Millions of years ago, if a geek wanted to play videogames, he had to take a pocketful of quarters to the mall where darkened rooms filled with 6-foot-tall cabinets bleeped and blooped in glowing 8-bit goodness. Before we measured the quality of our games in voxels, we had to use our imaginations and believe that jagged white lines were massive hurtling asteroids, and that a triangle was your intrepid starship attempting to navigate the void. We fantasized that a simple white line was Bjorn Borg, and that a single pixel of light was a tennis ball being smashed at Jimmy Connors’ racket, or that shooting the head of a centipede would turn it in into a mushroom.
The Elder Gods of the Internet call that era back in the day. It was a day of wonder – where bits were downloaded at a blistering three-hundred per second, hard-drives were the size of small Eastern-European cars, and digital watches were a pretty neat idea. The Elder Gods look upon those days fondly, and look for ways to remind themselves of those heady days when you could hack a telephone with a cereal box whistle.
So, in an effort to bring a little bit of the past into the present day, these vinyl decals were created to turn any wall into a gigantic representation of the classic Atari videogames Asteroids, Centipede or Pong. Just peel and stick and you can relive those ancient and halcyon days of whooping flying saucers, spinning potentiometers as controllers, and falling fleas that fart fungus.
Imagine being on vacation in an unfamiliar city. You’re hungry and looking around for something to eat. The choices are overwhelming. How do you know which restaurants are good? You don’t want to waste your money or your hunger on something inferior, right?
Now imagine putting on your sunglasses and looking at a restaurant. Except now you don’t just see a restaurant. You see customer reviews overlaying the actual building. Suddenly your decision isn’t so difficult after all.
So where can you get these glasses? Well you can’t… yet. But you can download an app from somewhere like Yelp and use your cell phone camera in the same way. And it’s not even that new of a technology. It’s been around for quite a while.
The best programmers on the planet can no longer help you find a good quality domain name for your website.
I’m always interested to hear about a new available domain finder tool, but my interest is usually followed by disappointment. With each query I am let down by the poor quality domains generated by these services.
The tool looked promising, providing an advanced method of creating prefixes with vowels in the middle followed by suffixes. That should work, right? Unfortunately it doesn’t.
The results are similar to other tools for researching 5 letter or short domains. They look something like this: Coufo, Blole, Twafo, Twume, Plole, Clule. Terrible.
The domain names generated by many tools today are nonsensical strings of characters. Good quality made up words and “brandable” domains do exist, but they have all been claimed. Just as four letter domains have all been registered, so have gone quality short domains.
Truly quality brandable domains can really only be found on the aftermarket.
So, what are the alternatives?
I am a big fan of keyword domain names. Yes, even for branding. I consider good quality keywords to have huge advantages over made up brands that may just sound cool. The advantages are that these types of domains are often very memorable and easily readable.
You’re not too late. There are a lot of keyword domains available to register and many are still affordable on the aftermarket. While you may not be able to get a one-word domain, there are still descriptive two and three-word domain names that have inherent value beyond your modest registration fee.
To find the best names I recommend using data to support the popularity of your keywords. SEO and SEM tools like Google AdWords can provide further insight.
Every day hundreds of thousands of domain names are allowed to expire by their owners. A few months later these domains make their way back to general availability.
You have two options when going after an expired domain.
Backorder - Find out which registrar the domain name was claimed at. If a domain was previously managed at GoDaddy then you should place a backorder for the name at GoDaddy for the best chances of winning the expiring domain.
Catch the Drop - Approximately 2 months after a domain expires it will “drop” from the registry and become available again. This option usually works for less popular domains. DomainerIncome’s blog has a detailed look at the expiration process.
You may be able to find a quality brandable names by researching expiring domains, but I wouldn’t hold your breath! This is a good place to look for keywords though.
There are a lot of great marketplaces that are not getting nearly enough of the attention they desserve. The largest domain aftermarket site is Sedo, because of the sheer quantity of listings from around the world. There are less known marketplaces, privately hosted portfolios, and auction services like Flippa where gems can be found.
So, that perfect name has been taken! It happens to thousands of people every day. Why give up on it? You can contact the owner of a domain by looking up their WHOIS information, but you’ll need to pray it isn’t private.
Bookmarklet: DomainTools(Drag & Drop link to your toolbar)
Email the owner a brief, polite message expressing your interest in the domain and make an offer to purchase. Your offer should be close to the final amount you would be willing to pay if you expect to receive a response.
How do you find quality domain names?
Are there available domain finder tools that actually work?
Thanks for taking the time to read my suggestions for finding quality domains. Please share your thoughts in the comments area below.
Frank Schilling published an editorial recently that was well received, even proclaimed to be the most important post of the year. I would like to respectfully disagree with that sentiment and provide my own perspective.
