domain name images

Image Resources for Domaining

I’m one of those “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  I’ve got so many different projects going on in different areas all at the same time.  Over the past few. years, I’ve developed a habit involving a lethal dose of coffee and a couple of apps just to keep my head screwed on.  I’m sure I would be better off dropping the number of things I have going on and laser focusing on just a couple… but that’s boring. I’d much rather run around like my hair is on fire in an urgent burst of heroics to get everything done on time and with quality.  It makes me sleep sound at night.

That said, I have come across several tips, tricks, tools, and websites that have helped me to pull it all together and cross the finish line every time.  There are too many to list in a single post so I’m going to focus on just a couple.  Theses are specific to images.

I often develop simple pages for my domains.  But in this case I was actually just working on a website development project for a client and was performing some QA review when I stopped to write this post.  I just used these two tools that I have come to take for granted but they ultimately save me a ton of time.  I decided to take a quick break and share them with you here.

Free Images

The first is pixabay.com which always reminds me of the pirate bay when I type the url.  Is that intentional?  Don’t know.  Don’t really care.  Pixabay.com is, as defined by the site itself as, “… a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.”

Yes, free royalty-free images. The best part about it is that they don’t suck.  I almost always find an image of high quality that fits the need I have at the moment.  In this case, I am testing the backend CMS of a website and I want to ensure images upload and display properly.  Because the customer will see these images, I want them to be decent in case they actually want to use them on the site.  I also want them to be free because I don’t want to invest in stock images that are not included in our agreement.

There are dozens of free image sites that I have used in the past but none of them compare to pixabay.com.  The photography and quality are almost on par with the high end stock image sites.  Almost.   I’ve used some of the other free sites in the past and struggled to find something I was looking for.  In one case, I was contacted by an organization saying I was using one of the images without permission.  Uh, I downloaded it from this “free” site.

Placeholder Images

Sometimes I don’t really give a crap about what the image looks like, it’s more important to get an image with the proper dimensions.  Sure, I could pretty quickly spit something out of Photoshop in the size I need, upload it, then link to it in the site to see what it looks like.  But if it’s not the right size, then I have to change the size in Photoshop and repeat the process.  Depending on how many pages and images I’m dealing with, this could take some time.

Instead, wouldn’t just be easier to type a dummy link with an image size?  Why, yes Mike, that would be much easier.  Thankfully, the sources behind placeholder.com agree and have made it so.  You can quickly create an image placeholder by typing a simple url in your html.  Here’s an example.  By typing the following:

<a href=”https://placeholder.com”><img src=”http://via.placeholder.com/350×150″></a>

you’ll insert this image placeholder on your page:

There are many free services like this, such as dummyimage.com, but I prefer placeholder.com just because it’s easy for me to remember, which makes it more efficient in my mind.  There are a couple additional features and options, but this is the primary purpose of the tool and it does it’s job.

I think you’ll get a great deal of use out of these tools if you haven’t been using them already.  If you have any tools you’d like to share, post a comment and let us all know.

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Follow up on my experience with Efty

Here is a follow up on my experience with Efty, the domain management platform.  Shortly after interviewing Doron, I started my free trial on the site.  I added just one domain name to my account there.  It was a hand registered name that I purchased within the past year, and admittedly, it was a pretty good name.  There are at least two books that share the same title and it’s a name I’m considering using to launch another blog.  The interesting point is, within a week, I received a serious inquiry, generated by my Efty landing page, from one of the book authors that shares the name.

She was very interested in the name.  We went back and forth a few times and I had a minimum value in mind that we just couldn’t agree on.  It’s a name that I decided I wasn’t going to let go of easily because I have a vision for it.  Will I ever act on that vision?  I don’t know, but I see more value in it than I was being offered.  The deal didn’t happen.  But it gave me some excitement around the potential for Efty.

Based on my single experience with one name (and a good name at that), I decided to add about 50 other hand registered names to Efty.  I went in knowing that the first name I listed was the best of the lot, but I wanted to see what type of results I got with even more names listed.  I quickly added the names and went about my business.  About three weeks passed with no activity.  I wasn’t surprised or disappointed.   I wasn’t expecting miracles.

Then I received another offer sent via my landing page for a domain I hand registered just three months earlier.  It was a name I registered based on an idea I was kicking around with some friends.  One I wasn’t as attached to.  After some back and forth, we agreed on $1,500.  The buyer paid me through PayPal and I transferred the domain through GoDaddy.  Transaction took all of 30 minutes to complete.

Another week goes by and a new offer comes in on a name I registered a couple years back.  I’m still in negotiations on this name so I won’t go into too much detail.  The offer came in through my Efty landing page.

My luck has pretty good in the short time that I’ve been using Efty.  The service paid for itself, and then some, with that first sale.  It’s easy to use, easy to update, and has some great features.  In fact I’m not even using all of the features yet.   I attribute the activity to the visually pleasing landing pages that allow for communication between the buyer and seller.  There are no annoying links to suggested sites based on your domain name.  It’s clean and simple.

I’ll continue to report on my progress with Efty over the coming months.  If you have any experiences to share, please leave a comment to share with the rest of us.

 

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

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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What is your website worth?

Aykut Pehlivanoglu is an internet entrepreneur and consultant  with quite a few irons in the fire.  He’s best known as Operations Director at Acquisition Station as well as Founder of Worth Of Web Academy, where I came across his site.  Aykut spen

Mike: I first came across worthofweb.com when your website value calculator came up in a search result on Google. How accurate is the tool?

Aykut:  First of all, thanks Mike for having me here and for your interest in my project.

When I first created the concept of Worth Of Web Calculator, I knew that it is almost impossible to create a website value calculator which is 100% accurate for all its estimates. That’s why I tried to create a tool where you can compare your website with your competitors and also track your progress in time.

