How & why you should use DomainTools’ portfolio tracker

DomainTools offers a nifty tool for tracking domain names.

DomainTools has a lot of useful features, but most people just barely scratch the surface of its capabilities. One of the tools I find particularly useful is Domain Monitor.

Simply put, Domain Monitor monitors domain names and lets you know if changes are made to the whois record. Changes can include expiration dates, lock status, registrar, registrant, etc.

It’s pretty obvious how this can help you with your own portfolio. Click here to continue reading…

4 subscription domain name services I use

Here are four subscription-based domain name services I use regularly.

There are a lot of great subscription-based services for the domain name industry. Here are four that I use on a regular basis.

FreshDrop $19.95 per month

FreshdropFreshDrop is my go-to source for finding the best expiring domain names. A recent redesign might take long-time users a bit to get used to, but Freshdrop has a number of powerful filtering tools under the hood.

I’ve used FreshDrop to find a number of great gems that I would have otherwise overlooked.

DomainIncite Pro $79.99/month, $799/year

DomainIncite ProDomainIncite Pro has a number of great tools for people who track the top level domain name business.

I became a subscriber after ICANN borked the search function on its new TLD application database. I can easily search for new TLD applications on DI Pro based on applicant, back-end provider, status, etc.

The service also has a very clean zone file table showing the latest new TLD registration numbers.

A recent feature that may be interesting is a list of all websites using new TLDs that show up within the top 1 million on Alexa.

Estibot from $29.95/month

EstibotA lot has been said over the years about Estibot. Regardless of what you think about the dollar valuations it spits out, I find the service useful in a number of ways.

A key one: finding gems from within a long list of domain names. When I get a list of domains for sale, I’ll run it through Estibot to see which ones pop out with its algorithms.

I also periodically run my own domain portfolio through Estibot to see if I’ve overlooked something. I like how the appraisal results show which other TLDs my domains are registered under.

The end user lead generator is also handy.

DomainTools $49.95/month, $499.95/year

DomainToolsEverybody uses DomainTools, right? It’s probably the most popular service on this list.

I primarily use it for historical whois lookups. But I also use it to track for domain name changes (including in my own portfolio), finding domain sales and transfers, and to search for available domain names.

DomainTools retools website

Company launches new homepage more targeted to security and enterprise services.

DomainTools homepageDon’t be alarmed if you visit this afternoon and see the image to the right.

The company, known in the domain name community for its whois and domain searching tools, has updated its home page as well as some other elements throughout the site.

Whereas the previous home page focused on whois searches and finding domain names, the new one is all about cybercrime, brand protection, and enterprise offerings. You could describe the old design as transactional; the new one is more of a brochure for the company’s advanced services. (You can see the old site design on, which is owned by the same company.)

Some of the look and feel extends to other pages of the site, although the various tools are mostly untouched as of now. The biggest change facing power users right now will be a slightly different navigation to use each tool. You’ll notice that the tabs near the top of the page have been displaced by drop down menus. gets distribution (and here’s how to opt-in)

If you opt-in, GoDaddy and DomainTools customers will now see that your domain is for sale.’s domain sales platform has been quickly adopted by a number of domain name investors. But until now it has been missing a key ingredient of domain sales – distributed listings.

That changed today as the company announced a deal with GoDaddy and DomainTools to help generate more sales leads for domain names.

If a GoDaddy user searches for your exact domain name, they’ll see a notification that the domain can be purchased.


If they click the link, they’ll fill out a quick lead gen form that is forwarded to’s brokers.

This is different from GoDaddy’s existing implementation with Sedo and Afternic, which instead sends customers to GoDaddy Auctions. (The Afternic implementation will soon change now that GoDaddy owns it.)

One nice thing about this arrangement is that DNS’ brokers will screen offers for clients.

At DomainTools, visitors will see a notification that the domain is for sale and, when clicked, will end up on a DNS sales inquiry form.

Both of the services come with a 20% commission, which is shared between the syndication partners and DNS. DNS reports that it has seen a 30% increase in lead volume when it syndicates its listings.

