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It’s no secret that Bitcoin has had quite a run over the last three months. If you bought Bitcoin back in March, you could have almost doubled your money by now. Of course, most people didn’t even consider doubling down on Bitcoin in March since it has been puttering along with very little growth for some time now.
Now, Bitcoin has outperformed most people’s stock portfolio’s over the last three months making investors around the world scratch their heads and wonder if they should jump back in.
With new price movement also comes lots of new press buzz, in short – people are talking about Bitcoin again, a lot. Back in the good old days of late 2017 when Bitcoin was all the rage, cryptocurrency-related domains were really seeing some solid activity. As the cryptocurrency market dropped, dropped, and dropped some more, interest in cryptocurrency domains waned as well.
Now I’m thinking, cryptocurrency feels like it’s going to be in the spotlight again (or at the moment it certainly is) so does that mean that cryptocurrency domains are also going to see a resurgence?
One of the things I’m seeing that could be an indicator that cryptocurrency names are heating up is what looks like increased bidding activity in the aftermarket. BitcoinCafe.com has 33 bids and BitcoinKey.com has 21 bids on Go Daddy auctions and every week I’m seeing more cryptocurrency names see similar activity.
Of course, I’m not really running any detailed analysis so it could be that I’m looking for this trend to heat up so I’m seeing it. What do you think? As cryptocurrency heats up is the market for cryptocurrency domains swinging back into action?
I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!
I got into an interesting conversation with another domain investor over email – the topic, what search criteria we both use to find expired domain names. I had a few reflections after the conversation, first – I probably could be a bit more dynamic with my criteria as it’s been the same for a long time, second – there really is no right answer here.
As for my answer to the question, I typically search for .COM domains that are expiring, that are at least three years old, have no numbers in them, no dashes, and aren’t longer than 12 characters.
I use Go Daddy Auctions for the vast majority of my expired domain purchases, here’s what the search looks like loaded up in there:
One of the questions that came up during our email string is, “why do I care about domain age?” I’m not sure I have a great answer here but my general logic is, if something was registered within the last few years, I think it’s less likely to be a great name, there are exceptions and of course people can hand-register and flip names for a nice profit. That being said, I think if a domain is something that is truly meaningful to more than just one or two people, someone would have thought of it and bought it more than three years ago.
As for why I try not to go over 12 characters, well, the 12 is somewhat arbitrary, 13 would be okay, 11 would be too. In general I’m just tying to avoid really long domains since I’ve never had much luck with these and since I focus on two-word .COMs and mostly ignore three-word .COMs, this also seems to do a good job keeping it to mostly two-word domains.
The person I was emailing with had a bit broader criteria, she also looks at .NET and .ORG, and she isn’t as concerned with how old the domain is or how long it is. Instead, she just wants to see a big list that she can scan through.
Now I’ll pass the mic to you – what search criteria do you use when you’re looking for expired domain names? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!
Hello, happy Tuesday, and welcome to another week of domain investing news highlights. Every week I go through all the news stories in the domain investing world and pick a handful that caught my eye.
If you ever think there is an important story that I should include in my weekly domain investing news roundup, simply email me before I bring the post live and if I think it makes sense to include, I will. Now onto the news!
- New Escrow.com Report Shows Domain Sales Rebounding – Up 10% in Q1-2019 From 4Q-2018 (read more on DNJournal.com)
- The Domain King 25 Point Step by Step Guide to Domain Investing (Read more on RicksBlog.com)
- Ron Jackson was on the Domain Name Wire Podcast (listed to it now on DomainNameWire.com)
- Rick Schwartz Has Made $30 MILLION via PPC Parking (Read more on DomainInvesting.com)
- Emoji Domains – ROI, Tech Updates & More – with Matan Israeli (Watch now at DomainSherpa.com)
- CENTR: domain growth now slowest EVER (Read more at DomainIncite.com)
- Is .com still the number 1 extension? (Read more on TLDInvestors.com)
Think I missed an important story? Want to comment on any of the stories I shared above? I want to hear from you, comment below and let your voice be heard!