My algorithm uses public rankings of websites, for example, recently it is getting Alexa Rank of a given website and starts the calculations based on it. This affects the outcome of the algorithm of course. As your traffic increases and your public ranking increases accordingly, you will have a higher valuation on worthofweb.com.

Mike: The tool also estimates how much revenue the site can make per month. How accurate have you found this to be and what goes into that valuation?

Aykut:  I need to make it clear, every website is unique. Some are serving richer countries, some poorer ones. Some are content websites which have revenue from advertising and affiliate offers. Some sell stuff online. Some are just for brand awareness. Some are for nonprofit organizations. Some are for institutions of the states. The list goes on but as your readers can understand, there is no standard calculation here and there can’t be. So, I made a decision here to assume that your website is making revenue a little bit from advertising, a little from affiliate offers and a little from direct sales. So my algorithm makes an educated guess considering this mixture.

Mike: worthofweb.com is more than just a website valuation tool. What else does it offer its visitors?

Aykut:  Well, it started as a fun project and a simple website valuation tool 6 years ago. In time, users started to ask me questions about how to develop their website or web-based business, how to increase their traffic, how to make more money online and if I can give tips about SEO and social media. I was answering these questions individually, then I decided to add sections like blog, forum and expand the area we cover. At that point, I renamed it to Worth Of Web Academy. Now with the addition of sister websites and social media channels, our users can find all the necessary information, interact with other users, track their progress and even buy/sell domains and websites via our network.

Mike: I’m guessing you had a need for a valuation tool at one point and there was nothing available that fit the need. Was that the inspiration behind the site?

Aykut:  I have a software company in Turkey called PB Bilisim which develops websites, games and mobile applications. Although it is not so active recently, 6-7 years ago we were developing websites and games heavily. We had projects mostly for our clients but for ourselves also. We wanted to compare different websites in terms of traffic, revenue and overall value. There were couple tools but I was not satisfied with them. So, I decided to code something, both for fun and for ourselves. At that weekend when I started to code this, I didn’t imagine honestly I will be doing interviews for this project many years later. But here we are.

Mike: Speaking of revenue, how does the site generate revenue for you?

Aykut:  I have revenue from advertising and affiliate offers.

Mike: worthofweb.com is a pretty good description of what the site does. Do you own any other domain names?

Aykut:  I have various domain names, some have active projects connected to them, some waiting for next project. Some examples suggestmemovie.com, mcitb.com, mycountryisthebest.com, buysellwebsites101.com, ohgag.com, entrepreneurs.cz

Mike: What tips do you have for someone to increase the value of there website? Are there small changes that can make a big difference?

Aykut:  I always advise to focus on user experience. As I said earlier, every website or web-based business is unique. What they have in common are their users. Focus on the people instead of money. Because focusing on making more money is the wrong approach. Money will be the result, not the reason. If you do everything right regarding the needs of your audience in the first place, you will eventually increase the value of your website. For example, it may not be the smallest change for many but making your website responsive can make it more user-friendly which in the long run affects indirectly the overall value in a positive direction.

Mike: What other projects are you working on at the moment?

Aykut:
I help run a website brokerage called Acquisition Station, I am the Operations Director there. I have a new project called My Country Is The Best where I help users compare countries. I have Suggest Me Movie, it is a movie recommendation engine. I have other projects as well, the best way to check them will be via my personal site aykutpehlivanoglu.com.

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Just a damn cool domain portfolio management system

Doron Vermaat is an entrepreneur and domainer.  He’s a co-founder and Head of Product at Efty, an online domain portfolio management system and the publisher of DNgeek.com, a blog about brandable domain names, startup naming, and branding. Efty helps you manage your domain portfolio, giving you clear insight into your performance while helping to boost leads, sales, and revenue. Efty helps you manage your entire domain name investment portfolio in one place – with a secure and confidential platform.

Mike:  Doron, I’ve done a couple of recent interviews on domain management systems.  What differentiates Efty from other platforms?

Doron: Efty separates itself from the pack by offering a complete solution that not only includes domain name management, tracking, and financial insights but also the right tools to help you sell more domains. Efty’s theme gallery hosts a selection of 40+ top-notch, customizable For-Sale landing pages that have been designed for optimal visitor-to-lead conversion as well as 4 templates to help you quickly launch your own, customizable domain name marketplace (Such as the ones you can see at NameRockstar.com or DNBX.com). Efty users don’t need to download, install, update or host anything and do not pay any commission on sales made trough the platform. Instead, our users pay a very affordable monthly or annual fee starting at just $4/month. We also take pride in offering top-notch customer support, constantly shipping new features and improvements to the platform and having a very clear governance on privacy and not having access to user data.

Mike:  In what ways have you found that Efty helps contribute to domain sales?

Doron: The best platform to sell a domain name is the domain name itself. With Efty’s For-Sale landing pages you can make it crystal clear that the domain name is for sale when a potential buyer types in your domain name which significantly increases the number of offers and inquiries compared to a parked page that is optimized to generate pay-per-click revenue from ads. Inquiries and offers via Efty also provide you with much more intel on your buyers such as the Name, Email, Phone number and the IP address. This makes it easier to conduct research on your leads before making a counter offer and helps you to maximize the deal size.

Mike:  All great ideas come from somewhere, what spawned the idea behind Efty?

Doron: The idea for Efty came to me after I was investing personally in domain names for about a year and I noticed that it was getting more and more difficult to stay organized, track renewals, expenses and calculate my P&L. At the same time, I also started looking for a solution to help me better showcase and sell my names by use of good looking For-Sale landing pages rather them populating them with pay-per-click ads that hardly made me any money.

