I’ve been really enjoying the new and improved Estibot, and while most people think of Estibot specifically for valuations, I’m always surprised by how much more they have going on under the hood. One of the newest tools that I started using and I’m really digging is the Portfolio Tool which you can access by simply going to “My Portfolio” from the main menu.

So what does the tool do? Here’s a look at some of the features it offers:

estibot-portfolio-manager

To add your domains to the Portfolio Manager you just copy and past your domains into a the same page this handy list of features is located and a ton of data is suddenly available. I used to manage my portfolio with spreadsheets but now between Efty and Estibot I have to say I’m just letting the tools do the work at this point.

What I think is pretty neat about the Estibot portfolio manager is that it gives you a lot of different ways to analyze your portfolio, from things like domain extension down to category and length. You can also sort your entire portfolio using these characteristics which makes it easy to quickly sort by things like WHOIS details, valuation, TLD, etc.

Sure, you could sort using a spreadsheet too…but you’d have to manually keep track of all this data, Estibot’s doing this all for you in this case. Monitoring similar domains that are developed is a really interesting feature and could be a great way to identify potential buyers. Since I just started using the Portfolio Manager myself I can’t say that this has worked for me…yet, but I’m definitely going to be paying attention to this data and using it to identify potential end user buyers.

Also, like most domain investors I like to be as careful as I possibly can when it comes to trademarks. When I buy expired domains I’m always looking on USPTO first to make sure there isn’t something out there that could cause problems later on. The Portfolio Manager actually monitors the USPTO database daily to let you know if someone files for a trademark that might be related to one of your domains.

Oh and from what I can tell it doesn’t cost any extra money to use this feature so it seems like a pretty obvious feature to use. Hats off to Estibot for adding this to their already solid list of tools…they really don’t have to add things like this, but they do, and it continues to make the solution as a whole even more useful.

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A few reflections on blogging for 10 years

blogging

It’s pretty crazy to think about that fact that this October I will have been blogging for eleven years. When I started by blog I actually never planned on writing a regular blog, I just wanted a way to put my thoughts somewhere that I could look back on years later. Fast forward to today and blogging has become a part of my daily life.

I’m not sure how many of my friends know that I have a blog, I’d say it’s probably less than 50%. Blogging isn’t something I talk about much, but it is something that I do, almost every day. Tonight I had dinner with my Mom in Berkeley and we were talking about my blog and it got the gears turning so I thought I’d share some reflections about blogging for the last ten years:

  • After a while, blogging just becomes something that sits in your mind, every day, that you can’t get out of your mind until you write your post. Days that I don’t blog are tough, I feel guilty but at the same time I find some of my best posts are those that come after I missed a day.
  • In the beginning negative comments used to eat away at me, now they don’t bug me at all. In fact, I find that if I go a while without any negative comments I get worried…
  • I’ve learned the hard way many times that if you don’t approve comments quickly, you can accidentally offend people without even knowing it. When I’m busy I can go 24 hours without reviewing my comments. While regular commentators automatically get approved, new people need to be approved…if I’m not fast enough I usually find a stream of comments yelling at me for not publishing their comment.
  • Sometimes I meet someone at a conference that has been reading my blog for years and we have an instant connection, that never gets old.
  • When I write a blog post that gets a lot of comments it’s hard to not feel good about it, I still get excited when a post takes off and starts a whole new conversation about readers, this feeling also never gets old.
  • For some reason I don’t get writers block, haven’t since I started blogging. Every day I sit down and have things to write about, maybe that means I have ADD?

At the end of the day I can’t imagine my life without my blog, it has become a daily ritual and something that gives me a chance to just step away from my busy daily life and just sit down and write. As I’ve said many times before I plan on blogging well into my hundreds and I look forward to sharing that adventure with all of you.

Thanks for reading and if you’ve been a reader for a while now I’d love for you to share how long you’ve been reading (if you can remember) in the comment section below.

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It’s hard to ignore the impact that GDPR is already having on just about everyone in every industry. In the domain industry one group I think it likely to see some short-term impact is domain brokers. First let me say I don’t mean that domain brokers as a whole are not going to be able to sell domains, I think the top brokers will continue to kick ass and take names like they always have.

