If You Didn’t Know What An Mp3 Is, Why Did You Register The Domain?

Jason Calacanis and Michael Robertson TWIST 42

Ultimate early internet domain name play story. In this excerpt Michael Robertson tells how he came
to own mp3.com and what happened when he ‘turned on’ the traffic.

(Click arrow to play audio clip) Michael Robertson tells the story of mp3.com.

In addition to starting mp3.com (later sold to Vivendi), Michael Robertson founded Lindows
(Linspire) and SIPphone (becamse Gizmo5, recently sold to Google). He’s now focused on
building mp3Tunes.com which allows users to store their music in the cloud and access it from
anywhere. Check out the entire interview at ThisWeekIn.com.

A Great Domain Name Is a “Signal of Quality”

Again from ThisWeekInStartups.com, the Jason Calacanis ustream.tv show. It’s a great show, and the experience of watching it live has turned out to be a little bit addictive. Check out #TWIST on Twitter. Jason is simply Twitter.com/Jason.

In this audio clip from ‘Jason’s Shark Tank’, Jason tells caller/developer Kevin, of pikk.com what he likes about what Kevin’s created so far.

Signals of Quality

Jason Calacanis: Everyone should follow you on Twitter obviously, Pikk. You have that up and running, and you have a four letter domain name. These are, again, signals of quality for me. You have a decent domain name decent web design. I’m  not crazy about your web design, to be totally honest with you I think it’s a 7 or 8 out of 10 but, listen, Mahalo was a 6 out of 10 at one point, now it’s a 10 out of 10, so, it’s progress you know, and I can appreciate that. Smart enough to pick a four letter domain, great – how did you get the domain was that available or you bought it.
Kevin: I bought it.
Jason: Yeah, how much did that cost you?
Kevin: Ah, I’ve been told I got the bargain of the century, this cost me about twenty-five hundred dollars.
Jason: That’s a great deal.
Kamran Pourzanjani: Yeah.
Jason: For a four letter domain…

You’re Going To Wind Up With A Dot Com

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s another Jason Calacanis audio clip from This Week In Startups, episode 29.

Jason on ‘Dot Com’

The context is a domain/brand a caller mentioned in a previous ‘Ask Jason’ segment.

Jason Calacanis: Isn’t it amazing though Tyler? The people with the naming.
Tyler Crowley: I just found out… I think lean.ly is available. With the dot L-Y which seems to be the hot new…
Jim Lanzone: Hmm!
Jason: Oh…
Tyler: Don’t get you started with that?
Jason: gov.ly? (refers to earlier in the conversation)
Tyler: gov.ly?
Jason: gov.ly
Tyler: lov.ly gov.ly
Jason: lov.ly gov.ly… I hate that nonsense.
Tyler: Yeah.. L-Y’s catchin’ on, so is dot F-M
Jason: (Sighs)
Tyler: But it gives people more of an option to come up with names… You use Bit.ly all day long!
Jason: You know what, De.licio.us did this as well, and then when they were successful they wound up buying Delicious dot com.
You’re going to wind up with a dot com anyway, You might as well make the effort and spend the money to get it early. So you don’t have to re-brand it!

How To Make Money Online. No… Really. My Interview With Eric Borgos of ImpulseCorp.com

As anyone who has stumbled upon his ImpulseCorp.com blog knows, Eric Borgos has a treasure trove
of domaining/webmastering experience dating back to the very early days of the internet. Since selling
his Bored.com site in 2008 for $4.5 million, Eric has found time to share some of his experiences. Eric
graciously accepted my request for an interview.
Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure… Eric Borgos.


