blog background

So I recently realized that I’ve had the same background rocking on my blog for over two years now, and it’s time for a change. Since I’m not a designer, and I also know I don’t have an amazing design eye, I’m probably not the best person to pick the background.

Which is why I thought – why not ask my reader since you are the ones that have to look at my background the most? I have held off on offering up my background as advertising space because I think that can often distract from the content and I’m sticking with that approach for now.

There are three different types of backgrounds I’ve been thinking of:

  1. Something abstract (like the current background)
  2. A landscape photograph (think something like the background on your Macbook)
  3. A solid color (the least distracting but admittedly boring)

What do you think? Feel free to include a link to any images that you think are a good example of what you’re suggesting. Thanks in advance for sharing!

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I read an interesting article this week on DomainInvesting.com with Elliot’s thought on investing in hundreds of domain names vs. thousands of names. I think most people know Elliot, and know he has some very solid names – he’s focused on quality over quantity.

However that’s just one of two paths, other investors like Mike Mann have large portfolios and make (and report) the huge volume of sales they end up making. It makes sense right? More domains, more sales, but each of these models requires a different strategy and focus.

Right now Elliot’s portfolio has about 500 domains in it but there was a time when he thought about building up a portfolio of 25,000+ names:

“Buying thousands of domain names proved to be much more difficult than the model that has worked well for 10+ years. To alter my strategy, I would need to be somewhat less discriminating about the domain name I purchase. I would need to be more active in auctions and target far more domain names. I found that this was a major challenge as many names I thought I could buy for under $100 were selling for much more at auction. It was taking a great deal of time to find good values. At the rate I was going, bidding on auctions was not going to get me to 25k domain names very quickly and it would be very expensive.” (Elliot Silver)

Like Elliot, I also have a portfolio of around 500 domains, and have thought about what it would be like to have thousands or tens of thousands. I have very similar feelings to Elliot and really just acknowledge that it’s a whole different game.

What do you think? Are you going for a thousand or ten-thousand name portfolio or focusing on a smaller portfolio with bigger names? Do you think one path is better than another?

Comment and let your voice be heard!

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I’m always happy to see when posts from years ago continue to live on and bring active conversation and discussion. Every once and a while I write a post that somehow magically transforms into a discussion board of its own. One particular post that is still going strong I wrote back in 2011 and yesterday it hit 138 comments – it’s about why it’s so hard to make money with directory sites and you can check it out here.

While I wrote the post six years ago I still think it covers a topic that is still very relevant today. I don’t think this is something that is specific to Domainers though and if I were to go back in time and change the title I’d change the title to “Why most people won’t make a dime with directory sites.”

Still, six years later and I see the same being true and actually extending beyond directory sites. The fact is that too many people think that building a website and monetizing one are the same thing. It’s easy to spend a good chunk of change on a great-looking site, the problem is, you haven’t spent a dime sending traffic to it. A great website with no traffic is like an incredible store that would make millions in the middle of Manhattan, and putting it in the middle of the desert.

From directory sites to eCommerce stores, just putting together a website that has the potential to make money isn’t enough to actually make money. Companies spend a lot of money paying people like Google and Facebook to send traffic to their site. It’s not enough to have a budget for your website, you need a budget for getting people to your site and actually performing some action that makes you money.

It’s probably time for me to write an article about why most people that think they’re going to build a money-making website are actually probably going to burn a lot of money building an awesome website that doesn’t make any money. But I’ll have to save that for another day. Thanks to everyone that has been commenting on my post from way back in 2011, always fun to see things like this happen.

Of course, I’d love to hear from you. Do you think what I said back in 2011 still holds true? Comment and let your voice be heard!

 

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It’s funny because sometimes I hear people say things like, “are people still buying and selling domain names?” To which I’d love to respond, “No, that ship has sailed” since that would mean less investors to compete over names with, but I can’t say that, and instead I have to tell the truth, the domain name world is at the top of it’s game, and IMHO it’s only getting hotter.

ali-zandi-225x225-2017-150x150

So it should come as no surprise that Freedom.com just sold for $2M, and the guy who sold it, Ali Zandi, made a name for himself selling domains on Flippa, lives in Hawaii, and has a super-cool beard that I wish I could grow but I know I can’t.

