namescon-2017-morganlinton

I’m back from Las Vegas and this time with more money in my pocket than when I arrived thanks to some good gambling luck and some even better domain deals. First let me just say I am incredibly impressed by the quality event that Richard and team have put together. NamesCon should be looked at by conferences around the world as the gold standard for how to do things right.

Of course I can’t say something like that without backing it up, so here it goes:

  1. Ticket prices that make it possible for everyone to attend – let me just compare this to conferences that I go to now with Bold Metrics. eTail West, an awesome retail show that we go to in California every year costs $3,800 per person to attend. This means that ONLY venture funded startups with a real budget for shows can attend. NamesCon tickets are in the hundreds of dollars range which opens the doors to everyone.
  2. Panels and talks that cover a wide range of topics – from the founder of WordPress to Frank Schilling, to geo-domain experts like Steve Kay, the agenda really did offer something for everyone. Yes, the title of the conference is NamesCon but the topics really hit home with Internet entrepreneurs from around the world.
  3. A hotel that is actually affordable – I hate to keep ragging on eTail West but they give attendees a hotel discount and it still ends up at close to $300/night. The Tropicana is on the Vegas strip, easy to get around, and costs less than $150/night.
  4. Organized, organized, organized – I’ve known Richard Lau for years and I can tell you…he’s one organized dude. Seriously, Richard and team have NamesCon running like a finely-tuned machine and it’s only the fourth year they’ve been running the conference. Pardon my french but this is fucking hard to do and I’ve seen it done wrong more times than I can count.
  5. The attendees – at the core of a great conference is great people. The quality of attendees at NamesCon is top notch because everyone is there to learn. Honestly, this is not a conference for egos, everyone is at NamesCon to learn from each other and spend time with quality people. If you missed the show I can tell you that you really missed something special and you should come next year to spend time with the people that go above all else.

Congrats to the whole NamesCon team, I know how much work went into putting all of this together and I couldn’t be more proud to have been at the show every single year it has been around, looking forward to the years to come. Here’s a few highlights from the show, more to come over the next week!

morganlinton-pir

(Me, Kevin, and Brian from PIR)

morganlinton-speaking-namescon

(My attempt at a selfie after my talk)

internetx-blackcar-pickup

(Me, Braden and James getting our pick-up compliments of InternetX)

uniregistry-party

(Uniregistry party at Hakkasan)

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The NamesConROTD live domain name auction set a high bar for live auctions with over $1M in sales with roughly 75% of the lots selling in auction. The highest sale of the day was Single.com which went for $290,000 and many different extensions from .COMs to .HOSTING, to .XYZ saw active bidding from domain investors around the world.

namescon-auction

The auction was run by domain name industry veteran Monte Cahn who has been a part of more auctions than I can possibly remember. Monte is known for having a good eye for solid names and prices that will lead to sales. With a 75% sell-through rate I think it’s safe to say he hit it out of the park once again.

NameBio did a great report looking back at what the names in the auction sold for previously and the % increase/decrease after yesterday’s auction. A lot of names are in the green with over 200% ROI which really shows how strong of an investment domain names continue to be.

namescon-2017-sales

Huge congrats to Monte and the whole ROTD team and of course the team at NamesCon. Not a bad way to kick-off 2017.

What did you think of the auction? Any specific sales catch your eye. Comment and let your voice be heard!

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Today could be a day we all remember for a long time as the NamesConROTD live auction kicks off in Las Vegas in about an hour. I wrote about the auction this weekend because I do think this could be a truly historic event. Now that I’m here in-person I can tell you that the energy at the conference is palpable, and now that the final list of names for the auction has been released I think it’s safe to say today is going to be a big day.

Of the domains submitted 143 made the cut and will be included in the live auction this afternoon. There are some truly exceptional domain in this auction, a few that caught my eye right away are domains like, Leads.com, Stop.com, Keyword.com, and Single.com. Let’s be honest, these are monster names.

