One of my favorite things about having a blog is getting the chance to connect with so many interesting people all over the world. On the flip side, one of the most challenging things about having a blog is not being able to have conversations with many of you even though we might interact on a daily basis.

This means that getting feedback can be tough, and as a data guy I often let the numbers do the talking, i.e. which articles get the most reads. At the same time, I know that numbers only tell part of the story and people might read a story because it catches their attention but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want me to write more about that topic.

At the same time, as many of you know (or should know!) – this is a personal blog, not a news blog, or a topical blog designed to cover one specific industry so I do tend to write about what’s interesting to me. What has been interesting to me long before I started this blog is investing in digital assets.

Over the last fourteen years domain names has been my primary investment focus but over the last five years I’ve diversified into angel investing in startups, investing in crypto, and most recently, investing in NFTs. What I like about all of these investments is they don’t require me to be located in a physical space or deal with the headaches that physical assets have.

I don’t think my blog will change to focusing on something other than investing in the digital domain, but I do think it will continue to broaden as my own investment focus does. At the same time, while this is a personal blog, I’m not writing it for me, I’m writing it for you, my reader, so I want to make sure I’m writing about things you want to read about.

So on that note – I created a little survey, it should take only 1-2 minutes to complete to share feedback on what you like to read about, and what you’re sick of hearing about. I will also be holding a little Zoom feedback sess for blog readers that you can sign up for at the end if you’re interested. Thanks in advance for sharing your feedback!

πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Take the Survey and let your voice be heard

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Ethlings NFT

I woke up this morning and I had never heard of Ethlings, now my Twitter feed is filled with buzz about this new NFT project and it only seems to be accelerating. When I hear about a new NFT project I usually hop on the Discord, and usually, early on there are maybe ten or so people, there are over 300 on the Ethlings Discord and I feel like the number could be doubling as I write this.

In short, something big seems to be happening in the NFT world and it’s called Ethlings.

Just before sitting down to write this post I saw the following tweet from Josh Ong:

If Pranksy is getting excited about a project, that’s a pretty strong signal. So what’s all the buzz about Ethlings? Well it’s pretty simple – unlike most NFT projects where you get something that has a certain fixed set of properties, Ethlings are customizable, forever. That means that you could start with a very normal Ethling and over time customize it to be an incredibly rare one.

In the world of NFTs, rarity = value. Looking at some of the most popular (and pricey) projects like Cryptopunks, the more rare the properties/traits of the NFT are, the more valuable it is. That’s why you might have heard that an alien CryptoPunk commands so much value, they’re incredibly rare, and hence, valuable.

I am currently attempting to mint my first Ethling and hitting quite a few snags, luckily the kind people on the Ethlings Discord are helping out…and it looks like I’m not alone. With only 7,777 Ethlings available to be minted and 3,115 minted right now, my guess is we’ll see all 7,777 minted within the next few hours.

I would write more but I’ve made it through my first hurdle and now am stuck trying to move things over to Polygon, so with that, I’ll end it here, but expect a follow-up post from me as I can already tell this is going to be a really interesting project to be a part of!

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Okay, before I dive into what I’m going to write about I just have to say, if you told me I would have a blog post with this headline six months ago I say – you’ve lost your mind! Today, this blog post makes sense to a lot of people, but if you’re someone that doesn’t get it, don’t worry, I’ll explain.

First, let’s start with the Bored Ape Yacht Club, what I think most people will agree is one of the NFT projects that has generated the most buzz with Bored Apes (myself included πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ) taking over Twitter. For many of us that “aped in” early, watching the Bored Ape Twitterverse grow has been a fascinating experience.

For me, it’s made Twitter a lot more positive and fun, and I think a lot of people in BAYC are seeing the same. A real community has formed amongst Bored Ape Yacht Club members and many of us have added more apes to our collection because one really just doesn’t feel like enough does it?

While there are plenty of other popular NFT projects like Meebits from Larvalabs or Ghxsts, Bored Apes have taken center stage and helped a lot of people get into NFTs and gain instant acceptance into a pretty awesome community.

So what does all this ape talk have to do with Arabian Camels?