I was reading an interesting article in Search Engine Journal this morning about how Google penalizes some domain names, and doesn’t lift the penalty even years later after the domain has changed hands and has a new site on it.
It’s something that some new domain owners find out the hard way. One specific case highlighted in the article is a company that purchased the domain name Girlfriend.com. Here’s the scoop:
“We bought the domain three years ago to have a brand called Girlfriend Collective, it’s a clothing company on the Shopify platform.(Source – Search Engine Journal)
We haven’t had any… warnings from our webmaster tools that says we have any penalizations… So I was just wondering if there was any other underlying issues that you would know outside of that…
The domain is girlfriend.com and the query would be Girlfriend Collective.
It’s been as high as the second page of the SERPs, but… we get quite a few search queries for our own branded terms… it will not show up.
My assumption was that before we bought it, it was a pretty spammy dating directory.”
There’s now doubt that Girlfriend.com is a pretty darn valuable domain name, but with a penalty from Google, it’s certainly not working the magic that the new owners were hoping to get with such a good domain.
What’s particularly interesting about this example is that when they looked in Google Webmaster Tools no warnings showed up about any kind of penalty. This means there’s probably no easy way to check if the domain you just bought has been hit with a penalty from Google.
So what can you do to figure out if a domain you’re planning on buying could come with a nasty penalty?
Head over to Archive.org and take a walk through time and see what sites have been on the domain you’re looking at buying. If you find a spammy or scammy looking site, you might want to think twice. At the same time, it doesn’t sound like there’s really any way to actually know for sure.
Luckily, there is something you can do if you find out a domain you bought seems to have been penalized. Contact Google and wait, they can do the research and verify that you’re doing something a-okay with the domain and remove the penalty.
“In the end, Mueller admitted that it might be something on Google’s side. However an issue that remains is that there is no solution for other publishers. This is not something a publisher can do on their own like a disavow. It’s something a Googler must be made aware of in order to fix.”(Source – Search Engine Journal)
This was all news to me, is it news to you? Have you ever bought a domain that was penalized by Google? If so, were you able to get the penalty removed?
Well this is confusing. Apparently the domain name Thiink.com sold for $50,000. I might be late to the party on this one but I’ve been traveling in Japan and not as plugged into domain news as I normally am. Today, when I finally sat down to play catch-up I read about the sale of Thiink.com for $50k and thought…that can’t be right.
I first read about this sale on Konstantinos’ blog (you can read the original post here) and like him, I’m also scratching my head wondering what happened.
One of Konstantinos’ readers made a strange comment that is also a head scratcher for me as well:
I went through the rest of the comments and can’t find any meaningful explanation for why Thiink.com would sell for this much. Sure – brandables can sell for more than chump change so I could see this selling for $10k or $15k and I might not think much of it.
At about $25k you start to lose me, above $35k I’m starting to pull my hair out trying to understand what’s going on…and at $50k, I write a whole freaking post about how this makes no sense.
So please, let’s throw the argument out the window that Thiink.com is a great brandable domain that’s worth $50,000 – that just isn’t true. I’ve heard some people use the example of Fiverr.com. I believe the company either hand-registered that domain or paid a very small sum for it. The domain was so bad, that they did end up buying Fiver.com, which is a much better name.
There are brandable domains that make sense and justify a $50k or higher price tag, and then there’s names like Thiink.com that don’t make any sense.
What do you think happened here? And please, don’t give me the Fiverr.com example because that’s a bad one. I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!
Hello from Asuka, a beautiful village in the Japanese countryside about an hour from Nara. If you’ve never heard of Nara, well, Nara is an hour from Osaka which you have probably heard of! The photo above I took during one of my early morning walks.
Anytime I visit another country I can’t help but pay attention to domain names; of course I’ve only been in Japan for a week so take all these observations with a grain of salt. I’ve gone from a larger city like Osaka, to a smaller city like Nara, to a tiny village like Asuka. Here’s a few things I’ve observed when it comes to domains:
- .JP or a variant like .CO.JP or .OR.JP seems to be the most common domain extension in Japan. This isn’t wildly surprising as there are many countries where the local ccTLD is the most popular.
