Will the decline of Venture Capital in China increase demand for domain names?

For those who know me, you know that I read the Wall Street Journal every day, have for years – moved from the paper version to the digital version a few years ago. I’m possibly one of the only people who reads the Journal and watches Cheddar eSports news updates every day, but hey – that’s me!

Okay – now back to the topic of this post, the decline of Venture Capital activity in Japan. Today there was an interesting article in the Journal about the end of China’s Venture Capital Boom. In it, they shared some interesting data on the decline in both number of funds and money raised by funds in China, here’s a high-level look at the numbers:

Source – Preqin

The article goes on to talk about how VC firms in China didn’t turn out to be the golden ticket to riches so many people had hoped they would be. As a result, the startup ecosystem is shrinking, funding is declining, and well, talk of China becoming the next Silicon Valley has been put on hold.

Of course, as a domain investor this got me thinking. If people who were looking to get a higher than normal return are moving their money out of startups in China, this could mean domain names could come back in style.

For anyone who has been following the domain market in China you know that it peaked a few years ago and then dropped, and well, it hasn’t ever recovered. I’m wondering if 2020 could be the year we see a shift as funds move away from startups and venture capital in China and into alternative assets.

What do you think? Am I onto something here or am I way off? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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Sedo turns away .CO domain in favor of .CX in their latest domain auction

Well here’s a weird one. Sedo is running an iGaming auction and I noticed some interesting data concerning what domains they’re accepting into the auction. In short, they are turning away .CO domains but letting in .CX.

Domain Investor Johan (who goes by @DoseBuy on Twitter) posted this tweet sharing two of his names that made it into auction:

DoseBuy .CX Tweet

First, congrats to Johan – I’m constantly impressed with his hustle and some of the early results he’s seen with .CX. While I don’t see myself investing in .CX anytime soon, it’s been fun to see him run with this from the sidelines.

Now here’s the head-scratcher. After Johan shared his .CX names that got accepted, Josh Reason shared the following:

Josh Gaming.co

I’m officially confused. To me it seems like Gamers.co is about a good a fit as you can get for an Gaming-focused domain auction, especially if you are going as broad with extensions as to be a-okay with .CX.

Maybe someone from Sedo can jump in the comments here and shed some light on what’s happening. Does Sedo really think that .CX domains are more relevant for their customers than .CO? Right now, that seems to be the case…

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Domain Investors weigh in on what NamePros should do about the troll who publicly slandered a top broker on their forum

In case you were living in a cave yesterday, I’ll give you a quick update. A troll on NamePros hiding behind the username @offthehandle attacked successful domain broker Kate Buckley – no data, no proof. I first read about this on TheDomains and since then a number of bloggers have covered the incident.

Some of the most well-respected people in the domain industry have weighed in on this issue, here’s comments from a few:

Shane from DSAD.com put together a list of three things that need to happen and I think he’s spot on with these. If @offthehandle can insult Kate publicly and call her out by name, he shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind an anonymous name, that’s about as cowardly as you can get. I also agree that NamePros should ban this member – letting someone get away with this only hurts the reputation of NamePros IMO.

The silver lining with all of this is that it has been great to see the domain community come together for Kate. Just look at any of the blog posts about the incident and you’ll find countless people who have come to Kate’s defense and shared how disappointed they are to hear about @offthehandle’s ridiculous accusations with absolutely no data or proof to back them up.

I hope NamePros does the right thing here. I think they should take Shane’s advice and do the three things he suggests, it will be good for their reputation and for the community.

Liquid Web WW

Yes, changing domain names can be an SEO nightmare

Nightmare

I’ve heard countless horror stories about people who have changed domain names and ended up with major SEO problems. If your business depends on traffic from search, this could be devastating, and that’s just what happened to the startup LogoJoy that changed it’s name to Looka.

As detailed by BetaKit, six months ago, logo and brand identity platform Looka changed its name from LogoJoy as it embarked on an expansion beyond its AI-driven logo service. Dawson Whitfield, Looka’s co-founder and CEO, told BetaKit that his company anticipated a 20 to 30% drop in organic traffic as a result of the domain switch from logojoy.com to looka.com, with a three to six month recovery period.

