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The Worst Part of the Global Startup Battle at Startup Weekend

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I recently participated at Startup Weekend DC which was part of the Global Startup Battle where we built Stream Motion, it turns a #hashtag into a photo stream designed specifically for events. (Try entering #SWDC to see what Startup Weekend DC was like)

I've participated in a lot of Startup Weekends, once as an organizer and countless other times as an attendee. I love it. I always have a great time, meet awesome people and get a chance to work on something interesting.

This one had one element I really disliked: The Global Startup Battle Hashtag Battle

Look at this screenshot:

The #1 ranked team has 22,000 tweets per hour. Let's consider how much that is.

22256 / 60 = 371 tweets per minute.

If every tweet took 1 second to post that's 6.18 human hours wasted per hour tweeting.

But looking at these numbers, we all know they are fake. There is no way any event was legitimately generating that volume of tweets.

How do I know? Because I've written different bots and tools for Twitter for years including my Master's Thesis. I turned on a few during the DC event for fun because I had them setup already. Most of the 24,000 tweets in DC were caused by me playing with my bots (probably 20,000 or so were me).

Every city in the top 6 definitely cheated (and probably ones below as well).

So what's the point?

I had fun toying with my Twitter bots, but I've attended a lot of events and the experience isn't new to me. I think it does detract from the whole experience overall though.

There is/was zero benefit for participants to take part in the Hashtag Battle.

It was a giant distraction that obviously captured the attention of a few people, judging by the volume of cheating. And since it's just a cheat-off, what benefit does it really have for anyone?

I think Startup Weekend should be about the event itself, the 'global' battle component can happen with actual startups competing instead of #wastingtime.

TL;DR: Global Hashtag Battle is a stupid waste of time and it should never be done again

Can I live and work from anywhere? An attempt at becoming at digital nomad

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My work view, Koh Lanta, Thailand

I have lived in a few countries and traveled to dozens of others. The idea of living anywhere has always had some appeal to me. I have traveled to a lot of places where I thought, I could live here.

There is this fantasy of having the freedom to live and work from anywhere. Coupled with the technology to communicate nearly instantly, a new trend has emerged: the digital nomad. A location independent worker.

I decided to give the digital nomad lifestyle a trial run this year. I bought a round trip ticket with 3 months of time set aside to travel and very little in the way of plans.

Planning

I started thinking about traveling around September - October 2013. I knew that I wanted to skip most the of frigid winter in Washington, DC (which coincidentally, experienced the worst winter weather in my lifetime). However, I knew that I wanted to spend Christmas with my family and New Years with friends. So, leaving in January made the most sense.

The next question was "Where did I I want to go?" I had been to Thailand on a number of occasions and loved spending time there. I also have family that lives there, which makes going without any plans much easier. Thailand is pretty cheap as far as cost of living goes. There are also gorgeous beaches. The internet is ok and picking up a sim card and 3G plan is quite easy. I also really wanted to do a lot of scuba diving and there is some great diving available there.

I also didn't want to travel alone, so I was planning to travel with a friend (although that part of the trip fell through). I ended up traveling alone and meeting a few new friends during my travels.


Diving Site, Ko Haa Lagoon, Thailand

Preparations

Traveling on a budget is definitely possible in Thailand. The flight was the most expensive part.

I wanted to build up a good cash reserve before leaving. I had no idea what all I was going to get into on the journey, where I would to end up traveling or if I would earn any money along the way.

As soon as I decided that I wanted to travel, I started trying to find any sort of contracting work available. I thought that finding clients and work could also prove to be potentially helpful when traveling if I did want to earn money while I was abroad. Luckily, I also have a startup that earns some money, but I can't simply earn money every day by putting hours into it. Or, at least the correlation isn't as direct and immediate as contracting.

I saved up enough money so that I could live comfortably abroad for at least three months (in reality it was probably closer to a year).

I eventually bought my ticket on January 2 to leave on January 21 and shared my trip on facebook. Right away, a friend of mine told me that he was going to be in Japan at the end of my trip, so I changed my ticket. That turned out to be fortuitous because I was flying through Japan to Bangkok anyways to have a few extra days in Japan on my way back to the US.


View from Tokyo Skytree of Tokyo Tower with Mount Fuji in the background.

