Hello from Asuka, a beautiful village in the Japanese countryside about an hour from Nara. If you’ve never heard of Nara, well, Nara is an hour from Osaka which you have probably heard of! The photo above I took during one of my early morning walks.

Anytime I visit another country I can’t help but pay attention to domain names; of course I’ve only been in Japan for a week so take all these observations with a grain of salt. I’ve gone from a larger city like Osaka, to a smaller city like Nara, to a tiny village like Asuka. Here’s a few things I’ve observed when it comes to domains:

  • .JP or a variant like .CO.JP or .OR.JP seems to be the most common domain extension in Japan. This isn’t wildly surprising as there are many countries where the local ccTLD is the most popular.
  • I haven’t seen any IDNs yet so while most signs use Japanese characters (hiragana, katakana, and kanji), the domain names use the standard English alphabet.
  • Somehow I haven’t seen a single .COM domain yet but I did manage to spot a .NET and took a photo of it as proof that there was more than just .JP domains here!

Below are some photos I’ve taken of domains along the journey:

Now all this being said, I imagine that I have a number of readers who either live in Japan or who have spent a lot more time in Japan than I have. So I’m very interested to hear from those who know a lot more than me if my observations are right at all?

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

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This year I will be celebrating my 12-year blogging anniversary. When I started this blog I never thought I’d be blogging every day more than a decade later, but I am, and my blog has become a core part of my daily life.

Currently I am in Nara, Japan on a two week adventure with my Dad. Whether I’m at home, in the office, on the road, in the hospital, or on vacation, writing a blog post every day is incredibly important to me.

My Dad and I were having breakfast this morning and he was saying how interesting it is for him to see me putting a post together every day. We had a good conversation about it this morning and he said that in some ways he thinks it has become a way for me to meditate in a way during the day. I never thought about it that way, and I’m not really sure if I will ever think about it that way, more than anything for me this is a part of my life, part of who I am.

I told my Dad what I truly feel about blogging. Blogging isn’t something that I do for myself. I blog for you, my reader, without you there would be no reason to write. That being said, I did have some reflections on what it’s like to go from blogging on a normal day like I do most of the year vs. blogging on vacation since it is a bit of a different experience.

Here’s a few of my reflections:

  • Blogging on vacation (at least for me) is always fun and something I really look forward to. There is something about being in a different environment that gets the creative juices flowing. I wake up in the morning, walk around whatever city we’re in, find a peaceful place to sit, and just start writing…in many ways blogging is more meditative when I’m on vacation than it is when I’m at home.
  • You can blog from just about anywhere in the world, and thanks to International plans, I don’t even need to look for Wifi. Two days ago I wrote my blog post in a small coffee shop in Nara, they didn’t have Wifi so I just fired up my personal hotspot. This definitely wasn’t possible when I started blogging so I feel very fortunate. You really can travel all over the world and blog in a more seamless way than ever before.
  • There’s something about being in a different country that always makes me think a bit differently. I find my blog posts change a bit when I’m on vacation, I can’t put my finger on it but I write a little differently, you can tell me whether it gets better or worse!
  • Working with the time difference is important. In Japan, I need to write in the morning, if I write towards the end of the day like I sometimes do in the US, my post will publish at 2AM for people on the West Coast which, uh, isn’t when you’re going to be awake and looking for my latest post.
  • Last but not least, I can’t imagine being anywhere in the world without writing every day. As I’ve said many times before, I plan to blog well into my hundreds and since I also plan to live all over the world, I can’t wait to see how my blogging style changes with my environment.

So thanks to all my readers around the world for reading, now it’s time for me to get packed up and ready for the next stop in our adventure. We’re leaving Nara today and heading to a small village called Asuka that has a population of less than 6,000 people.

While I love living in big cities (although SF is actually a pretty small city – maybe too small for me) I do love getting off the beaten trail when I go on vacation. Once we get to Asuka we’re going to be renting bikes and going on what I think is going to be a pretty incredible adventure.

Yesterday we went hiking on the Kasugaya Mountain Trail which is without a doubt one of the most amazing hiking experiences of my life. Along the trail we found an old monastery and actually walked up and meditated there – definitely an experience I’ll always remember. Here’s a picture of me and my Dad at the trailhead.

