dart-board

2018 has seen 3L .COM’s become a prime target for UDRPs. In most cases, these are domains that have been held by the same person for a long time, often long before the company filing the UDRP was created. Still, when a company doesn’t want to pay five or six-figures for a domain name, they often turn to UDRP to scoop up the domain for pennies on the dollar.

The reality is that there’s a whole world of people out there who have no idea what domain names are worth and what they sell for all the time. Here are some examples from the last few months:

Great.com – $900,000
Liquid.com – $750,000
DAX.com – $500,000
Inspection.com – $335,000
DXB.com – $220,000
Can.com – $155,000
WJX.com – $150,000
(Source – DNJournal)

The latest UDRP involves DVT.com a domain name that was originally registered back in 1995. I first read about the UDRP on DomainInvesting.com:

A UDRP was filed against the three letter .com domain name, DVT.com. The UDRP was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It is WIPO case #D2018-0738. (Source – DomainInvesting.com)

Since the domain is privately registered, all we can do is guess about who owns it. What I do know is that it’s always scary to see UDRP being used as a way to acquire a domain when someone thinks the price is too high. While I can’t say that’s what’s happening in this case, it happens all the time.

I’ll be interested to see how this one pans out, but darn, I can’t stand seeing a fresh UDRP on another 3L .COM.

Photo Credit: FotoDB.de Flickr via Compfight cc

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clay-royale

There’s only one game I personally play on my phone, and that’s Clash Royale. I started playing it after playing Clash of Clans for for way too long, but that’s what originally exposed me to Supercell which is without a doubt one of my favorite game studios. While I’ve been a fan of Clash Royale I never thought it would become a viable eSport for professional teams mainly because it’s a mobile-only game.

If you look at the top eSports they’re usually PC games, which also likely have a port to PS4 or XBox One, or both. With the exception of Hearthstone, when you see an eSport played professionally, the gamers almost always are playing on a PC. The keyboard and mouse combo coupled with a high-octane super computer have given PCs the edge when it comes to eSports.

But times, they are a changing, and now some of the top eSports teams have announced plans to add Clash Royale to the list of games they’ll be competing in:

36 esports organizations — including big names like Cloud9, Team Solomid and Tribe Gaming — recently announced that they would be joining up for this year’s Clash Royale league, making for a big vote of confidence from the still-nascent esports establishment. (Source – Forbes)

While this might not seem like a big deal, I think it does open up the eSports world to a whole new audience – the mobile gamer. This is a step I think we need to see the eSports world take if it’s going to become more relevant to a larger audience. I know, hardcore eSports fans will say I’m not giving Hearthstone enough credit, and yes – it is a mobile eSport that has taken off but it’s dwarfed by a sea of PC games like DOTA 2, Fortnite, and Overwatch.

Right now eSports has a huge viewership coming from PC gamers and more and more console players in the West but mobile has seen as much less interest than it has in China. I think with some of the biggest teams in the eSports world now jumping on to play Clash Royale the viewership for mobile eSports is going to grow even more.

In the report, Newzoo finds that PC and consoles will likely continue as esports strongholds in the West. However, viewers have demonstrated an appetite for mobile esports, such as Supercell’s Clash Royale. It was the most viewed mobile-only game on livestreaming platforms Twitch and YouTube Gaming in the fourth quarter of 2017, racking up 6.3 million and 15.8 million viewership hours respectively. Collectively, folks watched 1.3 million hours of Clash Royale tournaments in 2017. (Source – Venturebeat)

Now you have an excuse for spending your whole train ride to work playing games…because you’re not just playing games, you’re playing competitive eSports…or at least that’s what you can keep telling yourself 🙂

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coinbase-ventures

Today popular US-based cryptocurrency platform Coinbase announced a new venture arm, not surprisingly called, Coinbase Ventures.

“That’s why today, we’re announcing the formation of Coinbase Ventures. We’ll be providing financing to promising early stage companies that have the teams and ideas that can move the space forward in a positive, meaningful way.

