coding

I’ve heard too many people say, “I wish I knew how to code!” recently, and my response is always the same. You can learn, for free, and before you know it you’ll be looking back in a few months and find yourself coding on a regular basis. It’s not rocket science and there are more solid (i.e. actually good) free tutorials online to get you started than ever before.

What I think gets some people overwhelmed is trying to figure out what programming language they want to learn and why…so I’ll break it down for you and in my biased opinion, tell you which language to learn based on what you want to do.

Frontend vs. Backend

The difference between these two words is where I find most people get stuck, which is right for you? First, what the heck do each of these terms mean?

Frontend development usually means learning things like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, i.e. building websites and user interfaces that people can interact with in a web browser. You can also hear people associate “client-side” with frontend.

Backend development usually means learning languages like Python, Java, Node.js, etc. and writing code that runs using a compiler or interpreter. You can also hear people associating “server-side” with backend.

A developer might argue that my definitions above are too broad but I want to keep it simple since making it longer or more complex only increases the complexity for you to get started.

So which is right for you?

Here’s the question I usually ask people. Do you want to :

  1. build web pages or visual user interfaces the people can interact with through a browser
  2. write programs that processes or do something cool with data (text or numbers, or both!)

If you’re gravitating towards #1, start with Frontend. If #2 is calling you start with Backend.

Okay, so which language should you learn?

This is where I’m going to let my own personal bias make your decision process a lot easier. Don’t worry, I’ll back it up with some data below.

If you’re going to take a dive into Frontend development, you should learn JavaScript. If you want to learn Backend development, you should learn Python.

Oh and like I said, you can learn for free and honestly if you spend a few hours this week going through one of these free tutorials, you will be able to start coding on your own, writing your own unique programs this month. So here are the two completely free tutorials that I recommend:

Frontend/JavaScript – https://javascript30.com/

Backend/Python – https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-python

Okay, you can stop here and jump into a tutorial right now…or if you want to know why I picked Javascript for Frontend and Python for backend, read on.

Why JavaScript?

JavaScript isn’t just the most popular frontend programming language in the world, it also happens to be the most popular programming language in the world, period. Also when it comes to Frontend development, there’s no argument, JavaScript is the language to learn, full stop. That was an easy one!

Okay, but why Python?

Unlike Frontend, there are actually a lot of choices out there when it comes to go-to backend languages for people. C/C++ were a mainstay for a long time, then Java came and stole the spotlight, and over the last few years Python has emerged as the fastest growing programming language, i.e. more people are adopting Python than any other backend languages. Normally top Computer Science departments have used either Java or C++ as their go-to language, now many are moving to Python (read more here).

Now what?

Stop reading this post and start learning either Javascript or Python, then come back a week or two from now and share with me what you built, happy coding, and keep reminding yourself, yes you can!

{ 6 comments }

black-friday-2018

It’s the time of year again, we’re on the other side of Thanksgiving which means the holidays are approaching and the next week is full of Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals. This year I think there are more deals in the domain world than I’ve ever seen before, and I’ve tried to find some of the best ones to share with all of you. So whether you’re trying to lock in savings on domains or attend a conference like NamesCon, there’s likely something (or somethings) for you below, enjoy!

Up to 98% off at NameCheap

NameCheap is running a ton of specials for Black Friday with new deals kicking off every hour. From hosting to domain registrations to SSL certificates it’s safe to say NameCheap has something for everyone.

25% of NamesCon standard and VIP passes

NamesCon, the largest conference in the domain name world is offering 25% off both standard and VIP passes. If you’re thinking of going to NamesCon, now is definitely the time to lock it in.

DNAcademy Black Friday Deals

IMHO DNAcademy is the best way to get started in the domain investing world. Michael Cyger spent years interviewing the top minds in the Domaining world and recently sold Brew.com for what will likely become a seven-figure deal. For Black Friday you can save $50 off a yearly membership and $100 off a lifetime membership to DNAcademy.

Black Friday deals on .XYZ domains

Over the next few days you can get .XYZ domains for as low as $0.50 at participating registrars, click the link above to see all the registrars that are offering deals.

$100 off Premium domains at Names.club

Brandable domain name marketplaces Names.club is offering $100 off all premium names but only for the first 50 users to take advantage of the deal.

