James Iles

10 Tips for New Domain Investors

By James Iles, Apr 4, 2019
  1. James Iles

    James Iles Top Member PRO Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    In a new industry, it's often difficult to know where to start. Coming in with an abundance of enthusiasm and a desire to make money quickly, it may be hard to resist the urge to start acquiring new domain names immediately with the hope of selling them within days or weeks.

    It's been well documented on forums and blogs that the domain name industry is a difficult place to succeed. Many investors buy and sell names purely for a hobby, with polls such as this one indicating that it's far harder to make a profit from domain investing now than it was ten or more years ago.

    However, building a successful portfolio can be done. Joshua Schoen (@jstenn13), for example, started investing in 2016 and has built a phenomenal portfolio which includes names such as,, and His story was featured on a recent episode of DomainNameWire's podcast.

    Here are ten tips for you if you're just starting out in the domain industry.

    Join a Forum

    One of the best moves you can make as a potential domain investor is to join a forum, such as NamePros, to start interacting with other investors. Some of the discussions will be irrelevant and you'll need to focus on helpful topics, but immersing yourself in a forum can be beneficial.

    Read Blogs

    The domain industry has a wide array of blogs that you can follow, written by some very talented investors. DomainNameWire, TheDomains,, DSAD, and DNJournal are my five favorite blogs to follow, but aggregates current news stories and a couple of visits per day to should get you up to speed with the latest news stories and domain sales.


    Explore DomainSherpa

    Founded several years ago by @Michael Cyger, DomainSherpa is a treasure trove of useful information available in video and podcast format. Review shows, interviews, and advice are all abundant at DomainSherpa. Now owned by @MediaOptions and hosted by Tess Diaz, the website is going from strength to strength.

    Study Sales

    To know what to invest in, you need to know what sells. Fortunately, there are some purpose-built resources that will help you here.

    NameBio and do a stellar job of congregating domain sales data daily, with NameBio having recently introduced a new subscription service to give access to a wider array of data.

    These two resources, studied daily over an extended period of time will help to give a greater understanding of the type of domains that are selling right now. DNJournal also collects a weekly list of verifiable domain name sales and has done so since 2003.

    Unfortunately, the majority of domain sales never get reported, but Twitter accounts such as @DotWeekly do an excellent job of tracking some corporate sales and acquisitions that will show you what some of the bigger companies are buying.

    Connect With Domainers

    Domain investing is fairly individualistic because you're making decisions with your own money for your own investments to produce more money for yourself. However, creating a network of domain industry connections can produce more opportunities to buy and sell names.

    A good network can also lead to some very productive discussions about domains and can prove to be very thought-provoking.

    Attend Events

    Before 2019, I was never an advocate for domaining events. However, NamesCon 2019 in Las Vegas transformed my own opinion, and I can recommend domaining events as a NamesCon to newer investors. These larger events are excellent places to chat with fellow domain investors and meet some of the company representatives from the domain industry.

    It's also an excellent place to learn with a wide array of seminars and discussions on every day of the conference. At NamesCon 2019 in Las Vegas, I believe it was calculated that around 40% of attendees had never been to a NamesCon before, so it's an event where new investors are definitely welcome.

    Don't Buy Domains Immediately

    The temptation is there to start buying domains immediately, whether that's at an auction or via hand registration. Having limited knowledge of the type of domain names that are selling at the moment will leave you blindly acquiring domains without a specific plan.

    Before buying any name, I would recommend learning as much as you can. If guided learning is how you absorb information best, then Michael Cyger's DNAcademy may be for you.

    Test Yourself

    Testing your knowledge is a perfect way to grow, and fortunately, it's fairly easy in the domain industry. Before buying any domain name, you may want to follow auctions on DropCatch, Sedo or NameJet to try to guess the sales price of a domain. Accurately predicting the value of a domain name based on recent sales data is a valuable skill.

    Another method of testing your knowledge is to download "The Domain Game" app for iOS and Android. From the creators of NameBio, The Domain Game asks you to accurately predict price ranges for real-life domain sales from the NameBio database.

    Understand Why Certain Domains Sell

    Following on from understanding the price range for certain domain names, I would recommend working out why certain domains sell for the prices that they do. Why do three-letter .COM's sell for five, six or seven-figures? Why did a five-letter name sell for $2,888?

    These questions can be answered by understanding who the buyer may be (an investor or an end user), the venue and other useful information such as business trends. An example of a trend would be CBD Oil. The exact match sold for $500,240 in Q1 of 2019.

    Be Trustworthy

    The domain name industry is fairly small, so word spreads fast. It's important to be an upstanding, trustworthy member of the community, especially when it comes to following through with transactions amongst other investors.
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. James Iles

    About The Author — James Iles

    James is a domain name industry professional currently working on numerous domain industry research, acquisition and sales projects. Contact [email protected] For all inquiries relating to NamePros stories and interviews, please email: [email protected]

    This is James Iles's 638th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
  5. Comments (13)

  6. dande


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    Good advises. Especially, Don't buy domains yet - that's a common mistake new domain investors make. Except you are @Rick Schwartz, hardly can you ever sell your first set of domains. Those are pure waste of dollars
  7. barybadrinath

    barybadrinath Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Wow. Such a nice article with genuine advices.
  8. hookbox

    hookbox Top Member VIP

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    Personally I think you should buy domains right away. Especially hand regs. (Seriously) Spend a couple hundred bucks on a bunch of worthless junk and it will accelerate your learning quicker than any other thing. Post them on Namepros and get everyone's opinion. You will learn more from the opinions of all the domain investors here instead of cherry picking a bunch of threads that may or may not have the correct information on domain investing. Yes, I am serious with this advice.
  9. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer Top Member PRO VIP

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    "Coming in with an abundance of enthusiasm and a desire to make money quickly, it may be hard to resist the urge to start acquiring new domain names immediately with the hope of selling them within days or weeks.
    It's been well documented on forums and blogs that the domain name industry is a difficult place to succeed."

    There is money to be made but only IF you are willing to work hard and learn over time. Continued, sustainable profits come over years not months. (y)

    Nice article, James!
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  10. elevator

    elevator VIP

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  11. keston57

    keston57 Established Member

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    @James thanks for the tips.
  12. Rafael Novaes

    Rafael Novaes Established Member

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    I'm see gold here!
  13. xcloud123

    xcloud123 Established Member

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    i hope i can see this before!
  14. Ariff BD

    Ariff BD Account Auto-Closed

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    what are the domains name listed below your comment?
  15. dande


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    They are domain names for sale
  16. Ariff BD

    Ariff BD Account Auto-Closed

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    i want to add my domain names too. how can i add them like you did?
  17. Simar Bhalla

    Simar Bhalla New Member

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    Very well written blog.
  18. Ariff BD

    Ariff BD Account Auto-Closed

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    how do you add the domain names below ur comment? can u pls guide me?
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