australia

ZDNet published a story yesterday about two Australian domain registrars that were hit with close to $2M AUD in fines for scamming their customers. It’s one of the reasons why you should always pay careful attention to any bill you get related to domain names because while sometimes mistakes do happen, scams happen all too often.

“The Domain Companies misled businesses into thinking they were renewing payment for the business’ existing domain name, when in fact the business was paying for a new domain name,” ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said, recommending also anyone in receipt of a renewal notice for a .com or .net.au domain name check the notice is to renew the correct domain name. (Source – ZDNet)

I was actually trying to think if I know anyone from either of these registrars since I do go to domain name conferences and do know quite a few Domainers in Australia. The two companies hit with the fines are Domain Corp Pty Ltd and Domain Name Agency Pty Ltd.

Let this be a good reminder to Domainers around the world – don’t just pay your bills, review them, and if they look wrong, say something!

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Sorry but domain age doesn’t impact SEO

seo

I was talking with someone this week about domain names and SEO and they told me that they liked to buy older domains because if they ever developed them they’d rank better. I told them they were wrong and that age actually didn’t have any impact on SEO, and they said – “prove it.”

So I did.

Here it is, direct from one of the best SEO sources out there Moz.com:

The notion that the age of a domain (i.e. how long it’s been registered) is an important SEO ranking factor is a myth. (Source – Moz.com)

Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t like aged domains, I personally feel that it adds to the resale value or at least to the marketing value of a domain name. If I can say, this domain was registered twenty years ago vs. this domain was registered two years ago, it just sounds a lot better.

Also, if you think about it. If something was only registered a year or two ago, you have to wonder how good the domain is. Why did nobody ever think to register it after all of these years?

Have you been living your life thinking that domain age impacts SEO? If so, sorry to burst your bubble – if you already knew this, now you have a blog post to point to when someone doesn’t believe you!

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bitcoin-drops-in-june-2018

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that crypto has had a rough go so far this year. From exchange hacks to a pretty high impact article in the New York Times about price manipulation, things aren’t looking as bright as they did six months ago for the cryptocurrency world. If you haven’t read the NYT article that came out at the end of March, you should.

A concentrated campaign of price manipulation may have accounted for at least half of the increase in the price of Bitcoin and other big cryptocurrencies last year, according to a paper released on Wednesday by an academic with a history of spotting fraud in financial markets. (Source – New York Times)

As we’ve seen over the last year, the price of crypto-related domain names follows closely with the price of Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies like Ether and Litecoin. This means with the market as a whole down, domain prices are also down.

The question is – does that mean this is the time to buy crypto domains at a discount, or is this the beginning of the end which would mean they aren’t even close to discounted yet?

I personally think the cryptocurrency market is so new that it’s experiencing growing pains that are going to continue to hurt it for the near future. That being said, I’m still bullish on crypto as a whole and yes, I’m holding onto what I have until 2023 which is the first point that I’ve said I’d be comfortable selling at a loss.

Over the last six months I have sold some of my cryptocurrencies, but all at a profit…of course in 2023 what I have left might not be enough to buy a bag of chips, we’ll see. Nobody really knows where this is going but like I said above, I don’t think this is the end so I personally think that this might not be a terrible time to buy crypto-relate domains.

At the same time it’s important to realize that these investments will be incredibly risky since they’re tied to such a volatile market. So I thought I’d ask you, my readers, what you think. Is now the time to buy crypto-domains or in the words of Jim Cramer should you – sell, sell, sell.

I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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At the end of May Efty rolled out a new and improved version of their platform and I have to say, I’m really impressed with the end result. That being said, let’s be honest, a lot of companies make updates to their platforms and as a software company you have to always be innovating and wowing your users.

That being said, I’ve found a lot of cases where software companies update their software, but when I look at the end result I scratch my head and wonder, did they talk to any actual customers?