- I haven’t seen any IDNs yet so while most signs use Japanese characters (hiragana, katakana, and kanji), the domain names use the standard English alphabet.
- Somehow I haven’t seen a single .COM domain yet but I did manage to spot a .NET and took a photo of it as proof that there was more than just .JP domains here!
Below are some photos I’ve taken of domains along the journey:
Now all this being said, I imagine that I have a number of readers who either live in Japan or who have spent a lot more time in Japan than I have. So I’m very interested to hear from those who know a lot more than me if my observations are right at all?
As usual – I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!
This year I will be celebrating my 12-year blogging anniversary. When I started this blog I never thought I’d be blogging every day more than a decade later, but I am, and my blog has become a core part of my daily life.
Currently I am in Nara, Japan on a two week adventure with my Dad. Whether I’m at home, in the office, on the road, in the hospital, or on vacation, writing a blog post every day is incredibly important to me.
My Dad and I were having breakfast this morning and he was saying how interesting it is for him to see me putting a post together every day. We had a good conversation about it this morning and he said that in some ways he thinks it has become a way for me to meditate in a way during the day. I never thought about it that way, and I’m not really sure if I will ever think about it that way, more than anything for me this is a part of my life, part of who I am.
I told my Dad what I truly feel about blogging. Blogging isn’t something that I do for myself. I blog for you, my reader, without you there would be no reason to write. That being said, I did have some reflections on what it’s like to go from blogging on a normal day like I do most of the year vs. blogging on vacation since it is a bit of a different experience.
Here’s a few of my reflections:
- Blogging on vacation (at least for me) is always fun and something I really look forward to. There is something about being in a different environment that gets the creative juices flowing. I wake up in the morning, walk around whatever city we’re in, find a peaceful place to sit, and just start writing…in many ways blogging is more meditative when I’m on vacation than it is when I’m at home.
- You can blog from just about anywhere in the world, and thanks to International plans, I don’t even need to look for Wifi. Two days ago I wrote my blog post in a small coffee shop in Nara, they didn’t have Wifi so I just fired up my personal hotspot. This definitely wasn’t possible when I started blogging so I feel very fortunate. You really can travel all over the world and blog in a more seamless way than ever before.
- There’s something about being in a different country that always makes me think a bit differently. I find my blog posts change a bit when I’m on vacation, I can’t put my finger on it but I write a little differently, you can tell me whether it gets better or worse!
- Working with the time difference is important. In Japan, I need to write in the morning, if I write towards the end of the day like I sometimes do in the US, my post will publish at 2AM for people on the West Coast which, uh, isn’t when you’re going to be awake and looking for my latest post.
- Last but not least, I can’t imagine being anywhere in the world without writing every day. As I’ve said many times before, I plan to blog well into my hundreds and since I also plan to live all over the world, I can’t wait to see how my blogging style changes with my environment.
So thanks to all my readers around the world for reading, now it’s time for me to get packed up and ready for the next stop in our adventure. We’re leaving Nara today and heading to a small village called Asuka that has a population of less than 6,000 people.
While I love living in big cities (although SF is actually a pretty small city – maybe too small for me) I do love getting off the beaten trail when I go on vacation. Once we get to Asuka we’re going to be renting bikes and going on what I think is going to be a pretty incredible adventure.
Yesterday we went hiking on the Kasugaya Mountain Trail which is without a doubt one of the most amazing hiking experiences of my life. Along the trail we found an old monastery and actually walked up and meditated there – definitely an experience I’ll always remember. Here’s a picture of me and my Dad at the trailhead.
After Asuka we’ll be heading to Kyoto so if any of you have suggestions of what to do in Kyoto definitely feel free to share them in the comment section below. Thanks again for reading, like I said above, I do this for all of you, so as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.
See you tomorrow!
This week I am in Japan with my Dad, currently in a really special city called Nara about an hour outside of Osaka. While I do my best to unplug while I’m on vacation, as a daily blogger, this continues on as part of my daily routine.
