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James Iles

Expert Exchange: An Interview With Investor and Developer Braden Pollock

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By James Iles, Feb 10, 2016
  1. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    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.
     
    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

    Writer for NamePros.com. For all inquiries relating to stories and interviews, please email: [email protected]

    This is James Iles's 148th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (13)

  6. Michael Ehrhardt

    Michael Ehrhardt Active Member VIP

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  7. nvdomains

    nvdomains Established Member

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    I have learnt a lot by reading a lot of interviews on Namepros.
     
  8. Duskic

    Duskic Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Awesome interview, thanks for doing this!
     
  9. DomainPluto

    DomainPluto Dashawn R.

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    Good insight... Nice interview.
     
  10. Above Domain

    Above Domain Account Closed

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  11. MediaOmatic

    MediaOmatic Restricted

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    good interview thanks
     
  12. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer Active Member PRO VIP

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    Always great to have insights and info from the pros. Thanks James!
     
  13. ttfan

    ttfan Established Member

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    Some really good advice there, especially for those new to domaining!
    Thank you!
     
  14. Sepia Marketing

    Sepia Marketing Established Member

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    Really appreciate the insights. Interesting to read someone is focusing a bit on .WS - I never hear people mention that extension and it pricked my ears/eyes.

    Can someone tell a newbie what "fishing" for domains is? I can tell it's a way of finding domains other than going to auctions/lists, but what are some ways people "fish" for good domains?

    Thanks
     
  15. Braden Pollock

    Braden Pollock Active Member ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    @Sepia Marketing - What I meant by "fishing" is determining what what names to "fish" for and reaching out to domain owners directly. Assuming the owners aren't domain investors, you can typically snag a better deal for the name. It's a lot of work but if you put in the time, you can find some great deals.
     
  16. Sepia Marketing

    Sepia Marketing Established Member

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    Appreciate you getting back to me, Braden.

    So, that part I got, I guess I was fishing for a way that domain investors do this. Is it doing a Google search for a main keyword or topic and going through dozens and dozens (and dozens) of pages to try and find a site that is still live but looks very inactive (ie the latest blog post is from 2012).... something to that effect? And then reaching out to the owner via contact page or whois info? Am I close???
     
  17. Braden Pollock

    Braden Pollock Active Member ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Essentially, yes. You'd be looking for an outdated site or a domain that's not in use (tell tail sign that a name is owned by a non-Domainer is that nothing resolves or a GD parking page resolves, as opposed to a typical parking lander)
    Of course, the difficult part is narrowing down a list of domains that you'd like that aren't owned by an investor.
     
  18. Sepia Marketing

    Sepia Marketing Established Member

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    Got it, thanks. Appreciate your input on this. Does seem like it would take a bit of time. I suppose if you have the time, it could really pay off.
     
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