Unfortunately I won’t be attending T.R.A.F.F.I.C this year in Fort Lauderdale but I will be attending the event next year in Las Vegas. I really feel events like this are important. It is not just about revisiting with an old friend, even though it might seem like that. I can truly attest that there are deals being made and businesses being born. This is one of the main reasons to attend the event and other events like it.
I’m sitting here on the west coast enjoying all the updates coming in via blogs and facebook.com. Keep up the great work! The coverage is just as important as attending the event. The coverage alone that I have seen before the event has even started has been simply AMAZING! I can honestly say that this is an event that I wish I could of attended this year, but unfortunately the powers that be have aligned me on a different path.
With that said, I want to wish everyone down there well! Maximize your opportunities and most of all enjoy yourself. You deserve it and the world is your oyster! For me, I am still celebrating the third place achievement that I and my team received at Startup Weekend USC. After this blog entry has been submitted I am on my way to Hollywood to party it up at Premiere. Like I tell my friends and business partners, it is extremely important to celebrate the highs and that is exactly what I am going to do. Have fun this Saturday, wherever in the world you might be!
I’ve been frequenting Flippa.com more lately. You can probably blame that on the fact that I listed an auction for Chloroplast.net their recently. I feel the site is a viable marketplace with great buyers and sellers. One of the auctions which stood out recently was for none other than a .CM domain name. Call me bias, but that extension left a really bad taste in my mouth and I am still surprised there are people out there continuing to try to milk it.
I’ve owned one .CM domain in my life and was really ashamed for paying the amount of money that I did for acquiring it. Lets not get into that, all I can say is that I have learned and move on. The domain on Flippa the is up for auction is PC.CM. Yes this is an interesting combination as PC stands for personal computer so the name has some potential and the seller definitely feels it is worth the $7,000 minimum that he posted. I personally don’t feel it is worth anything near that amount, but I am sure he will drum up some publicity with the auction and might even sell the name.
The funny part about the auction, wasn’t the auction itself. It was the first question which was posted to the seller:
Is it .com or .cm also what is the lowest offer please PM. Thanks
A user named pcimmediate posted this question to the seller. He is right in doing this because in the description the seller actually compares his two letter .cm domain to the past two letter .com sales. The first paragraph of the auction listing is exactly what I am referring to:
Two letter domain names sell for millions of dollars. FB.com was sold $8.5 million dollars and even Flippa had it’s share of action after ay.com was sold for over $100,000. With an estimated 4 million new domains registered each month these two letter domains are becoming more exclusive every day.
That’s a great way to add some fire to the flame. Start it off by comparing two letter .com sales when two letter .cm sales have come nowhere close to this. As a domainer I have to admit that the .CM extension was the biggest flop I have ever witnessed. It is even safe for me to say that the .XXX extension has a more promising future than .CM. At least it stands for something and wasn’t advertised as a typo extension.
The Seller CategoryDefiningDomains sold Sushi.net for $25,000 On Flippa according to the Just Sold link located on the site. This was a domain only auction which contained two bids. The first bidder on this public auction ended up bidding $4,000 on the name 8 days ago. The second bid came in two days ago for the amount of $25,000.
This is a solid amount for a one word .net domain name. I am a firm believer in .net domains and feel there is still a great opportunity out there to make a little money with them. Good luck to the buyer and seller in this transaction. I’m looking forward to learning a little more information about who the buyer was. Maybe it was a large Sushi Chain?
Hopefully all goes well with this transaction.
Ever since I became a domainer I found myself leaning towards two or three different registrars to perform different functions. Although most registrars contain the same tools I tend to prefer to utilize one simply because it is easy to check the availability of domains. Unfortunately for the two registrars that I utilize to scan for domain names it doesn’t necessarily put money in their pockets.
My favorite domain registrar to check the availability of a specific domain name is Name.com. I love Name.com’s simple and easy to use interface and it rarely ever has any problem with returning the results that I am looking for. It’s hard to believe, but I don’t even have an account with Name.com. I might of registered a handful of domains with them at one point in the past, but I am sorry to say that I don’t have any domain names with them at this time.