Instead, Whitfield revealed that the company saw its organic traffic drop by a whopping 80%, a huge problem give that organic traffic had accounted for half of the company’s revenue.

(Source – econsultancy)

Its been a sad story to watch unfold as the company ended up laying off 80% of its staff. Twitter has been flooded with people from Looka looking for their next gig and the community has come to their aid with people recommending their friends that are now out of a job.

I think this also highlights just how important it can be to pick the right name the first time around. At the same time, LogoJoy (now Looka) did ignore some of Google’s best-practices when it comes to changing domains such as combining a domain name change with a complete site redesign. Here’s a complete list of things that LogoJoy might have done to upset the Google Gods:

Looka violated Google’s advice about site architecture

It removed or changed the URLs of pages associated with content marketing campaigns that were responsible for much of its organic traffic

The change of the domain from logojoy.com, which contains the keyword “logo”, resulted in the company’s ranking for “logo”-related searches dropping

The new content on the Looka site related to its expansion of services somehow caused a drop in its Google rankings

In highly-competitive markets, the Google hit can be much higher and the time-to-recover much longer than widely believed

(Source – econsultancy)

While nobody actually knows what caused such a precipitous drop in SEO juice, I think more people will make sure to heed Google’s warnings when it comes to changing domains. At the same time, I think many businesses, small and large will think twice about relying so much on Google for traffic. Yes – search engines can provide a nice (free) stream of traffic, but if your whole business is built on this traffic you have a single point of failure, and with that comes a lot of risk.

For any of my readers of the SEO persuasion, what’s your best guess as to what Looka did wrong?

Domain Investing news roundup for the week of November 4th 2019

Domain Investing News
Domain Investing News

Hello, happy Sunday, and welcome to my weekly domain name news roundup. There has been a lot going on in the Domaining world with some exciting new sales getting announced along with a fresh new Shark Tank deal for a company I mentioned on my blog no too long ago. Articles discussing both can of course be found below.

I’m getting excited for NamesCon which is now just around the corner. I heard this week that the first block of rooms at the Omni sold out but they’re getting another block for anyone that still wants to lock-in the discounted rate. I’ve seen a few people get confused when they go directly to the Omni website, remember you’ll need to book through the link on the NamesCon site to get the discount.

Okay, now enough chitter chatter – let’s get to the news. Here are the stories from around the Domaining world that caught my eye last week:

  • Scenes from ICANN 66 in Montreal (Read more on DomainNameWire)
  • Supply.co gets $300,000 deal on Shark Tank (Read more on TheDomains)
  • .EU domain extension continues to shrink in Q3 (Read more on OnlineDomain)
  • Uniregistry weekly sales led by Placemaker.com (Read more on TLDInvestors)
  • Sedo weekly sales led by Kama.co (Read more on TheDomains)
  • Donuts Banters with Rick Schwartz About Rick.TV (Read more on DomainInvesting.com)
  • Interview with the one and only DoseBuy, a new Domainer who isn’t afraid to speak his mind (Read more on my blog)
  • Phenomenal Outing for Phenom.com – James Booth’s Brokerage Banks Over $750,000 With 4 of Week’s Top 5 Sales (Read more on DNJournal)
  • GoDaddy to do a share buyback of $500 million (Read more on TheDomains)
  • Rick Goes to Youtube on the way to Rick.TV (Read more on Rick’s Blog)
  • How to go to NamesCon for cheap (Read more on DomainNameWire)

If your company name is taken in .COM, you have three options

First things first, yes – pretty much every company wants to get their exact match .COM. That’s a given.

But more and more companies want to call themselves something that would be a big juicy six or seven figure purchase in the .COM space, or it might already be taken in .COM by a company doing something completely different. So they have three choices:

  1. Add a word like “Get” to the front of the .COM
  2. Change your company name entirely
  3. Buy the exact-match domain in a different domain extension

Two good friends of mine that went through Techstars with me hired a marketing agency to help them come up with a name for their company. They spent quite a bit of time going through what kinds of words, colors, etc. resonated with them and their customers. After spending a good amount of time and money they landed on the name – Convey.

