So You Want To Be a Blogger: Notes from Borseth and Bukowski

If I had a nickel for every time I told myself I was going to start a blog I’d be living high on the hog right about now. Even better would be to have gotten a goat for every time I told myself the same thing, because then I’d have a whole herd of goats and could finally start that online goat cheese enterprise I’ve always dreamed about. But enough about me, this blog post is about you and how you are going to change the world through your deep thoughts and inspirational musing on your very own blog.

Having a successful blog ain’t no (oh yes I did, grammar nazis) easy thing to do though. You need to be dedicated to it and to be dedicated you also need to be excited about what you will be spending hours of your time writing. So find a passion and write about it. Or make a video about it. Or draw a picture about it. Or bake a themed cake about it. A blog doesn’t have to be all walls of text after all. Chances are that if you’re passionate about something there are others out there that are passionate about it as well. If the topic you decide to embrace isn’t something you have a burning desire to write about then it will show through in your content and, by extension, will be less compelling for the people you are trying to entertain. And don’t fool yourself, having a successful blog is almost entirely about entertainment.

Besides having a topic you have a passion for you also need the right tools for the task at hand. When it comes to blogging it’s hard to argue that the king of that particular niche is WordPress. You can download it and install it on your own hosting plan or you can use our super simple and easy to setup RapidPress service for less than seven cents a day. That’s right, less than $0.07 a DAY! You might think I’m yanking your chain on that one but I’m drop dead serious, seven-cents-a-day. Cross my heart and hope to die. Click that link up there and you will see for yourself just how easy it is to get started. Seriously, do it. I’ll wait.

And now, if you’re having a hard time coming up with a topic, I give you some inspiring words from one of my favorite writers, Charles Bukowski (RIP):

So You Want To Be a Writer

charles-bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

There you have it, inspiration and the tools to get started all in one simple blog post. Until next time, thank you for your attention and have a mighty fine day.

Owen Borseth
VP of Awesome™

Vegas Rules and Going Mobile: More Takeaways from SXSW 2013

Welcome to my dream

Welcome to my dream

Another year, another transformation for the city of Austin and the hungry creatives that attend SXSW 2013.  The buzz surrounding the parties, the comedy, the surprise guests during music sets, will be its legacy.  Of course we’ll use Vegas rules.  What happened on 6th street remains… Did you skip the event this year? Allow me to summarize the experience.

Robot Comedienne

Robot Comedienne

If your only involvements during SXSW are within the blocks of sponsored events, then you’re truly missing out on the flavor of Austin. Austin has a lot to offer, from the quintessential neighborhoods that spring southwestern culture to the pride of Texan sports, The University of Texas. Take a tour of the surroundings and you’ll discover that you need a minimum of 3 weeks to enjoy it all. Don’t worry, you can venture back in October for the Austin City Limits music festival.

Dancing in the streets

Dancing in the streets

As for the actual SXSW program, you should ask yourself, “Why am I here?” Although I was on assignment to capture content for Name.com I knew this conference required more engagement to bring back the necessary nuggets to move our company to the next level. SXSW is about consuming information, experiencing content, and making connections. There were plenty of lectures that fell flat and didn’t challenge me; at times because it wasn’t well thought out, or because I recently dove deep into the topic and was full. But then there were those gems that made it worth darting out of one talk and flying across the Convention Center to catch the last 2/3rds of a discourse that filled me with inspiration and pumped me “execution” fuel. Now go forth and transfer that energy to my compadres.

IMG_0735a

Party in the pop-up

To summarize the over arching theme in one word – “Mobile.” If you aren’t thinking mobile first then you’ve already lost. This isn’t exactly a new vibe pulsing through the tech community but it is amazing to see how many companies have grabbed hold of it and have their mobile act together. Jump in, the water is just fine and there’s still time to run with the pack.

Hangin' with my Dawgs

Hangin’ with my Dawgs

In this post-digital world that seems to move at the speed of thought, getting people to slow down and experience your product was a welcomed change of pace. The back massages at the American Airlines lounge helped me embrace the AA brand. The hands on innovation at the 3M lounge tickled my tech side. The ATT mobile charge lockers were perfectly placed. Also shout outs to the Chevy, Roku, and Samsung lounges.

IMG_0702a

Single point of light @ 3M Lounge

The coup de grâce was the trade floor featuring hundreds of companies pitching their products and services with fervor. The best were displays that demanded to be picked up and played.  Again shout outs to .ME, Amazon, Pond5 and way too many more to mention.

