Hello, happy Thursday, and welcome to Morgan’s Flippa Five. This week I am highlighting five websites/apps on Flippa that caught my eye. I’m particularly excited about the first site on my list which is actually a SaaS software product that is built and already generating revenue. Enjoy my top five picks below and as always feel free to share some of your own favorites in the comment section below!

ChooseJarvis.com – Jarvis is a social media tool to help businesses understand what content performs the best on Twitter and Facebook. A great starting point for someone who wants to run a small software company in the social media space.

LustBox.no – like the above example, this is more than a website, this is a running eCommerce business and includes inventory. While the name might not give it away, it’s actually a subscription service for men, originally started by two friends in 2014 who wanted to bring the popular subscription box concept from North America to Norway.

Piclay (App) – this one definitely caught my attention since it has been on the app store for four years, and has a 4.5 star rating with over 58,000 reviews…so safe to say the app works and people like it. Piclay is an all-in-one photo app for the iPhone that makes it easy to overlay, mirror or collage your photos together to share on social media.

MovingCheaply.com – I haven’t seen many sites get this kind of traction in such a short period of time. Which means you should do your homework to make sure all the awesome results check out but given that the seller has an 100% feedback rating and has done north of $177k in transactions it sounds legit to me. Like the name implies, the site is for people looking for moving services and makes it’s money through lead generation.

DivineWaist – to round out the list, DivideWaist is a drop shipping business selling, like the name says, something that makes your waist look slim. The great thing about drop shipping businesses is that you don’t have to carry any inventory, when you get an order you send it directly to another company that gives you the wholesale price and ships it out for you.

 

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I’ve been using Domain Name Sales for years and with the release of Uniregistry Market somehow I missed the fact that you can actually connect the two. I stumbled across this when I was looking at Uniregistry’s You Tube channel and found a video walking users through the process. Here’s the video:

It’s a pretty simple change and I always feel like the more eyeballs you can get on your domains the more inbound offers you’ll get – makes sense right? Also, as I’ve said a million times before, I love the Uniregistry UX so anything I can do to spend more time in there, I’ll take it.

If you haven’t checked-out Uniregistry’s You Tube channel it’s definitely worth taking a look. They cover some pretty useful topics like bulk domain transfers, and some basics like “What is a domain name” which most of you already know but it’s a great primer for any friends that you want to get up to speed.

Oh, and if you scroll down to the very bottom there’s a great video by Frank Schilling about the evolution of the Internet and Domain Names – definitely a solid one if you have friends that don’t understand what the heck you’re doing with domain names and just a fun one to watch. Enjoy!

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A few months ago I had the incredible honor of speaking at TEDx in Rome. I’ve been watching TED and TEDx talks for years and was hoping some day I would have the chance to give a talk myself so when the opportunity came up, I jumped on it.

The topic of my talk is something I am very passionate about since we live it every day at Bold Metrics, the evolution of commerce. In the five years that we’ve been running our company the retail world has seen a major shift as consumers are now shopping on mobile rather than desktop, and to be blunt, Amazon is eating everyone for lunch.

The theme for TEDx Rome this year was centered around looking twenty years in the future and I’m a big believer that physical screens will go the way of the dodo and Virtual and Augmented Reality will become the way in which we interact with computers, televisions, smartphones, etc. This of course also means that commerce and shopping as a whole will also go through a huge transformation as this new medium comes of age.

My talk is now live on You Tube (in fact it has been for some time now but I just forgot to mention it on my blog) so if you didn’t fly out to Rome to hear me speak you can now watch it from the comfort of your own home, enjoy!

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It’s no secret that Sedo sells a lot of domains. They also have some of the best brokers out there with proven track records for selling names like it’s going out of style. On top of that, they have been rolling out UI updates to improve the look-and-feel of the site…but unfortunately, like I said in the title of this post – the backend still seems to be stuck in the past.

When I started buying and selling domain names back in 2007 I remember Sedo having some issues with their backend, but I thought, okay – over time they’ll fix it. Now I’m pretty surprised to see that a number of these issues are still there and haven’t changed a bit in the last ten years.

Here’s an example. Let’s suppose you want to delete all the domains in your account. These domain names will still show up but instead are listed as Not for sale. In the end, your Sedo account will look something like this after you have deleted domains from your portfolio:

sedo-not-for-sale

Now I know, these are not listed for sale so that might be the same as deleting a domain…but I think it’s probably pretty darn confusing to your average user as it was for me ten years ago. Every other platform I’ve used removes the domains so you don’t see them in your portfolio after deleting them so it looks like this is a legacy feature that Sedo is hanging on to.

