Tis the season to beware of scammers

What a great time of year. Kids are all looking forward the gift giving season and getting a couple of weeks off of school.  Parents are all working hard trying to get everything in order for the holidays, waiting for the holiday bonus, cashing in their bitcoin, shopping  for the kids and maybe selling an extra domain or two before the year comes to an end.

Speaking of domains, lucky for us there is Kenta Fujimoto.  Kenta, sent an offer that far exceeded the value of the domain name he was inquiring about (first red flag).

Domain Scam Email

When I visit the domain name on the actual email address, I get a warning…

Beware of domain scams

I thought this would make a educational blog post so I countered with “Sure, let’s proceed with the sale.  We use Escrow.com.”  

My good fellow returns the following, informing me that I must follow this sketchy link to buy a sketchy certificate to conduct this sketchy sale.  Sounds a little sketchy if I do say so myself.

domain con

I follow his Google Answers link (which I believe the service was discontinued like 11 YEARS AGO!) and a fine copy of a Google Answers page is returned with a not so Google URL.  This guy really puts a lot of faith in dot info.

dishonest domainer

When it comes to con artists, I’ll admit I love the stories behind the great ones.  Charles Ponzi, Frank Abagnale.  I get what they did isn’t cool but intellect behind it is fascinating.  Not so in this case.

I have responded to the one known as “Kenta” asking for an interview on domain scamming.  Could be interesting.  But in the mean time, keep an eye on your domains and as hard working entrepreneurs, I trust you have more sense then these people trying to swindle you out of the money you earned for yourself and your family.

If you ever find something questionable, ask.  Ask me.  Ask your favorite blogger (which again, could be me). Ask a domain forum.  Don’t rush into anything that makes you feel the least bit uncomfortable.

 

If you like this post and want to sponsor it on Domaining.com, click HERE.

5 Available Hand Regs Valued at over $500 Each – Can you Flip These Domain Names?

This post isn’t going to make you rich, but it demonstrates that there are still opportunities even if you are just entering the domain industry or only have a few bucks to your name.  You can take a few bucks and make it into a few more with some effort.  It’s not likely that anyone will come knocking your door down making you an offer for these names, but if you do your research, you could come up with a decent list of potential buyers.  If you are able to educate those potential buyers, you could have a sale.

First lets take a step back and note that automated domain appraisal tools are just that, tools.  They are not exact, they may be inaccurate, and they never factor in the human element.  That said, here are 5 names I found this morning, while drinking a cup of coffee, that have an estimated value of $500 or more according to Estibot.

estibot domains

In case the screenshot is too hard to read, the names are:

  1. UrinalDeodorizer.com
  2. CorkExtractor.com
  3. IrishMenu.com
  4. ChangeManagementCertification.com
  5. ConferenceCallSystem.com

I listed them in ascending order of estimated value.  I chose only dot com names.  You are welcome to register these, as I said, they are available for hand reg at the time of this posting.

A couple of observations.  First, what jumped out at me is that someone has registered the dot org version of ChangeManagementCertification.  The tells me there is at least one lead that might be interested in buying the dot com.  Why did he only register the dot org?  I don’t know and that could also mean he/she is clueless and won’t have any interest in the dot com.  However, Change Management is a hot topic in business today and there should be plenty of other potential leads out there.

valuate domains

The image above is from Valuate.com.  It uses the same brain as Estibot, but I prefer its visual display a bit more.  Makes it easy to compare domains and also easy on the eyes.  RetireeMeidcalPlans.com is interesting for a couple of reasons.  One is that I once owned it and let it drop.  The other is that someone has registered what appears to be the less valuable singular version of the name.  This was not the case, as far as I know, when I owned the domain. The singular points to medicare.oneexchange.com which appears to be a legit website and could be a good candidate for purchasing this plural domain on the aftermarket.  Look at the difference in the CPC!

There it is.  The world is your oyster.  If you decided to register any of the above names, leave a comment to let us know.  I’d be interested in following up with you to see how you do with these and share the story with everyone if you’re up for it.  Good luck.

With 3 Million Monthly Page Views, Finder is a Keeper

Fred Schebesta

As an author, blogger, award-winning digital marketer, media commentator, mentor and active member of the startup community, Fred Schebesta is a highly respected entrepreneur.

Fred is the Co-founder and Director of finder.com.au — one of Australia’s largest comparison websites. At just 26 years of age, Fred entered the comparison market – which is one of the most highly competitive online categories in Australia.

Fred’s entrepreneurial journey started well before finder.com.au. At just 22 years of age, while studying a Bachelor of Finance degree at Macquarie University in Sydney, he and Frank created Freestyle Media and grew the business into a successful digital agency that sold to a publicly-listed company in 2007.

Mike: Tell me about Finder.com and exactly what the site offers it’s visitors.

