neo-name-system

So while it might seem like the cryptocurrency world is burning to the ground, some altcoins are still chugging along. One of the more popular altcoins, NEO has seen some pretty strong interest in the new .NEO TLD with domains like wallet.NEO and crypto.NEO seeing pretty heavy bidding activity.

Of course, these domains aren’t selling for actual money, they are being paid for using NEO Gas. If you don’t know what Gas is, here’s a quick primer:

  • NEO tokens represent the ownership of the NEO blockchain. They are used to create blocks and manage the network, and when you hold NEO in your wallet, you’ll be rewarded with GAS tokens.
  • GAS tokens give you the right to use the NEO blockchain. Much like Ether to the Ethereum network, GAS is the fuel that powers transactions in the NEO system.
    (Source – Finder.com)

With the launch of .NEO, the NEO Name Service has actually become the most active DApp out there.

Chinese blockchain developer, NewEconoLabs, has launched NEO Name Service (NNS), a domain name service for the NEO blockchain, on the NEO MainNet. NNS offers users easy-to-remember domain names ending in “.neo”. Auctions for domain names started on October 9th, 2018, and are ongoing.

Reached for comment, NewEconoLabs founder Liu Yougxin stated that “The number of domain names started is more than 10,000 in a few days after its MainNet launch. Currently, it is the most used DApp on NEO.” (Source – NEO News Today)

I personally have zero interest in .NEO domains but I do think it’s interesting that in a very short period of time the service issuing .NEO domains became the most-used DApp. That either shows you that domains are hot no matter how you slice it…or there aren’t that many popular DApps out there.

Since I know very little about crypto or NEO I thought I’d let some of my readers who know more about this chime in and share their thoughts. Should I care about .NEO? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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stop-dot-com-price-increase

You might not know this but the price of .COM domains could increase, by an unknown amount, in a little over a month. Verisign, the company that currently has the exclusive right to issue .COM domains could make hundreds of millions of dollars off of all of us by increasing the price of every .COM domain registration and renewal in the world.

While you might think it’s impossible to stand up to a big company, it’s not, but it does take an organization with experience standing up to big companies on behalf of domain owners. That organization is the ICA (Internet Commerce Association) and they have been standing up for the rights of domain owners for a long time now.

To help stop the price increase of .COM domains, the ICA has put together a website – stopthepriceincreaseof.com and a petition which I strongly urge anyone who is reading this to take a minute to sign.

I would like to sincerely thank the ICA for championing this issue, now it’s up to all of us to sign the petition and spread the word. So please, take thirty seconds to stop what you’re doing and click the link below:

Sign the Petition

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gaming-domains

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of eSports, and the global market for gaming is exploding which means more startup are entering the space every week. Of course, this also makes finding the right domain name even harder since, as the saying goes “all the good domains are taken.”

If you’re a startup in the gaming space, you probably don’t have tens of thousands of dollars (or more) to put into a domain name. At the same time, you want a .COM that’s easy to remember and can serve as a solid brand for years to come.

Picking the right domain out of the gate is pretty important, I’ve gone through the rebranding process myself (from Fashion Metric to Bold Metrics) and it is a lot more complicated and expensive than I would have ever thought.

While you might think that picking a good brandable domain means coming up with a list of domains that you think could be a good fit, and then emailing the owners and trying to negotiate a fair price. This is a time consuming process, and at the end of the day you have no idea if any of the names you picked are going to be within your budget.

Enter BrandBucket, a marketplace of brandable domain names that come with a logo and listed at prices that startups can actually afford. I thought it would be fun to see if I could come up with a top ten list of domains at BrandBucket that could be a good fit for an eSports/gaming startup, so I did! Here’s what I came up with.

What’s your favorite name on the list? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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focus

Lately I’ve been talking quite a bit about my planned shift in focus to liquid domains next year. Initially I was thinking numeric domains was where I would put most of my investment dollars but after some rather sage advice I’ve been considering putting more focus on 4L and 5L .COMs.

As I start going down this path I thought it would be interesting to hear from you, my readers, and understand which path you’re taking and why.

Brandables have a very magical quality to them and can sell for big bucks if you happen to have the domain that someone really wants. At the same time, you might have to wait ten years until that perfect buyer comes along that wants to build a brand on your domain.

At the same time there are people making money outside of .COM…but I’ve steered clear of this approach as I’ve found in the past it’s really hard to find any repeatability. Yes, there are some nice big juicy non .COM sales, but they aren’t the norm and let’s face it – most people want the .COM so if they are coming to you for a non .COM it’s usually because the .COM is out of their price range.

