I bought .ME domain name, for Me

me domain nameAbout a week ago I bought a .ME domain name which just happens to be my first purchase in the .ME domain extension.   While the domain was not my first choice for what I wanted I bought this particular .ME domain name for same reason most people buy a domain name nowadays, it was available. 🙂

Even though a lot of web entrepreneurs are familiar with the .ME domain name I know a lot of people that read and follow my website might not be.  I did write about the .ME registry accepting application for premium domains awhile ago.

Since this is my first .ME domain name I thought this would be a good time to do a quick write-up and explanation of the .ME domain extension.

What is a .ME Domain Name?

The .ME domain extension is what is known as a country code top level domain (ccTLD) for the the European country of Montenegro.  Many ccTLDs that used to be restricted for use within only a certain country, like .ME for Montenegro, have been opened up for registration to general public.  That means you or I can register the domain name.

In terms of search engine optimization (SEO) there is no disadvantage to using some ccTLDs nowadays.  Google considers many ccTLDs like .ME good for global and generic use.  In addition to other domain extensions like .IO, which Google changed their mind about.

Where is Montenegro? What goes on There?

Like I said, Eastern Europe.  Look at a map.

The most famous local that has “taken place” in Montenegro is James Bond playing Texas Hold'em Poker against Le Chifre in the movie Casino Royale.  (In the original story Bond plays Baccarat.)  Of course no part of the movie was actually filmed in Montenegro to my understanding.

As to what else goes on in Montenegro I unfortunately do no know.  Hopefully there is a lot of high stakes gambling and beautiful women.  Maybe I should go find out!

What are you going to do with a .ME Domain Name

It is not a domain name I plan to build a website on and I honestly do not think it has any resale value.  You are welcome to offer me a million dollars for it.  I will gladly accept.

If you don't offer me any money for it my plan is to use this domain as a URL shortener most likely for this website in addition to my other web properties.  While there are tons of URL shortening services there are many advantages to using your own domain name to shorten your URLs.  A lot of free URL shortener services allow anyone to pull statistics on your click through rates for those shortened URLs.  Not good if you don't want your competition to know this information.  It also enables you to brand all your URLs even if they are shortened.  In addition it gives you greater control if you take down an article and you can have shortened URLs be even shorter since you are the only person using the domain.  Also, it's just plain fun and cool.

Can you Enable Privacy on a .ME Domain Name?

Yes. I have whois privacy enabled on this .ME domain I bought through NameCheap.  What is interesting is most ccTLDs domain extensions do not allow for domain privacy but it seems with .ME they do.

How much does it cost to register a .ME domain name?

It's not crazy expensive but you are paying more each year since there are not as many registrations of the domain as more popular extensions.  Average pricing runs about $15-$17 dollars but this will vary depending the domain registrar you use.

Since there is a higher yearly cost for renewal I wouldn't register a .ME domain name and not do anything with it.  You should have a plan to use it either as URL shortener, like I will, or develop into something awesome.

Do you like .ME?

I hope you do and you like my blog.

Anyway, this is what I now about .ME domain names and the extension.  If you have anything to add or opinions about .ME, (get it?) feel free to leave a comment below.

Smart and Simple Domain Name Marketing in Real Estate

domain name marketing

The other day I was walking my singing dogs when I saw a smart and simple domain name marketing tactic for real estate.  Look at the “For Sale” sign in this picture.  Do you notice anything different?

Well, on top of the For Sale sign there is a domain name for the house.  If you visit “3808Greenway.com” the website is basic but shows you information on this house which is up for sale.  Information on the site includes the price, detailed pictures of the house, property highlights, a loan calculator, aerial view, map it feature, send to a friend, and even more.  In addition there is a widget to “Call Me” and you can request info on the house from the realtors if you more interested in more details.

What I like about putting a domain name on top of a “For Sale” sign is that I have no interest in buying this house.  Yet as someone passing by (who knows about domain names, web marketing, SEO, etc) I still visited the website to see what it was about.  Who knows, maybe I know a friend looking for a house in the area and I can easily email them this website on the house.  Someone could also be walking around the neighborhood looking for a house and automatically get more information, without having to call anyone.

Considering that web hosting only costs $10 a month with from a reputable hosting company, like Site5, it is a no-brainier expense if you are a real estate agent.  Since real estate agents earn a nice commission on a house like this, why wouldn't you invest the money to setup a website for your houses listings?