The challenge was, Convey.com was taken, so they launched their new company on GetConvey.com. While the domain creates confusion, and some people think of them as “Get Convey” rather than Convey. It hasn’t really impacted their ability to raise money, grow, and build a great product. They’ve raised over $25M to-date without owning their exact-match .COM.

Even without the matching .COM all of their marketing material says “Convey” as does their tradeshow booths, website, etc. The same is true for a company like Mercury.co – they have ads all over San Francisco right now, and just like their website and all their marketing materials, it says “Mercury” not Mercury.co.

When it comes to option #3, going with a different domain extension, I think the vertical you’re in plays a big role in determining which extension you should pick. Recently Josh Reason shared his thoughts on this topic and I think he was spot on:

COM Alternatives

I would say that .CO out of all the new domain extensions has the most versatility as it could be used for really any category. Domain extensions like .AI or .GG are much more vertical-specific.

When it comes to picking a domain name, there really is no right answer, it really is up to you and your team to decide what’s best for you.

Forbes article highlights challenges for Verisign despite their ability to increase fees

Ah Verisign, the company that we all love, because we love .COMs, but also get annoyed with as they increase our registration and renewal costs. Of course, as a business, I’m never surprised to see Verisign increase their pricing…they have found a way to literally print money, so when they can print more money, they do, it is what it is.

Today Forbes wrote an article that touched on some of the challenges Verisign faces to grow revenue despite increasing fees:

Notably, while the demand for domain names remained strong over the period, first time renewal rates were weaker due to emerging markets contributing a higher proportion of the mix. As this trend is expected to continue over coming quarters, VeriSign’s Revenues are likely to see muted growth

(Source – Forbes)

I’m not exactly sure what Forbes means by “emerging markets” but I’m guessing they’re talking about a combination of new gTLDs and ccTLDs. The reality is that we do live in a world now where people have more options than ever before when it comes to domain extensions.

Rewind 20 years ago and people essentially could choose between .COM, .NET, and .ORG, now there are close to 2,000 different options and no matter how you slice it, that takes money away from .COM, which means it takes money away from Verisign.

All that being said, of course Verisign will be fine, but I do think we’ll continue to see registration and renewal fees continue to creep up as other extensions chip away at the .COM market. I think .COM will continue to be king, that’s probably not going to change anytime soon, but given all the different domain extensions available it’s hard to ignore the fact that people can and will choose on of many other options if they find the .COM they wanted is taken.

WebHostingPad

James Booth just got his hands on some pretty stellar .IO domain names

If you don’t know James, you should – him and his brother, known as the Booth Brothers have played a role in some of the biggest domain deals in history. I often hear the Booth Brothers talk about some monster one-word .COM that they either bought or sold…but today James announced his latest acquisition, and as you can see from the list below, they’re all .IO:

.IO domain names

Like most things the Booth Brothers do, the focus is on truly premium names and I think it’s safe to say this is a very solid list of names. My favorites are Smart.io, Gaming.io, and Sun.io but any one of these could sell for five figures IMO.

Of course this doesn’t mean James or his brother are suddenly moving away from .COM, I’m sure the vast majority of what they will continue to buy and sell will be .COM. That being said, they’re making a nice splash into the .IO space with a very solid acquisition.

My guess is over the next few months we’ll see some pretty interesting sales materialize as a result of these acquisitions. If I were to guess I’d say Smart.io will take the cake as the top sale but only time will tell.

What do you think is the best name on this list? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Keyword Researcher

Interview with the one and only DoseBuy, a new Domainer who isn’t afraid to speak his mind

interview

There been a new addition to the Domaining world this year that has caught my eye and many others, his name is Johan Jönsson but you might know him as @dosebuy on Twitter.

If you’ve followed Johan on Twitter then you know he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and he’s been particularly vocal about his passion for .CX domains. Of course, he is investing in .COM and in fairly short-order has managed to cover his renewal fees so if he plays his cards right will end up with a profitable first year in Domaining.

At first I was annoyed by Johan’s constant promotion of .CX, I didn’t get it. Then, as I got to know him better, I became pretty impressed with his willingness to try new things and share what he’s doing so publicly. While I might not agree with everything he’s investing in, I have a lot of respect for his enthusiasm for the industry and openness, and something tells me we’re all going to watch him continue to grow his investments and surprise us over time.