Black Friday deals at Go Daddy

Go Daddy is offering a number of deals on new registrations that get as low as $0.99 for the first year for TLDs like .CLUB, .BIZ, .INFO, and more. Extensions like .ME, .STORE and .WORLD are available for as low as $1.99.

Of course there are plenty of other great deals out there so if there’s one that I missed that you think should be included, please feel free to share it in the comment section below!

{ 4 comments }

A few reflections on Thanksgiving 2018

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet since we just got home from Thanksgiving dinner at my Dad’s house and are getting ready to watch Planes Trains an Automobiles, a little tradition we have. First things first, if you haven’t seen this movie…it’s honestly one of the funniest movies on the planet and John Candy and Steve Martin together are absolutely magical.

planes-trains-automobiles-original

Okay now for a few reflections, and I’m going to keep it to three since the popcorn is ready and we’re about to start the movie.

  1. It is fantastic to be back in the Bay Area. Being close to family and friends is a game-changer. While we made this move for the business, it’s been a really nice move for our lives. I’m not someone that is looking to “establish roots” or “settle down” so I don’t think we’ll be here forever, but I am really appreciating being so close to family for my first time in twenty years.
  2. I’ve never been so happy to have rain on Thanksgiving. Seriously – we need this rain and over the last 24-hours the air quality has gone back to normal, taking a deep breath again is an amazing feeling.
  3. Sitting around the dinner table I can’t help but think about people who are struggling and don’t have the opportunity to do the same. I want to do more to help people in need. This year I’ve been handing out bottles of water and bananas to the homeless in SF, but I want to do more. Tonight was a reminder of how lucky we are but I think I’m done just appreciating that, it’s time to do more and I look forward to sharing what I do with all of you and hopefully inspiring more people to do the same.

Oh and I wanted to start a tradition of sharing a photo from Thanksgiving each year, so here it is:

morgan-linton-thanksgiving-2018-jpg

I wanted to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers, now stop reading my blog and go watch Planes Trains and Automobiles…you’ll thank me later!

{ 1 comment }

Around the holidays I always like to take a look at how exact-match domains (EMDs) do when it comes to Google rankings. This morning I did a Google search for Thanksgiving and was expecting to see Thanksgiving.com on the first page since it is a developed site:

thanksgiving-com

Going up to page four of Google, Thanksgiving.com is the only EMD that made the cut even though it ended up on page 2. Now, all this being said I’m not incredibly surprised since Wikipedia is #1 for Thanksgiving and after that are a lot of news articles from sites like NBC.com.

Still, I remember a time years ago when exact-match domains had a real presence on page one of Google, some making it above-the-fold. As we all know, being on page two of Google means that you’re probably not going to get much search traffic. In fact, only 6% of search traffic makes its way to page two (Source – Forbes) and since Thanksgiving.com is in the middle of page two (i.e. not at the top) it’s probably getting around 1% of the search traffic.

But let’s be honest. Who the heck really goes to Google and searches for Thanksgiving? I think people look for things like Thanksgiving recipes, but sadly Thanksgiving.com doesn’t show up in the first five pages of search results for this phrase so they’re not getting any search traffic there.

So if you’re thinking about buying an exact-match domain in order to rank well for a popular holiday, think again, those days are long gone.

{ 9 comments }

dot-luxe

Whether you’re a fan of cryptocurrency or not, I think it’s safe to say that blockchain has already changed the world. These are still the early days and yes, it’s very clear that we’re still sorting out how blockchain will be used, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a game-changer. Will we be using Bitcoin to make everyday purchases? Well that’s a tough one. Will blockchain find its way into our daily lives, behind-the-scenes, most likely so, and in some cases, it already is.

One of the newest entrants to the new gTLD space, .LUXE – is making history as it becomes the first new gTLDs designed to resolve on both the web and Ethereum blockchain. While this might not make sense to you now, something tells me ten years from now we’ll remember this is a pretty seminal move connecting domain names to the world of blockchain.

