Weekend musing – next stop Japan 🛫 🇯🇵

Years ago I used to do a weekly post on either Saturday or Sunday called weekend musings. That stopped a few years ago as things got so busy running a company that I really needed the weekends to unplug as much as possible.

While things are still really busy I have to say, I miss the moment of reflection that weekend musings brought to my life, so I’m bringing it back. I’m going to keep this one short and sweet since I’m actually going to be writing two blog posts back-to-back since I’m on my way to Japan and don’t think I’ll have time to write Monday’s blog post on Monday, so I’ll write it today.

Okay, now onto my weekend musings, here’s what’s in my head today:

It is really nice to be able to spend time with friends and family in San Francisco. As you all know, I travel a lot, but recently I was home for three weeks in a row (which is a long time for me) and I really enjoyed some quality time with family and friends. From going on a Sunday brunch adventure in Sausalito with my Mom, to dinner and drinks with my good friend Nick, Rosh Hashanah service with my Dad, and a pinball championship with Chris, it feels good. Here’s a few pictures from each, in the order I shared them:

Me and my Mom in Sausalito
Me and my good friend Nick having an adventure in San Francisco
Me and my Dad at temple for Rosh Hashanah
Me and my friend Chris playing pinball in San Francisco

Today I’m flying to Japan, Bold Metrics was lucky enough to get invited to come to Osaka to meet with companies there looking to champion innovation. I’m flying in a bit early so I can adventure over to Naoshima Island, often referred to as “Art Island” which has a museum on it that sounds to spectacular not to go to called the Chichu Museum. I land at 6:30PM on Monday evening in Osaka and will be adventuring by train to Okayama and then getting up in the morning and taking a ferry to Naoshima.

The rest of the trip is back-to-back meetings in Osaka and then onto Tokyo. I get home on Thursday the 17th at 1:00PM and then fly out at midnight to Florida for a family wedding, so yes – never a dull moment.

I’ll leave it at that for now as I need time to write my blog post for Monday. If any of my readers have been to Naoshima I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts, and if there are any restaurants you think are a must-visit in Osaka, I’m all ears.

I hope you’re all having a great weekend, next stop Osaka! 🇯🇵

Morgan’s weekly Domain Investing news roundup for the week of September 30th, 2019 – now including Tweets, and Instagram

Domain Investing News

Hello, happy Friday, and welcome to another weekly domain investing news update. Last week I included Tweets for the first time and it turned out to be one of my most-read updates yet, so I’ll take that as a “yes Morgan, we like tweets, keep them coming!”

This week I thought I’d add Instagram into the mix, but to keep things simple I’ll just include one photo, and it wasn’t hard to pick one this week. As you might know, DNAcademy founder Mike Cyger has been running across Washington, it got a little cold on the last leg of his journey, and well, I won’t ruin the surprise…let’s just say Mike had to do a little last-minute shopping:

Mike Cyger running across washington

Okay, now onto the news! Below are the stories (and tweets) from the domain investing world that caught my eye this week, enjoy!

  • Josh Reason sells Inovite.com via Afternic, says “Need more .COM inventory” in a Tweet (read the Tweet)
  • NameJet sales led by Kura.com at $68,000 (read more on Domain Name Wire)
  • Andrew Rosner launched an SEO and Domain Authority newsletter (read the Tweet)
  • NamePros takes further steps to protect its moderators (read more on TheDomains)
  • Carrot.com takes the top spot in this week’s domain sales chart (read more on DNJournal)
  • Rick Schwartz started a contest on Twitter to buy a domain from him (read the Tweet)
  • Fashion.com goes up for auction (read more on OnlineDomain)
  • Elliot experiments with remove the “Offer” field from his domain sales landing pages (read more on DomainInvesting.com)

Okay, that’s it from me, I hope you all had a great week and have a fantastic weekend. I’m flying to Japan on Sunday morning so expect my blog post timing to change a bit, but don’t worry, I’ll still be posting daily while traveling. TGIF!

How the heck did HVW.com sell for $12,000?

Liquid Web WW

Lately I’ve seen a number of cases where people sell domains for well below market value. I get it, if you need money, you need money, so you sell for what you can get, but honestly sometimes I see a sale that just makes me scratch my head.

