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(Almost) A Decade of Domaining...

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Nikul Sanghvi

hypernames.coVIP Member
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Some questions came up on the sales thread around trading strategy, so I wanted to write something that shines a bit of light onto my recent performance and current setup. I thought it would also be pragmatic to explain the journey to this point so that my thinking is framed in some context.

In particular, the questions (on sales thread and via DMs) are about revenue, investment levels, ROI and building a profitable portfolio. I’ve put the post here under AMA, as I wanted to provide a level of transparency that’s rarely given in this industry. I also wanted to allow room for NP members to dig deeper into anything specific.

This has been my path - and that doesn’t make it right or wrong. It’s just how I’ve set things up, to work for me. The first thing to take away from this post is that you can’t emulate someone else's journey because your personal circumstances will always be different. What you can do instead is understand multiple strategies and combine the various elements to shape your own method.

The journey so far...

I was pretty late to the game (2009) and started out by hand-registering domains in .co.uk and .com. Over the first two years, I amassed around 200 to 300 domains, had three low to mid $XXX sales (on domain forums and via WhoIs). I kept no records, accounts or notes. Sales got a bit better in 2011 but I still didn’t make any profit. My first Sedo sale was for $300 in 2011, around two years after signing up. Most of what I had registered was garbage but I continued to renew out of sentiment and sunk-cost fallacy. Overall, my costs were around $2k to $4k per year and I barely sold $2k over three years. The sales I made were just sheer luck, from a spray-n-pray approach. My 'day job' at the time subsidised the losses of the learning curve.

In Year 4 (2012), I slowed down the hand-registrations and started buying low-value domains, between $20 to $250 per domain. With about $5k per year going into the pot, I eventually started to break even on sales. Around this time, I formalised into a limited company and started keeping my own accounts. From this point on (up until very recently), I stopped taking domain related profits out of the business, to focus on reinvestment.
Once I started to build confidence (mainly from not being in deficit), I also pushed another $15k of savings into domains to start buying a few at low $XXXX - albeit, overpaying for many of them.
In addition, I also bought one particular domain for $10k after two months of research. It was a category killer .com for an emerging technology niche and I planned to develop it as a site.

Year 5 (2013), no sales for the whole year. No major purchases, around $4k loss from in renewals.

Year 6 (2014), ticking along, sales in low 5-figures. No major purchases. Profits (after renewals) were kept in the business.

Year 7 (2015), I got lucky and things jumped into hyperdrive.
I sold my $10k domain for six-figures in a private transaction. The previous owner had reached out to me to try and buy it back. I declined but was curious as to why he’d try that. I then had an inbound email from the end-user and we negotiated over three weeks before closing the deal. (Turned out the end-user had contacted the previous owner first!).
In hindsight, the secret ingredient to getting the six-figure price was simple but partly non-intentional - I genuinely did not want to sell the name at that time. I had significant research and belief that it was going to be worth more in the future. Fortunately, the buyer felt the same way.
After the sale, I went on a buying spree, spending around $100k throughout the year - mostly on mid $XXX to low $XXXX. Not all of that money was well spent but I’ll come onto that later.
Of the domains I bought in that year, I quickly flipped an iot-related domain (10x) for just under $40k (buyer requested privacy) and hack.uk for $7.5k

Year 8 (2016), zero sales. Nothing. I felt a bit nervous but I kept buying - spending another $75k on 40+ domains.

This year (Year 9 - 2017), has been a contrast to the previous year. I slowed down spending with only $20k reinvested but reached $120k in revenue across 11 sales.

So why am I sharing those details?…

I joined Namepros in mid-2017, and this has coincidentally been one of my best years for trading in the sales thread. But as you can see, the truth is that it hasn’t always been as consistent or as fruitful. The sales thread acts like a heavily photoshopped instagram feed that only highlights the good moments. It can be misleading when used as an indicator of achievement or accomplishment. The thread provides an environment in which to showcase the peaks whilst completely ignoring all of the valleys. It would be irresponsible of me to only talk about my sales and never anything else. The obscured truth then propagates unrealistic expectations for new entrants into our industry - leaving them frustrated and disappointed within a few years, unable to replicate the same sales.

Over the last 9 years of domaining as a hobby and side-business, I’ve only made profits on three years and that's not even three consecutive years. It’s safe to say that my performance in 2017 is not representative of my overall track record but it is a culmination of the process. Since 2009, I’ve invested/reinvested around $250k into domains and sold around $400k worth of domains. A big chunk of the total revenue came from a single sale. For me, it isn’t anywhere close to being reliable as a primary source of income (for me). Taking money out of the business also limits its future growth.

My current ‘core' portfolio is less than 300 domains, but all have been paid for through previous sales and profits. I’m likely to renew at least 80% of these. My largest concern is that I’m heavily over-indexed with .co and I’ll address this imbalance as a goal for 2018 (buying more .com)
I also have a ‘testing’ portfolio (around 800 domains) that has a much lower propensity for renewal (high churn) but I’m constantly using it to test new purchasing tactics such as buying deletes or bulk buying during coupons/discounts.

I wanted to share all of this context before I gave any advice… primarily to highlight that I’m far from an expert in this field, and also to show that like many of you, I’m still finding my own feet.

Here's brain dump of things I’ve learnt over the last 9 years - might be useful for new domainers...

At the beginning:
  • Don’t expect much if you’ve just started. In fact, expect losses and a steep learning curve. But keep learning. The sales thread is important but use it as a reference tool, and not a yardstick.
  • Reading is essential but I’d also recommend learning through action. There’s no point in waiting until you feel like you know everything. There is no such thing as for complete knowledge or a perfect strategy. Get going, seek feedback and then iterate over time for improvements.
  • Learning to sell hand-registrations is a low cost way to learn about what sells and how to sell. But it’s also a great way to become disheartened and defeated - because it’s harder to sell hand-regs than it is to sell premium domains.
  • Keep going and keep trying, unless you specifically make an educated decision to retreat because you cannot afford the financial losses. In that scenario, before giving up, first scale down, audit/learn and re-evaluate the existing strategy.