Well, a new NFT project called Arabian Camels (ArabianCamels.io) launched and they decided to give away 2,000 of their NFTs to existing members of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. And what the heck is the idea behind the Arabian Camel project you ask? Well, it’s kinda complex so you might want to just read their FAQ below:

Arabian Camels FAQ 1
Arabian Camels FAQ 2

I claimed my camel and I’m pretty darn proud of him, you can take a look below or click on him to view the little guy on OpenSea:

Morgan Linton Arabian Camel

What I think is so brilliant about the Arabian Camels project is they found a way to get a ton of buzz – giving away a free NFT to members of arguably the most talked-about NFT project out there. Now my Twitter feed is still full of Bored Apes, but a lot of them are talking about Arabian Camels, so…it’s working.

The buzz worked on me and today I actually bought a second camel, and I might go in for a third. It’s a fun project with a pretty cool mission and tons of buzz. As for how this all pans out and if these NFTs end up being worth anything long term, your guess is as good as mine. I do think it’s safe to say that NFTs are here to stay and the projects that are popular today just might be the projects people wish they could have been a part of ten years ago.

I just hope everyone putting money into NFT projects like this is only spending money they can afford to lose because these could all go to zero, and if they do, I’m okay with that because its been a blast, and it’s only getting more fun, at least for me πŸ•Ί

Do you own an ape? How about a camel? Think it’s all stupid? Either way, I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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Here’s a question I haven’t asked in a while that I’d be interested to know the answer to – do any domain investors out there renew domains for more than a year?

Of course I can’t ask a question without answering it myself, and the answer for me is no. I renew all my domains for one year at a time. The reason is simple, if a domain name sells, anything beyond this year will be extra money spent for no reason. If auto-renew didn’t exist then I might be in trouble since it could be less-than-trivial to remember when all my domains expire, but it does exist so I don’t have to remember.

One thing I do make sure to do at all of my registrar accounts is keep multiple payment methods on file, that way if a domain does auto-renew and a credit card got canceled or expired, there’s a backup. So far in the ~14 years I’ve been investing in domain names I haven’t had any domains accidentally expire so, so far so good!

I’ve heard some investors in the past suggest renewing domains for 5+ years so that if a potential buyer does a WHOIS search, they’ll see the domain doesn’t expire for a longer time and could be more likely to make an offer. Personally, I don’t see this as a big deal since most potential buyers don’t look at the WHOIS, especially now since there’s not much to see any more.

Still, I’m curious if there are investors out there who renew domains for more than one year, and if so, why do you do it? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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For years many of the world’s most successful domain investors have stayed laser-focused on inbound sales, but a tweet from Rick Schwartz this morning shows that we could be at the tipping point. Here’s the tweet:

Outbound domain sales

I think this should be on every domain investor’s radar as, like Rick said, he’s been an inbound guy forever, so making this move is a pretty big shift. The reality is, the world has changed and good domain names have moved from a nice to have to a must have, and with that domain owners now have more leverage than ever before.

What I think is interesting about Rick’s stance on outbound domain sales is his thoughts on pricing. Rick makes a good point – “it is not time to set a price if you do outbound. It is only time to INFORM.”

This is an interesting idea and my gears are already turning trying to think more about this and how I could properly respond to a potential buyer if they send back the obvious question, “okay – if you’re telling me the domain is available, what’s the price?”

My initial thinking is that the goal should be to hop on the phone with a potential buyer to try to have a conversation, inform them about the current domain market and pricing, and understand what they would do with the domain. While some people might not want to hop on a call until they know more about pricing, in all cases you now have them thinking about your domain, which they probably weren’t thinking of before.

It will probably take some experimentation to come up with a good email that piques interest and gets the conversation going but I think it’s pretty interesting that Rick sees that we’ve approached the tipping point.

What do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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It looks like bidding activity on Handshake domains is cooling off as we move towards the end of the month. Today on Twitter Mark Smith shared the data in the following tweet:

I think Mark’s guess around why we’ve seen the decrease is probably spot on, right now it’s pretty clear all the best Handshake domains have been taken, especially given that these domains have a much more narrow use case since they’re treated like TLDs. At the same time, people like me gave up on buying Handshake domains some time ago and focused on buying HNS which should be a better bet (at least IMHO) if the Handshake domain ecosystem does take off.

My guess is you’d see a similar trend if ICANN ever decided to make any new gTLD that anyone can think of available to register. You’d see a frenzy of bidding initially, lots of trading between speculators in the middle, and then a sharp decline as all the words that make sense as a TLD get claimed.

What might make Handshake a bit difference is the bet on emoji domains. There are a good chunk of investors out there who people people will want to buy subdomains in emoji handshake domains. So if I’m really into say gardening, maybe I’d want to own morgan.πŸͺ΄/ – I’ve made it pretty clear I personally don’t get it…but hey, it’s a new space and the world is changing so anything is possible.

