to do a deep dive into how the new domain name extensions are performing you have two options, one that’s free and offers plenty of great data, and another that’s not free but looks like it goes a bit deeper. Either way, there’s not excuse to not stay well-informed about how the new domain extensions are doing.

Let me know if there are other services out there you would recommend? I can’t say I’ve done a lot of searching since nTLDStats has been my go-to for a while now and I just heard about NamePulse this weekend. Is there anything else out there that my readers should know about?

 

{ 3 comments }

brandable-domains

ToyWorld.com – as I’m sure you know by now I’m a huge fan of two-word .COMs, and as a 21 year-old two-word .COM I like it even more. Perfect for a startup in the toy space, easy to remember, easy to spell, great brand.

HealthyFood.com – another solid two-word .COM, great for a startup in the healthy/vegetarian/vegan space. Also 19 years-old so another nice aged two-word domain name.

Quik.com – so I’m on the fence about this one. I like brandable four character .COMs but this one doesn’t pass the radio test since anyone that hears your company is called Quik is likely going to end-up at Quick.com, not Quik.com. That being said, this name will sell for a fraction of the price of Quick.com so it could be a good deal, just don’t ignore the potential downside.

Hacked.com – I have covered this domain in the past and it looks like it’s back up for auction. Solid name for a startup in the network security space.

SalesExpert.com – nice domain for someone to start a sales blog on, that being said, if you’re not really a “sales expert” owning this domain won’t make you one.

{ 1 comment }

Last year the hot topic at NamesCon was probably split between the Chinese domain market and new gTLDs. This year there’s only one talk at the conference about Chinese domain names so it looks like this might not be quite as hot a topic as it once was. I think this probably has to do with the fact that Chinese premiums have dropped in price quite considerably since their peak in 2015.

That being said I still think that the Chinese domain market should be a hot topic and I highlighted the one talk that you absolutely can’t miss in this post.

Taking a look at the agenda this year it looks like new gTLDs seem to be one of the hottest topics, but another topic is starting to get some buzz in the industry and that is the actual future of domain names. While the industry seems to spend a lot of time lately throwing new gTLDs under the bus, their demise could spell trouble for the industry as a whole if that were to happen.

Domain Name Wire, one of the most long-standing domain blogs out there brought this topic front and center today:

“Our industry seems to spend a lot of energy battling between the relative value of old top level domain names versus new ones. It doesn’t spend enough time paying attention to the threats that the domain industry faces as a whole.” (Source – Domain Name Wire)

In the article Andrew goes on to talk about voice controlled devices like the Echo being a threat to domain names. I’m not sure this is going to be a huge threat, but I do think it’s one of the many potential threats to domain names.

So while we might put our focus on new gTLDs as an industry (probably because so many people in the industry make big bucks running registries) let’s make sure not to turn a blind eye to real threats to our industry as a whole.

It’s safe to say new gTLDs will be the hot topic at NamesCon this year, but should it be?

{ 2 comments }

esharesinc-vs-esharescom

It’s a point I’ve made over and over to more founders than I can count on two hands. What I’m talking about is the importance of having the exact-match of your company name. Now I’m not talking about domain extensions here, I’m talking about what exists before the dot, that being said the same issue can come up when you’re branding around a non .COM so there’s a lesson here for everyone.

The crux of the issue is when you want to call your company something like Company.com, but you notice that’s taken so you brand around a domain like GetCompany.com or CompanyOnline.com, or maybe even CompanyInc.com.

Life is good until a competitor crops up on Company.com and now you’re actually losing clients to a competitor and yes, important emails are also likely going to @company.com as well. There’s nothing like a good example to prove a point and I recently found a painful but good example.

As both a founder and an angel investor I’ve become a big fan of eShares, a very cool startup that moves the cap table/equity management process from spreadsheets and physical paper to the cloud. After raising $17M in 2015 at a whopping $77M valuation you’d think they’d end-up owning eShares.com, but that didn’t happen and they stuck with eSharesInc.com.

A competitor has a confusingly similar site up on eShares.com:

eshares

Doesn’t this looks like a company that helps with equity management for startups? Sure it does, the freaking tagline at the top calls them the “leading Equity Management and Marketplace for Technology companies.”

Now here’s what the real eShares website looks like:

eshares-com

Yikes! Talk about a confusing situation. That being said, I love eShares (the eSharesInc.com version) and they are doing amazing stuff so I don’t mean to slam them in any way with this post. eShares (the eSharesInc.com version) is doing amazing things for startups and it has made my life as a founder a lot easier, and yes, I recommend them to every founder I know and invest in.

Of course every time I recommend eShares it comes with a disclaimer – don’t go to eShares.com, instead make sure to go to eSharesInc.com, that’s the eShares I’m talking about. Which makes it sounds a little sketchy so then I mention the $17M raise and the $77M valuation and that usually re-builds the confidence, but without their exact-match domain I need to give this additional information to make it sound like I’m truly recommending the market leader.