And that’s what makes the new Efty so freaking awesome, they spend a ton of time listening to feedback from users and using that feedback to drive better product design. So rather than thinking, “I bet people would love it if we did this!” they instead make changes knowing that people would actually like the feature their adding.

After a 6-month pilot with a small group of domainers, we announced a public beta in December 2014 and allowed anyone with an interest to sign-up and provide feedback.  And feedback we got. A lot. In fact, the feedback has never stopped and it is safe to say that it is entirely thanks to the feedback from the many domain name investors that used Efty over the years that the platform transformed from our first vision of a domain portfolio management tool into the full-fledged sales platform it is today and that we’re continuing to build for you.

Pretty much all of the new features we shipped over the past few years were build on top of the original framework that we developed for Efty back in 2014 which resulted in a somewhat bloated application that wasn’t always as fast and bug-free as we like it to be and frankly, started to look a bit tired.

That’s why our development team set out to completely revamp the application, streamline the menus, simplify navigation and build a responsive layout for all devices and operating systems. The result is a platform with a strong emphasis on helping you make more money, by driving more sales and better reporting. (Source – Efty Blog)

I had the chance to meet Doron in Hong Kong last year, here we are –>

morgan-linton-doron-efty

and while we were eating lunch together I said to him. “Doron, I love Efty, but I’ll be honest, I’m not crazy about the look and feel.” Now my tune has changed and given that I also run a software company I know how much time and energy goes into a major UX revamp, especially when you’re trying to make everything play nice with tablet and mobile.

If you haven’t had a chance to check-out the new Efty, Michael Cyger (founder of DomainSherpa and DNAcademy) did a great video walkthrough that I actually enjoyed going through myself as I realized I haven’t even been using Efty to its full potential. You can check out the video below:


For those who prefer to read, here’s a quick rundown of the new features:

Congrats to the whole Efty team, this is a great update and as a user I like that the software just got better without me having to pay any extra money! If you’re an Efty user I’d love to hear what you think of the new Efty – I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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Last week I wrote a post about how Flippa really fell off the map when it comes to domain names. I was happy to see that someone from Flippa actually read the post and commented. In their comment they confirmed my observations around their shift in focus but also corrected some confusion around irregular bidding activity.

Since they took the time to comment I wanted to make sure their comment was surfaced to the community, so here it is:

Hi Morgan,

Always good to speak with an experienced person in the industry!

Over recent times Flippa has diversified from domains into online businesses. We still support domains, but the focus of Flippa moving forward is the buy and sell of online businesses.

I did want to also quickly respond to a few comments made for the general knowledge of everyone. Importantly, Flippa employees are not allowed to engage in any auction or classified listing – Flippa remains impartial at all times. Editors choice is a selective promotion of the most interesting and ‘best’ listings on Flippa at any particular time – again this is impartial and actioned by our marketing team. Flippa does not have any internal brokerage, in fact we are working directly with many brokers from all around the world – bringing their expertise and individually managed listings to the Flippa community. Also if anyone has any questions or concerns about anything related to Flippa, our support team are available 24/7 and can be reached at support@flippa.com. Please do get on contact if you have any concerns or any general questions as we are happy to help.

I personally have always been pretty skeptical about buying online businesses from Flippa given how easy it is for sellers to put up fraudulent listings. The challenge is that Flippa doesn’t verify (to my knowledge) the traffic and revenue that the seller is claiming.

flippa-revenue-validation

This morning I went to Flippa and took a look at one of their “Editor’s Choice” online businesses for sale. The company claims to be an Amazon store making $848/month. Taking a look at their revenue though something looks weird…the business had a profit of $5,358 in March and then dropped down to $1,046 in May. Both of those numbers are higher than $848 but I just don’t think this sounds like a business that you can buy and poof, you’ll be making $848/month.

I’d be interested to understand why the business did over $5,000 in March and then two months later, revenue dropped to just over $1,000? To me this sounds like a business that you’d buy and then a month later it would be doing $0/month.