Currently, there is no interoperable naming convention across the World Wide Web and blockchain universes. On the fastest growing blockchain, Ethereum, 42 character randomly generated alphanumeric strings presently serve as the public identifiers for the 43 million Ethereum assets now in circulation on that blockchain. Through .luxe, human readable names can serve as the public identifier for businesses, individuals and assets on the Ethereum blockchain, thereby helping to improve ease-of-use and trust between counter parties. The same .luxe name can also be used on the World Wide Web, helping to further improve transparency and trust between counter parties. (Source – MMX Blog)

.LUXE went into Sunrise (i.e. for trademark holders only) starting in early August. General availability started on November 6th. If you’re looking to register a .LUXE domain the place I was able to find the best pricing was 101Domain which has them priced at $22.99/year.

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

{ 5 comments }

Remembering my Grandfather, Andrus LaBarge

I don’t normally write about my personal life on my blog, but today I wanted to break tradition to take a moment to reflect on something that happened this past week. Last Tuesday my grandfather, Andrus LaBarge passed away, he was 89. I’m in New York now in an AirBnB on Lake Katrine with my Mom after spending Sunday and Monday honoring my grandfather’s (or Poppy as we would call him) life.

After spending two days reflecting on my grandfather, I think this picture most captures his spirit, it’s a photo of him with my grandmother on their wedding day.

andy-and-jackie-labarge

I think the biggest reflection I have when looking back on my grandfathers life is his dedication to his family, his wife, and his community. Poppy truly lived the life he dreamed of, he fell in love and spent 61 years with his wife, my grandmother Jackie. They had five kids (one child died as an infant), and he was dedicate to making sure they all went to college – and they did. He worked hard, helped his community, and into his 80’s still was handing out turkeys during the holidays to those who couldn’t afford to buy one themselves.

In 2014 my grandmother Jackie died of cancer. Unfortunately it was a very painful death, and for my grandfather, watching the love of his life go through so much suffering took a toll. After she died he was never the same. I can still remember talking to him years after she died, “I miss your grandmother so much,” he would say multiple times in every call I had with him.

Some people find a way to move on with life after the death of someone they love…but sometimes they don’t and life loses its meaning. This is what happened to my grandfather, and from the moment my grandmother died, he was ready to move on to be with her. He died without suffering and was ready to pass on. In a way, he really did achieve everything that most people dream of achieving, a family, true love, great friends, and a real dedication to helping people while asking for nothing in return.

I will always remember my grandfather and the values that he stood for. For years I’ve said life is short. At the same time I think, sometimes, maybe it isn’t. Maybe sometimes you set a goal and hit it and then when the core part of that world starts to slip away, life becomes long, probably too long. I know my grandfather passed away knowing that he would be remembered for the man that he was, a great father, husband, and incredible contributor to the community. He wasn’t a millionaire, he didn’t invent some new technology or write a best-selling book, but in his own way he did change the world and for those who knew him they’ll tell you – he definitely made the world a better place.

So if you happen to have a glass in front of you, or if not go grab one, and let’s raise a glass to my grandfather Andrus LaBarge. If you want to read more about my grandfather feel free to read his obituary below:

andrus-labarge-life

{ 7 comments }

As we all know, the SEO world changes all the time, at this point looking at articles even from six-months ago can leave you following tips that no longer apply. Two days ago I found a pretty darn comprehensive article about on-page SEO, and since it was published two days ago, it’s safe to say it’s still relevant.

In the guide they have a really interesting section dedicated to the importance of short descriptive URLS:

Take a look at this URL:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322345.php

Can you tell me what that page is about just by looking at the URL? I doubt it.

Now take a look at this one:

https://www.dietdoctor.com/how-to-lose-weight

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that it’s a blog post about losing weight. That’s because this is an example of a descriptive URL—it tells you what to expect from the page.

There are a few reasons why this is good practice for on‐page SEO.

Firstly, as we discussed in the previous point, searchers are most likely to click the search result that best matches their search query. Descriptive URLs help cement your page as that result.

Secondly, and more importantly, descriptive URLs tend to include the keyword(s) you’re targeting. According to our previous study of 2M keywords, there’s a slight correlation between rankings and keywords in the URL. (Source – Ahrefs blog)

Honestly this guide made me realize a number of things I should be doing both to optimize the on-page SEO for my blog, and our on-page SEO for Bold Metrics. If you haven’t given much thought to your on-page SEO, now might be a good time to look through this guide and see what tweaks you can make.

