Bob Hawkes

The Balance of Domain Buying and Selling

By Bob Hawkes, Aug 29, 2019
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Dan Bingham (@DefinitelyDomains) asked an intriguing question: At what point do you stop buying domains? The question could mean, “When do you stop adding to your portfolio?” or “When do you get out of domain investing?” Good advice related to both interpretations came from a variety of NamePros members. Among the most important ideas: balance the effort you put into buying and selling domain names.

    Is Domain Investing for You?

    Let’s first look at responses from those who interpreted the question as when should you leave domain investing. Raymond Hackney (@equity78) offered this superb advice:
    The idea of having a clear answer to why you are a domain investor is both obvious and too often overlooked. The answer will help define the domain investments that are a good match to your goals. Also, since buying domains can be addictive, following a budget is important. Even so, an emergency fund that allows you to occasionally depart from your budget if a truly great opportunity arises is smart.

    The following straightforward guidance was offered by @urlurl regarding when you should stop buying domains:
    There are exceptions, and some who have become successful in domain investing did not sell any in their first year. Nevertheless, after some period of trying something without success, it makes sense to ask yourself if this is really the right strategy, or activity, for you.

    Expressed another way by @loredan:
    He went on to point out that many domain investors are not realistic with themselves about how well they are actually doing. Keeping complete records is important for several reasons and can help you keep track of how things are going.

    Easy to Buy, Hard to Sell

    Possibly the best advice, valuable to any domain investor, came from @DomainRecap. He started with this insightful comment:
    He went on to helpfully outline some ways to work at selling domain names:
    It is easy to fall into the trap of putting all your effort into acquisitions, which for most of us is more fun than many aspects of selling. He suggested that you balance your time between buying and selling activities. But how do you achieve that in practice?
    What a brilliant idea! By the way, he also reports that his new way of going about things has already paid off with two recent four-figure sales.

    While trying to sell your domains, don’t overlook the Requests section of NamePros. Yes, you will probably need to submit many domains before finding success, and it will be at wholesale prices, but it is a place where domain names do sell and there is no cost to try.

    An alternative way of balancing your buying and selling was offered by @FavourB who suggested to set a limit such as when you sell two domains, allow yourself to acquire five more. For some, it could simply be only spending money you have earned from previous domain sales to fund future acquisitions.

    Don’t Buy, Do Research!

    We all worry about missing out when we delay acquisitions. @FavourB suggests the way to deal with that is to keep a short list with research data on domains you like and plan to acquire, if still available, when you have sold some domains. Also, as he noted, the delay will sometimes lead to a more realistic view of the domain name and you may decide to never purchase it.

    Domain research can include recent comparative sales, trends of term use, possible end uses and end users, in how many top-level domains the term is registered, competitive/similar domains for sale, investigation of possible trademark issues, examination of its history, and appraisal information, whether automated or from trusted friends. I personally find it helpful to develop a selling sheet prior to an acquisition, which helps me clearly focus on the merits of the domain name in an objective manner.

    It is important to have an exit plan for each domain name: under what conditions you would retain or release it. For example, what is the minimum price that you would accept, and how long would you hold the domain name in the absence of offers. @DomainRecap emphasizes that idea with the following good advice:
    If you have domain names that you have decided not to renew, it is possible that another domain investor will find success where you have not. I strongly believe that while some domains are good and some are not, it is also a question of the domain being with a seller who knows how to get that domain sold, or a seller with the patience to wait for the right buyer to come along. To be proactive, NamePros provides a way to move domains, without fees or commission, through auctions and wholesale-priced sales.

    Build Your Skills

    Another way to wisely delay acquisitions is to concentrate on building your domain skills as opposed to building your portfolio. As part of improving as a domainer, set a goal of increasing the array of domain tools that you use regularly and effectively. The resource started by @Silentptnr entitled I Use This Tool… is a comprehensive sharing by domainers of the domain research and analysis tools that they find valuable or useful.

    Some Great Advice Posts

    In case you have not viewed the beginner section for a while, even experienced domain investors can learn from it. Even though most were written some time ago, good advice is often timeless.

    Here are a few of my favourites:

    Have Your Say

    Why not head over to the discussion or offer your own advice in the comments below?
    • What things help you control your tendency to acquire too many domains?
    • How do your balance the buying and selling sides of domain investing?
    • Have you tried taking a break from domain investing? How did it work for you?
    • Have you ever considered leaving domain investing?
    Thanks to all who offered such great advice! NamePros is a strong online domain community, and good advice can be found around every corner.
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. Bob Hawkes

    About The Author — Bob Hawkes

    Domain analyst, writer and informal educator, with particular interests in domain name phrases and non-business uses for domain names. I am a risk averse domain investor who only invests modest amounts in a variety of extensions and niches. Don't hesitate to contact me - I like to help!

