10 Things I’ve Found That Make Me More Money In Domaining

Mar 15 2011

We all have our ways.  Things that we do that we feel help us get the highest price for our domains.  What works for one may not work for another but it never hurts to read.  Here are 10 little tips that I have found help me make a little more money with my domains.

1. Give your name to the people that have contacts.  There is a reason the that the more experienced domainers of the world get the best prices. They know everyone in this industry and have contacts outside as well.  They can look at a name and immediately come up with a person that would be interested in that type of name.  Or they will at least know someone who can point them in the right direction.  You have to face the reality that you don’t have that ability.  With time you can certainly get there ,but in the mean time give your name to a broker or an auction house that has the ability to get your name eyeballs.  Don’t be afraid of commission.  We all preach of having beachfront property but when you want to sell it why in the world would you only post your for sale in your homeowner’s association newsletter?

2. Be willing to accept you have messed up and cut your losses. It’s the trader coming out in me here. We all make mistakes yet you hardly ever hear anyone ever admit it in domain investing.  The key is to realize it soon enough, milk what value is left in the domain,  and get it quickly into a better investment.  Pawn it off on some other person that hasn’t learned what you’ve learned.  Let them think they can do better. Morgan Linton realized he was moving down the wrong path with non dot com domains and did the right thing.  Realized he was leaving money on the table, reversed course, and started on a new path. Screwing up is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of activity.  The more choices you get to make, the more chances you have to screw up.  I bought too many 4 letter “collectible” dot coms.  I have a ton of triple repeating letters and I paid too much.  I am taking my losses and putting it into better domains.  Now my money is in names that are appreciating instead of stagnant.

3.  Friend Liquidity.  Many domainers can’t afford three letter dot coms.  But they can afford three character dot coms.  Because of this the three character dot com market is very lucrative and liquid. Liquidity is a flippers friend.  I have never found a three character dot com that I can’t sell.  A pattern that seems to do well for me is Letter Number Number.  It hasn’t failed me yet.  I buy low, sell high…..usually.  I’ll lose money every once and a while but I’m always turning them.   It’s a turn and burn strategy but there is opportunity in this market.Which leads me to.

4. Making a little money each time is OK. You’ve heard the saying “You’ll never go broke selling at a profit”.  Well it’s true.  You guys keep reading all these stories about these high priced domain sales and dream.  That’s not the reality. The reality is you make a little money at a time and build reserves to buy strong names.  There aren’t very many people that can pull a Chef Patrick and go from a portfolio of small names to a $150,000 domain.  The rest of us have to build our portfolio by selling names for $100 profit ten times.  Then $1000 profit ten times.  THEN we move up to bigger names.  It takes years.  You can dream of hitting the jackpot but I prefer to work towards my big payday rather than hoping I’ll hit the lottery.  This method makes me money and I think it will for you as well.

5. Perfect your counter. I think the counter is one of the most important strategies in domain investing.  You could use the Rick Schwartz “Fuck You”.  The Frank Schilling  “we don’t sell names under $20,000” or the Michael Berkens “I don’t have a price but it’s certainly more than that offer” methods.  In reality,  most of us don’t have the type of names that command those types of prices.  You want to be an unmotivated seller but you don’t want to scare anyone off.  If you get an offer,  you need to have a price in your head you 1. Want to get or 2. Willing to accept.    You better be realistic if you want to sell the name.  If you have plenty of money and it doesn’t matter,  then hold off and sell high.  I categorize my names into groups.  1. Dump if you can  2. Turn and Burn 3. Hold for a decent price 4. Big Money.    My counter offers usually reflect which group the name is in.

6. Buy Privately, Sell Publicly.   I realize that’s everyone’s strategy.  It’s hard to sell a domain for $1500 when you just bought it at a public auction for $800 last month.   It’s not to say you can’t sneak in and get a good buy at an auction and resell , but ideally you want a domain that hasn’t had its value defined by a previous public sale.

7. Build a price guide in your niche. Collect every sale and put it into a spreadsheet.  Having knowledge that others don’t,  will make you money.  I can tell you pretty much every 4 number dot com sale this year.  I also track every garden name I can find.  The data helps me negotiate a price and of course I use the low sales to help me buy and the high sales to help me sell.

8. Take auto renew off your domains you want to drop.  I can’t tell you how much money it’s saved me or lost me when I don’t.  This doesn’t help you make more money but gives you more money to spend.

9. Don’t be afraid to start low and let the bidding run the price higher.  I realize there is a risk involved when you do this but I often find it worth the risk.  It is important to only do this when there are plenty of bidders, ie large auction or platform like Sedo.  Doing this on a smaller platform will burn you more often than not.  For the big auction I find that the lower reserve gets their attention and the competing bidders move the price along.  There are different opinions on this but when I’ve gotten into a name at a good price and I know it will do well, I keep the reserve modest.  For every “I’ve could have gotten more for it” I have a nice “Then you should have bought it and flipped it”

10. Make sure all your Buy It Nows are changed to current prices.   If you don’t it you are going to lose money.  Because some one is going to find it or you will negotiate a price and THEN they will find it and make you honor it.  It takes time to do but it could be worth a lot of money

These are just some of the things that I think lead me to more profits. I’m ever learning but it gets better every year.  I’m shooting for the million dollar sales but I’m smart enough to know that it’s going to a lot of time and effort to get there.  Inch by inch making money millions is a cinch.  Or so they say.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Namedotin

    Urgently Looking for a Buyer who can close the deal as soon as possible




  2. Uzoma

    Shane, on a scale of 1 to 10, ten being great awesome, I give your piece a 6.
    I spent time reading it, but very few genius suggestion in there, but in any case it was worth the time. I’m trying to unravel the real reason certain domains sell at Sedo at hefty prices, and my great domains don’t. I know they are doing something hanky panky for sure. I thought you were out to reveal it, and you don’t have it yet.

