Case In Point:

Again, from the ‘wish it existed’ category. A Wikipedia-like site devoted to a female-centric history of the world. Her Story of the World! This would be a large project. Probably best represented by a university or well-funded non-profit.
Well why, if you want it to exist, would you be asking $6k for it? Wouldn’t you want to make it available for free to someone wanting to bring it into existence?
Think about it. If you care enough about the idea to have sought out and acquired the domain, wouldn’t you want it to go to someone, or some organization that could afford $6k to buy it? Wouldn’t that at least give you some assurance that they were serious about the project?

Case In Point:

The idea here is a device or app for measuring your power consumption. A post that blew up on Hacker News recently called “Analyzing my electricity consumption” reminded me that this is still a problem to solve. The article discusses acquiring and parsing the data into useful bits of information that help you make choices that can save you money.
There are countless applications related to measuring power and here’s a great name for one.

Case In Point:

Another way I think about pricing domains, again from a service perspective is, what would someone expect to pay if they were hiring you to name their startup and find a domain for it. Obviously a fresh new startup just getting into YC Combinator probably doesn’t have a bunch of cash on hand. (So they start with a placeholder domain that sucks.) But then they’re graduating and suddenly there’s some VC money available. Maybe not a lot but enough to spend some thousands on a domain/brand.
So the problem to solve in this case is naming your platform that makes it easy for any website or game to add Experience Points, XP. What shall we call it? And how much would you pay?


Case In Point:

I like to look for names/domains for things I wish existed. Things that if I had the time to build myself, would satisfy a need of my own. Many years ago when my Mom, thousands of miles away, was having health issues, I wished that I could ‘trade’ someone spending quality time with my Mom, for me helping out their someone near to where I lived. A platform that would facilitate storing and exchanging volunteer hours. For example, I’d take your Mom for a walk in Santa Monica in exchange for you taking mine for a walk in Toronto. But the problem I couldn’t wrap my head around was how to easily vet the folks who would be volunteering. I looked into how babysitting platforms were doing it. Also TaskRabbit, those kinds of services. And it really seemed like a big problem, too big for me at that time anyway.
I just kept hearing in my head the Queen anthem (license of which graciously donated for such a good cause)… We Will We Will Walk You!

But how gratifying to learn recently that just such a system exists! Mostly in Japan.

Fureai kippu is a Japanese sectoral currency created in 1995 by the Sawayaka Welfare Foundation so that people could earn credits helping seniors in their community.

The basic unit of account is an hour of service to an elderly person. Sometimes seniors help each other and earn the credits, other times family members in other communities earn credits and transfer them to their parents who live elsewhere.(wikipedia)

This is an older video but eloquently explains how it works.

Pricing Domains

It’s kind of simple for me. I think about what I do as a service business. Say you had an idea for a company and hired someone to look for a name and domain for it. At the corporate level you’re paying a professional naming company $75k or more, just for the branding, not including the domain! My target audience is startups and small business owners. So I’m looking for ‘good enough’ names/domains to brand on, without having to rebrand later when you’re successful. My entry level, lowest tier domains price at somewhere around $3k, and go up from there to low 5 figure prices. The difference between a $3k domain and a $15k domain could be things like the size of the market and the amount of competition in that space. It could be the number of letters in the domain, how easy it is to spell, whether it passes the ‘radio test’ (easy to spell after hearing said). It could be how ‘top of mind’ the word or phrase is, meaning how much easier it is to remember. But generally speaking I’m looking for domains that will make up for their cost to you in what you would have spent to market an inferior name. Probably many times over. Because the easier it is for people to remember your name/domain, the less you’ll pay to market it.

If I’ve ‘done my job right’ one of my domains will be a perfect fit for your new business idea, and at a reasonable price. But if I don’t have an appropriate match, I can help you find one. I know where to look. I understand a fair price and a good deal. Either way, drop me a line, let’s talk about your project.

A Bit Like Gardening… Pruning, Culling, New This Spring

boy watering plants photo by Filip UrbanMy obsession with domains eventually settled into a kind of side hustle. I’m down to an hour or so a day, mostly because I taught myself enough python to be able to build scripts that check the drop every day for names I might like. Then I occasionally get lucky enough to not have any competition for that name and win it at DropCatch or SnapNames for around $59. But nowadays, anything worth having generally ends up in auction, and with players who are paying a lot more for names than makes sense to me. So I’ve been having some fun looking for names that help ‘protect’ the names/brands I hope to sell some day. An example might be getting (years later) to go with Growing.Tv, or to go with (Isn’t this a great name for an online intern recruiting company?) and selling them as a package.