Frank crafted an interesting metaphor between the early days of oil drilling and the present day perception of direct navigation domain name traffic. Direct navigation is when people type in a domain name instead of doing a search. This type of traffic is extremely targeted. On most generic words it flows in daily by the barrel full.
The editorial did not necessarily apply to me personally because my domain names do not receive any significant amount of traffic. So dismal in fact, that I have stopped parking entirely. That’s the hard reality that many domainers who got their start around or after the .COM bubble or may not have capital to invest in generic domains.
However, hope is not lost for the countless domainers who do not have a steady supply of black gold.
Like the mythical Alchemist’s Stone that transmutes common metals into pure gold, we can transform virtually any domain name into a source of traffic by developing it.
Development through content creation, marketing and web design enables you to transform an “undiscovered” domain into vibrant virtual real estate. We can essentially create our own streams of traffic through a little hard work and know-how.
The future of our industry is heading towards web development, lead generation, affiliate marketing, direct advertising and paid content. Trade-in that parking account for a content management system and start working towards building your empire of truly developed websites.
I believe we can overcome the challenges and time-constraints to make this work by innovating and adopting the latest technologies. Quality websites built today will become the leading destinations of tomorrow.
New research from the University of New Hampshire shows that the “gateway effect” of marijuana – that teenagers who use marijuana are more likely to move on to harder illicit drugs as young adults – is overblown.
Whether teenagers who smoked pot will use other illicit drugs as young adults has more to do with life factors such as employment status and stress, according to the new research. In fact, the strongest predictor of whether someone will use other illicit drugs is their race/ethnicity, not whether they ever used marijuana.
Conducted by UNH associate professors of sociology Karen Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellon, the research appears in the September 2010, issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in the article, “A Life-course Perspective on the ‘Gateway Hypothesis.’ “
“In light of these findings, we urge U.S. drug control policymakers to consider stress and life-course approaches in their pursuit of solutions to the ‘drug problem,’ ” Van Gundy and Rebellon say.
The researchers used survey data from 1,286 young adults who attended Miami-Dade public schools in the 1990s. Within the final sample, 26 percent of the respondents are African American, 44 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are non-Hispanic white.
Zillow.com® and Apartments.com™, two of the nation’s leading online destinations for real estate and multifamily housing, respectively, today announced a partnership to bring the Apartments.com national database of 90,000 managed apartment rental listings to Zillow®. Apartments.com rental listings include comprehensive home details, photos, floorplans, and property manager contact information – bringing the full search experience from Apartments.com to Zillow.
Listings from Apartments.com will receive exposure to Zillow’s 12 million monthly visitors(i), nearly two million of whom are currently renters. This syndication brings the total number of rental listings for single-family homes and apartments on Zillow.com to 150,000.
In addition to being displayed on Zillow, Apartments.com rental listings will also appear on the Zillow Mobile application, which has been downloaded more than two million times and is the most popular real estate application on the iPhone®, Android®, iPad™, and Windows® Mobile platforms.
“Zillow offers an unmatched user experience for home shoppers who are renting, deciding whether to rent or buy, or shopping for a home to buy. This partnership deepens Zillow’s footprint in the rental search industry, and gives Zillow users access to a new category of managed apartment rental listings,” said Chloe Harford, Zillow’s vice president of mortgages and new ventures.
Google is set to unveil a new feature to its Gmail service that aims to separate a user’s important emails from the ones that do not get read often.
The new feature called “Priority Inbox” will help users focus on messages that matter without having to set up complex rules, Google said in its official blog.
The Priority Inbox application splits the inbox into three sections: ‘Important and unread’, ‘Starred’ and ‘Everything Else’.
“As messages come in, Gmail automatically flags some of them as important. Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important, including the people you email most and which messages you open and reply to,” the company said.
Google said Priority Inbox will roll out to all Gmail users, including those who use Google Apps, over the next week.
I really love discovering the latest trends in online business, web development, domain names and technology. It helps me stay ahead of the competition and better understand the needs and interests of my blog readers today.
In this article I will share the tools and resources I use to take brief glimpses into the future. Using these tools, you too can gain insight into trends and make predictions about the course of your own industry.
Followed by the 10 resources I describe 6 ways you can take advantage of the data for potential profit. Enjoy!
1. Recorded Future
An amazing new service is now providing free updates on future events and trends related to any industry or topic. This brief video introduction to Recorded Future explains how you can use the service to learn about the future.
Select as many topics or as you wish and you will receive an email update for each topic either daily or weekly.
The emails feature a visual overview of the volume and scope of future events and a listing of article references.
The media has embraced Twitter as an amazing source of breaking news accross the globe. If something big is happening tomorrow, it’s probably already being talked about on Twitter.
Twitter’s real-time nature makes for a great place to watch out for what’s new, emerging and promising. A visit to TweetMeme can show you what people are reading and sharing. There are also many apps and services for monitoring trends. What The Trend displays crowdsourced data on why things are trending.