When it comes to SEO, little changes can go a long way and this guide is full of little things you can do to improve your on-page SEO. Oh, and I know it sounds like these guys must be a sponsor, but they’re note, I just think they wrote a really kick-ass guide to SEO that is relevant today, so I wanted to share it with all of you. Enjoy!

{ 3 comments }

How expired domains can lead to credit card theft

Well here’s something I never thought of – criminals are using expired domain names to steal credit card numbers. As a domain investor I see expired domains as potential investment, I’m less concerned with if there was or wasn’t a site on the domain in the past, I’m more interested in who might want to build a business on it in the future.

For scammers, well, they’re wired a bit differently and for them expired domains mean an easy way to trick people into giving them their credit card number. How big of a problem is this practice? It’s certainly more prevalent that I thought:

“We have observed more than 800 sites hosting these brand impersonation/skimming stores since June 2018,” the report notes.

“This group’s strategy appears rather simple: the perpetrators set up a large number of stores impersonating as many popular brands as possible and drive traffic to these fake stores with a variety of methods,” the report continues. “Some visitors will attempt to make purchases, entering their payment information into the payment form where the skimmer copies it and sends it to a drop server. The payment page even displays badges from various security companies in order to appear more legitimate.” (Source – KrebsonSecurity.com)

So what does this mean for you? Here’s the rub. Let’s say you ran a business for a few years on a domain. The business never took off so you let the domain expire…well now someone buys the domain after it expires and boom – somehow you’re linked to a scam site.

“Giving up on a long-held domain name — particularly one tied to your name — is always a tough call, because you simply never know what it will be used for when it falls into someone else’s hands.” 

For most Domainers this will be a non-issues since you’re not developing your domains, but if you do, and that website has your name on it, be careful if you decide to let it expire. If it ends up in the hands of a scammer you could end up getting confused with them, and unraveling that could cost you a lot of time and money…

{ 1 comment }

As many of you know I’ve been a big fan of Efty’s for some time now. One of my favorite things about Efty is that they’re always adding new features to make life easier. Last month they introduced a pretty slick feature that I wanted to quickly highlight in case anyone missed it.

So back in 2016 Efty added Google Analytics support which allowed Domainers to connect their Google Analytics account to their for-sale landing pages. Given all the data Google Analytics provides this is a very handy feature. The problem is, you had to leave Efty to view the stats, i.e. log into Google Analytics. As of last month you can now view your Google Analytics stats directly from Efty.

“Once you’ve linked your Google account you can view visitors stats for all your Google Analytics accounts and properties right into Efty.

You can select the date range in the top right corner and get a quick snapshot of Sessions (visitors), popular pages (keep in mind this works best if your landing pages are hosted on EftyMarket.com), Sources, Medium, Devices, and Countries. To switch between Google Analytics accounts, you use the drop-down menu in the left-hand corner.” (Source – Efty Blog)

Here’s a nifty animation to show you what the new feature looks like in action:

efty-adds-google-analytics

If you already have an Efty account you can start using this right away. It’s little things like this that separate good software from great software. Thanks to Efty for continuing to go above-and-beyond, now to get this setup in my own Efty account!

Have you used the Google Analytics integration in Efty? If so, what did you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 0 comments }

giuseppe-graziano

Many of you already know Giuseppe, but in case you don’t, he’s one of the top minds in the liquid domain space and publishes quarterly reports on the liquid domain market at GGRG.com. He actually just released his latest report this week which was highlighted in DNJournal yesterday.

As I’m looking at shifting my own investment strategy to focus more on liquid domains next year I really wanted to pick Giuseppe’s brain. Then I thought, why not turn it into an interview that I can share with all of you? Huge thanks to Giuseppe for taking the time to answer these questions, first a quick disclaimer and then onto the interview!

Disclaimer: The minimum entry tickets, prices indications, and advice in the interview are for information and illustrative purposes only. Any of the information mentioned in the interview should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular domain purchase or course of action. 

1. If an investor is looking to build a liquid portfolio, would you recommend numeric domains, letters, or a combination of both?
 
There are 2 ways to answer this question based on 1) how much money you can invest and 2) if you are a buy-and-hold type of guy versus a trader who likes quick flips.
 
