When I first started investing in domain names Rick Schwartz’s blog (aka the Domain King) was one of my regular reads. I’ll be honest in saying I don’t always agree with everything Rick says, but I absolutely see him as an industry leader and someone whose successes in the industry speak for themselves. Which IMO means that I’ll still continue to read what he has to say, and what Rick says has moved from his blog to Twitter account @DomainKing.

Lately Rick has talked quite a bit about new gTLDs which he is generally very bearish on. That being said, Rick is bullish on .WEB which I think is interesting and makes me think more about the long term value of this TLD.

Rick Schwartz .WEB

In back-to-back tweets Rick shared his thoughts on .WEB which he thinks will get more registrations in its first 30 days than any other new gTLD. It’s hard not to listen when someone who has been in the domain industry since the very beginning highlights a new gTLD when he’s in general not a huge fan of new gTLDs. Right or wrong I’m always a fan of people sharing their opinions and have always liked that Rick isn’t shy about it.

Domain King .WEB

In short, I’m listening and I am very interested in seeing how .WEB does, Rick has been made some pretty solid predictions over the years, could this be his next big one? What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

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So it’s no secret that new gTLDs have been in the news even more than usual lately. A lot of this was kicked-off earlier this month when Frank decided to increase the renewal prices on a bunch of new new gTLDs which seemed to ripple through the domain industry in a major way. I wrote an article titled, “Did Frank just burst the bubble?”¬†which definitely created a fair amount of controversy with 29 comments and one comment which called me a cheerleader…

cheerleader

I guess I have to repeat myself over, and over, and over again until it hits home, so here we go. I think that most new gTLDs will fail. Yes, I said it, and I’ll keep saying it until everyone reads it. What the heck are the chances that over 1,000 new domain extensions will be a homerun? Slim to none.

That being said, I do think it’s realistic and probably damn important for our industry as a whole that at least some of the new gTLDs do take off. I also think there are some good examples of new domain extensions that are seeing real momentum like .CLUB, .XYZ, and .SITE to name a few. You can keep track of the leaderboard on one of my favorite sites, nTLDstats.com. Here’s the current top ten:

top-ten-newgtlds

So here’s my question for the all the new gTLD naysayers…sure, a ton of these new domain extensions will fail, and fail big…but did you really expect them all to be a success?

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npr-marketplace

Today was an exciting day for us, last week we did an interview with NPR which went live today. For those who followed the action last week, you know that we announced a partnership with Morph3D to showcase what I think we’ll all look back on years from now as the future of commerce. Imagine a world without screens, yes, those screens on your laptop, on your smartphone, on your flat “screen” TV they are all going away. Don’t worry, it isn’t going to happen overnight but it’s going to happen.

bold-metrics-morph3dWhile most people are familiar with VR headsets from companies like Oculus, HTC and Playstation, augmented reality is still a very new technology. Yes, you might think of games like Pokemon Go as augmented reality, which they are, but they still rely on the normal screens we use today. Imagine looking through glasses and having images appearing as holograms. It might sound crazy now but so did the telephone when it first came out, and the TV, the car, new technologies always seem far off until everyone has one.

meta-2

Last week we announced our partnership with Morph3D and our technology can now power the creation of true-to-life human avatars. For those who don’t know what we do at Bold Metrics, our technology has become the gold standard for predicting the human body. Think super fast AI algorithms that can predict over 90 body measurements after getting only a few simple inputs from a user, none of which require a measuring tape.

Want to learn more? Okay – enough reading, feel free to listen to NPR Marketplace and if you fast forward to 21 minutes you might recognize the voice. Exciting times and I can’t wait to watch the future of commerce unfold, just like your computer has Intel Inside…soon your commerce experiences will have Bold Metrics inside ūüôā

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How do we break the “squatter” stigma?

This weekend me and my college friends got together for a weekend reunion in DC. It was always and it’s something we try to do every year but end up doing every 2-3 years. That being said, it was a blast and it’s also incredibly interesting to see how all our lives change over time. The best part is, the moment we’re all together it’s like we spend every weekend together.