The challenge here is that Flippa gave it the “Editor’s Choice” badge, which, as a user, I would take to mean that they endorse the business. In reality, Flippa hasn’t verified the traffic and revenue and honestly, this looks like a scam to me given the major revenue fluctuations and strange monthly revenue claim of $848/month.

On this listing Flippa claims that this will generate passive income with only 10-15 minutes a week of work. I’d be very surprised if that’s true and I’d also be interested to know what research they did into the mechanics of the business to come up with that time estimate?

You can take a look at the listing I’m talking about here.

What do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Disclaimer: 

This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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For those who have been reading my blog for a while now you probably remember a weekly post I used to do called weekend musings. Every week I would take a break from talking about the normal topics I cover on my blog and would instead share a bit more about me and my life. This is MorganLinton.com, heck it’s a personal blog, and I’ll be honest, I miss getting a little personal every now and then and getting the chance to just journal my life.

Of course, this could end up being really boring so feel free to ignore my Monday posts if you aren’t really interested in hearing about me and my life. If it turns out that this series bombs then maybe I’ll just keep a personal journal but I thought, why not bring it back but on Monday’s instead of the weekend and we’ll see how it goes.

So here we go.

Last week was incredibly busy at Bold Metrics as we prepared to go live with a new client, EXPRESS. Our engineering team has done an amazing job getting ready for this launch and it has been great working the team there as well. I’m always amazed at how many people a multi-billion dollar retailer has involved in orchestrating a launch like this.

For those who don’t quite know what we do at Bold Metrics, I might as well explain since it will definitely be the focus of my Monday posts since, well, it is the focus of my life and has been for the last six years. Quick sidenot – when we started the company we thought we’d never let it take over our lives but I can tell you, that really is impossible. Startups are a huge amount of work and require mornings, nights, and often weekends (but not every weekend) with very little accolades or congratulations along the way.

Still, for us, we wanted to change the world in our own way and I do feel like we are doing that. We have build an machine learning solution that predicts body measurements, I like to think of us as an API for the human body. Our belief is that years from now our technology will be built-into chips on your phone, in your car, etc. This means that many of the experiences that you have to manually personalize today, will adjust and adapt to your body automagically in the future.

Our core market right now is apparel and as many people know, it’s hard to find clothes that fit. Most people know one to two brands that fit and stick to those. But beyond that, there’s something much bigger that we’re disrupting – the way clothes are made. For over 100 years clothes have been made using something called a “fit model” – a real living, breathing human that a brand uses to make their clothes.

The process goes something like this. A brand takes an educated guess at who typically buys a size medium, let’s say in a shirt. They then hire a fit model that they think would be the person who wears a size medium and design their size medium for that person. The small, large, extra large, etc. are then simply graded (i.e. adjustments made based on the original) based on this single pattern.

The big problem with this process is that a brand does have to guess who is actually buying their size medium. All other sizes are then based on this guess. Our technology predicts body measurements very accurately by asking customers some really simple questions – things like height, weight, age, etc. We can actually ask someone 4 – 6 questions and predict over 90 body measurements, and the predictions are more accurate than if you were to measure yourself.

We’ve spent millions of dollars building this technology and building up one of the largest data warehouses of human body measurements for our machine learning algorithms to make their predictions. Given that the process for making clothes hasn’t changed in over 100 years, it’s ripe for disruption and we’re giving brands the data they need to actually know who is buying their clothes so they can stop guessing and start using real data to make their clothes.

Of course, with this data brands can also recommend sizes to shoppers in-store and online, plug this data into their inventory management process, and even use it to improve ad targeting and marketing. This is the market we’re disrupting now, but like I said a bit earlier, there are a lot more markets to disrupt.

I see a world ten years from now where you get in your car and it knows your body measurements and adjusts the seat, steering wheel, mirrors, air vents, and safety system based on your body measurements, powered by Bold Metrics. We’ve also started working with some really interesting AR/VR companies and when you create your own avatar in the future, our tech should be at the core of this experience as well.