    This is Bob Hawkes's 6th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
  5. Comments (23)

  6. GetBigDomains

    GetBigDomains CASINO DOMAINS

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    Much love Bob, while some areas seem obvious, as you say it can be addictive, and people can lose their reasoning and common sense. So it's really useful and helpful to have it common sense guidance infront of you.
    And how many of us let our domains drop?
    There's no shame in letting names go and it's better to auction them or give them away!
    My focus now is on aged domains, either it's gonna work or its not I think, no panic as I can always reduce my pricing.
    I'm hoping that with all the indexing and SEO trouble that my strategy/scheme may become popular (aged domains). I have actually ruined my own SEO this Spring by fiddling with things and then later finding out about indexing troubles. People need to not react and see the larger picture if they develop/publish.
    My larger picture is shown when I redirect my name's to my main name/site and see how many redirects, to see which urls people actually visit and what we assume to be catchy or profitable, may not be.
    I even did a numerology test on, for example, (was built) vs was aged and the read on the latter and the energy was different.
    But overall, a domain name I was going to drop, got me some redirects -
    Less about me and more about the topic..
    It's best if we test and I think over 1 year.
    But no more than 2. Any keepers, I'd keep for 3 or 4 years and see if I get offers or build during that period if there's enough to interest. *I'm not a domain flipper, each situation is different. I hope to keep all aged names for as long as possible. And auction my non aged ones but some of the new registrations are good too!
    It was a longer domain name that for me the most traffic when I started (with blogs) this long money earning name!
    So it is different in each case. But it's good to focus or have a plan and a limit. I think my limit is 50 a month. 600 per year plus renewals. I have 60 names but only keeping 20 so my total budget will be 1k or under and i need to make at least 1k to stay in business. Hopefully sell domain each month close to that value. ;)
  7. elevator

    elevator VIP

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    This is a great article that goes by lots and lots of senses from various domain investors.

    Thanks for this very valuable contributions.
  8. Elsupremo

    Elsupremo Established Member

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    Over the year's I have seen the majority of domain name sale's from $50-$1000 as if it's the norm .Are the day's of name's being sold for $50,000 to hunderd's of thousands a thing of the past ? Have we saturated the market to where domain's selling for a high price are a dinosaur? Many big time buyer's are looking , but want to pay less than $50 . Not a problem if it's only a $50 name but if your starting a ecommerce business the name has to be at the forefront. Your thought's
  9. .X.

    .X. In God I Trust VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Excellent stuff Bob!!

    You simply never ever stop learning, the domain education continues for the duration a person participates in the Industry.
  10. Soofi

    Soofi Love Domain Names PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Super thread Bob!

    One can never stop learning when you have bucket loads of knowledge being shared and people like yourself are around to help consume all of that.

    Thank you :)
  11. Ivan Rasskazov

    Ivan Rasskazov Upgraded Member domainIQ Gold Account

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    Not sure if saturated is the correct term. There are several forces at play in my opinion. First, the easy money is gone in terms of how things were done 10 years ago. One has to work smarter not harder, and data analytics is the way to do so. Everything around us today, including sports, is analytics driven in ways it was not in the past. Second, too many domain investors can't help but think short term. Budgets get stretched and in looking for a quick flip, people rush. Sometimes, waiting a long time means getting a much bigger check. Unfortunately, your budget has to accommodate that fact. There is a reason why the most successful domain investors today are still the older crowd, as they are wealthier and can afford to wait longer for a good offer. As such, I would look at the long game (as Rick mentioned I believe). What are you doing in your personal budget and life to ensure that you can wait for good returns? Third, inventory selection. I won't get into that because that's a learning curve and has been discussed at great length. We all know that starting out one tends to gravitate towards easier but terrible domains that don't tend to work out. Look at sales data, USPTO/EU trademarks, and simple search engine results to see where the name originates it's traffic and analytics data. (Don't Buy, Do Research - Bob says)

    Finally, the second way to prosper is to raise revenues not control costs. Too little is being done to expand domain markets past an incidental business that needs a website, or fellow investors looking to make returns by buying from other domain investors. It's the responsibility of the entire industry to broaden the markets for domains. Who are the corporate digital asset directors out there? (yes they do exist) How do we cooperate more with each other to spread the idea of domains as an investment option for the global investment industry? Things like that. After all BTC did some of the heavy lifting by showing one can profit from or trade a digital asset. There are lessons to be drawn from that.
  12. Elsupremo

    Elsupremo Established Member

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    Excellent response. My next step
    might be to find a professional domain reseller as I am a novice at this with only 130 domain's and no sale's and just like so many out there I look at my domain's as a investment but need some guidance.
  13. varmuk

    varmuk VIP

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    Buying Criteria As per OP
    1.Recent comparative sales
    2.Similar domains for sale,
    2.Trends of term use,
    3.Possible end uses
    4.End Users, many top-level domains the term is registered,
    6.Investigation of possible trademark issues,
    7.Examination of its history,
    8.Appraisal information, whether automated or from trusted friends.