Will eShares continue to kick ass and take names without their exact-match domain? Sure, they clearly have been super successful without it, but it would be a lie to say that not having eShares.com isn’t hurting them because it certainly isn’t helping…

{ 10 comments }

namescon-2017-final

It’s official, NamesCon is less than a month away. In a few weeks entrepreneurs, domain investors, venture capitalists, angel investors, web developers, SEO experts, affiliate marketers, branding experts, marketing wizards and more will all flock to Las Vegas for the domain industry’s largest conference. I wanted to point out all the different people that attend because I think it’s important to realize that NamesCon is not a conference just for domain investors, it’s a conference focused on all the different industries that are impacted by domain names.

One of the hottest topics in the domain world for the last year has been the growth of the Chinese domain name market. It’s no secret that domain name market in China is booming and many people are still trying to understand how this will impact their business. This impacts everyone from startup founders to marketing executives and as usual the NamesCon team has some of the leading world experts to help attendees understand what’s going on from the inside.

So, if you’re trying to understand how the Chinese domain market is evolving and how to make sure you stay ahead of the curve then you really can’t miss this talk, you can see all the detail below:

Chinese Masterclass
When:
Tuesday, January 24th
Location:
Uniregistry Keynote Hall
A panel of industry experts will discuss the latest changes to this enormous and complex market and help us understand the important differences between the Chinese and ‘Western’ world of domains.
Panelists: Simon Cousins, Allegravita; George Hong, Guta; Negar Hajikhani, Sedo; Ken Hansen, Zhongguo Ventures, JQ Tang, 190.C0M

{ 0 comments }

2017 domain predictions

I’ve had a few people ask me over email about my predictions for the domain industry next year. Of course, I’m late to the party here as there has been some solid predictions already made by industry veterans far more plugged-in than me. So before I share my thoughts about 2017, I’d recommend and actually make sure you read these first:

  1. Frank Schilling’s predictions/advice for 2017 (via OnlineDomain.com)
  2. Predictions from 15 industry experts (via DNW.com)
  3. 2017 Domain Name predictions and trends (via Hover.com)

Okay, now it’s time for me to look-into my crystal ball and share what I think is ahead for 2017. Like most predictions, I think it’s fair to say this isn’t much better than a somewhat educated guess so we’ll see how many I got right a year from now.

Prediction #1: 4L Chinese Premiums will drop in price
Okay, this might not be a popular prediction but it’s what I think so I may as well throw it out there. There was a rush for 4L CHIPS during the second half of 2015 and we’ve seen a less and less interest in these names in 2016 at the prices they were selling for at their peak. Yes, they still have value and I have a handful of CHIPS that I still think are solid investments, but I do think the demand at the prices we saw in 2015 has waned.

Prediction #2: Brandable one and two-word .COMs will continue to see good liquidity
We’ve seen a decline in exact-match names and a push towards brandables, or at least I have seen it from where I’m sitting and I think this trend is going to continue into 2017.

Predictions #3: Opportunities to hand-register liquid new gTLDs will continue
While I still think (okay I know) .COMs are the best investment you can make, it’s no secret that investors have been hand-registering new gTLDs and selling them at a very nice profit. Yes, it’s higher risk, and sure, if you bet wrong you’ll lose a lot more money than you’ll make. Domains like 1.xyz sold for $181,720 last year and there are plenty more .CLUB, .LIVE and other new gTLDs that sold for 10x or more what the owner paid for them. While you might not want to invest in new gTLDs, and I agree you’ll be taking less risk if you focus on .COM, there are still opportunities here and those opportunities will continue.

Prediction #4: Some new gTLDs will crash and burn
We’ll see a number of new gTLDs that hit their one or two-year anniversary see huge attrition as end-users and investors who bought names at special promotional rates decide not to renew. This is the risk of doing $0.50 registration specials (or lower), you don’t figure out how much someone is actually willing to pay for your domain extension in the long run, you just find how much they’re willing to pay for the first year.

Prediction #5: UDRPs will hit an all-time high
With more domain extensions out there and more domain investors out there, more people will be stupid and register trademark domains. Businesses are getting more and more comfortable with the UDRP process and anyone thinking they can squat on trademarks across multiple TLDs are likely going to be hit with a wave of UDRPs. Unfortunately, this also means that plenty of companies will file UDRPs for domains that rightfully belong to the owner. It’s a double-edged sword and unfortunately the people buying domains that clearly violate known trademarks are in some ways creating an environment that also hurts people buying completely legitimate domains since it’s making companies much more comfortable (and used to) the UDRP process.

Okay, these are my five predictions for 2017, now I’d like to hear from you. Which do you think are right? Which are wrong? And what do you think is ahead for the domain industry in 2017?

{ 10 comments }

Well time sure flies and I still can’t believe that tomorrow will be the beginning of 2017. In 2016 I wrote a lot, almost every single day, and in 2017 I plan to do the same. Now that I’ve been blogging for close to ten years I’ve found that writing has become more of a daily practice, something that is just a part of my normal day.

What always blows my mind is that some of my most-read posts are articles I wrote a year (or years) ago. It’s one of the most satisfying things about running a blog, seeing an article continue to live on for years to come.