At the same time, I do think there are some complexities that are going to arise when it comes to sending out emails to an existing list of potential domain buyers, and here’s why:

A common misconception about the GDPR is that it is for European companies. In fact, the GDPR covers any company that collects data from European Union citizens, which is to say most every publisher. Publishers have liability if they have any EU citizens on their email newsletter lists. Under GDPR rules, publishers must be able to point to a specific date when a reader affirmatively consented to have their data used by publishers. That covers all email subscribers, not just those acquired after the GDPR takes effect on May 25.

Most publishers don’t have those dates on file, particularly for email subscribers they’ve had for years, which presents them with an uncomfortable choice: Send an email asking European newsletter audiences to opt back in, risking a percentage of their subscriber base dropping out, or do nothing and hope the law is enforced for bigger violations. (Source DIGIDAY)

Of course it’s relatively easy to get some part of a newsletter back, but getting 100% of the subscribers to be on solid footing with regards to GDPR will often mean asking everyone to approve their opt-in, again. I have already seen a number of emails from newsletter I’ve subscribed to warning me that if I don’t opt in, again, then I won’t get their newsletter any more.

I don’t think anyone knows what kind of attrition newsletters in general are going to see but I wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers are high. Like the quote above says, a lot of people think that this only applies to companies in Europe but the reality is that mot newsletters have European subscribers which means they need to be GDRP compliant.

What do you think? Will GDPR impact domain brokers or is this a minor challenge that we’ll all forget about a few months from now?

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upload-mn

So I was looking at expiring domain names on Park.io and noticed that Upload.mn had 14 bids and was currently at $3,600. I did a double take – did I miss something? When did .MN become a hot extension?

Looking at NameBio I can  see records for six .MN sales:

dot-mn-sales-namebio

(Source – NameBio)

While I’m sure there are more .MN sales out there, upload.mn could end up being the highest reported sale to-date…unless you know of some well known .MN sales that I’m missing. All this being said I have to say this is a bit of a head scratcher and I’m interested to see what Upload.mn ends up selling for.

What do you think? Why is there so much interest in upload.mn?

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SEO

Domain names have been getting some nice attention by Forbes recently with the latest article hitting today discussing exact-match domain names and their popularity with investors. Along with covering why exact-match domains are so interesting to investors, and why .COM is still the way to go:

When selecting your domain, it’s also wise to consider an exact-match domain. What are these? They are domains that use the exact keywords that best represent your brand or products. Obviously, the best exact match domain names end in .com. (Source – Forbes)

I think it’s pretty darn cool to see Forbes talk about domain investing, let’s be honest, the mainstream media calls Domainers cybersquatters a lot more than they do investors…but maybe things are changing?

While I think the article makes a lot of good points about exact-match domains, I think they missed the mark when talking about the SEO value of domains names:

The search engine benefits of this domain are omnipresent. A quick Google search for “hotels” reveals that Hotels.com is the top organic result, which leads to hundreds of millions of free, new users for their brand each year. (Source – Forbes)

This isn’t really true. Hotels.com isn’t the top organic result because of the domain, it’s because of all the work the company behind the domain has done to get amazing backlinks and marketing they’ve done to build the brand. That being said, Hotels.com is a great domain name and without a doubt a category-killer and the best choice for the company that bought it.

Still, domain names no longer carry SEO juice. You can’t just buy an exact match domain and rank #1 in Google for it…those days are gone. According to SEO.com, Google used to provide SEO benefits for exact-match domains but doesn’t any more:

In a much simpler time, when SEO was as simpler thing, a website’s domain name could have a huge impact on its rankings.

But nothing lasts forever, and a few years back, Google realized that a domain alone, without any supporting quality elements, needed to be addressed.

The problem came from Exact Match Domains (EMD). Companies would buy a domain name that was little more than a keyword. At the time, that was enough to rank.

Now, things have changed. (Source – SEO.com)

All this being said, yes – a good domain name is critical to building a brand online. Also having a good domain gives more credibility instantly, probably making it easier for people to trust you and link back to you, hence improving your SEO…but Google algorithm isn’t giving you an SEO bonus just for having an exact-match domain. I think SEO.com says it best;

Exact match domains took a hit as a ranking factor back in 2012, but they’re still an important part of online marketing for different reasons. (Source – SEO.com)

Still this isn’t meant to be a total dig on the article Forbes put together, they nailed it with the value of exact-match domains to investors…but end users should know that they still have to put in the time, energy, and money to get SEO juice to the sites they put on their domain names.