Such is the case with HVW.com which sold for $12,000. I discovered that sale thanks to Joe Styler who highlighted the sale on his Twitter account:

HVW.com Sale

Now in case you didn’t know, three character .COMs like this typically sell for a lot more, heck Ice.com sold for $3.5M last year and NCC.com sold for $300,000 over the summer, so yes $12k is a screaming deal.

So what happened here? Did the buyer here get lucky? Did the seller set the reserve too low? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Three ways I’m planning on using Efty’s new Zapier Integration

efty-dashboard

Yesterday Efty announced their new Zapier integration and as someone that has used Zapier for years, and also uses Efty, I can tell you I’m pretty excited about this.

If you don’t know what Zapier is, just think of it as a way that different software solutions can talk to each other without requiring you, the user, to write code or access APIs directly.

Efty and Zapier

I always hoped that Efty would go in this direction so my gears had already been turning when it comes to how I would leverage Zapier and Efty. Here’s three things that I think I’ll be doing first:

  1. Efty and Slack – now I can have a notification show up on Slack when I get an inbound offer. This one seems like a no-brainer to me, why not make it easier for yourself to know when someone wants to buy a domain name from you?
  2. Efty and Pipedrive – at NamesCon Europe this year I talked about how I use Pipedrive to manage my domain sales funnel. To do this, I’ve had to manually enter new inbound leads into Pipedrive, with Efty’s Zapier integration I can now have the leads go straight to Pipedrive.
  3. Efty and Google Sheets – I like to have a backup of all my inbound leads outside of any third party platform or CRM. I currently keep this in Google Sheets and now I can have this happen automatically.

If you haven’t used a Zapier integration before I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get everything setup. Before Zapier you really had to know how to code and the in’s and out’s of APIs, with Zapier you literally just click a few buttons to get everything connected.

Congrats to the whole team at Efty, this is a huge feature to add, can’t wait to sit down this weekend and get my first integrations rocking!

Rick Schwartz offers up a 23-year-old domain for $2,500 on Twitter

Well today was an interesting day as Rick Schwartz is doing what will likely be remembered as a first in the domain world. He’s running a contest on Twitter, with multiple rounds, to buy a 23-year-old two-word .COM domain from him for $2,500.

Here’s the tweet that kicked off the contest:

Now I think most people would agree that this domain is worth far more than $2,500 so not surprisingly, a lot of people jumped in to see if they can snag it for a cool $2.5k.

As for people you know and love – Shane Cultra, Josh Reason, Doron Vermaat, Mark Levine, Ron Sheridan and more got in on the action. As of me writing this post a total of fifteen people had responded “YES” to the tweet.

As Rick says, there will be a part two and I’m pretty interested to see what happens in part two, and if there’s a part three. No matter how you slice it, this is a pretty creative move by Rick and clearly an effective way to move a domain at a price you’re okay parting with it for.

While I didn’t look at the WHOIS my guess is Rick has probably owned this for a long time (maybe the whole 23 years) and likely paid $100 or so for it so he’s probably going to make 20x or more on his investment, so while it’s a great deal for the name, he’s locking in a great profit.

Stay-tuned, tomorrow part two will be unveiled!

3 things startup founders should know about acquiring domain names

Liquid Web WW

I walk talking with a good friend last week, they’ve raised over $30M for their startup but like most founders, they know next-to-nothing about domain names. They’re in the process of acquiring a few domains in their niche and were completely lost when it came to how to get the ball rolling.

We sat down and I did a little whiteboarding session, after that they said, and this is a direct quote so pardon my French (or theirs) – “holy shit, I had no idea about anything you just shared, you should write about that!”

So I am since I know my friend is not alone. Just like domain name investors probably don’t know a lot about raising millions of dollars from Venture Capitalists, startup founders shouldn’t be expected to be experts in buying domain names. Of course these tips won’t make you an expert, but it they can help you get the process of acquiring a domain name started.

