Wishing you an inspirational day

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As America closes in on the 4th of July weekend, a major holiday, many will be out enjoying family, events, fireworks, beer, and barbecue.  This could be a good opportunity for those across either side of the pond to steal some names at auction with less competition.  Here are some picks for upcoming NameJet auctions that everyone can celebrate.

And, I’ve always enjoyed Domain Shane’s style of commentary on his auction picks.  So here’s my go at it. (Shane, if you ever need a ghost writer… 😉 )

Without further ado:

foiu.com – If loving 4L .coms is wrong, you don’t wanna be right.

MyGangster.com – The inevitable title for a Hollywood biopic about a woman and her lifelong affair with a mafioso kingpin

SelfSufficiency.net – Might be good for a DIY site, or for tips on survival and prepping, if you’re into that.

OurLadyOfTheRosary.com – Long, but if you don’t bid, the blessed Virgin Mary (aka Our Lady of the Rosary), may not smile kindly upon your domaining endeavors. 8,100 exact search for the term.

Themes123.com – It can be hard to find a good ‘themes’ name these days. Simple and brandable.

HVACService.net – Suggested CPC over $27 on Adwords. The money must really be flowing in this industry.

BachelorOfNursing.com – Nursing as a profession has really taken off in the last decade. Online schooling has always been a hot space for affiliates.  Combine the two, and you may be onto something.  5,400 exact search for the term.

MyMobster.com – The blockbuster sequel to My Gangster.  Kiss the ring.

SneakerSeller.com – Rolls off the tongue rather nicely.  Sneakers have tongues.  I don’t see the connection either, but hey.

Smoothable.com – This name is to smooth as Mashable is to mash.

KansasFootball.com – Not as good as Texas football, but they try.

JewishDad.com – I know a few. Perfect for a belated Father’s Day gift.

TripleCrown.org – Not just for horse racing. Triple Crowns exist in many sports.

JustRifles.com – That’s it.

Unava.com – Unava saw a 5L like this before.

Feend.com – I’m actually fiending for some breakfast right now. I could also be feending.

CustomerSuccessManager.com – Some marketer got slick one day and decided to rebrand their customer support as customer success.  Or maybe it was Tony Hsieh.  Either way, it seems to have stuck.  2,900 exact search for the term, and $7 CPC.

FirearmPro.com – Guns rights, gun ownership – hot button issues right now.  There sure is demand for gun safety, training, certification, and so on. Maybe something a firearm pro could provide.

SecurityGurus.com – Firearm pros should partner with security gurus. Match made in heaven.

Addictively.com – Writing this creative commentary is getting addictive. I can now see how Shane does it every day.

uHumor.com – There’s no ‘I’ in uHumor.  That was funny, right?

ProSongwriting.com – Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to write your own song. Trust me, I’m a pro.

Rounding out the list are a few .me domains.

Revise.me – Verb .me names are first in class. Maybe you could start a service to help all those poor souls out there who just wish they could write like Shane and I, to revise their writing.  Wait, are you saying you’re as good as me and Shane?

Canberra.me – Capital of Australia.  Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!

Soy.me – 3L and a word.  Think the Chinese aren’t buying 3L.me too?

Well, that’s a wrap on this list.  It felt pretty good. Maybe I’ll do more again in the future.  Let me know how I did in the comments.

due diligence disclaimer: some auctions listed in this post, wherein the word ‘some’ is used here to mean ‘all’, may refer to domains owned by the author of this blog, wherein the word ‘may’ is used here to mean ‘definitely’, whereby said author may profit monetarily from said auctions.  All investments entail risk, and all readers are advised to do their own due diligence before spending money or relying on the author’s opinions in any way shape or form. 

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gears and sprocketsOccasionally I become interested in a new technology that is just beginning to bud, and if it sounds promising, like others I may take a gamble on registering some domains within that field in the hope the technology eventually goes mainstream.

Each year as the domains come up for renewal I spend some time reviewing the technology, through searching Google News, Google Trends, Google Keyword Tool, and some other tools to attempt to gauge how the field is evolving and whether the investment will prove out, i.e. – whether to hold or dump.

I don’t have too many of these types relative to the size of my portfolio, but I am reviewing one such set now that is coming due for renewal.  Since 2012 when I first registered the names, I have spent approximately $560 over the past 4 years in registration and renewals to maintain the names.

Although each year I evaluate the technology, it seems to be slowly gaining momentum, it is yet to go mainstream and it may well be another four years before it does, if it all.  That is always the gamble.

Assuming it did, in another four years, that would mean perhaps another $500 invested, or a total of $1k, which then again, if it does not and fails to take off, I will still be left asking the same questions and running the same evaluation in four years time, and trying to ascertain whether there is still prudence in renewing or whether I am throwing good money after bad.  With the $1k I might presumably have laid out over that 8 years, I might have instead purchased a more premium .com domain or spent it on 5 to 10 valuable backorders that would have been more likely to return an investment.

Again, the new-tech holdings are a small fraction of my portfolio, so in once sense I see it as a sort of diversification, or at the least, its throwing a little bit of money down on a risky bet on the chance of a big reward … which is not guaranteed.

This is naked speculation for sure.

At this stage, to renew what I currently have I would need to stick about 15% back on top of the $560 already invested.  In some sense I tend to view this similar to pot odds in a hand of poker, except I don’t know the exact odds of making the hand (or, the odds the technology will actually emerge to make the names profitable), however I only know that the amount to add to the pot to stay in the hand is small relative to the size of the pot already, making it seem on the surface like a small decision.  Still, in some sense it is only myself I am playing against, and comes back to that question of whether or not I am throwing good money after bad.