I asked Johan if he would be game for an interview and he was all for it, so without further ado, let’s get to know Johan a bit better.

[MORGAN] How did you first discover the concept of Domain Investing?

[JOHAN] I had a couple of domains way back. .se domains for personal use. Then this summer I was in an argument with a friend and we always end up in confirming things via Google. So as I joke I wanted to create a page called CanItBeConfirmed.com. And when you type it in the page would just say ”Yes”. That way I could win every argument.Then it just took of from there I guess.


[MORGAN] What are some of the resources you’ve been using to learn?

[JOHAN] Its mainly Namepros and the Darryl Lopez Domain Talk group. Awesome people all around. Also got a lot of new friends, both newbies and experienced domainers. Its been really fun.



[MORGAN] What do you currently do for a living? 

[JOHAN] I work as a Application Consultant for a Warehouse Management System. Configuring and developing stuff so the Logistic processes in a warehouse and supply Chain will be executed in a more smooth way. Yes, I know it sounds super exciting right? Zzzzz



[MORGAN] You’ve been very bullish on .CX domain names, what % of your portfolio do you think will be .CX vs. .COM?

[JOHAN] I have 330 names. Only 18 .cx.I just have a good feeling about them. CX is insanely big as a industry since its the abbreviation of Customer Experience. And also the crypto-crowd are fond of the name. I truly belive it will be some big .cx sales in the upcoming year. So I had to reg some keywords.But I only sold 1 .cx so far. Herbs.cx to Herbs.com.



[MORGAN] You recently made some sales that have now covered your renewal fees. Do you have a revenue goal in mind for this year that would make Domaining feel like a good conversion of time to money?

[JOHAN] No, I only had the goal to cover my renewals. Now I need to sell for around $1500 more to cover my investment. And that will be no problem it looks like.I have no number-goal. Im just glad I can sit safe in the boat for 1.5 years more before panic will arise.

[MORGAN] How many hours a week do you think you spend on Domaining now?

[JOHAN] 2 hours a day maybe. Mostly during lunch-time and the occational toilet break, haha. So maybe 14 hours a week?It has replaced my Facebook/Instagram/Netflix/PS4-time more or less.



[MORGAN] Do you invest in the stock market and/or real estate? If so how do you think about dividing up your investments?

[JOHAN] Nope. Nothing like that. I own some but its long term and nothing Im following to close.



[MORGAN] What are your career goals? Do you plan to continue to work where you do now or is there something you’ve always dreamed of doing that you’re still striving to do someday?

[JOHAN] I’m a journalist at bottom, so to have a chance writing about hockey again I would love. Have worked as a sports journalist before and really love to express myself in writing. So a book or something would surely be fun to produce.

[MORGAN] Are you coming to NamesCon next year?

[JOHAN] Haven’t thought about it. But If I can get some big sales done and the economy allows it, it would for sure be a fun experience. Im all about learning and Im humbled by many of the domainers reaching out with tips and tricks. It’s a great community.



[MORGAN] Tell us one fun fact about Johan that we might not know.

[JOHAN] I was a twitter phenomenon in Sweden under the last active years as a Hockey player. Mostly due to this profile pic from a statistic-page 
https://www.eliteprospects.com/player/4817/johan-jönsson

The most recent DNW Podcast with Richard and James is a must-listen

I’m a big fan of the Domain Name Wire Podcast, it’s part of my regular podcast regimen, which consists of only three podcasts so it’s on a very short list. Andrew just recorded his 260th episode and it is one of the best I’ve ever heard so I thought I’d let all of you know, if you haven’t been listening, now is the time to start, or at least, don’t miss this one.

If you don’t know who Richard Lau and James Morfopoulos are, they are two of the nicest people in the domain industry, and also two of the most humble. I’ve been friends with Richard and James for almost a decade now, and while you might know them as the creators of NamesCon, they are industry OG’s that have been making big moves for a long time.

When it comes to people I look up to in the industry, Richard and James have been at the top of my list for a long time and I think everyone from new to experience domain investors can learn something from this interview.

So, I’ll stop there and just tell you to take some time this week to listen to this episode of the DNW Podcast, I think it’s one of the best. You can listen to it by clicking here.

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