I also thought it was crazy to pay commissions on sales when they happened through direct navigation (when a buyer types in your domain name directly in their browser). When I realized there was no solution on the market to help you manage, track AND sell your domains without paying commissions I knew there was an opportunity and the idea for Efty was born.

I reached out to long-time friend and software entrepreneur Lionel Petitiaux and we started working on Efty in November 2013. Six months later we rolled out our beta.

Mike:  You have chosen a brandable domain name for this business.   What can you tell me about the name “Efty” and the benefits to selecting a brandable name?

Doron: We went with Efty because we want to build a brand. People want to deal with real brands now and by using a generic domain you risk coming across as just another solution in the market.

Mike:  You’re based out of Hong Kong.  Does that affect your ability to do business as a domainer in anyway?  Has that location provided opportunities you might not have had if you were living in the states?

Doron: The main challenge is the time difference with the US which is forcing me to work with proxy bids instead of competing live towards the end of domain name auctions on NameJet, GoDaddy auctions etc.

Mike:  What’s your background and how did you get involved in domaining and internet businesses?

Doron: I’ve co-founded and worked for internet startups most of my professional career, many of them related to the recruitment and staffing industry. In 2016 I co-founded an employment website for the Greater China region. That company didn’t make it and was shut down four years later. The domain, which was administered by a web development company, was neglected and ultimately expired from Network Solutions a few years ago. I had plans to relaunch the site so I did some research to find out how to gain ownership of the domain again once it would drop.

This led me to NameJet where all the expired inventory from NetSol is being auctioned. At NameJet I learned about the domain name aftermarket, drops and auctions. That month I won the auction for the NewChinaCareer.com domain name but also started bidding on several others that caught my eye. I was hooked right away.

Mike:  Do you have any other projects you’re working on at the moment?

Doron: I just kicked off a consulting project with Hong Kong-based online fashion retailer Grana. They recently secured a large Series A round in funding from Alibaba ventures and have ambitious plans to make their clothing available to the entire world. I will be working with them on building their technology team so if you’re a talented coder and are interested in working in vibrant Hong Kong please do get in touch : )

Mike:  What advice do you have for others that are about to embark in an online business?  Anything to watch out for or any surprises you have found?

Doron: Most important is that you find a need and fill it.  Try to do so in an industry or sector you’re passionate about and establish an expert reputation for yourself. Constantly follow up with your customers and improve your offering based on popular request.

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Tough Domains

Tim Koutroubas is the founder of ToughDomains.com.  Tim and I have been exchanging emails for a couple of months as we’ve discussed the ToughDomains platform.  ToughDomains.com offers Domain Parking, Sales Pages, Portfolio Management and more.  Tim and I talked a little bit about the site and what it offers.

Mike:  What inspired you to launch ToughDomains.com?

ToughDomains:  We saw a need in the industry to consolidate the “Domain Cycle”.

The “Domain Cycle” is Discovering / Buying, Managing the Portfolio, Earning Revenue, and eventually Selling the domain.

Domain Cycle

There are many services that address each part of the domain cycle individually.  Some services are easy to use while others require a high level of technical expertise and /or  cost.  We wanted to create an affordable Free to Premium based platform that addresses each portion of the domain cycle with an easy to use hosted execution.

Mike:  How many domains would you say are currently supported by the platform?   Roughly how many members?

ToughDomains:  The platform currently supports thousands of domains and hundreds of users in an open beta.  Currently, we are releasing major updates that are addressing our users wishes and requests.

Mike:  You have a tiered pricing plan, but your first tier is free up to 20 domains.  This is great for people who want to test it out before committing to a monthly payment.  What benefit does your platform have over parking services or other competitors in this space?

ToughDomains:  Feature flexibility is a key differentiator for us.  We allow you to use our software by itself or in conjunction with your current solutions.  Some of our differentiators include:

• Instant Domain Development- Allows you to connect premium multipage content to hundreds of domains in minutes.

• Ad Network Integration- We currently integrate with two ad networks (with more to come) including AdSense.  Simply inter your publisher ID and start earning revenue.

• Domain Analytics- We provide domain level traffic data that includes hits, referring URLs, and country of origin.  Must have information before selling the domain.

• Multiple Public Portfolios-  Create a portfolio of all your domains or a custom curated list of only the domains requested by a buyer.

• Domain Insights and Portfolio Management- Free Registrar, Expiration Date & Admin Email are currently available. Later this month, full portfolio management such as entering buy and sell info, net profit, domain valuation & various ranking metrics will be available in dashboard.

• Free Bulk Name Server Redirect- Redirect hundreds of names to a single domain or your own offer form.

• Commission Free Sales Pages- Unlike many other services we offer a Zero commission sales page.

Mike:  The live demos on your site showed me three options.  A sales page that was clean and simple.  A news page that looked like it might have some configurable content.  Finally a portfolio page which was a simple list of names for sale.  Are any of these more successful than the others?  Do you find the news pages get indexed by Google?

ToughDomains:  Our Instant Domain Development, Sales Pages, and name server Redirects are by far our most popular domain tools.  Our founding members have existing SEO expertise and we are leveraging this knowledge to increase traffic to the domains.  We are indeed seeing SEO benefits to domains using our instant domain development tool.

Mike:  Is there any PayPal integration or is the sale just through email correspondence and the buyer and seller work out the details.

ToughDomains:  Currently, we offer email correspondence.  However, integration to the most popular escrow services is currently under development and to be released soon.  We believe a non-direct payment option within an escrow environment is the safest solution for both buyers and sellers.  We are not sure the ecosystem is ready for a direct to purchase model.

Mike:  The site states “Keep 100% of the Domain Sell Price -Zero Commission Paid on any of the domains you sell! ”  My question is… how do you make any money to support the site?