Improv Genius

Improv Genius

My words don’t do justice to an experiential event. At the very least I hope I’ve encouraged you to go out and live, learn, and share the creativity of our world. SXSW 2014 would be a great start.

Our Beer Friday Cartoon by Tony G.

We have talent rarin’ to run amuck down here, but much of it is tethered to a desk holding down the support phones and emails. Often our customer support staff volunteers for videos, such as this one, or this one, but Tony–who’s a jack of all trades, master of drinking–brought in an entire new dimension by drawing up our first ever Beer Friday Comic Strip. Here’s take 1.

beer friday's comic

How many times have you had a great idea but can’t draw? Well…Tony nails it. And now to make this a regular thing.

As long as the beer flows and the support staff’s artistic side is mostly repressed throughout the day, there will be more gems like this exploding from their massive brains.

SXSW 2013: I don’t want to hear any more about SXSW 2013

That’s not true, really. It actually is an amazing time with (often free) alcohol nearly sweating from the walls of every bar–and I think Austin has more bars than houses. Actually, some of the houses are bars. But the whole “SXSW” hashtag and buzz can get a little old. Or at least I felt like I was beginning to burden humankind with one too many Tweets. You know when you get that feeling that you’ve just overstepped? Like even your friends are about to unfollow? Well, I’m sxsw singssorry, but #SXSW has bands and promotions and startups throwing crazy parties. And it’s all huge and nuts and impossible not to talk about.

But the core of the event seems very much a simple notion of basic human contact. It’s people reaching out in all directions to learn and live a little. It’s also a lot of hipsters; almost like someone cloned Mumford and Sons about a million times and then scattered them about central Texas. But it’s just weird how everyone can be their own unique individual, yet we’re all out for about the same thing: to maybe come away a little better than we arrived, even if that means a fierce hangover.

And you do improve when you meet people. You’re honestly bettered by a simple handshake and a quick conversation. Now SXSW convos can quickly turn into a one-sided startup pitch, but many of them are truly intriguing…and then there’s this thing where you realize you’re talking to someone who’s doing what we all talk about doing: cutting away the crap and focusing on one big thing. Focusing like a laser with a speed habit on a huge task to get their WWW to improve some lives. (That may sound a little idealistic but if you’re not improving lives I can’t see how you can succeed.)

We went down there hoping to get some video. We did that. I even got sick on the first day and kept the video master Baxter awake with some pretty awesome snoring. But from our tight yet freakishly expensive confines, we were able to edit together some interviews with some amazing people including, but not limited to, Scumbag Steve.

What’s the one piece of advice I bring back? I’m echoing about a hundred people when I say PLAN one daytime event and one nighttime event. You may not even need to plan the nighttime as that just unfolds like a three sheets to the wind. But keep it simple and know where you’re going because if you’re like me and ADD SQUIRREL! then you just get distracted and lost. Although…SXSW isn’t a bad place to wander. Just make sure you have a camera. And a charged phone.

Here, a police officer helps me find where I’m going because my phone died.

sxsw cop smaller

Austin really isn’t that difficult to get around. It’s just that a guy can get a little taxed toting camera equipment whilst incubating several free drinks. The good news is that with your SXSW badge you’re allowed into some swanky parties. Samsung KILLED it with blogger lounges, afterparties and a big, sexy presence that almost made you forget your phone is an Apple.

samsung sxsw

And then there’s this overall freakiness; a pleasant freakiness that makes you feel pretty good about all those inhibitions you lost the night before.

sxsw 6th street freak

This girl probably regrets making this face at me, but I love the light.

sxsw freaky girl

And I love that the entire town is disrupted by drinking and rock n’ roll, and this guy is still delivering the mail. (A reminder that people do actually live and work there so limit out-of-towner douchiness.)

sxsw austin mail guy

Finally, try to make sure this happens to you:

sxsw margaritas

I’m pretty sure we’ll make it back next year. It’s expensive, but we learned some valuable lessons about planning, simplifying and not breaking our good microphone on the second day. When you know who you want to see during the seminars, who you want to talk to throughout the day, and have some idea about where to go once the sun sets, you’ll easily make up for your investment with the amazing connections you make.

Saint Patrick’s Day Domain Name Special

It’s early in the morning on St. Patrick’s Day and we’re going to try and convince our new corporate leaders to let us give you a discount.

Please hold.

All right. nOt much from management but Forker’s like, “whatever, maybe.

Forker is kind of the decider and We’re all buying her drinks. discount seems likely.

coms nad nets just 7.99 for a now!!! We got a code hold we gottacome up wit a code. hold on

it’slike not even 1pm. dude.

the code “stpartrickyeah”

com net 7.99 american.

i’ts just stpartrickyeah without the quotes

ends at 5pm MT. Today.

