I’m at the airport now getting ready to make the trip back to San Francisco. I had high expectations for Rick’s Asheville MeetUp and can tell you, those expectations were exceeded. The combination of people and location was about as close to perfection as you could get.

As always I really enjoyed catching up with old friends, and at the same time, I made some new friends and met some truly inspiring people that I’m really looking forward to staying in touch with. I know I keep talking about the venue but I can’t emphasize it enough – being in such a beautiful place really allowed all of us to relax and unwind in a really special way.

Staying an extra day in Asheville also turned out to be a great idea, Saturday was a blast from the awesome brewery tour sponsored by Go Daddy to an incredible Stephen Marley concert in the park, and ending on another one of Asheville’s rooftop bars.

I took a lot of notes as I tend to do and learned a lot, if I don’t make 10x my travel costs from attending the event I’d honestly be pretty surprised. Of course, I want to share what I learned with all of you, but let’s start with what’s top of mind. Since my videos seem to be resonating well with people I decided to shoot a video with some of my reflections – here it is:

Okay, now it’s time to get on my flight, San Francisco here I come!

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Well, I think I can say with confidence that yesterday was a huge success and everything that Rick has promised, was delivered, and then some. It’s pretty amazing what can happen when you get the right group of people together in the right place and yesterday it all really came together.

I started the day at the gym and since I seem to be in a video mood this trip, I shot a little video – see if you can spot two other Domainers in there with me?

The day started off with opening remarks from Rick, if you haven’t seen those yet you can check-out the video of it here. Braden and I got lost trying to find the room, and of course I couldn’t help but film our adventure so if you want to join us in getting lost, feel free to watch the video below:

After that Domainers were able to hop on the mic and introduce themselves, and as I mentioned in my post yesterday, Michael Berkens gave a really interesting talk on new gTLDs and sparked a great discussion. I’ll be sharing that video soon so stay-tuned for that.

After that we all enjoyed time talking and exploring the property, the weather was perfect and energy level was high. Before I go any further I have to say, I think this hotel has the biggest fireplace I have ever seen, so big, I also had to take a video to share it with all of you…

I had a lot of great conversations yesterday and as usual learned a lot from talking with other Domainers. It’s always so interesting to hear how other people structure their portfolio, learn what’s working, what’s note and share ideas. One thing I’ve always appreciated about the Domain Industry is the incredible community, rather than competing with each other it really feels like we all want to win together, and that’s something special that not many industries have.

Somehow I managed to sneak in a quick nap and then we headed into downtown Asheville…where the bus first dropped us off at the wrong location, so we crossed the street, and then crossed back and got back on the bus. While it’s not the most exciting video, if you want to share in that experience, here it is:

The ghost tour was fun…but we got distracted by all of the excitement in downtown Asheville and before you knew it a few of us had deviated from the tour and made our way to an Arrested Development concert. I don’t know how many of you listened to Arrested Development but they were my jam back in Junior High so I was pretty excited. Here’s a little clip from the concert:

After that we headed over to the Rooftop party which was a blast, I would share videos of that with you now but if I did that I’d miss the bus to the brewery tour that Go Daddy is hosting…and well, I’m going beer tasting.

If you want to follow along with the adventures today just stay-tuned to my Twitter account @morganDOTlinton. I hope you’re all having a great start to your weekend, thanks for reading and watching!

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Grove Park Inn Asheville

Okay, before I start I have to say…I honestly can’t get enough of this view. I feel like I’ve taken dozens of photos of the same view…but every time I see it I can’t help myself. The photo above I took this afternoon after the first half of the day’s activities came to a close.

The weather in Asheville has been pretty much perfect since we got here. Last night it rained for about five minutes, otherwise it was a nice warm night and today has been beautiful.

Today kicked off at 11AM with opening remarks from Rick which I recorded and just uploaded to You Tube. After Rick’s remarks the mic opened up to anyone who wanted to introduce themselves and share a bit more about what they’re doing in the Domain Industry and what synergies they’re looking to find at the show.