Is it profitable? I have a small ‘portfolio’, around 600 names, many of which are family-related or saved for my own projects. Some years have been good, with a surprise windfall that puts me deeper into the black. But there have been rotten years where I’ve barely made enough to cover renewals. People who do better at domaining are probably smarter than I am, but they also spend a lot more time at it.

If you’re stumbling on this blog as a young person looking to get into buying and selling domain names, my recommendation would be, don’t! There are better, more profitable ways to spend your time. This a very mature market with most of the juice squeezed out of it years ago.


Why You Need A Domain Guy On Your Team

Domaining can be addictive. It was for me. After that first big (for me) sale, I became obsessed with domains. It became a real time suck and I really wouldn’t wish it on anybody. But the upshot is that I know quite a bit about them. Where to find them. How to track them. How to buy them.

Probably the best example of how I was able to be useful, a part of the team, was for Sal Khan, in helping to acquire (story here). Subsequently I helped them acquire a bunch of strategic domains that help keep their brand secure. But it took years! Watching and knowing about what was going on. Having alerts set up for when something was about to drop. And that’s why I’m suggesting you need a ‘domain guy’. Someone in the domain camp to be looking out for you.

If you have a brand and need some help building a strategy for protecting it as far as domains goes. Drop me a line.
If you have your heart set on a domain and no idea of how much it’s worth or how to make an offer for it. Drop me a line.
If you’re about to launch a company and need some help brainstorming a name/domain. Drop me a line.
For very reasonable consulting fees I can help you understand the playing field and build an action plan.
Please start at my Contact page. I will reply via email.

Origin Story

I was a professional musician living in LA. Things were, shall we say, ‘slow’. Napster and other music ‘sharing’ sites had come online right about the same time everyone had finished upgrading their vinyl records to CD. The giant record industry that had kept me employed, more or less, was dying! I was getting by with a couple months of road work each year and a side hustle teaching. When one day I get an email from a stranger wanting to buy one of the three domain names I owned, Why you might ask did I own Perhaps you’re not a devoted fan of Spinal Tap… but I was! This was going to be the place where I posted odd and funny bits of tour videos. Then I’d invite my friends to do the same. But video on the web was still clunky. Also, though my developer chops were coming along, I wasn’t there yet.

But I loved this domain and really didn’t want to part with it. He offered me $6k…
Later, while he was walking me through the transaction he shared why he wanted it… He had an entire network of HelloCity domain names. He was making a lot of money running ads against his network. But he didn’t have Cleveland, which was his home town! It also had sentimental value! He was happy to get it, I was happy for the cash – and so began my obsession with domain names.

Verify Domain Ownership at DAN with TXT or DNS Record

I recently discovered that (on Godaddy anyway) you can skip having to change the Nameservers to Godaddy long enough to add and verify the TXT record, by using the alternate DNS ownership verification method DAN provides.
Settings > Ownership > Verification via .hn tld
It looks like this and automatically verifies. Looks like this will be my preferred method moving forward. – Why John, Why?

Because this revolutionary process/product needs a great name!
Our family has a cabin with a compost toilet. Urine is diverted to separate 5 gallon tanks and later discarded. The poop is mixed with peat and 2 years after composting in 45 gallon drums, it is the best potting soil you can imagine. But human urine contains a ton of nitrogen. Somehow, in the West, we are only now becoming aware of its value and how we can put it to use. Are you the startup bringing this to market? You need a name and Urin8 is perfect. Let’s talk!

We found a way to turn urine into solid fertiliser – it could make farming more sustainable


Prithvi Simha, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; Björn Vinnerås, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and Jenna Senecal, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

It’s likely that most of the food you’ll eat today was not farmed sustainably.

The global system of food production is the largest human influence on the planet’s natural cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus. How much crops can grow is limited by the amount of these two elements in the soil, so they’re applied as fertilisers.