Their website is simple to use, but their prices aren’t always the most competitive and for a person like me trying to squeeze every dollar in savings to build a domain portfolio, cost is an issue. If Name.com had more promotional codes I wouldn’t think twice about registering domains with them, especially since I am already searching for domains using their website.
My favorite domain registrar to check the availability of domains in bulk is Moniker. Yes there are other domain registrars which have a bulk domain tool, but I like to use the one at Moniker. There is something about the tool which just draws me to it. For some reason this has always been the case. Whenever I try and use another platform I am disappointed because they just don’t add up to the way Moniker scans for domain names. Unfortunately I don’t really register domains with Moniker and it’s because of the mere fact that I can get domains from other places cheaper.
So where do I register my domain names? I register my domains with the most controversial domain registrar out there. Yes, I tend to register the bulk of my domains with GoDaddy. Politics aside I have entrusted GoDaddy for years and they have always provided me with the support I was looking for. At one point and time I got mad at GoDaddy and was interested in transferring my names over to Moniker or NameCheap, but that never happened and I am glad that I stayed.
To sum it up I use Name.com for single domain checks, Moniker for bulk domain checks and GoDaddy to actually register a domain name. Sounds weird right? It makes sense to me and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
This weekend will be one I remember for the rest of my life. I’ve always wanted to participate in a Startup Weekend and I finally made that happen with the latest local Startup Weekend held at USC. You could literally feel the energy buzzing in the rooms. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE was on fire. If this had been about ten years ago I could see myself staying up for the entire weekend, but since I am thirty-one I had to make sure to get my sleep.
Getting a good nights rest was one of the keys to our group coming in 3rd place for our Storage1up.com idea. This is a huge accomplishment which has sparked us to move past just the idea to formulate a real company. We’ve already planned a time to meet up next. It is important to keep the momentum moving forward, especially when you are on cloud nine! We worked for two and a half days to bring our idea to fruition. This entailed us creating a lean canvas which started with the problems and pretty much ended up with us describing solutions.
By the end of the competition we had enough information for a formal pitch, design and a prototype of part of our solution. The concept which started off as a mere idea turned into reality. What’s even better is we had the chance to have potential customers validate the idea and all of them said this is something they would be interesting in using. I have many ideas and I have to admit this was not one of my best. I didn’t feel comfortable in bringing my best idea to the table so I decided to choose the next idea in line.
For those of you planning to attend Startup Weekend in the future. Here are a few things that I learned that might help you come out on top:
1. Choose an idea that you don’t mind introducing to the masses. If you don’t feel comfortable revealing an idea then do not pitch it. Either come up with another idea you feel comfortable with describing or join another team and help bring their idea to reality.
2. Is you are competing in a Startup Weekend being held at a college or university then be prepared to be teamed up against some of the students. Although I am thirty-one there was still a bit of a generational gap with some of the teams I was competing against. The college students tend to have established friendships and feel the need to stick together. In my opinion this doesn’t necessarily help Startup Weekend. I feel the purpose of being there is to work with people you wouldn’t have the chance to work with otherwise and teaming yourself up with friends although convenient can actually backfire on the entire experience.
3. Developers are wanted, but not really needed. This is one of the major things I like about Startup Weekend. A team can win with a solid vision and pitch. Although we went far beyond those two attributes, you don’t need to develop a working product. Developers are in high demand at Startup Weekend and because of that reason they aren’t always easy to convince. Most of the developers we had at Startup Weekend actually stuck together. Some of the teams had multiple developers and some had none. Fortunately our developer George decided to pair up with our team at the last minute and without his help we wouldn’t of been able to come in 3rd.
4. Choose members that you feel will be dedicated to your project. I was amazed to see a number of people drop out after the first day. We literally had two people drop out of our group, that never showed up for the rest of the event.