Home Base

The idea of a home base while traveling abroad is quite appealing. I was in the very fortunate position that I have family living in Bangkok that I could stay with. My initial thought was to travel around to different parts of Thailand. Having a home base meant I could leave a few things (like winter clothes) at my family's house. I also had a standing invitation to stay there. It certainly took away a lot of the stress about traveling to places I knew nothing about. If anything went wrong, I could simply return back to my Thai home.

Actual Trip

Washington, DC → Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo → Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok → Koh Lanta

Krabi → Bangkok

Bangkok → Koh Samui

Koh Samui → Bangkok

Bangkok → Hong Kong (30 days were up on my visa)

Hong Kong → Macao → Hong Kong

Hong Kong → Bangkok

Bangkok → Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi → Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta → Bangkok

Bangkok → Tokyo

Tokyo → Washington, DC

Working Abroad

My primary concern was always having a reliable internet connection. All the business that I do is on my laptop. So, I spent a lot of time searching Agoda's reviews to find places which specifically mentioned good internet. Bungalow separate from the main building with no wifi? Sorry, that just won't do. Every room I stayed in had pretty good internet. There was a power outage in Koh Lanta for one night which left me using 3G on my phone, but other than that I had fairly reliable internet. Maybe I got lucky? Maybe the hours and hours of reading reviews paid off. Hard to tell. I always booked only a night or two to start off with so that I could have a place to put my stuff down. If I didn't like something, I could always switch after a day.

The biggest issue I ran into was routine and schedule. At home, I work from a coworking space in Washington, DC (Affinity Lab). I wake up, have a morning routine, go into the office and work. I come home and generally keep a pretty regular 5 days a week schedule for work.

Traveling took that routine away from me. I was left with 24 hours of unstructured time per day. I didn't have an office, friends to see or commitments to keep. It was chaos.

I had a couple project deadlines while traveling. None of them were particularly large projects and it normally meant setting aside a day or two and just working. That was the easiest part of working.

The hardest part of working was my own work. I worked on a big article about benchmarking and comparing managed WordPress hosting companies.

That's about the only noteworthy thing I accomplished for my own business while traveling. I initially set out thinking that this would be the perfect opportunity to work on finishing up a lot of side projects which never got finished or polished before. These projects include Domainling, a domain name search engine and suggestion tool. FMK, a Facebook game that works but is horribly designed and needs a lot of polish. I also wanted to finish a gambling odds calculator for scratch offs in Washington, DC.

I didn't so much as open the code for any of these projects. Oops.

I had no routine, I spent a lot of time outside (and underwater). I would often come home very tired and never really planned time to work. So, things kept getting pushed back. Eventually, time ran out and I never made any progress on these projects.

The most productive time I had was probably in Hong Kong when I stayed with my friend. He was working a normalish schedule which pushed me towards his work routine.


What I spent most of my time doing, Diving, Hin Daeng, Thailand

Outcome

I spent three months in Asia and didn't lose money. My napkin math puts me at about even for the trip. A little consulting work went a long way in Thailand.

I met a handful of friends who either came to visit me or happened to be traveling in the same area and we met up. I made a few new (and temporary?) friends whom I probably will never see again. I don't think I created any meaningful relationships with new people.

I earned my advanced open water certification for diving and had a lot of awesome dives.

I started to miss good friends with whom I forged deeper friendships. I also missed the mundane social activities and structure of my life back home in DC. While traveling, I met a lot of people but I feel like I had the same conversation hundreds of times with new faces saying the words.

I realized the dream of being a digital nomad was better than the reality of it. For me, at least in this incarnation of it.


Friendly Manta Ray, Hin Daeng, Thailand

What I would do differently

Just because I started to miss home and wasn't as productive as I had hoped doesn't mean that I've given up on the idea. It just means I didn't get it right. Yet.

I want to do a trip similar to this one again. The biggest change I hope will be not going alone. I have a handful of good friends who all work in careers which would allow them to work remotely. Convincing a few of them to join me would be a step in the right direction.

I also think staying longer in a single location will allow me to get into a better routine. When moving around a lot, I get this urge to see and do everything before I leave. That pushes back other priorities, like working. I also think friends who need to do work can help each other be mutually accountable.

TL;DR:

I chased a dream and it wasn't as good as I had hoped. But I learned a lot about myself and will hopefully adjust and try again.


View from View Point Resort, Koh Phi Phi

Does Facebook Hate Christmas?