The Discovery Channel did a pretty fun segment on the things we’re doing in the AR/VR space last year, if you haven’t seen it yet you can get a little preview here, note it’s not the full segment:



I also talked about this on NPR around the same time last year, you can listen to that here if you really want to geek out. As you can probably guess by now, I’m a big believer in AR and VR, I think it’s going to change our world and get rid of all these screens that we know and love today. Yup, I think your cellphone screen, laptop screen, and TV screen aren’t just going to get thinner and thinner over time…I think they’re going away for good. I had the chance to talk about this at TEDx in Rome last year, if you haven’t seen that video yet, you can check it out here:



Okay, phew – guess I got a little carried away there, oh well – feels like if I’m going to talk about myself, the best place to start is what I do for a living so there ya’ go!

Now onto something not work related…and for those still reading, wow, you’ve read over 1,000 words so far and you’re still here, thanks for that!

One of my other passions in life is adventuring in the great outdoors. We live in San Francisco which is one of the best places on the planet for hiking and backpacking and that’s typically how I like to unplug. This past weekend we went to Point Reyes…which a lot of people confuse for a town in Northern California but it’s actually a breathtaking beautiful nature area with amazing hiking and backpacking that weaves through forest and onto pristine seemingly undiscovered ocean.

You will essentially go from hiking through something that looks like this:

hiking-in-point-reyes

and after a couple of miles, you’ll end up here:

point-reyes-beach

Like I said, Point Reyes isn’t a city or town itself but there are four pretty cool little towns nestled in the nature. The four towns are: Point Reyes Station, Olema, Inverness, and Bolinas. Each of them are different, they’re all tiny having only one or two places to eat or grab a drink, and they’re pretty darn charming and well off the beaten path for most tourists.

After hiking on Sunday we stopped in Bolinas for lunch at the Coast Cafe, which happened to be the only restaurant opened at that point in time.

coast-cafe-bolinas

The funny thing about Bolinas is that it’s not actually very tourist-friendly. Instead the locals have fought hard to stop development and make sure it is well off the beaten trail.

About 50 years ago, hard-core Bolinas locals started stealing the town’s highway sign and they never stopped. The goal, conceived in back-to-the-land idealism, was to build a nature-friendly community without the distractions and economic distortions of tourism. (Source – LA Times)

It takes about an hour to get from San Francisco to Bolinas so it’s not too far and geographically it’s located in a pretty interesting location at the bottom tip of the Point Reyes National Seashore. Here’s a quick look at where it is on a map:

bolinas-california

Last weekend we scoped out a number of different backpacking spots in Point Reyes and this weekend our plan is to enjoy 24-hours off the grid backpacking. It will be a pretty interesting juxtaposition as next Monday I’m heading to New York City for meetings which is just about as close as you could get to the exact opposite of backpacking in Point Reyes.

Okay, well it’s 10:00PM, somehow I’ve been able to write almost 1,500 words and if you’ve made it this far, heck just write a comment letting me know you made it. Oh and let me know if you want me to keep writing posts like these or if they’re just going to bore you to tears every week.

That being said, I hope you enjoyed a little break in the action from my normal daily posts and a look into my life. Either way, loved it, hated it, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

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domain-privacy-protection

So I wrote a post yesterday about Go Daddy’s heavy promotion of their privacy protection services. I personally don’t keep my WHOIS information private because, my domains are for sale, and I want to make it as easy as possible for people who want to buy a domain to contact me.

Of course that’s just my opinion, and I’m just one person. A number of people commented on this post saying that they disagreed with me and that privacy is the way to go.

First things first, I don’t think there is a right answer here. Second, both Uniregistry and NameCheap offer free privacy protection so if you disagree with me and want to keep your WHOIS info private, know that you can do it for free and don’t have to shell out $7.99 per domain, per year. Honestly, just think about it, this pretty much doubles the cost of your .COM renewals every year for each domain under privacy.