I also find that reading domain investing news is a nice part of my daily routine so sharing the stories I’m reading with all of you is actually a lot of fun, whether I’m on vacation or not.
That being said, I’m going to reduce my highlights to five stories this week since I’m actually about to go down to the Onsen (think Japanese hot tub). So with that, here are five stories that caught my eye over the last week and a half. Enjoy!
Domain Investing News for the Week of May 5th, 2019
- Latest #domain acquisitions by James Booth and BQDN (Read more on DomainGang)
- A Two-Character .COM and One of the Year’s 5 Biggest ccTLD Sales Headline This Week’s Domain Sales Chart (Read more on DNJournal)
- Future of .io domains has become party-political issue in the UK (Read more on DomainIncite)
- Rick Premiers Daily Twitter Video Podcast with Rave Reviews! (Read more on Rick’s Blog)
- Medidata.com domain name changed hands for $600,000 (Read more on FreeSpeech.com)
I hope you’re all having a great week. As always feel free to share any stories you think should be highlighted that aren’t on my list in the comment section below!
De-Platforming is Digital Censorship. Blacklisting is Digital Shunning.
“I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.” – Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
For those not familiar with the case, Gab.com’s ability to operate was abruptly terminated by Godaddy, among other vendors, who deemed Gab to have violated their terms of service. This de-platforming of Gab generated much discussion in the mainstream technology press. It also prompted a lively discussion in the professional domain name community, including at the popular discussion board NamePros.
As the news broke, and as some elements in the mainstream media rendered their judgement, I embarked on my own search for truth. Along the way, I did have an opportunity to meet with the Founder of Gab, Andrew Torba, an entrepreneur who was willing to swim against the tide for what he believes is right, namely empowering netizens to discuss openly about matters of mutual interest with limited risk of censorship.
Although, I did not take the decision lightly to accept this domain registration, I look forward to partnering with a young, and once brash, CEO who is courageously doing something that looks useful. As I reflect on my own journey as a truth-seeking tech entrepreneur, I have no doubt that Andrew will continue to develop not only as tech entrepreneur but also as a responsible steward — one that can balance bravado with diplomacy and who tempers courage with humility.
A Word on Inalienable Rights
De-platforming a haven of free speech is not about left or right. Anyone who remembers studying civics is familiar with the concept of inalienable rights — rights that a worthy government can only protect but would have no moral authority to take away. The idea of Natural Law and Inalienable Rights dates back to Ancient Greece, if not before. Tolerance for competing views — including those protected by Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press — is not an American concept even though the Founding Fathers of the United States built a prosperous nation around the concept.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. – Thomas Jefferson
These days there are many kinds of online content that some people find objectionable. When it comes to publishing content, online or offline, there is an interplay between free will and personal responsibility. Specific to Gab, the decision to not only tolerate but to welcome competing views, does come with a responsibility to take action when free will is exhibited without personal responsibility. This was famously illustrated in the opinion rendered by Supreme Court in Watt vs. United States (1969) where threats of violence was deemed unlawful.
In the case of Gab.com, there is a duty to monitor and lightly curate, keeping content within the bounds of the law. The duty is perhaps best explained by Uncle Ben of Spiderman fame:
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
– Ben Franklin (1787)
A Word on Decentralization of Ownership
One of the unique features of Gab is their democratic approach to capitalization. For an online media portal with exponential growth, there are variety of potential acquirers and investors that would have a keen interest in providing growth capital, even for a business model that is presently loss-making as is the case with Gab. Rather than go down Sand Hill Road, they have opted to follow in the footsteps of Blockchain by designing a distributed ownership model. And while Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) lost some of their heady momentum, the premise of shared ownership for shared outcomes remains compelling.
In the domain name world, we often talk about domain ownership. The reality is that we are mostly leasing domains from registries, who in turn is often regulated by a regulator ICANN. Recently I have been a vocal advocate for Forever domain registrations whereby a domain is free of ongoing expense. At the moment, this is possible through Epik though there is still more work to do to make this a risk-free industry norm. The danger of not proactively embracing digital sovereignty, in all its forms, is that the digital world will inevitably find a way to achieve it, with or without domain names.