Sales / selling:
  • I’ve accepted the inconsistency of sales and developed the patience required to avoid panic during the periods of weaker trading. I’m not advocating blind-faith or not having any introspection. Audit your inventory as if it belonged to someone else (without personal attachment), and if you are confident of it having potential, then don’t worry if there are quiet periods.
  • I’ve said this before but when in negotiations, look for win-win situations with the buyer. Give them respect and be professional, even if they choose to act differently.
  • I tried outbound marketing for three months this year (for the first time) but didn’t enjoy it. It made me feel like I was in a weaker negotiating position and the extra sales didn’t offset the time investment. I know it works well for many people and can be very profitable, so maybe I'm doing it wrong. Learn about this as early as you can. Contrary to common belief, low value domains don’t sell themselves very often.
  • I have a deliberate and documented exit point for each domain, so that I don’t wait for infinity. Just because the first offer was $XX and the second offer came in at $XXX, doesn’t mean the third offer will arrive at $XXXX. Owning the asset inflates our own valuation subconsciously. But if there is a final offer, the easiest thing is to ask is, ‘Would I buy the domain today, for the same amount of money as this offer?' (Abstract yourself from the current ownership of the asset.) If the answer is no, sell it. Don’t be frightened by the imaginary 'money left on the table’… it’s an illusion that will skew the exit point.

Pricing:
  • The price that a domain is bought for has no bearing on the potential sales price (within reason). There is no pre-defined logic to say that the markup must be 0.5x or 2x or 5x or 10x - but it’s likely that the 10x or 20x will take exponentially longer than the 2x. It’s useful to think about how long you’d be willing to wait for each domain to sell. Leave aside some money to renew the best domains, so that you don’t risk losing them.
  • Once you start buying at $XXX and upwards, make sure to have some moon shots. Maybe not lambo money or life changing sums but don’t be scared to try and sell your favourite $500 purchase for $20,000. Likewise, don’t be scared to price a $2,000 purchase for $50,000. If you don’t try, it’ll never happen. I’ll always aim to have at least 5 domains that are designed to make the needle jump rather than move up in increments. I’ve used the cricket analogy before but you need to choose which balls to hit for a single run, which ones to hit for six and then have a couple that you can try to smash right out of the stadium (often serendipitously).
  • Use the cash flow from your single runs to fund renewals, so that you can hit the sixes (/home runs). Without this, you can end up under-selling your 'winner' domains to fund your ‘losers’. The compounded returns of small sales are the bedrock for making the bigger ones.
  • At the other extreme, if you realised that you’ve overpaid for an asset (‘loser'), don’t be afraid to sell it at an acceptable loss. An exit will still bring cash flow but if you anchor yourself to your purchase price and wait for an offer above that purchase price, you might one day find that another $50 or $100 of renewals has gone into it. Even worse, the loss may have widened against the updated market value.

Buying strategy / building a portfolio:
  • The simplest and most fundamental principle of the game is this: identify assets that you think are undervalued, buy them and then sell them at a price closer to (or above) your estimated valuation. This means you need to be able to spot the domain as being undervalued, calculate by how much it is undervalued, and then make a risk calculation on the duration period within which you might be able to redeem the delta (through reselling). To do this, you need to know market values but also identify the direction within which the market is moving (e.g. which niches are trending, what types of names are selling)
  • There are no magic formulas based on volume or number of domains in a portfolio. Buying 10 domains at $XXX, doesn’t equate to an automatic $XXXX sale. The primary force driving the probability of sales is the quality of the inventory (and subsequent demand for that inventory), not the quantity. However, a large portfolio of above average quality will compound the probability of sales, albeit at a higher annual cost.
  • Build upwards towards scale… by that, I mean towards higher-value domains. Every low value ($XXX) sale that I have is simply to create contributions towards acquiring and renewing the higher value domains. Perfect example of the pareto principal: I now use 80% of my capital to buy 20% of my domains, and the remaining 20% of the money to buy/renew the other 80% of inventory.
  • Obvious but easy mistake - if you’re awaiting a big sale, don’t spend or reinvest the cash until you’ve banked it…
  • ...and once you've received the funds after a sale, don’t let the cash burn a hole in your pocket. It’s too easy to spend/waste money which has been mentally-accounted for as ‘house money’. I’ve always made my worst purchases immediately after I’ve made my best sales. After the six-figure sale, I deceived myself into thinking that my judgement was impeccable, and therefore any future investment that I made would also be bulletproof. I quickly reached an unsustainable level of risk tolerance, thinking that I’d easily repeat my success. A false sense of confidence and arrogance caused me to be irresponsible.
  • If I’m investing or buying in a niche (driverless/crypto/etc), I often find myself stuck in a filter bubble (/echo-chamber) where all the content around me connects to that niche (twitter / blogs / forums etc). It happens by accident during the research process and suddenly I start spotting related content and keywords everywhere. It creates a fall sense of confidence, makes the niche look ubiquitous and causes me think that the investment is hotter than it really is. (On the flip side, it’s also easy to get niche FOMO).

General business advice:
  • Keep aside money for quarterly/annual taxes, renewals, subscriptions and training/books for yourself.
  • My accountant is one of the best advisors / mentors that I have. In due course, finding a good accountant is essential and worth the money. I still keep my own accounts but have valuable support throughout the process.
  • Listen to others, especially those that disagree with you. If you ask for opinions, and receive views that challenge your perspective on things, pay attention and try to understand where they come from. The worst thing that an investor can do is only to seek opinions that reinforce their own. It inhibits learning if you receive a challenging viewpoint and then immediately double-down (reaffirm) on your own opinions without giving it serious thought. My best friends and advisors hardly ever agree with me from the outset - and that’s why I value their perspectives.
  • There is a constant battle between your analytical thought processes and your emotions/gut. If you can control the emotions, you can also control the biases that affect decision making. That’s why its’ important to feel good about domaining and be happy with the decisions you make. If it’s becoming emotionally stressful or if it is affecting your health/wellbeing in a negative way, you’re doing it wrong. Of course there will be ups and downs. But your emotions are deeply connected to your gut instinct. And that same gut instinct is connected to your appetite/ability to take risks. You need to be able to sustain the depths of regret when you hold your ground on a key negotiation. But most importantly, you need to be able to sleep well at night, even when things aren’t going perfectly.
  • Keep learning but accept that there’s no perfect answers or ultimate strategies. Be aware your own circumstances, strengths and weaknesses. Understand your own emotions, irrationality, boundaries and decision making processes. Search for and discover your own blind spots. Find people to surround you that constructively/lovingly identify these blind spots, and can fill them with their own knowledge. Don’t underestimate the role of luck - complete control is an illusion. Finally, no regrets - only lessons learned.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me. I hope that within the rambling, there’s at least one or two valuable things that you can take away from the post. Feel free to ask me anything below.
 
