What is everyone around me doing right now?

dot social

Mack Hasz is a 22 year old raised in Malvern, PA. He’s a recent Virginia Tech graduate who had an idea for an app. As a freelance Software Developer living in Arlington, VA, he decided to put his idea into action and created OutHere. His website is OutHere.social

 

Mike: What inspired you to create the app?

Mack: OutHere is an idea I conceived when I was a sophomore in college spending the summer in Blacksburg, Virginia. Life moves pretty slow in a college town in the summer and I kept thinking “What is everyone around me doing right now?”. I wanted to be able to get a general snapshot of what was happening at this very moment. There are other services out that tried to do that, but none to my liking. The problem is that these services allow any ‘ol picture to be upload, usually resulting in meme like being shared. I wanted to see what was happening in real life. The closest thing to what I wanted was Snapchat city stories, where this app draws heavy inspiration. I enjoyed seeing what the community was doing and it was cool to see my posts be a part of the story. However, it didn’t do enough of what I wanted and I saw many ways to improve upon the idea.

 

Mike: Tell me about the app. What makes it unique?

Mack: OutHere is a public social network. Your typical social app is inherently private, allowing you to connect with family and friends. OutHere, you connect with the world. There is no direct interaction with other users. You don’t send send anyone anything. You simply take a picture or video and put it “OutHere” for the world to see. All media is taken straight from the phone’s camera. Arbitrary uploads are not allowed. This guarantees authenticity. That moment you are viewing wasn’t photoshopped or edited, it was real and it happened. Furthermore all posts are tagged by geolocation with the city they were taken in. This results in you being able to search and discover places that interest you most.

 

Mike: You selected the name outhere.social as opposed to a traditional dot com name. Tell me why you chose a non dot com and specifically the social TLD.

Mack: I’m a big fan of the non dot com domains. They are alluring and for sure stand out more than a normal .com would. I went with .social to be different, hoping to attract more visitors. I specifically chose .social because it fits my app pretty well and it sounds inviting and friendly, like a “come hangout” vibe.

 

Mike: Did you write the app yourself? How hard is it to code something like this?

Mack: Yes, I wrote the front and backend which came out to nearly 25,000 lines of code. The level of difficulty depends on how experienced you are as a programmer. I was lucky to start this project with 4 years of university under my belt. If I were a beginner programmer and learning coding from scratch, this would be quite an ambitious project. I already knew good coding practices so all I had to pick up was the Swift programming language syntax and come to understand the iOS UIKit API. There are a ton of great resources available for free online which I was able to use to my benefit. All in all the app wasn’t too challenging and I reckon most seasoned iOS developers will be able to implement something like this rather quickly.

 

Mike: What is the first thing a person should do when they have an idea for an app?

Mack: It’s important to look at the competition. What’s already out there? Why are they successful? What do you do differently? You can see where your app fits into the ecosystem. Either there is a killer shark waiting to eat you up or you’ve discovered a new species.

 

Mike: Do you anticipate any challenges with a dot social name? Customer confusion, people not knowing what dot social is?

Mack: I am not sure how knowledgable the public is of other domain names. They have only recently come out and I know most of my non-tech friends don’t know what they are. Regardless of wether they know it or not, they do not that text in blue and underlined are links that take them to other websites. As long as that holds true I should be OK. Over time consumers will become more aware and I should observe a long term benefit.

 

Mike: What means can one use to promote a new app and get the word out about it?

Mack: This is a good question and one I’m still trying to figure out! I am finding this the most difficult part of the process. How can I get the app into the hands of as many people as possible for as little as possible? So far I have done very little marketing, just a Facebook post to friends. I’m thinking I’ll have to pay for some sort of advertising, I just need to figure out what is most effective. This being a mobile app, it makes sense to advertise to mobile users. I’m working out all kinks, but I do know that blog entries certainly help!

 

Mike: How important is it to have a website supporting your app?