Here’s my reasoning for keeping my WHOIS info public:

  • I ran an experiment some time ago and learned that I got a LOT less offers if I turned privacy protection on
  • At the end of the day I do want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact me if they want to buy my domain names
  • I’ve never had an issue with spam as a result of keeping my WHOIS info public, sure I get an email here or there but it’s never bugged me
  • Like the examples I gave in my post yesterday, spammers and scammers ALWAYS have their WHOIS info private, whenever I personally see a domain that is privacy protected it always makes me think twice about what the owner is doing with the domain…do they have something to hide?

That’s just me thought, and I’m only one person. So I thought I’d expand the conversation that I kicked-off last night and ask my readers – do you prefer to keep your domain names under privacy protection or not?

I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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Over the years I’ve seen Go Daddy get increasingly aggressive with their promotion of privacy protection for domain names. As anyone who has been buying or selling domain names for years knows, privacy protection simply means that if someone wants to buy your domain name, or get in contact with you, it just makes it harder.

On top of that, if you’re running a business, using privacy protection rather than your business name as the registrant can make it look like you’re trying to hide something. For example, Twitter.com is not privacy protected, it is registered publicly by Twitter Inc. Facebook.com, you guessed it, Facebook Inc. The list goes on, just about every legitimate company you can think of has their domain name publicly registered under the company name.

Now what about something like BlackHatWorld.com? Yeah, the domain is under privacy protection. Pincoin.io, the website for a scam ICO that stole $600M, also under privacy protection.

So…here’s the screen that Go Daddy sends you to right after you register a domain name:

domain-privacy-protection

Telling people who register a domain name that if they don’t use privacy protection they will get mobbed by spam and scammers just isn’t true. The reality is they will probably end up looking like a spammer or scammer themselves if they’re hiding their identity using privacy protection.

All this being said I think it’s important to note, I am a proud Go Daddy customer, I’ve been using them for over ten years. I really like Go Daddy and think they have great technology, a stellar platform, and some truly amazing people that work their. But I think their messaging around privacy policy is just plain wrong and instead is just a way to make more money.

What do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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It’s weird but I think sometime maybe a year or two ago people stopped using Flippa and domain names in the same sentence. Maybe it has something to do with diminishing quality of inventory, maybe it was the listing costs, or it could also be the limited number of buyers with a serious budget. Whatever it was, Flippa went from being a known player in the domain world to, well, not.

Now when you go to the Flippa website they brand themselves as the #1 marketplace to buy and sell online businesses…and there’s a weird banner add for Hostgator above-the-fold. I don’t think I’ve seen many marketplaces that have a big affiliate ad front and center which probably means they’re trying to find as many ways as possible to monetize at this point.

flippa-homepage

Taking a look at the domains that are currently for sale on Flippa and there are some pretty weird listings, like this one for a portfolio of 914 domain names with a BIN price of $115,000.

914-domains

Where’s the facepalm emoji when you need it? This is very likely a portfolio of liabilities, roughly $10,000 in renewals each year for a bunch of domains that someone else couldn’t sell. I could be wrong but if someone thinks that MembersClub.com is a premium domain I can’t imagine what the other premium domains are.

So what happened? Anyone know when Flippa fell off the domain map? I used to be a big fan…now I’m just confused.

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I think one thing that probably makes me different from most blogs is that it takes me longer than most to approve comments when I have a reader who is commenting for the first time. As a startup founder (Bold Metrics) my days are absolutely packed so I only get a chance to look at my blog often once in a 24-hour time period.

That being said, I am super excited to see how many new readers I am getting, and how many people are jumping in to comment and share their opinions. If it’s your first time commenting I just have to approve your comment once and you’ll be good to go from there.

So if you’ve been thinking about commenting and finally decide to do it…then you notice you comment doesn’t show up and you think, “that Morgan guy is a jerk, he didn’t publish my comment, screw him!” Just wait 24-hours or shoot me an email because trust me, I want your comment on my blog, good or bad I want my readers to know that their voice can be heard.

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