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Linkbait title aside. This is the story of a holiday card gone wrong because of Facebook's advertising rules.

Backstory: I work at a co-working space in Washington, DC called Affinity Lab. This happened to one of my co-workers, Mike who works at a company called ISG.

His company created a virtual holiday card and shared it on Facebook. It seems innocuous enough. In his words 'it's a no brainer to boost posts for $5, it goes from 10% to 100% for us.' This wasn't the first time he's done this and he's never had any issues. He just wanted all his clients to see the post.

And then it wasn't boosted.

And then this notification came through.

So the issue was too much text in a holiday card.

So we checked out with Facebook's tool. And it was astonishing how they calculated that it broke the rules. I can imagine a lot of content that is really awesome that you couldn't promote if this rule is really strictly enforced (every infographic ever?). I understand the spirit of the rule, but in practice it seems quite flawed.

Benchmarking Asynchronous PHP vs NodeJS Properly

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I had fun this evening working on this with Samuel Reed. Performance and programming language choice is always a hotly debated topic and it's always fascinating the explore. It was truly interesting to see async php code. I know NodeJS is known for it, but PHP really isn't at all.

The actual article is here: http://reviewsignal.com/blog/2013/11/13/benchmarking-asyncronous-php-vs-...

GoDaddy Purchased the Domain Name Market Today

Today is an interesting and perhaps historic day in the domain industry. GoDaddy has acquired Afternic and SmartName from Name Media. Name Media is probably best known for the BuyDomains brand. They own one of the largest portfolios of domain names in the world at nearly 1 million domains.

GoDaddy is the largest player on the consumer side of the domain market by a wide margin. However, they aren't the biggest player and/or have serious competition in a lot of the secondary and domainer markets.

Domainer / Secondary Markets

Market Large Players
Domain Registration GoDaddy
Selling Domains (Secondary/After Market) Sedo, Afternic, BuyDomains, GoDaddy, DomainNameSales
Expired Domains NameJet, SnapNames, Pool, GoDaddy
Domain Parking/Monetization InternetTraffic, Google, Yahoo, Sedo, (many more)
Domain name Conglomerates Demand Media, Marchex, GoDaddy, Name Media, Oversee

Why Most Of These Markets Don't Matter Anymore

The expired domain names market is drying up as companies switch to pre-release agreements. With pre-release, the registrar where the domain is kept automatically sells off the domain and there is no competition. As GoDaddy grows bigger, they will capture more of the this market automatically in the long run.

Domain Parking and monetization has seen a pretty steady decline since about 2007-2008. Consolidation is happening, the market is shrinking. The vested interests are large portfolio holders, which GoDaddy doesn't have like all of the other conglomerates.

The Conglomerates with the exception of GoDaddy all have their own domain name portfolios. They are focused around monetizing their assets rather than customers. Almost all the conglomerates have failed to see major growth (Demand Media just turned its first profit in 2012).

What Does Matter?

With GoDaddy's acquisitions from Name Media today they have taken a serious foothold in the secondary market. Afternic is one of the largest markets and GoDaddy is probably on equal ground in terms of selling domain names from Premium Listings (pre-acquisition), although they don't publish any numbers that I could find. If we were to assume Sedo, Afternic and GoDaddy were similar in size, GoDaddy just became the dominant player by 2:1.

Why does it matter?

GoDaddy's strategy has long been economies of scale and cross-promotion/cross-selling products/services. They dominate the consumer side of the market and have the audience to sell products to. Now they own the market for secondary sales as well. They already charge a minimum 32% commission to sell a domain name with them. My intuition tells me they've struggled with getting the best inventory and streamlining the process to their liking. This isn't the first time we've seen them partner up to sell secondary market domain names, they tried it once before with Domain Distribution Network but there hasn't been much talk about the results. There was even a short termination between the companies over the deal. This deal expired on June 7, 2013 according to DNN. I could find no evidence of it being renewed.

Meanwhile, Afternic has solved this problem. AfternicDLS has a deals with many of the biggest registrars: Network Solutions, Register.com, Enom, Moniker, Name.com, and more. This solves the listing and selling problem. Their current Premium Listings only work for domain names at GoDaddy. A lot of domainers don't use GoDaddy and don't want to put their domain names there. Acquiring Afternic solves the technical and business problems that may have blocked GoDaddy in previous attempts to gain more of the secondary market.