Mack: It’s crucial to have a website that goes along with your app. It’s what makes your idea shareable. Maybe you start showing up in some search engines, maybe your website gets shared on a forum somewhere, or maybe a coworker sends the link over the work list serve. Before you know it, your app has gone viral. This is not possible if you don’t have a website supporting your app. Another factor to consider is that any people, including myself, don’t want to download another app to add to their growing arsenal of already downloaded apps. It’s important to have a place on the web where they can easily check things out and learn more about the app. If the website is effective, then it should lead to more downloads. I have made my site a preview of what goes on in the app with the idea being that people will see some interesting posts, maybe think of some posts of their own to add, and then hit download.

 

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Is dot TV Normal?

dot tv

Ginny Scales Medeiros was raised in upstate New York and now resides in the San Francisco North Bay. Ginny is an entrepreneur with multiple patents/trademarks. Ginny’s product widely sold in World Class spa resorts and on QVC, made appearances on NBC, CBS, FOX News and written about in many national magazines. This is Ginny’s first novel. “What Is Normal?” made the 2012 top 40 most inspirational list in Gladys Magazine.

 

Mike: Your product is a book, and your domain has a TV tld. Tell me why you chose dot TV?

Ginny: I chose .TV on purpose because it gives a subliminal impression of Entertainment. I am selling my novel from www.whatisnormal.tv

FACT: .TV has nothing to do with television; it is the country code for the Tuvalu Islands, a series of nine slivers of earth in the middle of the South Pacific, with a population of about 10,000.

 

Mike: Tell me about the book, what is it about?

Ginny: Based on a true story about a girl, living in a trailer with her uneducated, teenage parents- in the backwoods who craves More!. Realizing the game her uncle plays with her and her sister is wrong, Sue, has to out smart him,to get out of the game. Moving out on her own at 15,making Headline News with record breaking car sales in a Man’s world, Sue must hang tuff, as the jealous men are sure she is sleeping with her customers in order to make so many sales, the office woman with college degrees, resent giving a high school drop out ,paychecks exceeding their own.. Sues quest to WIN, chasing the worlds idea of normal, she lands the guy all the other woman wants, invents and sells her own product on QVC, still there is a void… Now, with time running out, Sue Johnson has to completely stop drinking, or she will continue to mask her true feelings and repeat the infinite task of trying to “WIN” the worlds idea of success, missing the opportunity for real LOVE.

 

Mike: I see whatisnormal.com is owned by someone else and is for sale. Did you try contacting them for the name to see what the asking price was?

Ginny: I have been contacted many times by the owner of whatisnormal.com offering it to me, I am not interested… because .coms are NORMAL!

 

Mike: Has owning a TV domain caused any confusion as opposed to something like WhatisNormalBook.com?

Ginny: I have not received feedback about any confusion with my .tv versus the norm .com and in my case it is more than a book. It will also open the door for the MOVIE based on the book.

 

Mike: As an author, how important is it to have a domain name and website for your book?

Ginny: As an author it is imperative to have a website for my novel. Many an opportunity has manifested in a rushed setting and all I can get out is whatisnormal.tv. The prospect can read more about the book and contact me with just that little,yet very important information. I do get contacted for radio and TV appearances, as well as making book sales from this website.

 

Mike: I see you are also an entrepreneur and hold several patents. Can you tell me about some of your products? Anything I would be familiar with?

Ginny: I patented, pitched and sold “Flawless sunless tanning” on QVC and in World Class Spa Resorts. I am also in a documentary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginny_Scales-Medeiros and a co author with many celebrities of “What is The Electric car?”

*MY Laser focus now is turning the Screen Play for my novel into the MOVIE “WIN” the acronym for “What is Normal?” the project is ready for investors.. (I pitched WIN at the Napa Valley Film Festival a few months ago and it made the finals)

 

Mike: Any advice for aspiring writers out there?

Ginny: Every day plant a seed in the Garden of your dreams….. Quote by Ginny Scales Medeiros

MEANING: Do “something” daily to encourage another to manifest their dream, make that call to get advise on your dream, follow up on a lead, do some research , edify another author, promote a book for someone else.

 

 

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Finished with dot Club

dot club

David Leshaw is the CEO of Finishers Club, a startup for runners. He hails originally from New York, and currently lives with his wife and their toddler in Jerusalem, Israel. He is passionate about trail running, good coffee, and tech startups. He one time got a double-bingo in Scrabble.