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Nikul Sanghvi

hypernames.coVIP Member
Impact
5,352
Great post! Very well written!

Okay since you cant reveal the big one can you reveal a few of your key sales you can talk about with the prices you paid and what the final sale price was? Also holding period to reach the sale and number of turned down enquiries might help. Obviously there isn't logic in prices but might help someone understand better while pricing! :)

best,
Anita

Thank you :)

I've documented some of the sales for 2017 here on Namepros with extended notes but haven't done this for the earlier years:

https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-516#post-6212158
https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-536#post-6334962
https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-543#post-6378438
https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-547#post-6395575
https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-567#post-6484675

Some of the notes also covered pricing, negotiation and buying:
A note about pricing strategy...
For many years, I used 'Make Offer' with no price on all my domains, waiting for an incoming number. It was a subconscious safety-blanket because I didn't know how to value/price my own inventory.
This always resulted in lowballs on Sedo. And when I received emails via whois asking 'how much?', I would reply with some variant of 'you make an offer'. This method yielded fewer replies, so possibly it was a point of friction for potential buyers whom felt uncomfortable saying their number first or maybe even didn't know where to start.

This year, I've been making much more effort to clearly price my domains - regardless of whether they're set to Make Offer or Buy It Now.
With a guide price, it has become easier to communicate clearly with potential buyers and sets a starting point for negotiation. A lot of buyers are super busy people, so the last thing I want to do is waste their time playing 'you-go-first'.
I now have sales prices on most domains based on a combination of research and gut feel. Alongside this, I have a constantly evolving excel sheet with private targets / acceptable exit-points.
I'm going for the moon on a few, ambitious on most and slightly-above-market-rates on the rest.

Definitely debatable as a strategy, but to do this, I had to let go of the fear of leaving (hypothetical) money on the table. Better to have bread and butter today than constantly wait for jam tomorrow.

I'd like to share two things that I learnt from the sale:

1) Over the weeks of email negotiations, I was reminded that negotiations don't have to be treated as a zero-sum game. For one side to win, the other side doesn't have to lose.
If we begin with a mindset that aims for a win-win (both parties happy with outcome), the negotiation can be a pleasant and enjoyable experience. It's far too easy to see a negotiation as 'us-vs-them', but I'm starting to see both greater personal satisfaction, as well as better results, from a more collaborative approach.

2) If you have sufficient cashflow and (more importantly) ample patience, there is a viable risk:return ratio even when paying premium prices for high-quality brandable domains. Before I buy anything above $1k, I always ask myself, 'Would I be happy to launch a business on it myself?'. Can I imagine this domain on a logo, my LinkedIn profile, my business card, billboard advertising, etc? I only purchase if the answer is yes.
Don't get me wrong, I've bought a lot of junk over the years, but I'm slowly trying to learn and curate a portfolio that I feel proud to own.
 
Last edited:

Nikul Sanghvi

hypernames.coVIP Member
Impact
5,352
NTRo, R&AW, cbi, indian intelligence and security agency, google, tata employees will contact any potential buyer and tell malicious fake defamatory stories , so most buyers do not purchase domain names from some indian domain investors, paying a fair price . The mitsu termination is an example of the widespread problem faced in the indian internet sector
https://www.namepros.com/threads/termination-of-domain-registrar-mitsu-inc-by-nixi.1047610/

Do you have any proof? Or is it just paranoid conspiracy theories?

@dnk - thank you for the explanation - that's definitely beyond my understanding but it sounds like you feel that the system is working against you. I hope you see these obstacles as stepping stones and find ways to circumvent them, rather than letting them hold you back.

I'm going to politely request that this be discussed on a separate thread. No doubt that it'll be an interesting conversation but would love to keep this thread on track. Thanks again.
 

Jv1999

Wander Aimlessly: Redeemed Knight of the Exo-TowerTop Contributor
Impact
3,258
Some questions came up on the sales thread around trading strategy, so I wanted to write something that shines a bit of light onto my recent performance and current setup. I thought it would also be pragmatic to explain the journey to this point so that my thinking is framed in some context.

In particular, the questions (on sales thread and via DMs) are about revenue, investment levels, ROI and building a profitable portfolio. I’ve put the post here under AMA, as I wanted to provide a level of transparency that’s rarely given in this industry. I also wanted to allow room for NP members to dig deeper into anything specific.

This has been my path - and that doesn’t make it right or wrong. It’s just how I’ve set things up, to work for me. The first thing to take away from this post is that you can’t emulate someone else's journey because your personal circumstances will always be different. What you can do instead is understand multiple strategies and combine the various elements to shape your own method.

The journey so far...

I was pretty late to the game (2009) and started out by hand-registering domains in .co.uk and .com. Over the first two years, I amassed around 200 to 300 domains, had three low to mid $XXX sales (on domain forums and via WhoIs). I kept no records, accounts or notes. Sales got a bit better in 2011 but I still didn’t make any profit. My first Sedo sale was for $300 in 2011, around two years after signing up. Most of what I had registered was garbage but I continued to renew out of sentiment and sunk-cost fallacy. Overall, my costs were around $2k to $4k per year and I barely sold $2k over three years. The sales I made were just sheer luck, from a spray-n-pray approach. My 'day job' at the time subsidised the losses of the learning curve.

In Year 4 (2012), I slowed down the hand-registrations and started buying low-value domains, between $20 to $250 per domain. With about $5k per year going into the pot, I eventually started to break even on sales. Around this time, I formalised into a limited company and started keeping my own accounts. From this point on (up until very recently), I stopped taking domain related profits out of the business, to focus on reinvestment.
Once I started to build confidence (mainly from not being in deficit), I also pushed another $15k of savings into domains to start buying a few at low $XXXX - albeit, overpaying for many of them.
In addition, I also bought one particular domain for $10k after two months of research. It was a category killer .com for an emerging technology niche and I planned to develop it as a site.

Year 5 (2013), no sales for the whole year. No major purchases, around $4k loss from in renewals.

Year 6 (2014), ticking along, sales in low 5-figures. No major purchases. Profits (after renewals) were kept in the business.