Fred:  finder.com is a personal comparison website that helps Americans make better decisions about their money. We believe that teaching people about finance will help them make better decisions and ultimately live a better life. Consumers can visit finder.com to compare and learn about credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, life and travel insurance, shopping deals, international money transfers and much more before choosing the option that best suits their needs. Our vision is to “compare everything”, we know that is going to take a long time, but that is ok, we are strapped into this rocketship!

My business partner and I started finder in our native Australia over a decade ago, and are now operating in 10 different countries around the world.

We’re not owned by an insurance or travel company (like some other comparison sites) and we aren’t affiliated with any one institution or outlet, so we are an independant team of genuine experts. Beyond comparing products, this team of experts produce thousands of guides, videos and research to help people better understand money and make informed decisions.

Finder.com

Mike: I have read in your bio that you founded Finder.com.au. Was this prior to Finder.com as mentioned above? Are there any differences in the sites other than geography?

Fred:  Finder.com.au was where the magic started. This is our domain name for the Australian site, which is the most visited personal finance website in the country. We then set our sights on global expansion, launching in the US with finder.com in 2015. Both domains have the same aim – of helping people understand their money decisions and providing local choices and empowering them to make “Great decisions”!

 

Mike: In your experience as a successful online entrepreneur, has it proven to be beneficial to use country specific TLDs such as .com.au to target your audience?

Fred:  In short, yes. Although there have been a lot of instances where we have found that being a .com has helped us target more global verticals. So it really does depend. I think there is still lots of value in country specific TLDs but I think the jury is out as to what is the best strategy globally.

 

Mike: I’ve read through some great articles on the site, including “The Financial Case for Sobriety, Calculate Your Savings” which was an eye opener. Do you have a staff of writers or do the articles come from outside contributors? How is this funded?

Fred: We have a team of writers based all over the US who are experts in various elements of personal finance including credit cards, personal loans and international money transfers. We also regularly engage with industry experts for insights and predictions such as this piece on how AI, blockchain and social media will impact cross-border payments.

 

Mike: Both Finder.com and Finder.com.au are killer names. Are you willing to share traffic numbers with us?

Fred:  Globally, finder receives over 3 million monthly page views and 2.1 million monthly UA’s.

 

Mike: How about acquiring the names. Can you tell me how you went about getting the names? 

Fred:  First, we reached out to the original domain owners. It took quite a few attempts to get through to them; I think around a year. It then took quite a lot of negotiating to get to a realistic monetary figure. From there we used an escrow service and then after that we made the trade. The actual purchase was relatively straight forward although the process to to get there took a very long time.

 

Mike: What is the business model here. How does Finder make a profit. Is it affiliate based depending on which deals people sign up for?

Fred: Finder is independently-owned and totally free to use. We make our money through the providers, rather than our users. When you click through to, or apply with, a financial institution or retailer on our site, they pay us a small referral fee for sending you their way. This means we don’t mark up any of the products on our site, yet can still provide a quality service. We’re not affiliated with any one institution or provider, so only serve the best options for our consumers’ needs.

 

Mike: This is not your first rodeo. You founded, grew, and sold Freestyle Media a decade ago. What advice do you have for average people looking to quit the daily grind and make a living online? What are some important considerations.

Fred:  Success will take a lot longer than you realize: many would-be entrepreneurs lack the patience to see a business grow. Even the best idea takes time to build. My business partner and I wanted to remain independently funded, and so that meant turning down other opportunities to focus on slow and steady growth.

Focus on achieving one thing well, before you move on to the next: natural-born entrepreneurs typically have many great ideas yet it’s impossible to do everything well at the one time. Taking a more focused approach is a much faster track to success.

Build resilience: even the most successful of entrepreneurs has had their fair of knock backs and downright failures. You can’t let these get you down. Take each mistake or slip up as a learning opportunity. It’s not meant to be easy.

Set and regularly redefine goals: there are many steps in between working for a salary to running your own business. Use goal setting to stay on track, focused and motivated. Sometimes the road will seem impossibly long, but chunking it down into smaller, short term goals en route to the big dream will make it feel more achievable. Remember to constantly go back and check on those goals, ensure they are still in line with your vision and celebrate the wins you’ve had along the way.

 

Mike: How beneficial do you think it is to have your business on a keyword domain name like Finder.com?

Fred:  I think it’s absolutely awesome and has been a crucial part of our success. We wanted to have a short name that was recognizable and easy to communicate and remember. I think domain names are amazingly important. A great domain becomes your brand.

 

 

If you like this post and want to sponsor it on Domaining.com, click HERE.

The Domain Sales Email that Caught my Eye

domain sales email

My email inbox certainly could have gone without seeing this email come through and still lived a clean and happy life.  But life isn’t fair and sometimes we can’t protect the ones we love from the harsh reality of the world.  Alright, I’m getting carried away, I don’t love my inbox.  I mean, I like it a lot, but love is a strong word.

