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Voice.com just sold for $30M, and no, I didn’t add a zero

The domain name world has been buzzing with some pretty incredible news, Go Daddy brokered the domain name Voice.com for a whopping $30M. Now I know what you might be thinking. Was this just the domain name itself or was there a complete business on it generating on ton of revenue.

No business, just the domain.

So now I know what you’re thinking next. Well then it can’t have been an all cash deal.

It was an all cash deal.

At this point I’m sure you want to hear more about the buyer and thanks to Andrew from DomainNameWire.com, there’s now a short Q&A with MicroStrategy (the company that sold the domain) on why they felt $30M was the right price.

In the Q&A MicroStrategy doesn’t go into great detail as to why they felt that Voice.com specifically was worth $30M, instead they said that overall they feel that previous domain sales have undervalued domains. As a domain investor…I’m not going to argue with them, if they think all our sales our too low, more power to them.

This of course begs the question – after this sale are we going to see people increase pricing on their .COM domains, especially premium .COM domains like this?

The timing for this sale couldn’t be better since Domain Investors from around the world are all together in Europe now. I’m looking forward to talking with people about this over the next couple of days to hear everyone’s opinion.

Either way, congrats to the buyer, seller, and way to go Go Daddy on brokering a record-breaking sale. Is this a good omen for NamesCon Europe, I’d say so!

The NameCon Europe 2019 CliffNotes – Day 1

NamesConEurope 2019 Cliff Notes

Do you remember CliffNotes? They were handy little books you could read that would summarize a much longer book. I think most people used them in High School when they didn’t read a book that was assigned to them and needed to cram for a test about the book.

As Domainers from around the world fly into Portugal, I know many of them are going to end up looking at the agenda at the last minute, or some, will just show up the first day and take it as it comes.

So I decided to put together some CliffNotes for you so you can quickly refer to this blog post and get a summary of everything that’s happening at NamesCon this week. Please note, I’ve left a lot of details out so when you find things on the CliffNotes that you want to do, make sure to go to the NamesCon Europe Official Agenda to get all the good stuff.

Now for you jet-lagged Domainers that are just getting into Portugal and ready to make the most of your experience – here’s your CliffNotes:

Thursday, June 20th

  • 9:30AM – Pick up your badge, grab some coffee (you’ll need it!)
  • 10:00 – 10:30AM – Opening talk with Braden and Monte
    • These are always really good to go to IMO as they often set the stage for the entire conference, you flew all the way here, don’t miss the first talk!
  • 10:30 – 11:00AM – Karn from Radix shares his journey in the Domain Name World
  • 11:00AM – 11:20AM – Giuseppe from GGRG breaks down the ins and outs of liquid domains
  • 11:20AM – 12:10AM – Some of the top domain brokers in the domain world talk about what to look for in a domain name broker
  • 12:10PM – 1:00PM – Frank Schilling (the one and only, always a lot of great gems in Frank’s talks)
  • 2:30PM – 3:30PM – Where to invest in the NTLD market
  • 3:30PM – 5:00PM – Expert Roundtable (ask an expert all your burning questions)
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM – Right of the Dot Domain Auction
  • 7:00PM – 9:00PM – Domain Auction Reception (i.e. relax and enjoy drinks with other Domainers)

Here’s a few additional tips for making the most of your first day at NamesCon Europe.

  1. Try to not be hung over for day one. This sounds like a silly tip but it’s true. I know how exciting it is to fly to a new city and be around a bunch of fellow Domainers…but you know what’s not fun, being hung over and trying to slog through a day and actually get value out of it. So get some sleep on the first day, you’ll thank me later.
  2. If you can, earmark the talks you want to go for the day before. If you’re reading this now you have a full day to make your selections. While you don’t need to feel guilty if you don’t go to every talk, you also shouldn’t miss every talk. Think of what’s relevant to you and pick talks that align with your interests.
  3. Don’t miss the opening night reception. The first night of the conference is a great time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Everyone should be fresh and buzzing with energy, excited to talk domains. The energy level wanes with each day since conferences are exhausting no matter how you slice it, so the first night really is the best time to catch everyone (including yourself) while you’re at your best…unless of course you didn’t listen to my first tip.
  4. Drink lots of water. International travel is a lot more dehydrating than you’d think. You’ve spent a long time in a plane, you’re jet-lagged, you’re in a totally new environment, and you’re probably also drinking alcohol which dehydrates you. Drink more water than you normally would, once again – you’ll thank me later!
  5. Make at least one goal before the conference. If you’ve spent all the time and money to get out here, don’t walk in without a purpose. You don’t need a long detailed list of things, but have at least one goal for the conference that you can refer back to after the conference.

Okay, we’re official a day away from NamesCon Europe, it’s been a blast being in Lisbon for the last three days, tomorrow I pack up my Lisbon pad and move to Cascais, see you soon!