At least in the beginning, our goal is simply to help the most compelling companies in the space to flourish. This means that we don’t have the strategic requirement of formalizing partner relationships with such companies, as some corporate venture programs do. Our focus is on building strong relationships and helping to spur on the development of the ecosystem.” (Source – Coinbase Blog)

I’m not too surprised to see Coinbase making this move, it’s a great way for them to get early access to startups they could later acquire and they might also make some money along the way which never hurts. Also given their expertise it’s safe to say they are going to really good at analyzing and evaluating cryptocurrency technologies.

Of course when anyone announces anything I’m always interested to see what they do on the domain side. It looks CoinbaseVentures.com is owned by someone in England, given that Coinbase.com is registered at a different registrar and at an address in San Francisco (actually a few blocks from my place!) it seems like someone else likely scooped up Coinbase Ventures before the company could get it. I wouldn’t be wildly surprised if they lose it in a UDRP especially given the fact that they registered the domain name only 22 days ago.

 

My guess is someone got wind of the Coinbase Ventures announcement and registered this domain thinking they could sell it for big bucks later down the road. This is not domain investing or “Domaining” – this is cybersquatting. Too many people confuse domain investors and cybersquatters but they are very different.

I’ll be looking out for the UDRP, my guess is it’ll be coming soon….

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handle

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today, TheDomains.com, and I learned that Handle.com sold on Sedo last week for $95,080. Honestly I did a double-take on this one because IMHO I think this domain is worth six-figures, whoever bought it got a steal of a deal.

Let’s compare Handle.com to a few recent sales:

Jumprope.com – $200,000
Star.org – $225,000
Music.ai – $101,500

Don’t you think Handle.com is a more valuable domain than any of these? I do. So what happened here?

I think the reality is that the owner of Handle.com wanted to move the name, set a reserve below $100k and then ended-up in an auction full of Domainers, not end-users. The three names above were purchased by end users. If one or two end-users were in the Handle.com auction I think we would have seen a solid six-figure price tag, but my hunch is this was bought by a Domainer who knows they got a steal of a deal.

I’ll be keeping my eye on this name as I wouldn’t be surprised if we see it sell a year or two from now for 2x or more what the current buyer paid.

Of course that’s just my opinion, now I want to hear from you. Did Handle.com sell for less than it’s worth or was this a fair price for the domain? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Photo Credit: Thad Zajdowicz Flickr via Compfight cc

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tweeting-bird

Let’s start this week of with some advice that will likely save you some time – if you’re a normal individual domain investor, stop trying to use Twitter as a channel to sell domain names. The reason why I have (probably) in the title above is because there are three cases where I still think using Twitter is useful and a-okay when it comes to selling domains, but none of them apply to 99% of individual domain investors.

  1. you own Bitcoin.com or another very premium domain (i.e. easily worth $1M+)
  2. you’re a domain broker or domain name marketplace
  3. you’re famous or know someone famous (or who is a social media influencer)

If nothing on this list describes you, Twitter is probably just going to be a waste of your time. Here’s why.

Chances are you want to sell a domain that would be of interest to people in a specific niche, and within that niche an even smaller group – people who are in the market for a domain name, oh and are on Twitter and notice your tweet in a sea of tweets. Unless you have an absolutely stellar domain name your market could really be as small as 5 – 10 people (heck even if it’s 50 that’s not too exciting). The chance that those 5 – 10 people are on Twitter (during the time that you tweet), and happen to be searching for the hash tags you’ve put at the end of your tweet are slim to none. So yes, if you have a huge, multi-million dollar domain name that people would want to share and write about then Twitter could be great…but 99% of us don’t own domains like that, I know I sure don’t!