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I wanted to take a break from my normal blog posting cycle to give thanks and remember those who lost their lives fighting for the freedoms that we enjoy today. I know that a number of my readers have either served in the military and/or lost loved ones that have served and I want to express how much this means to me and so many other people.

It can be all too easy for us to get caught up in our daily lives, work, cars, vacations, GDPR, the list goes on…there’s no shortage of things to occupy our time and our minds.

Today is a day to take a step back and remember that we wouldn’t have what we all have today without the incredible sacrifice made by the most brave and honorable people in the world.

If you have a story to share about someone you know, a friend or family member who served please feel free to do so in the comment section below. Now is the time to remember because those who have given their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy today will never be forgotten.

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GDPR

This is the week that we’ll likely look back on and say, “wow, I’ve never seen more emails about privacy policy updates in my life.” Yes – most of us had to sift through a seemingly endless barrage of emails as companies around the world prepared for GDRP. In case you don’t know what GDRP is (but common, you do right?) here’s a quick rundown:

At its core, GDPR is a new set of rules designed to give EU citizens more control over their personal data. It aims to simplify the regulatory environment for business so both citizens and businesses in the European Union can fully benefit from the digital economy. (Source – ZDNet)

Of course no matter how many legal documents you update, it’s still pretty darn tricky to become 100% compliant…unless of course you were to just stop letting visitors from Europe visit your site…and that’s actually what some people are doing.

Blocking 500 million users is a serious thing. Still, I have found sites that implement the most secure way to comply with the new GDPR laws: Block all European users! Yes, it’s hard to believe that somebody takes such a drastic decision, but it’s happening. (Source – Apility Blog)

The article in the Apility blog goes on to teach users how to use Cloudflare and Apility to block all European traffic to your site, yes it definitely requires some IT chops but you certainly don’t have to be a programming guru to make it happen. While I think it’s a funny blog post to write, I honestly feel like this is more humor than reality. I can’t imagine many people are going to be blocking all traffic from Europe, that just seems like far too extreme of a solution to a problem that in many cases means just updating your privacy policy.

What do you think? Is blocking European traffic a new trend or just an silly overly dramatic reaction some people are going to make until they realize that they’re missing out on customers? I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

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I was just having a conversation with a friend who was saying that with so many new domain options, startups aren’t as focused on .COM. To which I told him, eh – you’re wrong, .COM is still most people’s first choice, but new gTLDs are starting to see some meaningful sales. Below is DNJournal’s top ten reported sales of 2018:

top-domain-sales-2018

(Source – DNJournal)

The three new gTLDs to make the top ten list are: .CLUB, .LOANS and .RENTALS. It is also very important to point out that many .COM domain names have sold in this price range over the last 20+ years, these new gTLD sales at this price range represent some of (if not the) highest priced sales of all time.

My point is…please don’t read this and then go out and start buying a ton of .CLUB, .LOANS or .RENTALS domains. By no means should you look at this list and think, “well I guess one word .LOANS domains should sell for six figures. Instead, the reality is one did, and one may happen again soon, or never again. There just isn’t enough data about new gTLD sales prices, the only domain extension that has enough data to show it is truly investment grade is .COM.

As you can see from the sales data above the most valuable .COM domains are one-word .COMs, but they don’t have to be words, EEN.com sold for $300k and DAX.com sold for $500,000 so it’s safe to say that short .COMs command six-figure price tags, or higher, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

I am surprised to see that not a single ccTLD made the top ten, in fact we don’t see a ccTLD until the 26th highest reported sales this year – music.ai at $101,500. After that you don’t see a ccTLD until #74, eSports.io at $40,000. What happened to ccTLDs?

I personally don’t own any .LOANS or .RENTALS domains but I do have maybe two or three .CLUB domains. Like I said above though…data like this just makes me want to double-down on .COM, not buy new gTLDs. Still, these are the early days, and if in some cases one or two of these new gTLDs keeps seeing sales in the six-figure range, it’s going to be hard to stay away. For now though, I’m happy to just wait and see…

What do you think? Are new gTLDs heating up or are these sales just outliers? What happened to ccTLDs? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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I can still remember when Michael Cyger started the DomainSherpa show, and I’ll be honest, my first thought was – who is this guy? I hadn’t seen Michael at any conferences, he didn’t have an existing blog, heck I was pretty sure he wasn’t even a domain investor…so why should he run an online show about domain name investing?