Let Freedom Ring
To the casual observer, the case of Gab.com seems like it is something new. It is not. It is history repeating itself. While there are consequences to actions, there is also the proverbial risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. My hope, for all of our sakes, is that Gab.com treads wisely, using its liberty for the betterment of most, and the enlightenment of all.
‘Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. – George Santayana (1863-1952)
An important milestone on the road to Digital Sovereignty
Seattle, WA and Barcelona — [October 24, 2018] — During the 63rd convocation of global domain industry regulator, ICANN in Barcelona, perpetual domain ownership achieved an important milestone as Seattle-based Epik.com became the first domain name registrar to offer perpetual domain registrations for hundreds of popular domain extensions. Since the advent of private ownership of internet domain names, owners of domains have become accustomed to annual domain name renewal along with regular price increases for ownership of domains. From time to time, over the years, important domain names have unintentionally fallen into the wrong hands or have become temporarily disabled due to expiration or policy enforcement.
Although perpetual registrations are not yet available for every domain extension, a growing number of popular domain extensions can now be secured perpetually for a one-time fee. For example, the iconic .COM can be secured at Epik.com for the one-time, all-inclusive fee of $420 regardless of where a domain is presently registered. Eligible forever registrations at Epik include free privacy protection, theft protection, forwarding services and unlimited subdomains all at no additional cost.Epik.com Founder and CEO, Rob Monster, a digital rights advocate, is a member of the ICANN global registrar stakeholder group that convened in Barcelona this week. In an interview on the opening day of the ICANN conference, Mr. Monster explained the move, “This is an important development for the domain industry. Customers have been asking for perpetual domain registrations for years. Epik is working with industry stakeholders to make forever registrations not only available but also affordable and eventually commonplace for registrants around the world.”
Peace of Mind in the Digital Age. Forever.
Forever domain registrations provide individuals and businesses with peace of mind. Once a Forever registration is secured, the future risk of domain loss due to administrative oversight or lack of funds is eliminated. While domain owners are still subject to legal use, domains can now become an enduring part of a will or estate, with continued managed registration compliance, even after the death of the original registrant. A Forever domain registration, which can be optionally combined with a Forever hosting plan, offers not only peace of mind, but also allows registrants to preserve their digital legacy, and on their terms.
Forever Registrations are for Everyone
Domain names are often described as a form of digital land. Freehold property ownership is not without precedent. Freehold ownership dates back thousands of years where the practice of perpetual land ownership was the standard. Epik is the first ICANN-accredited registrar to offer the perpetual registration. Additional registrars are expected to follow in the coming year. In the short time since Epik began offering Forever domain registrations, more than 1000 Forever registrations have been completed.
Epik customer, the Father Flanagan League has purchased 43 Forever registrations. League President, Steve Wolf explained the value of the Forever registrations, “Our mission and agenda is an enduring one. Epik has been a trusted and unwavering ally in securing our digital presence for the long term. With a portfolio of managed forever registrations from Epik, our digital presence is secured permanently and this is one major aspect of our organizational identity that we do not have to constantly deal with. This Epik service feature is a tremendous value and gives us peace of mind.”
Debra McCann, mother of international music sensation Kiesza, also secured Forever domain registrations for the Kiesza and SteamPop brands. “With Kiesza’s global chart topping hits, brand protection was a priority. We secured Forever registrations from Epik. Whether Kiesza is in the recoding studio or on world tour, we sleep well at night knowing that Kiesza’s most important domains can never fall into the wrong hands. Our domains are right where they belong. Forever.”
Paulo Leocadio, of Pompano Beach, Florida is Founder of SculpIT. Paulo owns 23 Forever registrations at Epik, broadly protecting the SculpIT brand across multiple planned categories of factory. He explains “The name ‘Sculpit’ means different things to different people. I am protecting my brand across multiple new domain extensions including .FITNESS, .LIFE, .DIET. Forever registrations are a key pillar in protecting my brand once and for all.”