What About SmartName?

I am not as sure about the SmartName play for GoDaddy. They could be trying to make a more serious run into the domain monetization space with a parking platform. They could be looking to upgrade their auction platform. Both of these could improve their bottom line, and it makes them more attractive as a larger one-stop shop for domain services.

Conclusion

GoDaddy is now the biggest player in the domain name sales channels both for new registrations and selling in the secondary market. With the upcoming release of new gTLDs, they couldn't be better positioned to sell more domain names and make more money. It doesn't hurt that they offer fairly comprehensive offerings for business owners such as web hosting, email, marketing and more. Economies of scale are real and GoDaddy is taking advantage of them more than anyone else in the business.

Consumers may actually be the big winner here. If this gets executed well, the customers who use GoDaddy will get access to a larger inventory of domain names listed on the secondary market and purchasing them may become as easy as registering a new domain name.

Update

(9/20/2013) I made a mistake with saying the auction platform was Smart Names, it's actually Afternic. Also, someone linked me Godaddy's auction stats. They don't give dollar values, only sales volume. So it's still apples to oranges to pears with Sedo/Afternic/GoDaddy.

I have also received a lot of criticism because of the company in question comes off in a positive light. My startup tracks GoDaddy's reviews and it's overwhelmingly negative. I understand a lot of people don't like them for a multitude of reasons. That being said, the point of this article was to acknowledge a very prudent business move by them. I went into this open minded and came out surprised. I think this is a win for consumers in the short to medium term because it's reducing the friction and pain involved with buying domains in the secondary market. It makes it far more accessible and easy than it ever was before with a brand consumers recognize. Consolidation of the secondary domain market also puts a downward pressure on domain prices if it stays integrated as an option versus buying new registrations. The consumer who is thinking about spending $10 is far less likely to spend $100,000 instead. But $100, $500, $1,000 may be more reasonable and likely to induce a sale on the secondary market.

Analyzing the EIG (HostGator, BlueHost, HostMonster, JustHost) Outage

I just published an article looking at the impact of the major outage that occurred yesterday (August 2, 2013) when EIG's Provo, UT datacenter failed. I also predict what to expect based on previous major outages.

There was definitely a major spike in data produced and I got down to analyzing it.

Full Story: http://reviewsignal.com/blog/2013/08/03/service-interrupted-a-look-at-th...

National Day of Civic Hacking: Exploring Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Data

This weekend I participated in the National Day of Civic Hacking.

The project I decided to work on was working with the CFPB data (and also used some census data).

Background

The CFPB released a large complaints database that contained information about what type of financial products people are complaining about. It also gave information about where the complaints came from, what they were complaining about and resolution information. Some of the data was released literally a day earlier. So I was given a chance to take a look at, analyze and visualize information that nobody has really seen yet.

It was an exciting and interesting opportunity. Since it was very fresh data with little to no previous work, much of what I got to do was more general analysis. I created a handful of graphics (click them to see full size) and maps (click to use the map) which I have included below:

What products are people complaining about the most?

The biggest product people are complaining about is mortgage related products. There is a category for other mortgages that people can choose and it seems most people seem to select that. I wasn't sure why until I looked at the issues people were having.

What are the most common issues people have?

Foreclosure, Loan Modification and Collection. Intuitively, this makes a lot of sense. I probably don't care what type of mortgage it is when they are trying to take my house away. This particular issue dwarfed everything else, so I had to use a log scale to even see what the other issues people were facing.

What are the most common issues people have? (log scaled)

This gives a more in-depth picture of the issues, but the first graphic really shows you the most common and/or pressing financial issue for people.

Which companies had the most complaints?

Then I explored which companies were receiving the most complaints. This data is NOT normalized. That means that just because a company has more complaints doesn't make it worse than one with less. For example, if company A had 10 complaints and 100 customers and company B had 5 complaints and 20 customers, company B would be worse (if we measured complaints as a % of customers). I didn't have easy access to a database with any dataset that would normalize these banks, so this is for curiosity more than any meaningful insight. It probably is a proxy for the largest players in consumer finance though.