A WordPress website in minutes: RapidPress from name.com

You can have your very own WordPress website in minutes. Repeat: RapidPress is so easy you could start right now and have a website in about a minute. WE CAN’T STRESS ENOUGH HOW EASY THIS IS! Sorry for caps-lock yelling but RapidPress is every exciting, it’s a 1-click WordPress install on name.com hosting. Here’s how it works.

1. You get your domain name.

2. You click a button.

3. You have a website.

4. Go treat yourself to a smoothie because you just saved a bunch of money on a professional website.

RapidPress is cheaper than if you were to go directly through WordPress to get your website. And when we say “website” we don’t mean something like MySpace from 2005, but a WordPress website that’s sleek, functional and fantastic. With RapidPress you get all the flexibility, options and plugins for either a blog or a static page for your business.

Yes, there was a time when putting up a WordPress site meant finding the right hosting and then installing WordPress. NOW IT’S ALL DONE FOR YOU! With RapidPress you pick a domain, you click a button and VIOLA! you have a WordPress website.

Why do I need a website? OK, we’re just going to try and pretend you didn’t ask that. But not having a website is like not having a listing in your local phone book. And since phone books seem to stack up outside my front door, you need a website. It’s visibility, it’s credibility AND RIGHT NOW PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR THE VERY ITEMS YOU SELL. Again, apologies for shouting, but with RapidPress all of the news is good. With a RapidPress website you’ll be:

1. Finding new customers online.

2. Making an awesome first impression.

3. Driving business away from competitors.

4. Making money in your pajamas.

5. Giving all those Googlers some place to go, like your website.

Really, it’s 2013. Do we need to be arguing about if you need a website or not? No. It comes down to how easy and convenient it is. RapidPress is both. Conveasyent. RapidPress solves so many problems in one click. You’ll have your website and name.com will live forever with millions of happy customers. Oh, and so will you.

CLICK HERE to get started!

What’s Next for the nTLDS? An Overview of ICANN’s Initial Evaluation Timeline and Process

If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the nTLDs (new gTLDs), then you’re not alone. Some of us are too excited to sleep and spend most of our nights continuously refreshing the ICANN homepage, hoping to see more information about when these little guys are going live. But enough about us, because the 1,917 nTLD applicants still in the running have been waiting for ICANN’s initial evaluation results since October, and they’ve got an exciting few months ahead of them.

ICANN’s working hard to get through all the applications, and hopes to start releasing initial evaluation results later this month. For those of you new to nTLD watching, or those who have been patiently standing by for more information, here’s a run-down of what to expect, as the initial evaluations start coming out.

Christine Willett, the general manager of ICANN’s new gTLD program, hosted a webinar about the initial evaluation process, to try to solidify important dates and let applicants know where their applications stood. The main takeaway points were:

  • Initial evaluation results are set to be released, according to priority draw number, on Mar. 23, 2013.
  • ICANN hopes to review about 100 application per week, starting now and ending in June 2013 – meaning that depending where an application is on the priority drawing list, that applicant will receive their initial evaluation results anywhere between Mar. 23 and the end of June.
  • About 80% of applicants will receive clarifying questions (CQs) during their initial evaluation process — those CQs will be issued between Jan. and June of this year. The questions are meant to clarify areas of applications that need more information, or to update information that may have changed since the initial applications were received, in June of 2012.
  • Applicants have four weeks to respond to clarifying questions.
  • After clarifying questions, applications will go through a final review, and initial evaluation results will be published, again according to priority draw placement, starting in May 2013, and ending in August 2013.

So if you’re wondering when the first nTLDs are going to “go live,” the best guess for applications closer to the front of the priority list, would be sometime in the summer of this year. Applicants will still have to go through a pre-delegation process after the initial evaluation results are published, so even if applicants make it through the initial evaluation with no major concerns (most are expected to), applicants won’t be going straight from initial evaluation to launch.