Jim Reifsnyder-Smith, of A1B 2BC is the owner of the premium 3 letter domain with an appraised value of more than $1 million that he leases to another Epik customer on Epik.com. Jim bought a Forever registration at Epik and explains “We lease our domain, so perpetual ownership gives our lessee’s extra peace of mind knowing that the domain they have been leasing isn’t going anywhere.”
For further information, or to schedule an interview, contact Rob Monster, CEO of Epik, at email@example.com or at +1(425)-765-0077. Domain owners can complete a no-cost check for eligibility of Forever domain registrations by visiting Epik.com/forever
About Epik Holdings Inc:
Founded in 2009, Epik is s leading full-service, all-inclusive registrar, as well as the leading provider of domain name leasing services and provider of escrow services for intangible assets. Domain industry regulator, ICANN, has accredited the privately held provider of domain registrations since 2011.
About Rob Monster:
Entrepreneur of the Year, TEDx alumnus, author, venture investor, and philanthropist, Rob Monster is a global advocate for sovereignty in the Digital Age – sovereignty of individuals and of the communities where they live and work. Rob, a Dutch-American, is a trusted advisor on digital strategy to both the public and private sector around the world.
Safe Harbor Language: Any statements contained herein related to future events are forward-looking statements and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act 1995. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Epik Holdings, Inc. undertakes no obligation to update any such statements to reflect actual events
For many people, the year 2018 has been a good financial year. As we are now in the fourth quarter, I wanted to take a few moments to share some pro tips for using your domain holdings to manage your year-end tax liability.
One of the most popular moves for reducing your 2018 tax liability is our Forever domain registration. This is a one-time purchase of a forever domain. This service is uniquely offered through Epik and can be done with most domains. The Forever domain allows you to recognize a 2018 expense to cover the registration costs for as long as you hold the domain at Epik. To check if your domains are eligible for Forever registration, visit here. In addition to Forever domains, Epik also offers Forever web and email hosting plans.
Year-end domain selling
One of the unique features of Epik is that we are not only a registrar but also a domain name marketplace for selling and leasing domains. When you sell domains on Epik, your proceeds are initially deposited tax-free in a Masterbucks account. These proceeds can be held or spent tax-free. If you are redeeming your proceeds, that is generally considered a taxable event and possibly best timed for after the new year. If you are new to selling and leasing domains, read our helpful how-to guide here. For transactions larger than $10,000 use our escrow service.
Fund your account for planned 2019 purchases
You may also fund your Epik account through your preferred payment method before December 31, 2018. Your deposited funds are held in the form of Epik In-store Account Credit which can be used for future domain and hosting related expenses regardless of whether you choose to process the renewals at this time or after the new year. You can fund your account online from your account by logging in and adding funds here.
Domain Gifting and Estate Planning
If you hold domain names that have appreciated in value, you may gift domain names to qualifying institutions such as 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. To do this, you will want a 3rd party appraisal of the domain names being gifted, particularly if the size of the gift is more than $5,000. If you have a domain portfolio that would logically benefit a qualifying institution, that institution can in turn use or sell those domains. For a professional appraisal, visit our appraisal page here.
For anyone holding cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, Epik does offer the option of funding your Epik account using these cryptocurrencies in addition to bank deposit, wire transfer, ACH, and PayPal. If you wish to fund your account via cryptocurrency, please contact us and we’ll assist you with this task. Your cryptocurrency payment can be held in the form of Epik in-store credit for use with future domain and hosting purchases.
Bulk Domain Transfers
I hope these pro tips are helpful for you. Consult your tax advisor or contact us for a free consultation on year-end tax strategies for domain holders. Feel free to share these tips with others. For now, I wish you a blessed year-end holiday season and look forward to another year ahead of industry-leading innovation and legendary support. Thank you for your continued feedback. If you loved Epik in 2018, feel free to let us know here or by liking us on Facebook.
Attending NamesCon this week?
Stop by the Epik hospitality booth in the exhibitor area