I will be at the auction and while the four names I listed above are definitely way out of my price range there are a few others that I have my eye on. Also for the first time I’ve listed one of my domains for sale and it made the cut so I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes. The full list of domains that will hit the auction block in Vegas today is listed below:

Lot 10 lasvegas.cam
Lot 20 airplanes.net
Lot 30 ti.tv
Lot 40 tranquilizer.com
Lot 50 e.hosting
Lot 60 accidentally.com
Lot 70 laxative.com
Lot 80 vrjb.com
Lot 90 dealer.net
Lot 100 jets.net
Lot 110 nnnk.com
Lot 120 loez.com
Lot 130 cmhs.com
Lot 140 certifiedplanners.com
Lot 150 domain.company
Lot 160 archeology.com
Lot 170 visitor.org
Lot 180 gold.club
Lot 190 sportscars.com
Includes Trademark
Lot 200 tilecleaner.com
Lot 210 gory.com
Lot 220 leads.com
Lot 230 travel.agency
$499 renewal starts June 18, 2018
Lot 240 raises.com
Lot 250 wages.com
Lot 260 oceanfrontproperty.com
Lot 270 stop.com
Lot 280 dpt.com
Lot 290 patty.com
Lot 300 lodges.com
Lot 310 interest.net
Lot 320 yea.com
Lot 330 uf.tv
Lot 340 bartending.com
Lot 350 farms.net
Lot 360 keyword.com
Lot 370 diamond.club
Lot 380 single.com
Lot 390 featured.com
Includes: featured.com featured.net featured.org, Facebook page, twitter handle
Lot 400 ol.com
Lot 410 rn.tv
Lot 420 electricrazors.com
Lot 430 vohi.com
Lot 440 bar.com
Includes: bar.com bar.net cafes.com grill.com place.com pub.com shelter.com
Lot 450 forexaccount.com
Lot 460 factory.net
Lot 470 gaming.net
Lot 480 sandra.com
Lot 490 aggregator.com
Lot 500 wineclub.com
Includes: wineclub.net wineclubs.biz wineclubs.co wineclubs.info
Lot 510 whitewine.com
Lot 520 coolshirts.com
Lot 530 rawo.com
Lot 540 sw.com
Lot 550 fort.com
Lot 560 homefinance.com
Lot 570 casiNone.club
Lot 580 hobby.net
Lot 590 roadsigns.com
Lot 600 dv.tv
Lot 610 loveline.com
Lot 620 trackandfield.com
Lot 630 strippers.com
Lot 640 marcia.com
Lot 650 broth.com
Lot 660 their.com
Lot 670 backinjury.com
Lot 680 let.com
Lot 690 cigarbars.com
Lot 700 benchmarks.com
Lot 710 catallergies.com
Lot 720 cranberry.com
Lot 730 digitalprinters.com
Lot 740 crete.com
Lot 750 seductions.com
Lot 760 advertisingagency.com
Lot 770 toner.net
Lot 780 duct.com
Lot 790 occupied.com
Lot 800 earrings.net
Lot 810 boob.tube
Lot 820 holidaygiftbaskets.com
Lot 830 nympho.com
Lot 840 toxic.com
Includes: toxic.com toxic.net toxic.tv
Lot 850 forexbusiness.com
Lot 860 journalists.com
Lot 870 rental.net
Lot 880 420.shop
Lot 890 raspberries.com
Lot 900 reducing.com
Lot 910 sales.net
Lot 920 89.tv
Lot 930 dreamhome.com
Includes Trademark
Lot 940 recognize.com
Lot 950 solitaire.com
Lot 960 silver.club
Lot 970 celebrityphotos.com
Lot 980 upsetstomach.com
Lot 990 business.broker
Lot 1000 compliment.com
Lot 1010 auctions.global
Lot 1020 doe.com
Lot 1030 parmesancheese.com
Lot 1040 cyi.com
Lot 1050 christmas.net
Lot 1060 yore.com
Lot 1070 shelters.com
Lot 1080 largest.com
Includes Trademark
Lot 1090 cleavage.com
Lot 1100 bargain.net
Lot 1110 beginning.com
Lot 1120 luxury.club
Lot 1130 duplicates.com
Lot 1140 ree.net
Lot 1150 owed.com
Lot 1160 receivable.com
Lot 1170 concerns.com
Lot 1180 shoes.xyz
Lot 1190 oldhouse.com
Lot 1200 entertaining.com
Lot 1210 gylo.com
Lot 1220 megan.com
Lot 1230 highquality.com
Lot 1240 allergyshots.com
Lot 1250 diagNonesed.com
Lot 1260 valuated.com
Lot 1270 spapackages.com
Lot 1280 sweethearts.com
Lot 1290 housealarms.com
Lot 1300 mudslide.com
Lot 1310 internetservices.com
Lot 1320 infections.com
Lot 1330 choreographers.com
Lot 1340 opid.com
Lot 1350 aristocratic.com
Lot 1360 skijacket.com
Lot 1370 subdirectory.com
Lot 1380 dolares.com
Lot 1390 antique.net
Lot 1400 erdf.com
Lot 1410 adolescence.com
Lot 1420 cookieshop.com
Includes: cookiestore.com cookiestores.com
Lot 1430 dirtysecret.com