5. Keep your teams small. If you have more than three members than it becomes more of a hassle to micromanage everyone. Our team had one business person, one ux designer (me) and one developer. We had the perfect mix, which really did help us churn out a great presentation, design and prototype.
6. You don’t need to be on time. Although the event started at 9AM sharp on both Saturday and Sunday it is important to get your rest. I didn’t arrive to USC until about 11:15 or 11:30 on Sunday and that worked out perfectly.
7. Network with those around you. Just because someone isn’t on your team doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk with them. You never know how you might be able to help one another down the line. I made it my job to talk to a few others and exchange contact information on the final day. Not only am I making potential business contacts, but I am making connections which might turn into friendships in the future. I learned a great deal from those around me!
8. Ask as many questions as you possibly can. You are surrounded by great people and you should take advantage of it!
9. After the competition is over, make sure to plan a future meeting. Keep the momentum going and confirm that everyone involved is in it for the long haul.
10. Limit the amount of startup competitions you enroll in. One of the members who quit early from being part of our startup group stated he was tired. He had just finish competing in a previous startup weekend and just didn’t have the energy to do it all again. Although startup competitions like this one are fun it is important to limit your involvement in them and actually get down to work. If you have a great idea, which customers and the judging panel have validated for you then by all means create some goals and accomplish them. I’ve heard a number of people say this within the last few weeks, but starting a startup company is becoming a trendy thing to do which isn’t good.
In other words, don’t just say you are going to start a startup. Do it! Remember, execution is the key. If you aren’t excited about your idea then scrap it. If you love the idea and you have validated it with potential customers then make it happen. This doesn’t mean you have to quit your day job. This means that you work on it and dedicate as much time as you can to the startup as possible.
11. Bring snacks and plenty of water. Although the food was good at the USC Startup Weekend it was a little filling. I found my body craving nutrition the last day of the competition and I ended up scurrying over to Chipotle with Nicole, the business team member. Although Chipotle isn’t the healthiest thing it definitely provided a bit of relief from the burgers being served. I drank more water than I could of ever possibly expected.
When your brain is working overtime, it is important to hydrate your body.
12. Last but not least, park in an area where you can leave your car all day without thinking about it. On Saturday I made the mistake of parking at a meter where I had to move my car after 4 hours. Although I needed a bit of a break from the hectic work schedule, walking back to my car to re-park it was flat out annoying. Nicole showed me an area to park later that Saturday and I was lucky enough to find parking around the same area on Sunday. This definitely helped keep me focus on the tasks at hand.
As you can see my Startup Weekend experience at USC was an extremely positive one. Although Nicole and I met about a month ago this experience convinced us to focus on our new startup idea and discontinue work for the time being on the one we initially sought out to do. In a way we pivoted and decided to work on Storage1up.com, a service which will allow people to rent out the extra space they have readily available in both their houses and garages. We are excited about this idea and are really happy Startup Weekend gave us the necessary time and tools to make this happen.
Today I attended the first day of Social Media Week here in Los Angeles. According to the website:
“Social Media Week is a worldwide event exploring the social, cultural and economic impact of social media. Our mission is to help people and organizations connect through collaboration, learning and the sharing of ideas and information.”
My experience at the first day of Social Media Week here in Los Angeles was a positive one. The first thing I noticed while signing up were the abundance of free options included on the website. I couldn’t believe how many different events they had scheduled for you to attend for free. Almost all of the events are free and each one of them pertains to social media. As we both know social media is extremely hard to categorize into one box. Social media is so vast that I personally feel it is nearly impossible to touch every angle of it.
The event that got the engines running for me today was one that I decided to view via the live stream on their website. The keynote event was called Changing The World With Just $45, A Laptop, A Camera, And Social Media with Mark Horvath, Founder Of Invisible People. Although the live stream was a bit problematic on my side it was fun to listen to Mark talk about why he decided to start Invisible People, which pretty much provides a voice to homeless people. Mark is one of those genuine people struggling to pay his own bills who had dedicated himself to covering the class of people that some of us just plain out ignore on a daily basis. His website can be found at InvisiblePeople.com and it is one that I plan to check in on from time to time.
