When you think of augmented reality your mind might immediately go to Nintendo’s hit smartphone game, Pokemon Go. While yes, this is technically augmented reality, there’s a whole other type of AR our there that most people have never tried, heck many people don’t really know it exists.

Right now many people think of AR as looking at the world through your phone’s camera and seeing things on the screen that add to or augment the reality you normally see. Now imagine a similar experience except that rather than looking through a screen, a headset seemingly projects the world in front of your eyes.

meta2

What you see above might look like something from Star Wars, but ten years from now I think it will actually look more like an antique. Headsets like the Meta 2 are offering developers (and in the future, consumers) access to a new form of augmented reality, one that is more immersive, like VR, yet completely different in so many ways.

Right now the Microsoft Hololens has held court for years as the dominant early-adopters choice for augmented reality. The device has been compared to a Unicorn, hard to spot or actually get your hands on, but absolutely magical if you can.

microsoft-hololens

While there’s no doubt that the Hololens opened our eyes to augmented reality, at $3,000/headset and with limited developer tools and support the adoption cycle has been slow. This is also why right now might be the very first time you’ve ever heard of a Hololens. If you do try a Hololens you might also find that the field of view is limited as you see everything through a square viewport that seems to float in front of your face.

hololens-field-of-view

Enter the Meta 2. Priced under $1,000 and fixing issues with a limited field of view by increasing to a 90 degree field of view and this year alone they’re expecting to sell more headsets than there are Hololens headsets…in the world.

“There’s more Meta 2 pre-orders than there are HoloLens headsets in the world,” Ryan Pamplin, VP of Sales & Partnerships at Meta, told me during a recent visit to check out the latest changes to the company’s AR headset. The Meta 2 uniquely features an impressive 90 degree field of view that’s a huge step up in immersion from the company’s prior Meta 1 device and other AR headsets in its class. (Source – RoadToVR)

What will it take to get headsets like the Meta 2 in the hands of consumers like, well, you reading this right now? My guess is that $950 is still way too much, but what happens when developers start building killer content for the Meta 2, and then the Meta 3 comes out at half the price?

Yes, these are the early days, but it’s companies like Meta that are paving the way for a huge shift in how we view and experience content. The question is – does the Meta 2 move us one step closer to a world where consumers have AR headsets at home? I think no matter what it’s safe to say it brings us one step closer.

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bsh-com-stolen

I received a notification last night that the domain name BSH.com was stolen out of a Go Daddy account. The owner and Go Daddy are working together to determine how this happened but it looks like someone is now trying to quickly sell the domain name to get rid of it.

If see this domain name for sale at a suspiciously low price, that’s because the domain is stolen. I will continue to report back on this as the root cause of the theft is determined. Please feel free to report any information you find out about this domain name or who might have stolen it in the comment section below.

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101-domain

101Domain has been one of my favorite places to buy ccTLDs for years and along with having the biggest selection of ccTLDs out there they also have really good pricing. One thing I’ve always appreciated about 101Domain is that they’re always adding new features and innovating to make the experience better for their users and last month they did it again with a brand new domain search feature that (pardon my french) kick ass.

Today we’re introducing you to our new and improved search. Our team has been working really hard on this and we are excited to show it to you and we hope after this you are just as excited about it as we are. Our goal with this search redesign is to make it easier for you to find your perfect domain name you can get on with doing the things you want to be doing, like creating your online web presence. (Source 101Domain Blog)

One of the features that I think is really interesting is the “Show Unavailable” option. For me I’m always interested in keywords that have been interesting to more people than just me. To see how popular a keyword is across multiple TLDs is useful data to have. Here’s a look at what he new feature looks like:

101domain-show-unavailable

You can read more about all the new additions to the 101Domain search experience, or if you would rather see it in action, feel free to read this post on their blog which also includes a video and complete walkthrough of all the new features.

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One of the roadblocks that I’ve seen many startup founders struggle with is how to get together the funds for a domain name they really want, but can’t quite afford at their current stage. A few months ago a founder that I know reached-out to me about a domain name they wanted to buy, they budget was $10,000 but the seller wanted $60,000. After going back and forth they got them down to $35,000…but the problem was the most they could spend was still $10,000.