Clients have to opt-in for the syndication. To opt-in, go to the “Settings” tab in your account and select “Name Syndication”:


Look for the link at the bottom of the page about agreeing to the Service Agreement. Once you do that you can check the box to syndicate your portfolio. Your portfolio will be syndicated to the partner sites in about 24 hours.

An overview of the Seattle domain name circuit

Last week I visited the many domain name companies that call Seattle home.

Seattle is home to a large (and growing) number of domain name companies.

Seattle is home to a large (and growing) number of domain name companies.

Last month I took my annual family “escape the Texas heat” vacation to Seattle. I didn’t get the chance to visit any of the domain companies in the area while I was there, so last week I took a return trip to Seattle to rectify that.

The collection of domain name companies in Seattle is large and growing. This is not by coincidence. A couple domain name entrepreneurs in the area have had nice exits and started other domain ventures for a second act.

Other companies, such as GoDaddy, have moved to the area to take advantage of strong tech talent.

Soon you’ll be able to add even more Seattle companies to the domain name list. Perhaps, which applied for 76 top level domain names, will be considered a domain name company.

While my company visits were mostly for information gathering and introductions, here’s a quick run down of the visits.


My first stop was to visit Archeo on Pike Street. Archeo is the pure-play domain name company being spun off from Marchex. Later this year or early next year it will become its own publicly traded company.

Archeo has over 200,000 domain names, and earlier this week formally launched its domain marketplace.

Archeo excites me. Its domain portfolio has a lot of low-hanging fruit because it hasn’t been touched for years, which means we’ll see a lot of action in its portfolio over the next 6-12 months.

The company is also starting to acquire domain names again, which may present opportunities for domain name owners with solid portfolios or individual domain names. The company will obviously be smart about acquisitions, but there’s one more large buyer in the marketplace now.

Archeo is also looking to do strategic deals with companies and entrepreneurs that want to develop domain names. Plenty of companies have tripped up trying to develop domains, but if done correctly, this could create some great case studies for the power of good domain names.


Just down the street from Archeo is DomainTools, the domain name data company.

DomainTools’ office has an open, startup feel to it. All employees – including CEO Tim Chen – work out in the open. Meetings are held in rooms named after top level domain, e.g. the .org room. (Perhaps it will rename some of them after the launch of new TLDs.)

The company is working on some neat initiatives that I expect we’ll learn more about in the coming year.

Jay Westerdal

Next up I visited with Jay Westerdal, who founded DomainTools and sold it in 2008.

Although laying a bit low, Westerdal isn’t out of the domain business. He is involved with 11 top level domain name applications, a couple of which are uncontested.


The next day I drove out to visit with Donuts. Donuts is the largest applicant for new top level domain names. It originally applied for 307 domains but has since withdrawn some after settling contention sets.

The team at Donuts has basically every aspect of the domain name industry covered experience-wise. It’s also backed by $100 million + in financing and The Wall Street Journal named it the #14 top startup.

In other words: it’s kind of a big deal.

If there’s any disappointment to visiting the Donuts office, its that there’s no Krispy Kreme franchise located in the breakroom. That’s probably for the better; I suspect the company’s health insurer would jack up its rates if there were.

Demand Media

Seattle is home to much of Demand Media’s domain name operations, which will soon be spun off into its own publicly traded business.

That Demand Media’s domain group and Donuts are in the same city is not coincidental. Demand Media’s domain business is built on eNom. Paul Stahura, now founder of Donuts, founded eNom and sold it to Demand Media in 2006.

Demand Media’s domain operations cover the gamut of the domain business. In addition to eNom, the company runs expired domain service NameJet. It also has two dozen active new top level domain name applications and set up registry operations that will handle Donuts’ new TLDs.

While there I also picked up one of the popular .ninja mousepads. Someday these mousepads will sell for a lot on eBay.


My final stop was GoDaddy. GoDaddy’s quest for talent has stretched from Phoenix to Iowa to Silicon Valley and now to Seattle. Its new office in Kirkland is literally walking distance from Demand Media, which means quite a few domain people are bumping into each other while taking caffeine breaks at the same Starbucks.

The office is on Lake Washington. How’s this for a perk: work at GoDaddy’s Seattle office and you can literally drive your boat to work and dock it outside the office. That sure lends a new definition to “morning commute”.