Domain Spotlight:

10 Things That Could Make You More Money in 2017

The Internet is full of opinion.  The reality is there are 50 ways to financial success in the domain industry. And there a million other ways to lose your money.  This industry is a results game.  Either you make money or you don’t.  Words don’t pay the bills.  Sales don’t pay the bills.  Profits do.   Very very few domain investors make a living ONLY buying and selling domains.  But anyone who has participated in this industry for years has some good info, stories, and strategies to share.   Here are my opinions on some ideas that will help you do better in this business (many were learned by my mistakes)

  1.  Pick out a few people that you think best reflect the style of domain investor you want to be.  Don’t let others tell you who you should follow.  No current bloggers in our industry make a full living buying and selling domains.   Berkens, Schwartz, and Schilling don’t write anymore (Berkens does sparingly).  The rest of us rely on other income to pay the bills so we will be biased.  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some great info in the articles.  You just have to pick it out. There are several different bloggers that have completely different approaches and are all very successful. Do you want to try to be like our Josh Eisenhower and have a larger portfolio of domains at lesser prices and play the numbers game?  He is one of the top five sellers on BrandBucket.  People say that the big sellers at BB get favoritism.  Josh just puts up a lot of names that he got inexpensively.  He sells enough names that pay for renewals and leaves enough for profits.   Perhaps you want to build your company around one TLD like “Ugly” Mike Carson (dot io).  Loved the tld and started a registrar.  Maybe you want to concentrate on fewer higher quality names like Elliot Silver.  Or perhaps you want to be like Theo of DomainGang and I and make a good percentage of our money in other industries and through the blog.   All of these methods have proven to be successful and profitable so therefore are worth doing.   Pick your way and master it.
  2. Be Known For Something:  Either become a businessman or become a business, man.  Jay Z made his name into one of the biggest businesses in entertainment.  You have a choice.   Either your personal name becomes what people know, or you create a company.  Something is going to need to become the face.  Once you have that face you need to become known in the industry for something.   Some people get one good domain and work from there.  Steven Kennedy was known for owning early in his career.  His portfolio started there but he’s made hundreds of thousands of dollars from there. He’s moved on to several other 6 figure names but when he first came in the market he was the “” kid.   Have you had success in another industry? People love good business people, regardless of what business it is.  It all translates.  I would guess that 90% of the successful people in this industry were very successful in something else before they came over.  Use those talents in domain investing.
  3. For Every Rude person that has been successful there are 10 that have done well because they are nice.  “Nice guys finish last” is the old saying.  And it’s a bunch of bull.  Business forces you to have to make some tough decisions that some will not like. You will make enemies. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be pleasant along the way.   Being nice doesn’t make you money but it sure makes it more likely that others want to help you along in your success.  This is a very small industry and every person that you cross is one less person that can help you achieve your goals.  I made this mistake for the first 6 years.  There were a lot of people that I just didn’t like their “style”.  In reality I was either competing against them for names, didn’t like their views on things, or they didn’t like me so I fought back.  All of this was unnecessary.   Once I tried to put myself in their shoes I realized that 8 out of 10 of them were pretty good people.  Just different from me.  And that different is actually a good thing.  You want to see the world from a different viewpoint if you want to grow.  The more success you have the more you will be challenges to ignore the negativity and keep focused.   If you want to be more successful, concentrate on your domain investing goals and spend less time in the chat rooms and comments talking about how others are doing.
  4. You don’t have to buy and sell liquid domains but if you don’t you’re missing out on a very profitable market. Liquidity describes the degree to which an domain can be quickly bought or sold in the market without affecting the asset’s price.   Trading in things that have a stable price makes it easier to find deals.  If you know that this type of sells regularly at  $500 on Namejet then you search out similar names and buy them for less.  Perhaps you buy a portfolio or bulk to get a cheaper price.  But you know what the liquid value is and can work from there.  That is a very valuable opportunity.  It may not be a home run but it provides a good opportunity for a bunch of singles.
  5. The Buy and Hold strategy usually needs another source of income in order to hang on.  If you believe the value of domains is going up then you should buy and hold on to your domains and wait until that great offer comes in.  But how do you pay the bills while you wait?   How do you add to your portfolio while you wait for that great offer?  What if that domain isn’t more valuable down the road?   We can talk about Rick Schwartz all day.  He is the ultimate buy and hold success story.  I can name 10 more.  But that’s 10 out of all of us.  It’s why I and many others keep their day job.  It allows me to continue buying without having to sell or pay bills out of my domain money.  It lets the portfolio build much quicker.   Don’t listen to people that call you stupid for selling your names too cheap as long as its to upgrade the name or pay your bills.   Feeding your addiction of having to buy names on a daily basis is another story.