After watching Mark’s segment I got ready, warmed up some food and hopped in my car to attend my first event called Luxury (Finally) Goes Social at The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. I walked into the session a little late but was immediately mezmorized by the panel speaking. Although I tended have a chance to take down names of the panelist, I did have a chance to capture a few of there thoughts. These panelists represented brands such as LuckyBrand.com and PhyllisMorris.com.
The lady from PhyllisMorris.com talked about how their website enables them to tap into customers around the world. This is important for them because they only have one store located on Robertston out here in Los Angeles. She went into how they even setup a digital minicataglog which ended up receiving around 6,000 views on their facebook profile.
The person hosting the panel stated 3 top reason luxury brands are hesitant to embrace social media.
1. Luxury brands are used to using a top down approach when it comes to attracting their clientel. This top down relationship is the exact opposite of which is found in social media, which is considered to be bottom up. These brands are starting to realize that it’s not the route to take. LVNH’s top down mentality is even starting to change. One panelist said it is not what happens on the runway at fashion week. It is what happens outside with the bloggers covering the event who are getting paid to carry handbags! Someone even mentioned an example of this at bagsnob who makes an amazing living off of this.
2. It is not a mass media brand. Sometimes luxury brands target a core audience or consumer which doesn’t necessarily need a massive following to be successful. They are starting to realize that they can embrace social media to do this more efficiently than any other marketing method available to date. Today there are brands like nastygal which is solely promoted through social media. These brands are taking full advantage of social media and do not pay a dime for pr and marketing.
Big luxury brands depend on aspirational customers. The end game is to sell a piece of that brand, the part that customers from all socioeconomic levels can actually buy. The model that is working in this day and age is social and luxury brands are evolving. An overall evolution of the fashion industry is taking place. One person said that the ROI in social media is you being in business in 5 years. That was probably the most striking comment which everyone including other people on the panel had to take in with a gasp of air.
3. Luxury brands are losing control. This is something that they don’t like losing. That’s one of the main reasons why they are not adapting to social media.
The question and answer session with the crowd got even more interesting. Here are a few random notes. The old model of retail is dieing. A new phenomena (first dibs) where luxury brands are positioned in a psylo still exists but doesn’t necessarily flourish. Scial proof is a proven concept which is taking off but you are still dealing with a higher end clientel. What crowd member asked what do you think will happen in the future and in the next 5 years to the open store model?
Panelists were quick to state that it is so much easier to sell things online and that they wouldn’t open a store. Deal with products which are singular in nature. Another panelist pointed out that you can’t just be a small guy and go online as a multiline boutique. You are competing with people with big budgets, that have big money to buy quantity.
The future will make products more tangible online, where you will feel a holographic presence about a particular item. One of the panelist said she watches her 13 year old because kids his age are the forecasters. Fashion is going to evolve and we are seeing the begininnings of this now.
Another audience member asked about how often you should post. Is 1 post a day enough? She has a client which feels she is not working hard enough on the social media aspect of the company if she is not posting more than once a day. There was a mixed reaction to her question about posting once a day. Some of the panelists said that is fine and other said they post at minimum three posts a day, because it is important to reach people at different times of the day. The host of the panel pretty much summed it up that it is important to ask your client how much time are you spending and conversing / engaging with your customers based on those posts and then you can develop a posting schedule based on those numbers.
As you can see there was a great deal of information and I only got a small piece of it. After the panel was over there was a ribbon cutting ceremony at IO/LA which is a tech / movie incubator in the Hollywood area. The co-working space was amazing and everyone in attendance had a great time.
This Saturday I might be attending my first WordCamp held here in Los Angeles, California at Loyola Marymount University. Although they are no longer taking signups on the website itself a walk-up ticket is only $20. This price is by far worth every penny. The guest speaker list alone is worth it.