What is still conflicting for me is the fact that as a startup founder, Brandables are pretty much all I’d be interested in, I’m probably not going to name my company 32567.com. So moving to liquid domains likely means moving away from selling to startup and entrepreneurs looking to put the domain to use and instead selling to other investors, but at a value that we both can quickly and easily agree on.

So now I’ll pass the mic to you and ask – liquid or brandables, what are you putting your focus on? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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phone-call

In between all of the people trying to buy your domain name for a “student project” or a “personal website” are real buyers, people with a budget that could even exceed your price expectations for your domain. The challenge is, if you get a lot of inbound offers on one or more domains, real buyers can easily slip through the cracks.

There are all kinds of ways to filter and yes, if the buyer puts in a low-ball offer and won’t budge, well that’s an easy filter. Or like I said above, you probably don’t want to sell your six-figure one-word .COM to a student with no budget.

At the same time, sometimes you’ll get a buyer that doesn’t want to throw out an offer, but is a serious buyer. I’ve always found that the best way to sell if someone’s serious is actually a lot more simple than it sounds – ask them to hop on a call.

Think about it. If you really wanted to buy a domain, you’d hop on a call with the owner ASAP right? For any of my domains that I’m looking to get five figures for (I don’t have any six-figure domains) I like to hop on a call because I know a serious buyer with a real budget will hop on a call and talk through things with me.

Once you’re on the phone, this is the best opportunity to actually “sell” your domain, share comparable sales, learn more about the buyer, and do things that might take a dozen emails back-and-forth to figure out. If a buyer doesn’t want to hop on the phone, or takes days to respond when you ask if they can, well, that probably just means they’re not as interested.

Of course, this is just my opinion. What do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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Every year, as consumer get ready to spend big in November and Decembers, scammers get ready to scam big, and domain names is a core weapon in many scammers arsenal. So what kind of domains are these scammers buying? Confusingly similar names to major online destinations, and they register so many domains that the companies can’t possibly shut them all down.

Direct navigation is still alive and well, yes – people type domain names into their browsers. Not surprisingly people make mistakes when typing out a URL, and when they do, they could land on a site that looks exactly like the site they were trying to go to. People rarely double-check the URL, if the site loads and looks like the site they expected, they assume they’re in the right place.

Look-alike domains are increasingly finding favor with criminals eager to rip off online shoppers, according to a new report from Venafi, a cybersecurity firm.

Its research found that the “total number of certificates for look-alike domains is more than 200 percent greater than the number of authentic retail domains.”

To drive home the danger and scope of the problem, Venafi said that one top 20 U.S. retailer has more than “12,000 look-alike domains targeting their customers.” In Germany, meanwhile, there exist “four times more look-alike domains than valid domains” when measured by the top 20 online retailers in that country. (Source – Pymnts.com)

In the example above, like the article says, scammers registered 12,000 look-alike domains targeting customers of just one retailer. This is such a large number that the idea of even trying to shut down the scam sites is impossible.

So as you gear up for your holiday shopping adventures, make sure you’re at the right domain. We’re all going a million miles an hour, life is busy, and just missing one letter could lead you right to a scammer that’s sitting there ready and waiting to take your credit card info.

I haven’t done much searching around but I’d be interested to know if any of you have found any of these scam domains yet?

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google-plus-domains

This week Jason Calacanis, a super angel who was an early investor in companies like Uber shared his thought on Google move to shut down GooglePlus. In his tweet, Jason said that he thinks the biggest mistake that Google made with GooglePlus was not giving the service it’s own domain name.

He suggested a couple of names like Plus.com and Path.com, and let’s be honest, there are a zillion other names that Google can afford to buy that would have cemented Google Plus as it’s own unique service.

Instead, Google Plus was always a confusing offering hidden away behind your photo in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. I can still remember when it launched and nobody could find it, it was confusing and when it comes to a social media offering, if people can’t easily access it, then it’s not going to take off no matter how big the brand behind it is.

Jason’s point here is spot on. If Google announced a new service and put it on Plus.com, that could have really become a destination.

What this really highlights is the power of a domain name when it comes to branding. Your domain name is your brand online, and this just goes to show that even a company as big as Google, can’t build a brand online without a domain behind it.