    1. Post author


      I’ll take the 6. There is no secret. And if I did have that big of secret I’m certainly not going to give it out anyway :). I’ll give your comment a 8. Thoughtful, well intentioned, great use of the words “hanky panky”

  3. em

    I think it’s important to repeat these kinds of things quite often. They are especially important for beginners and good reminders to “experts”. Thank-you for going over these fundamentals.

  4. Luke Summers

    Thank Shane, there are some useful insights and strategies in your post.

    Number 8 is something I always try to keep on top of, but with hundreds of domains across multiple registrars it can be a bit painful (but worth the trouble!).

    Number 4 is something that I need to work on, definitely need to focus more on smaller sales and less on chasing the big paydays.

    Number 7 is something I would like to do, rather than having I general idea in my head, I should be keeping notes in a document.

  5. Luke Summers

    Thank Shane, there are some useful insights and strategies in your post.

    Number 8 is something I always try to keep on top of, but with hundreds of domains across multiple registrars it can be a bit painful (but worth the trouble!).

    Number 4 is something that I need to work on, I definitely need to focus more on smaller sales and less on chasing the big paydays.

    Number 7 is something I would like to do – rather than having a general idea in my head, I should be keeping notes in a document.

    Adding to point 4, here is some further advice from my own experience:
    Make sure you have a balance of long term strategic investments and short term investments with decent liquidity. My portfolio has at times been very heavy on the long term investments, meaning there is not much money coming in to grow or sustain the portfolio. I have been focussed lately on acquiring short term investments that can be sold more easily for ongoing cash injection for the portfolio.

  6. Michael Rhodes

    Great post Shane, thanks for sharing. I like your insight, straight forward and practical. Point #2 on counting your losses and being honest with yourself about an ill-fated approach is really key.

  7. Leonard Britt

    Overall some sound tips with perhaps the most important points being 1) you cannot hit a grand slam home run on every domain & 2) cut your losses sooner rather than later.

  8. kal

    I turned down one offer for a domain for $5000 that I should have taken, and lost $4000 on another potential sale by not taking the first offer (and having to come back later when I needed the money and take the second offer). So there’s $9,000 I could have been ahead on. Playing hardball can sometimes lead to no sale, and you regret it later. The best negotiating stance when selling is to not need the sale, so make sure your domains are making you money so you don’t ‘need’ to sell them.

  9. Pingback: Wednesday’s Daily Domain Auction and Drop Picks | Domain Shane

  10. Robin

    Shane, I think this is a great post, because, in my view, it just brings things back to basics and highlights the important areas to focus on. I have over 500 domain name I want to put on the market and am still searching the web for ..where and with whom best to display them, what min offers to put on them, considering that the estibot appraisals in general seem so far off the shot…and whether to put them up all at once or 30-40 at a time..still working on a strategy there…will keep your tips in mind.

  11. Maciej

    Shane, I got a question regarding asking price on Sedo. To set it or not? I got a feeling asking price stops potential buyers from doing an offer is asking price is higher than they can afford. In the same time I prefer to receive offers and negotiate them – the more negotiations the better chance to sell at all.

    Should I remove asking price, should I lover it? If I remove it, would it decrease domain chances to be find through Sedo (ppl often search by price)?

    Help please 🙂

    Thank you,

    1. Post author


      I say lower it. You’ll get the initial bid and you can negotiate from there. Remember, you don’t have to take the low bids. Getting a lot of low bids may be annoying but they will show up as offers and the more offers a domain has received the better the perception of it being a good name.

  12. Kathy Dobson

    Being relatively new to this field, this piece filled in a lot of blanks for me and connected a lot of dots.
    Thanks for the education…

  13. BFitz

    Great piece, especially the part about cutting losses on renewals. I had a good sale a few months ago and said, “Good, now I am whole on all those bad names I renewed.” I actually enjoy watching them drop and saving the money for a good aftermarket buy. I also found it cheaper to set up a mail box for $100 a year than to have privacy on.

  14. randomo

    I like the tip about how a lot of [low-priced] offers can make your domain look more desirable.

    On the other hand, I tried the “start low and let the bidding run higher” strategy with a few domains on Sedo recently, and they all finished quite low too. If a domain isn’t truly premium or in a hot category, it doesn’t matter how many eyes see the auction – it won’t attract significant bids.

  15. Logan

    Lots of good tips in this one. The best one for me was lowering or eliminating minimum bids at Sedo so that you can build up statistics on market interest in the domain name for prospective bidders to see. Very helpful idea, and one worth the annoyance of dealing with the $100 and $200 tire kickers.

  16. Steve Jones

    The problem with #1 is that most people don’t have domains the quality of which a broker would take.

    The biggest tip I can give people is to scrutinize everything that goes into your portfolio. Especially when starting out and getting the gist of the domain biz, you should be researching thousands of domains for every 1 domain you reg or buy. Don’t just get “good” – get “the best”. Then you won’t find yourself months down the road with a relatively worthless portfolio.


  17. Kwame

    Thanks for some really useful tip, especially regarding SEDO, and cutting my losses. I will give your suggestions a shot.

  18. DR.VEGAS

    Really appreciated#2 & #5. Trynna’ get that finesse element down pat has been anything but easy for me. 🙂

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