ToughDomains:  We are domainers and like many domainers we do not believe in collecting a commission for a non-brokered direct inquiry of your domain.

We have 3 revenue models:

• As needed premium subscription revenue.

• Ad Supported model for content hosted for our free users.

• We are currently developing a third revenue model that we will be releasing in Q1 2017.

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Domain Sales Theme – Genius Idea

Wouldn’t it be great to be in control of your domain sales?  I mean, wouldn’t you like to skip all the commissions and BS that goes along with listing your domain with a 3rd party seller?  What if all of your domains could have their own landing page / sales page?  What if you could point your domains to your own server, choose to receive offers on your domains or list them as “Buy it Now”  and handle the transactions through Escrow.com or Paypal?

Alright, that’s a lot of questions and clearly I am getting to something here.  Meet Ed de Jong, owner of Pixor Media.  I met Ed years ago through DomainBoardRoom.com and have worked with him on many projects.   He’s designed and redesigned many sites for me over the years.  Ed is a talented WordPress developer and one of his recent creations is the Domain Sales Theme. It’s impressive!

Here’s the low down in a nut shell.  The Domain Sales Theme allows you to setup your domain portfolio on a master domain where users can search your inventory.  It also allows you to provide a sales landing page that allows you to take offers or use instant “buy it now” transactions.  If you want, you can even require users to pay a small fee to submit an offer, cutting down on all the non-serious inquiries.  The ability to complete the transactions through Escrow is built into the theme!

I’m in the process of setting this up, but to provide an example, here is a parent domain that’s using the theme.

domaintheme1

The page can be customized to suit your needs.   From here, users can view your domain categories by selecting the “Categories” link.

domaintheme2

Select a category and view all the names in that category.  Then select the name that interests you.   You’ll be directed to that domain with it’s sales page where you can make an offer.

domaintheme3

The beauty of this is that every domain you own can quickly be setup with a stand alone landing page, just by adding it through the main site.  You can get your entire inventory of domain names setup with their own sales pages in no time.  Then you are in complete control.  No brokers or third party platforms to work through.

There are some server requirements you have to work within (VPS or Dedicated hosting with cpanel), but there are several hosting companies that have very affordable hosting plans, such as HostGator.

If you decide to pick up the theme, let me know what you think in the comments or shoot me an email.

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Improve your Domain Sales E-mails with AI

I’ve been a fan of Boomerang for Gmail since I first learned of it back in 2010.  It’s one of those tools that I rooted for along the way in hopes that it would make a permeant presence, and it has.  I primarily use the tool to schedule emails to send at future times and dates.   Over the past couple of weeks, I noticed a new feature within my Gmail when composing new emails.  A small meter in the lower right corner labeled “Boomerang Respondable.”

Boomerang Respondable is a free tool include as a part of Boomerang’s free service.  The Boomerang site states the following copy:

“Add an assistant that uses artificial intelligence to help you write better, more actionable emails in real time. Based on data from millions of messages, Respondable makes every email you send more effective.”

The meter adjusts as you continue to type and make changes.  Clicking on the meter reveals four areas being rated:

  1. Subject Length
  2. Word Count
  3. Question Count
  4. Reading Level

BoomerangFullView

Each area has it’s own score as well.  Upgrading will unlock some additional areas to further improve your email’s respondability.  Clicking on the help symbol next to each area will provide more information on what is specifically being rated in that area.

BoomerangHelp

Does it work?  I don’t really know how effective it is yet.  I haven’t sent enough emails using it to get a good feel.  But I will continue eyeballing the meter as I type and see if I notice any major improvements in responses to my domain sales emails.

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Busy? – 5 Podcasts You Need to Follow

Life is busy.  You don’t have to remind me.  We’ve all got our own story about why there aren’t enough hours in the day, and I’m not denying that those stories are legit.  The day job is really interfering with your side gig…   Wait, you still need to find time to eat, sleep and spend quality time with the family?  Should you hit the gym today or use that hour to catch up on something else?  Do you have time left to hit Domaining.com and read up on the latest in the domain industry?

Aside from being a domainer, I’m also a productivity freak.  Always looking for ways to do things better, faster, more effectively.  When it comes to a busy schedule, there is one easy way to stay up to date on domaining.  Podcasts.

I’m not saying that podcasts can or should replace your daily news feed, but they are a great alternative on those days where you know you’ll be sitting in traffic, working out at the gym, or riding the train for an hour.  But where can you catch some domain love via podcast?  Here are my top five picks at the moment.

1.  DomainSherpa.com

Michael Cyger hit the domain scene up side the head when he launched DomainSherpa.com.   Since that time, he has produced some of the best and informative video interviews and discussions the industry has ever seen.  Michael is serious about delivering information and the program often runs over an hour long.  In all honesty, I don’t have the time or attention span to sit in front of my computer at home and make it through a full episode.  I do however spend a lot of time commuting.  It’s a great opportunity to get some of the industry’s best information facilitated by Cyger.

2. DomainNameWire.com

Led by Andrew Allemann, DNW is the longest running blog covering the business of domain names.  Allemann talks about the latest news in the domain industry and interviews relevant guests as well.  I have been a long time fan of the blog but only recently began listening to the podcasts which go back to October of 2014, so I have some catching up to do.

3. Domain Masters

Domain Masters is actually the first domain podcast I ever listed to.  They help you become “The Master of Your Domain” (feel free to insert your own Seinfeld reference here).  It’s also the longest running podcast in the industry.  However, there hasn’t been a new episode on itunes this year.  I’m not sure what the fate of the program is, but there is an extensive backlog of episodes to help educate you.

4. OZDomainer.com

Ed Keay-Smith is the founder of OzDomainer.com.  The domainer from down under has a catalog of past podcasts running back to 2010.  There seems to be a gap in audio between 2013 and 2016, but the blog and podcasts are worth checking out.