The NameCon Europe 2019 CliffNotes – Day 1

 MorganLinton.com: Do you remember CliffNotes? They were handy little books you could read that would summarize a much longer book. I think most people used them in High School when they didn’t read a book that was assigned to them and needed to cram for a test about the book. As Domainers from around the world […]

Domainers descend on Lisbon as NamesCon Europe approaches

With NamesCon Europe now less than 48-hours away it’s official, Domainers are in Lisbon enjoying some pre-conference adventures. As you can see from the picture above, I’m here, and caught up with Braden, Lisa, and Karn for dinner tonight.

It’s my first time in Lisbon and I am blown away, this is one incredible city. Of course I’m not the only Domainer who decided to fly in early for a little extra time in Portugal. Looking around the Twitterverse you’ll see a lot of Domainers saying hello to Lisbon.

Here’s some tweets from Domainers getting their groove on in Portugal’s capital.

Tomorrow I’ll be exploring Sintra which I actually didn’t even know existed until a couple of days ago…now it feels like a can’t miss destination. On Wednesday most of us our saying goodbye to our pads in Lisbon and heading to Cascais for the main event. Given how high the energy level is now, it safe to say this is going to be one incredible conference.

Okay, well it’s midnight here, time for bed, for those getting on flights soon, safe travels and see you soon!

What domain will take the cake for highest sale in the NamesCon Europe auction?

The list of domains in the upcoming NamesCon Europe auction is one of the best I’ve ever seen. There are some exceptional short .COMs listed like XU.com, KOL.com and Drill.com, each of these would steal the show if the others weren’t around.

That’s what makes this one of the more challenging auctions to pinpoint which domain is going to break through it’s reserve price and take the cake for the top sale.

While I think domains like Drill.com, FCC.com and KOL.com could easily battle for second or third place, I personally think that XU.com is going to take the cake as the highest sale. Earlier this year, OL.com sold for $900,000 in the NamesCon Vegas live domain auction so XU.com selling in the high-six or even seven-figure range is certainly on the table.

Of course, with a huge name like XU.com, you never know exactly where the reserve is set, so it could always end up as the name with the highest bids, but not the name with the highest bids that sold.

I will be in Portugal watching the auction live, and full disclosure, I do have domains in this auction as well. While I like my own names, I can tell you there’s no chance any of them are going to be the top sale so this article isn’t going to end up promoting one of my names, unless one of you has lost your mind!

Okay – so you’ve heard my prediction, now I want to hear from you. What domain do you think will end up as the top-selling in the NamesCon Europe live domain auction next week? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

A special edition #Domainer shirt is making its way to Portugal with me, here’s how to get one

domainer-t-shirt-namescon2019

As many of you know, last year I made, or really, my readers made a shirt that I printed and gave out for free. For everyone who came to NamesCon in Vegas, you got your shirt there…for the rest of you, sadly you’ve had to wait for me to ship them and I still haven’t gotten around to shipping them all yet. (Don’t worry – if you’re still waiting you will get your shirt!)

Last month, with NamesCon Europe around the corner I spoke to the conference organizers and we worked on a special edition #Domainer shirt, just for NamesCon Europe. Supplies are extremely limited as I’m bringing the shirts in my suitcase from SF to Portugal.

How can you get one?

Easiest way to get one – if you have been on the fence about registering for NamesCon Europe and need something to push you over the edge, let this be it. If you register and email me letting me know that you registered as part of the #Domainer shirt promotion, you’ll get one.

Second way to get one – we’re kicking off a NamesCon Europe social media blitz for shirts. Only ten shirts will be made available and this is a special edition shirt which means none like it will ever be made again. Here’s how to get it:

  • Head to Twitter and write a tweet about what you’re the most excited about at NamesCon Europe
  • Make sure to include some hashtags like #NamesConEurope and don’t forget to include @NamesCon
  • If your tweet is one of ten to get the most retweets and likes, you’ll get a shirt at NamesCon Europe
  • Of course this means that to enter to win, you do have to be coming to Portugal for NamesCon Europe

Here’s a first look at what the special edition shirts look like:

I will be announcing the contest on Twitter tomorrow but of course, I like to give you, my readers, a head start!

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Portugal, I’m leaving SF tomorrow and spending a little extra time in Lisbon before the conference starts. If you’re heading out early too, let me know and we can have a little adventure in Lisbon before the official festivities start.

See you there!

I took NameCheap’s new VPN service for a spin in Japan, next stop Portugal

About a month ago I went on a trip to Japan with my Dad. I wanted to make sure to have a VPN service ready to rock before I left. Over the years I’ve tried half a dozen different VPN services and I found two problems with most of the services that I try:

  1. They’re slow
  2. They don’t really allow you to use US services

Combine points #1 and #2 and well…some VPNs are actually useless. After almost two weeks of daily use I can tell you that the NameCheap VPN delivers, so I’m sticking with it for now and looking forward to using it in Portugal next week.

