.Link Domains Are Now Available

You can now register and manage .link domains right here at Hover.

.Link domains are a little different than the other domain extensions we’ve been launching since February, when ICANN started expanding the number of TLDs. A lot of the new TLDs are descriptive of the website’s topic and have meaning built right in. For example, artists can showcase their work with .gallery domains, while .clothing is perfect for storefronts, tailors, and anyone in the clothing industry.

.Link is unique because it’s truly generic. Since a hyperlink is just the way we connect with info online, the .link extension can be a good fit for nearly any domain. It’s for, well, links.

What can I do with a .link domain?

Since .link domains are inherently generic, all kinds of ideas, projects and brands can use them. But, we’ve seen some other creative uses for .link domains as well. Here are just a couple ideas we think are pretty neat:

Personal Directory

A .link domain would make a great directory for your personal links. You can use Hover’s domain forwarding feature to direct users to your social profiles, such as yourname.link/facebook. Or, you can set up subdomain forwarding in the same way to use facebook.yourname.link.

Customized URL Shortening

You can also use your .link domain with a URL shortening service, like bit.ly. It’s a great way to brand the content you’d like to share online. Using your .link domain name, “yourname.link” would take the place of ”bit.ly” in a shortened URL.

So, your link would appear like this: “yourname.link/n9dnms8Y.”

Instead of like this: “bit.ly/n9dnms8Y”

Get a highfive-worthy domain name

With seven billion increasingly tech-savvy people on Earth, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find the best possible domain for your project. Plenty of great domains are available for .link, so you have a better chance of finding one that’s right for you without compromising.

That also means there are endless opportunities for entertaining websites and microblogs, which we’ve payed homage to in the past. Searching for funny keywords can spark pretty brilliant microblogging ideas, like dontclickthis.link or sausage.link.

By the way, .link domains are officially the most affordable domain extension. For just $10/yr., you get four letters for less than the price of three in the comparable .com. Bargain, right?

Try searching some of your own keywords for some creative inspiration:

GetStarted

Stay tuned! We’ll be launching many more new TLDs over the next few months. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook where we’ll be making announcements.

 

5 Alternative Blogging Platforms For Your Next Idea

With all of the blogging services available these days, it’s hard to tell which one will best suit your needs.

A quick Google search will present you with pages and pages of “top five” lists that tout the old stand-bys (WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.). It’s true that these classic platforms are pretty great, but there are plenty of modern blogging options you might like too.

The classic blogging giants have become so popular that they’ve integrated hundreds of features to serve everyone’s needs, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Modern blogging services have responded with more of a minimalistic approach, offering simple tools that prove that the latest doesn’t necessarily mean the fanciest or shmanciest.

Here are five modern blog platforms that could be a great fit for your next project:

Svbtle

Svbtle is blogging with everything else stripped away. It helps you stay focused by removing all distractions from view while you’re writing. Plus, the user interface was set up for the way your brain works, so navigation feels natural. In spite of its bare-bones simplicity, Svbtle still offers personalization, branding features, and custom domain support to help you take ownership for your work.

sbvtle

Ghost

A former WordPress blogger came up with the concept for Ghost after deciding that he wanted a simpler alternative.

“I still think WordPress is an amazing platform, in fact I think it’s the best CMS out there. But it’s not what I want for blogging. There’s too much stuff everywhere, too much clutter, too many (so many) options getting in the way of what I really want to do: publish content.”

Ghost was developed to be the ideal platform for “just blogging.” It allows you to preview your post as you write and has more straight-forward options for publishing. Also, Ghost is an Open Source software that you can modify and redistribute as you please. It’s meant to encourage people with different skillsets to help grow and evolve the platform.

ghost

Posthaven

Around this time last year, Twitter acquired and promptly shut down an up-and-coming blogging platform called Posterous. It’s founders launched Posthaven to rescue all the old Posterous blogs and promised to keep the new platform alive forever.

The most interesting thing about Posthaven is its pledge to never be acquired, so that you’ll never have to move your content to another service. Instead of being venture-backed, Posthaven is user-supported with a five dollar monthly fee. If you stop making payments, you will no longer be able to add or edit, but Posthaven will continue to host your content.

posthaven

Postach.io

If you’re an Evernote user, you might just love Postachi.io. It allows you to post content to your personal blog directly from Evernote by simply creating a note and tagging it “published.” All you need is an Evernote account and a domain name.

Postach.io has some simple, Tumblr-inspired themes that can help get your blog looking great. There are some other customization options as well, but it helps if you know a little about HTML and CSS.