5. InternetBusinessMastery.com

I stumbled across this podcast a couple of years back.  While it’s not domain specific, it’s all about online business and making money online.  I actually interviewed Jeremy and Jason, the guys behind the podcast, a couple of years ago but some technical difficulties in the the recording prevented me from posting it.  Maybe I’ll clean up what I can and post it soon.  There websiste is pretty “salesy” but there is some excellent content these guys share in their podcasts.

Let me know your thoughts on these podcasts and what your favorites are that I haven’t mentioned.  I haven’t done a ton of exploring here so I’m hoping to here of some additional domaining podcasts from you in the comments that I can add to my library.

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Looking for Domain Coupons and Discounts?

Steve Baik has been working in the SEO and Internet marketing industries since 2000. Although Steve has registered and developed domain names since 2004, it wasn’t until 2012 that he took up domaining as a real hobby. Today, he runs DNPromos.com and DNSelect.com, two sites dedicated to sharing resources and increasing awareness about the domain industry.

Mike: DNPromos.com seems like a solid idea, to collect domain discounts all in one place. Can you provide some additional details around what the site provides and how it works?

Steve:  What you see is what you get. It’s a site that collects and publishes domain coupons codes for various registrars. The coupon codes are manually added and not automatically aggregated like many other sites.

Mike:  What drove you to launch the site?

Steve:There are 4 main reasons why I started the site:
1. As someone that does business on the Internet, I have registered hundreds of domain names over the years. Since I use these coupon codes myself, I wanted to create a database that I can refer to at any time.
2. There is no shortage of coupon codes online, but I noticed that many of them didn’t work or were expired. So that is why I created my own site.
3. To help people save money.
4. To make a little money on the side.

Mike: The site allows users to add coupon codes as well. Are you seeing much activity there, or do you add most of the codes on your own? Also, how reliable are the codes?

Steve:  Most of the codes are added by me. I have no problem with user-submitted coupons, but most of them get deleted because they are not relevant to domain names. I want this site to be dedicated to domain promo codes only. It is called DNPromos for a reason. The codes are reliable for the most part, but it’s hard to keep it at 100% because we’re dealing with hundreds of codes. Whenever a coupon code has an expiration date, the coupon code deactivates when it hits the date.

Mike: I’m curious about monetization. I see you have some banner ads on the site which would rely heavily on traffic. The site appears to be fairly new. Are you achieving your traffic goals? Are you an affiliate of the registrars that are listed?

Steve: Honestly, the site does not make a lot of money. Like I said, my main motivation for creating this site wasn’t to make money, and I knew making a small percentage from a $1 domain sale wasn’t going to make me rich. I’m currently running some affiliate programs and have a couple of Adsense banners on the site.

As for traffic goals, I don’t really have one because again, the site isn’t motivated by money. Most of the traffic is from organic search rankings, so whatever it brings, is what I get. Of course I want to increase traffic, but I don’t spend too much time on SEO or marketing it.

Mike:  What is your ultimate vision for DNPromos.com?

Steve:  I hope DNPromos eventually becomes the go-to site for domain coupons and promo codes. It’s only about 2 years old, so it is far from having reached its potential. Hopefully, the site will grow through word-of-mouth, social media, and some link love.

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A Better Way to Manage Your Domains

This video is a quick review of “Watch My Domains,” which is a software product for keeping track of your domain names.  It’s go some great features as you’ll see in the demo.  The software is available for a 30 day free trial, but if you purchase it before January 11, and use the code SULLYSBLOG50 at checkout, you’ll get a 50% discount.  I’m not an affiliate and I’m not profiting from this.  I just managed to secure a “New Years Discount” for domainers.  If you try it out, let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

The discount will only work if purchased on the company’s fastspring site.  Here are a couple of direct links, but check out there other software for domainers too:

Windows Version:  https://sites.fastspring.com/softnik/instant/wmdprosingle?coupon=SULLYSBLOG50

Mac Version:  https://sites.fastspring.com/softnik/instant/wmdpromac?coupon=SULLYSBLOG50

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Toby’s “Make an Offer” alternative

As a follow up to my interview last week with Toby Clements, I wanted to point out a new feature he added just after that interview.

Instead of just receiving the daily domain newsletter, interested buyers or curious viewers can go to http://tobyclements.com/inventory/ and view a list the domains under agreement with Toby.  There, you can click on the “Make Offer” button to submit your offer.

If you’re a follower of the newsletter and you like this feature, I encourage you to provide feedback to Toby.  He has stated: “If this takes off and people like it, we will add more features at a later date.”  If you like what Toby is doing and want to influence it’s direction, here’s your opportunity.

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How are you managing your domain list?

Luciana Bruscino has worked in the technology arena for over 15 years. She has always been fascinated by new technologies. She is particularly enthusiastic about the WordPress.  Chad Edwards, a friend, assisted her in the development of the My Domain List plugin. He has been involved in the buying and selling domain business for over six years.

Together, they have experience in setting up wordpress servers, creating and implementing wordpress templates, plugins and a variety of websites using similar technology (PHP, Javascript/CSS, MySQL, etc). Developing a wordpress tool to assist domain owner seemed to be the right fit.

Mike: I’ve seen some other domain management systems, but I think this is the first I’ve seen as a WordPress plugin. What made you decide to take this route?

Luciana: We chose the WordPress framework because of its maturity as a technology as well as the number of sites using the framework. In our experience, we noticed that there weren’t many similar domain-focused plugins products in the market. Therefore, we thought it would be good opportunity to provide domain owners (I like to call them domainers) with a way to quickly setup their domain portfolio on their own site without the assistant of a website developer.
The wordpress framework also allows the My Domain List plugin to be easily installed and setup. The plugin leverages WordPress features to enhance the domainers experience by allowing them to customize their domain list via WordPress Shortcode and summarize the domain offers in the WordPress Dashboard.

