Domain Spotlight:

Does This Mean The Industry Is Closed To New Domainers?

Starting in the domain industry is tough. You see a lot of people claiming to be making great money. You hear of all the sales and see the great returns on DNJournal each week and want the same. But the reality is most people don’t make money. Most don’t buy names that will sell and feel that outside sources rather than the lack of quality of the portfolio is the cause.

Mike Mann isn’t helping anything with his frequent posts of “look what I sold and I only paid $XX. What is never made public is costs of all the other names that don’t sell and acquisition costs. Because that would reveal too much about the real business of domain investing. Showing that you are losing money isn’t good for business. And he may be killing it but I’m going with he’s losing money until proven otherwise.

What drove this post is our recent auction. We have taken submissions for the past couple weeks and boy did we get some. Will probably end up being over 1000 names submitted. The submissions tell us a lot about domain investing. It tells us the expectations of people. It tells us that many people don’t understand what an auction is. Many people put end user pricing and even had some people put in a million dollar reserve. Which is fine if its a million dollar name. But it was not. Not even close. Other people are hoping for a hand reg and a flip but then put reserves of $300 and above.

This was our description of names we were looking for

The names we choose will not be on quality but on their ability to sell at a Namejet auction.  You and we only get paid if they sell.  If we reject a name don’t take it personal, we are going on our own personal experience to choose the names.

I am often wrong. I have often thought a name had no value and yet it got a great price. There are so many niches I don’t understand. But I also have Google. After my first visual check its pretty easy to plug everything in for searches and CPC. So while I miss a few, for the most part I know the value of a domain. And even more than knowing the value of a domain I now what a domain ISN’T worth. Opinion only but I’ve been doing this 10 years now every single day so I’ve way surpassed the 10,000 hour mark that many think is required to become good at something.

Many people were disappointed in not getting a domain in to our auction and I get it. I remember submitting names to Rick Latona and was so excited when I got a name in and disappointed when I didn’t. We received a few emails saying they weren’t happy but I one that said this and the last line got to me a little bit

Thoroughly disappointed.

Your request for domains should be more specific.

Seems the domain industry is very closed to new domainers?


As I said earlier, I understand the first line about being disappointed.   And we certainly make mistakes and miss a few good names that probably should have been in.  And yes, some of the names that we turned down are probably better than some of the names that the team members of turned in.    But the auction costs exactly the same as you would pay at NameJet so anyone who doesn’t get in is more than welcome to go to Namejet if they truly feel they have enough quality names to sell there.  We have to handle the logistics of transfers and payouts of our auction so we can only handle so many.    We put our own names on there but the logistics of those are easy since they are ours.

To me, the above statement shows that people think that the key to success in domain investing is “the boys club”.   I disagree.  I think quality names are the driver to success. And quality is relative to the cost of the domain.  A great name can be effected by paying too high of a price.  And a $12 name can be high quality for that price given its ability to sell for much more.  After that it is exposure.  You need to get your name in front as many people as you can.  If you don’t have your name at Godaddy listings so that when people type it in it becomes part of the search results, you are doing it wrong.   Lack of quality domains is nobody’s fault but the buyer.  Whether its lack of knowledge, a support group to bounce names off of, an addiction or lust to buy every day, or lack of funds, it all has nothing to do with people not letting you participate because you are new or unknown.

The names submitted were below.  And I am not putting these out there to shame but merely to see if you think they would sell at Namejet or if you would buy them. Heck you can buy them.  Reach out if you do.  I’d love to put a buyer to them.  Keep in mind they reserves on these were $99 but most were higher up to $399.  I didn’t see anything that we thought would sell at auction.  And the point of this auction was to find names that would sell.  Selling is how we make money.  This isn’t a car show.  We’re not trying to show the best or most valuable domain.  We do it to sell.  Do you think any of these would sell?  If not then evidently you too are closing the door to new domain investors.

Domain Spotlight:

30 Replies to “Does This Mean The Industry Is Closed To New Domainers?”

  1. Some domainers are successful but agree seems like a difficult business to depend upon, especially for consistent income.

    More newbies need to understand that. Unless you have six figures to play around with, and several years to wait, chances are you will be disappointed.

    Domains are not very liquid except the very best ones, and those are in pretty strong hands right now.

  2. Good article. I wouldn’t buy any on the list, but I think would sell at auction. I’ve been domaining for 15 years. Really wasted a lot of money early on. But, my gut was right that .com would stay king forever…..or at least until the next revolution. Built a few websites with low traffic domains, that turned into good traffic domains once google indexed the sites with good search listings. My policy now is to be very critical when picking domains. With today’s domain searching software, domainers can search thru hundreds of thousands, for the best of the best and don’t have to settle for average.

