I really like what the Handshake community is doing when it comes to gifting names

Gifting Handshake Domains

One side of the domain investing world that has never really sat well with me is buying people’s names (i.e. first name followed by last name in .COM) and then trying to sell it to them for a profit. IMO this practice just feels slimy and I can tell you when it happens to an end-user, they think of domain investors as scum usually from that point forward.

I know some people are going to say to me, “but Morgan, if the domain is unregistered or it expires, we’re okay to buy it fair and square!” And sure, maybe you’re right, but to me, it doesn’t feel right and to the person you’re selling it to, they often don’t have a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings about you, or the rest of us in the domain investing world when you do it.

Handshake has the chance to do things right from the beginning, and I think they are, especially when it comes to people’s names. The community has come together to develop a pretty solid gifting program where people’s names are caught in an auction and then gifted to them.

For many people this usually means a tweet from @handshakejesus who actually has this tweet pinned to his Twitter profile:

In a Zoom call I was on last week with the Handshake Directors, Mark Smith (@NamesakeMark) shared a project he’s working on to strengthen this effort and get the gifting process more organized. I think it’s awesome that Handshake is thinking about this and about the impact it could have on their brand as more and more people discover Handshake.

Not everyone loved the meeting last week, one reader took to my blog to complain about the meeting, and about me, you can read his comments here. I think it’s awesome when people share their opinions, good or bad, for me it’s all about learning from each other, and you all know I’m a really positive guy so I typically only write about things I’m personally excited about.

On that note, I’m excited about how Handshake is approaching the concept of gifting names and think it’s going to help them avoid some of the negative stigma that domain investors get. While it’s always going to be impossible to please everyone, I think taking a thoughtful approach here will go a long way, and I applaud the Handshake community for trying to do the right thing here.

Disclosures: I am an investor in Handshake.

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Morgan Linton was born in Berkeley, California but spent nine years traveling the world as an early employee for digital music startup Sonos. In 2007 Morgan founded Linton Investments, a domain name and branding company that has helped some of the most recognized startups in the world acquire their top choice domain name. In 2012 Morgan left his full-time job to co-found Bold Metrics, a startup building technologies that make it easy for online shoppers to buy clothes that fit and arming retailers with more data than ever before.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Brad Mugford May 4, 2021, 1:05 am

    “One side of the domain investing world that has never really sat well with me is buying people’s names (i.e. first name followed by last name in .COM) and then trying to sell it to them for a profit. IMO this practice just feels slimy and I can tell you when it happens to an end-user, they think of domain investors as scum usually from that point forward.”

    You are welcome to your opinion, but that is how the free market works. There are thousands of people named Bob Smith, Steve Jones, Paul Williams, etc.

    There is a reason these have value in .COM. There is more demand than supply.

    Please explain how handshake domains solve this. How many “Bob Smith” handshake domains can there be? Just (1) as far as I know.

    So then, what is the difference? At some point if they ever actually become valuable they will be in demand and then worth money on the resale market as well.

    I fail to see how this solves any problems.


  • Brad Mugford May 4, 2021, 1:16 am


    I enjoyed this blog a lot more when it actually discussed domain names once in a while.

    It seems like every article now is about handshake “domains”. I put domains in quotes because they are not actual domains, in a sense they don’t resolve without special software, extensions, or settings.

    I see (14) articles with “handshake” in the title over the last few months.

    I am glad you enjoy them, but at some point in comes off as just blatant promotion IMO.


    • Rob May 4, 2021, 3:45 pm

      The previous mass con was fiat currency. Relatively speaking, in the beginning just a handful of people knew about that con and how it worked, hence it was extremely effective. But now with the internet and the fast growing of the human mind (in some segments anyway) that con has been exposed and new ones had to be invented.

      So here we are, at the beginning of then new con(s). But first we must understand how the old con worked. A select group of bankers fraudulently and criminally ascertained the right to create currency for nothing (except manufacturing cost), taking that printing ability away from governments, and then lend it to governments with interest. What an ingenious and simple way to parasitically steal the work and wealth of the people. The perfect fraud. But now that people, and countries, have caught onto this scam another similar method has to be invented and implemented. But the KEY is that whatever currency is created it must be intrinsically worthless and able to be created for nothing just like conventional fiat.

      Enter cryptocurrency fiat and NFTs. The same con, just a different implementation. And a huge and deceitful marketing campaign! Some people out there invent these fictional tokens and market and sell them as being rare and valuable. Others, who don’t fully understand the history of the fiat game fiat game and where they need to go to keep it going, buy into these as being the next big thing, the “escape from bankers”, blah blah blah. People swap their real assets and labor (you get fiat cash for your labor) and then put them into fictional tokens. This is the next iteration of the fiat currency fraud, only it is much more evil because it is cashless, can be tracked and can be turned off at will. <- This is another reason, besides being intrinsically worthless and clever scammers stealing your assets/labor, that cryptocurrencies and NFTs must be fought at all costs, never buy into them.

  • Matt Handshaking Holmes May 14, 2021, 10:06 am

    As a fellow handshake advocate (pun intended yet?) dont you worry that gifting domains may appear as another marketing email in our already flooded inboxes? I hope they find a way for the gift to truly appear geniune and one of a kind, like it is. I’d love to support with that in addition with my other shared interests with Handshake.


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