Year 7 (2015), I got lucky and things jumped into hyperdrive.
I sold my $10k domain for six-figures in a private transaction. The previous owner had reached out to me to try and buy it back. I declined but was curious as to why he’d try that. I then had an inbound email from the end-user and we negotiated over three weeks before closing the deal. (Turned out the end-user had contacted the previous owner first!).
In hindsight, the secret ingredient to getting the six-figure price was simple but partly non-intentional - I genuinely did not want to sell the name at that time. I had significant research and belief that it was going to be worth more in the future. Fortunately, the buyer felt the same way.
After the sale, I went on a buying spree, spending around $100k throughout the year - mostly on mid $XXX to low $XXXX. Not all of that money was well spent but I’ll come onto that later.
Of the domains I bought in that year, I quickly flipped an iot-related domain (10x) for just under $40k (buyer requested privacy) and hack.uk for $7.5k

Year 8 (2016), zero sales. Nothing. I felt a bit nervous but I kept buying - spending another $75k on 40+ domains.

This year (Year 9 - 2017), has been a contrast to the previous year. I slowed down spending with only $20k reinvested but reached $120k in revenue across 11 sales.

So why am I sharing those details?…

I joined Namepros in mid-2017, and this has coincidentally been one of my best years for trading in the sales thread. But as you can see, the truth is that it hasn’t always been as consistent or as fruitful. The sales thread acts like a heavily photoshopped instagram feed that only highlights the good moments. It can be misleading when used as an indicator of achievement or accomplishment. The thread provides an environment in which to showcase the peaks whilst completely ignoring all of the valleys. It would be irresponsible of me to only talk about my sales and never anything else. The obscured truth then propagates unrealistic expectations for new entrants into our industry - leaving them frustrated and disappointed within a few years, unable to replicate the same sales.

Over the last 9 years of domaining as a hobby and side-business, I’ve only made profits on three years and that's not even three consecutive years. It’s safe to say that my performance in 2017 is not representative of my overall track record but it is a culmination of the process. Since 2009, I’ve invested/reinvested around $250k into domains and sold around $400k worth of domains. A big chunk of the total revenue came from a single sale. For me, it isn’t anywhere close to being reliable as a primary source of income (for me). Taking money out of the business also limits its future growth.

My current ‘core' portfolio is less than 300 domains, but all have been paid for through previous sales and profits. I’m likely to renew at least 80% of these. My largest concern is that I’m heavily over-indexed with .co and I’ll address this imbalance as a goal for 2018 (buying more .com)
I also have a ‘testing’ portfolio (around 800 domains) that has a much lower propensity for renewal (high churn) but I’m constantly using it to test new purchasing tactics such as buying deletes or bulk buying during coupons/discounts.

I wanted to share all of this context before I gave any advice… primarily to highlight that I’m far from an expert in this field, and also to show that like many of you, I’m still finding my own feet.

Here's brain dump of things I’ve learnt over the last 9 years - might be useful for new domainers...

At the beginning:
  • Don’t expect much if you’ve just started. In fact, expect losses and a steep learning curve. But keep learning. The sales thread is important but use it as a reference tool, and not a yardstick.
  • Reading is essential but I’d also recommend learning through action. There’s no point in waiting until you feel like you know everything. There is no such thing as for complete knowledge or a perfect strategy. Get going, seek feedback and then iterate over time for improvements.
  • Learning to sell hand-registrations is a low cost way to learn about what sells and how to sell. But it’s also a great way to become disheartened and defeated - because it’s harder to sell hand-regs than it is to sell premium domains.
  • Keep going and keep trying, unless you specifically make an educated decision to retreat because you cannot afford the financial losses. In that scenario, before giving up, first scale down, audit/learn and re-evaluate the existing strategy.

Sales / selling:
  • I’ve accepted the inconsistency of sales and developed the patience required to avoid panic during the periods of weaker trading. I’m not advocating blind-faith or not having any introspection. Audit your inventory as if it belonged to someone else (without personal attachment), and if you are confident of it having potential, then don’t worry if there are quiet periods.
  • I’ve said this before but when in negotiations, look for win-win situations with the buyer. Give them respect and be professional, even if they choose to act differently.
  • I tried outbound marketing for three months this year (for the first time) but didn’t enjoy it. It made me feel like I was in a weaker negotiating position and the extra sales didn’t offset the time investment. I know it works well for many people and can be very profitable, so maybe I'm doing it wrong. Learn about this as early as you can. Contrary to common belief, low value domains don’t sell themselves very often.
  • I have a deliberate and documented exit point for each domain, so that I don’t wait for infinity. Just because the first offer was $XX and the second offer came in at $XXX, doesn’t mean the third offer will arrive at $XXXX. Owning the asset inflates our own valuation subconsciously. But if there is a final offer, the easiest thing is to ask is, ‘Would I buy the domain today, for the same amount of money as this offer?' (Abstract yourself from the current ownership of the asset.) If the answer is no, sell it. Don’t be frightened by the imaginary 'money left on the table’… it’s an illusion that will skew the exit point.

Pricing:
  • The price that a domain is bought for has no bearing on the potential sales price (within reason). There is no pre-defined logic to say that the markup must be 0.5x or 2x or 5x or 10x - but it’s likely that the 10x or 20x will take exponentially longer than the 2x. It’s useful to think about how long you’d be willing to wait for each domain to sell. Leave aside some money to renew the best domains, so that you don’t risk losing them.
  • Once you start buying at $XXX and upwards, make sure to have some moon shots. Maybe not lambo money or life changing sums but don’t be scared to try and sell your favourite $500 purchase for $20,000. Likewise, don’t be scared to price a $2,000 purchase for $50,000. If you don’t try, it’ll never happen. I’ll always aim to have at least 5 domains that are designed to make the needle jump rather than move up in increments. I’ve used the cricket analogy before but you need to choose which balls to hit for a single run, which ones to hit for six and then have a couple that you can try to smash right out of the stadium (often serendipitously).
  • Use the cash flow from your single runs to fund renewals, so that you can hit the sixes (/home runs). Without this, you can end up under-selling your 'winner' domains to fund your ‘losers’. The compounded returns of small sales are the bedrock for making the bigger ones.
  • At the other extreme, if you realised that you’ve overpaid for an asset (‘loser'), don’t be afraid to sell it at an acceptable loss. An exit will still bring cash flow but if you anchor yourself to your purchase price and wait for an offer above that purchase price, you might one day find that another $50 or $100 of renewals has gone into it. Even worse, the loss may have widened against the updated market value.