But the majority of fertilisers are either made by converting nitrogen in the air to ammonia, which alone consumes 2% of the world’s energy and relies heavily on fossil fuels, or by mining finite resources, like phosphate rock.

A solution to this problem could be much closer than people realise. Most of the nutrients we consume in food are passed in our urine, because our bodies already have enough. But instead of being recaptured, these nutrients are flushed, diluted, and sent to wastewater treatment plants where they’re scrubbed out, leaving effluents that can be safely released into the environment.

The most nutrient-rich part of wastewater is human urine, which makes up less than 1% of the total volume but contains 80% of the nitrogen and 50% of the phosphorus. We discovered how to recycle this urine into valuable – and sustainable – farmland fertiliser.

A pair of gloved hands hold a pot containing a urine sample.
Urine is surprisingly rich in the nutrients needed for growing food.

How to recycle urine

You can capture urine with special toilets that separate it from faeces after you flush. But because urine is mostly water, farmers would have to spread 15,000kg of it just to fertilise a hectare of land. If there was a way to remove the water and extract just the nutrients, farmers would only need to apply 400kg of it for the same effect.

Evaporating the water from urine is surprisingly difficult, as urine is a complex chemical solution. Almost all of the valuable nitrogen in urine is in the form of urea, a chemical that is used as the world’s most commonly applied nitrogen fertiliser.

But a fast-acting enzyme called urease is invariably present inside wastewater pipes and converts urea to ammonia. When exposed to air, the ammonia quickly evaporates, taking the nitrogen from the urine with it and giving off a very pungent odour – think the stale urine smell of public toilets.

Fortunately, we’ve discovered that increasing the pH of urine to make it alkaline ensures the urea doesn’t break down or end up smelling really bad. Using this technique, we’ve developed a process that can reduce the volume of urine and transform it into a solid fertiliser. We call this process alkaline urine dehydration.

A petri dish full of a dry, soil-like powder.
Some of the fertiliser produced by drying human urine.
Prithvi Simha, Author provided

The idea behind it is rather simple. Fresh urine is collected from urinals or specially designed toilets and channelled into a dryer, where an alkalising agent, such as calcium or magnesium hydroxide, raises its pH. Any water in the now alkaline urine is evaporated and only the nutrients are left behind. We can even condense the evaporated water and reuse it for flushing toilets or washing hands.

A circular pee-conomy

Doing this is quite easy: you just fill a urine dryer with an alkalising agent, connect it to your toilet, pee as usual and the urine is converted into dried fertiliser. A smart design could even make the dryer fit below the toilet so it doesn’t take up a lot of bathroom space. While electricity would be needed for evaporating the water, the dryer could be coupled with solar energy to take its energy use off the grid.

We estimate that it would cost just US$5 ( £4.20) to supply an average family of four with a year’s supply of alkalising agent. The output from the dryer is a solid fertiliser containing 10% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus and 4% potassium – a similar combination to blended mineral fertilisers.

Left: a scientist spreads fertiliser on soil. Right: the same area with short, green crops growing.
Field trials on farmland outside Paris revealed that dried urine works as well as synthetic crop fertilisers.
Tristan Martin, Author provided

The first flush toilet, invented by Alexander Cummings in 1775, revolutionised sanitation. Drying urine could kickstart a second revolution in how we manage wastewater. If implemented worldwide, recycled urine could replace nearly a quarter of all the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser used in agriculture.

But that would require a service chain capable of supplying homes with alkalising agent, collecting the dried urine and processing it into fertiliser for farmers to use. A similar service chain already exists for the recycling of plastics, metals, paper and glass – dried urine could simply be another component.

A world map highlighted to show where urine could replace more synthetic fertiliser use.
Countries with large populations and low rates of fertiliser use are most suitable for replacing synthetic fertilisers with urine.
Prithvi Simha/Datawrapper and FAOSTAT, Author provided

Research suggests that people are open to the idea of recycling urine. A survey of nearly 3,800 people across 16 countries even revealed that people would buy and eat food grown using human urine. With technology like this, ordinary people would have a safe and convenient way to make modern life more sustainable every time they go to the bathroom.The Conversation

Prithvi Simha, PhD Candidate in Environmental Engineering, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; Björn Vinnerås, Professor of Environmental Engineering, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and Jenna Senecal, Postdoctoral Researcher in Environmental Engineering, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.