We like the idea of an Evernote-powered blogging platform, since many bloggers draft their posts in Evernote prior to publishing anyways. Plus, we are suckers for .io domans. That’s just cool.

postach.io

Jux

Jus is a relatively small blogging platform that truly challenges the way we traditionally think of blogging. It’s similar to Tumblr in some ways, posting most recent content first and in descending order, but the visual presentation is quite different.

Each Jux blog post stands independently with its own beautifully designed page layouts. The pages are presented in 100% full screen with high-resolution images, which is perfect for showcasing photos. Jux is a great option for artists looking to share a multimedia portfolio, or if you just want to make a really eye-catching blog.

jux

You can use any of these blog platforms with your Hover domains. Of course, if you need a hand adjusting your DNS settings, our customer support team is happy to help get you going.

Let us know what you think if you decide to give one of these services a try! And don’t forget to submit your awesome new site to Domain Of The Month once its up and running.

A new way to (maybe) get the perfect domain

If you’ve searched for a specific domain name at Hover recently, you may have noticed a new option on the results page: Make an offer on this domain.

It’s something we’re trying out as part of our ongoing efforts to help you find the perfect domain name for your idea or project.

You may have noticed that other registrars offer a variety of services where you pay them some amount of money in return for them promising to try and grab a domain if it ever expires. The reality of these types of services is that the registrar happily takes your money and, in most cases, the current owner never lets the domain expire.

Make an offerThat’s why we don’t offer so-called “backorders” – because they rarely, if ever, result in you getting the domain.

Other options

Let’s say you came up with a idea and you wanted to have the domain “perfectdomain.com” for your new website. You head over to Hover and check to see if you can register it. Hover checks and tells you that perfectdomain.com is taken. No perfect domain…no site…no idea realized. Sad panda.

Sometimes the domain you want will be listed for sale, in which case you’ll see it listed in the search results with a yellow star next to the name and a price set by the current owner. We’ve been selling these “premium domains” for a few years now and tons of Hover customers have been able to get the exact domain they wanted for a fair price.

Of course, not all domains are for sale, and not all domain owners are willing to part with their domain at any price. But some might be if the price is right.

That’s why we decided to partner with a company called Domain Agents instead. They do things a bit differently and we think it’s a really nice fit with how we run our business.

Domain AgentsWith the help of Domain Agents, we now also provide you with an option to see if the current owner of the domain might be willing to part with it.

For $19.95US (a big discount off their regular fee of $49.95US), Domain Agents will do all the leg work to track down the owner of the domain and present your offer to them to buy the domain.

If the current owner isn’t interesting in selling, Domain Agents will let you know. But if the current owner is interested, Domain Agents will help facilitate a negotiation between you and the domain owner and hopefully you’ll be able to come to an agreement on a fair price for the domain.

The minimum offer you can present is $199. We recommend that you do a little research on comparable domains so you go in with a good offer. Domain Agents notes that shorter domains or domains containing fewer words are considered more valuable and single word domains can be very valuable.

They also operate a domain name sales site to provide some additional assistance to buyers. Check it out at NameBio.com

Why do we like this?

The reason we really like this is because it’s an open and honest approach. Domain Agents will do the work to track down the current owner for you for just $19.95. If they can’t get your offer to the current owner, they’ll give you a credit to try again on a different domain.

That’s unlike other backorder schemes that take money from you up front (often a lot more than $19.95) in exchange for what amounts to literally nothing in terms of helping you get that perfect domain name you want.

In fact, while other registrars will happily take your money for a backorder on a domain like Facebook.com or CNN.com, Domain Agents will instead take the time to provide some education and explain why you’d be throwing your money away by even trying to engage in a negotiation.

Domain Agents is truly interested in helping you get the domain you want. It’s their business to get deals done.

It’s one more way that Hover is helping you get the perfect domain for your idea.

Notes from the Product Manager for March, 2014

March supposedly comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. I can’t confirm that, but I can tell you it’s still too cold at Hover HQ in Toronto, Canada, and winter may never end. Please send warm if you can spare some.

Send warm!

But enough complaining about the weather. Despite the never-ending winter, we managed to get a lot of stuff done this month.

More new TLDs

We added another few batches of new TLDs. These are all part of the long list of top-level domains that ICANN has approved. We’ll continue to add a half-dozen or more new extensions every week as more and more come online. You’ll see these new TLDs if you do a domain search, or you can have a look at the pricing page for a complete list of the extensions we offer.