Buying strategy / building a portfolio:
  • The simplest and most fundamental principle of the game is this: identify assets that you think are undervalued, buy them and then sell them at a price closer to (or above) your estimated valuation. This means you need to be able to spot the domain as being undervalued, calculate by how much it is undervalued, and then make a risk calculation on the duration period within which you might be able to redeem the delta (through reselling). To do this, you need to know market values but also identify the direction within which the market is moving (e.g. which niches are trending, what types of names are selling)
  • There are no magic formulas based on volume or number of domains in a portfolio. Buying 10 domains at $XXX, doesn’t equate to an automatic $XXXX sale. The primary force driving the probability of sales is the quality of the inventory (and subsequent demand for that inventory), not the quantity. However, a large portfolio of above average quality will compound the probability of sales, albeit at a higher annual cost.
  • Build upwards towards scale… by that, I mean towards higher-value domains. Every low value ($XXX) sale that I have is simply to create contributions towards acquiring and renewing the higher value domains. Perfect example of the pareto principal: I now use 80% of my capital to buy 20% of my domains, and the remaining 20% of the money to buy/renew the other 80% of inventory.
  • Obvious but easy mistake - if you’re awaiting a big sale, don’t spend or reinvest the cash until you’ve banked it…
  • ...and once you've received the funds after a sale, don’t let the cash burn a hole in your pocket. It’s too easy to spend/waste money which has been mentally-accounted for as ‘house money’. I’ve always made my worst purchases immediately after I’ve made my best sales. After the six-figure sale, I deceived myself into thinking that my judgement was impeccable, and therefore any future investment that I made would also be bulletproof. I quickly reached an unsustainable level of risk tolerance, thinking that I’d easily repeat my success. A false sense of confidence and arrogance caused me to be irresponsible.
  • If I’m investing or buying in a niche (driverless/crypto/etc), I often find myself stuck in a filter bubble (/echo-chamber) where all the content around me connects to that niche (twitter / blogs / forums etc). It happens by accident during the research process and suddenly I start spotting related content and keywords everywhere. It creates a fall sense of confidence, makes the niche look ubiquitous and causes me think that the investment is hotter than it really is. (On the flip side, it’s also easy to get niche FOMO).

General business advice:
  • Keep aside money for quarterly/annual taxes, renewals, subscriptions and training/books for yourself.
  • My accountant is one of the best advisors / mentors that I have. In due course, finding a good accountant is essential and worth the money. I still keep my own accounts but have valuable support throughout the process.
  • Listen to others, especially those that disagree with you. If you ask for opinions, and receive views that challenge your perspective on things, pay attention and try to understand where they come from. The worst thing that an investor can do is only to seek opinions that reinforce their own. It inhibits learning if you receive a challenging viewpoint and then immediately double-down (reaffirm) on your own opinions without giving it serious thought. My best friends and advisors hardly ever agree with me from the outset - and that’s why I value their perspectives.
  • There is a constant battle between your analytical thought processes and your emotions/gut. If you can control the emotions, you can also control the biases that affect decision making. That’s why its’ important to feel good about domaining and be happy with the decisions you make. If it’s becoming emotionally stressful or if it is affecting your health/wellbeing in a negative way, you’re doing it wrong. Of course there will be ups and downs. But your emotions are deeply connected to your gut instinct. And that same gut instinct is connected to your appetite/ability to take risks. You need to be able to sustain the depths of regret when you hold your ground on a key negotiation. But most importantly, you need to be able to sleep well at night, even when things aren’t going perfectly.
  • Keep learning but accept that there’s no perfect answers or ultimate strategies. Be aware your own circumstances, strengths and weaknesses. Understand your own emotions, irrationality, boundaries and decision making processes. Search for and discover your own blind spots. Find people to surround you that constructively/lovingly identify these blind spots, and can fill them with their own knowledge. Don’t underestimate the role of luck - complete control is an illusion. Finally, no regrets - only lessons learned.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me. I hope that within the rambling, there’s at least one or two valuable things that you can take away from the post. Feel free to ask me anything below.
I love you. Because of your kind heart that you would do this for us.

And now you're making me want to go hardcore into domaining!
 

offthehandle

.Top Contributor
Impact
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Excellent post, one of the best I have ever seen on this forum and most of all from being a regular guy and someone without any agenda.

My first sale generated all my start up "play money" to reinvest money and time as this is for me solely a hobby business. I think your situation is probably normal for a high percentage of people, with few sales though they don't want to admit it. Certainly kudos for sticking it out so long too, many people do not invest enough time or they quit and lose patience or money. Starting and maintaining a business isn't easy. With all these continual sales reports of big $ sales, most people get overly optimistic. They get into this and reg too many names. Keep up the good work. Most people don't like outbound sales. It's all a matter of how you look at it, and it certainly isn't for everyone but unless I prospect to potential end users- my names will simply sit there and collect renewal fees. Thank you very much for sharing your story.
 

Pritam Singh Obi

Established Member
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At the beginning: You have well described this stage.I started only this year in August 2017 and started creating domains.within three months I had 70 domains all handcrafted.Luckily one of these was sold for $xxx without my efforts.I created more and also bought from expired domains.But since Nov 2017 no sale from my stock.But I am holding them and waiting for right opportunity.Have patience and don't run recklessly is the simple formula.
 

4better

Top Contributor
Impact
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Thanks for sharing your domain experience with us. Read it from top to bottom and I greatly admire the way you write it. Very informative and productive.
 

888domainsale

Established Member
Impact
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Great insights Nikul. Thanks for sharing the details and hope you have better sales in 2018.
 

Sub8Routine

Established Member
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Dear Nikul, this is an excellent post and a very useful thread. Thank you very much for sharing your experience.
 
Impact
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Some great near-universal truths by the Nikul! Found myself nodding in agreement - ah the melancholy of time/money spent to learn vital lessons. There's golden info here newbies!
 
Last edited:

briguy

Guru In Remission!Top Contributor
Impact
60,857
Love this Sales/Selling Tip"
I have a deliberate and documented exit point for each domain, so that I don’t wait for infinity. Just because the first offer was $XX and the second offer came in at $XXX, doesn’t mean the third offer will arrive at $XXXX. Owning the asset inflates our own valuation subconsciously. But if there is a final offer, the easiest thing is to ask is, ‘Would I buy the domain today, for the same amount of money as this offer?' (Abstract yourself from the current ownership of the asset.) If the answer is no, sell it. Don’t be frightened by the imaginary 'money left on the table’… it’s an illusion that will skew the exit point. "

My question is (cause of your (dot)co portfolio)..
Do you think it is a good strategy to buy a (dot)co's because the (dot)com's was registered and popular?
 