  3. i would get a serious headache if i had to look for good domains from those submissions…

    your team is doing great work and putting out great info…

      1. Page would be really surprised at the .com domains I’m registering today for reg fee. I do research on the next possible top tech products, before they are mainstream. Of course the very best are already registered, but plenty good ones are waiting for products to hit the market and then the value ramps.

  4. Very nice post.. its hard for the new domainers entering this stage , particularly too many extensions and too much “CONFUSION”.. One says .COM is king / one says ccTLDs are the best or the other one says newGTLDs are going to change the world…

    On top of that too many sharks spreading false news .. newbies to be cautious ..

    To me there are plenty of opportunities in domaining industry , its far away from saturation .. one need to be agile and keep moving their position as the world changing.. per example Indian economy is growing at faster rate , there is lots of digitisation activities are going in country at massive scale.. its a country of 1.3 billion.. certainly one day it offers good potential to sell to companies who has business interests in India.. same way Africa is picking up countries like Nigeria , south africa.. etc are doing much better than western world.. the whole issue not moving positions and living in the virtual world of just “.COM is king” takes no where.. .COM is king but also overly saturated from prices point of view.. even if it grows getting 100% ROI on overall portfolio in next 5 years is a good growth..

    1. Shiva,

      Thank your for the comment. Good info there. But population does not mean money. While Chinese investors have been putting big money into the industry. The Indian market has been anything but. Traditionally the Chinese have been gamblers and looking for huge returns and the Indian market looks for bargains and deals. Obviously that is not the case every time and may not be the future. Investing is betting on the future. We all get to place our bets.

      1. Population alone cant change , fully agree with you 🙂 , culturally Indians are bargainers in general :) a country of 1.3 billion population , you will find a mix of gamblers , bargainers , richie rich kids , poor and extremely poor population.. as the economy is growing more and more wealth is getting added , so purchasing power is going up. domain name was purchased for 32k USD and now its an Unicorn company in less than 5 to 6 years time.
        In last 5 years time… internet infrastructure has hugely changed.. i will strongly suggest its worth watching India’s domain name industry , at moment it is at less than 2% of the chinese industry in terms of domain trade.. the demand likely to spur in coming years because of govts flagship initiatives like digital India, startup India.. etc

  5. Great domains require a solid home, with a quality guardian. Perhaps investors need a better advisor agent if they are looking for an all time career sale, or perhaps taking more time before selecting domains to make a quicker flip.

    There isn’t much need for documents to be certified in an industry where Las Vegas was the greatest domain sold. It doesn’t take air patrol drones to enjoy a Jamaican Sunset, you don’t even need tools for rentals there. Prudent use of industry tools may be something challenging if your investment strategy is blah.. bull? I don’t thinks so, it doesn’t take 365 days of System Operations to motivate, or innovate.

    Sure, you may get a top tip to place your bets, and sure it may satisfy the spirit in the short term, but so do deep fried goodies… but are they good for you? You are better of jumping in a cage of 44 tigers than spending your hard earned money fighting for our bread to be put on the table. Perhaps there should be some sort of authentication or verification process so that these names aren’t what decides our fate. Maybe we could call 420-888-880 and ask them to extend an opportunity?

    Btw – speaking this into my microphone makes the audio sound odd – perhaps I should be with my Dr? He’s weird though, he’s into Sex Toy Boxxxes.

    I guess I shouldn’t judge as every race and faith once survived upon a trade – much like domain investors. It seems we all swing the hammer, some of us hit the nail, others hit stud. We can’t all be in porn, but we can enjoy nudity, 420 (chronic) and have phones that handle sysop apps. Perhaps we should look to become hip hop studs? Is this a verified analysis? Nope, but in the end, it all looks like music anyway.

    1. Ali,

      I thought you had gone off the deep end and turned into Jeff the Metal Tiger. To everyone that thought he had, look at the list of names the guy submitted and then read Ali’s comment. Brilliant

