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.
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The Brandable Insider: The Secret Path to Profits (Part II)

“Don’t be romantic about your domains. Don’t fall in love with them. You’re not a collector of domain names, you’re an investor.”Michael Cyger at DNAcademy

Last week we talked about money management and its crucial impact on our success as domainers. Small changes in money management can make or break our business. One of the biggest mistakes we make as domainers is renewing domains that have little chance of selling in the next one or two years.

If you had zero end user sales last year then renewals will likely take you further into the hole. If you had a few sales then renewals can still significantly erode your profits. So it’s a fine line to walk.
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The Brandable Insider: Sumo.com and Other Seemingly Mismatched Brands

There’s been a lot of press this week about the acquisition of the domain Sumo.com for a $1.5 million dollars. Noah Kagan, CEO of SumoMe has been making the rounds this week and you can find his interviews at Domain Sherpa, DomainNameWire and on his podcast blog, OKdork. You can also find articles at Entrepreneur Mag and NamePros. You can even find an opinion piece at Domain Gang which questions the wisdom of spending so much money on a brand that has no obvious correlation to its core product and service.

All this talk about Sumo.com got me to thinking. I started to reflect on all the business ventures, in a variety of industries, that have picked up dictionary word domains and are using them for brands even though there is no obvious connection between the brand and their product.

So here’s a few exact match domain-brands that could have you scratching your head.
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The Brandable Insider: Failing at Domain Auctions

Success often starts with failure and I have failed many times this year. Some of my failures have been in auctions. There are many times I’ve bid and lost. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. It demonstrates my ability to limit my bidding and not go past my limit. Or as Mike Mann says: “If you beat me in the domain auction, congrats, you paid too much.” Well I’m not as cocky as Mike Mann but I do think disciplined limits when bidding is a good thing. Whether the person that outbid you “paid too much” or not is debatable. That depends on, if and when, and for how much they sell it.

On the other hand we’ve all had the experience of getting into a bidding war and letting our emotions run away with us. In those situations we go past our price limit and end up paying more than we thought the domain was worth. I’ve also had the experience where, in hindsight, I was too cheap and failed to step up and pay the price the domain was worth.

In looking back at recent auctions I see all of these scenarios at work.
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The Brandable Insider: The Emotional Roller Coaster of Domaining

Domaining is a speculative industry. A point that really hit home for me while watching an episode of Domain Sherpa last year. A panel guest and industry icon who appears frequently on the show said: “most of the domains we own will never sell [to an end user] in our lifetime.” That’s just the straight up, unflattering, reality of our industry.

Against all odds
The odds of any random domain being purchased by an end user this year are probably in the same neighborhood as the odds that we’ll be struck by lightning in our lifetime (1 in 12,000).

However, hard work and skill can lower those odds significantly. At least that’s what we think. And so it’s, under that gray veil of potential self-delusion, that we labor and search for those elusive, 50 times investment, end user deals.

Lightning strikes
It’s this kind of business dynamic which creates, for me and others, a roller coaster of emotions as we plunge from a post deal high to the depths of an unexpected dry spell, depression. I had one such experience this fall when I suffered my first dry month in more than a year. Fortunately, my pre-holiday domainer’s funk was obliterated by a recent string of three end user sales – all in one week. (more…)

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