Have you ever bought into a tranche of new-tech domains – names related to a not-yet well known field or technology that you hope will one day become widely used – and if so, what criteria do you use to evaluate how long to hold those names or how long to follow the technology before it seems like throwing in the towel and shifting that money to smarter investments seems warranted.

If you have anything constructive to add please share your thoughts, stories or feedback in the comments.  Thanks for reading.

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It is an undisputed fact to anyone involved in the domain name aftermarket that a significant upswing in overall pricing trends of certain categories of domain, namely short 2 and 3 character .com as well as strong one-word .com, have been realized over the past year due to a strong influx of Chinese buyers into the market.

Writer and financial strategist Simon Black of SovereignMan.com today speculated in a blog post that a driving factor behind this influx is the Chinese Government’s increasingly tightened capital control policies amidst a flagging economic outlook and flailing stock market.  I say ‘speculate’ as I don’t know that there is any consensus as to the overall motivations of individual Chinese buyers.

However the supposition – that Chinese buyers are buying expensive domains as a way to get their savings offshore –  does not seem completely unfounded.   Mr Black explains:

Chinese citizens now have strict limitations on the amount of money they can withdraw while traveling abroad, plus restrictions on how much money they can transfer overseas.

But for any Chinese citizen with savings right now, it’s pretty obvious what’s happening. And they want to get their money out of the country.

But it raises a difficult question– how do you get money out of the country when the government has imposed strict capital controls?

With a little creativity, there’s always a way.

Bitcoin has been a popular alternative in China because people can easily cross borders with vast sums of money encrypted inside their mobile phones.

But there’s a new tactic that Chinese are using now: domains.

Yes, those domains. As in Internet “.com” domains.

I believe though that Mr. Black falls short on a few key points within this claim.  He continues:

But… Chinese aren’t looking to make money. They’re not buying domains as investments– they’re using domains to TRANSPORT money.

Think about it– if you have $50,000 that you really need to get out of China, you can buy an expensive domain today.

Naturally there are no restrictions (for now) on buying a .com domain. So the sale goes through without any problems.

But domains are international. Almost anyone in the world can buy or sell a .com domain.

So later, you travel overseas, open a foreign bank account, then sell your domain to someone else.

The proceeds of that sale get paid to your new bank account abroad. And, presto! You’ve just moved a lot of money overseas, completely circumventing capital controls.

Naturally there are some costs involved, including some brokerage fees for buying/selling the domain.

But for Chinese citizens whose alternative is to let their savings remain trapped within a failing system, they’ll gladly pay a few percent to move their money abroad.

You can read the full article here.

First, nearly anyone with an active involvement in the domain aftermarket can tell you that there is no such thing as “presto!” when it comes to buying and selling domains, unless you are able to make a killing on the buy side, meaning, that you purchase a domain at a price that is well undervalued.

Otherwise, domain names are not a very liquid asset.  That being said, premium domain names, and short, 2 and 3 character domains of which the Chinese are very active buyers, certainly have much more liquidity than the average domain.  However, more is a relative term, and we must bare in mind that these buyers are now buying at the top of the market.  The price of 2 and 3 (and even 4) character domains have never been so high.

If Mr. Black were more acquainted with the domain market, he would know that buyers today are paying in some cases nearly triple the value for some domains than they would have sold for a year or so ago.

Therefore, while flight from capital controls seams like a very plausible motivation for the upsurge in activity from China, it would demonstrably not be such a simple matter of using domain names to transport wealth as is being claimed, in as far as since the Chinese are the ones driving up the prices it remains to be seen how they would easily unlock an equal value of their investments by reselling to overseas buyers who are not subject to the same forces.

A second point to note is that typical brokerage fees in the domain industry are not on the order of “a few percentage points” but rather will range easily from 10% – 20%, thus also negating the idea that it will be easy to unlock anywhere near full value, as in addition to buying in at peak pricing (although, who really knows if this is the top of the top), it presents the added difficulty of having to sell a domain name yourself if you want to avoid having 10% – 20% skimmed off of your investment by brokerage fees.  Brokers add liquidity, thus doing without them can also decrease the liquidity of the asset.

This analysis is not meant to trash Simon Black, as I am in fact someone in agreement with much of what he writes on and I would encourage anyone to research his blog further for alternative viewpoints to financial planning and economic freedom.  However I feel that in this particular case Mr. Black, while presenting a reasonably sound hypothesis, is not familiar enough with certain nuances of the domain aftermarket to really say for sure whether flight from capital controls is a valid motivating factor for Chinese buyers of domain names.  It may well be one among many motivating factors, but I am inclined to say there must be others, and that it may not even be the strongest factor.

What do you think?

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May 14, 2015

While cleaning out an inbox the other day I somehow came across a link to a blog post from four years ago, titled, Domain-squatter parasites not interested in haggling, apparently. As you might have guessed already, the author relates the story of how he woke up one day deciding he’d like to own a particular […]

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The Yin to the Yang of Domain Sales

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Moniker Exiting the Drop Game?

January 8, 2015

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Will WordPress Acquire and Use Word.Press?

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.Press is open for landrush registration as of today, August 26th.  It will be interesting to see who turns up as the owner of Word.Press, provided the name is not being held back by the registry. If it turns out to be WordPress themselves, and they actually do something with the domain, such a move […]

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Beware Go Daddy Phishing Email – Status Alert: Potential risk to the server.

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2012.com Finally Changes Hands

August 25, 2014

Back in 2010, I covered the domain 2012.com, which had been sitting idly for years without resolving.  The owner had been adamant that, “this domain is not for sale. Please do not call. Please do not write. Please do not email.” Then again toward the end of 2012 I speculated that the domain’s value might […]

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