During the afternoon session Michael Berkens gave a really interesting talk about new gTLDs sharing some very interesting data from his own portfolio. Michael opened it up to questions when he was done and we had one of the most interesting discussions I’ve heard about new gTLDs, and don’t worry, I got that on video too which I’ll likely be uploading and sharing this weekend.

Now I’m back in my room and I’m going to try to sneak in a quick nap before the ghost tour and rooftop party. So, with that, here’s the video of Rick’s opening remarks today, enjoy!

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Park Grove Inn - Asheville

Well it’s official, I’m in Asheville at the Grove Park Inn, and it’s even more spectacular than I had imagined. My Uber driver told me more about the hotel on our way over, and it’s safe to say this hotel is steeped in history, and has played host to some of the most famous people in the world. You can read more about the history of the hotel here.

A number of readers asked me to share videos, and after seeing the hotel in-person, I can tell you that pictures don’t do it justice so videos it is! This hotel is huge and it’s hard to really capture in a photo so I’ve had some fun taking videos which I’ll be posting on You Tube and sharing on my blog. If you don’t already subscribe to my You Tube channel, now’s a good time to do it.

When I went to grab lunch today I bumped into Mike Robertson (from Fabulous) who I’ve known for over a decade. While I’ve known Mike for a long time, we normally just have time for a quick hello at conferences. Today we had the chance to sit down, have lunch together, and property catch up. Both of us were in the moment Rick announced the event because we liked the idea of getting together with a smaller group and having the chance to sit down and really catch up like we did this afternoon.

As we were finishing lunch, Bill McClure (Bouquet.comCoffee.club) walked by and joined us for coffee (which makes sense right!). Bill is another person who I’ve known for years but haven’t had the chance to sit down and catch up with for probably five years.

I’m pretty sure this is exactly what Rick had intended when he planned this event, and given that it’s already happening and the event hasn’t even officially started yet, this is a very good sign.

It’s conversations like these that spark new ideas and I actually got a really good idea from Bill that I took notes on and will likely be putting into action when I get back home…once again, the event hasn’t even officially started yet and I already learned something new. This is also what I really appreciate about the domain investing community, we all love sharing new ideas and talking about what’s worked and hasn’t worked for us. There really is no better way to learn than from other people that have been either where you are, or where you want to be.

Okay, so now I should get going – I’ve been in my room working all day so it’s time to get back out there! Of course, I promised you some videos so here they are, the first is when I first arrived at the hotel, the second is the view from the back of the hotel. More to come!

Arriving at the hotel
View from the hotel

If you’re here in Asheville I look forward to seeing you tonight! Now, time to put on my #Domainer shirt and get out of this room – Asheville, the Domainers are coming!

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Well it’s official, the 1st Annual Asheville Professional Domain Investors MeetUp kicks off in less than 24-hours. Domainers from around the world are either in airplanes now or getting onto planes soon to make their way over to one of North Carolina’s most beautiful hotels, the Omni Grove Park Inn.

I know just about everyone has seen pictures of the hotel, but I’m not sure pictures of the pool and spa area have made the rounds yet so here’s one:

I’m bringing my swim trunks and my guess is this will be a popular place for Domainers to unwind – I mean come on, how cool is that pool? The venue plays a big role in an event like this and when it comes to picking amazing venues, Rick really knows his stuff. So why am I talking so much about the venue, why is it so darn important?

Having been to more domain investing conferences than I can count on my fingers and toes I can tell you that some of the best ideas, deals, and partnerships, come when people are taken out of their normal day-to-day life and brought to somewhere truly special.

Let’s face it, we’re all super busy people, it’s hard to slow down. Sure, you could put a conference in San Francisco or New York, and it would be great, but it would be hard to slow down. Asheville is a really special place and the hotel Rick picked is a really special hotel, I think that combination is going to get people into a totally different headspace, and that’s where the magic happens.