Sedo has also had the notion of SedoMLS Premium but they don’t list on their site which registrars are supported so you have to first upload domains and then see if your registrar is supported. Seems like it would be easy enough to just publish a list of supported registrars right?

Last but not least, the “Offers Received” section of the site still looks just like it did back in 2007 and is just as clunky. Given that this is where such a critical part of the domain sales process takes place you’d think this would be ripe for innovation over a ten year time period. There are a lot of ways Sedo could upgrade this to make it easier for sellers to follow-up with and negotiate deals with buyers.

At the same time, I’ve always wondered if Sedo tries to keep their DIY selling tools limited to give an advantage to their domain brokers. Either way, as a seller I would love to see improvements made to these core parts of the site every couple of years.

So why the rant on a Monday morning? I just look at services like Uniregistry and can so clearly see what is possible from a domain listing service, here’s their backend:

unireigstry-market

Seriously, you can tell the amount of time and thought that went into building the Uniregistry backend, it’s clean, intuitive, and gives sellers a lot more power to negotiate their own deals. Sedo has been around a lot longer than Uniregistry, so how did they let their backend slip so far behind?

What do you think? Am I expecting too much here or did Sedo just put some paint on a backend system that is long overdue for an update?

You’ve heard what I have to say, now I want to hear from you. Comment and let your voice be heard!

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Podcast Icon

Well I’ve decided, after years of staying out of the audio or video streaming world that it’s time to jump back in. For those who know me, you know that I have a lot of energy and sometimes that energy just doesn’t translate as well with writing alone. At the same time, my life is incredibly busy and as I learned years ago, video takes a lot more time to put together than audio.

So I have decided to try (note the emphasis on try) to do a short and sweet weekly podcast with a recap of the top Domaining news from the previous week. Since I read Domaining.com every day and really enjoy following along with everything that’s going on in the domain name world I thought a nice concise recap would be something people might like. Also since I spend just about every waking minute running a SaaS startup I wanted to do more to give back to the Domaining world and thought this would be a fun way to do it.

I said in the beginning of the episode that I’d try to keep it to 5 – 10 minutes but I went over by about a minute on my first episode so let’s just say these episodes are likely going to be 10 – 15 minutes. Hopefully this is a short enough format that you can easily catch-up on the latest Domaining news on your way to work on Monday.

Also, three quick things to point out about this podcast before you scroll down and hit play:

  1. I am keeping the podcast sponsor-free – what you hear on the podcast is me reporting the news, good, bad, and ugly
  2. No interviews – I’m going to stick to covering the news, if you want interviews both the DNW Podcast and DomainSherpa are the best place to go, seriously – they rock!
  3. Focus on other blogs – I don’t want this to be wildly self-promotional so want to highlight other blogs breaking news

Okay, ready to dive in and get started? Here’s the first episode of This Week In Domaining:


Let me know what you think? Love it? Hate it? I can take it – please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Below are links to the articles that were highlighted in my podcast this week:

Aron Meystedt sells OC.com and XF.com in same week (DNW)

Namejet adds “Shill Bidding Policy” in updated terms of use (OnlineDomain)

150 domains sold in last 9 months (NamePros)

Opening Day Photos and Highlights from the Inaugural NameSummit Conference in New York City (DNJournal)

NameSummit 2017 Recap (DNW)

GoDaddy domains business grows 15% in Q2 (DomainIncite)

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I always laugh when people say that the only people who make money with domain names are the guys who got started in the early days. When I started in 2007 just about everyone told me I was too late, and another “late-comer” that is making waves lately is Logan Flatt, who has been flipping two-word .COMs for a very healthy profit.

logan-flatt

Back in July Logan went on the DomainSherpa show to talk about how he sold SmartMonday.com for $14,488 after buying it for $69 just three months earlier.

Three days ago Logan announced another solid two-word .COM sale, TheMarc.com which he also bought for $69 but this time back in 2014 and sold last week for $6,800. It’s a great example of the strong value that two-word .COMs continue to have and the opportunities that are out there for new domain investors.

Other well-known Domain Investors like Rick Schwartz, Frank Schilling and Mike Mann have also talked about the names they have purchased recently and flipped for massive profits. Sure, the big name Domain Investors also have incredibly names they bought 10 – 20 years ago but if you look at what they’re selling on a regular basis you’d be surprised how many of them were names that anyone else could have bought in auction if they were willing to make the investment.

All that being said, results like these shouldn’t cause you to rush out and buy as many two-word .COMs as you can get your hands on. You could buy 100 domains for $69 and not sell a single one so it’s really not as easy as many would like to believe that it is. In fact, now more Domain Investors than ever are trying to sell their entire portfolio which usually means only getting pennies on the dollar. Many of these portfolios are full of two-word .COMs, but they’re essentially junk, and sure, many of them also cost only $69.

