The Brandable Insider: Hand Reg Is Dead. Or Is It?

The big $$ is with the end user. You have to be patient and position yourself with a commercial location to be in THEIR PATH.Rick Schwartz, the Domain King

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say hand reg is dead. I don’t think it’s true. I’ve sold a few dozen hand registered brandable domains over the past two years for prices between $2k and $3k. Was it easy? No. Did it require hundreds of hours of hard work? Yes. Was it worth it? Well…..maybe.

Domainers can still hand reg saleable brandable domains but it’s becoming increasingly difficult and very, very time consuming. To make matters worse, only a tiny percentage of what we reg and renew will sell to an end user in any given year.

Time is money
This brings up another point. What is your time worth to you? If you have very little money to invest and you have a lot of time on your hands then the hand reg business model might work for you. But only work if you have a good eye for solid brandable names. If you don’t (and most do not) then your domaining efforts will become a financial loss.

Another consideration is if you have a job or a business where you earn $40 or $50 an hour. In that case you’re likely better served by working overtime at your job or business venture rather than spending hours every day looking for potentially saleable hand registered domains. Why? Because even if you sell 2% of your hand regs to end users each year. Your hourly rate for all the time you’ve spent is likely to be well below $50 an hour. Maybe significantly so.

Third scenario is that panning for brandable gold is your idea of a night on the town. That’s also a consideration. You love doing it and you’re willing to do it just for fun. That’s cool but don’t use it as an excuse to hand reg junk that has little or no chance of selling to an end user.

It’s a grind
Yes, some hand regged domains can be sold for $100, $500 or even $2,000. But it’s laborious and you will likely only sell one or two out of each hundred you reg. Especially in the beginning. The bottom line is that hand reg domaining is a grind. There’s no way around it. You have to work really, really hard and sit through a lot of ups and downs and big dry spells in your sales. It’s not for the faint of heart. I think most domainers have no idea what they’re getting into when they start. I know I didn’t.

From the mouths of experts
The folks on Domain Sherpa say don’t hand reg. Instead buy 2-3 top quality names costing several hundred (or thousand) each. That’s good advice. But how many domainers have the nerve and the patience to spend their whole bank roll on a couple of names and then wait a year or two or three for a sale? Answer: almost none. That type of investment, buy and hold strategy is something most domainers have to grow into over time. And it’s not how most of the Sherpas started their domain careers either.

I’m not saying their advice isn’t good. I’m just saying there’s value in both approaches depending your inclinations, abilities and financial situation.

Learn to crawl before you walk
Many people have to make it as a domain hustler before they can make it as a domain investor. It’s a progression of knowledge and experience. If you’re a fast learner and a disciplined buyer you may step up a level or two very quickly. On the other hand, if you’re a slow learner and impulse purchaser it may take you a long time to get to a profitable level. If you ever get there at all. But for many, hand regging is a place to start, to make mistakes and hopefully learn with a minimal (or no) financial loss.

Here’s a new list of brandables up for sale at NameJet this week:

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Keith deBoer

Keith DeBoer is a part-time, domain investor with an emphasis on brandable domains. He's a domain industry writer with published content at BrandBucket, DomainShane and NamePros. He's also a brand ambassador for BrandBucket and by day, he works as an Internet consultant.

6 thoughts on “The Brandable Insider: Hand Reg Is Dead. Or Is It?

  1. That’s so true.
    Investing in handreg, especially for brandable type, is more time consuming. Due to my limited budget, I decide to invest more time to do brainstorming and crafting some names. But it’s worth it. My best source for inspiration is daily newsletter from Crunchbase. You could get current the trending name on startup and feel their taste.

    I think the best feeling in the world is when I could sold my own crafted handreged name for a good amount. Wish me luck!

  2. Keith what Mr Schwartz said is so true “get in the path ” etc it’s the same in real estate. One name we have – ill mention because its not for sale for a few more years – is gutijin.com or “solid gold ” . We fully expect there to be a coming major ” gold bubble ” worldwide and China will lead the way within a few years . Then this short pinyin name will be for sale once it’s in “the path” .

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