Better domain search

Our domain search wasn’t doing a great job as we added more of these TLDs and so we undertook some work to improve performance there. We’re also working on a complete rethink of search and how we display search results. That’s a big pile of work and so while you might notice some improvements in the quality of our search results, you won’t notice a huge difference in the organization or display of the results just yet.

The Little Things™

  • We added the ability to flip through multiple notification bar items if you have more than one showing. Before you had to dismiss one to see the next one. This allows you to leave one or more up there as a reminder if you want.
  • We also made some changes to the registrant verification process to make that a bit better. We now tell you the reason that your information needs to be verified (like if an email bounced triggering the verification process) when we email you about it. And we prettied up the actual verification page, made it mobile-friendly and made the button you need to click much more evident.
  • We also now show all the various contacts on the page when you view details of your domain and made it easier to edit them. That includes the admin, owner and tech contact, depending on the specific TLD and whether that TLD supports all those contact types.
  • Last but not least, we made it easier for .EU domain owners to get the transfer AUTH code. Until now you had to call support to get that code because of how auth codes work with the EU registry. Now you can have the auth code sent to you via email. While we hope you don’t want to transfer your .EU domain to another provider, we also never want to stand in the way of your choice to do so.

There’s always more to come!

Domain of the Month, March: Chimani

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is coming, and we can hardly wait to get outside for some quality time with Mother Nature.

Chimani is the perfect companion for your outdoor adventures. It’s the ultimate collection of travel apps for each of the 14 most visited National Parks in the United States. Each Chimani app is a paperless travel guide that packs everything you need to know about the park you’re exploring – right in your pocket.

The idea for Chimani was inspired by a frustrated hiker, stuck in a rainstorm on top of a mountain with no way of telling the amount of rain to expect. Chimani was made to work without WiFi and be accessible wherever you roam, which is something that kind of matters when you’re in the middle of the Chimanimani Mountains of Zimbabwe.

The Chimani apps include professional photos and high resolution maps of each National Park, complete with suggested routes, scenic viewpoints and a GPS navigator. They also have trail guides with detailed descriptions of distance, time, elevation and level of difficulty. You can even tune into audio tours for your adventure, access special safety tips, shuttle bus schedules, park ranger events, and sunrise/sunset times.

chimani

Why we love it

Chimani was born from the collision of two seemingly contrasting passions – tech and outdoor exploration. These people came up with a great idea by tying together their interests and cleverly tethering the physical and digital worlds.

That’s pretty cool.

Submit your domain

Do you want to be featured for Domain of the Month? We’re honouring the uniqueness and creativity of our customers (like you!) with some well-deserved recognition.

Fill out the form below to submit your website for Domain of the Month:

Our 25 Favourite Tumblr Blogs

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web!

The internet may be getting older, but it’s showing no signs of growing up. Tumblr is home to some of the funniest, most outrageous microblogs. It’s one of the best destinations for indulging in the Internet’s distinct sense of humour (and love of animals).

In no particular order, here are our 25 favourite Tumblr blogs:

1. Breaded Cats

A showcase of adorable cats wearing bread on their faces.

breadedcats

2. Hungover Owls

These bleary-eyed birds look like they’re having a rough morning.

3. Too Big For Stroller

Children riding that fine line.

4. Food On My Dog

Tiger the dog balances various foodstuffs on his head.

5. Awesome People Hanging Out Together

Timeless photos of some of the coolest people just hanging out.

pauls

6. One Tiny Hand

Ever wonder how that celebrity look with one shrunken hand? Look no further.

7. Humanitarians of Tinder

Honouring good-hearted singles working hard to make a difference in the world, while still finding time to Tinder.

8. Questionable Advice

A collection of really old newspaper clippings offering really suspect advice.

9. Suri’s Burn Book

Well-dressed commentary from Hollywood’s little sweetheart, Suri Cruise.

10. Awkward Stock Photos

There’s nothing like the awkwardness of online stock photography.

awkstock

11. Goths Up Trees

Photographic proof of the unlikely, but significant association between trees and goths.

12. Reasons my Son is Crying

Check out the many logical reasons why kids cry and submit your own photos too.

13. Animals Sucking at Jumping

Animals that try to jump, but suck at it.

14. T-Rex Trying

If you thought being Tyrant King was easy, think again. Those tiny arms inhibit even the most mundane tasks.

15. Bad Engagement Photos

The worst possible concepts and compositions for engagement photos.

badengagement

16. Animals Doing People Things

A gallery of clever animals doing things that people do.

17. Oops, Wrong Persons

The results of strange text messages sent to random phone numbers.

18. Adorable Care Act

Some cute animals encouraging you to get health care coverage.

19. Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos

A place for the worst real estate photos you’ll ever see.

20. Ugly Renaissance Babies

Where are all the adorable babies in Renaissance art? Spoiler alert: There are none.

uglyrenaissance

21. Brides Throwing Cats

No cats were harmed in the making of this Tumblr.

22. Things Fitting Perfectly into Things

Exactly what it sounds like.

23. Wing-Manning

A guy devoted to taking selfies with strangers making out in public places.

24. Animals Talking in All Caps

HUMAN-LIKE ANIMALS SAYING STUFF IN CAPS.

25. Hot-Dog Legs

Mayo? Or, sun screen?

hotdog

Happy birthday, Internet! May all your wishes come true.

The Tools We Use: Part II

We’re a tech company. So, it probably won’t come as a surprise that we kind of like technology.

We each have favourite tools that make it easier to get stuff done, but there are some we all use everyday. They help us better collaborate on ideas, stay organized on projects, and make Hover the best it can be. Our arsenal of apps and gadgets is always growing to supercharge our productivity, creativity and communication.

Following up with our last post about the tools we love, here are some more of our favourites:

Slack

Slack is the latest addition to our toolbox. It’s a real-time messaging app that allows for streamlining conversations into channels for different teams or topics, as well as direct one-to-one messaging.

We know it’s essential to have a strong flow of communication across all of our teams, including product management, development, marketing, reporting and customer support. We also know it can be difficult to organize this kind of information from different sources in an onslaught of emails. Slack helps us stay up to date with what’s going on in different departments and coordinate our goals.

Slack conversations are quicker and more searchable than emails. Since it’s highly customizable, you can choose to join as many or as few conversations you’d like to be part of. We love that Slack is constantly updating with improved features and integrating with other apps we use, like Drive and Twitter.

We also love that Emoji and phrases like “Slack it to me” have found their way into our regular intra-office dialect.

slack

Yammer

We’ve been using Yammer since 2008, as steadfast believers that there may be better ways to collaborate and exchange ideas than in emails and meetings. And according to the latest Global Web Index report, we’re not the only ones – Yammer is now the fastest growing social site, including public social media.

Essentially, Yammer is an internal social network just for our company, complete with user profiles, comments, likes and hashtags. It helps us increase co-worker connectivity in a unique way and nurtures a strong organizational culture. We use it to post updates about the status of our projects, share interesting links, and even crowd-source ideas for what we’re working on.

When we first adopted Slack , it raised the question of how it would fit in with Yammer for internal communication. We’ve since realized that was kind of like wondering how steak and potatoes would work. We use the two apps in conjunction as services with slightly different purposes. In the words of our CEO, Elliot Noss, “Slack is very good at a lot of things and Yammer is better for threaded, asynchronous discussion.”

yammer

@HerdCoffee

When it comes to productivity tools, coffee is arguably our favourite and definitely our most delicious one, so we take it pretty seriously. How seriously? We brew only freshly ground, locally roasted Balzac’s Coffee, and every time a fresh pot is brewed, everyone in the office is notified via Twitter and IRC.

What started as a dream of being assured a fresh cup of coffee was waiting at the end of a walk to the kitchen became @herdcoffee. That’s what happens when your office is occupied by tech-enthusiasts and engineers.

Our (already elaborate) coffee machine tells us when a fresh pot has started, whether it’s regular House or dark Sumatra blend, and it’s estimated completion time. Using Raspberry Pi and a little bit of code, a coffee-event is published to a local mechanism and tweets the start and end of each brew cycle.

Necessary? Maybe not. Awesome? Definitely.

 

 

Notes from the Product Manager for February, 2014

February is the shortest month of the year, but we still managed to pack quite a bit into the 28 days of the month.

Two-Step Signin

The biggest change was the addition of a couple of security-related features – Two-step Signin and Log Signin Activity. Thanks to those of you who provided feedback on our announcement that we were adding Two-step Signin and for the extra couple of days of patience while we added support for authenticator apps as part of the initial release.

Messing with authentication is always a bit nerve-wracking, so the fact that things went really smoothly and customers were able to add Two-step Signin without any trouble was great. Shout out to out both the development team here at Hover and also the quality assurance team for their work in making this happen without any hiccups.

More new TLDs

Other than that, we also added a whole pile of new top-level domains (TLDs) including .guru, .photography, .bike and more. There are some clear winners amongst the first few batches of new TLDs and there are some great new extensions coming out on a weekly basis over the next few months.