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Last year I sat down with Edward Zeiden, the Managing Director of popular domain name forum NamePros at NamesCon (say that five time fast) to talk about startups, accelerators, fundraising, and of course, the role domain names play in across this ecosystem.

Whether you’re a startup founder looking to buy a domain name, or a domain investor trying to do a deeper dive into the world of startups, I think you’ll enjoy this interview.



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namescon-2017-final

Next week the largest event in the domain name industry, Namescon, kicks-off in Las Vegas, and with it comes a domain auction that just might break some long-standing records. With the growth of the domain industry coupled with the new domain name extensions, the live auction next week is expected to bring some serious bidding from investors around the world.

rightofthedotlogo

The domain auction at NamesCon last year saw almost $1.5M in sales and this year. The auction will be run by the same company that ran it last year – Right Of The Dot led by long-time domain industry veteran Monte Cahn. When asked about the auction Cahn said:

monte-cahn

“Again I have some of the best names in this year’s auction including many names that have never been for sale before,” (Source – DNJournal)

So why is this year going to be such a big year, and possibly a record-breaker for live domain auctions? There are two key factors at play that I think are going to make this such a special auction.

  1. This year NamesCon is already breaking records for attendance – more people = more bidders
  2. The domains in the auction are some of the best I’ve seen in the last ten years

Here’s a sample of some of the domains that are listed in the auction this year, I think this shows why the auction is really going to be so incredible:

SW.com

OL.com

Keyword.com

Single.com

Leads.com

Cranberry.com

Along with individual domains there are some of the most insanely huge domain packages I’ve ever seen in my life, and that’s not an exaggeration, here’s an example of one:

[ Pub.com, Bar.com, Bar.net, Cafes.com, Grill.com, Place.com, Shelter.com ]

The auction takes place this Monday, January 23rd at 3:00PM PST at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. I’ll be there and yes, I have some names in the auction as well so along with doing some bidding myself I’m honored to have some of my own names in the auction.

Happy bidding and for those of your heading out to NamesCon, see you in Vegas!

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namescon-2017-final

NamesCon is now just a day away and Domain Investors from around the world are already descending on Las Vegas. My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon so I’ll be getting in with the rest of the Saturday night crew. This of course likely means that some gambling will take place before the conference starts and I thought I would setup a little game, with a prize for the winner…because let’s face it, it’s not fun without a prize.

Here’s how it works.

There are some domain name investors who gamble, some like Craps, others Poker, and there’s plenty who stay away from the tables and find their adventures in other parts of Vegas. So I thought now would be as good a time as any to see if you knew which of your favorite Domainers were gamblers…and what their favorite game is.

