Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of ROI

Google Ventures 2013 Year in Review

And what a year it was.


Google Ventures put together a video showcasing their portfolio of companies they have invested in over the past year. And while there are many notables on the list of 75 new investments covering 225 companies, one in particular stood out to me. And that was FitStar. “Why FitStar?” you may ask.

Well, FitStar bills itself as “The #1 personal training app for the iPad. Now on your iPhone.” Interestingly enough, Google is investing in a company that is not available on the Android platform.

You can see the full video here: along with a great interactive infographic that shows the impact that these companies have had.

Ruff Maxx XL Camo Kennel

Today we have a guest product review from Hazel Nugent a 7 year old black lab giving her thoughts on the Ruff Maxx XL Camo Kennel.

Why I liked the Ruff Maxx XL Camo Kennel:
Made in the USA – I am a patriot.
Recycled Material – I care about the environment.
Large door – easy to maneuver.
My people only said one bad word putting it together – took about 10 minutes.
Easy to clean if I make a big mess.
Needs a good cushion and I am ready to go anywhere.

-Hazel Nugent

Thank you Hazel!

While you can’t quite tell it from the pictures, due to the flash, the top is olive green with some browns, tans and dark greens blended in to give a really nice camouflage effect without being overtly camo. In other words, it looks great in the outdoors and while inside the house it has a very nice neutral tone that compliments most decors.

It is solid as well. Hazel is a fit 68 lbs and this kennel is designed for an ideal dog weight of 70-90 lbs. As you can see from the pictures, there is plenty of room for Hazel to move around in.

The interesting this is once she got in there – she really claimed it her own and wanted to stay. Once out, she wouldn’t let any of the other dogs go in it. Suffice to say, I think it is a hit.





“Ice Ice Baby” Sung By the Movies – Video

If you are a child of the 80’s and a fan of the movies, it is near impossible to watch this great video mashup by YouTuber dondrapersayswhat and not smile… a lot.

“Ice Ice Baby” Sung By the Movies

Word to your Mother.

Domain Name Scams – Part 2

Yesterday I had posted about an email I had received from a Mr. Abram Weinstein, Ph.D. who was interested in buying one of my domain names and my suspicions that his email was a domain appraisal scam. To see where this would lead, I went ahead and replied to the email with a price that I personally feel is a little high for that particular domain name – $10,000.

Today, I received the following response:


I offer 9000 usd. I have 45,000 usd budget for 12-15 domain names.

How can I pay you (PayPal, Western Union, etc.)? If this is your first time domain sale I may help you with the sale/transfer process.

Are you a member of domain seller communities/forums? Probably, we know each other under some nicknames?

Best regards,
Abram Weinstein

A little more digging turns up great threads over at about the same type of domain appraisal scam here and here with users posting similar responses but from different CEOs.

Naturally, I know where these emails are going… and I really should stop wasting my time replying. But by replying, I am also wasting their time and by following this to it’s inevitable end I will find out which “appraisal service” they are wanting me to use and once I have that information, I might be able to report them.

Plus, this process will hopefully help protect some young domainer out there that thinks that they have just hit pay dirt because someone is wanting to pay them much more than what their domains are actually worth.

So tune in tomorrow, when I reveal “Mr. Weinstein’s” follow up reply in Part 3 of this ongoing saga.


Sponge Bob Toyota Highlander

Coming to a soccer field near you, the new 2013 Sponge Bob Toyota Highlander.

sponge-bob-toyota-highlanderYou can custom design yours at

So what are your thoughts? Brilliant marketing move by Toyota or ‘OMG my eyes why would they do this’?


Domain Name Scams

I own several domain names so it is not unusual for me to get an email asking if I would be interested in selling. I typically respond that for the right price, I am interested. However, something about today’s unsolicited email struck me as a little off. Here is the message body:


I’m interested in buying

I’ve found it through Sedo.

Please respond with how much you are looking for it. Just specify this price in the subject line.

If you have other names for sale please email me your list with prices.

Abram Weinstein, Ph.D.
Best Web Hosting Services

So I did a little research which turned up this blog post by domain name investor Morgan Linton. It was a very interesting read about how the domain appraisal scam works. In a nut shell, a prospective buyer of your domain name contacts you agrees to your price if XYZ domain appraisal company (which is owned by the scammer) agrees with the valuation of the domain. You pay for the appraisal and then never hear back from the prospect.

The comments were equally as informative and several readers had posted similar stories, with emails very similar to the one I received above.

Suffice to say, I replied to the email, stating that “bidding woudl start at $10,000 USD” and I am awaiting the return reply as to which “domain appraiser” they want me to use. I will keep you posted.

The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep-calm-and-carry-on-scanYou have seen the slogan and likely the various parodies and memes it has inspired but do you know the inspiration behind the iconic slogan itself and how it came to be? It’s a fantastic story.

The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On – YouTube.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

We love roasted brussel sprouts in our family and we eat them quite often. Insanely easy to fix, just a little oil, some salt and pepper and pop them in the oven o a foil lined cookie sheet for about 30 minutes at 400°F. Easy. We love them. Even the little guy and the whole family loves them a little extra crispy which really seems to bring out the flavor.

But I never thought about roasting them with bacon. YUM!

Check out the recipe over at Nom Nom Paleo.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon | Award-Winning Paleo Recipes | Nom Nom Paleo.

GMO A Go Go – Truth about GMOs animated cartoon

This is a great animated short that everyone should really see. If you are a parent, be sure to watch it with your kids, they need to see it too.

GMO A Go Go – Truth about GMOs explained in new animated cartoon – YouTube.

Promoted Tweets and Collapsing Bridges

As any good AdWords agency knows, you have to be careful when running keyword and content targeted display ads. If not, you run the risk of having your ads appear next to a tragic event or a breaking news story, resulting in really ill-timed and inappropriate ad placement.

Promoted tweets on Twitter are no different as FX Networks is finding out when their promoted tweets for their new series The Bridge were showcased along with breaking news of the I-5 bridge collapse in Skagit Valley near Mount Vernon, WA.

Suffice to say, having a promoted tweet that reads, “Over The Bridge, not only the secrets are buried.” run along side breaking news for a bridge collapse where it was first reported that cars and people were under water certainly falls into the ill-timed and inappropriate category of ad display.

It’s OK, FX, we still love you.

Inappropriate placement of promoted tweet during I-5 bridge collapse.