This week, I had the great pleasure of interviewing a successful domain investor and developer: @Braden Pollock. As the founder of Legal Brand Marketing, Braden has created a national brand with thousands of clients. As a domainer, he has made many profitable domain sales including the $140,000 sale of Statement.com, after acquiring it just 9 months earlier for $9,200. In this interview, Braden Pollock gives his views on new gTLDs, Chinese domain investing, and he shares his predictions for 2016. NP: How did you get started in the world of domain investing? Braden: Legal Brand Marketing is a lead generation company for lawyers. When we started, in 2004, we offered web design and other marketing services to our clients. When we’d build a website, we’d acquire a domain name – and include it for free. After a while, I ended up with a couple hundred “extra” domain names and was trying to figure out what I could do with them. I had a friend that knew about domain names: David Rosenbaum (who some of you may know). I called David and asked what I could do with my extra domains and he told me to park them. “What’s parking?” I asked. That conversation introduced me to the world of domaining, and my life hasn’t been the same since. NP: How many domains do you own? Braden: A few years ago, I was up to about 13,000 names, mostly lawyer-related. I’ve sold or dropped about 10,000 of those. I then changed my focus to one-word generic .coms. I still actively buy them but I also buy CHiPs and portfolios of emerging strings (e.g., .ws, .wine, .co.com, etc). I probably have about 5,000 names at this point. NP: How many of your own domain names are developed? Braden: Being in the lead generation business, we need to develop and maintain sites (e.g., LosAngelesDUIattorney.com, 1800DUILAWS.com, DUIattorneys.com, DWILawyers.com, TicketVoid.com, Divorce.Attorney, Attorney.co.com, and many more). Also, I’ve participated in a handful of Founder’s Programs with various gTLD’s that require development. So we have dozens of developed websites related to law. I’m partners with Luke Webster in the Grooming Network and we’ve developed many sites: StraightRazor.com, StraightRazors.com, VintageStraightRazor.com, TheBladesGrim.com and lots more. NP: You have built out a lot of websites in the DUI niche. Are you still buying domains and creating new websites, or is it a case of maintaining your current sites now? Braden: We still, on occasion, develop new sites for our leadgen business but we also acquire other leadgen companies and their sites comes along with the acquisition. Other development projects are typically related to a Founder’s Program or one of my other companies. NP: Due to the influx of Chinese investors, have you changed from investing in keyword and one-word .COM domains to categories such as 4-Letter .COMs or Numerics? Braden: I haven’t stopped buying one word .coms but I’ve certainly been buying CHiPs. My focus has been 3-4L .com and 2-3L/N .ws NP: What's your top tip for anyone just starting out in domain investing? Braden: READ, READ, READ before you buy anything. We all started out buying a bunch of crap and letting it drop a year or two later. It’s almost a rite of passage. The more you learn first, the less money you’ll lose while you’re getting started. It’s about buying right. Find an industry you understand and start there. Don’t invest all your money. Ease into domaining. There are lots of areas within domaining that have a great rate of return. But first you need to learn to navigate the opportunities to determine what the best fit is for you. NP: Do you have any advice for successfully acquiring domains privately? Braden: I rarely “go fishing” any more. I buy most of my names through brokers and auction platforms these days. I realize I’m paying a bit more that way but it saves a lot of time. I can scan auctions and broker listings to quickly identify what I like. I send offers and the negotiations begin. NP: What are your thoughts on gTLDs? Have you purchased any? Braden: I think there are a lot of opportunity in the new gTLDs. You need to buy right. There’s opportunity to sell these new domains into the industry for which they’re most appropriate (i.e., .lawyer, .wine, etc.) as well as short names for the Chinese market. NP: Have any of your clients from Legal Brand Marketing started to use new gTLDs? Braden: We are selling .lawyer and .attorney names to our clients but I haven’t followed up to see if they’ve been developed. We’ve developed a few premium names for my wife’s firm: Divorce.Attorney, Employment.Attorney, CivilRights.Attorney and a few others. NP: What is the domain industry missing? Braden: The suits! I’m surprised that we haven’t yet seen much in the way of big money funds scooping up inventory. I know of some Chinese funds buying up CHiPs, but other than that, there’s not much in the way of big money driving up wholesale domain values. NP: What service would you most like to see in 2016 to help you succeed? Braden: I’d like Escrow.com to release more data. So many private sales happen, that don’t get reported. They could provide average LLL.com sales data, for example, without identifying exact domains. NP: What do you expect to see happen within the domain industry in 2016? Braden: CHiP’s will continue to dominate, at least for the next year, I’d imagine. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chinese investors buying premium one-word .coms. The type of names that regularly sell into the end-user market. -- Thanks to Braden for taking the time to participate. If you want to follow Braden on Twitter, he is @BradenPollock.