Nikul Sanghvi

hypernames.coVIP Member
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My question is (cause of your (dot)co portfolio)..
Do you think it is a good strategy to buy a (dot)co's because the (dot)com's was registered and popular?

If you're buying for the .com alone, then I'd say no... especially if the .com is a specific brand rather than a generic keyword(s).

I try to evaluate based on a slightly broader criteria:
- the keyword/phrase is used by a number of companies (as many as possible)
- the same domain is also registered in at least 12 other core extensions
- most of the registered tlds are developed sites
- a quick search on Google provides at least 10 other brands using appendages to supplement the keyword on a .com (example.co > exampleglobal.com, examplecorp.com, examplesolutions.com etc)

I have however found that in addition to above, for the .co to sell easily, the .com equivalent must either be a fully operational business or priced into six-figures.
 

AlexLadd

Established Member
Impact
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This thread is absolutely amazing.

I am also currently registering some .co domains as my first domains.

Any chance you could PM me and give me some opinions?

Regards,
Alex Ladd
 

Nikul Sanghvi

hypernames.coVIP Member
Impact
5,352
This thread is absolutely amazing.

I am also currently registering some .co domains as my first domains.

Any chance you could PM me and give me some opinions?

Regards,
Alex Ladd

Thanks for the feedback Alex - I'll send you a PM now.

The posts linked below are specific to .CO and may be worth a quick read:

https://www.namepros.com/threads/wh...ce-for-two-words-domain.1063706/#post-6557582

https://www.namepros.com/threads/dot-co-confusion.1033963/#post-6293060

I would also suggest a scan of the sales thread, DNJournal and Namebio to see what types of .co domains are selling.
 

Doron Vermaat

Co-founder, EftyTop Contributor
Efty Staff
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Just wanted to say this was a fantastic post, probably the best post I've read on this forum for a long time - thanks for sharing Nikul.
 

golan

GolanMedia.comTop Contributor
Impact
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@Nikul Sanghvi Thank you very much for this thread. Pure gold here. Plus, i really enjoy your language.

And i like your site very much. So pure and laconic. Is it tailor made engine?
 

Nikul Sanghvi

hypernames.coVIP Member
Impact
5,352

Nikul Sanghvi

hypernames.coVIP Member
Impact
5,352
Thank you to everyone who has read, shared, commented or got in touch with me about the original post in this thread. The response from NP readers was a major motivation for writing this update. I wanted to follow up with a deeper dive into one of the specific things that I had mentioned back in December 2017:
I also have a ‘testing’ portfolio (around 800 domains) that has a much lower propensity for renewal (high churn) but I’m constantly using it to test new purchasing tactics such as buying deletes or bulk buying during coupons/discounts.

[Make a cup of tea or coffee first, the approx reading time is 25 to 30 mins :xf.grin:]

A little over a year ago (in May 2017), I began hand-registering deleted .CO domains in order to build up a sub-portfolio. The general hypothesis was that some of these deleted domains were undervalued and could be resold for profit. I filtered the domains using some well known tools, registered a few each day and aimed to sell at least one a month to generate some cash flow.
I didn’t expect to sell more than 1% of the total portfolio over the whole year, so I knew the domains had to be priced in a way that would allow for break-even (at minimum).

The portfolio was tracked and measured over the course of the year. By the end of April 2018 (at peak-inventory), it consisted of 1262 .co domains at a total cost of $9.5k. As of today, (time of writing = end of June 2018), the portfolio has had 19 sales, totalling almost $38k. After deducting the registration costs and marketplace commissions, the portfolio has made $23k of profit to date.

2W5NWIn.png


I wanted to share some details about the methodology and results, for two main reasons. Firstly, so that my posts on the sales thread would have some context, and secondly, so that others could learn from the process. (Please head up to the top of this thread if you haven’t read it before!).

Getting started...

The first step was creating an account on ExpiredDomains.net. If you haven’t used this tool before, I’d strongly recommend signing up and having a play. I used the ExpiredDomains search tool to create a filter looking at the daily deletes. I tried a variety of filters in the first few months, but in the end, I settled with something very simple. The three filters I use are:
  1. CCTLD = .CO
  2. Social Namecheck = Twitter
  3. Name in selected TLD is registered = .com plus 5 others.
The ‘CCTLD = .CO’ is obvious, we only want to see deleted domains for .CO

The social namecheck for Twitter is useful because I’ve noticed that if the domain doesn’t have a matching twitter handle, there is unlikely to be a business that is actively using that name. It also automatically eliminates domains with hyphens or domains over 15 characters.

Lastly, for ‘Name in selected TLD is registered’, I was searching for the domain to be taken in other TLDs. I always selected .COM in the filter because for an end user, buying a .CO is nearly always an alternate option to buying the same domain in .COM.
If the domain isn’t already taken in .COM, I think it’s pointless to register the .CO equivalent.
I also found a specific selection of other TLDs that showed me that the deleted .CO domain could have a higher propensity to sell. I don’t want to reveal exactly which ones because it’s not the purpose of this post to give a specific recipe. It also eats into whatever tiny bit of competitive edge that I'll have remaining once this is posted! What I can say is that all of the other boxes I tick are also ccTLDs.

Aside from the filters, I used to sort the presented list based on ‘SG’ (global searches) but I quickly found this metric to be unreliable as it displayed zero for a lot of domains. I started sorting by ‘TLDs Reg’ which shows the number of TLDs the domain is registered in. For me, it’s the simplest way to give a ball-park estimate that there is existing demand for the domain. If the domain is registered in my six selected TLDs, along with 20 others, it’s a great signal. This is one of the reasons I’ve found it easier to sell hand registered .CO rather than hand-registered .COM. It’s hard to pay $9 for a .COM that is registered in 29 other extensions. However, it’s still possible to find a .CO that gets deleted and is already taken in 25 to 31 other extensions. Potentially, that’s a bad sign - and the counter-argument might be that the reason it gets dropped is because it is perceived to have no value.