The second exception here is of course domain name brokers or marketplaces. Selling domains is their business so it’s probably safe to say that a lot of their followers are people who buy domains, in which case – yup, it makes a lot of sense to be Tweeting the domains that you’re selling. If you’re not a domain broker or a domain marketplace, it’s pretty unlikely that you have a massive base of followers who want to buy domain names. Let’s be honest, 99% of us don’t have tons of Twitter followers that follow us because they want to buy domain names.

The last clear exception that is worth mentioning is – if you are, or can get a celebrity or major social media influencer to retweet or like your tweet, that could go a long way. But unless you’re famous, or have famous friends that love helping you out you can cross this advantage off the list. Yeah…so 99% of us aren’t famous and we sure aren’t social media influencers.

What I think some Domainers miss about Twitter is that you’d need to have a pretty badass Twitter profile with lots of followers that engage, like, and retweet often to even stand a chance in getting in front of a potential buyer period. And hashtags aren’t going to save you. People think – well if I include a relevant hashtag it will get in front of the right audience…this is also usually wrong.

Let’s do the math. Maybe you’re selling a domain that you think anyone who owns a bike shop would love to own. Adding a #bikeshops or #bikeshopowner to your tweet doesn’t mean you’re actually targeting bike shops or shop owners. It’s the reason why your tweet doesn’t have a single retweet or like. Seriously, go look at the last five tweets that you sent and count how many likes and retweets you’re getting?

 

So here’s my take on using Twitter to sell domains in one sentence. Unless you have a major blockbuster domain, or you’re connected to a celebrity or social media influencer, or you’re a domain broker/marketplace, then you’re probably going to be wasting time marketing your domains through Twitter.

Of course you could say it’s not doing any harm…which is partially true, but it takes time to write tweets, especially if you’re doing it all day and covering a long list of names. That time could be better spent actually communicating with potential buyers. Sure, you’re probably marketing through channels outside of Twitter but I’d say cut out anything that isn’t actually getting results because even an extra 2% of your time, could make all the difference. Here’s some channels that could yield results because they are actually targeted:

  • Direct emails to specific people you know could be a good fit, i.e. email someone who owns a bike shop
  • Cold calling (yes, people still do this, I don’t, but people do and it’s about as targeted as you can get)
  • LinkedIn and LinkedIn advertising
  • Attending a conference or meetup group where people in the industry your domain name targets are going
  • Add your domain to more marketplaces (i.e. get in front of people actually looking to buy domain names)
  • Reach out to a broker about helping you sell the domain (let them sell it through Twitter b/c they actually might be able to do it!)

My point is, there are a lot of other ways you could be spending your time and unless you’re seeing people engage with your Tweet…you’re probably just wasting time. If you want to actively sell your domain names, you’ll want to learn what works and then put as much of your time and energy into that as you can.

But that’s just my two cents. What do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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Hello and welcome to eSports Sunday here on MorganLinton.com! Since I know many of my readers are still new to the world of eSports I thought now would be as good a time as any to share three of the hottest eSports games right now, in April of 2018. I was actually doing a Google search to look back on other people who had written about the top eSports games and found that even articles written a few months ago are out of date.

The reality is that eSports is growing so fast, new games can come out and instantly become one of the most-played and streamed games in a matter of months. That’s one of the things that I think makes eSports so exciting, but it’s also a challenge to keep up with at the same time.

So to help make your life easier and maybe make you look like you’re in the know next time you’re talking with gamer friends, here are three of the hottest eSports games on the market right now, in April of 2018.

Fortnite

fortnite

This is the game that I’m personally playing the most right now, I’m a huge fan and I’m not alone. Fortnite is breaking all kinds of records and quickly becoming one of the top eSports games in the world. The game works on any system from PC to PS4 to XBox and you can use the same account on all three which means that you can actually switch between different platforms.