Yesterday, I received an email offering a domain for sale.  I’m not easily offended, but lets keep it clean here.  The TLD was dot io, which is popular among some startups.  In this case, the the domain name was #ocks.io and let’s say it rhymes with socks.  Roosters are often referred to by this name… among other things.

The point of this post is not the domain name itself, but the email that represented it.  The email wasn’t particularly well written.  In fact, the salutation stated “Dear Paul King.”  Clearly all recipients were referred to as Paul King (sorry Paul).  What caught my eye was what I consider to be the most important aspect of a sales email.  The title.

I opened my inbox to find about 20 new emails.  When I quickly scanned the list, one jumped out at me.  “Here’s How to Acquire #ocks.io”

I wasn’t actively looking to purchase this name and I don’t even own any dot io names.  But it did get my interest.  Looking back I tried to analyze why that caught my attention.  Obviously one reason is because I am a domainer.  But beyond that, it had me thinking… this email is about to tell me something.

If I were an end user, I would be more likely to open this email than if it simply stated the domain name as the title, or even the key words as the title.  This title presupposes that I am already interested in the name. That I want to acquire it.  I’m no psychologist or marketing guru, but I would bet that framing the title in this way introduces some sort of bias toward wanting the name.  Not some magical hypnosis that tricks you into purchasing the name, but a subtle hint that would convince an end user to at least open the email, which is more than half the battle.

Getting your email read is difficult.  Probably 80% of the email I get I don’t even open. Maybe more.  It’s not even all spam.  Some of it is from legit things I sign up for and still never read, so getting to the top of the heap of mail isn’t easy.  I do plan to give this title a shot, with a more well thought out body text than what I received.    I’ll let you know if I see any noticeable results.

Is this the future of domain names?

names of london

James Stevens was born in Singapore, the son of a military chaplain. Educated at boarding school in England, James (who had always excelled in Mathematics & Physics) fell in love with technology when, in the early 1980s, the school acquired some Apple ][ PCs. He later took a holiday job writing accounting systems, on the Apple ][, for small businesses at an Apple dealership in the Barbican. Although, technically, his first paid work in computers was aged 16, selling games for the 8-bit home computers that had become popular in the mid-1980s.

James went on to study computer science at university where he first came into contact with Unix system and immediately was taken by their openness and flexibility.

After working at a software house and a relational database vendor, James went into freelance contracting working in the City of London, specialising in high-speed database applications and front-office trading systems mostly using Sybase on Solaris.

While at Goldman Sachs in 1994 he worked on a project to provide server monitoring and management using a web interface and could immediately see the potential of this new technology.

Leaving Goldmans he started a Linux research company specialising in network appliances, embedded operating systems and remote web management. That was sold ten years later to his business partner when he was offered the role of CTO at the dot-IO domain name registry – which also managed dot-AC, dot-SH and (under contract) dot-TM.

While there he jointly founded CommunityDNS (www.cdns.net) to exploit the security advantages of the then emerging Anycast network technology. Using his experience in embedded operating systems to design and create the hardened & encrypted operating system for the CommuityDNS platform, as well as implement a full rewrite of the dot-IO domain name registry system.

With his heart still in entrepreneurship, he left the CTO role to found Names.of.London Ltd to exploit innovative and imaginative new techniques in human readable domain names, made possible by the release of the wave of new top level domains.

 

Mike: I like the idea of what you are doing with names.of.london.  Tell me how you came up with the concept.

James:  One morning, I heard a radio ad for dot-LONDON on a local station and immediately realised there was an opportunity to run a second-level registry using “of.london” – I also thought it would be cool to own “mayor.of.london”

I was originally going to launch with “of.london” & “in.london”, but I wasn’t allowed “in.london” as “in”, for all the new-GTLD, is currently blocked by India as they fear confusion with dot-IN.

So I designed an algorithm to look for other combinations that would work, for creating three word phrases, and the one that came out head-and-shoulder above all the others was “for.sale”.

It cost quite a bit to buy, but it needs no explanation.

 

Mike: It reminds me of co.com. Have you collaborated or learned from the people behind that effort? What similarities and differences do you see?

James:  Those domains were/are all run by CentralNIC – they were one of the customers of CommunityDNS (www.cdns.net) while I was CTO there, so I know Gavin Brown, the chief techie there, pretty well.

I always liked the idea, but felt it lacked a certain something. It seems to be pitching itself as a second-class choice – you’d only buy it if you can’t get the dot-COM.

Clearly from a purely technical perspective they are basically the same business model, but I feel the additional concept of turning domain names into human readable phrases gives mine an edge. I feel what I am doing offers something quite different from anything else on the market.

As far as I know, nobody else is offering a similar service to me.
I’ve not spoken to anybody there about this project, or collaborated in anyway, but I have learned a lesson from the problems they have had with “gb.com” in terms of ownership and control of the parent domain.