Mike:  Price is reasonable. Can you talk about the number of sales to date?

Luciana: I am pleased to say that the plugin has been gaining popularity. I believe we achieve that by understanding the needs of the domain owners and proving good customer service.  The sales have been on a steady increase and it met our initial expectation. Most importantly, we are getting good feedback from our customers on the plugin’s features and on the great support we provide. Customers have been pleased and that is the key for increased sales. We encourage users to continue to provide feedback so we can continue to improve the tool to fit the needs of the audience.

We sell the plugin exclusively through Code Canyon, premium domain sales site.

Mike:  How are people using the plugin today? Is it to manage their portfolio or to list their domains for sale?

Luciana: Customers are using the plugin in various ways. They use the plugin to market, manage and promote their domain portfolio for sale. The My Domain List plugin offers many features to allow domainers  to use the plugin for their current needs. Because of features such as pagination, table sorting, and filtering, some domain owners use it to simply list their domain portfolio and link it to a sale site. Others take advantage of feature such as Price Setting and the Make Offer button to receive leads from their own sites. Also, because the plugin pulls data automatically from the WHOIS database, some domainers use the plugin to manage their domain expiration and registrar information from the Admin panel.
From my perspective, the My Domain List plugin seems to be fulfilling the needs of most domain owners.

Mike:  What made you decide to create the plugin in the first place? Was it a problem you were trying to solve for yourself?

Luciana:  We decided to create the My Domain List plugin for domainers because we saw a lack of domain driven tools in the WordPress framework. During our research, we didn’t find a tool that encompassed features such as pagination, make offer button, customization, WHOIS data, and table sorting into one tool. So, we thought a plugin with these capabilities would be beneficial. We also thought creating a WordPress plugin would provide domain owners with the ‘ease of use’ advantage, so they can start promoting their portfolio quickly. Another strong reason for creating this tool was to alleviate my partners struggle with setting up his domains for sale on his site. My Domain List plugin solved his needs and the needs of many other domain owners with large, medium or small domain portfolio.

Mike:  It says on your site, and you previously mentioned, that the plugin collects the latest WHOIS information. Can the user import a list of domains or does it require manual entry?

Luciana: In the current version of the My Domain List plugin the users can simply add a list of domain names separated by comma or in a new line to a textbox in the Admin page. Once the user saves the domain list, the plugin uses a built-in API to collect the WHOIS data for each domain name. The data automatically populated for each domain is owner, registrar, extension, and expired, created and changed dates.

In the Professional version of the plugin, currently in works, the user will have the ability to import the domain names as well as other custom meta-data from a .csv file. The current import capability will also be available.

Mike:  You’ve decided to use a hyphenated domain name. Did you weigh that against the option of a non-hyphenated domain?

Luciana:  Since we created the website with the purpose to simply document the plugin’ features, we didn’t spend too much time looking for the best SEO domain name available. The hyphenated website was created with the intention of promoting and providing support and helpful information for current customers. The truthful reason for using the hyphenated domain name is that my partner already had purchased the my-domain-list.com name and we thought it fit beautifully for the plugin.

Mike:  Do you have any other ideas for programs or plugins that can be beneficial for domainers? Can we expect to see other products from you?

Luciana: This is a great question. The answer is Yes. I am currently working on the My Domain List Pro version for the plugin. This version compiles a list of feedback from the customers to provide a more robust and scalable domain tool. The Professional version will have many of the features in the current version, but it will be enhanced to support category filtering, customized currency, meta data (i.e description, thumbnail, redirect URL),  SEO options, Buy option via Escrow, Paypal, etc.

As a promotional campaign, we are willing to give 5 copies of the Beta My Domain List Plugin Professional edition. (Editor’s note: post a comment to be eligible and 5 random names will be selected).
Another plugin that I have developed that I believe is beneficial for WordPress users is Notify On Action. This plugin is available free of charge . This plugin allows you to send email notification based on a pre-determined template. The user has the freedom to decide when the notification is sent based on any action on their site. For example, this plugin works well with My Domain List plugin if the user wants to be notified or notify the customer when an Offer is made. Simply add the code provided by the Notify On Action, to the action code of the Make an Offer button and set up the template on the Admin site. If you need assistance in bundling the Notify Action plugin with your My Domain List plugin contact me at support@my-domain-list.com.

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Have Domain Questions?

Although Domain Name Wire broke the news, I want congratulate Elliot Silver on the launch of a new domain industry site today.  DomainQuestions.com provides a great forum for domainers to ask questions as well as to provide answers.   This will be a great source for the community.  Backed by an industry expert, Elliot himself, the quality and value of the site will be unmatched.   Have a look and ask your questions!

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Domain Suggestion Tool Produces $1,200 Domain

You may have recently seen TLD.org advertised in the Sponsored Headlines section of Domaining.com at some point over the last week.  The site claims to  find quality unregistered domain names and list them for domainers to sort through and register.  I had a look at the site early today and had a look at some of the names.  I actually took a look about a week back and the inventory of names seems to have grown quite a bit in that time.

