.TV Was The Brainchild of Bill Gross!

I was surprised to discover that Bill Gross was the original brainchild behind .TV!

Mark Suster Interviews Bill Gross

I spent much of today listening to and learning about Bill Gross, the founder of IdeaLab. Take a look at the list of companies Bill has had a major part in. It’s actually scary how much he’s accomplished! Also very inspring to see how excited he is about eSolar and the potential this company has to change the world. The Stanford talk (audio) (video) is presented as a lecture followed by Q&A. You’ll hear some of his history, especially early history, but then much of his philosophy around building companies. Especially interesting to me was his description of a great team: E for entrepreneur, P for producer, A for administrator and I for integrator. The notion of a team needing a good integrator (someone who enables communication between the team) is not something I’ve heard anywhere else and Bill feels having one is essential.

I also listened to the always excellent Mark Suster, This Week In Venture Capital interview with Bill (audio) (video). Here Bill, at Mark’s encouragement, talks in detail about the evolution of his career and the many successful companies he’s created. I was surprised to discover that Bill Gross was the original brainchild behind .TV!
(Click arrow to play audio) Bill Gross on the idea of Dot TV.

CrowdNamer.com, or is it CrowdName… CrowdNaming?

[Update 12/10/14 Just heard about someone who’s doing this. Wonder how much better they’d do with a great name of their own? Dockname.com ]

[Update. This is ready to test NOW. If you are looking for a name for your startup (or a better name) I will hand pick a posse of knowledgeable domain and branding professionals, and in a private, invite only chatroom, we will post our finds and suggestions. You only need to feel comfortable explaining clearly what you’re looking for in a name.]

Probably the main motivation for getting into domain names, at the time (about 3 years ago), was to scratch up some extra cash in order to self-fund a startup. I’d just sold one of the 4 domains I owned for more than I earn in a couple of months at work. “Really, could it be this easy?” Well, it’s not. Or hasn’t been. I used that money to buy a couple of hundred domains. Most of them were bad choices- experiments around keywords where there might be traffic (but not cybersquatting). I was trying to think outside the box, and indeed that’s about all there is left to think about when it comes to domains, as I’m sure most of you know.

Anyhow… Tough to start something without any capital, especially when you’re not a developer. But one of the great things about domains is how they can ‘lock in’ an idea. It’s not just an idea if you have the domain name as well!

CrowdNamer.com, CrowdNamers, or is it CrowdName.com. CrowdNaming.com? (Either way I’ve got it covered but I think CrowdNamer is the one). The idea starts out pretty straight forwardly. Get feedback from the crowd on choosing a name for your business. Let the wisdom of crowds help you name your company and find a domain for it. Along the way domainers might suggest one of their names, with a price. The crowd might help you find out who owns that Twitter handle someone is sitting on. They might help determine a fair price for a domain.

I’d really appreciate any feedback you have about the idea. Which of the three domains do you think makes a better brand? What do you think the minimum viable product that would provide enough real value to get started might be? Do you think reputation in a community would be enough to drive participation? Do you think a business model could be built around taking a small percentage of sales between domain sellers and buyers?

Are you my CTO?

crowdNaming.jpgCrowd NamerCrowd Name

Crowd Namers

 

Is $2000 Too Much To Pay For A Great Startup Domain?

As an example to startups especially, I wanted to highlight this recent auction as an example of the kinds of domains that can be acquired for reasonable prices. If you’re getting ready to launch and are facing the difficult task of finding the right name consider enlisting my help. I know where and how to look for great names at reasonable prices.

I recently participated in a domain auction for the domain Penance.com. I actually have content that matches the domain perfectly. Previously I’ve hosted it on other URLs but I’ve been keeping my eye open for a better one. For my purposes you couldn’t have a better url than Penance.com, and with a ‘category killer’ domain like that it would be much easier to roll out more content in the event the idea started to get traction. But besides my (fun and basically no-profit) idea, Penance.com could make a great domain for all sorts of things (perfume, fashion, feature film title, etc. etc.) so, in my opinion, it would be a smart buy even as an investment- depending on the price.

I hopped in the auction, which was at Sedo. The domain was part of a collection being offered by a single domainer and all the domains were no or low reserve (meaning the owner was prepared to let them go for whatever the market priced them at).

Here’s what happened…

penance-Auction

Penance.com went for $2075, in my opinion a great price. A little over my head but a great deal for the new owner.
If you’re a developer I’m sure you see some obvious and interesting potential for the HockeyScore.com names.
Doodling.com strikes me as a good (not great) branding opportunity for an art related site or blog.
The point is, there are great domains out there for reasonable prices. If you could use a little help finding them, drop me a line.

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…

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.
Sedo
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!

.

TWiST Angel Showdown – Things Got Interesting!

TWiST #23 – Angel Funding Showdown

I’m assuming that’s a Halloween AK-47 Jason Calacanis is holding. The other fellow is Steve Bell (links to his take on all this). Things got a little heated today on This Week In Startups around the issue of Jason’s current beef, “Why startups shouldn’t have to pay to pitch angel investors“. Mr. Bell likened Jason’s attack on companies like Keiretsu (who Mr. Bell, an angel investor who uses Keiretsu’s services called in to defend) to ‘Jihad’. The upshot? Jason stated he would start an OpenAngelForum if Keiretsu and their ilk refuse to drop their fees. He also made what I think is a very valuable offer (paraphrasing here) – that if Keiretsu does drop their fees, Jason will support them 100%. Hmm. Having the support of Jason with all his Tech Crunch 50 experience and connections, not to mention the Jason Nation -VS.- going head to head with one of the most savvy entrepreneurs on the planet? Watching this go down live was a lot of fun. The chat room was going off.