I found this metric of ‘TLDs Reg’ to be a north-star metric. In the absence of any other data, it reflected the sale-potential better than any alternate metric. It fits in this context, because I was not focusing on any other specific aspects of the domain - such as keyword volumes, ppc competition or age. The filter simply looked for domains that were taken in many of the other most popular extensions.

The drop for deleted .co domains happens at around 18:04 GMT or 19:04 BST (British Summer Time). Once the list became available, I’d quickly hand-reg one or two (near the top of the list) based on gut feel. For the others, I would:
  • Search the domain (without .co on the end) on LinkedIn, filtering for ‘Companies’ only. Depending on how many companies came up in that list on LinkedIn, I’d either register immediately, or dig deeper. When digging deeper, I open out at least a dozen companies listed on the first page. I ignore any companies that don’t have a logo and I also tend to exclude companies with only 1 employee. It’s easy to look for potential buyers by expanding the company profile and looking at their existing domains in use. Here’s the opportunity to spot the upgrade paths. Could someone with example-group.com upgrade to example.co? I’ll talk about outbound later, but this information is something that I didn’t fully utilise.

  • I also search quickly for the domain (again, without .co on the end) on Twitter. If I could see under the ‘people’ tab, a handful of businesses using the name, it was a good sign. I’ve found over time that businesses who are active (or have presence) on social media are more likely to invest in domains.

  • Lastly, for many, I would run a quick search on Google and Wikipedia.

  • Here are a few more notes about how I choose what types of .CO to buy/register: https://www.namepros.com/threads/wh...ce-for-two-words-domain.1063706/#post-6557582
(For more expensive domains, I have a deeper research process. I have detailed an example here: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-567#post-6484675)

If everything looked ok using the search criteria above, I would register the domain. In summary, I was looking for business names that already have a high level of usage. Firstly, because it provides an immediate variety of potential buyers. Secondly, if the business name is already in frequent usage, it’s likely to be used again by newly formed businesses. That last point is counter-intuitive, but the logic is that, if there are already 50 businesses called example, it’s likely to be a popular choice. If there is only one business called example2, it’s not a popular business name and the domain is unlikely to find a buyer. I think it’s important to clarify at this stage, that the goal was (and still is) never to seek out unique domains that are in use by a specific business. I made every effort I could to avoid specific trademarks or unique domains that could only ever have had one buyer. Every domain purchased needed at least a dozen potential end-users.

I had set aside around $15k at the start of the process, but I didn’t end up using all of it over the first 12 months. Here’s the breakdown of my registrations:

6E8sTBA.png

The first spike in July 2017 was a Name.com Happy Hour, followed by the .CO birthday special a week later. The last spike in March 2018 was a $4.88 Namecheap price promotion that lasted almost a week.

Below is the breakdown of the registration costs consolidated by month:


Lbd6qcO.png


I started buying in early May, but I was distracted by new arrivals into my family. On the days where I was active, I found that my filters weren’t giving me the right types of domains. On other days, I was searching several hours after the initial ‘drop’, but many of the good names had already been taken. In the first few months, there wasn’t a daily discipline. On average, I ended up searching ExpiredDomains only once or twice a week on average.
It wasn’t until October that I really started to ramp things up. Around 90% of my total spend was concentrated in the seven months between October 2017 and April 2018. This partly skews the results of this exercise but I still wanted to include those first five months in the data, as I was still learning and refining during that time.

Over the year, I used four different registrars: Namecheap, Uniregistry, Name.com and GoDaddy.
I bought at nine different price points (shown below) including six discount promotions.


7nDrqrH.png



These NP threads were really helpful and I’m grateful to everyone who flagged up a discount code or promotion: https://www.namepros.com/forums/domain-coupons-and-offers.358/

I spent around $1.8k during those promotions and picked up 431 domains at an average of $4.25. In hindsight, I underutilised many of them… especially the $1.50 (and less!) event for the .CO birthday celebration.
The remainder of the budget was mostly split between $8.88 at Namecheap and $9.88 at Uniregistry. Again, in hindsight, I could have constantly sought cheaper options but I found that spreading the domains across more registrars would complicate the management of them.

I also registered the vast majority of those Namecheap and Uniregistry domains via my mobile phone (approx 800 in total). The workflow was optimised for speed at time of deletion/release. I had the Namecheap or Uniregistry mobile app open on a phone. On my computer, I had ExpiredDomains open on one browser and LinkedIn on another (to allow faster tabbing between the two). The cost of this faster workflow was that it wasn’t always the cheapest. The gained advantage was the ability to register domains that would otherwise be gone within the first ten minutes of availability.

It’s worth noting here that this entire experiment is only made possible by the fact that the first year fees are subsidised for .CO domains. The full price at time of renewal (at the end of year one) is upwards of $23. Buying 1262 domains at that price would have cost $29k instead of $9.5k. If an investor doesn’t keep an eye on the ball when renewals come around (with auto-renew enabled), it can end up being a very expensive learning experience.

Turning registrations into sales...

After registering the domains, I set the nameservers to Sedo parking, and listed them on Sedo and Afternic. Some registrars allow you to set default nameservers that get applied to every new domain registered, instead of having to do it manually.
As expected, parking revenues from Sedo were negligible - and I never intended to make money from it. It’s a shame that Sedo nameservers resolve to parking landers, instead of directly to a sale page - but that’s a rant for another day.

For the first 10 months, I had the Sedo landers set to ‘Make Offer’ with an asking price listed, but no minimum offer. For Afternic, I’ve had a Buy It Now price (same as the asking price on Sedo) along with Make Offer and a minimum offer. In mid-May 2016, I also began using Efty landing pages, at which point I enabled BIN on my Sedo listings.

I didn’t use any advanced methodology on pricing - but instead used the number of potential end-users as a guiding metric. Most of the asking prices were set between $2000 and $5000. My floor price varied from domain to domain, but I tended to look for between 40% to 70% of the asking price during negotiation. I was inconsistent with this, which is something I’ll talk about later.
Throughout the year, I messed around with the numerical endings (00, 25, 49, 50, 75, 88, 98 and 99) but found little conclusive evidence that one was vastly superior. The majority of the sales closed with 00 as an ending. I rarely ever found that any buyer negotiated without numbers rounded to the nearest hundred.