Now for an interesting question. Since Google can afford any domain they want to buy, what domain should they have bought? Here’s my top three:

  1. Plus.com
  2. Connect.com
  3. Path.com

What domain do you think Google should have bought? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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I stumbled on an interesting article today that did a deep dive into the average lifespan of what they define as malicious domains. While I’ve never heard of “malicious” domains, I assume that they’re talking about domains that are illegal to own for one reason or another. Apparently, these are being registered all the time, and killed off usually hours later.

A lot of the new domain names that are created die quickly, either by being canceled by the person who registered them or by the registrar like GoDaddy or the gTLD registry that’s responsible for whatever dot-domain it is. (Source – TechTarget)

As the article goes on, they start talking about Domain Blacklisting which it turns out is the biggest cause of death for malicious domains. The article jumps around quite a bit but there’s also a pretty interesting read about .TK domains and some of the absolutely insane things that happened with this previously unknown ccTLD.

If you go back a couple of years ago, about half of all new domain names came from a single country-code top-level domain (TLD). That was .tk for Tokelau, a small island off the coast of New Zealand. They did not really have a need for their own top-level domain — they didn’t even have much internet connectivity — so they rented it out to a commercial organization in the Netherlands. The owner of the organization did not have the public interest at heart; he was trying to maximize revenue at whatever cost. He had a way for people to buy domain names in bulk, which they did because they needed to buy cheap domain names for things like comment spam on forums and things like Amazon reviews; the places they wanted to spam were going to notice if the same domain name was trying to send comments again and again. They needed unique domain names for every comment. (Source – TechTarget)

There’s more to the story if you read on, including a system that would allow security professionals to arbitrarily kill off any .TK domain they wanted to.

Did you know about this malicious domain deletion process? What about the .TK saga? Both of these are news to me – always learning!

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NameCheap recently published their 2018 Domain Insights and Trend Report (read it here) and I was pretty amazed to see that over the last ten years, .INFO has been the second most-registered domain at NameCheap next to .COM.

Not surprisingly, next comes .NET and .ORG, but I would have guessed that the data would show .COM, .NET, .ORG, and then sure maybe a .INFO, but second place – I would have never guessed.

That being said, I think we all remember when .INFO was being sold for I think $0.99 or maybe even a penny, do you remember? Whatever it was, people loaded up on .INFO domains and I think those promotions lasted for quite some time driving a massive amount of registrations.

Now data collected over the last decade is interesting, but I’m always the most interested in current data, i.e. this year. Here’s what NameCheap has seen soon far as their most-registered gTLD and ccTLDS:

namecheap-gtlds-cctlds

It’s pretty incredible to see .CLUB now in the #3 spot, and yes – .INFO is holding its own in the #2 spot so this isn’t just a trend that took place over the last decade…it seems to still be happening now.

So here’s my question, who’s buying all the .INFO names? Is it you?

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Good Choice Bad Choice

I got a really nice email from Giuseppe, one of the foremost experts on liquid domains (GGRG.com), he had read my posts about investing in numeric domains and wanted to know why I wasn’t looking at non-numerics, i.e. liquid domains with letters. I didn’t have a good answer for him.

As I’ve been learning more about the liquid domain market it seemed to me that numeric domains had a more immediate/direct liquidity vs. domains with letters that likely have the biggest opportunity with an end-user sale.

So I asked Giuseppe if he would be open to doing an interview on my blog and he’s game. I already sent over a list of questions but as usual I want to let chime in and add your own questions to the list.

As I’ve said in previous posts, numeric domains aren’t something I have much experience with, and I understand the market has changed quite a bit in the last year. This is why I’ve said many time that advice has an expiration date, and with something like domain names, that expiration date can be even a month after you get the advice.

My assumptions that the liquid numeric domain market is thriving based on high sales activity of 5N .COMs might be taking a relatively myopic view and using too few data points to make generalizations about an entire market.

This is one thing, BTW that I love about blogs – whether you’re writing the posts or reading them, blogs allow us to share what we’re doing, get feedback, and learn from each other. While there has been quite a bit of discussion lately about negativity in the domain name world, from where I’m sitting, I actually see a lot of really positive, bright, and helpful people going out of their way to help each other.

One of the things I’ve always really appreciated about Domaining is that it is constantly changing, and with that change comes new opportunities. I’m really looking forward to picking Giuseppe’s brain about liquid domains and sharing how my own investment thesis continues to change over time.

If you have a burning questions for Giuseppe, feel free to comment below and I’ll add it to the list.

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