In case you think that I’m the one jerk out there that didn’t get DomainSherpa out of the gate…trust me I was not alone. Of course I was too curious not to watch some of Michael’s first interviews, and what I saw was the opposite of what I had assumed.

Rather than pretending to be an expert, Michael was incredibly humble, he clearly stated that he was not a domain expert and isn’t going to pretend to be one, instead he was going to bring the experts onto his show to share their experience with the rest of us.

michael-cyger

It’s fair to say that the rest is history. DomainSherpa went on to become the go-to resource for new Domainers to learn from the pros and Michael proved that he was great at landing really good guests and interesting interviews.

Now I can’t really tell the rest of this story without sharing a bit of negative press that DomainSherpa received…otherwise you guys would be like, “common Morgan – what about the Adam Dicker stuff?” So yeah, the Adam Dicker stuff. Adam was a regular on Michael’s show along with Shane Cultra from DSAD.com and Andrew Rosner from Media Options.

News broke about Adam doing some shady things, you can Google until your heart’s content if you want to read the play-by-play but suffice it to say, Michael parted ways with Adam. This led to the removal of videos with Adam in them which rubbed some people the wrong way.

Well as the saying goes, “The show must go on” and it did. Michael bounced back, guests kept coming on, Shane and Andrew stayed in the mix and more great content continued to be released. By this point in time I think it was also fair to say two things about Michael:

  • He had to develop thick skin – those of you who have been reading my blog for 10+ years know that the domain industry can be a rough place
  • He became a Domainer himself over time – Michael had a pretty unique advantage in being able to learn from the pros and, as an already successful entrepreneur, he had the funds to build a nice portfolio for himself

It was around this time that Michael introduced DNAcademy, a course built on the hundreds of interviews and tips he had collected over the years. Uniregistry was one of the first companies to get behind the course and from what I know they still use it today to teach new employees about the domain investing world.

dnacademy

Since the course has been introduced students from around the world have shared their success stories and after going through the course materials myself I was really impressed. Michael has put together the most complete Domain Investing course I’ve ever seen and he’s condensed hundreds of hours of content into something that people can understand and take action on right away.

For those who know Michael, you know that he’s a really dedicated guy. So as DNAcademy grew he decided to part ways with DomainSherpa, selling it to Andrew Rosner and taking back more of his time and increasing his focus on the course. Today DNAcademy is without a doubt the most well-respected Domain Investing course out there and I am very excited to announce that they are now a sponsor of MorganLinton.com.

Please join me in welcoming Michael and DNAcademy and as always feel free to share your experiences below. Have you watched DomainSherpa? Are you already a student of DNAcademy?  I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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It’s always interesting to see how companies end up making use of new domain name extensions and I came across a really interesting use case of .WORK recently. Amazon, yeah, you’ve heard of them right? Yes, Amazon is using .WORK to power their entire employee portal. Last I checked Amazon had over 560,000 employees worldwide so it’s also not incredibly surprisingly to see that Amazon.work has seen a nice surge in traffic since it’s launch:

amazon-dot-work

(image source – Quantcast)

I think it’s safe to say that Amazon is known to be a bit of a trendsetter, so it seems like this could start a new trend of using .work domain names for employee portals. When you think about this a bit more, this really is what new domain extensions are all about. For years companies have been running sites like portal.companyname.com or companyname.com/employeeportal which works but with an extension like .WORK it’s just a much cleaner URL, and one that absolutely everyone can remember without having to look it up.

amazon-hub

Of course there are a lot of other use-cases for .WORK, I have also seen a number of people use .WORK as a domain extension for their CV or portfolio. Filmmaker Justin Pelletier has his demo reel and information about the work he’s done in the film industry on his decided site at StrayMatter.work:

straymatter-work

I found there are a fair amount of people who, like Justin, also use .WORK for their own CV/portfolio, another good example here is MKDesigns.work, which is a site made by a 23 year old designer in New York. So while Amazon might be setting a new trend, it looks like a lot of people have already found a home on .WORK, the question is, will Amazon’s move cause more companies to begin using .WORK as their go-to for creating or updating their employee profile?

Only time will tell but for now, with Amazon leading the way, something tells me we’re going to see a lot more .WORK domains in the wild. What do you think? Is .WORK the new go-to for employee portals or is Amazon blazing their own trail here? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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