Rick Schwartz made a good comment on these portfolio sales earlier today:

rick-schwartz-potfolio-sales

It can be all too easy to hear people like Logan talk about their two-word .COM sales and think that all they had to do was buy two-word .COMs for a low price and flip them for a huge profit. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that there are far more “Domain Investors” out there who are trying to liquidate their portfolios and kicking themselves for buying so much junk.

The challenge is developing an eye for what sells. Rick calls junky domains pigeon shit, and knowing what is a steal of a deal for $69 and what is a giant heap of pigeon shit for the same price, well that takes time and experience. The great thing about the domain industry is that if you aren’t sure, you have direct access to the experts who will give you their honest opinion and help you get on the right path.

The biggest mistake you can make is just to buy without listening and learning, yes you’re going to make mistakes, but you can limit the mistakes you make by being humble, asking people what they really think of what you bought, and not getting emotionally attached to your domains.

Congrats to Logan on the slew of solid two-word .COM sales, here’s to the next one which is probably just around the corner!

 

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eSports

Video games used to be thought of as a waste of time, something that kids would do for fun but with no redeeming qualities. At the same time, games like Chess have often been associated with intelligence and skill. Well it’s 2017 and the world has changed, video games are being put more and more in the realm of chess with masterful players making millions of dollars and eSports possibly getting added to the Olympics.

Gone are the days of button mashing, modern games require thinking many moves ahead, learning from other experts and their proven strategies, and studying and understanding your opponent. Sound similar to chess? Yes, these games actually have a lot in common with the process of learning and mastering chess.

You might also be surprised to learn that there’s a eSports tournament that just ended, and the winning team walked away with $212,500, and that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the over $100M in prizes that the top game has already reached. Which leads to an interesting question, and it’s another reason I wanted to make a longer intro in this post, so you can’t scroll down and cheat.

So now for the question – can you name the top three eSports games in 2017?

dota-2

#1 – Dota 2

Dota stands for Defense of the Ancients, and not surprisingly the “2” at the end means this is the second game in the series. The game actually started out as a community-created mod for Blizzard’s Warcraft III. The game is played by teams, and each team has five players with ten total players. Each player becomes a “hero” – which like the name implies, is a powerful character with special powers and abilities. The team that destroys a large tower on the opponents base (aptly called the “Ancient”) wins the game.

Total Prize Money: $101,226,600
Total Tournament-level Players: 1980
Total Tournaments: 764

league-of-legends

#2 – League of Legends

You might be surprised to learn that League of Legends was also inspired by a Warcraft III mod and the original DOTA game. In the game players are called “summoners” and they control a “champion” that, like a “hero” in DOTA 2 has special powers and abilities. Also similar to DOTA 2 (and not surprisingly) the goal of the game is to destroy a critical building on the opposing team’s side, which in LOL is called the Nexus.

Total Prize Money: $41,890,164
Total Tournament-level Players: 4803
Total Tournaments: 1881

counter-strike-global-offensive

#3 – Counter Strike Global Offensive

To round out the top three is a very different style of game, a first-person action shooter. It is the fourth in the Counter Strike series and like DOTA and League of Legends it pits two teams against each other. Like most first-person action shooters the goal is to shoot the other team as much as possible but there’s an additional wrinkle to the game which involves completing objectives while you’re whirling virtual bullets at each other. There are six different game modes, each different, and like DOTA 2 and League of Legends the top teams deploy incredibly detailed and complex strategies.

Total Prize Money: $37,386,103
Total Tournament-level Players: 7855
Total Tournaments: 2520

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Kennedy Lake, California

This was my home for the last three days, 8,000 feet up on a lake in the High Sierra’s. One of my best friends from High School is getting married in September and rather than throw the traditional bachelor party, he thought it would be a lot of fun to go backpacking – and I think he made a great move there.

On Saturday nine of us strapped on everything we needed to live for three days and set off on a seven mile hike, uphill, to Kennedy Lake. I used to backpack quite a bit when I was younger but it has easily been fifteen years since I’ve strapped on a 30+ pound pack and headed into the mountains. The experience was amazing in many ways and as usual I like to document my reflections and of course share them with all of you at the same time.

So here it goes…but first, one more picture to get you into the moment.

