Dan.com
NameSilo
With industry domain name sell-through rates not much different than 1%, most domains sit in a portfolio for many years. Other than renewals, it seems natural to simply wait for an offer or sale. But is that really a sound strategy?

While a thorough review of every single name is daunting if you have a large portfolio, a selective review of part of a portfolio is more manageable.

Choose The Target Names

As a first step, look through your portfolio, and determine which names to review.

This could be based on considerations such as:
  • Names from a trending, or dropping, niche.
  • TLDs that you are unsure about.
  • Great names that have not yet generated interest.
  • Names that were a short-term experiment.
  • Names with expensive renewal rates.
  • Names many years since acquisition.
  • Names with offers and price requests, but no sales.
It will depend on the time that you have available, but it is reasonable to perhaps select 25 names to review. I tried out the ideas on about 20 names. While I am not going to publicly share the names, I will give partial results below to demonstrate the process.

The Top Ten

As you go through your portfolio, try to identify your top 10 names. This is difficult, but illuminating.

If there are names on your top 10 that have not generated any interest yet, add those to your list for review. It makes sense to give your most valuable names full consideration, to help get the pricing right.

Check The Competition

Perhaps the most important part of the review is to check out the status of names that are competition for your name. While it is true that each domain name is unique, it is also true that there are multiple ways to effectively capture the essence of most ideas in one or two words.

Your competition might be synonyms, or plural/singular, or similar expressions. However, let’s concentrate on the exact same word in different extensions. It is critical to know the status of the .com, and other highly-valued extensions.

For each name on your review list, fill in a table such as the following. I include a couple of extra columns for TLDs that are applicable to the particular word. For example, if it was a technology term, .tech might be a choice. while if the word was suited to a reference site you might include .info.

ImageBlankTable.png


The first data line shows if the name is registered in that extension The next two lines record if the name is developed or used for redirection. In the FS line (for sale) enter the price if the name has one, or MO if make offer.

To demonstrate the process, here is the table for one name from my own portfolio review. The name is a fairly well-known dictionary word in the .co extension. I placed a column of stars for the extension of the name being reviewed. I acquired this aged name in auction a few years ago, and have not thought much about it since, and no offers, so it was a good candidate for review.

IMAGE-Comp-Sq.png


When I checked dotDB, there are 34 registered TLDs, not all that impressive. But when I checked the status for the important extensions, I was surprised to see that almost all of the main ones, plus .app and a few others, are developed. The .xyz is not developed, but it is listed by a well-respected domain brokerage as make offer.

I was frankly surprised how developed the term is, since the exact term is not used in that many active corporate names, only about ten according to OpenCorporates. Most names in my portfolio have many more OpenCorporates listings, but fewer major extensions developed. My takeaway from the review was that I was well-placed with this name, and I decided to increase somewhat my asking price.

Here is a competitive chart for a different name, this one a dictionary word I hold in the .xyz extension. It is not an uncommon term, but not as well known as the word in the first example.

IMAGE-Comp-Sti.png


Note how different the situation is for this name. The extensions I considered are registered, but only the .co is developed. Names in four of the major extensions are listed for sale, two with 5-figure buy-it-now prices. So the term shows strong pricing, but with the .net a modest asking price, someone seeking the term has several options.

Names Can Be Used Many Ways

For each name in the review, take a few minutes to jot down the possible applications. This really is fast to do, and important. Most names can be used multiple ways.

For example, here is the list I did for the first word I used in the example above. The astute reader may be able to guess the word, but please do not publicly post it.
  1. DNA
  2. automation
  3. music/sound processing
  4. marketing/promotion
  5. efficiency expert
Interestingly, none of the developed sites are in the sector I consider most obvious for this name.

Generally speaking, strong names that can be applied in many sectors are more likely to have a better sell-through rate.

Check your name on OpenCorporates for companies and organizations using the name. That may spur additional application ideas. Remember to check the exclude inactive box to just consider currently active businesses and organizations.

Recent Sales

If it is been a number of years since you acquired the name, there may be new sales that will influence pricing. Use NameBio to search sales from the last 5 years.

Why Do You Like This Name?

What did you like about this name when you acquired it? Has the analysis suggested other strengths? Make a list of the main strengths for each name.

My list for the first example name from above:
  • Clear word, no possible spoken or written confusion.
  • Well known dictionary term.
  • Word feels elegant and modern.
  • Versatile term fits number of different sectors, as indicated by developed sites.
  • Biotechnology a growing possible use.
  • With .com, .net, .org, .io, and .app all developed, makes a strong position for holding the .co.

Try To Talk Yourself Out Of This Name

While this is more applicable to an acquisition than a review, try to argue why this is not a name worth holding.