Honestly, I don't think I've seen any other real estate marketing that has been this effective.  After I noticed this For Sale sign I've checking around town to see if there are other signs using this simple website marketing tactic.  It seems Andrea Griffin and James Baldwin of Prudential Homesale YWGC Realty are the only ones in the Baltimore area that I have seen.  Of course, I am not in the market for a house in Baltimore so I am not too focused on checking every house listing.  However if you know of a good deal on a house in Hawaii, let me know.

What do you think of this smart and simple domain name marketing tactic?  Do you think setting up a website could help sell a house?  What about selling other products?

Automattic buys Lean Domain Search and acquihires Matt Mazur

matt mazurAutomattic, the company behind WordPress, recently bought Lean Domain Search to add to the WordPress.com blogging platform.  The news was announced via the Lean Domain Search blog a couple days ago by Matt Mazur, who started and built the domain name generator.

You might remember that last month I wrote that Lean Domain Search shuttered the Brandable Domain Generator and Domain Name Trends offerings.  In addition Matt Mazur moved the website from a freemium model to being completely free.

This news makes sense as I assume Automattic mainly wants Matt to focus on integrating Lean Domain Search with their products and helping improve the WordPress blog platform.  The acquisition is being pegged as an “acquihire” which refers to when tech firms buy companies not necessarily for the products but the team that built it.  Typically in an acquihire the larger tech company will shutdown the original product and integrate it with whatever offering they want or need.

While a few of Lean Domain Search's useful offeings have been shutdown as far as I can tell Automattic has no plans to shutter Lean Domain Search and the plan is to integrate the platform with WordPress.com.  Currently users of WordPress.com can buy a domain name for $13 a and can map to their subdomain blog on WordPress to their domain.  There is no domain generating tool on the free blogging platform but that will obviously change in the next few months.

It's not clear whether Automattic bought Lightstone Software along with Preceden, a timeline maker that is another one of Matt's offerings. As far as I can tell there are no plans to shutter Preceden.  There is no word on whether Precden will be integrated with Worpdress or what Matt has planned for the timeline maker.  (I sent Matt an email to clarify but have not heard back.)

In my opinion this was a smart move for Automattic and Worpress as finding a good domain name can prevent a lot of people from starting a blog or website.  (I know since I get emails about it all the time.)  Automattic can get the benefit of people using Lean Domain Search on Worpdress.com and collect affiliate revenue when people use the site.  Since WordPress is 10 years old now they seem to be making more decisions like a tech giant.  It will be interesting to see what other acquisitions Automattic will make in the future.

While the news is impressive for a service that was built by a single guy, unfortunately impressing Matt Mazur's family with news that you are making news proved to be challenging.

Congrats to Matt and I am sure he will be a valuable asset to Automattic and the WordPress team.

Lean Domain Search is now Free

lean domain searchIf anyone is disappointed that Lean Domain Search shutdown their brandable domain and domain name trends section recently you can at least be happy that the domain name generator is now completely free to use.

Some people might be thinking, “Hey wasn't Lean Domain Search free to use before?”  While technically it was free but it would only show you a partial list of the available domain names with your keyword (or keywords).  I believe it originally only showed you about 150-300 domain names depending on what keyword you used.  Now you can see a list of 4,000-5,000 domains (depending on your keyword) to find the perfect domain name for your needs.

The old model that Lean Domain Search worked off of was what is known as freemium.  That means the service is free to use but for premium services you have to pay.  In the case with Lean Domain Search you would have to pay to see the full list of domain names.  The subscription pricing was $79 for two months or $199 per year which worked out to $16.58 a month.

That wasn't too expensive considering how good a domain generator Matt Mazur, the creator of Lean Domain Search, built.  Especially since you got a big list of available domain names you could register and start using immediately.

However one of the issues with freemium models is that it is hard to convince someone to pay for a service even when you are providing them good features.  I assume one of the reasons Matt Mazur decided to show people the full list of available domain names was not too many people were signing-up for the paid subscriptions.  There is a better chance of him making money if people can see a wide range of domain names and register one they like.

Lean Domain Search uses affiliate links from domain registrars.  If you click through and buy a domain name Matt gets a little money from that sale.  This is a win-win since you found a good domain name to register and Matt gets some cash for his efforts.

Whether the Matt will bring back the paid subscriptions for Lean Domain Search and this is a temporary switch for the domain generator I am not sure.  I would imagine it is permanent as it would annoy users to go from a paid model, to a free model, and then back to paid model again.