Of course, when something works you typically find it’s more expensive but in the case of NameCheap’s VPN service, they’re very competitive when it comes to price. Here’s a table that breaks it down:

You can use the NameCheap VPN on all of your devices – I’m running it on both my iPhone and my MacBook which is pretty handy.

Thanks to AT&T’s International plan, I just pay an extra $10/day and I can get exact same plan I have in the US, I have unlimited talk/text/data, which means I get the same when I’m traveling. Add in the NameCheap VPN and essentially I’m able to go anywhere in the world and still use my phone and computer just like I’m at home.

If you want to learn more about NameCheap’s VPN service you can read more about it here. Thanks NameCheap for making a VPN service that actually does what it’s supposed to do, and then some!

One key takeaway from the Uniregistry domain sales report

In case you missed it, Uniregistry shared their sales data from 2016 – 2018 and there are a lot of really interesting data points in it. You can read it and go through everything yourself, for now, I’ll just pull out one data point that I think is the most relevant to most of my blog readers who are domain investors.

First, let me share the data:

Jan: 456 domains sold, average sale price $7,322 with a total of $3.3M
Feb: 408 domains sold, average sale price $10,181 with a total of $4.1M
March: 501 domains sold, average sale price $9,272 with a total of $4.6M
April: 498 domains sold, average sale price $10,093 with a total of $5M
May: 514 domains sold, average sale price $9,576 with a total of $4.9M
June: 416 domains sold, average sale price $10,573 with a total of $4.3M
July: 437 domains sold, average sale price $8,510 with a total of $3.7M
Aug: 480 domains sold, average sale price $8,049 with a total of $3.8M
Sept: 432 domains sold, average sale price $9,516 with a total of $4.1M
Oct: 453 domains sold, average sale price $10,653 with a total of $4.8M
Nov: 444 domains sold, average sale price $7,865 with a total of $3.4M
Dec: 406 domains sold, average sale price $8,873 with a total of $3.6M

Source – Uniregistry

If you look over one year of Uniregistry sales, first you’ll notice, they’re selling millions of dollars in a domains every month. Second, you’ll notice, the average sales price is pretty much always at or below $10,000.

There’s also a lot of volume there so I’d say, if you want liquidity on your domains, selling at or below $10,000 is a pretty reasonable takeaway here.

Of course if you have a great one-word .COM that’s worth six-figures or more I’m not saying to sell that for less than $10,000. What I am saying is that for all the two-word .COMs in your portfolio that you bought for under $1,000 on a drop…yeah, those will probably have the best chance of selling if priced under $10k.

But then you’ll say – what about my premium two-word .COMs? No, not those, you can price those over $10k. What I’m talking about is your normal, run of the mill two-word .COMs, these are the best domains for your average Domainer IMO since you can get them for under $1,000 and sell them in the five figure range.

Thanks to Uniregistry for sharing this data. There are a lot of other insights in their report but this one really stood out to me since it’s the most relevant to me, you, and probably quite a few other readers.

Did you pick up other insights from the report? Agree or disagree with me? Either way I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

What % of your profit do you put back into your portfolio

Here’s a question that has an answer that changes over time – what % of your profit do you put back into your portfolio?

Of course, I can’t ask a question without answering it myself, because honestly, who does that?

So here’s my answer.

Years ago I put ~80% of my profit back into new acquisitions. Over the last few years that has gone to a bit south of 50%.

Why?

Damn, why did you put me on the spot?

That’s fine. Here’s why – I continue to spend five figures a year on domains names, but not six figures. So for me, I’m not looking for a six or seven figure payday any more. Instead, I’m looking for a specific ROI on the domains that I buy, which for me means 10x or more.

So…that means turning town my fair share of inbound offers, waiting for the right buyer. Since I don’t depend on domain sales for my primary income, I can wait, and wait, and wait.

I’ve learned that .COM is the only thing I can depend on for repeat sales, so I tend to keep my focus there. Enough about me, let’s get back to the title of this post – what % of your profit should go back into your portfolio.

First – I don’t think there’s one right answer to this questions, so when you comment – go a step deeper and tell us why you gave the answer that you did.

Second – how did I end u[ at 50%? Well, after sticking at 80% for quite a while I realized that I should diversify more between other investments opportunities which for me means one of three things – stocks, startups, crypto. Lately I’ve been biasing towards stocks, but I’m pretty happy with what turned into a meaningful crypto portfolio.

So now it’s time for me to pass the mic, you’ve heard enough from me. So I want to hear from you – what % of the profits you get from domain sales do you put back into your portfolio?

Now it’s your turn, I want to hear from you. Comment and let your voice be heard!