The DomainNoob podcast will not be a weekly episodic, more like an
occasional documentary. I welcome interview suggestions and introductions.
Because it’s so new, DomainNoob is not listed in the iTunes store. If you want to subscribe you’ll have
to…. iTunes >Advanced> Subscribe to Podcast > then enter the feed url which is:

Podcast Notes: Eric Borgos
http://bored.com/ (Record created on: 1997-05-24) sold for $4.5 million.
Early entrepreneurial efforts (as a kid). Baseball cards, coins, silver, Penny Stocks.
College years.
Early domaining, (Ye Olde Drop Catch).
Webmastering directory type ‘mall’ sites.
What was working in the late 90s.
Affiliate links > ad networks.
Bored.com [links to 1998 screenshot] directory of sites with fun stuff to do.
Copying other sites- why send the traffic away?
CoolVideos.com  vs. bored.com/coolvideos
Link-network vs. brand.
Site plays audio backwards.
Type in a phone number and a text message and the site calls the number and announces the message.
How fun sites get built.
Freelancers, overseas programmers.
Traffic, costs, profit.
Selling Bored.com, the psychology of the sale.
Two bidders are better than 1.
Tax advantages to selling vs. salary.
Capital gains vs. income.
AdoptMe.com for kids. Free virtual pet. > Plush toys for sale in stores with unique code identifiers.
GetFlowers.com CheapFlowers.com + Running two brick and mortar flower stores!
SEO value of hub site approach?
Selling domains.
9000 domain names > parking.
TrafficZ.com DDC.com TrafficValet.com
To renew or not to renew?
Mini-sites vs. parking income.
Auto-content sites.
Domain sale process – negotiation.
http://estibot.com/ http://dnjournal.com/
Paypal vs. https://escrow.com/index.asp
Still registering domains?
Revenue, profit, expenses, sales.
Keeping it interesting.

What’d I miss? Help me build a list of  questions to ask Eric in a follow-up interview.
.com vs. .net
ppc to drive traffic to his sites?

Domains ARE Brands!

I’ve been listening to a LOT of startup related podcasts. Especially ThisWeekInStartups.com mentioned earlier and Andrew Warner’s Mixergy.com. I’ve pretty much spent the last month going over every one of Andrew’s podcasts. It’s surprising how many startups miss the boat on domains and how that can impact marketing efforts. I think this clip from an interview Andrew did with Grasshopper.com founder Siamak Taghaddos pretty much sums up what I hear over and over again.

Siamak Taghaddos

Seems pretty obvious, right? But here’s an example (from another excellent Mixergy interview) of what so often happens.
Noah Kagan

Matt (WordPress / www.Ma.tt) had to get it. Would like to know more about that story.
Matt Mullenweg

Otis (of Goodreads.com) definitely gets it. Exactly, “a good domain will give you a 30% extra chance of success”.
Otis Chandler

Sure, domain names can be expensive. But the trouble is, the larger you grow your company, the more you
run the risk that someone is going to hold that domain name hostage (and why shouldn’t they, really?)
I guess my point is that getting the right domain name upfront will save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you would like help finding or acquiring a domain name for your startup please drop me a line. I love to
brainstorm domains and can help broker a deal for a domain that’s already owned.

In The News.
From: DomainNameWire.com

Social gadget company upgrades its domain name.
has brokered the sale of Poken.com for $75,000 to a company that bills itself as a mobile social business card.

According to the web site, “poken is your ’social business card.’ it’s an easy way to share your contact details and online social networks in the real world. just hold two poken palms together – high4! – and you’re connected.”

The web site makes it look like a product primarily for teenagers. This domain is a big upgrade, as it appears the company has been using DoYouPoken.com as its web site.

From: DotWeekly.com

Ad.ly Purchases Adly.com Domain Name
Ad.ly is becoming a very popular in-stream advertising platform for Twitter.com users and they just purchased what would be considered a typo of their domain name, Adly.com for $6,000 at Sedo.com .

Adly.com was first registered in late 2001 and changed hands to Adly Inc. on 10-31-2009.

This is a very wise purchase for Adly Inc. because not only could the domain name be considered a typo of it’s Ad.ly domain, but it also matches the company name exactly.

I think Adly Inc. got a Great Deal on the new domain purchase, as Adly is a nice 4 letter brandable domain name… Just like Ad.ly decided to name their company!