For example, my negative points for the word from the second example would be:
  • Only one of the main extensions is developed.
  • The term can mainly be applied in payments or freelance sectors, not as flexible as ideal. That might negatively impact sell-through rate.
  • While not a rare word, it did not seem to me it was in everyday use. I did a Google search with quotation marks to check that, 36.9 million, a bit more than I thought. I also did an Ngram Viewer analysis to check if use was increasing or decreasing, it was decreasing somewhat.
  • Will the strength of .xyz continue?
  • Many of the startups that use .xyz are in Web3. While I see a clear way to use this word in Web3, will others see this?
I am still positive on the name, but definitely see some potential downsides.

Pricing And Venue

As part of the review, consider whether your past pricing was right. My competitive analysis on the first word resulted in me deciding to approximately double my asking price. Even if you decide not to make a major change, there may be some advantage in doing a slight change.

If you got no offers for a few years, it might be worthwhile changing the marketplace and lander. If you previously used make offer, perhaps consider buy-it-now pricing, or vice versa.

If the name would be a good brand, and you had no traction at the general purpose marketplaces over several years, perhaps consider the option of listing at a brandable marketplace. If you have had the name at a brandable market, with relatively few views, maybe do a slight reprice and delist it from the brandable market, trying it at a general purpose place.

Would I Develop On This Name?

If you had the resources and wanted to start a business in the sector, would you actually use this name to develop your business? This simple question should be part of any acquisition decision or portfolio review process.

In a more sophisticated version of that question, go looking at Afternic, Dan, Sedo, BrandBucket, SquadHelp, BrandPa, and so on, and see if you can find a name you prefer to this one. You may not have time to do that for each name in your review, But it is sobering to really search for all names in competition with your name.

Is It Worth Keeping?

For some names, the objective of your review may be to determine whether the name is worth keeping. While this is not exact science, let’s look at it quantitatively.

You can readily set up in a spreadsheet like the one below. One column lists the likely sales price for each name in the portfolio review.

ImageKeepNot.png


The second column simply makes an assumption about commission, to get a net return from a sale. I have not considered the amount to purchase the name, since that money is already spent, nor funds you would get on liquidation, or parking revenue. You can make the analysis more sophisticated to take into account these, and other, factors if you want.

The annual sell-through-rate (STR) is the percentage of the names that sell at the end of one year. For example, if you sell 1 name during the year out of a constant portfolio of 100 names, that would be 1% STR. Industry wide the sell-through rate is of the order of 1%, but what you want to fill in is the expected STR for a portfolio of names such as this one.

Multiply the net return by the STR, to get an estimate of the likely return per year from the name. That figure is to be compared with the renewal rate for the domain name, to decide whether holding the name is worthwhile.

The table shows results for four names from my portfolio review, without the names given. Line (1) is the name from the first example above where the competitive analysis showed the other main extensions were all developed. I estimated that I would price the name at $4500, but with a make offer option, so perhaps the name would be sold at $4000. I assume a listing at a marketplace with a 25% commission, since it is a brand type name, to get the net. When I multiply by my assumed sell-through rate, the result is $45.00, while the .co renewal is about $21, so it seems worthwhile to continue to hold this name.

Line (2) is the .xyz name from the second example above, the term with only the .co developed. The .com and .io are both priced in solid 5-figures. The .net is for sale at low 4-figures. It is hard to estimate what the .xyz might sell for, but I suggested $2400. I assumed a bit lower probable commission, based on where I have name listed. It seems to me the probability of sale is a bit lower for this .xyzname, so I assumed a STR of 0.5%. Here the decision to renew or not is about break even.

Line (3) is a great term in a new extension (.quest) that I got early after release. It is a nice name, for perhaps a game or reference site, but unlikely to be used as a brand. That suggests to me, along with a sparse record of sales yet in the extension, that realistically pricing in high 3-figures is about the most I might reasonably get. With the numbers I assumed, this particular name is not worth renewing. The analysis showed the name was worth a one-year try at the sharply discounted first year rate, however. A different name in the same extension, one with brand potential, might well be worth keeping.

Line (4) is based on a brandable type name, using pricing suggested by the brandable marketplace. I estimate a 0.75% effective STR for this particular name. The result suggests it is worth renewing, at least for a few years.