This article about buying domains couldn’t have missed the mark more

facepalm
facepalm

Everyone once and a while I come across an article about domains that just really misses the mark. As many of you know, I’m a positive guy so don’t like to put down other people or articles but in some cases (like this one) I do feel like I need to raise my hand and say – “sorry, this just isn’t true”

The article, published on the Media Temple blog is titled “Advice about buying domains” and starts with this line:

Here’s my advice on buying domains for your business or project:Just buy whatever.

Source – Media Temple Blog

First, uh – your domain name matters a lot in 2019. Sure, in 1995 I agree, you could just buy whatever, your domain didn’t matter too much but in 2019 your domain name is more important than it has ever been. If you “just buy whatever” you’ll likely regret it later down the road and spend a small fortune fixing your mistake.

Next the article goes on to say:

Let’s say you wanted to sell Circus Tickets in Gainsville, but you found that “gainsvillecircustickets.com” was taken, and there was some placeholder website there, trying to sell it to you for $250. Should you buy it? Heck no, I say. Buy “gainsville-circus-tickets.com” instead and pay far less money.

Source – Media Temple Blog

Huh? So $250 is too much to spend on a domain name? Not sure I even have to add any comments here, this is just plain wrong. Plenty of companies spend $25,000 or $250,000 on a domain name and I’m yet to hear about a company that regretted making that move.

You’re welcome to go on and continue reading the article for yourself, honestly there’s no advice in here that I think any domain name or branding expert would agree with. Instead, it just makes it sounds like nobody cares about domains and your budget should be $10 – $20.

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t believe everything you read, and in this case, you really shouldn’t!

How most people get started in the domain investing world

Last week I got an email from a new domain investor. He had started out the same way most of us do – hand-registering a bunch of domain names and assuming they’re all worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

A year has passed and not a single one has sold. What happened here?

In following-up with this new investor I let them know, “you’re not alone, this is how most people start.” Then I moved onto the painful part – “that being said, you’re probably going to want to drop all of these and start fresh.”

Of course there are plenty of ways to try to move a list of random, hand-registered domains, but in practice I’ve found this is rarely worth the time. It’s healthier for you, your bank account, and your domain “investments” if you’re realistic about the fact that you just bought a bunch of junk.

At this stage there are two moves you can make:

  1. Ignore the facts and just “assume” that you’re a genius and all the domains you thought of, that nobody else ever registered after all these years, are incredibly valuable. In which case you move is to hang onto these domains, keep renewing them, and insist that some day they’ll sell and it’s worth the holding cost.
  2. Drop your portfolio and start fresh.

I recommend option #2. There’s always a pretty easy formula you can follow to re-start the right way. Add up the total cost of all your renewals, in the case of this person, that number was around $700.

Take that money and put it into a handful of expired domain names. While you won’t be building your portfolio at a cost of $10/domain, you now have a much better chance of building a portfolio with some domains that actually turn out to be pretty good investments.

In the case of someone like this with $700, I recommended they buy two or three domains, all two-word .COMs. A two-word .COM that you buy for $200 very well could be worth $2,000, or even $3,000 or more. Don’t get too excited, you’re probably not going to sell it for $10,000 – sure it could happen, but it’s very unlikely.

When you’re starting out, shoot for a 3x – 5x ROI to get a few sales under your belt. The lower the price, the bigger the market of available buyers is. So it will be a lot easier to sell that domain you just bought for $200 for $600 that it will be for $2,000. Make sense?

As for how to continue to build and grow your business, there are a lot of resources to help you out with that. Two that I highly recommend are DNAcademy and DomainSherpa, if you start to plug-into both of those, moving forward I think you’ll find yourself going in a much better direction.

There are so many other people out there like this blog reader of mine. You’re all in the same boat, and it’s a boat most of us have been in as well. The question is, can you be honest with yourself and have the cut your losses and start fresh?

Most people have no idea that domain names sell for six and seven figures all the time

 MorganLinton.com: No matter what industry you’re in, it can be easy to forget that people who aren’t in the same industry as you, don’t know some of the foundational things that you know. This is especially true in the domain name world where most people don’t even know there’s an industry with conferences around the worl...

Most people have no idea that domain names sell for six and seven figures all the time

 MorganLinton.com: No matter what industry you’re in, it can be easy to forget that people who aren’t in the same industry as you, don’t know some of the foundational things that you know. This is especially true in the domain name world where most people don’t even know there’s an industry with conferences around the worl...

Well this is just getting crazy – another UDRP filed against a three character .COM

 MorganLinton.com: Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking about three character .COMs and citing a couple examples of UDRPs that have been filed against them. First I covered ADO.com which was one of the most ridiculous and scary UDRP decisions I’ve ever seen, then three days ago I wrote about AEX.com and the UDRP filed […]
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