Eight Ways to Fail at Domaining

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”Henry Kissinger

Profitable domainers fail 97% of the time on the way to selling 3% of their inventory each year.  Domaining is a highly speculative endeavor.  To be profitable means walking a virtual tightrope of income, expenses and probabilities.  On top of that we have to compete with thousands of other domainers from around the globe. So if we want to exceed – we have to excel.  On the other hand, if we want to fail, there’s at least eight ways to do it:

Read morE

Read More

Cashing In on the eSports Craze

“[The] booming eSports space….. I think that is going to be the next ‘crypto wave’ for domains. I’m seeing so much action in that area.” Drew Rosener on Domain Sherpa, Oct 2018


One of the fastest growing industries of our day is eSports. Startups in this space are spawning faster than Fortnite warriors and, more importantly, established corporations like Google, Sony, Microsoft, Doritos and Coca-Cola are investing at an increasingly rapid pace.  Money is on the move. Just this week Epic Games announced it’s putting up $100 million dollars in prize money for competitions in 2019. The July, World Cup alone, will include $30 million in total prizes.  But it gets better…..

(more…)

Read More

Retrospective: My Four Years as a Domainer

In many ways, most domain name investment is better labeled as speculation……… Less is more – quality over quantity. Don’t invest unless you understand the quality of a domain, and your options to cash out.

Alan Dunn at NameCorp

I’ve just completed my fourth year of an exciting and profitable domaining adventure.  So today, at the start of a new year, I’m looking back and sharing my reflections on my past successes and failures. This includes insights, stats and some year over year sales analysis.


Keep in mind that I characterize myself as a journeyman domainer investing, almost exclusively, in dot-com, brandable domains.  Everyone’s journey is different but here’s the story of mine.

(more…)

Read More

What’s my take home pay on $100k in domain sales?

Most investors across their entire portfolio, would say their average is 2% – 3%. They’ll sell 2% to 3% of their domain names per year. 

 – Michael Cyger

This past week Andrew Allemann at Domain Name Wire did a great interview with veteran domainer, Mark Levine, about his 2018 brandable domain sales.  In the interview Mark lays out his domain acquisition strategy and sales philosophy as well as sample sale details, his portfolio size, acquisition costs and other items you don’t often hear in this type of  discussion. So I highly recommend it.

At the same time, despite his best efforts, Andrew may have left many readers with a skewed picture of Mark’s actual bottom line profit on the 48 domains that he sold this year through Afternic, BrandBucket and Efty landing pages.  Some might think that Mark’s $114,000 in sales minus the $3,400 he paid for those domains would mean a 97% profit. Right? 

Nope. Not even close. 

I would estimate his bottom line profit at 50%.

Here’s why.

Read more

Read More

Why We Love to Hate those Domain Appraisal Tools

In order to profit we need to buy low and sell high. Sounds simple. But it’s not. Especially in the domain industry.  Why? Because there’s no standardized and regulated repository for valuations, acquisitions and sales. In other words, no measuring stick.  This leads to a lot of frustration for domainers, especially those that are new.  One of the main scapegoats for our buy/sell pricing conundrum are the estimated pricing tools.   Oh how we love to trash talk Estibot and their ilk! 

(more…)

Read More

How to Make Money If the Domain Market Crashes

Opportunity is invisible to most. THAT is why it’s an opportunity to begin with. You have to look for voids and holes in the fabric of society – for the customer – and if you fill that gap, voila!  Rick Schwartz, The Domain King

Like any industry or asset class, booms and busts come and go. I think we are nearing the end of another cycle and while there will be pain for many there will be opportunity for others.  The purpose of this article is to let you know that a) there is likely a bust coming b) how it might happen and c) how you could profit from it.

(more…)

Read More

Hot Companies with Horrible Brands

Not too long ago, dictionary word domains were considered as exact match, category killers for various products and industries.  For this reason you’ll find fiber optic products at Fiber.com and air travel services at Fly.com.  But things have changed. The rules have been disrupted. Now dictionary words have become a premium vehicle for branding in a wide variety of industries. Sometimes this creative application of a single word domain has been a hit. Other times it’s been a disaster.

Let’s take a look at some examples of companies who have succeeded despite what I consider to be questionable, single word, branding choices.

  • Lime – A bike sharing company  at LI.me
  • Igloo – Domain advisors at Igloo.com
  • Sumo – Web marketing solutions at Sumo.com
  • Amazon – Global eCommerce platform at Amazon.com
  • Lemonade – Insurance app at Lemonade.com
  • Uber – Ride sharing app at Uber.com
  • Gusto – Payroll services at Gusto.com
  • League – Health benefits management at League.com
  • Bird – Scooter rentals at Bird.co
  • Apple – Global tech company at Apple.com
  • Toast – Business operations software at Toast.com
  • Purple – High tech mattresses at Purple.com

On the flip side there’s a bunch of one word brands that I really like.

  • Agenda – A scheduling app at Agenda.com
  • Advance – Global media at Advance.com
  • Great – A Swedish charity to help the impoverished at Great.com
  • Slack – Team collaboration tools at Slack.com
  • Ledger – Crypto asset management at Ledger.com
  • Casper – High tech mattresses at Casper.com
  • Pax – Vape and cannabis devices at Pax.com
  • Ring – Home security systems at Ring.com
  • Timeline – Modern history at Timeline.com
  • Freedom – Mortgage company at Freedom.com

What’s on your list of heroes and zeroes for startup branding?  Let us know in the comments below.

Read More

Are You Pricing Yourself Out of the Market?

“Arriving at the real value of a domain is like a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black dog – that just might not be there…” — Unknown

The most common mistake new domainers make is overvaluing their domains and listing them at ridiculous prices that no one will pay. After a while they feel frustrated and start asking: How much is my domain worth? The often heard answer to that question is: It’s worth what someone will pay for it. An answer that, while completely accurate, is simultaneously useless.

I think pricing is one of the most underrated variables in our industry. It can make or break our business model. Price too low and we risk leaving big money on the table. Price too high and we decrease the chance of a sale or possibly even price ourselves right out of the market.

I don’t have the magic solution to the pricing conundrum. But I can do what I usually do. Provide some sales data, give you my two cents and let you make up your own mind 🙂
(more…)

Read More

Let’s Get Rich – Investing in the Next Big Thing

Ninety nine percent of finding the next big thing is discounting all the noise of those that want to convince you that what they have is the next big thing.
Rick Swartz, The Domain King®

We all wish we could have registered the 1997 gems that are selling now for 6 or 7 figures. So why didn’t we? The reality is that most us were online in 1997. I know I was. And yet we didn’t buy. Since then other opportunities have come and gone. But often we haven’t seen or responded to them in real time.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at these 2018 sales.
(more…)

Read More

Tech Startup Brands: What’s Hot and What’s Not

“We now live in a world where one-word domains with massively broad use cases and brandable one and two-word domain names have won [the race against product-related domains]. – Morgan Linton, July 2018

In a prior post I talked about 349 recent sales from three brandable marketplaces. I assessed them as a group and analyzed them in terms of length, style and keywords. This week I’m looking for trends in the brand names of 200 tech startups that were recently covered in news reports on TechCrunch.

Let’s see what we can discern from the trends, tendencies and nuances of this random list of 200 names.
(more…)

Read More