  1. There’s this thing called WHOIS – you can actually look up who owns a domain name in many cases and get their email address and/or phone number using a system called WHOIS. There are a ton of different ways to run a WHOIS search, Go Daddy has a free WHOIS search tool, and if you want to do a deeper dive and look at the history of a domain name, DomainTools is a great choice.
  2. A domain’s expiration date doesn’t mean it will expire then – there’s a lot of confusion about domain name expiration dates. It can be easy to look at the WHOIS information and get excited – it could look like the domain is going to expire in a few months, in which case, why make an offer now, just wait for it to expire right? Well, not really. In many cases, domain owners only register their domains for a year but set “auto-renew” on at the registrar level. The idea is, why pay multiple years in advance if you don’t have to.
  3. If you reach out to a domain owner without an offer, you probably won’t hear back – most of the time when I hear about a startup founder reaching out to a domain investor on their own, the email usually doesn’t have a price in it. You’re welcome to start like that to see if you can get the domain owner to give you a price, but if you don’t hear back, know that you’ll probably need to put in a reasonable offer to get their attention. Familiarize yourself with a ballpark of what domains like the one you’re looking at sell for, DNJournal and NameBio are good resources here.

Of course there’s another big topic to cover here – when should you get a domain broker involved? But I’ll save that for another post.

When it comes to eSports and gaming, .GG domain names really are everywhere

Liquid Web WW

This weekend I’ve been watching quite a bit of eSports since Twitchcon is going on and today San Francisco Shock competed (and won!) in the Overwatch Finals. One thing that’s been in my face for the last two days when I’m watching any eSports is, you guessed it, .GG domain names.

Now I know I have a wide range of people who read my blog. My guess is, most of the domain investors who read my blog probably aren’t watching a lot of eSports…so they likely don’t hear about .GG unless me or another domain blogger is talking about it.

That being said, the eSports industry is huge, and it’s growing fast, and yeah – safe to say they have no idea that there are blogs about domain names and domain investing…my guess is, the two worlds don’t really know about each other. Maybe I’m a weirdo but I love eSports since I’ve been a lifelong gamer and never a huge fan of traditional sports.

Given that I’ve seen .GG a zillion different times this weekend I thought I’d share some examples with all of you. First up – in the Overwatch League Grand Finals today, which was a huge event filling up an entire stadium in Philadelphia and came with a prize of $1.1M, had two teams, San Francisco Shock (the team I root for) and The Vancouver Titans, the Titans have their home online at VancouverTitans.gg.

Next up is NRG, one of the biggest names in eSports and the company that actually owns the San Francisco Shock eSports team. NRG is owned by the same people who own the Sacramento Kings and have some interesting celebrity investors like Shaq, Jennifer Lopez, DJ Tiesto and more. It’s safe to say NRG is the leader in the eSports world now since their teams have the best record.

And yes, you guessed it, NRG has their website on NRG.gg. Below is a photo from earlier today when NRG’s top team, the San Francisco Shock won the Overwatch League Finals:

The top player on the San Francisco Shock is a guy named Jay Won who goes by the Sinatraa in-game. When you look at Jay’s Twitter profile, he shares his email address, which is sinatraa(at)evolved.gg.

The top announcers at eSports events can bring in over $1M a year, and one of the most well-known announcers is Harry “LEGDAY” Pollitt, looking at his Twitter profile you’ll see a link to his Discord account, and yup – he’s using Discord.gg as you can see below:

So yes, it’s safe to say that if you watch eSports, you’re going to see a lot of .GG domains. Now that being said, I don’t want to give people the wrong impression, I still think that .COM is used more than .GG overall, period. While Harry’s using Discord.gg above, Discord has their brand on DiscordApp.com, and San Francisco Shock, my home team, you can find them on Shock2020.com.

I think plenty of companies will continue to brand on .COM – it’s not going anywhere and yes, everyone in the eSports world knows and loves .COM. That being said, they also know and love .GG, and that’s okay, it’s not a fad, it’s a domain extension that the eSports and gaming community has gravitated towards and I don’t see that slowing down or going away anytime soon.

Now like I said above, I know I have a wide range of people who read my blog. For the domain investors in the crowd, I probably wouldn’t buy .GG domains, I’d stick to .COM. For all the entrepreneurs out there starting companies in the eSports and gaming space, you already know that your audience knows and loves both .COM and .GG, so you’ve got some choices!