I think that over the next year Handshake domain investors will want to see more ways for normal people to access Handshake domains, not just integration in a browser like Brave (which is used by less than .5% of people) but a real contender like Safari, Firefox, or Chrome. Without forward momentum around end-user adoption, spectators will get tired of trading between each other and we’ll see more of what we’re seeing now which is a lot less activity when it comes to buying.

In the world of traditional domains, momentum with TLDs like .IO where you see massive end-user adoption in support in every browser pique investor interest for a reason – the data is there to show that it can be a good investment. For now, Handshake is a bet, a bet I personally think will end up paying off for a good group of Handshake domain investors and ecosystem players, but it will take time to see widespread awareness and adoption. The question is – how long will that take, and how long is too long?

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Hello and happy Friday πŸ‘‹ It’s a beautiful sunny day in San Francisco and like many of you, I’m looking forward to winding things down after a busy week. Recently a reader made a suggestion for a weekly or monthly post covering my most popular articles and I thought it was an interesting idea so thought I’d give it a shot. Personally, I get most of my reading done on the weekends so I thought I’d write this post on a Friday so if a few articles catch your eye, maybe you can add them to your weekend reading list πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

I’ve always been a very data-driven person so I spend quite a bit of time analyzing my analytics data each week and trying to understand what articles are resonating the most with you, my readers. One of my favorite things about writing a daily blog is that I end up with quite a bit of data which I can use to better understand when I’m writing things that people enjoy, and when I’m missing the mark.

Also, and not surprisingly, since I’ve been writing this blog for almost 14 years now, my audience has changed a lot over time, as have I, and those two elements combined means changes to what I write about. Of course, it’s all about trying my best to keep a careful balance to make sure there’s something for everyone here. And at the end of the day, this is a personal blog, not a news or business blog so what I’m interested in will always find its way on here.

On that note, I’ve let the data speak for itself and pulled the five articles this month that had the most reads…so if you missed any of these, you might want to add them to your weekend reading list.

  1. The Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs sold out in 12 hours and hit CryptoPunk pricing
  2. Watch out for this China Registry .CN domain name scam
  3. Handshake domain flipping: From $1,000 purchase to $230,000 sale in six months
  4. Is sharing your domain portfolio as risky as sharing your crypto portfolio?
  5. How I bought the Kings of Leon album NFT, and how you can too

As always thanks for reading and have a great weekend! β˜€οΈ

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Will c/ become the .COM of Handshake?

c/ Handshake domains

I’ve had a lot of thoughts about Handshake and written about how much I like the community and how I think there are some super interesting things happening in the space. When I first started to dive into the world of Handshake my thinking was – I’ll split my investment between Handshake domains and the HNS token.

As time has gone by and I’ve learned more about the space I’ve grown increasingly excited about what’s happening, but also realized that I think me, and many others, missed the boat when it comes to getting Handshake domains that would actually be valuable to end users if Handshake takes off.

What makes Handshake domains so different from the normal domains I invest in like .COM and .IO is that Handshake domains are intended to be used as TLDs. If you were lucky enough to snag a Handshake domain early on that could lend itself to becoming a TLD, then I think you might have something valuable. One great example here is c/.

I recently bought morgan.c and a few other one-word sub-domains of c/. The thinking here is that in the Handshake world c/ could become the equivalent of .COM in the traditional domain world. That being said, it is still anyone’s guess when it comes to determining how Handshake domains could be used if the concept takes off so I’m not investing too heavily.

That being said, at this point I own more keyword.c/ domain names than regular Handshake domains but I’m not investing heavily in either. I think it’s still very early and so my way of supporting Handshake at this point is to continue to buy HNS and to invest in companies as an angel investor that I think are doing cool things in the space.

With ~2,000 new gTLDs available in the traditional domain name world, I still find myself only visiting sites that have one of ten different TLDs. So if Handshake progresses the same way, ten Handshake domains will be a hit, and the names that would end up having value would be the subdomains on one of those ten.

Right now, it looks like c/ looks like it’s the front-runner but that could change. And full disclosure, as a domain investor I’m still pretty laser-focus on .COM and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, but if c/ becomes the .COM of Handshake, I’ll have a handful of names that might be valuable some day.

What do you think? Will c/ become the .COM of Handshake? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Disclosure: I am an investor in Handshake domains, HNS token, and startups in the Handshake space.