 

Mike: David, what exactly is finishers.club and how does it work?

David: Finishers Club is a free online platform for runners to log their race finish times and track their gear — think of it as a mix between a virtual marathon trophy case and locker for your running gear. It’s a fantastic way for runners of all distances to show off their running achievements with a dedicated running profile page, and to also let other runners know what kind of gear they use, and how they like it. We also have a weekly newsletter, as well as an iMessage sticker pack.

 

Mike: You chose dot club for your domain. Tell me what went into your domain choice.

David: Dot-club was a natural choice for us. We had originally chosen the name “Finishers Club” as a way to convey the exclusivity and sense of community engendered by crossing a finish line — no matter the distance. Whether you’ve hustled across a 5K finish line or dragged yourself through the last minutes of an ultra-marathon, you’ve become a member of a club — people who set a goal, who trained, and who followed through. We wanted to capture that spirit of achievement and camaraderie through our name, and “Club” seemed the natural way to do that. At the time, FinishersClub.com was taken, but .club fit better with our mission, regardless.

 

 

Mike: What benefits have you seen from going with dot club as your tld?

David: The medium is the message here, and our choice of .club as our TLD makes it clear that we are committed to conveying that sense of exclusivity and achievement produced by crossing a finish line. I also believe that, in general, shorter names are better, and since it takes fewer breaths to say – or keyboard strokes to type – “finishers.club,” the name’s relative brevity works to our advantage. Say it out loud: “finishers-dot-club.” It’s simple, almost impossible to misspell, and the “clubbiness” of the TLD provokes curiosity in people who haven’t yet signed up.

 

Mike: How long have you been in business and how many users do you currently have?

David: We’ve been in business just about one year, and have several thousand users across the globe. Our member base ranges from busy parents and college students who run 5Ks on the weekends through sponsored ultra-marathon runners who tackle 100-mile races in a stretch, and everyone in between.

 

Mike: How does a site like finishers.club generate revenue?

David: We’ve just launched our tee shirt store, where race finishers can customize a performance race tee that features a bib imprinted with their name, their favorite race, and their finish time at that race. We also sell various other fun tee shirts and trail running caps. We currently use affiliate links on our site and in some of our content, and are exploring sponsored content, as well as events and premium features that would provide additional revenue down the line.

 

Mike: I see FinishersClub.com is available for sale. Is that something you would consider to supplement your domain. Why or why not?

David: At this juncture, our focus is on using our resources to make something insanely great for our users. We rank reasonably well when it comes to SEO, and so, at this point, we are just focused on asking ourselves “How can we make finishers.club even better for runners around the globe?”

 

Mike: Tell me about running an online business. Is it a lot of work? What have been the biggest challenges?

David: The biggest challenge in running an online business is finding a way to keep delighting users in new and surprising ways — based both on the things that users actually request, and the features we sense they would want based on how they use our site. I mean that seriously.

For instance, we noticed that users were inputting in a lot of detail about the kind of gear they were running in. Runners were spending time keying in, for example, “New Balance Vazee Pace v2.” We wanted to find a way to make that and easier to do and more visual. So we crafted an auto-complete function that necessitated re-writing our database and re-doing certain visual elements on the site. But it will now auto-complete the name of your gear as you type, and also produce the relevant image, as well as the ability to rate that given gear item. We think – and users tell us – that it’s a fantastic addition to their running lives.

But ultimately, our whole team – from our CFO to our developers to our marketing team – is comprised of runners, and so delighting athletes is part of our organizational DNA. We are lucky to be able to build the best running platform of its kind for an incredibly passionate group of people.

 

 

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The “Legal” side of TLDs

dot legal

Brian Pendergraft is a Real Estate Attorney and Planlord® Attorney at tpf.legal that uses his most valuable resource, his time, on studying and practicing law to provide landlords and investors with a wide-range of services. Most real estate attorneys “specialize” in one particular area such as only being a title producer, but Brian is 6 or 7 real estate lawyers in one. He does contract drafting and review, evictions, litigation, document drafting, closings, and more. His life’s mission is to turn landlord into Planlords.