So I thought to end the year I’d share my five most-read posts in 2016, enjoy!

1. Two Weeks, Two Flips – How I Turned $1,000 into $10,000

2. Top Ten Places To Sell Your Domain Names

3. Why Most Domainers Won’t Make a Dime with Directory Sites

4. Five Apps I Use To Outsource My Errands

5. Scam Alert – New Domain Appraisal Scam: website-domain-hosting.com and Dirk Engelmann

{ 0 comments }

What domain marketplace has the best mobile UX?

mobile-ux

Rewind ten years ago and most people accessed websites with a desktop browser. Today, over 50% of traffic most sites get (definitely true for my blog) comes from mobile. This means that creating a great user experience actually means creating two different experiences.

Take my blog for example. For years the mobile version of my blog looked just like the desktop version except scaled for mobile. What I found is that all the banner ads got in the way of the content on mobile, on desktop they were fine, but on mobile they took up way too much real estate. So I made the move to have the mobile version of my site be completely different and optimized specifically for mobile devices putting readability first.

I’ll be honest in saying that the domain industry has some sites that look great on mobile and others that really are embarrassingly bad. When your site doesn’t look good on mobile, over 50% of your visitors get a bad experience. When it comes to buying domains in the aftermarket getting mobile right is especially tough since many investor like to use detailed filters that are particularly challenging on mobile.

I personally think that when it comes to mobile Uniregistry and Go Daddy seem to have really put the most time and energy into creating a kick-ass mobile experience. That’s my two cents, but I’m just one person, I’m interested to hear what other people think.

So now I’ll ask you, what domain aftermarket has the best mobile UX? Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 3 comments }

I think it’s safe to say that the two blogs I’ve been reading the longest in the domain space are DN Journal and Domain Name Wire (DNW). More recently DNW has started doing podcasts which I have really been enjoying and given that Andrew (DNW’s founder) spends all day every day in the domain world he is a great source of knowledge when it comes to the inner-workings of the domain industry.

dnw-podcast

That’s why when Andrew comes out with predictions for 2017, I’m interested and I would imagine that many of my readers who are trying to stay ahead of the trends would also be interested.

Andrew asked 15 different people from across the domain industry to share their predictions for the year ahead, and in under 30 minutes you can hear what they had to say. Thanks Andrew for putting this together, simply click the play button below to listen, enjoy!


{ 4 comments }

Happy Holidays to all my blog readers aground the world! Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah (I grew up celebrating both) or another holiday now is the time to take a break and spend some time with family and friends. For Daina and I the end of December means heading to the snow for a little R&R, lots of cooking, and our favorite sport – Skiing.

This year we decided to head to Canada to really make sure to get a lot of snow, and I’m happy to say, we placed the right bet. We’re starting our trip in British Columbia where and then heading to Banff for a skiing adventure. Here’s the view from our new home away from home deep in the woods in the Canadian Rockies.

morganlinton-christmas2016

Getting here was no small task, it all started at 6am in Austin. We flew from Austin to LA, then from LA to Calgary where we rented an SUV (yes, four wheel drive is a must where we are) and headed onto the Trans-Canada Highway. We didn’t get on the road until about 9PM and it was snowing which led to what I have to say is one of the most harrowing four hour drives of my life. At that time of night it was nothing but us and the 18-wheelers who all seemed to be ignoring the speed limit even though we were in almost white-out conditions with icy roads.

Luckily we survived the drive and made it to our destination. Since we’ve been here we have been cooking up a storm, warming up in the hot tub (and sauna!) and today went on an absolutely breathtaking snowshoeing adventure, here’s a few photos from today’s adventure:

snowshoeing-canadian-rockies

daina-morgan-snowshoeing

Today I also realized that this is my 9th year writing a post during the holidays on MorganLinton.com, I still can’t believe I’ve been blogging for nine years!

Tomorrow we’ll be driving to Lake Louise which from the pictures looks like one of the most beautiful places on the planet. After that we’re onto Banff for a week of skiing. I’ve been told that Banff has amazing skiing so I’m really looking forward to checking it out. Of course, not surprisingly I’ve also been told it’s incredibly cold so I’m also looking forward to seeing how my cold weather gear holds up.

This is my first trip traveling with my new 360 cam and I’ve been taking both photos and videos that soon all of you with VR gear will be able to enjoy in Virtual Reality! If you’ve ever wanted to snowshoe in the Canadian Rockies you’ll get your chance once I get back and get everything uploaded.

Here’s one of the VR shots I was staging this afternoon:

samsung-360-camera

I’ve been pretty impressed with the 360 cam but it’s still pretty new so I’m crossing my fingers all the footage I’m taking here will come out okay. My goal is to be able to bring other people along for my adventures in VR.

Okay, well the fire is going, we’re all relaxed after a nice hot tub, and it’s time to watch a movie, White Christmas with Bing Crosby to be specific! I hope you’re all having a great time and getting a chance to relax and unwind. Thanks for reading and for those of you who have joined me for nine years, here’s to the next 9!

{ 2 comments }