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I did a double-take when I read a recent press release from Flippa last week…but I read it twice and it looks like I did read it right the first time. Like the title of the post says, Flippa customers can now access up to $1M in financing to buy a business from the site or invest in inventory, marketing or other expenses related to operating an eCommerce business.

So how is this possible and where do I get my $1M?

Of course not everyone gets $1M, the amount of capital available to Flippa customers varies, but it can go up to $1M which is pretty darn cool 😎 This new offering comes through a partnership that Flippa recently inked with Yardline, a leading capital-as-a-service platform. The really neat thing about this partnership is that the capital can be used by both buyers and sellers on the platform which I think is really going to accelerate the entire ecosystem.

“The market to buy online businesses is accelerating, and our over 3 million buyers and sellers have welcomed the embedded capital solutions,” noted Blake Hutchison, CEO of Flippa. “With Yardline, we can now match qualified assets with qualified buyers, and streamline the exit and buying experience on the world’s largest e-commerce business transactional platform.”

(Source – Blake Hutchison, Flippa)

It’s no secret that eCommerce businesses kicked it into high-gear over the last year and with more people entering the space it feels like Flippa has just minted themselves as the market leader. Getting capital to either buy a business or make sure you’re properly able to scale it can make or break a business and it’s clear that Yardline has a strong background in making capital available, and quickly.

“Providing ubiquitous access to capital using e-commerce platform data is our core strategic asset,” noted Ari Horowitz, CEO of Yardline. “Empowering entrepreneurs on the leading platform to buy and sell online businesses makes Flippa the perfect partner for our Capital-as-a-Service solution.”

(Source – Ari Horowitz, Yardline)

So if you’ve been thinking about buying an eCommerce business on Flippa but weren’t sure if you could fund it all yourself, the game has changed. Congrats to both Flippa and Yardline, this really does feel like the perfect partnership! πŸŽ‰

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Y.at domains

So there’s a new domain name craze going on in the crypto world and it’s not .COM – it’s Y.at. If you’re scratching your head, I’m doing the same but I think I’m starting to understand it a bit more. Today on Twitter one of my fellow apes posted the following tweet, he was pretty jazzed about a Y.at domain he ended up with:

Diamond Hands Apes to the moon Yat

In this case, someone is actually buying a five emoji domain name and it’s not on a .COM, it’s actually a subdomain of Y.at. Now you might be really scratching your head and thinking, wait – if the person who owns Y.at ever decides to just ditch the domain or not renew, everyone that paid money for a Y.at domain, yup – poof gone.

If you want to have your mind blown a little more, I wrote an article about some very pricey Y.at domain sales, here are some highlights:

destiny-emoji-sales

You are reading this right, the rocket ship emoji, followed by the moon subdomain of Y.at sold for $200,000, which is more than domains like Cluster.com, Limit.com, and blockbuster .IO sales like Metaverse.io. Something’s happening here and it’s hard to ignore – a marketing machine is in motion and it has captivated the crypto and NFT community.

So what the heck are people using these emoji Y.at domains for? Well Y.at has a pretty big vision, they want these domains to become your hub online – it’s how people connect with you, and pay you. Here’s the skinny from their website:

Yat lets you use emojis as your universal username and identity on the internet. Imagine being known as πŸ”₯🐍 or πŸ€–πŸ‘»πŸ‘‘ instead of coffeequeen98 or jake2456@emailxyz.com.

By owning a Yat – let’s say πŸŒŠπŸ”±πŸŒ΄ – it’s yours forever. You are the ~only~ one on earth who owns these emojis.

The possibilities are endless with Yat. You can receive payments, use it on your socials, and eventually much more. Your Yat can be used as a link like this: https://y.at/πŸŒŠπŸ”±πŸŒ΄ (click it to see it!) and automatically redirect visitors to any website you want.

(Source – emojis.y.at)

The thing I don’t exactly get is how they can guarantee that “it’s yours forever” – they own the domain name so it’s really theirs forever isn’t it? If you wanted to have something forever, wouldn’t you want to buy the same string of emojis but with a domain name behind it that you own?

Personally, I think this is a lot of marketing and hype, but sometimes that’s what it takes to push for a fundamental change in how people do things. But you guys know me, I’m not a believer in emoji domains whether it’s a Handshake emoji, Y.at emoji, or .COM emoji, I think the habit change isn’t going to happen. I could be wrong (it has happened before maybe once πŸ˜‚ ) but I’m sticking with good old words.

What do you think about Y.at, is this the beginning of something big or just a big bubble? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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