Be warned, not all of the people I have listed below gamble. If you can nail which of your favorite Domainers gambles, and their favorite game (in the comment section below) you’ll get a special gift from me in Vegas (think chips to gamble with yourself). Here we go…

domain-shane

Shane Cultra

elliot-silver

Elliot Silver

alan-dunn

Alan Dunn

frank-schilling

Frank Schilling

ammar-kubba

Ammar Kubba

allemann-andrew-may2008

Andrew Allemann

Braden Pollock

Braden Pollock

michael-berkens

Michael Berkens

morgan-linton

Me (with a beard)

Comment below and list who above gambles, and if they do, what their game of choice is. Ready, set, go!

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When it comes to domain names, .IO has been a favorite among startups. From companies like Keen.io that have raised over $11M to others like Aha.io, Plan.io, and many more that have turned to .IO when they weren’t able to get their exact match .COM.

apiary

Today software giant Oracle announced that it would be acquiring Apiary.io:

On January 19, 2017, Oracle announced that it signed an agreement to acquire Apiary, which creates the most comprehensive API Integration Cloud by adding the leading API design and governance solution. The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Until the transaction closes, each company will continue to operate independently. (Source – Oracle)

Prior to the acquisition, Apiary.io had raised $8.55M from some pretty impressive VCs like Flybridge Capital ($560M fund). It’s pretty clear that building their brand on a .IO didn’t impact their ability to raise funding, scale, and then sell to one of the largest companies in the world.

As I’ve said many times before, .COM is my go-to and I think it is for most startups, we’re building our brand – Bold Metrics, on a .COM. That being said, I think it’s become pretty clear that not having the .COM sure doesn’t prevent success and .IO has been a shining example of how many possibilities are out there for startups that can’t get (or afford) their .COM.

While you do run the risk of someone else branding on the exact-match .COM, which I talked about a couple of weeks ago, in the case of Apiary, there’s no confusion. There’s no way you’d land on Apiary.com and get it confused with the .IO so it likely wasn’t keeping them up at night.

Congrats to the whole Apiary.io team, I can imagine there’s a lot of celebrating going on at their HQ today!

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Today is the last day of the NRF Big Show in New York City, the largest show in retail that kicks off the year here in the Big Apple. While yesterday was jam-packed with people, talks, and demos of the latest and greatest technology impacting the retail world, one event stole the show – the fireside chat with Richard Branson.

richard-branson-nrf

Branson talked a lot about innovation and how he himself had to make some tough decisions along the way while evolving his own retail businesses.

“When we saw the handwriting on the wall for Virgin Megastores we decided, well, we don’t have to keep being a retailer. We looked at what products were selling well in our stores. It was the early days of mobile phones, so we decided to start a mobile phone company.” 

While a lot of topics were covered during the talk, I think it’s fair to say there was one sentence that has resonated through the show ever since it left Branson’s lips, in fact it’s even on the front page of the daily for today:

richard-branson-nrf-2017

In his talk Branson stressed the importance of retailers thinking like Entrepreneurs, embracing all of the technology and change taking place that they’ve traditionally been slower to adopt.

“I know it’s easy to glibly say this, but I think people who own retail stores should not think of themselves as always being retailer. They need to be entrepreneurial, and they need to spin off businesses on the back of their retail can make them money to help the retail stores survive.”

Yesterday I covered three key retail trends emerging from NRF and it’s things technologies like AI, VR, and IoT that the most cutting edge retailers are embracing and using to grow their business and improve the customer experience.

While five years ago it might have been okay for a retailer to slowly dip their toe in the water of innovation, like Branson said, now is the time to think like an entrepreneur and dive right in.

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3 key retail trends emerging from NRF 2017

nrf-2017-morgan-linton

I am in New York City this week for NRF, which is known as “The Big Show” since it really is the biggest show in the retail world. One of the best things about NRF is that it kicks-off the new year so it’s a great place to get a pulse on the upcoming retail trends.