So what eactly is WordCamp LA?
Here are a few excerpts taken directly from their website:
WordCamp is a conference type of event that focuses squarely on everything WordPress. Everyone from casual end users all the way up to core developers show up to these events. These events are usually highlighted by speeches or keynotes by various people.
With that quoted, WordCamp LA is a conference event. This WordCamp is in the very early planning stages, but that’s okay — we’ve got some time. As it stands, we’re aiming to throw LA’s first second third fourth WordCamp on September 15th, 2012 at Loyola Marymount University in Westchester, Los Angeles, LAX area.
The best thing about this venue is it is only about fifteen minutes away from where I live. This is truly a no brainer and hopefully my schedule permits me to go. If you are headed to WordCamp LA this weekend feel free to get in touch with me via my facebook page by visiting www.facebook.com/domaining.
To learn more about WordCamp LA feel free to visit 2012.la.wordcamp.org.
I’m sure you’ve already heard the news about GoDaddy experiencing some major DNS issues this morning. According to my research their block of DNS servers were hit extremely hard by a DDOS attack. Of course there are some other things that probably happened during the preparation process for this attack, but we’ll let those details unfold from the hacker who is responsible for starting all of this. Before you blame Anonymous, it apparently was one hacker who goes by twitter alias @AnonymousOwn3r.
There isn’t an exact count of how many GoDaddy customers are being directly effected by this issue. Some media sources have stated thousands and others have said millions. I myself have never hosted with GoDaddy simply because I always looked at their company as a domain registrar. They are a great domain registrar that I haven’t experienced any problems with, but I just could never grasp the concept of them being a hosting provider. Now please keep in mind, this attack shouldn’t make you feel as if this company doesn’t know what they are doing. They do know what they are doing, but unfortunately when DNS servers get flooded by a DDOS there is little you can do.
These attacks happen all the time and I want to stress the fact that GoDaddy’s hosting service was actually doing what it was supposed to do. Unfortunately when a customer or visitor can not resolve the site associated with a particular domain name people automatically think that the hosting environment is down. Their DNS servers were flooded to the point where hosting services were directly effected. This even included email. Not too long ago AT&T suffered from the same exact attack. Here is a great article which describes what happened to AT&T:
One thing GoDaddy is doing correctly is they are still taking calls and are doing their best to update people on the situation via Twitter. Best of luck to GoDaddy. I truly hope they get their problems resolved soon.
Rivals Attempt To Cash In
As with anything, rivals in this competitive space are going to try and cash in. One rival really took the cake by providing GoDaddy with the offer to help and then they proceeded to let those customers who are looking to leave GoDaddy know that they have a new promotion running to help move them to their very own service. Talk about taking advantage of a bad situation.
The company I am talking about is Name.com. They posted an entry a little earlier today titled, “GoDaddy Is Down.” You can read the entry here. I’m a little surprised by this marketing tactic, but then again I am not. If it wasn’t Name.com it would be some other domain registrar / hosting provider looking to benefit from the downtime some GoDaddy customers are currently experiencing.
If you are a customer currently experiencing problems with GoDaddy, then know that you have options. Unfortunately some of those options might just cost you a little more. Please keep in mind these type of attacks happen to every provider out there, including Name.com.
I’ve been bitten by the startup bug and recently found myself at a meetup randomly sitting next to a person who now happens to be my new business partner. It all started with me attending the SM New Tech Meetup in August. She arrived a few minutes after I did and we started talking about the tech space. I told her about my domain portfolio and showed her a few affiliate sites geared towards women’s fashion and that eventually sparked a conversation about a startup business she had an idea for geared towards the fashion industry.
A couple of emails and one business meeting later, we are now working on agreements to develop a startup together. The idea which she had initially described to me has already transformed into something even greater by simply sitting down and discussing the overall business together. We are now taking care of the legal side of things. Once the agreements have been signed it is off to the races.