      1. Metal Tiger vs. Zandibot. Tune in… this could get real. 😉

        But on a serious note… investing has nothing to do with a boys club, or being a new domainer, OG, or even a Metal Tiger. At the end of the day, it’s about making the right investment choices at the right time for the right price. Most importantly, domain investing is about understanding value. You can’t just make up something and put a price on it – that is doomed for failure. You have to KNOW that it has value and how much value, and that can only been done with research and data to back it up. Like you said, a simple Google search is a great start to finding out value… are there even any potential future buyers for the domain name? Type in “blah bull” into Google search… see anything? Nope… you can to page after page and not find one potential enduser for it. That’s a great initial indicator that you’re on your way to wasting money. There was a domain at auction that I was bidding on… type in “pest patrol” into Google search… the picture is far more clear.. from there, you have more and more data to look through to ensure that your purchase price is a low enough and that these companies can actually afford to 2x-10x+ your return over the mid-long term hold haul that is required to get a solid sale. This particular domain was trickier as it had traffic, a backlink profile and a former business that operated on it.. more data to sort through. At the end of the day, I decided not to go for it as it went for more than I had perceived it’s value to be for my investment strategy. Move on to the next one. Buying everything in sight for any amount, constantly making up domains and hand registering them, and blindly investing are a sure fire way to lose your shirt. And for those that think you need a ton of money to make money, you’re wrong. Way wrong. So wrong that you couldn’t be any more wrong if you were wrong again. All it takes is proper research, about $10-$12, and a little bit of effort (and some charm). For example, I hand registered yesterday (most recent one, hence the example). Is it a massive sale waiting to happen? Nope. Is it something that can sell for a few hundred-maybe a thousand? Definitely. Google “Paneless Windows”… clear picture. It’s quirky, brandable play on words, plenty of endusers, a service that is not cheap, a ton of skyscrapers, commercial buildings and otherwise that need to hire these services. Took me about 30 minutes of research and now I have a domain that I will sell. Just a low-end of the spectrum example. More than $300 was essentially lost on that list of domain names above. For $300 you could have gotten one good name at auction with more research done, or even 30 more thought out hand registered names and turned it into $3,000-$10,000+ over time. I could rant and rave about this stuff all day… I should get back to work… or go to the beach. Hmm.

      2. Great comments Ali, and a nice hand reg of If you don’t mind me asking, where did your research begin with Did you hear the term somewhere and decide to look it up?

    2. Travis, I found in a giant list of deleted domains. The term sounded familiar so I started research while the domain was in my shopping cart. After I was satisfied, I bought it 😉

  6. Your staff and you made the right call not listing those domains. I wouldn’t take any of them if they were free.

    This guy or girl is going through the same growing pains we all have gone through in this industry. Registering hundreds if not thousands of available domains that look good to someone with no knowledge of what is actually valuable and sells.

    It is a beautifully painful part of domaining, that this mistress robs you of money before you even know what is valuable. Great way of weeding out those that are serious and those that are not.

  7. Thanks DSAD partners for the opportunity to include some domains in the auction. I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near Namejet otherwise. I made the mistake of putting reserves on some of the names I submitted & realized later that I shouldn’t have. Then I realized I submitted names with extensions Namejet doesn’t even take. Duh! I hope I’ve learned from those mistakes and I’m grateful you’re still willing to reach out and include new domainers like me in your auction. I tell people that the learning curve for the first year of domaining is so steep sometimes you feel like you’re falling over backwards. And there’s always more to learn. Luckily it’s a very welcoming industry with great information, tips, advice, blogs and forums – like here and Michael Cyger who boiled it down to the simple phrase “buy domains that other people want.”

  8. good read, thanks shane, in my younger years i was writing fiction and poetry, with some minor publishing success, domaining is a lot like the publishing industry, like manuscripts, domain names need to be good enough to get noticed and stand out from the pack, first time i sent a list of names (i thought were good) to a broker i didnt even get a thanks but no thanks reply, but publishing is like that, and “professional” writers learn to accept it as part of their development, and, importantly, not to give up, now i try to be very picky about buying, treating available names as if they were stories or poems, and then looking subjectively at a list before deciding if what i have is good enough to send to an auction, or a broker, i think this is an aspect of investor/buy side discipline i had previously underestimated

    1. John,

      Great analogy. There are so many people like you that bring real skills from other areas that can help them succeed in domain investing. Thanks for sharing

  9. For the record .. you guys at DSAD are not just non-closed-door .. you’re actually helpful gatekeepers to the industry for new domains .. except for guys like me who also spend hours a night going through all the lists hoping to find some cheap gems the slip unnoticed through the auction cracks .. only to wake up and find most of them in your FREE list of domains to watch for the day. Seriously .. you are handing a gold key new investors to finding great names without spending the most precious commodity .. TIME! (But damn you for that, from those of us who do put in the time .. lol .. but thanks for all the other help and info you do for us in the industry)

    Seriously though .. is about the only one that would have made the possible cut on my end .. so hard to criticize your judgment at all .. nor only that .. but unfortunately I think most of those names listed aren’t even worth the $12 handreg to a DOMAINER who needs to buy the domains far below retail to make an eventual profit (domainers are the only realistic buyers at a name jet auction).

    PS .. What domains did you get with million+ reserve?

    PPS .. Ali .. your reply was gold! 🙂

  10. I don’t think any of the domains on the list are even worth hand reg fee.
    There are some good hand reg names out there if you do research.
    I hand registered this morning through Uniregistry ($8.88).
    EstiBot value $750.
    There are quite a few Galaxy Hair Salons in the U.S.
    There’s even one opening up near my gym.

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