Kennedy Lake Backpacking

  1. It is incredibly refreshing to completely unplug – when I go on vacation I usually make sure I have Internet access and end up checking email at least a few times a day. While I still enjoy vacation, I have to say this has given me some perspective, without thinking about email (since there was no way to check it without hiking 7 miles down a mountain) it really helped my mind unwind.
  2. Spending time with good friends is one of the best ways to spend your time – as a startup founder I find myself judging the success of a day (weekday or weekend) based on how much I get done or how much we get done together as a team. I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices over the years and one of those has been spending a lot less time with friends. This trip reminded me that I really do need to take a step back every now and then and just spend time with good friends. No excuses, I can make the time and I really should be doing it more.
  3. Nature is absolutely amazing – I spent just about all day, every day of the trip in awe of nature. From the mountains to the rivers, lakes, trees, and even the rocks, nature is incredible. While you can definitely see and appreciate nature on a day hike, I think there’s something special about backpacking and getting off the beaten trail to a part of nature that isn’t as accessible by people. Listening to the water rushing by, the birds chirping, and the view right in front of me was incredible. No music, no Internet, no comfy chair or couch, just sitting on a rock by a river – absolutely magical.
  4. Surviving in nature is a full time job – along with being absolutely beautiful, every day on a backpacking trip revolves around survival. When you wake up in the morning you walk down to the river and create new fresh filtered water. Then you start a fire and start making breakfast, by the time you’re done with breakfast you have a couple of hours to get out and explore before you need to go back to making fresh water, getting a fire going, and making your next meal. There’s something really peaceful about this rhythm and it also reminds you how much we get used to our creature comforts. And yes – next time you see a toilet, appreciate it for all it’s majesty because going to the bathroom in the woods is an entirely different experience.
  5. Your body can do more than you think – so my backpack ended up weighing around 40 pounds, which is more weight than I’ve had on my back in a very long time. Couple this with hiking uphill for seven miles and I was wondering how my body was going to take it. I’ve had some back and knee problems over the last few years and I thought…okay, what am I going to pinch, tweak, or dislocate. Amazingly (knock on wood) I was able to do the hike and actually felt pretty darn energized the entire time.

Okay, enough reflecting, time to catch up on email and get ready for a busy week ahead. I feel more refreshed than I have in a long time which makes me think this probably won’t be my last backpacking trip of the year. Thanks for reading and as always feel free to comment and share reflections on your own adventures or comment on mine.

Morgan Linton Kennedy Lake

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One of the things that I have always appreciate about the domain industry is the people. Some of the smartest, most driven people I have ever met, I met through Domaining and one of those people is Andee Hill. Most recently Andee has been at Donuts, a leader in the new gTLD space, where she spent two years as the Director of Business Development.

andee-hill

Today, I was excited to read on Elliot’s blog that Andee has now taken a new role at ICANN as their Registrar Services and Engagement Programs Director.

Given how much experience Andee has in the domain industry, and the network she has built over the years I think ICANN has made a great move here and one that hopefully helps continue to bring our industry closer together. Huge congrats to Andee, and to ICANN, this definitely feels like a solid win-win to me.

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whitepaper

You might think that registering a .COM, a .LONDON, or a .IO are all the same except for the price. While you would be right, the .COM always does command the highest price, there’s more under the hood with a TLD, and in some cases this could be the difference between keeping and losing your domain name.

Late last month the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published a whitepaper that did a deep dive into how domain owners are protected (or not) depending on the TLD that they register.

It turns out that not every top-level domain is created equal when it comes to protecting the domain holder’s rights. Depending on where you register your domain, a rival, troll, or officious regulator who doesn’t like what you’re doing with it could wrongly take it away, or could unmask your identity as its owner—even if they are from overseas. (Source – EFF.org)

While in some cases registries are doing a good thing and protecting brands, there are of course plenty of people out there who abuse the rules and use these regulations to take a domain name from its rightful owner. With so many new gTLDs now on the market it can be all too easy to register a word or phrase that you think will be valuable in the future only to find out that some of the TLDs you registered it in, won’t have your back if someone who knows how to bend the rules in their favor decides they want it for themselves.

In the whitepaper that EFF released they share some good tips for steering clear of what they call trademark bullies, copyright bullies, and overseas speech regulators. If none of these things ring a bell I’d recommend taking a look at the whitepaper because let’s be honest, there’s nothing more frustrating than buying a domain and then having some annoying troll steal it from you because they’ve built a business doing that.

This hasn’t happened to me yet, but I have had people in the past try to bully me into giving them a domain that I rightfully own free and clear, luckily I picked TLDs that had my back, but just make sure you know which ones those are because in some cases you won’t be as lucky.

You can read the full whitepaper here and no you don’t have to give them your email address or anything about yourself in order to access it. Better safe than sorry right?

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