After Asuka we’ll be heading to Kyoto so if any of you have suggestions of what to do in Kyoto definitely feel free to share them in the comment section below. Thanks again for reading, like I said above, I do this for all of you, so as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

See you tomorrow!

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BuyDomains.com has been the longest running sponsor on my blog, and needless to say, I’m a big fan. If you’re a startup founder who is looking to buy a domain, BuyDomains.com is definitely somewhere you should look. Over the course of the next year I’ll be putting some articles together with BuyDomains.com, this is the first – I hope you enjoy it – now let’s get to the post!

I talk to a lot of other startup founders, often at events completely unrelated to domain names, but we end up talking about domain names, since this is such a strange and mysterious world to most people. One of the most common questions I get is, “if I want to buy a domain from someone, what should I say in the email I send them?”

I often hear many founders say, “I sent an email to buy someone’s domain name and it didn’t go very well.” When I ask them what they sent, my palm quickly covers my face to make what would resembled a facepalm emoji…or as a Star Trek fan I’d like to think it looks like this:

The other day I was talking to a startup founder who asked me if I would be okay putting together a sample email for them to use for reaching out to a domain owner about a domain name. I thought, well, since this is a question I get a lot, why not write a blog post about it so other startup founders can have access to the same email?

Before I share the sample email, I do want to share some tips in case you want to put together an email yourself. Since I’ve seen this go wrong so many times, I’ll start with what not to say.

What not to say in an email to a domain owner

  1. I see you aren’t using this domain name – remember, there are many people (like me!) who buy domain names just like other people buy land or homes, as investments. Many domain investors don’t develop their domains, it’s an investment, so don’t be surprised if it’s not being used according to your definition of the word. This often comes off as insulting or naive, neither of which is a great way to kick off a negotiation.
  2. Offering a ridiculously low price – get to know market prices for domain names. Sites like DNJournal and NameBio are great resources for this. Offering someone $100 for a domain that’s similar to one that just sold for $75,000 will not go well.
  3. Pretending you want the domain for a “student project” – this is the oldest trick in the book and we’re all used to hearing it. Domain investors don’t want to sell their prized assets at a low price for a student project just like you don’t want to sell your 100 acre plot in Lake Tahoe for a student project at a cheap price.

What you should say in an email to a domain owner

  1. Start with a reasonable offer – once you’ve done your homework and understand the basics of pricing, make an offer, and be realistic. If you think a domain is worth $50,000 – it’s okay to start at $25,000 but don’t start at $1,000.
  2. Be nice – this should go without saying but it’s amazing how many startup founders end up insulting domain owners by implying that they are “squatting” on a domain. Cybersquatting is illegal, domain investing is not. Just like stealing someone’s land is illegal, you wouldn’t want to be called a land squatter if you bought land 50 years ago and just haven’t developed on it yet.
  3. Don’t be afraid to tell them why you want the domain – being dishonest in any negotiation is always a bad idea. While you don’t have to lead with what your company is and why you want to buy the domain, if they ask, don’t be afraid to tell them. Domain investors like to see their domains put to good use in the end, or at least I do!

Okay, now for the good stuff, here’s a sample email that is very similar to an email that I’ve seen other founders used to kick off negotiations that end with a deal getting done.

Sample email to buy a domain name

Hi ___________,

I’m interested in a domain name you own – BongoLongo123.com. Let me know if you would accept $12,000 for it?

Best,

Morgan

Wait!?!?! It’s so short and simple, what’s the deal here? Yes – it is short and simple. You really don’t need to tell your life story, the most important thing you can do in the email is to make an offer, and make it a realistic offer.

That will get a domain owner’s attention and even if your offer is lower than they are expecting, if it in some reasonable range, they will (possibly but not guaranteed) take you seriously and respond to continue the conversation.

The goal with your outreach email shouldn’t be to instantly close the deal, instead it should start the conversation, kick off the negotiation. You should expect to go back and forth, and yes, you can also expect to pay more than your first offer so don’t lead with the very top of your budget.

I hope this is helpful. Now I’d love to hear from you, if you’re a domain name investor, feel free to share your thoughts and if you agree or disagree with my tips here. If you’re a startup founder, let me know if you’ve ever sent an email that backfired, those are always fun stories to hear.