Here’s us after completing an “escape room” in DC, this one had a VR component to it.

the-cmu-crew

At dinner last night I was talking with one of my friend and he shared his experience getting the domain name for his startup. They do very cool things with VR and 360 video and if you’re looking to do a VR promo video for you company I highly recommend you check them out at Foundry45.com.

My friend then said to me, “the problem with buying a domain is that there are so many people squatting on all the good .COMs” Of course as domain investors we’ve heard this all the time, so I asked him to go a step further to explain what he meant by a “squatter” – his definition was similar to what I’ve heard before, essentially anyone that owns a domain name and isn’t using it.

I used an example that I use all the time, “can’t people buy land, a house, heck even an island, and not use it, or do what they want with it and then re-sell for a profit?”

It’s strange isn’t it?¬†If you bought a house¬†in Malibu 20 years ago and sell it for 10x what you paid you’d be called a successful real estate investor. If you bought a domain name 20 years ago and sell it for 10x what you paid for it, you’d likely be called a squatter.

When will people start appreciating digital assets? Why do people praise buying and selling physical assets for a profit and not digital ones?

More importantly, how can we as domain investors break the “squatter” stigma? I’d love to hear ideas from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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Well I think I may have broken a record for my longest streak without a blog post at six days without writing. It was a strange feeling but we did something this week that consumed absolutely every waking minute, meaning that my life had no balance, just one singular focus – it was awesome, and it really feels like we made history.

This week we announced a partnership between Bold Metrics and Morph3D, and unveiled what I think we’ll remember years from now as the first look at the future of commerce. What does all this mean?

bold-metrics-gold-standard

Over the years our technology has emerged as the gold standard for predicting body measurements. We’re helping to create a world where you don’t need to measure yourself, take a selfie, or step into a body scanner. Instead, our AI technology can calculate your body measurements more accurately than you can likely measure yourself, and return a result in milliseconds. All a user has to do is answer a few simple questions like height, weight, etc.

Today we provide solutions for brands and retailers where they want to connect people with products. This can be clothes, furniture, sporting goods, and this week we announced the first application of our technology in augmented and virtual reality with our partnership with Morph3D.

bold-metrics-morph3d-shoptalk

Morph3D is the world leader in realistic human avatars that are used in AR and VR. With this new partnership the Bold Metrics API is powering nearly instant true-to-life avatar creation which solves a huge problem – creating a real “to-scale” avatar of your body. Why is that important?

While having a virtual you that actually matches your detailed body measurements might not be a requirement for gaming and entertainment, to enable commerce, it’s a must. Imagine a world where we no longer have physical screens, the digital world isn’t flat any more, and instead you can shop in 3D again, just like the real malls but virtual. This experience will likely be powered by virtual or augmented reality, and we think augmented reality will likely have the most interest when it comes to commerce.

Now think about what you do when you buy things relative to the human body today…you go to a store? You sit on the couch, you stand on the bike, you try on the jacket. It’s not hard to envision a world 5 – 10 years from now where¬†incredibly similar experiences can happen, but from the comfort of your own home. In this world having your body actually there in AR or VR will make it possible for the next evolution of commerce. This is incredibly relevant now given the struggle brick-and-mortar retailers are seeing, VR Focus did a nice write-up about that partnership that did a deeper dive here:

vr-focus

Retails stores in the real world have suffered a slow in sales and profits since online retailers like Amazon began their rise to prominence. Brick-and-mortar stores need an extra incentive to lure customers away from the internet, and Bold Metrics and Morph 3D believe they have found it.

The technology they are introducing allows shoppers to create 3D avatars of themselves.
The Bold Metrics algorithm maps body measurement details onto an avatar, a process that involves no measuring tape or time-consuming 3D scans, only a series of simple questions. The resulting virtual avatar can then be used to experience products and services available in the virtual world. (Source VRFocus)

shoptalk-2017

We made the announcement at one of the biggest shows in the retail world, ShopTalk, and let this group of retail leaders and innovators be the first to try-out the future of commerce using one of the most cutting-edge AR headsets, the Microsoft Hololens.

ed-hololens

Today Discovery Channel including our partnership in a segment on their popular Canadian TV show, Daily Planet and next week you’ll be able to hear me talking more about this exciting move into the future on NPR. On top of sharing the future of commerce I think we also broke a new record for the number of new client’s that are going to come on-board¬†using our core solutions. Our technology is already ¬†used by some of the worlds largest brands and retailers, in fact you might have even used us before and never even knew it! As a backend technology, we plugin to eCommerce sites and in-store experiences, today we do this in the same way we all access content, on laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets.