“gb.com” is (was?) rented from a third party and when there was a dispute the original owner would disable all the names – this kills the reputation of /all/ their other domains – for this reason I would only sell from parent names I own directly.

 

Mike: How does Google and the other search engines treat the names? Are there any SEO benefits or penalties for this type of URL?

James:  They seem to be treated very favourably.  We get top-5 ranking on many terms where we clearly have absolutely no relevant content. I think this is due to the high levels of type-in traffic we get.

Most (55%) of the people using our phrases are under 35. They don’t remember the original dot-COM boom, so domain names mean something different to them.

This can make buying one of our names one of the cheapest ways to draw targetted visitors to your site – “pugs.for.sale” is $25/yr and will get you about 650 targetted visitors per year for your $25.

Although Facebook’s ad rates are pretty low, it would cost you quite a lot more to get that number of /targetted/ click-throughs.

 

Mike: Again, similar to co.com, are these second level domains in which registrations are at the third level?

James:  Right – but, as with “co.com”, my domain names can work exactly the same as any domain at the second level, if you want to use them that way – just like “co.uk”, which used to be the de-facto standard for UK businesses.

Where one of the names coincides with an existing brand – e.g. “links.of.london” or “just.for.men” – I see that as the most obvious use. I like the way the domain name is just the brand and nothing else, really makes it stand out.

However, with “phrases.for.sale” we’re offering a service more like bit.ly where you use the phrase to re-direct people to existing content – but unlike bit.ly our phrases are easy to read & easy to remember.

For example, if you have a Nike store on ebay you an use “nikes.for.sale” to redirect to your store – its much shorter & memorable than the full URL – but still clickable in Twitter and attractive URLs get 34% more click-through (according to bit.ly).

Or you could use a phrase like “break.from.work” to (say) promote a snack bar – linking users to online content offering a competition or coupon etc.

 

Mike: What does it cost to register a name with you?

James:  Like most new-GTLDs, it depends on the name. But all prices are capped at $300 new ($250 renew) and we don’t have a massive number at that level.

However, “.for.sale” has flat pricing, every name is $25 – about 10 are reserved – otherwise, if its not sold its available & $25.

If I thought it would boost sales, I would be happy to drop prices to any sustainable level, but I don’t think pricing is currently the barrier to adoption as we also have a 30-day free trial.

 

Mike: How many registrations have you received to date?

James:  Although I started the business about 18 months ago, it was only at the end of Jan-2017 that I left my “day job” to work on this full time.

So right now sales are slowly picking up.

I’ve had a lot of positive feedback and I think I’ve been able to provide solid responses to legitimating concerns.

 

Mike: What are some examples of names that are in use?

James:  We have a Chinese buyer who has bought a few clothing related names, and some domainers who have bought some property and domaining related names.

One buyer has signed up for an affiliate program and has bought names to redirected to that, which seems quite an interesting business model.

e.g. domain.for.sale redirects to a Uniregister affiliate.

We’re getting over 600,000 visitors a year to our domains, which are often really targetted (like pugs.for.sale), so the lack of sales can be really frustrating!
Mike: Do you think this is the future? Are you acquiring other names to use in a similar manner and grow the business?

James:

Yes – I’m convinced human-readable domain names will be a big part of the future direction of the domain industry.

It feels like the time when we switched from the geeky old MS-DOS 8.3 files names to the freedom of full Windows file names – no longer were we tied to the computer code file names of the 1980s.

You can already see the human-readable combinations like “golf.club”, “coffee.club”, “diet.expert” fetching some of the highest prices.

The new-GTLD registries need to find new markets for domain names if they are going to sell in anything like the numbers they want/need. Naming websites is a limited market – they need to get a lot more creative and innovative.

I think that’s where names.of.london can come in – domain names can become like promo-codes that you can enter into any phone or browser to be taken directly to the content that relates to the promotion you saw.

We are also already seeing businesses rebranding to include the dot as part of the company brand. This started with some dot-COM, but is more common with the new-GTLDs.

I have a list of existing names I want to buy and, if the concept becomes universally accepted, registering my own new-GTLDs would be the eventual aim of the business.

I am aware its a problem, only being able to offer a specific range of endings. If a TLD was registered for the purpose of turning into phrases you could guarantee that any phrase ending in that word could be available to buy. Whether ICANN would agree to that is a different matter, but I don’t give up easily.

Right now I would buy a premium name that has good potential (I am currently negotiating on one), and I sometimes buy ones that are dirt cheap even where they have limited potential, but mostly my priority now is getting my sales up.

Its a myth that a good product sells itself – if nobody’s heard of it, no matter how good its is, nobody’s going to buy it.

 

If you like this post and want to sponsor it on Domaining.com, click HERE.