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

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This week I am in Japan with my Dad, currently in a really special city called Nara about an hour outside of Osaka. While I do my best to unplug while I’m on vacation, as a daily blogger, this continues on as part of my daily routine.

I also find that reading domain investing news is a nice part of my daily routine so sharing the stories I’m reading with all of you is actually a lot of fun, whether I’m on vacation or not.

That being said, I’m going to reduce my highlights to five stories this week since I’m actually about to go down to the Onsen (think Japanese hot tub). So with that, here are five stories that caught my eye over the last week and a half. Enjoy!

Domain Investing News for the Week of May 5th, 2019

  1. Latest #domain acquisitions by James Booth and BQDN (Read more on DomainGang)
  2. A Two-Character .COM and One of the Year’s 5 Biggest ccTLD Sales Headline This Week’s Domain Sales Chart (Read more on DNJournal)
  3. Future of .io domains has become party-political issue in the UK (Read more on DomainIncite)
  4. Rick Premiers Daily Twitter Video Podcast with Rave Reviews! (Read more on Rick’s Blog)
  5. Medidata.com domain name changed hands for $600,000 (Read more on FreeSpeech.com)

I hope you’re all having a great week. As always feel free to share any stories you think should be highlighted that aren’t on my list in the comment section below!

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As I’ve said many times before, I’m a big fan of Go Daddy auctions, it has been my go-to place for buying expired domains for a long time. Over the years I’ve built a few common searches that I do to identify potential investment opportunities.

One of my newest searches is to search by Go Daddy’s estimated value. While I don’t think this appraisal corresponds to the exact price, there is some logic to it and sometimes it can help to uncover some really solid names that other people might have overlooked.

Today when I did the search I was interested to see a two-word .COM that I really liked that is #2 on the list with no bids. The domain is ToughGuy.com and Go Daddy’s price estimate is $10,902 which I actually think is probably pretty realistic. Sure, if someone held onto the name for a while they might be able to get someone to pay $20,000 or more, and yes – if you wanted a quick flip, selling it for $3,500 might move it faster, but around $10k feels right to me.

With more than 9 days left the auction doesn’t have any bids, yet, but I expect to see bidding activity climb quickly over the next few days. Here’s a quick look at the top ten domain auctions on Go Daddy sorted by appraisal price.

Out of all the domains in the top ten (sorted this way) I’d say ToughGuy.com is my favorite and my guess is it will sell for more than any other name on this list. What do you think? What’s the most you’d pay for ToughGuy.com and what do you think it’s worth?

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

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First things first, I deserve absolutely no credit for this post since I go the idea 100% from a Tweet I saw today from domain investor Josh Reason, here it is:

I saw that Josh had 59 replies to his tweet so it’s clear this is a hot topic and a really interesting question that he’s asking. So I thought, why not pose the question on my blog as well?

Of course, it’s not fair for me to ever post a question without answering it myself, for me, the best domain in my portfolio that I would sell for $10k, today (or tomorrow) is ClosetDesign.com. Ask me a year from now and I might not have the same answer, but today, that’s my answer.

Josh responded to my tweet and said, “There’s a domain I would put in my portfolio” so who knows, maybe we’ll make a deal?

There was a wide range of domains people listed in response to Josh’s tweet, some were names I thought seemed pretty reasonable at $10k, others seemed way over-priced, but that’s pretty par for the course in the domain industry. The reality is, sometimes I see domains that sell for $20,000 or more that look like junk to me, something me and most people I know would probably drop.

The other day Mike Mann sold JazzYou.com for $24k, that’s a name I’d be thrilled to get $2,400 for and some people commented that it’s a name they would expect to have very little value. That’s what makes the domain name industry so interesting, you never really know what could happen.

So now I’ll pass the mic to you, what’s the best domain in your portfolio that you’d sell for $10k today, or tomorrow? Thanks to Josh for the inspiration!

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I’m a big believer in owning your own domain name. People often ask me what my best domain is and I always say, “well that’s easy – MorganLinton.com” ask me for my second best and that’s a little harder.

As more and more of my friends have kids I’ve found myself encouraging them to register their baby’s names and a lot of them are doing it, I think they’ll be very glad they did.

So I was excited to see that Namecheap feels the same way and was running a promotion to help parents secure a domain name for their baby.

Of course, I couldn’t resist asking Namecheap if there was a way that I could help get the word out since this is something I feel passionate about and they were nice enough to give me five coupons for free .COMs.