Fortnite now has more monthly active players than Rockstar Games’ perennial top-10 title Grand Theft Auto V. Though Epic’s last-player-standing game doesn’t cost anything up front, it does successfully tempt its players with in-game purchases. The only game where players spent more money was Sledgehammer Games’s Call of Duty: WWII, which is still the top-grossing game on consoles. (Source – VentureBeat)

What I really like about Fortnite is it’s really solid combination of FPS with a Minecraft-like strategy game. I’m less of a run around and shoot kind of player so for me the concept of getting geared up and hiding is actually a lot of fun. But to each their own, this game has a number of different strategies that you can use to get into a top spot. I’m also pretty sure this is either the #1 or #2 most-streamed game on Twitch right now.

Call of Duty WWII

callofduty-ww2

While I haven’t personally played Call of Duty WWII myself, I feel like I’m probably one of the only gamers out there who hasn’t. This game is insanely popular and is also one of the most-streamed eSports games out there. One of the things that people really like about the game is the refreshed downloadable content that opens up new missions and features within the game. These DLCs are so popular even broad-based publications like Forbes have started covering them.

Activision and Sledgehammer Games revealed the next map pack DLC for Call Of Duty: WWII today.

The new maps take place across the Western front and in Northern Africa. And a new War Mode Operation takes to the skies in what sounds like a really interesting twist on the franchise’s traditionally grounded PvP. Aerial dogfighting in Call of Duty MP? We live in a crazy world.

The new content is part of the game’s season pass and lands on PlayStation 4 on April 10th weeks before PC and Xbox One.

(Source – Forbes)

I still want to take this game for a spin but I’m just too darn into Fortnite to take the time to learn a new game.

League of Legends

league-of-legends

Some people consider League of Legends to be the original eSport and it’s still one of the most-played, and most-watched eSports games out there. Inspired by a Warcraft III mod (as was DOTA 2) this game has a lot of similarities to a traditional sports game with a playing field, players that have different abilities and leverage these to play different positions on a field, and teams with coaches that are just as hardcore as any sports coach I’ve ever seen.

The learning curve for League of Legends is a bit steep if you haven’t played a game like it before but I often liken it to Chess when it comes to the complexity of strategy and different ways that you use characters and their abilities to strategically beat your opponent. I still really want to go to a live League of Legends tournament…maybe this will be the year?

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spreadsheet

I always like to understand how other people manage their domain names because, let’s be honest, it’s a lot easier said than done. For years I used Excel to manage my domains, I had all kinds of columns to track different things like TLD, date purchased, amount purchased for, number of inbound inquires, etc. The problem was that it was really hard to keep this up to date over time, it required a diligence that I just didn’t have.

Next I moved onto managing my domains through DomainNameSales.com, which I really liked and of course now it has all moved to Uniregistry market which I’m also a fan of. Over the last year or so I’ve started managing my domains more and more directly through Efty which from what I’ve seen probably offers the most features and gives me the same fields that I used to have in my good old spreadsheet like original purchase price, TLD, etc.

I wanted to take Domain Punch for a spin and still plan to but just haven’t had the time to get it all setup – of course I’ll report back when I do. No matter what solution you use, nothing is going to do everything for you, regardless there’s setup and management you’re going to have to do if you want to keep things organized…and no I definitely am not perfect when it comes to keeping things organized.

One example is original purchase price. I’ve wanted to add this to Efty for a while now but it’s a pretty big research project that I probably just need to chisel out a lazy Sunday to sit down and do. Right now when I get an offer on a domain that’s usually what triggers me going back to look at what I paid to make sure I’m getting the ROI I want.

So I’m interested to hear from you, my readers – do you use a service to manage your domains or is good old Excel still your method of choice? I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

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Where do you go to buy expired domain names?

expired domainsI had a friend recently ask me where I go to buy expired domain names. She was looking to change the name of her company and didn’t have a specific domain in mind so thought that buying an expired domain would be a good path to getting a solid name without breaking the budget.

For me personally I find Go Daddy and Park.io are the two places I visit the most to buy expired domain names. Typically Go Daddy is where I go for .COMs and Park.io is where I go for .IO domains which I’m a big fan of and I find a lot of startups like too.