Still fuzzy on what exactly the initial evaluation is? During the initial evaluation, ICANN has multiple panels reviewing applications. Each panel is named for the service it provides, and the panels included in initial evaluation are:

  • Background screening: The background screening process is already partially complete. ICANN already checked to make sure that those applying are who they say they are, but now ICANN will need to evaluate the background of the applicant to make sure there are no conflicts of interest, such as a former cyber-squatter applying for administration rights of nTLDs.
  • String similarity: During the initial evaluation, ICANN will be checking each applicant to make sure proposed nTLDs are not too similar to one another, or to previously released gTLDs, in order to prevent string contentions.
  • DNS stability: ICANN will make sure each applicant has the DNS (domain name system) capability to support the administration and registry of their proposed nTLD.
  • Geographic names: During this phase of evaluation, ICANN makes sure that no proposed strings are in contention with geographical TLDs. Swiss Airlines already had to withdraw their application to .SWISS for this exact reason.
  • Financial: In order to properly administrate a nTLD, the applicant needs to have the financial stability to properly run and support the needs of the registry.
  • Technical and operational: Another initial evaluation check to make sure the applicants proposing nTLDs have the capability to run and support an entire registry for their nTLD(s).
  • Registry services: During this evaluation, applicants will be checked to make sure the manner in which they will be registering their nTLD conforms to ICANN guidelines, and that the proposed use of a string, as expressed in the application, meshes with the ICANN guidelines concerning how to provide registry services.

If you’re as excited as we are about nTLDs, then keep checking back here, on our blog – we’ll keep posting up-to-date information on the new gTLD application process. If you’ve got your eye on a handful of nTLDs, make sure to check out our nTLD watcher, which will keep you updated on the nTLDs you care about.

 

 

Perfect nTLDs for an E-Commerce Storefront

Remember when everyone started using online storefronts and the older generation was all, “Those crazy kids with these crazy electronic stores. Whatever happened to selling door to door, or in the market?” Of course you don’t – that was like a bazillion years ago. And besides, those people have been proven dead wrong.

The average U.S. consumer spends over $1,000 a year online, and that number is expected to increase by 44% in the next three years, 71% of shoppers believe they’ll get a better deal online than in stores, and in the next few years, mobile shopping is expected to count for $64 billion of revenue in the U.S. alone (according to a 2012 eMarketer report).ntld storefront irony

Bottom line: It’s time to start your e-commerce site, open an online front for your brick and mortar business, or max-out your e-commerce storefront with blogs, product pages, and sales tabs. If you’re looking for affordable new domains in the next year, consider some of the new gTLDs that are coming your way – you’ll be able to get short, memorable domain names with industry-specific extensions at landrush prices, and some of the nTLDs are specifically tailored for e-commerce.

Here’s a couple nTLD suggestions that would be perfect for e-commerce:

  • .SHOP: When you’re looking for a good, searchable domain name, one of the rules is to stick with highly searchable keyword terms. What if you could put one of those terms in your domain name without compromising length, or the name of your company? That’s what a .SHOP domain can offer you, as an e-commerce owner. You’ll be able to have access to a virtual name space for shopping, and acquire a domain name that says, “You can shop here.”
  • .BUY: Just like .SHOP, .BUY creates a generic-term domain name that both adds a searchable keyword to your extension and signals to potential customers what business sector you belong to. .BUY and .SHOP are slotted to be industry-wide nTLDs that offer a unique name space for retailers, all over the world, who sell their merchandise online.
  • .PROMO: Promos make the e-commerce world go around. Conversion rates increase during promotional periods, especially when promoting on social networks. Get a unique domain name specifically for your promotions page with .PROMO. Because it’s a new top level domain, you’ll be able to register your trademark during the sunrise period and secure yourcompany.promo for use during all of your future promotions. .PROMO is easily-identifiable to your customers and allows you to develop a specific site extension for the purpose of promotion.
  • .COUPONS/.DEALS/.DISCOUNT: Who doesn’t love a bargain? For real. If you know anyone who hates bargains, have them contact us so we can interview them for the blog because they would be a true anomaly. Having a page on your e-commerce site specific to savings allows your customers to go straight to the “bargain bin,” so to speak, if they’re shopping on a budget. Anytime you can make your site easier to navigate, conversion rates increase. These extensions offer a way to use your company name and a savings-centered extension to promote your deals, discounts, and coupons. Adding pages also increases inbound links, which helps SEO.
  • .ECOM: It doesn’t really get more industry specific than .ECOM. While you might be able to find nTLDs that cater to the industry you sell in, such as .SHOES, .CAR, and .BIKE, .ECOM is a perfect domain for any e-commercial business that doesn’t fit into a generic term category, or for any e-commercial business that sells products and services meant to increase other e-com sites, such as hosting services, analytics, shopping carts, purchasing services, affiliate marketing, social media enhancement, etc. .ECOM serves many different purposes, but stays specific to e-commerce.

Check out our complete list of nTLDs, including a retail-specific category. Also sign up to watch your favorite nTLDs, so you know when landrush and sunrise periods start, by using our watcher.