[MAP] Where are the complaints coming from in the US? (Normalized for state population)

This map shows where people are complaining the most. DC won that dubious honor. Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, California and Florida were also high on the list. All the numbers were adjusted to reflect complaints relative to population of a state. So we can clearly see there are differences and we can probably make educated guesses for some of them. DC for example is probably the highest because of the highest awareness of CFPB (since it's based in DC). Maryland probably has a high awareness too. Florida and California had big real estate bubbles and perhaps were hit especially hard. New Hampshire and Delaware are a mystery to me, although a woman from New Hampshire at my event told me that she complained to the CFPB and told all her friends as well. Perhaps an above-average awareness of the CFPB caused the higher complaint rate.

Top 10 Companies by Complaints and their Disputed Resolution Rates

Next I explored disputed resolutions. Companies alert the CFPB when the matter is resolved and consumers are allowed to tell the CFPB they were not satisfied with the resolution. I graphed the top 10 companies by complaint volume and what their disputed resolution rates looked like. It's interesting to see such big differences between companies but without further information about how they handle disputes, it's impossible to say anything confidently comparing one company to another.

[MAP] Disputed Resolutions by State

Finally, I created a map graphing disputed resolutions by state. There was a surprisingly large variation between states. Alaska, for instance, had a disputed resolution rate of over 26% while Wyoming had a measly 16%. I have no idea why, but it's interesting and worth looking into further.

Conclusion

I had a lot of fun exploring this fresh set of data and there is a lot more to be learned from it. I want to give a big thanks to Ana from the CFPB and Logan from the Census Bureau who attended the event and helped participants navigate the data provided their respective organizations.

Hurricane in the Cloud: How Hurricane Sandy Impacted Web Hosting Companies

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I just wanted to share the newest blog post, titled Hurricane in the Cloud: How Hurricane Sandy Impacted Web Hosting Companies, on the Review Signal blog

Reverse Engineering Startup Press: How and Why TechCrunch Covered My Launch

After my startup's launch was covered by TechCrunch I was asked by a lot of people how it happened. People wanted copies of my pitch to learn from. It was as if I had discovered some arcane secret. But I didn't believe that. All I had done was read a couple blog posts from other startups with copies of their pitches (Thanks Jason L. Baptiste, Vinicius Vacanti, Leo Widrich) and one journalist who shared his thoughts (Thanks Sean Blanda). So instead of saying here is the magical way to get press, I wanted to find out what journalists really thought of my pitch and how it could be done better. They receive hundreds of emails from people trying to get their attention and I wanted their advice and expertise. I also wanted to know why the author who covered me on TechCrunch chose to write about me. How did I win the press lottery? In this post, I will share their thoughts and opinions.

Let's begin with the actual pitch:

Subject: Exclusive Story Opportunity: Could Twitter replace review websites?
Hey Eldon,
We talked briefly at TC DC meetup and I showed you a quick demo of my startup: Review Signal.

We're planning to launch on September 25 and you're the first journalist I've reached out to and I'd be happy to give you guys the exclusive on our launch.

What is Review Signal?
Our goal is use the conversations on social media to build a review site and bring a new level of transparency to the (sometimes? often?) shady review industry. We've started with the web hosting industry (probably the shadiest of them all) and plan to expand after launching (we're in data collection mode for a few more niches like domain registrars). At launch, we will be the largest web hosting review site around by at least an order of magnitude (maybe two) with over 100,000 reviews.

We also have a 45 second video explaining how our system works:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPpwbZWLwJQ

You're welcome to login to our private beta (username: xxx, password: xxx at ).

If you're interested please let me know and I'd be happy to follow up with any information or questions over email or phone.

What happened after I sent this email? I got a response from Klint Finley, who Eric Eldon had forwarded my email to.

Eric forwarded this to me -- I'd love to get the scoop on this. Are you available Friday?

I will skip sharing mundane details because everything of importance was handled over the phone after the first response. I told him about what I was doing and answered some of his questions. And the article came out the day we launched.

What did the journalists think?

The opinion I was most curious to read was Klint's. He is the one who wrote about Review Signal. I was thrilled when he said he would be willing to participate in this article. Please note this is his opinion and his alone. They do not represent the opinion of TechCrunch or any other publication.

Klint Finley

For a startup launch I think pitching to the press is really not all that hard: blogs like TechCrunch and The Next Web are always looking to cover new startups. The important thing is to have something worth writing about. Offering an exclusive always help grab our eye, but it's not always necessary.

The pitches I've seen fail are 'yet another...' for spaces that have long since ceased to be exciting and don't have anything else to sex them up (well known founders, a sizeable investment, a really interesting new spin on the idea...)