So I went to Twitter and posted this tweet:

With 23 retweets and 28 likes it looks like a lot of parents out there were interested in getting a name for their baby. I’m excited to announce the five winners – they are:

  • Shannon Finn
  • Chad Ellis
  • Pino
  • David Whinray
  • Subhash Mishra

If you read my blog and see, “hey that’s me!” expect to see an email from me this week with your coupon code. For anyone else that wants to register their baby’s name, Namecheap is still running some great specials that you can check out here.

Huge thanks to Namecheap for supporting the cause here and for allowing me to do this giveaway, there are going to be five happy baby’s…once they’re old enough to know that they have their own domain!

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April was a big month for my blog with a number of posts really taking off and getting lively conversations going. One thing I’ve always found interesting is that sometimes my most-read posts are the posts that get the most comments, other times, it’s posts that get very few comments.

At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to whether what I’m writing about is just something topically interesting to people or polarizing. What you probably already know by now is that I don’t censor or delete my comments. While the day may come where someone writes something so outlandish that I have to take it down, it hasn’t happened yet. That’s why I end almost every post the same way, “I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!”

If you’re looking to relax and catch up on some Domaining-related reading today, below are my three most-read posts from April to add to your reading list. Enjoy!

  1. Rick Schwartz shows “the power of No” in the email that closed the $8.88M deal for Porno.com (read it now)
  2. There’s an interesting debate going on between Andrew and Theo on Twitter (read it now)
  3. Should you set BIN prices on your domains? (read it now)

Remember, the comment section is still active on all of my posts so if you read a post, go through the comments, and want to add your own two cents, be my guest.

As always, thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there, I’m going to see mine in a couple of hours!

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I saw an interesting tweet from Domain Investor Mike Mann yesterday after announcing the sale of JazzYou.com, a domain he bought for $20 three years ago and sold for $24,888 today. Here’s the tweet:

First – that’s an awesome flip, and second – please remember, Mike owns a ton of domains so don’t think that you can just go out there and buy domains for $20 and flip them for $24k all day long. If you could, or I could, we’d all be living on an island somewhere together, we’d call it Domainer Island, and yes – it would be awesome.

Okay, now back to the post. In this tweet Mike makes a very interesting statement, “$24,888 seems to be my sweet spot pricing.” Given that I see Mike selling a lot of two-word .COMs I take this to mean this seems to be a good price point for these names since I don’t think that’s a sweet spot for one-word .COMs or two-word .NETs.

I’ll include Mike in the Tweet as I’d be interested to see if I’m reading into this right, but if I am, it’s some really interesting data to have, and very nice to Mike to share that with the rest of us.

When I hear things like this it always makes me wonder if I’m not asking enough for some of my two-word .COMs. If I owned JazzYou.com, and I bought it for $20, I feel like I’d probably sell it for $2,500 and be pretty happy. I might have to change my tune and test out this price point given that Mike has a lot of sales data to back this up.

What do you think? Could $24,888 be a sweet spot for two-word .COMs? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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.CLUB Trademark Sentry

One of the challenges brands have faced in a world with a lot more options than .COM, .NET and .ORG is protecting their Trademarks across multiple TLDs. This week, .CLUB, one of the leaders in the new gTLD space came out with a new service that will be music to many company’s ears.

The .CLUB TRADEMARK SENTRY Unlimited Name Blocking Service protects your trademark from appearing in any portion of a domain with the popular .CLUB extension – literally covering trillions of permutations of your qualified trademark. Blocked at the Registry level, protected names show up as “unavailable” through any registrar’s domain search.

(Source – TrademarkSentry.club)

Just to break down what this means, let’s walk through an example. Suppose I have a Trademark on “Apparel Insights” which I actually do 🙂 With this service I could prevent anyone from not just registering ApparelInsights.club but also domains like FindApparelInsights.club, or MyApparelInsights.club.

For large companies that are constantly having to police their brand this does all the police work for them automatically which in the end will likely save a small fortune in time and legal fees.

I’ve said before that .CLUB has really raised the bar…and, well, they seem to keep raising it. Hats off to Jeff, Colin and the whole team over at .CLUB. If you’re interested in learning more about this service they have a website dedicated to it at TrademarkSentry.club.

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