Mike: Brian, the domain you chose is a dot legal name. Why did you decide to go with that over a dot com such as tpflegal.com?
Brian: With .legal and other non-dot com domain extensions it is easier to get shorter domain names. I value having a shorter domain. I also own the more conventional pendergraft.net and pendergraftfirm.com, but people tend to hear and spell “Pendergrass” (like the singer Teddy Pendergrass) instead of Pendergraft.

Also, .legal is something most of my potential clients have never heard of and it stands out. It has a certain “coolness” factor to it that distinguishes my modern law firm from older. more traditional ones.

 

Mike: There is also the dot law TLD. Have you considered also securing your name TPF.law? Why did you choose dot legal over this?

Brian: I did consider .law but last time I checked it cost about $400.00 a year whereas .legal is about $40 a year. So it was based on cost.

 

Mike: Do you see other attorneys leaning towards these new TLDs as well? What are your thoughts about the future of dot legal?

Brian: The adoption of .legal will be very slow. Attorneys, like the law itself, are very slow to change. In addition, many attorneys invest their knowledge and training into reading and writing and not into learning domain name registration and building websites. So many attorneys won’t know that these options exist unless whoever they pay to build there website brings it up. Also, changing domain names after you have been using one for a while has its own unique set of challenges, so attorneys that do learn about .legal will tend to stick to whatever they were using first.

 

Mike: What strategies do you currently use to promote your site and your law business? SEO, advertising, social media?

Brian: SEO, content marketing, and e-mail marketing. I do blog post and video where I share free legal information that is very relevant to my target audience of landlords and real estate investors. I share the content on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram. I am currently not paying for any advertising. I want to see how far I can go by just giving away free content. It’s working well so far! To see an example of what I mean you can check out my latest piece of content on how to file for wrongful detainer in Maryland at https://tpf.legal/wrongful-detainer. I tell my audience exactly how I do it so they could actually just prepare their case themselves and not hire me. However, I’m betting that many people will watch the video or read the post and just want an attorney to handle it for them and hire me, the helpful attorney.

 

Mike: Did you hear the one about the two lawyers on a row boat in the middle of the ocean? Just kidding. Why is it that lawyers, in general, get a bad rap?

Brian: I think it’s a combination of classism (or should I say access to justice), high fees, rotten apples, television, and a lack of transparency and understanding.

We have all read a few stories where rich kids were able to avoid prison for committing grievous offenses because their families had connections and were able to afford high-powered lawyers with lots of connections.

Lawyer hourly billing rates are very high when put into perspective. At $300 an hour that’s one brand new Nintendo Switch an hour!

Corrupt lawyers make the rest of us look bad. Kind of like how bad police officers make good police officers look bad.

The general publics understanding of what we actually do, in part because of television, but admittedly it maybe moreso because of us lawyers ourselves. Being a real lawyer and running a law firm is nothing like TV. One time I had a case where the Judge decided to postpone the case to give the other side time to get an attorney. He asked me why didn’t I object. The Judge already made his decision there was nothing I could do. But on the TV shows the great lawyers can say magic super convincing words and get their clients whatever they want. In the real world in many cases we settle and compromise a lot and no one actually gets what they want.

I think this lack of understanding may be more so the fault of lawyers because law firms and lawyers are very protective of their processes and what they actually do. I remember when I first tried reaching out to other attorneys as a brand new attorney and they refused to help me in the name of protecting their business when I was just trying to figure out how to lawyer at the time. So if the lawyers aren’t telling people what they do then television will.

 

Mike: Do you think you’ll consider getting additional names to support and promote your business?

Brian: Yes. I recently registered the trademark for “Planlord” a term I made up registered on the same day as my birthday, April 11th. It’s a pun on the words plan and landlord. I self-published a book on book Amazon for landlords on how to avoid the legal pitfalls that cost landlords thousands of dollars called Planlord – The Landlord Primer. Planlord.com was available so I bought it and plan on using it one day for a Planlord line of legal products.