Of course, to have a format like this work you need to get the right people together. Not to sound cheesy but it really is a trifecta – city, venue, people. Without all three the magic isn’t there.

There are some truly incredible domain investors flying in from all over the world to come to this event, in an amazing venue, in an incredible and relaxing city. Too many superlatives? Oh well, you can tell I’m excited!

Also quick reminder, I’m writing this post because I want to, Rick has no idea I’m writing it, I pay for my own ticket, flights, hotel, just like everyone else. I think the next few days are going to be something special and as always, stay-tuned to MorganLinton.com and to my Twitter account (@morganDOTlinton) to follow along with the adventure.

Last but not least, one of my readers asked if I would do one of my morning walk videos in Asheville so expect to see that likely on Saturday or Sunday morning. For those of you who are flying out, I look forward to seeing you there!

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Well here’s a new tactic. A company in Australia called Future Super, they currently have MyFutureSuper.com.au…not surprisingly, they want FutureSuper.com.au (and probably would be thrilled with FutureSuper.com). After having trouble getting the owner of FutureSuper.com.au to come to the table to put together a deal, they decided to change tactics.

So, every day for the last four months they’ve been sending the owner flowers. And yes, if you do the math it comes out to thousands of dollars in flowers.

“Hopefully us being lovely leads to him accepting our offer,” said Future Super’s Brett Morgan.

“If he’s happy to hand it over, that’d be amazing, or if he wants to sell it. We’re just trying to get him to come to the table.”

(Source – 10Daily.com.au)

I have to say, hat’s off to Future Super (the ones sending the flowers) on taking such a positive and unique approach to getting the domain they want. Too many people try negative tactics like threatening UDRP or pretending to be a “student” who needs a domain for their project.

One really interesting facet of this approach is that it definitely shows the domain owner that the interested party has a budget. If you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars and put together a whole marketing campaign around getting the domain, you likely have a meaningful budget.

I’ll be watching this one, I think this approach just might work, and it if does, it will show you how far an act of kindness can really go.

What do you think – is four months of flowers enough to get someone’s attention?

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This is a very exciting week in the Domain Investing world as investors from around the world descend on Asheville for the 1st Annual Asheville Professional Domainer Investor Meetup. Of course, part of what makes this so special is the host – Rick Schwartz, one of the most well-known Domain Investors in the world and creator of TRAFFIC, the go-to conference in the domain name world for a decade.

I will be flying out to Asheville this week and honestly can’t wait for the event, I’ve really been looking forward to it. My very first event in the Domain Investing world was TRAFFIC Vegas in 2010. I was lucky enough to have breakfast with Rick, Howard and a few other people after getting an invite from Ron Jackson…safe to say I was incredibly nervous at that breakfast, I was meeting my heroes.

Safe to say it was that breakfast where I learned, hey – these are all real people, and they’re the opposite of intimidating, in fact, seeing them all together was like joining a family breakfast. Since then, I knew I had stumbled on a pretty special industry and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this amazing event that Rick has put together.

I reached out to Rick and asked if he’d be okay answering a few questions leading up to the event, he said yes, so I’m excited to share a little Q&A with Rick below. I learned some really interesting things from this Q&A, one of them being that Asheville was actually going to be the original destination for TRAFFIC, who knew? Read on to learn more and if you’re going to the event, I’ll see you in Asheville!

[Morgan] What initially inspired you to put together this event? 

[Rick] The original inspiration was back in 2004 when we were put in the first traffic show together. In those days Asheville was not known and it was a hard place to get to. So we chose Delray Beach, Florida for the first TRAFFIC.

When GTLD’s came out I stepped aside because I didn’t want to get involved with promoting something I didn’t believe in. I would be used as a tool. At that time TRAFFIC had a 10-year run and I decided that was enough. So I watched from the sidelines as the detour played out for a few years and now there is a clear result. Now we can get back to business again. Sometimes it just isn’t worth fighting headwinds. Those headwinds have subsided.