This is a great example of a situation where using a domain name escrow service can mean the difference between getting your top choice domain name, and settling for your second choice. Popular domain name escrow services like Payoneer make it easy to buy a domain name and pay over time. Here’s a quick look at how the process works:

After the buyer and seller have agreed to the terms of the order, an initial payment is made by the buyer. This payment is held in escrow until the seller transfers the domain to Payoneer. Once the domain is confirmed to be held by Payoneer, the buyer’s DNS information is added to the domain and the initial payment is released. For the term of the agreement, Payoneer will hold the domain and continue to collect and distribute the installment payments. Once the full order total has been paid out to the seller, Payoneer will transfer the domain to the buyer and the order will be closed. (Source – Payoneer Blog)

It’s important to note here that not all Escrow services are created equal. Becoming a licensed escrow service, and being licensed in where you are doing business is critical to making sure you are actually getting the safety and security that comes with an Escrow service.

I have seen people get scammed in the past by using a third party escrow service that is not licensed and does not have the same security as a full-fledged escrow service. Payoneer raised $180M in funding last year, currently operates in over 200 countries, and has support for 150 currencies which makes them the most funded and extensive domain name escrow service out there.

So next time you think that the domain name you want is out of reach, think again, a domain name escrow service might just save the day.

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While Rick Schwartz might not be blogging anymore, he is tweeting more than ever and I’ve been finding some great nuggets in his tweets. This particular nugget is one that I’ve learned the hard way more than once, okay, it probably took me at least five times to really learn my lesson here. Here’s Rick’s tweet that inspired this post:

rick-schwartz-domain-advice

It’s a common mistake, especially when you’re just getting started in the domain world, and it goes something like this. You spot a name that is expiring and think, “I bet [blank] company would buy this name in a heartbeat.” So you buy the domain, and maybe even spend a little more than you usually would because you are so sure that the company you have in mind is going to buy it the moment you reach out.

So you reach out, spend a bunch of time trying to get in contact with the right person and then find out they aren’t interested, at all, period. Now you’re sitting on a domain name that likely isn’t of much interest to anyone else but you, except you weren’t even interested in it to begin with.

Thanks for sharing Rick and for those reading make sure to heed Rick’s advice here and remember, just because you think someone would love to buy a domain name, doesn’t mean they actually would.

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domainsforstartups

Today I was talking to a startup founder who was trying to figure out the best way to negotiate a deal for a domain name she wanted to buy. She was in a situation that I think many founders find themselves in, they know they want a specific domain, but don’t know the best way to reach-out and start the process of making a deal happen.

There’s a real fear that exists at this point. What if you make the wrong move and screw up the deal and have to go back to the drawing board to pick a new name? Well, to be perfectly honest, this is a healthy fear and yes, you can screw up a deal.

Below are three pieces of advice I give founders that ask me about best-practices for negotiating a domain name deal on their own.

  1. Reach-out to the owner directly (use a WHOIS lookup to find their email) and start with an offer. If you just reach-out and say, “I want to buy this domain, how much do you want for it?” Don’t be surprised if you don’t get an answer. Also when making an offer, you don’t have to start at the top of your range but don’t make it so low that it doesn’t make any sense. I usually recommend for two and three word .COMs starting with an offer in the $1,500 – $3,500 range.
  2. Don’t play the, “I need this domain for a student project” card. Seriously, people can see through this and starting a business deal with a lie is never a great move. Also leading your email with, “I’m a startup with a small budget” also won’t get you very far. Instead keep it short and sweet, let them know you want to but the domain and make a reasonable offer.
  3. Be prepared for a counter-offer. I’ve seen deals fall apart too many times when someone makes an offer, then the domain owner gets back to them with a counter-offer, and then they say something like, “sorry, my offer was the most I would pay.” Don’t make that mistake, know that if you make an offer, you could get a counter-offer and yes, you might have to pay more for the domain name.

If you’re trying to understand what prices domain names sell for, because let’s face it, you might not be keeping up with domain sales these days, I recommend looking at DNJournal and NameBio. Both of these sites keep updated lists of domains that sell so you can have a better idea for what a realistic price is for the domain you’re looking for.

Last but not least, whatever you do don’t insult the domain owner, call them a squatter, or claim that they’re “not doing anything with the domain” because if you do that you’ll either lose the deal or the price will get a whole lot higher. Hope this helps, now go get that domain!

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Rick Schwartz, aka the Domain King wrote one of the most-read blogs in the domain name industry, aptly named “Rick’s Blog” and also not surprisingly located at RicksBlog.com. Throughout his career Rick has had more blockbuster domain sales than you can count on your fingers and toes. One that really made waves was in early 2015 when Rick sold Porno.com for $8.8M, a domain name he bought from a college student for $42,000 back in 1997. On December 26th, 2015 Rick retired his blog with a pretty epic post that you can read here.

