November 28, 2014 Chris Hall

Black Friday/Cyber Monday platform sales

Black Friday/Cyber Monday platform sales

Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend is right around the corner (Nov 27 - Dec 1), and if previous years are any indication, it could be a good time to start a website or check out a new web service.

We'll be updating this page throughout the week as sales are announced, so be on the lookout. Also, if you have (or know of) a deal we're not listing, let us know.

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November 25, 2014 Chris Hall

.COM too expensive? One new podcast went with .LIMO and .DIAMONDS

For the "do domain extensions really matter" archives. Gimlet Media just announced its first new podcast yesterday, Reply All. We're not a podcast review site so I won't go into details (tldr: it's a great, story based podcast about the internet), but there's one line in the end credits of the first episode I absolutely loved.

Do not go to It's too expensive. We didn't want to buy it. Instead, we bought and

Make of it what you will, but I'd say this is a case of "if your thing is popular, people will find you." Don't sacrifice your sane brand name because the .com is taken—there are plenty of alternative domain extensions out there, and if what you do is good, people will find you in your corner of the internet.

November 20, 2014 Chris Hall

That domain name you wanted might be available soon

From Domain Incite, in an article titled, Over 180,000 blocked new gTLD names to drop next week:

Several new gTLD registries will release hundreds of thousands of currently blocked domain names — some of them quite nice-looking — next Wednesday.

It’s one of the first big batches of name collisions to be released to market.

The companies behind .xyz, .website, .press, .host, .ink, .wiki, .rest and .bar will release most of their blocked names at 1400 UTC on November 26.

November 20, 2014 Chris Hall

A deep dive into the personal world of password creation

From The New York Times, in a wonderful article titled, The Secret Life of Passwords:

SEVERAL YEARS AGO I began asking my friends and family to tell me their passwords. I had come to believe that these tiny personalized codes get a bum rap. Yes, I understand why passwords are universally despised: the strains they put on our memory, the endless demand to update them, their sheer number. I hate them, too. But there is more to passwords than their annoyance. In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar — these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. They derive from anything: Scripture, horoscopes, nicknames, lyrics, book passages. Like a tattoo on a private part of the body, they tend to be intimate, compact and expressive.

Perhaps my biggest surprise has been how willing, eager actually, people are to openly discuss their keepsakes. The friends I queried forwarded my request, and before long I started receiving passwords from complete strangers.

It's a long article, but definitely worth your time.

November 19, 2014 Chris Hall

The 25 most popular new domain extensions on iwantmyname

The 25 most popular new domain extensions on iwantmyname

According to, there are 3,177,772 new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) registered to date. What that says about the overall popularity of the rollout is up for debate, but there's no denying the success of some of the extensions. .XYZ, .CLUB, and a bunch of the city gTLDs are doing quite well, and even some of the less popular ones (62 at the moment) have broken the 10,000 registrations mark.

But, at least for me, looking at an overall popularity list doesn't really say anything. I want to know what the people I identify with are using, and for that, I need some specific stats—stats from our customers. Here's what we found.

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November 19, 2014 Chris Hall

A three-pronged approach to communications chaos

A three-pronged approach to communications chaos

If you talk to the communications manager (or similar position) of a brand of just about any size, you might notice a small tinge of panic in their voice. It's all just too much. On one hand, communicating with audiences is easier than ever, with seemingly infinite platforms to engage with infinite types of customers. But on the other hand, keeping up with it all while not sounding insane is madness.

Here's a personal example. Our primary communications goal is to build an authentic brand relationship with our customers. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it's really not. We're not looking to be part of your social scene, and we'll never expect you to wake up every morning pining over what we have to say, but we do hope that when your friends ask for a domain registrar recommendation, you're confident enough in us steer them our way. And the best way to gain your trust (aside from constantly improving our platform) is to let you in a bit—to show you what we're focusing on, thinking about, creating, and improving.