Let’s look first at #1, the entry tickets. If you are starting out, I would definitely go for the least expensive liquid categories like the 4 letter .com (4Ls) domains, the 5 number .com (5Ns) domains and the 3 characters .com (3Cs) domains. These categories have a $100+ entry ticket and are accessible (and recommended) to most newbies. When you graduated from the low ticket items, you can move up the ladder to 3Ls, 4Ns, and 2Cs, which have a $10k+ entry ticket. These categories are less liquid because of their steeper price. Finally, for the high-stakes pros, there are the premium items like the 2Ls, 2Ns, and 3Ns, with an entry ticket of $100k+. 
 
About your investing style: if you prefer a buy-and-hold strategy, (i.e. you buy a domain and then you are comfortable waiting for an end user), I would look at the most developed categories, which are the ones with the highest percentage of end-user ownership. We call that percentage “development index”. According to our latest LXDO report (which we publish quarterly in collaboration with Escrow.com, Intelium, and ShortNames, and which you can receive for free by signing up for our newsletter at ggrg.com) the most developed categories are the 2 letter .com (35%), followed by the 3 letter .com (28%) and, finally, the 2 characters .com (26%). If you are looking instead at making frequent trades with smaller margins, I would look at the most traded categories like the 4Ls, 5Ns, and 3Cs. These are the categories which register a quarterly turnover higher than 0.5%. What does this mysterious quarterly turnover number mean? It means that the market for those domains is very active (thousands of transactions per quarter) and it is easy for you to resell your domain if you want to.
2. How have you seen the dynamics of the numeric domain name market change over the last year?
 
According to the data in our reports, all liquid domains categories covered by the LXDO have steadily declined over time in terms of floor price. We are still in the aftermath of the Chinese bubble of 2015, and today there are a lot less Chinese buyers active in the market. Conversely, we have noted an increase in activity by non-Chinese investors, especially for the most developed categories, that is 2 letters, 3 letters, and 2 characters .com.
3. Where are the best places for investors to look if they want to buy wholesale?
 
A good rule of thumb for buying domains (or anything really) is “go where you have less competition”. It’s the universal law of supply and demand. In practical terms, the best place for buying domains wholesale is almost always private deals, because you are likely the only buyer negotiating with the owner. Conversely, if you are a seller, you want to sell where the largest amount of active buyers are, like the most popular action houses, marketplaces or the best domain brokers. For the low ticket items like the 4 letters, 5 numbers or 3 characters, I would definitely look at GoDaddy or Namejet because they probably have the largest user base.
 
For the mid-range items (3L, 4N, 2C), we recently launched an investor marketplace specifically for 3L .com domains called LXME.com (Liquid Domain Market Exchange). All the largest investors are active there and you can manage to sell your 3 letter .com domain very quickly at industry low fees. One of our Danish customers managed to sell his 3L .com literally within 15 minutes of setting the right price!
 
Finally, for the high ticket items like the 2 letter, 2 number or 3 number .com, I would hire a professional broker to represent you, because that allows you to target end users and not just investors. You can seriously hurt your chances of getting top dollar if you go about selling your ultra-premium domain the wrong way, for example by listing it on auction with an incorrect reserve price, or by hiring someone who is going to carelessly shop it around. We have extensive brokerage experience at GGRG.com, with over $10M in sales in liquid domains only, so if you are looking for a broker for a high ticket item, I would definitely recommend to contact us.
4. What kind of margin should investors expect to see on liquid domains? i.e. should I expect to buy at 50%-off the liquid value, 25% off, etc?
 
There is a sensible saying in real estate: “You make money on the buy”. The same rule applies to domains. If you can buy a domain at 50% off its floor price, fantastic! If you manage to do that, you stand to make 50%+ in profit when you sell it. The issue though is that liquid domains is a competitive market and there are lines of investors wanting to buy at 50% off. Just imagine selling an apartment in Manhattan (or central Lisbon, these days) – how many buyers do you think would queue up to buy at half price? Tons!  
 
More realistically, it is easier to catch opportunities at 10-20% off, although even these are rare. It is easier to find great deals if you are ready to buy high ticket items (like 2Ls .com) or if you buy in large volumes.
5. While the word “liquid” is used, what is the realistic time it would take to sell a liquid domain? 
 