    CHANGE as per your strategy , And STICK it ,where you can see it every time before BUYING ANY domain.TRUST ME it will save your lot of money.
    Basics but we really forgot that, with the flow of buying.
    thanks @Bob Hawkes
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  14. satyadeep singh

    satyadeep singh Established Member

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  15. vij

    vij Established Member

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    awesome article, you add so much value to this community @Bob Hawkes , thanks
  16. kemjika11

    kemjika11 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks for the general advice. buying and selling arent as easy as they look so its always helpful to learn new things.

    Buuut, i have a problem with this:

    IF sales are languishing? well something i've learnt about domaining is that in a certain way, it also follows a critical business life rule i've learnt- things take time. How long did it take LLL.coms to go from being worth mid $xxx to low $xxxx before they were worth $20K- $200K?(to end users)??? from my calculations, about 10-15 years. Bitcoin took 9 years to go from ~low to high $xx to $x,xxx per coin. All im trying to say is that because you domain doesnt sell even in 5 years, it doesnt mean its not worth holding. Some of the "advice" in this OP's post suggests that if you get no inquirer or failed negotiations within a few years you should think about dropping or moving on, but i'm not sure solid income making domaining works that way. As a matter of fact, i think it works in the opposite way- the longer you're willing to wait and the less desperate you are , the more likely you are to sell well. Things take time, and increase in value surely needs time too.
  17. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    A detailed answer to your post has now been offered by @Ivan Rasskazov, and I agree with what he says. There are still a good number of high value sales, although certainly the market has changed in last ten years. As he says, being smart and using as much data and analysis as possible in acquisition and selling activities will help any of us do better. Certainly the elite top has been very strong of late, not just the voice record-breaking sale this year but a number of other high value sales in single word .com.

    I suspect that it has always been the case that there are many more sales in $$$ range than above. That is simply because the vast majority of businesses start as a single person and often as a part-time venture using only personal or family startup funds. If the market has changed, it is because the majority of such potential clients are now going to services such as Wix. I think there is room for significant domain market growth if someone can figure out a trusted, simple (for both buyer and seller) way for aftermarket domains in this price range to get noticed and into end user hands.

    Thank you for your comments.


    PS One thing I did not put in the article, but I was so struck by the idea of designating one night for emphasis on selling and one on buying that I am trying to implement it personally. NPs members offer so many superb ideas across so many threads. It is definitely true that many heads are better than one, and this community helps us achieve that!
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  18. sharastar

    sharastar Established Member

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    Thank You @Bob Hawkes for this wonderful article on buying and selling Domains.

    Really loved your idea of having a selling sheet before acquiring Domains.
  19. exa-Edward

    exa-Edward Established Member

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    Thank you @Bob Hawkes for compiling this and share it with us, also providing your valuable views. It is really useful for us that are starting out and have no clear direction of what to do domaining.
  20. Brands.International

    Brands.International Marek VIP

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    Amazing article and overview by Bob, should be mandatory read for all those who start!

    Alhough I have to admitt, that my, let's call it "balance" is nowdays like following : whenever I see really good domain name with low renewal fee (usually 20 or less), it takes few seconds and SNAP!!! - I get it!

    On the other side of the equation, I am keeping close eye on all of names, and if a particular name does not perform, it will be kicked out from my porftolio in a year or two, no personal attachements - only few exeptions are there :)
  21. VIP

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    Bruh, have you sold more than $100k in domains?
  22. J Sokol

    J Sokol Top Contributor VIP

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    It's a big IF, but it sure would be nice to have an in-between market for xxx domains -- one that would accommodate the middle ground between NamePros and the existing marketplaces.
  23. Brands.International

    Brands.International Marek VIP

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    Who is asking? :)
  24. VIP

    Likes Received:
    Ok, tks
  25. Premium Names

    Premium Names Established Member

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    Nice Article. Good insight for newbies:)
  26. manpreet

    manpreet Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks for suggestions, always value your insights @Bob Hawkes
  27. Ali Adil

    Ali Adil Established Member

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    The uplifting news is, you needn't bother with a large number of dollars to buy a significant area name. Like any wasteful market, there are a ton of incredible arrangements out there where individuals don't see the worth, need cash, and sell.
  28. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    (a) I was wondering how many people invoke 'buy holidays"? That is, is there a period of time (maybe one month each year) that you decide not to even consider acquiring any new domain names? Love to hear people's experiences.

    (b) Or do you each week not consider buying on certain days? Like do you potentially look at acquisitions every day of the week, or do you on weekends not consider acquisitions, or maybe only look each weekend if you are a part-time domainer?

    (c) Or, do you like me, set limits according to your returns. Do you only actively consider acquisitions when you have funds in your PayPal account (or wherever) from previous sales?

    So far I only do (c) personally, but I am considering as a way to further balance my activities to maybe go to a different model and only one day a week actively look for names to acquire. Yes, I know miss many opportunities, but I wonder if focus on that may help me not divert time I should be putting into selling and analysis.

    Love to get reflections from others!

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