In the future we’ll plugin to some of the most immersive and exciting AR and VR experiences and with it power the next generation of commerce. As you can probably tell, I’m more than a little excited and I don’t think it’s just me!

bold-metrics-shoptalk-celebrate

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blog

October of this year will mark the ten year anniversary of my blog. If you told me back in 2007 that I would still be blogging ten years later I would have never believed you. Now, writing is a part of my everyday life and I honestly feel weird/guilty if I don’t write a post.

My blog has gone through a ton of changes over time, first moving from the name domainflipper.typepad.com to Domainvestors.tv and finally over to its rightful forever home at MorganLinton.com. I’ve changed WordPress themes, design, logos, etc. quite a bit over the years as well.

One of the more recent changes is switching to a completely different view on mobile devices to focus on readability. My goal is always to put content first and make it as easy as possible for my readers to access my content from any device, big or small.

Of course I still think there’s a lot that could be improved and I thought, who better to ask than you my reader. So now I’ll ask you the question: if you could change one thing about my blog, what would it be?

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2017 marks my tenth year in the domain industry. Ten years ago I had real money to invest for the first time in my life; I was 25 at the time. Instead of investing in mutual funds (which was what my Dad wanted me to do) or real estate (which is what all my friends were doing), I took all of my savings and put it into domain names.

I’ll be honest, in the beginning I felt like it was probably the biggest mistake I had¬†ever made in my life. I lost almost all of my life savings – yes, like most new Domainers I bought a lot of junk. Note that at the age of 25 your life savings isn’t a lot of money, still, putting all of it into domains felt like taking my nest egg and exchanging it for magic beans.

Fast forward to today and I couldn’t be more grateful to have put my money into domain names, it changed my life forever. At the same time, today the industry is more divided than ever. I can still remember my first TRAFFIC Conference, it was back in 2010 in Las Vegas.

Honestly attending my first conference was like meeting all of your favorite celebrities all at once. It was overwhelming. The first morning Ron Jackson invited me to breakfast and I sat with Rick Schwartz, Howard Neu, Ron Jackson, I got goose bumps, it was amazing.

Now, with new gTLDs dominating the industry news we are an industry divided.¬†We’ll get through it but it’s a bit sad to see. What I always appreciated about the domain industry is that it was a small group of people united by a common passion. Today, we’re just not united in the same way, not matter how you slice it we are arguing with each other like it’s going out of style.

That being said, argument is good, sharing opinions is important, and I’m actually glad in many ways this is happening.¬†Still I do hope that a year or two from now we can come together again because one thing I can tell you is that we’re all a lot more similar than we are different. Or at least I’d like to think that we are.

What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

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We’ve seen it time and time again. A startup can’t get the domain they want, so they end up with a word like “get” in front of it, or “online” behind it. I’ve heard from many startups that this isn’t an issue for them, and the reason they almost always give is, “well we show up fine in search engines!”

Sure, it’s true. If you have some solid SEO chops you can (and will) get your site ranking for your company name, heck you could even outrank the person who owns the exact-match domain since Google is domain agnostic. However there’s one factor that is often overlooked and the second I say it, it hits home.

email

What about your email?

Yes, a potential client can¬†find you on Google, but what happens when they email you, and out of force of habit, write the email to you@yourcompanyname.com vs. you@getyourcompanyname.com or you@yourcompanynameonline.com? Now someone else gets that email. This is much worse than having someone accidentally end up on a competitors site, now they’re sending what could be very sensitive information to someone that you don’t know.