I will answer this question the long way. Please bear with me. The liquidity of a domain is directly proportional to the number of buyers interested in buying your domain. If you want to sell a 4 letter .com, there are probably 1,000+ buyers ready to buy your domain around floor price, which means that you can liquidate your domain within a few days, provided you have a way of reaching those buyers, for example through an auction platform. 
 
But if you want to sell a 2 letter .com, the number of buyers out there is much smaller, which means that, unless you are happy taking the first offer that comes along, you would have to wait a longer period, which could take up to several weeks. On average, the longer you can wait, and the more buyers you can reach, the highest is the amount you can sell your domain for. If you read this again slowly, you will realize this is not rocket science.
 
To give you a concrete example, a competent broker would be probably able to get you 6 digits offers for your 2 letter .com within 7 days – just do not expect it to be top dollar. Similar timing, different offers, for a 3L .com. This is the reason why I started LXME.com in the first place, to allow owners to liquidate their 3L .com domains at the highest wholesale price, in the fastest way possible and without needing to rely on an extensive network of people within the industry.
6. Do you consider a domain “liquid” if the buyer is an end user or only if it’s another investor?
 
A domain is considered liquid independently if the buyer is an investor or an end-user. If you do sell a liquid domain to an end-user though, you stand to make a lot more money, which is why the most successful investors I know, look for liquid domains with end-user potential. The liquidity limits their downside (in case an end user never shows ) and they stand to make a large profit if they manage to sell to an end user. I noticed a pattern where good domain investors buy any liquid domain around floor price and resell it quickly, and great domain investors buy good domain names at fair prices and then hold them to sell to an end user for a large margin. 
 
If I recall correctly that’s also how Warren Buffet’s strategy evolved – he went from buying bad companies at bargain prices to buy great companies at fair prices. Maybe it is a sensible advice for domain investors too.
7. What is the biggest mistake you see people make when they’re trying to build a liquid portfolio?
 
Jumping into the market without first trying to understand the market dynamics. For example, a newbie might start out buying a few .org or .net domains because they are cheaper and their .com counterpart sold for top dollars. Wrong. What you really bought is a domain (or portfolio) with no end user upside and for which there are only a handful of active buyers. But this mistake is nothing compared to what I am going to write about next.
 
The mistake that unfortunately, I see too many people doing, despite dozens of newsletters and blog posts, is that they go out and hand register domains believing they are liquid. Stop the madness. This is by far the most common way of losing money in domain investing and I say this because I lost a lot of money myself in this way. As my friend Yoni says: “If a domain is available for registration, it is the most crowd-sourced method to tell that it is worthless”. There is this unfortunate myth which says you can register a good domain and then sell it, but I’ll say it again in the hope people do not make this mistake: do not register available domain names for investment purposes! While there were times in the history of mankind where this was possible (like the fabulous TRAFFIC’s decade, the 6N .com run in 2015 or the typo domains), those times are gone. There are over 300M registered domains, so your chances are less than slim. There is the occasional lottery winner who manages to sell a domain, but 99,9% of new registrations never sell. You only read about these lottery sales but you do not hear about the millions lost in hopeless renewal fees. I will say it again: unless you are a wizard or Mike Mann, do not hand register domain names. I said it 3 times, hopefully, it works.
8. I’ll end with a fun one! Giuseppe, what’s one thing that most people don’t know about you that they’d be surprised to learn?
 
3 things about me that might surprise:
  • I got so obsessed with the Chinese market that I developed a mild OCD with numbers. For example, whenever I catch the metro, I always go through the gate that has the more auspicious numbers. If there are multiple exits, I would always take the ones containing 8, repeated patterns and, obviously, no 4s. For years I got off the metro station at exit 008. It got to a point where my girlfriend knows this and can tell already which exit I am going to take. And makes fun of me.
  • When I was first studying domain names, your videos [Morgan’s] were one of the first resources I came across. I particularly recall one in which Morgan compared real estate to domain investing [you can link the video if you want].
  • Oh, and I used to have long hair! This surprises quite a few people. (see below)

giuseppe-graziano-long-hair

{ 6 comments }