We’ll keep you informed right here on the Hover blog, so if you are awaiting the launch of a specific TLD, stay tuned! Our aim is to support all new TLDs on the day they launch into general availability.

Other than that, there was the usual bunch of little changes and improvements under the hood that customers don’t see but sometimes feel through faster page loads, or other little tweaks that make Hover better overall.

Until next month!

Domain of the Month, February: MadeToThrill

We’re excited to spotlight MadeToThrill, celebrating the world’s greatest amusement parks through a curated collection of original photography.

The site invites thrill-seeking Instagrammers to share photos of theme parks taken across the globe by simply using the hashtag #madetothrill. The result is a gallery of captivating phone-tography that showcases the architectural beauty of the world’s amusement parks. Instagram filters turn the photos into works of art, and transform roller coasters into skeletons of wood and metal performing aerial acrobatics.

Scrolling through the filtered photos transports you to another time and place. You can lose yourself in the unique theme parks around the world, from carousels in California to the coasters of Japan.

The gallery evokes happy memories of thrills past and leaves you longing for the feeling of a paper admission ticket between your fingers (and funnel cake in your belly).

MadeToThrill

Why we love it

Simple concept, beautiful execution.

MadeToThrill makes for a truly eye-catching website with a basic collection of themed images. Its minimalist design shows off the photographic content as the real hero. The site’s grid-based layout and clean straight lines allows for easy navigation through the portfolio. Plus, it looks just as lovely when browsing on a mobile device.

This kind of minimalism is one of the best things to keep in mind when you want to showcase your work, like photography, graphics or architecture. MadeToThrill proves that you don’t have to be an expert designer to turn your ideas into something pretty great.

Since it was first submitted, MadeToThrill’s popularity has been on an upward trajectory with a growing number of followers, so we don’t think we’re the only ones who think it’s cool.

Besides, who doesn’t love rollercoasters?

Submit your domain

Do you want to be featured for Domain of the Month? Anyone and everyone can enter a domain. We’re honouring the uniqueness and creativity of our customers (like you!) with some well-deserved recognition.

Fill out the form below to submit your website for Domain of the Month:

Two-step Signin is Here

Hover customers looking for a little bit of extra security, now have a couple of new options: Two-step Signin and Log Signin Activity.

  • Two-step Signin means that you need something you know (your Hover username and password), plus something you have (in this case, your mobile phone) in order to access your account.
  • Log Signin Activity, when enabled, puts an entry into the Activity feed in your Hover account with the IP and timestamp every time your account is accessed.

Log Signin Activity is a simple check box to enable on the Settings page. Two-step Signin requries a few more steps, but still pretty simple.

Here’s how Two-Step Signin works:

You enable Two-step Signin from the “Settings” area of your Hover account. We’re supporting TOTP-based authenticator apps like Google Authenticator (iOS/Android/Blackberry 4-7), Duo Mobile (iOS/Android), Windows Authenticator (Windows Phone) and Authomator (BlackBerry 10) and also SMS (text message) for those without a smart phone.

Google AuthenticatorOnce enabled, you’ll sign in to your account as usual, with your username and password. After that, you’ll see an additional sign in screen that prompts you for either code displayed in your authenticator app, or the special code sent to your phone via text message.

Having it enabled means that even if someone were to get your username and password somehow, they wouldn’t be able to log in since they would also need to have access to your phone to successfully sign into your account.

Avoiding Getting Locked Out!

While Two-step Signin provides additional security, it also means that you run the risk of locking yourself out of your account if you don’t have your phone with you or if it’s lost or stolen. The Recovery Code provided when you set up Two-step Signin is important for this reason.

When you set it up on your account, please note the Recovery Code and save it somewhere safe (write it down and stick it in your wallet, or store it in a secure app like 1Password or LastPass).

In the event you lock yourself out of your account because you either lost your phone, or deleted the authenticator app, it’s going to be a real hassle to get you access again without that Recover Code. We’re not going to share what would be required, but suffice to say, it’s not something we’d do over the phone with you in a few minutes. Save us both the trouble and write down that Recovery Code please!

While testing Two-step Signin late last week on one of our staging servers, I managed to lock myself out of my account. I foolishly didn’t bother saving the recovery code and then deleted the account from my Authenticator app thinking it was for another service. The result was an email of shame to the development team to get it turned off. In real life it won’t be that easy to get back into your account.

View a Step-by-Step Guide to Enable Two-step Signin

We have a nice step-by-step guide to enabling Two-step Signin on your account, including a list of the mobile apps that are compatible with our Two-step Signin system. View it here.

p.s. write down that Recovery Code!