With so many talks, events, retailers, brands, and technology companies all in one place one thing is clear, innovation is in the air. We’re still only halfway through day one but here are three trends that are already emerging as hot topics in retail in 2017:

1. AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Last night Google did a presentation about the key trends that they are seeing this year and when it came to new technologies that they see new retailers must integrate, AI was one of the top three. Closely tied to this is how data can change the game when AI and ML technologies can tap into rich data sources. There’s a great quote from the CEO of Intel from the conference about how data really is disrupting the world in so many ways:

“Data is disrupting and transforming the world, just like oil did many years ago.” (Brian Krzanich)

Just about every presentation at the show that talks about new technology touches on how AI is changing the game. Back in December Nordstrom announced they launched their first chatbot and infusing AI into the shopping experience is definitely a hot topic this year at NRF.

The clear takeaway here is that whether a customer is shopping on a mobile device or in-store, AI is being used more and more by top retailers to provide a more personalized experience. Some retailers are still playing catch-up and there’s a clear message this year that those who don’t catch-up will be left behind.

2.Virtual Reality

This morning Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel kicked things off by talking about the future of VR technology and the impact it will have on retail.

intel-vr-shopping

The possibilities really are endless but the idea of offering immersive shopping experiences in VR have gone from a pipedream to a reality and companies like Intel are helping to lead the charge with some of the world’s most innovative retailers. In his keynote this morning Brian said:

“How can we create customer experiences that give retailers more control?”

With VR retailers will have more control over how their customers experience the shopping experience in ways they never could before in a physical store. This really does mean re-thinking the shopping experience from the ground up as consumers move from physical shoppers to virtual buyers.

3. IoT

There’s a good chance that IoT has already a part of your life as a consumer. Whether you use an Alexa to turn on and off your lights, or a NEST to control your A/C it’s no secret that IoT has become a normal part of our everyday life.

For retailers, the opportunity to leverage IoT spans a wide spectrum from advanced in-store experiences to completely new ways of shopping from your home. A lot of people have been tweeting about and referencing a new article from the Huffington Post that puts IoT as one of the top three trends in business tech.

8-key-tech-trends

Of course you can see AI in the #1 spot which is why I also listed it as the top trend coming out of NRF because it clearly is the hottest topic this year. Well there’s still a lot of NRF to go so stay-tuned for more updates from the Big Apple!

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I have been using Escrow.com for a long time, when it comes to safely and securely buying or selling domains, they’ve been the gold standard for a long time. Some time ago the company was acquired by Freelancer and since then a series of updates and upgrades have been rolled out.

One of the first updates was a nice clean refresh of the Escrow.com UX to what you now see today:

escrow-com

Unless I’m buying or selling a domain for $500 or less I always use Escrow.com to make sure my transactions are completely secure. Of course, it’s hard to be 100% secure but Escrow.com has always been the leader of the pack when it comes to security…now they just got even more secure.

Hats off to DNW for tipping me off to this change today in a post announcing Escrow.com’s new verification process:

In order to send or receive payments to a personal account, users will have to provide a copy of a government-issued ID (such as a drivers license) and proof of personal address (such as a utility bill).

Businesses will need to provide a copy of a representative’s government issued ID, proof of address of that representative, and company registration documents. (Source – Domain Name Wire)

I’ve done transactions as high as $850,000 with Escrow.com, and yes, that’s a pretty big number (for me at least!) so I can tell you that takes a whole lot of trust. While I’ve always felt pretty darn safe using Escrow.com, this definitely makes transactions through the leading Escrow platform even more secure, which is always a good thing. It’s always great to see a service you have known and trusted for years get even better, and especially when better means even more safe and secure.

Congrats to the whole Escrow.com team, it’s been great to see the commitment to innovation and security, not a bad way to start out 2017!

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