This year has been quite a ride for me. It took a few months to achieve some of the goals I set for myself, one of them being find a business partner to work on a startup with. It’s funny how you actually find these individuals when you are not looking for them. I plan on partnering with a couple of different people this year and have already spotted a potential second and third person to move forward with on other business ideas.
- This past week represents a renewed faith I have in the domaining industry. The markets are alive and kicking. At one point I wasn’t so upbeat. Domain sales were hard to come by, but it’s because I was working too hard instead of working smart. I never realized what I was doing wrong until I actually sat down and assessed my entire game plan. For me the money is not in developing, the money is in selling and that’s exactly where I have realigned my focus. Since I changed up the way I work last week I already have some interest in one of my .me domain names. These days people recognize the .me extension and are willing to pay for a quality one to two word .me. If all goes well I will have a sale to report which should be within the mid $x,xxx range.
- As my passion for the domaining industry has been renewed so has my taste for coffee. I can’t seem to get enough of it! The perfect working day for me begins with a cup of Don Francisco Colombia Supremo Ground Coffee which I make using my AeroPress Coffee Maker. The quality of coffee that this combination makes it amazing. I normally have one to two cups while I pound away a few emails in the morning. It is Saturday and I just finished off my second cup, before I head off to get my car washed. I have a love hate relationship with coffee, but have since realized that it is all about the right balance. I’ve found my coffee blend of choice and know how to make it so it provides me with that extra kick instead of that caffeine overload feeling.
- I plan on attending a few events next week. I haven’t identified which events I will be going to but I am pretty sure they will be in the startup space. I am all about startups right now! While I was typing this blog entry I just signed up for Startup Weekend at USC! I’ve always wanted to be part of one of these events. The event takes place on September 28th and doesn’t end until September 30th! It’s going to be one heck of a long weekend! I don’t plan on getting much sleep. To make it even more fun I decided to sign up as a UX (User Experience) Designer. I was a graphic / web designer long before I was a domain investor. As some of you know Startup Weekend has both Technical and Non-Technical positions. I decided to go Technical, because I’ve always wanted to use my graphic design experience in a startup setting.
Wow, this entry turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. I know it always seems like I am working, but I want to reiterate that I’ve been making the time to enjoy life as well. Last night I visited the Venice Beach area for a special evening they call First Fridays in Venice. I had a blast! Events like this are important to me. It allows me to spend time with friends and meet great people. Here are a few pictures from last night!
Affiliate Summit West 2013 is right around the corner and I am not missing out on this event in 2013! I kicked myself for missing it in 2012 and again in 2011 but I am prepared this time around and will be purchasing the $99 Networking Pass tomorrow. Although I am a domainer, I’m also an affiliate marketer and what better place to network with potential affiliate partners.
This is one of those events that I see myself attending five years from now. Here is what you get with the $99 price tag:
Networking Pass (formerly Silver)
Admission to Meet Market and Exhibit Hall, and Keynotes.
The reason I am choosing the Networking Pass is because of the summit’s location. I am easily distracted and I am sure there will be plenty of events that I will need to rest up for in Sin City. I’d rather not go to training sessions, when I know I will most likely be up all night and all morning. Lets be realistic here!
For those of you who are affiliates and have never attended Affiliate Summit make sure to check it out the website! Prices for the Networking Pass go up to $249 after 10/26/2012. I’m not sponsored by Affiliate Summit. This post was generated purely by my excitement for the event! If you are going, make sure to drop me a line and lets grab a beer!
- Alvin on The Art Of Forgetting About Your Domain Portfolio
- Jason Thompson on The Art Of Forgetting About Your Domain Portfolio
- Matt on One Of My Favorite Domaining Blogs Returns: DotWeekly.com
- viqi on The Art Of Forgetting About Your Domain Portfolio
- Adi Weitzman on Poll Results: Are You Buying Or Selling?
- Affiliate Marketing
- Domain Development
- Domain News
- Press Release
- Southern California Domainers