The only other comparable domain name generator I have seen is Impossibility.org.  This allows you to be a little more specific if you want a shorter domain name and searching for verbs, nouns, or adjectives.  I'd check that out if you are having trouble finding a good domain name for your new website.

Still I think Lean Domain Search should is an excellent place to find a great available domain name.  I am glad to see the change to a free model to but that means it will be that much harder for me to find a good domain name.

4 Awesome Tools to find the Perfect Domain Name

As the internet keeps growing and with new sites popping up everyday it is becoming increasingly hard to find the elusive ‘perfect domain name' for you business, blog, service, or product.  While it's becoming harder it is still not impossible to find an available good, great, or perfect domain name to register for only $10 to build your website with.

Here are some tools I use for finding domain names.  Some might use other domain finding tool, but overall I have found these are the sites and tools I always keep coming back to use when I need a new domain name.

LeanDomainSearch – Probably one of the easiest and most helpful tools I have seen on the web for finding a good available domain name.  Lean Domain Search is super easy to use and straightforward.  All you do is type in a word or a few words that you want to use in a domain name.  It will generate a list of available .COM domains using those keywords highlighted in green.  Hover over and click one of the domains and it will tell you if that domain is in fact still available and if the Twitter handle for the domain is available (Twitter handles must be less than 20 words or characters though).  I have used Lean Domain Search many times and have found some great gems through it.  Of course a lot of domains it will spin out may not make sense or will just be plain weird word combinations.  Still this is worth a shot if you have been having trouble searching or narrowing down a perfect domain name.  There is also a new brandable domain generator too, which helps you find short brandable domains.  These are not necessarily grammatically correct but would be good if you are a startup or want a catchy memorable domain name.  You can use Lean Domain Search for free but it does limit your searches to 150.  To see the full list of 5,000 domains you can pay $79 for two months or $199 per year ($16.58 a month).  Probably worth every penny but I have never paid for the service.

UPDATE: Lean Domain Search is now completely free to use.  In addition the developer, Matt Mazur, let Automattic acquire Lean Domain Search.  This means the company behind WordPress now owns the domain generator.  Also something to be aware of is before the Automattic acquisition Matt shutdown the brandable domains and domain name trends section he use to have on the website.

perfect domain name

ExpiredDomains.net – One of the best and most comprehensive domain finding sites out there I have found.  This site searches expiring domains that are in the process of deleting from the domain registry and deleted domains.  You can really narrow down specifics of a domain name like no other tool or site I have seen.  For instance if you want to find a domain with the word “tech” you can select whether you want it in the front, back, or anywhere in the domain.  It lets you select domain extensions, character length, pagerank, , DMOZ entry, different languages, and whole lot more.  One thing you should keep in mind is that it searches expiring domain lists and there are a lot of junk domains that people buy and drop.  The best way to utilize ExpiredDomains.net is to really drill down what words you are looking for and to use specific search criteria to narrow down results.  Get to narrow though and you search won't turn up any domains.  ExpiredDomains.net also lets you search through GoDaddy Auctions, NameJet PreRelease and Auctions, Pool Marketplace and Dynadot.  This makes it very valuable all around domain finding tool.  You will have to sing-up for an account, but considering how useful it is I wouldn't worry about it.

NameChk – This is not technically a domain finding tool, but it is extremely useful.  It lets you see what social media handles are available for certain words.  So if owned the domain “example.com” I could try to see if “example” is available on social media bookmarking and networking sites.  Since consistency is important on the internet it is a good idea to see if that domain name you want to use has a Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. handles locked up or if they are all available.

WhoisRequest.org – My favorite Whois tool.  It will tell you how many times a domain nameservers have been changed, when, and how many times a domain was dropped, if ever.  If the domain was never registered before it will also tell you that. The data goes back to 2002 which should be far enough back for most people.  Most services that let you see a domain's history you have to pay for but WhoisRequest is completely free.  Making it a great tool in my webkit.

FYI Lean Domain Search and ExpiredDomains.net make money when you click through to a domain name registrar and buy a name.  They seem to prefer GoDaddy but I recommend using NameSilo as I have never had a problem with them.  Read my NameSilo Review to get an idea about their services.  They provide free privacy and easy domain registration and management.

If I find any other domain finding tools or sites that lets you zero in on that perfect domain name you are looking for, I will be sure to let all my readers know.  Remember it is possible nowadays to get a that perfect domain name, you are just going to have to spend time finding it.

Know someone who needs to find the “perfect domain name” and can't?  If so, please share this article with them so they don't need to be tearing their hair out.  

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!