The site features the ability to hone in using search criteria and as the inventory of names grows, I can see that feature being more useful.  At the moment, it’s easy enough to browse through the list of available names, page by page.  The are lots of adjective/noun combination that don’t always work, such as BrownKnobs.com or WhitLevers.com.  I didn’t sift through the whole list, but a couple of names did pop out at me. I did a quick check on Valuate.com and here’s the results:

Domain Estimate

Do I  think these domains are worth that price?  Well… they are not names I am in the market for and I didn’t register them (they are both still available to hand reg).  But I think the site does have potential and is a tool to watch over the coming weeks.  As I mentioned, I didn’t review all the names so there could be some prizes in there.  I’m not sure how the site or the owners generate these names, but I’d keep an eye on this site and see how it continues to develop.

finds quality unregistered domain names and list them for domainers to sort through and register.
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Domain Sales Letter Revealed

It’s been said that when you write an email, you should be prepared for the whole world to read it.  Probably a good philosophy since I’m sharing one I receive just the other day. This unsolicited email came from another domainer looking to sell me a name.  I was targeted as a result of my domain appearing as a result in a Google search for the keyword terms.  If I had to guess, this is a modified version torn right out of the book of Elliot’s suggested email templates for domain sales.  I’ve sent out many similar emails myself, so I know the format well.

It’s interesting being on the receiving end of such an email.  I don’t have much in the way of critiquing this one, other than the Google search volume that is stated below is the “broad” selection, not the “exact.”  Other than that, it’s not bad.  Maybe a little too long for some, but not for my tastes.  One other suggestion I might make is to try to establish the value you are bring in the opening paragraph.  That might be as far as many recipients will read, so best to capture them right away with what you can do for them.  I also like to include the price.

Hello,

I am contacting you because coolbars.com appears for the search term
“club suppliers”. I thought that you might be interested in knowing that
I am selling my domain name ClubSuppliers.com, since I do not currently
have the time to develop it myself.

ClubSuppliers.com is very well suited for your industry and owning such a
name will attract relevant customers and could give you an advantage
over competitors in the field.

Currently, Google shows a monthly search volume of 1000 for
club suppliers. Furthermore, if you add content to the website, Google
will boost your ranking for this search.

However, you can also choose not to develop the website and just have
this domain take visitors directly to your existing website. Not only
can owning this domain benefit you through additional online marketing
and search engine pick up like Google, Yahoo, etc., but it will also
grow in value as these types of .coms are becoming much harder to come
by and expensive to purchase.

I am offering “ClubSuppliers.com” at a very good price. Please let me know
if you’d like more info or to buy it. I thank you for your
consideration and look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Warm regards,

Elizabeth

By the way, my domain, CoolBars.com, has been sitting idle for a few years.  I recently had a new logo created and I’m looking to relaunch the site soon in a new format.  I’ll post more information on that when I get closer.  I’ll post any other emails I come across that might be valuable.  If you have any good ones you’ve had success with and would like to share, let me know and maybe I’ll post it.

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Backups Are Essential

A few weeks back I posted about  Backup Buddy, a plug in for backing up an entire WordPress site.   I had been searching for a simple solution for some time and I was happy when I found one that seemed to be an easy and all inclusive solution.  About a week later, I began having issues with my blog feed not long working.  I tried for days to find the issue but had no success.  I disabled all my plugins, deleted a couple of posts, tried some feed plugins that fix spaces in XML code and anything else I could think of.  I even tried to restore my entire blog on the existing server.  Nothing worked.  Finally, I decided to move my site to a new server.

I was able to quickly move the entire site over using the backup I created and I did it fairly quickly.  Sure enough, the feed began working without a problem.  I still don’t know what the issue was, but I’m damn glad I had a backup and could quickly move it to a new server.

While I can attest to the ease of Back Buddy, there are also other options, that each seem well worth the low cost associated with them.  As tricolorro mentioned in the comments of my original post, Domain Name Wire has a post that mentions a couple of options.  Another reader contacted me about BlogVault.net which costs just $29 per year and includes the Amazon S3 cloud storage service.  The important thing to remember is that your site can go down at anytime for any reason.  You’d be mistaken to think that your hosting company is keeping a backup of your site, so be proactive and make sure you have an automated solution in place.

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Guess Who’s Watching You

We’ve all done it, right?  We’ve all used Compete.com to get an idea of how much traffic a particular site gets.  Maybe you’re wondering how much traffic your developed site gets compared to your competitors.  Maybe you’re just curious how well a particular site is doing.  If you haven’t tried it yourself, you’ve probably seen a writer reference stats from Compete.com in a blog post or article.  To satisfy my curiosity, I reached out to Aaron Smolick, Senior Director of Marketing at Compete.

Mike:  At its simplest, Compete provides traffic metrics and comparisons across multiple websites.  Tell me about some of the other features and analytics of the tool.

Aaron:  Compete has so many offerings, I could go on all day, but below are a few worth highlighting:
Site Profiles – traffic, engagement, and audience metrics for the top 1,000,000 websites.
Referral Analytics – Drills down into a website’s traffic acquisition strategy. You can also see where people go when they leave your site or your competitors’ site (great for retargeting campaign planning).
Search Analytics – Monitor search engine traffic and realize the breakout for paid and natural volume. Also, dive deep into performance at the keyword level and find keywords proven to drive engagement.
Ranked Lists – Pull lists of up to 15,000 domains ranked by traffic or engagement metrics.
Category Profiles – Monitor online traffic by industry or behavioral segment and determine market share for specific websites. Also, see all keywords driving traffic to that industry or segment.
Customized Solutions – Several of Compete’s larger clients use customized products to measure consumer behavior and online marketing and advertising effectiveness.

Mike:  What are some of the reasons people choose to use Compete.com?

Aaron:  Compete is one of the only digital intelligence providers to grant all Internet users free access to its data.

In addition, Compete offers daily estimates of the share of consumer attention and reach of the top sites on the Internet and the velocity at which these metrics change. Compete PRO (our online paid subscription service) is one of the only providers to offer a comprehensive suite of digital intelligence tools online. With Compete PRO, users can monitor their competitor’s online performance, benchmark against them, and gather sound insights to support their online marketing strategy and planning.

Mike:  Can the information be used to improve SEO or PPC advertising results?