That was it, and for more than a year Rick stayed mostly out of the public eye, except for mentions that rippled through domain name blogs as he made more blockbuster sales. Now over the last couple of months Rick has jumped back into the public eye and started sharing more, but this time through Twitter, and he’s really enjoying it as you can see from this tweet he made earlier today:

rick-schwartz-twitter

I have definitely been enjoying Rick’s tweets, and like his blog posts there are some really good nuggets in there. Let’s face it, there are few people on the planet that have been as successful as Rick when it comes to domain names so I think we’re pretty lucky that he’s still willing to share with all of us, and for free which is hard to beat.

I’m glad you’re enjoying Twitter Rick, keep em’ coming!

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There are tons of domain name marketplaces out there with a solid track record selling .COM domain names. The vast majority of my domain investments are .COM and have been for the last 9+ years so this is really all that I know. While I’ve dabbled in new gTLDs like I’ve said many times before, I think most are going to fail and only a select group will live on which is why I’ve mostly stayed out of investing in this space.

That being said, there are people who are more bullish on new gTLDs than me that are buying and doing their best to actively sell these names. Yesterday I got an email from a blog reader who has been investing in new gTLDs that asked me the question I posed above – “what is the best marketplace for selling new gTLDs?”

Since I don’t know the answer to this question I told her that I would poll my readers to see what the community thinks. So now I’ll turn it back to you.

If you’re someone who is actively (or somewhat actively) selling new gTLDs, what marketplace are you seeing the best results with? Comment and let your voice be heard!

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china-flag

Last year the Global Domain Industry Summit held its inaugural conference and cemented itself as one of the biggest domain conferences in China. This year it’s back and it looks like it’s going to set a new bar for domain industry events in the East.

Pinky Brand, a domain industry veteran who has been very active in the Chinese domain market recently wrote a post on his blog highlighting the event and the location which is colloquially known as domain island.

Xiamen is a lovely metropolis with fabulous outdoor markets and attractions. It’s known as China’s “domain island” where several domain name registrars and domain investors are located.

It’s on the coast and about an hour and a half flight NE from Hong Kong, or about three from Beijing. Last I checked, it will take you 1 or 2 connections to get there from the USA or Europe.   You lose a day when traveling there from overseas, so for USA folks that means you can still enjoy the 4th of July, leave on the 5th or 6th, and get there in time for the start, although you may have to deal with the jet lag.

Last year while at the conference Pinky put together a video on behalf of ChopChop.domains that I highly encourage everyone to watch whether you’re going or not. It’s no secret that the Chinese domain name market has been growing steadily every year and I think this video gives domain investors in the West a nice look at what’s going on in the East.


2016 Global Domain Summit – Hangzhou, China from Pinkard Brand on Vimeo.

 

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new-park-io-site

Park.io has been my favorite place to buy expired .IO domains for some time now and recently they did a major UX update and added a number of new ccTLDs like .VC, .MN, .AG and more. While the site started with a focus on .IO, hence the name, they expanded to a few other ccTLDs last year and this year they appear to be doubling down.

While I don’t have much experience with extensions like .GG or .MN this does add a lot of options to the site and makes me think that a name change could be in the future? Just a guess, I don’t know anything that you don’t know.

I’m really impressed with the new UX – it’s very clean, organized, and with it comes some new additions (or at least new to me) like two-factor authentication which is something I turn on everywhere I possibly can.

dot-io-domains-parkio

Not surprisingly .IO is still the first tab followed by .LY, .TO and .ME which I believe have been available on the site since the early days. Along with the new UX and added support for additional ccTLDs Park.io is also testing out a new SMS notification feature inspired by a discussion on DomainSherpa.

You can read more about how to try out this new feature on the Park.io blog. I think it’s pretty awesome that Mike from Park.io was listening to DomainSherpa, heard the sherpas talking about a feature they’d like to see implemented, and then went out and did it. Talk about listening to your customers!

Hats off to Mike (the founder of Park.io) on all the great upgrades, as an early user and a big fan of the site it’s been fun to watch it grow and progress over the years. When it comes to innovation I can tell you Park.io sets a high bar, they implement features fast, are in touch with what domain investors are looking for, and now they have one of the nicest looking domain backorder sites I’ve ever seen. Well done!

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