This week Michael Cyger from DomainSherpa.com sat down with Ali to talk about the Freedom.com sale and I think it’s definitely worth a listen. Whether you’re a startup founder or a domain name investor, this is an interview you can’t miss.

You can listen or watch the interview here.

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As the co-founder of a SaaS startup I end up spending quite a bit of time in Excel staring at tab after tab of numbers. Many of these numbers start at the top of the sheet and then after running through a zillion formulas end up populating massive tables full of predictions. Given where we are now, a model based on formulas that take-into account what happened in the past is critical to taking a truly data-driven approach.

But what do you do if you’re just getting started in the SaaS world and there is no past. Plugging in formulas that you know are going to be completely wrong is just going to create a spreadsheet that gets frozen in time and becomes next-to-impossible to update.

We made the mistake early on of trying to built a super complex financial model only to realize that we never updated it and it became more of a snapshot in time rather than a living document. Back then I wish I had read this blog post by Baremetrics with one of the best primers I’ve read on building a financial model that you’ll actually update.

There are plenty of elaborate financial model templates out there, but the ones I’ve seen come with a key problem — it’s a significant undertaking to update them.

In fact, inaccurate financial modeling and the hassle to update that model is what nearly put Baremetrics out of business last year before we worked with them to get a sustainable model in place. (Source – Baremetrics Blog)

Along with walking founders through the process of creating the initial model, the article also shares the Excel template that you can use to get started. So if you’re getting your SaaS company off the ground and trying to put together a realistic financial model, I’d recommend reading this article before you spend a bunch of time and money building a model you’ll never update.

I learned the lesson the hard way, hopefully this blog post saves you some pain 🙂

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Today is an exciting day in the Austin startup world as news has rippled through town about Google’s acquisition of VR game creator Owlchemy Labs. If you don’t know Owlchemy Labs then you honestly have missed out on some of the most superbly amazing VR games like Job Simulator or Jack Lumber.

This acquisition definitely has the gears turning when it comes to Google’s path in the VR world.

It’s difficult to read too much into what this means, and Markovic points out that Google has released products purely for non-Google headsets, like Tilt Brush and Google Earth. But the acquisition does feel like it’s pointing toward something beyond the current version of Daydream. (Source – The Verge)

Huge congrats to the whole Owlchemy Labs team and great to see another win for the Austin VR scene!

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Every quarter Ivan Rasskazov and Giuseppe Graziano put together a report of the liquid domain name market. Note the word liquid which is critical to understand since this report does not cover the entire domain industry but instead focuses on a specific category of domain.

So what is a liquid domain? This report focuses on the following categories of liquid domain names:

  • LL .COMs
  • 3L .COMs
  • 4L .COMs
  • NN .COMs
  • 3N .COMs
  • 4N .COMs
  • 5N .COMs
  • CC .COMs

These categories are considered liquid because investors can look at market values for names in these categories, i.e. someone can look and say, ah a 5N .COM is currently selling for X on average, and find a buyer in and around that price.

Generic words like Cool.com are without a doubt incredibly valuable (and very liquid) domain names, but have much more variability in pricing. Many amazing one and two-word .COMs that have plenty of value aren’t tracked in the same way that domains in the category above are. Liquid domains, as listed above can be tracked just like stocks in a stock market and in China they really are considered a true asset class with values based on the organization of letters and numbers in short .COM domain names.

In the latest report it was interesting to see a small decline in 4L and 5N names (~8%) and a huge drop for Chinese Premium 3L .COMs which lost 50% of their value, yikes! This shows the incredibly variability and unpredictability of the market which is still incredibly nascent and in many ways still being created and defined.

Between countries the US and China are by far the most dominant when it comes to actively buying and selling liquid domains like these. If you want to dive more into the data yourself you can download the report here. Domain Sherpa also has a great interview with the creators of the report which you can watch here.

Now here’s the question. How long are we going to continue to see massive volatility and price swings (like a 50% change) in the liquid domain market until things even out? Or will they always be this erratic? Comment and let your voice be heard!

 

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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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