Entrepreneurship 101 – Name Your Company The Same As Your Domain Name

From Jason Calacanis of Mahalo and ThisWeekInStartups.com TWIST Episode 16.

Listen to the clip

Jason Calacanis –   … Number one, the name is terrible… If the name of the company is Aardvark you should own Aardvark dot com. They only own Vark dot com. I mean this is like 101 entrepreneurship stuff like name your company the same as your domain name.  I don’t know, what’s the domain name of Challenge Post?
Brandon Kessler –  It’s ChallengePost.
Jason Calacanis – (sarcastic) Oh is it? Really? Do you wanna know the domain name of Mahalo, by chance? It’s Mahalo.com. Do you know where to find This Week In Startups?  That dot com. You know where to find Aardvark? Drop the a-a-r and the d,  and then put a dot com.
Aaron Vohen – What if they were thinking people don’t know how to spell Aardvark? They would try A-r-d-v-a-r-k.
Jason Calacanis – It wasn’t available obviously, but I mean if you’re…

[Follow-up from TWIST 31]
Listen: Vark ll

Walking the walk.

Calacanis then laid out $11,000 for the domain name Mahalo.com, which, at one point, had been a nude-celebrity site.

Of course there are exceptions (when you’re a seed investor and on the board perhaps?).
TWiST #17 with Ryan Block and Peter Rojas 32:30

Listen to the clip

Jason Calacanis –  I love the logo to g-d-g-t… and you can call it gadget
Ryan Block / Peter Rojas – You can call it gadget,  yeah.
Jason – People can just call it gadget.
Peter Rojas – I say g-d-t-g just so people know how to spell the url.
Ryan Block – I’ve been saying gadget a little bit more lately, but…
Jason – Yeah, people will get it. Anyway… Great to get a four, was that four letter domain available?
Ryan Block / Peter Rojas – We had to buy it but we didn’t have to spend very much. We had to buy it but… surprisingly affordable.
Jason – Under a G?
Ryan – Yeah.
Jason – Oh perfect. I mean, it’s not even a rounding error.
Ryan – So what it actually was was they had like a catalog of just letters. You know, so like g-d-g-t, g-d-g-s, g-d-g-r…
Jason – Oh there just waiting for people to buy them. They’re like, (as in company receptionist), Hello, Domain Squatting Scumbags, how can we help you?  Which domain did we take of yours… bastards… that’s quite a business idea… I think I  ought to do that. Let’s do it with five letters. Probably didn’t get to five letters yet.

Little bit of a disconnect here considering Jason’s comments in TWIST 16. But certainly understandable considering what Gadget.com or Gadgets.com might cost (guessing $400k). Looks like Gadget.com is a real site, but Gadgets.com is parked. Perhaps Gadgets.com owners Domain Capital would consider some sort of equity/lease-to-own deal.
Jason is obviously kidding when he refers to the previous owners of GDGT.com as “Domain squatting scumbags”, but he’s been around the interwebs for a long time. A lot of people do see domain investors as squatters. But only be because someone else has registered a domain name they want. At least a domain investor (or ‘domainer’) is looking to sell the domain! Better a domainer than a competitor who has bought up all the keywords in your niche for the sole purpose of keeping them out of your hands!

Future Of .TV – I Thought They Were Kidding!

Talk is from PopTech.com.

I like the .tv extension. It certainly hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped. But I thought all the hoopla about Tuvalu sinking was an exaggeration. Maybe not. This excerpt from a talk by Mark Lynas on global warming would certainly seem to indicate there IS trouble ahead for .tv (not to mention the rest of the planet).

Listen to Mark Lynas PopTech 2005 –  On Tuvalu

Tuvalu Environment Ministry
Tuvalu woman doing her laundry.
Tuvalu Laundry Day
Tuvalu Meteorological Office
Tuvalu Meteorological Office

So maybe these domains are overpriced?

See also: GoDaddy Wants You To Know: Tuvalu Is Sinking