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November 18, 2014 Chris Hall

Adventures in Markdown: Whiskey's new outline view

Some people have gambling addictions, some struggle with caffeine—my vice is Markdown apps. Much like the Twitter apps of yore (or the podcast apps of today), Markdown apps are a wonderland for developers to implement tiny-but-genius improvements to a fairly rigid set of rules. Apps like Mou (Mou 1.0 hit its funding goal!), Marked, and Byword are in constant rotation on my computer, and I’m always on the hunt for the next new creation.

One thing that’s always bugged me though with Markdown apps is their inability to organize longform content. I'm not talking about 1,000 word posts here—I mean book-length content. You can use all the header sizes you want, but without a way to visually see an outline and quickly move between sections and chapters, I just can't see myself completely deleting the old, bloated word processors that still plague my hard drive.

But there's a new Markdown app in town I'm really excited about—Whiskey. It's still in beta, but developer Sam Soffes (who worked on Hipstamatic, Roon, Cheddar, and the deceptively brilliant Shares) seems to be adding a lot of the things I've been yearning for. Most notably (at least to me), a slick outline view you can toggle with a hotkey.

Here's a video example (from the dev):

Whiskey clearly isn't a finished product yet, but it's pretty functional in its current form. So if you're a fan of Markdown apps, I definitely recommend checking out the outline view implementation in the latest version. It's pretty slick.

November 13, 2014 Chris Hall

Should you put all your products and ideas on one domain?

Should you put all your products and ideas on one domain?

Let's face it, I, like many of my colleagues, have a bit of a problem. I think of the web as a blank canvas, just waiting for my ideas to populate its empty space. And every time I have a new idea, I do one thing—scramble to grab the corresponding domain name.

My ongoing quest has gotten a bit easier since the launch of the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) (being able to get just about any name in some form is a huge time-saver), but the underlying problem still remains. If/when I lose interest trying to make small ideas flourish, I find myself sitting on a pile of empty dreams and untapped potential (at least until the domains expire).

The real hurdle is the process it takes to create and market new sites. It's much easier today than it was a decade ago, but you still have to design them (although templates are getting better and better), brand them, come up with a consistent content strategy, create a bunch of social accounts and mailing lists, then promote the hell out of them. It's exhausting!

The proposed solution? From Brian Knapp, in an article titled, Everything On One Domain:

There is so much more value in having everything on this website than there is in having even two or three different domains we are managing.

Further on...

The best part is when we want to launch something new or explore an idea, we just create a page and put it out there, email our list, and see what people think. Also, we don't have to hunt for a new domain name for every idea we have. We just create a new page and boom, we're done.

I've found that any time you can increase focus and decrease friction in your business you are better off.

So, stop buying new domains and start focusing your energy on one domain.

P.S. Focusing on one domain worked pretty well for Apple, it might work for you too.

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November 12, 2014 Chris Hall

FastMail's new iOS/Android app makes it an even more viable Google Apps alternative


Google Apps are fine—in fact, they're quite wonderful and have changed the industry in so many ways—but there are countless reasons why you might want to go with something non-Google for your email. Fortunately, there are quite a few alternatives out there, and one of our very favorites, FastMail, released an awesome new app today making it an even more viable Google alternative.

Check out all the app's details on the FastMail Weblog, or just download it now (for free) on the App Store or Google Play.

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November 10, 2014 Chris Hall

Bali, our destination for mapping out 2015

Bali, our destination for mapping out 2015

Being scattered all over the world has its advantages. For one, there are no work hours, set workspaces, or dress codes. And meetings are cut to a minimum because there's only so much time everyone is online at once.

But sometimes you need some face-to-face time to make in-person connections. To hash out real problems and create lasting solutions. So once a year, we like to meet up for a week or so and get it all out of our system. Last year we chose Fiji, which is only a short 2.5 hour flight from New Zealand, and it went so well that we stayed with the four-letter theme and packed our bags for Bali.

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