Intel promotes .GG domain in new ad during top eSports tournament

Hosting for 1 buck!

As many of you know, I’m not a big traditional sports fan, try to talk to me about Football and expect a blank stare, but eSports, now that’s my jam. This morning I was watching one of my favorite teams (go Team Liquid!) play in a tournament that sold out the Barclay Center in NYC called ESL One.

While I was waiting for the tournament to start I saw an ad from Intel about their new processors specifically targeting gamers…and I was pretty surprised to see that rather than directing viewers to Intel.com, they were telling them to shop at Intel.gg. What makes it even more weird is that this just forwards to the Microcenter Store and this specific gaming laptop 🤷‍♂️

I’ll be honest – that’s a pretty badass gaming laptop so I’m actually glad I followed the link. Of course, I was pretty surprised that the link didn’t send me to Intel’s website. So of course I had to check, where does Intel.gg go to?

As you can see from the screenshot above, Intel.gg actually forwards to a landing page on Intel.com specifically focused on gaming. Given how many eSports-related company brand on a .GG I’m not too surprised to see Intel using .GG to market to this audience.

You can’t register .GG at every registrar, 101Domain is usually my go-to for ccTLDs like this but don’t expect me to be investing in a bunch of .GG domains anytime soon. As an investor I’m sticking with .COM but as a gamer, and really more of an eSports spectator than anything else I can tell you .GG seems to be getting some legs.

Like it or not, the ad worked because now I can’t get that darn laptop out of my mind, damn you Intel for tempting me with a .GG domain!

DNAcademy’s Mike Cyger is going on one heck of a run, and I’m have a blast following along on Instagram

For those who missed the memo, Michael Cyger, the founder of DNAcademy and runner extraordinaire is running 330 miles (yes you read that right) across Washington, from Seattle to Spokane. And like the post title says, you can follow the adventures on Instragram (mikedotrun), which has now become a daily ritual for me.

Michael Cyger runs across Washington State

Along with an Instagram account tracking the journey, Mike also owns Mike.run which he’s turned into a website documenting the journey. This is actually the first time I’ve been to a .run site and I think this is a perfect use case for the .run extension.

Mike.run

So at this point you might be wondering the same thing I was when I first heard the news – why the heck is Mike doing this? Luckily, he breaks it down for us on his site:

Hi! My name is Mike Cyger and I am going to run 330 miles solo and unassisted (meaning no outside support) from Seattle to Spokane, Washington, starting September 22, 2019.

Why?

Sense of accomplishment: man versus nature.
See WA state (he’s never been East of Central WA).
Meet people along the way.
Be uncomfortable, be happy, and keep going.
Maybe garner a couple of interesting stories.

(Source – Mike.run)

Mike’s plan is to run 18 – 33 miles a day, which is a really solid goal and my guess is will become increasingly challenging as time goes on. I now find myself checking Mike’s Instagram account at least twice a day, usually when I wake up and before I go to sleep, to see how the adventures is going.

I’m really impressed with everything Mike has done to document this run digitally – from the custom .run site to the separate Instagram account to a detailed review directly on Strava, safe to say Mike is leveraging just about every technology possible here!

Go Mike go! 🏃

Does putting old content on a new domain hurt your SEO?

SEO Roundtable
Liquid Web WW

The short answer is, thankfully, no.

Now to clarify a bit more about the question since it’s one that has come up from time to time and I just found an article on SEORoundtable.com that gets to the bottom of it.

There has been some concerns that if you get a new domain and migrate content over to it, that you might get penalized by Google, i.e. they might think you’re trying to game the system. Well it turns out, Google is a-okay with this as they confirmed themselves which you can read about more in this tweet.

Or if you’re too lazy to click that link and read what John from Google has to say, here’s the skinny from SEORoundtable.com below:

John Mueller from Google was asked if it is okay for a site to have content that pre-dates when the domain name was registered or when the site first launched. John Mueller responded that it is okay, he said “It’s fine to host older content on a new domain.”

(Source – SEORoundtable.com)

It might not be earth-shattering news for you, but if you have a blog or any site with content on it and you’re looking at changing domains, now you know you can rest easy doing it.