  6. It is OK to sell to other domain investors.  The entire stock market is built around selling stocks and options back and forth.  The real estate market is exactly the same way.   If you get the price you want for your domain then why does it matter who bought it ?  I have never understood why investors focus on what to label the person that bought their domain rather than what they sold it for.   Who cares whether its a person that is going to build it out or stick it in a portfolio?  If you are happy with the price then that’s where it ends.   “I will only sell my domains to an enduser” is a silly statement.  Tell me “I won’t sell my domains for anything under five figures”.  That makes sense.  A domain’s value is measured in currency.  The person that buys it has zero determination on its actual value except in your mind.   In short, sell your domains for the price you want and forget about how much you could have gotten or who bought it.
  7. Use trusted peers to determine if continuing to hold on to a domain year after year is worth the cost.   I see so many portfolios (mine included) that is full of bad names.  They are renewed year after year in the hopes of waiting for a good offer.  Most of the names have had zero offers in years.  The biggest and best domainers in the world clean their portfolio to reduce holding costs and provide some cashflow.   There is a reason why some businesses care more about their cashflow than their sales.  Because cashflow is the lifeblood of keeping a business moving forward.  If you only buy and sell domains for a living you HAVE to do this.  If you are a graphics designer, a website builder, or a blogger, then you have other sources of income.  If you don’t , you need to learn to keep the portfolio moving.  Having trusted peers to help you see the reality of your names is very helpful.   And of course, don’t ask someone that would buy it from you as they are probably going to tell you to sell it.
  8. You are wrong if you think that domains being sold by high profile brokers and domain investors have been worked to death.   I used to think the same thing.  Then I got to know the brokers and  larger domain investors.  They only work the super high priced domains.  The others they merely work the inbound leads.  They give it a certain amount of time and either stop brokering it or flip it at Namejet or similar.   It’s a different story for the names you see come up time after time at auction. I avoid those.  Once I see a name up three times at auction its dead to me.  It’s seen too much light.  Being at auction on Namejet once is fine, being in the hands of a big time broker is fine.  I have been on both sides of the timing thing.  I sell a name after 5 years of holding and instantly it gets a great inbound offer .  And then I get a name like TheBigIsland that had been in the hands of someone for 20 years and a week after I buy it I get an offer for 5 times what I paid for it.
  9. Timing is everything in asset trading.  As a young trader in the 10 year option pit I was told this on day one.  Knowing when to get in and when to get out is how you make your money.   They say the money is in the buy but the big money in our industry is the sale.  If margins were tight and you’re in liquid market the buy is crucial.  In our industry, knowing how to get the top prices like Berkens and Schwartz have done for a decade is where the real money lies.  I wish I could tell you how they do it other than stick to your guns.   I was told by a domain investor that he got 100,000 for a name because he truly felt in his heart that it was worth that much and wasn’t going to sell it until he got that much.   I have that part covered.  I just haven’t found the person that wants to buy it that feels the same way about the name.
  10. Use NamesCon to build relationships and here great behind the scenes stories of domain sales.  Only once a year will you get to mingle with so many people that make money selling domains. You can go to NameCon and find out the price of pretty much any domain that was sold but the price couldn’t be told on the blogs.   There is so much to be learned from these sales.   But it is understandable that the companies or people that bought these names don’t want it on public record.    A few drinks loosen the lips a little and lead to some incredible stories.  Stories that stay in Vegas but will make you a better domain investor by listening to how things went down.
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13 Replies to “10 Things That Could Make You More Money in 2017”

  1. Shane,
    You mentioned some successful people in our industry but I think Josh Eisenhower is the one who I would look at the closest. His way of investing/domaining is less risk and the ROI is probably as good as any of them.

  2. “No current bloggers in our industry make a full living buying and selling domains.”

    I’m one of those who works full time as domainer and rely completely on this business for last at least 5 years 🙂

    1. AbdulBasit,

      My apologies. There are certainly many people that make a living completely with domain related income. There are very few that only buy and sell names with no other source of income. If you received any income from your blog you don’t qualify If you don’t receive any income from your blog and why you still blog is another story 🙂

  3. I have 6 years in the domain investments, and I want to congratulate you, your post is excellent. I have strengthened my knowledge that have a certain parallel with the writing. Really worth copy and save. Happy 2017.

  4. Great read, Shane. Thanks. I’m going to bookmark this for when I’m in need of a little motivation (or a reality check).

  5. Great points thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience.
    In terms of turning down large offers, it is a hard thing to do, specially if you do not get similar offers for a long time after that, yet you still think it is worth it and more. It could be a psychological attachment to the domain. Even if the domain is decent it may not be worth what you think it should.

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