Aaron:  Yes. Compete PRO’s Search Analytics tool allows search marketers to analyze SEM performance for a given website. It makes it possible for companies to easily monitor competitors’ natural and paid search spend to determine changes in budget or optimizations. It also shows keyword level data, such as keyword, share of total search and how much of the traffic driven by that keyword is via paid or natural search. SEOs can use this information to determine which keywords are worth investing in for content creation. PPC advertisers benefit from using search analytics, as they can simply export a list of keywords driving traffic to a rival company and load it into their own campaign via bulk sheet. Finding keywords proven to drive engagement is also made easy with an average time index metric for each keyword. Search Analytics allows users to type in a keyword or phrase and see which website generates the most traffic. This is great for measuring the impact of SEM campaigns (by monitoring site ranking) or for finding excellent examples of SEO for a specific keyword.

Mike:  Do advertisers use the data when considering advertising on a particular site?

Aaron:  Yes. Compete PRO allows advertisers to easily assess how large a particular website is, how engaged people are with  it, the audience demographic, and which  channels (social, search, shopping websites) are being used to direct traffic to it. Using Audience Profiles, advertisers can even download a tag from Compete onto their website and get a deep dive into demographics, interests, and DMAs of their own traffic. Some advertisers, like Oprah.com, have even decided to make their audience profile public to give advertisers the ability to easily determine if their website’s audience makes a good match with their target.

Mike:  What is the source of the data used to calculate things such as a websites traffic metrics?  How accurate are the estimates?

Aaron:  Powered by online consumer behavior data from the industry’s largest, most diverse and most actionable panel of Internet users, Compete uses proprietary methodology to aggregate, normalize and project the data to estimate total traffic, rank and other statistics for the top 1,000,000 sites on the web. More comprehensive metrics studies are done for Compete clients.

Our panel methodology merges clickstream data from ISPs with Application Service providers to form a single, statistically-representative consumer panel. Compete’s methodology uses the multiple individual sources that comprise our panel to normalize, calibrate, and project accurate audience and engagement metrics. No other panel can represent highly fragmented online audiences as effectively as the Compete panel.

Compete’s site profiles estimate how many people visit a site from a diverse sample of people that is statistically normalized and projected to represent the size and demographic composition of the total active U.S. Internet population. Compete does not rely on cookies which are often used by log files and web metrics firms. Because of cookie deletion, return visits by the same person (with deleted cookies) wrongly appear to be a new unique visitor. In addition, if cookie implementation on the server side is done incorrectly with vague or inconsistent definitions, visitors will be over counted. Compete measures only U.S. activity. Traffic at sites with significant international visitors will be understated by Compete’s projections. In addition, local analytic solutions will often include the activity of spiders and bots that appear as traffic, but do not represent actual human activity. Compete’s services do not rely on log files or cookies and therefore do not count this activity as traffic.

Mike:  What features does Compete Pro offer that the standard version does not?

Aaron:  While a free Compete account will grant access to a range of useful account features and to directly track and report on Audience Profiles, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Compete PRO is so jam-packed with tools, features and additional data that it would take entirely too long for me to spell them all out for you so I suggest referring to this chart: https://my.compete.com/plans/

Mike: Are there any new features or additions we can expect from Compete.com in the near future?

Aaron:  Compete continually strives to measure the online world with cutting-edge products and industry approved privacy standards. Our partnerships with Omniture, Fox Audience Network, GroupM MIG, Kantar Retail and J.D. Power help to connect the dots with valuable purchasing data. Our relationship with Kantar and WPP has allowed us to continually invest in new online measurement initiatives, evolve our data methodology and pave the way for Compete’s global platform.

Please feel free to visit our website anytime at www.compete.com for additional information.

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Create a Poll for Your Blog or Website in 30 Seconds

It’s well known by now that I’m a Google freak.  I like what they have done with things like Gmail, Voice, and I’m always looking for more.  I just discovered a pretty cool feature within Google Docs as I was updating a shared spreadsheet.  It’s something anyone can use and maybe of interest to blog writers and domain developers.  It allows you to create a poll for your website or blog. It’s simple to use and easily captures results.  You can use a plain version like I have here or you can add one of 95 themes to it.  Here’s what it looks like.

And here’s a sample of how the results look when you view them:

Poll Results

If you’re interested in how to set it up, here are the quick and easy steps.

1.  Select “Form” from the Google Docs “Create New” drop down menu.

Website Poll

2.  Next, fill out the questions and select the type of response you’ll allow.

Google Form

3.  Click “More Actions” and “Embed”.  Just paste the code on your site or blog and it’s that easy.

google poll

I haven’t done any polls on this blog in the past, but I can certainly see how useful this can be.  Not only on a blog, but any developed website could use this code to get a better view of the users.  Let me know how you use it if you choose to.

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New Domain Auction Platform

Hopefully you’ve notice the the BoxCar.com marque  over to the right, displaying some high quality, key word rich, generic domain names.  I’d like to welcome BoxCar as a sponsor of Sully’s Blog and I suggest you visit the site if you haven’t already.  At a time when we are all looking for new means and methods of buying and selling domains, they have entered the market and made their presence known.  BoxCar.com is the new ‘buzz’ of the domain auction arena.

Created by the domainers at DomainConsultant.com, the platform is unique in that it allows users to list their domains for a small fee and adds no additional commissions or hidden fees.  That’s it, no other chunks of your earnings swept away by broker commissions.  There are features we haven’t seen anywhere else.  Sellers can add a YouTube video, Twitter feed or even a live feed to further promote their auction.  There seems to be much more to this platform and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

Until October 31, you can register for a full annual membership for just $1.  Take advantage of this introductory price.  Let me know if you buy or sell on this new platform, I’d love to hear about your experience.

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