I am a fan of Ray Kurzweil for his far reaching vision of the future (or it could be the sci-fi geek in me). His talks on the singularity event of exponential technological development make me thrilled to live in such an age of growth.
Futurists can also be a unique source of information for business in the short term. They use extensive experiences, public polling, deductive reasoning and other scientific studies to make predictions.
One futurist recently enlightened us that newspapers as we know them will be gone by 2022, to be replaced by crowdsourced journalism. This makes me excited to be on at center stage as the world discovers blogs and other homegrown online media.
5. Trend Hunters
I like to leave things to the experts in many situations. Trend hunting is no different.
The following examples are well-respected for staying on top of the latest in technology, media and more. Try to find the go-to sources for your niche.
Arguably one of the best ways to predict the future is by viewing the trends in website traffic. This data can be found at Compete and Alexa.
Jacques Mattheij recently predicted that Facebook will overtake Google in the next 18 months using website traffic estimates.
7. Looxii Social Monitoring
While I have not had a chance to fully try out this curiously named service (I’m guessing they were going for ‘look see’), it does seem very promising as a social media monitoring tool.
With Looxii you can monitor up to 2 keywords for free and have reports emailed to you daily. The reports contain data of mentions and trends across blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
8. PostRank Labs
The team at PostRank, which I have previously praised for their innovative new services, are showing no signs of slowing down.
PostRank Labs features a suite of amazing tools such as social trends, blog widgets, even a engagement analytics plugin for your Google Reader.
Their newest tool allows you to compare social engagement across 3 different domains.
9. Google AdWords & Insights
Advertisers bidding on keywords at Google want to know which terms will be most beneficial to them. The world’s best search engine has gone to great lengths to provide amazingly useful data for just that purpose.
Fire up the Google AdWords Keyword tool and you will see a small graph at the right of each row which represents the local search volume.
This data is particularly useful for web publishers and businesses looking to increase the effectiveness of their search optimization efforts.
Google Insights provides a one-year forecast, comparisons and notable news for multiple terms.
Lastly, I have something for you to watch out for. Google has recently acquired Metaweb and Freebase, a massive public database of virtually all types of data.
10. Bookmarking Data
I have noticed a few things having kept an eye on Delicious popular bookmarks off and on over the course of many months. Invisible trends and influences moving through the blogosphere, often at the highest levels on the most popular publications.
TechCrunch articles will cause spin-offs, one blog will counter with it’s own arguments, a popular piece (The Web Is Dead) may cause the whole internet to share their opinion. We’re all connected much more than you might think.
After checking out the above tools, you might be asking yourself, “How do I profit from knowing about the future?” Unfortunately, there are no lottery ticket numbers or sports scores to be had.
This is going to take some initiative and time invested, but the rewards can be great. Here are some ways I’ve come up with that you can use this information for profit.
1. Buy domain names of future products and services
As an example, I purchased HTML5Framework.com during the coding standard’s debut on the web. If I had decided to research this earlier, I could have registered countless other valuable HTML5 domain names.
Another example, RecycledFood.com; the business of turning food waste into energy and other products is growing rapidly. I registered this for a small fee and it may now be worth quite a bit.
2. Start a blog about a trending or emerging category
The sooner you begin publishing content the better, because the blogs of today may be some of the leading publications of tomorrow.
A prime example of this would be social media blogs. They are now some of the most heavily trafficked destinations on the web. One of the most popular, Social Media Examiner launched just 1 year ago and has already grown into a million dollar publication.
3. Invest in companies which show future potential
I enjoyed the following bit of information from Paul Graham, founder of startup incubator Y Combinator during a talk on the future of software and startups.
Hackers are a leading indicator of what people will be using in the future.
4. Get a head start on marketing products
Not many people know that Google TV is launching in the fall this year. I have been writing about it and sharing updates on this destined game-changer for several months now. This simple act of writing a post will give my site more authority and relevance for later coverage.
When it comes to web content and affiliate marketing, those who act first often come out as the winners as far as search rankings and eventual commission earnings.
5. Become an early adopter
Sharing all the latest news, resources and tools with your network is a great social media strategy. It also helps you learn the pulse of your industry and catalog all it’s resources.
6. Launch a startup or build the next big app
I just read this interesting bit of information recently on TechCrunch. There is a ton of opportunity for those who run ahead of the pack.
One company that has been overlooked as a potential platform for other startups to build a business on remains YouTube, which Google acquired for $1.65 billion in 2006.
Thank you for taking the time to review these tools and resources for predicting the future and my ideas for profiting from future predictions. If you would like to suggest further resources or share your thoughts on this topic please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
There is a world of interesting data out there with many secrets yet to be discovered and it is only going to get better.