 

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“…you shouldn’t be afraid of picking a really great name and paying for that domain.”

leadfeeder

Leadfeeder is a startup developing software for generating B2B leads from Web Analytics. Pekka Koskinen founded the company with two co-founders, Herkko Kiljunen and Vicent Llongo.  Building software companies is what he does. Since 2002 he’s founded four companies and made one exit. He founded Snoobi, a finnish web analytics company, in 2004 and sold it to Fonecta in 2012. He’s also the founder of Solinor and co-founder of Fraktio.   His other investments include Cuutio, EzyInsights, Nosto, SmarpShare, Planago, Laskuyritykselle.fi, SportConnect, IroFit and BrandCruises.

 

Mike: What is it exactly that Leadfeeder.com does?

Pekka: Leadfeeder is a tool that shows you which companies have been visiting your website and not leaving their contact details. To start seeing which companies are on your site and what they’re doing you just sign up at Leadfeeder.com and connect your Google Analytics.

Our tool (app.leadfeeder.com) doesn’t require any extra code on your site because it’s powered by Google Analytics. The signup process is really simple and you don’t have to be technical to start using Leadfeeder. When you connect Leadfeeder to your Google Analytics we automatically show you who’s been visiting your website in the last 30 days and then we give you 30 days of trial time on top of that.

Leadfeeder is aimed at B2B companies and the reason we built it is because we wanted to feed marketing people more leads (their single biggest headache is generating leads) and make sales more intelligent and effective by harnessing web analytics. Every day people ask Google “who is visiting my website” because the typical B2B website has a conversion rate of around 2%. This means lots and lots of missed opportunities from a marketing and sales perspective.

Leadfeeder connects to MailChimp and big CRMs like Pipedrive, Salesforce and Zoho which are used in enterprise sales. The end result is automated lead generation because Leadfeeder pushes new web leads and website activity by prospects to your CRM which means your salespeople can get on with more selling and closing of more deals.

 

Mike: Tell me how you went about acquiring LeadFeeder.com. What was the process?

Pekka: I wanted to have an easy-to-write name with the word “lead” in it. Since all 2-word domains are already registered, I went to godaddy actions site and searched for dotcom domains starting or ending with the word “lead”. I found the Leadfeeder.com domain from there and ended up paying 4000 euros for it. The process was very straightforward and quick.

 

Mike: What did you pay for the name?

Pekka: 4000e
Mike: What type of traffic numbers do you see on the site?

Pekka:

25,000 active users per month
10% monthly MRR growth
Subscriptions per month: 110
80,000 sessions per month (organic 20%, direct 30%, referral 5%)
Conversion to trial 1.5%

 

Mike: Great stats!  How do companies leverage the information you gather? Can you provide some examples?

Pekka: Many other unique examples of how companies are leveraging the data here:

1) Better ROI on AdWords campaigns. In Leadfeeder you can see all the companies that click through your paid marketing campaigns to your website and what exactly they do on your website even when they don’t convert. Our users add these companies to their marketing/sales funnel depending on what they looked at and for how long they stayed there. Normally all these leads are lost because if they don’t fill in a lead capture form marketers don’t know who they are.

2) More web leads in Pipedrive, Salesforce, Zoho CRM. Leadfeeder sends website visit details to your CRM so sales people know when an open deal is showing activity on your website. Salespeople (including us at Leadfeeder) are monitoring open deals by latest website visit and then reaching out and closing the deal at the key moment. Marketers also qualify leads they find in Leadfeeder and once qualified they connect the new leads to their CRM. This means more sales opportunities.

3) Targeting people by job title on LinkedIn and using Leadfeeder to tailor a perfect follow-up email. You can target your adverts on LinkedIn by job title when you know who the target buyer is for your service. Because of this when you see visits in Leadfeeder from these particular campaigns you are actually seeing (and what LinkedIn doesn’t show) is “visit from CMO at Marketing Lion.” When you know what a particular person has been looking at you can send a perfect follow-up email.

 

Mike: Clearly you are an internet tech company. That said, talk about why you chose this name and how that has been an import part of your strategy.

Pekka, CEO: Having a good name is really important and you shouldn’t be afraid of picking a really great name and paying for that domain. In the end, the 4000 euros we paid for leadfeeder was a really small investment. The name should describe what you do and it should be easy to say and write. In our case our domain name describes exactly what we do.

 

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