If the pitch sounds too much like "It's like Foursquare, but better and built by someone you've never heard of," I don't think that many people are going to pay attention at this point. If you don't have a name or a big investment you've really got to get that differentiation in there early.

I like the "it's like X for Y" type of pitch format, but not everyone does. But telling me "We're an HTML5 mobile app framework with some really advanced features" won't tell me much. Telling me "We're like PhoneGap for building Foursquare-style apps" is going to be a bit more attention grabbing.

The subject line of an e-mail is really important. To be honest, I didn't think your subject line was very good. I probably would have missed that e-mail entirely if Eric hadn't flagged it for me to check out. But once I opened the e-mail and saw that it was about using Twitter sentiment analysis to rank web hosts, I was really interested since web hosting, sentiment analysis and data mining are interests/beats of mine.

Which brings me to the importance of finding the right person for a pitch. This can be hard. Since you think of your company mostly as a b2c company and I write mostly about b2b and dev tech, it might not have been obvious to pitch directly to me. Again, luckily Eric saw it and thought, correctly, that it might be something I'd be interested in.

Some of the pitches I've gotten recently that I wrote about came directly to me and mentioned articles I'd written before. Sometimes I see this stuff and it's totally left-field and vague, like "I see that you once wrote something about 'cloud,' I too am in the cloud business." But sometimes I'll luck out and someone will e-mail me something along the lines of "you once wrote that it would be interesting to see a company doing X... well, that's what we're doing!"

So, in summary: do something awesome, make sure you explain your differentiation, put that in the subject line of your e-mail, and send it to the right person. Easier said than done.

Klint also pointed out that “this would be just one journalist's preference.” So I also decided to get a few more opinions and approached other journalists I've talked to in the past.

Ville Vesterinen and Miikke Kukkosuo, Arctic Startup

Ville:
Was not too bad at all. Nice job! My critic:

1) It's a bit too long. Journos might just skip if it's too many lines to read.

2) I'd answer your headline by 'How:'

Miikka:
I have pretty similar thoughts as Ville.

Headline could be slightly sharper. 'How' is good. Or maybe even something edgier if you can think of something else.

I got a bit lost in the explanation, wasn't too easy to follow it. Depends a lot on the reader I guess how it's received - very big sites like TC might get so many mails that they move on quickly, a bit smaller ones probably would try to make sense of the message even if it takes a bit more time.

I think it would be enough to state the problem&market you're tackling, and why you will rock. Make it easy to read and understand, go straight to the point.
For example:
The review industry is shady. We will change that using social media conversations to bring a new level of transparency. At launch, we will be the largest web hosting review site around by at least an order of magnitude (maybe two) with over 100,000 reviews. Then we'll expand to more niches.

Carl Pierre, InTheCapital

I would take out the Could Twitter replace review websites part and just write exclusive story opportunity, maybe include your name in the subject line too so they remember who you are.

Um...the first part is cool, I would probably avoid mentioning the demo part, just say "we talked briefly at TC DC meetup and you gave me some good points on my new startup, Review Signal."

Then you should probably just say that you talked about providing an exclusive for your launch, and wanted to share the information with them before you go live.

Probably avoid the part that says, What is Review Signal, I would probably skip to something like...

Here is a quick refresher as to what we do:

- bullet point
- bullet point

Trust me, nobody likes slogging through paragraphs for info, especially as a journalist who gets bombarded with pitches constantly. Keep it succinct, short, and with key information in bullet points.

Again, this won't guarantee that you'll get a story, but it should hopefully significantly improve your chances.

From talking to the journalists, the basic recommendation seems to be:

  • Do something interesting
  • Explain why you're different
  • The subject line is your one chance to communicate why someone should care
  • Target the right journalist
  • Explain your idea clearly
  • Keep it short

I have to thank all these journalists for taking the time and participating. I had a great time talking to them and getting feedback about the pitch. I learned a great deal and hopefully this helps others too.

If you have any other tips please feel free to share them in the comments.

ICANN's GAC Early Warnings Released about gTLD Applications

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https://gacweb.icann.org/display/gacweb/GAC+Early+Warnings

Some interesting reading ahead for people interested in internet policy and domain names.

A couple fun stats:

Country with the Most Objections: Australia (90)

Most Objectionable gTLD: Africa (17 countries objected)

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