There was a hunger for a truly professional domain investor event. My recipe is much different than others.

I like to attract a certain group of people that are anxious to make things happen and not just talk about it and are willing to go out of their way. They have skin in the game. So they are motivated.

[Morgan] How did you pick Asheville as the location? 

[Rick] As I mentioned, Asheville was my first pick for the 2004 TRAFFIC show.

The biggest part of my recipe for a successful show is slowing people down. Taking them out of the fast lane and cocooning them. Keeping the noise out and the business in. So to do that you have to have a conducive atmosphere and the right mix of people.

Take them out of the daily rat reality. Put them in a new setting in which ideas blossom. Asheville is that type of place. I hope after the show that people will point and see that coming to a place like Asheville changed their perspective a little bit. Mid-America at it’s finest. A Homegrown combination of Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury, and SOHO all rolled up in this little mountain town that would be a better fit in Vermont.

Today Asheville is one of the most popular destinations in America. You will never hear a bad word about this town. People just love it! They just love it!

[Morgan] For attendees, what do you recommend they do in advance to make sure they maximize their time at the event?

[Rick] This event started on a phone call with Mike Berkens as a dinner for six people.

Mike liked the idea. 

And then I said well maybe we should have a few more. And I thought maybe we would get 14 to 18 at most. I never expected 75-80. Coming literally from around the world. 

There is a hunger to do real business and filter out all the wannabe’s, pretenders and noise. These are qualified people going out of their way to come here and to be part of something. The best thing they can bring is there “A” game. Just come prepared to do a little business and a lot of relaxing. Come to get your mind clear and energized. Just come to have fun and the rest will happen by itself. 

Many of the faces will be very familiar. These are well-known domainers. 
The only thing you really need to bring is a little desire and thirst to succeed and make things happen.

We are armed with 15 more years of knowledge now compared to 2004. Maybe it’s time to discuss that knowledge and put it to work for us. The agenda is there is no agenda. There are just men and women that take control of their own destiny by networking with like-minded people. Bring your mind, bring your “A” game, bring your family, that’s it.

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Scammers are sneaky, but sometimes not as sneaky as you might think. In one of the biggest credit card skimming attacks to hit the web, scammers are now using domain names with the word “Google” in them to trick people into thinking a website is secure, when really all your data is being sent to a hacker.

On Thursday, researchers from Sucuri said in a recent case reported by a Magento website owner, a domain had been infected with a credit card skimmer making use of JavaScript code containing a link to the malicious internationalized google-analytîcs[.]com website address.

(Source – ZDNet)

Now the scammer, in this case has created a very confusingly similar URL since Google does use google-analytics.com as the domain in their Javascript snippet. Spotting the Internationalized “i” at the end is pretty hard to spot. What you can spot is other things that don’t look right.

While Google can take back any domain with the word “Google” in it, scammers don’t care, they just keep switching domains, and in this case, adding Internationalized domains makes it even more tricky for Google to police.

As for what this code looks like, well normally you’ll see a snippet of Javascript code like the following:

< script type=” text/javascript ” src =” //google-analytîcs.com/www.[redacted].com/3f5cf4657d5d9.js ” > < /script>

(Source – ZDNet)

Spoofed domains that used Internationalized characters are on the rise and it doesn’t look like there’s a great way to curb this practice outside of shutting down each one that is discovered, one at a time.

Because there are certain characters that may appear to be the same but have different ASCII codes (for example, the Cyrillic “a” and the Latin “a”), an attacker may be able to “spoof” a web page URL. Instead of going to a legitimate site, you may be directed to a malicious site, which could look identical to the real one. If you submit personal or financial information while on the malicious site, the attacker could collect that information and then use and/or sell it. 