I’ve owned a particular one-word .COM for years now and at one point I put a catch-all email account up just to see what came in. The results blew my mind as hundreds (yes hundreds) of emails hit my catch-all account and yes, it was all from people¬†just typing in the wrong domain name.¬†So next time you’re thinking about going with your second choice domain name because you’d rather register a domain for $10 than buy one for a few thousand…I’d think twice.

What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

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Every year SXSW brings a lot of people and money in Austin. Last year over 70,000 people attended the conference and $325.3M was injected into the Austin economy – boom!¬†The first part of SXSW (which is called South by Southwest BTW) is called “Interactive” (read more here) and it has become the go-to tech show in the US, hands down. Founders from startups around the world along with some of the top VCs in the world all converge for a week to talk about innovation, disruption, and¬†to have a great time together listening to music or hanging out in one of the zillion¬†lively bars in downtown Austin.

After Interactive comes Music and Film, which means that by the end of this week the tech community will have returned to San Francisco, New York, Boston, and LA, and the music nuts and the film buffs take over. Companies that target startups always focus on the Interactive week since it’s the best time to reach some of the true innovators in the tech world.¬†This year three companies really stood out to me, meaning that I constantly saw them which means they definitely worked it to get their brand out there. So here they are:

.ME Registry

.ME (domain.me) has been popular with startups for a long time and we all know companies like About.me that have raised millions and branded on the extension. This year at SXSW, .ME is on every single staff shirt which means that you really do see .ME everywhere.

dot-me-sxsw2017

.XYZ Squad

For years now .XYZ (gen.xyz) has sent their now famous purple body-suited XYZ Squad into the streets of Austin. They’re hard to miss and people clearly love interacting with them. This year they brought a giant¬†Instagram frame which was a great way to get people interacting and sharing their moments with the .XYZ Squad. I was lucky enough to get everyone to pose for a picture…and even a backflip which you can check-out here.

dot-xyz-sxsw

Sedo

Sedo (sedo.com) is one of the largest domain marketplaces in the world, so it should come as no surprise that they also had some of the largest posters at SXSW. These are all over the convention hall and downtown so if you didn’t know about Sedo before SXSW, there’s a good chance you do now.

sedo-sxsw

Congrats to .ME, .XYZ, and Sedo – it’s clear they put some serious thought into how to get more eyeballs on their brands this year and it’s definitely working. Now if I can just find a way to get one of those awesome purple .XYZ body suits?

 

 

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Yesterday I wrote this post about the price increases that Uniregistry is doing on some of their new domain extensions. It’s no secret that this topic has struck a nerve with the domain community, many of whom immediately jumped to “I told you so” mode or “.COM wins” land, which isn’t wildly surprising.

My view is that Frank is operating a business, and like many business owners, he had to make a tough choice, which he did. Honestly it’s as simple as that. I don’t think the sky is falling for new gTLDs, I don’t think that this means only .COM will survive in the end. Instead I think that as we all should probably know, not all of the new domain extensions are going to take off like a rocket ship.

I’ve said this many times before but let me just say it again. I think that a TON of the new domain extensions are going fail, big time.¬†I feel like I’ve repeated this over and over yet one of my readers still called me a cheerleader for new gTLDs¬†in this comment:

cheerleader

I’m always a fan of my readers sharing their opinions, good or bad, love me or hate me, I like it and suggest that everyone who takes the time to read my blog also takes the time to comment. That being said, I don’t think that I’m a cheerleader for the new gTLDs since I think the vast majority of them are going to fail.

What I do think is that twenty years from now we’ll probably live in a world where more domain extensions than .COM have survived, and I think that’s a world we should all hope to live in. Wouldn’t it be crazy if ALL¬†the new gTLDs failed?

.COM is where the vast majority of my investment dollars go, and it’s where they will continue to go for the foreseeable future. Still I think that some, definitely not all but some¬†new domain extensions will do well. We don’t have to see it as a threat to .COM but instead a scenario that I feel clearly exemplifies the phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

But that’s just me.

If you didn’t comment yesterday (or if you did) I’d love to hear from you. Comment and let your voice be heard!

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