That being said, it’s not that I don’t like other marketplaces that sell expired domain names, instead I’m just a creature of habit and these are my two go-to sites for expired domains because I’ve been using them for years. Of course Go Daddy has been around for a lot longer than Park.io so it’s safe to say that Go Daddy has been the site I’ve been buying from the longest.

Still there are a lot of other great places to buy expired domains so I’d hate for someone to make a decision based on my preferences since I’m not sure there’s any incredible rhyme or reason to them. Which is why I’m now turning to you, my reader to share where you go to buy expired domains.

I want to hear from you (and I’m sure a lot of startup founders looking for domains do to) – so comment and let your voice be heard!

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censorship

Recently I had a company write to me asking to take a comment down from a blog reader that was sharing their opinion about them. While I would never allow any threatening or blatant lies to get posted as a comment on my blog, I have always been very serious about letting everyone share their voice, whether they like me, or my sponsors.

So I told this particular company – “sorry, I can’t take down the comment, they are just sharing their opinion and I want to give them a voice.”

They persisted and kept asking me to take this specific comment down, and I persisted and told them, “look, it’s my blog, it’s MorganLinton.com and if someone is going to take the time to read what I have to say, I want to take the time to read what they have to say.”

I stand by that and always will. If you look back on my blog posts over the past 10+ years you’ll see plenty of nice positive comments, but you’ll also see negative comments here and there, some incredibly negative and harsh – and I am more than happy to let them in.

The reality is, like I said above, if you’re going to take the time to read what I write and hear what I have to say, I am more than happy to do the same, whether you agree with me or not. What I want all my readers to know is that my blog is an open forum where you can openly share how you really feel without the fear of being censored.

If you’ve been reading my blog for years you probably know that I end most of blog posts the exact same way – comment and let your voice be heard. I plan on blogging well into my hundreds (modern medicine should make that possible right?) and as long as I’m in charge, your voice will be heard.

So to the companies that want me to censor comments, I tell you – not on my blog, my readers come first, period. That’s not going to change now or anytime in the future. I live in a free country and as long as I can write what I want to write, so can my readers. Sure, I’ll draw the line at anything hateful, defamatory, or that obviously crosses the line, but when people want to express their opinion, I want them to know that my blog is a place they can do that.

To all my readers who have been with me for three years, five years, or ten years, thank you for reading and know that on my blog, your voice will always be heard.

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Me and a number of other bloggers have been writing about the increased abuse of UDRPs this year and just how easy it has become for someone to lose a domain, even when they buy from a well-respected marketplace. The latest UDRP which I read about on DomainGang is Coolfit.com which was purchased on NameJet in early 2017.

Theo did a great job of covering all the details of the UDRP in his post on DomainGang so if you want to read all the nitty gritty details I recommend reading his post using the link above.

While I’m a huge fan of NameJet, Go Daddy, Sedo, Uniregistry and many of the other popular domain marketplaces, it is important to remember that they sell a ton of names and researching each one to determine if it violates a Trademark (even algorithmically) isn’t going to happen. Couple this with the fact that UDRPs have become a new path for people to acquire domains given how easy it is to abuse, trademarks or not, and it means that as a buyer you really need to do your homework before buying a domain name.

Like I’ve said many times before, you could spend six-figures on a domain name only to lose it in a UDRP that someone paid $5,000 (or less) to initiate. I’m not a lawyer so it’s hard for me to do a deep dive into this particular case to judge if the ruling was valid or not, but I can tell you that Name Administration (Frank Schilling’s company) was the registrant and if anyone knows how to avoid TM issues, they’re one of the best.

In this case they assumed that this domain was the simple combination of two generic words. Anyone could have made the same decision even if they did the Trademark research so it just goes to show how easy it has become to lose a domain even when you think you’re in the clear.

What do you think? Would you have bought this name or would your research have kept you away from it? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

 

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