(Source – CISA Security Tip (ST05-016))

Now if you think malicious code like this is a big problem for Magento, while it is – the most-hacked platform out there should be no surprise – it’s WordPress. Here’s a handy chart showing the breakdown for infected websites by platform:

Source – Sucuri

Note that if you are using WordPress (like me and just about every other blogger on the planet) you can use the Sucuri Security plugin which can scan your site for malware and other little surprises hackers and scammers could try to slip onto your site undetected.

Of course, scammers have a lot more to gain when they put malicious code on eCommerce sites so if you’re taking credit cards online, either through WooCommerce, Magento, or any other flavor of eCommerce, using a security plugin is the best way to stay safe.

Years ago my blog was hit with a spam link injection hack. While no user data was compromised, it did display a bunch of annoying spammy links that I can do hire someone to get rid of. Ever since then, I’ve used security plugins and multiple back-up systems to stay safe.

Have any of your sites been hacked? And if your answer is no, when’s the last time you ran a malware scan? If the answer is never…maybe now’s the time to do it!

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Okay, this post is going to read like a Namecheap lovefest, and for good reason – the popular domain registrar has decided to take a major stand against the recent .ORG and .INFO price increases. It’s pretty incredible to hear that a registrar is fighting against something that could actually make them more money…but that’s what makes Namecheap so unique.

I first read the news on DomainNameWire.com and today DomainIncite.com provided some really good in-depth coverage of everything Namecheap is doing to fight the price increase.

The filing that Namecheap made is public, so if you want to read all the nitty gritty details, you can check out the full PDF here. Here’s a look at the first page:

The point Namecheap is making feels pretty darn logical, in essence they’re saying this decision goes against ICANN’s Core Values and will in the end stifle innovation.

I think we all know why ICANN removed the price caps…to make more money, period. So far ICANN has provided no sound reasoning as to how this will be a benefit to anyone, it’s really just a license to print more money at the expense of .ORG and .INFO owners.

I applaud Namecheap for taking a stand here, for me personally I know I’ll never buy a .ORG or .INFO domain again. In a sea of new domain name extensions I think price increases on .ORG and .INFO will only deter people from registering and renewing these domains.

Can anyone think of a single logical reason ICANN could come up with for explaining why these price increases align with their Core Values? I sure can’t!

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Well it certainly has been an interesting couple of months in the domain name world. First Voice.com sells for $30M to Block.one, a company that made its money in the crypto space, and now Swipe.io has broken the record for highest .IO sale at $68,000…and it’s going to be used for a crypto app.

Now before you get excited and start buying a bunch of “crypto” domains, take note – both of these record-breaking sales were made to companies in the crypto space, neither of them have the word “crypto” or “Bitcoin” in them.

The reality is, there are a lot of people, and companies out there that made millions of dollars thanks to crypto in the last two years. These people, and companies, can afford to pay more than most people to buy things that they want, domain names being one of them.

But if you look at what’s happening, they aren’t out there buying a bunch of “crypto” domains – instead they’re buying generic one-word domains for projects they are working on or companies they are starting.

So what does this mean for domain investors?

Well, I personally think it means that if you want top dollar for your domains, selling to someone who just made a fortune in crypto isn’t a bad idea. For those doing outbound this means if you can identify companies that could be interested in your domain that are in the crypto space, they could pay more than other people. What this doesn’t mean is that you should only sell your domains to people in the crypto space, that would probably delay sales and in many cases nullify your chance of selling a domain.

In short – don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here and decide to only sell your domains to companies in the crypto space. At the same time, putting a little extra effort in if you’re doing outbound, and identifying people who just made millions of dollars and are building a brand around a generic domain you own, well that might make quite a bit of sense now.

Last but not least – these are only two data points so nothing I’m saying here has any statistical significance. That being said, it’s no secret that there are a lot of people with tens of millions of dollars in their pocket now thanks to crypto. That money is going to be put to use to build new companies and drive innovation in many new exciting ways, and as we all know, the most critical element of any online brand is, drumroll please…a domain name.

Okay, you’ve heard my two cents, now I want to hear from you. What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

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