Key Points

Summarizing a few key points.
  • Be selective which names you choose to review.
  • Pay particular attention to names listed for sale, and in use, that are similar to your name.
  • The most important aspect for any name is whether it can be realistically used for a business, or organization.
  • Names that can be applied to many sectors have increased chances for sale. That said, a name that is a perfect fit for one sector can be highly desired.
  • It is a great test to ask whether you would use this name if in a position to start a business.
  • Try to talk yourself out of the name, pointing out weaknesses. This will help balance a natural tendency to stress positive aspects of names in our portfolio.
  • Your review should be more than whether to keep, or liquidate, a name. You also need to focus on pricing, as well as where the name should be listed.
  • There is virtue in doing a careful analysis on your most-valued names, since getting the pricing right on these may be critical to your overall success.
  • The difference between success and failure in domain investing is often a small change in personal STR and pricing. A review can help you make better decisions on what to hold, and points to which names can command better prices.
By testing the process with some names in my portfolio, I saw things I had previously overlooked. It helped me make several keep or drop decisions, as well as decisions on some long-term holds to renew in advance. I am repricing several names as a result of the analysis, and went out and registered an additional TLD in the word of the first example after seeing strong development in the term.

There is nothing special about what I included, and excluded, for this review. It can be customized to what you consider important. If you wanted, you could just review one aspect, such as the status of names in the other major extensions.

If you try a selective review, I hope it will yield positive benefits. Please share portfolio review strategies that you employ.
 
Last edited:
46 0
•••
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.

Sammy Jakes

Established Member
Impact
161
Thanks Mr. @Bob Hawkes.
Is there any software, app, or website to check if a website is developed or we need to do that manually on the browser?
I know Squadhelp has a feature like that but I don't know if there is a public site that allows us do the search
 

Bob Hawkes

Top Contributor
NameTalent
Impact
32,567
s there any software, app, or website to check if a website is developed or we need to do that manually on the browser?
I know Squadhelp has a feature like that but I don't know if there is a public site that allows us do the search
I am sure there are probably automated services, hopefully readers will post details, but I manually check. While it would take a lot of time if doing a lot of names, but checking manually you get not only a yes/no but the significance of the developed site and the type of business it conducts. Automated systems can probably sometimes be tricked into counting a developed site that is really simply a coming soon basic site.

You are right that SquadHelp recently started informing users of new registrations and developed sites on the same name. This is helpful for sure.

Bob
 

redemo

Mug RuithTop Contributor
Impact
2,447
Please share portfolio review strategies that you employ.
Would I Develop On This Name?

If you had the resources and wanted to start a business in the sector, would you actually use this name to develop your business? This simple question should be part of any acquisition decision or portfolio review process.

In a more sophisticated version of that question, go looking at Afternic, Dan, Sedo, BrandBucket, SquadHelp, BrandPa, and so on, and see if you can find a name you prefer to this one. You may not have time to do that for each name in your review, But it is sobering to really search for all names in competition with your name.
Well, there's develop to create a e-com business, there's develop to run blog adverts, and then there's develop to sell. Five metrics I consider most important are domain age, past use (where old content pages can be re-created), domain back links, key word foot fall and extension. Beyond that, it's a question of will your idea work? That's the sixth column.
 
Impact
542
Good to keep in mind for small portfolios, but for bigger portfolios this could take ages. The best solution is to either be wary of what names you add to your portfolio in the first place, or do this for the names every time they are about to expire.
 
Impact
93
It's good advice, and I really wish I had the discipline to use it, but it's like killing your darlings. Smart thing to do but tough to let go.
 

Bob Hawkes

Top Contributor
NameTalent
Impact
32,567
for bigger portfolios this could take ages. The best solution is to either be wary of what names you add to your portfolio in the first place, or do this for the names every time they are about to expire.
Agree, particularly about making the right choices at acquisition are the key to success.

I had not intended the procedure outlined here for an entire portfolio, but rather a selection of a dozen or two names. Agree names about to renew one important way to select which to possibly review.

Thanks for your input.

Bob
 

jiy k

Established Member
Impact
312
Thank You for this much needed insight. I feel that there should be a dedicated thread in Np for Domain Renewal Discussion, whereby it will be helpful to get an opinion on expiring Domains.
 

lock

WOLFWHISTLETop Contributor
Impact
7,233
I enjoyed this read as i am guilty of some of it but at same time even with development there is ongoing work to promote it e.g. a domain that costs xxx each year can make back the outlay with work but just developing it isn't enough it isn't exactly field of dreams unless you go all out. There is always lots to tempt the domainer into the developer and if holding xxx+ a year domain you are going to want to get the return but if doing nothing with it can add up costs.
 
Last edited:

Mkt Sales Leads

Established Member
Impact
811
I am sure there are probably automated services, hopefully readers will post details, but I manually check. While it would take a lot of time if doing a lot of names, but checking manually you get not only a yes/no but the significance of the developed site and the type of business it conducts. Automated systems can probably sometimes be tricked into counting a developed site that is really simply a coming soon basic site.

You are right that SquadHelp recently started informing users of new registrations and developed sites on the same name. This is helpful for sure.

Bob
The closest thing around is Nameworth which seems to scan and show a screenshot of developed sites for names entered.