Out of 19 sales: four sold at BIN (Afternic), 11 with Make Offer on Sedo and the four most recent were private deals. I lost about 12 additional serious negotiations on Sedo because I was overly-aggressive, even when I should have accepted the opening offer. I also had three accepted offers where the buyer decided not to pay and disappeared.
There’s not a ‘right-way’ or perfect method for negotiations that I can share… or an answer for why some deals fail. Maybe some buyers back out because their offer is accepted too quickly - and they feel like they could have pushed harder. Others might have backed out because they hit a ceiling, and I mistakenly thought that they could keep going higher. It’s difficult to negotiate on some marketplaces because there is no direct relationship between the two parties.

Below are the domains for the 19 sales, shown against the month they sold in and the net proceeds (money in my account after commissions). All transactions are complete and paid for in full. Please respect the buyers and don’t write the domain names in the comments, to avoid search engine indexing.

JuawfSt.png


The chart below shows a little bit more detail about the sale prices of each domain, along with the marketplace commission. The sales without any commissions against them were made privately. For non-marketplace transactions I used Escrow.com and most buyers covered the transaction fees.

Du4fgnz.png


The average gross sale price was $1994. After commissions, the average net price was $1728.
My mean purchase price was $7.71, so the average sale price was 259 times the average registration cost.

The average hold time between registration and sale was 107 days (roughly 4 months). The fastest sale was 8 days after registration and the longest was 298 days after registrations.

j6H9sCd.png


I didn’t have any sales from this portfolio for the first five months. If I include those months, my inventory sell through rate was 0.18% per month. Excluding those first five months, the monthly STR averages at 0.28%. That means that if I have 1000 domains, I can expect to sell roughly 2 or 3 domains per month. The sell-through-rate is important to understand, because it has a relationship with the pricing strategy.
If I only sell one domain out of 1000, that one domain has to pay for the cost of itself, along with the other 999. If each month I register 150 domains, than I have to sell at least one domain for a minimum of 150 times the average purchase price, in order to break even for that month. Or alternatively, I can sell two domains for 75 times the average purchase price, etc.

Even if there is a correlated relationship between price and STR, I don’t know if it can be classified as linear or causal. There is a dependance on demand for each individual domain (and demand will vary), rather than all domains performing as a uniform commodity. Reducing the pricing by half, will have an effect - but it may not exactly double the sales. Someone who has experimented with pricing at a greater scale will definitely have a better answer on this.

The mantra here is not ‘go big or go home’. Far from it. I’m not advocating that everyone go out and replicate scale or start registering thousands of domains each year. Scale is not the only option but it has a purpose when configured correctly. If an estimated monthly STR on a portfolio is 0.2%, there is only a probability to sell one domain out of 500. If the portfolio consists of only 100 domains instead of 500, and has the same monthly STR (0.2%), the probability changes to a sale of one domain every five months. This is assuming the quality of the portfolio remains a constant, but it’s an example to show how larger portfolios can generate greater numbers of sales on a regular basis. Super sized portfolios will also have greater probability to generate outliers which deviate wildly from the average ROI (eg. $10 handreg sells for $50k).

If a domainer accepts a strategy where only 2.5% of the inventory will sell annually, they must also accept that 975 out of 1000 domains will be losers. This goes against most common wisdom for traditional domain ‘investing’, but may be more appropriate when called domain ‘trading’. Or maybe it’s just semantics, and we just have to accept that there are a multitude of routes to make money in this industry. Either way, it’s hard letting go of these losers - so learning to prune a portfolio and drop the excess weight becomes a skill in itself.

To date, around 200 of the 1262 domains have expired. These were registrations from May and June a year ago. Each domain comes with a year of registration, so I still have up to 9 months of holding time for the remainder of the portfolio. Looking at the expected inventory count for each remaining month and multiplying it by the lower of the two sell-through-rates (0.18%), gives me a projection for potential upcoming sales. Without considering other influencing factors, I forecast that I’ll have another 12 sales before the last domain expires or comes up for renewal. If I was to continue to achieve an average sale price of $2k per domain, that would be another $24k of sales generated by this portfolio. (I’ll try to follow up in April 2019 to see whether the actual outcome was close or completely different!).

There's always room for improvement...

No regrets - but there are things that could have been done better, and some that can still be improved.
  • The search methods and filters that I use on ExpiredDomains could do with refinement. I have only just scratched the surface in terms of functionality that the tool offers, and some of the untested filters could improve the quality of the registrations. Spending time to learn and understand how a tool works will always reap dividends.
  • I also only listed the domains on Sedo and Afternic, and I realise that there are many other marketplaces that were ignored, including Uniregistry and Undeveloped. I also sometimes took a few days before listing domains on Sedo... because I was busy or forgetful. Some domains weren’t listed on Afternic until after a month of owning them. Those delays reduce the overall opportunity for the domain to be seen and bought.

  • There is greater opportunity to explore pricing, both in terms of floors and ceilings. I’d be more interested to explore the lower bounds, by bringing the domains into the $1000 to $2500 range. If I had more time, I would also like a sliding system where the pricing has some form of decay rate, such as a quarterly half-life (3 months at $6000, then 3 months at $3000, then 3 months at $1500 etc.)
  • On review of every marketplace and email based negotiation over the last year, I can clearly see that I had an inconsistent negotiation pattern. When I had made one or two recent sales, I was overly aggressive during negotiations that followed. Where there hadn’t been any recent sales, I became fearful of drought and accepted significantly lower offers. A more constant yield might be achieved through a more consistent behaviour, driven less by emotion.

  • Before switching nearly all of the landing pages to Efty, I paid around 17% of total sales as commission to the various marketplaces ($5k in total). Switching landers to Efty earlier could have mitigated some of that.
  • I mentioned outbound marketing earlier in this post, but here’s is where I admit that it could have been executed with greater scale, effort and enthusiasm. I didn’t enjoy the process of reaching out to potential buyers, so I didn’t commit time to it. I think that a successful outbound strategy is essential for maximising yield from a large portfolio. I made lots of excuses to myself about why I didn’t do it, but it mainly came down to laziness.

  • The final frontier, would be automating the buying and listing process, using a combination of APIs and some CRON jobs. But this is way beyond my skill set. Without the human touch, I would guess you’d also need a large budget to deal with any mistakes that the system makes. Unlike financial algorithms or stock trading-strategies, it’s hard to test a setup like this in a simulated environment.
Wrapping up and other stuff worth mentioning...

I posted this here in the AMA because I wanted transparency. I was also worried that if I created a new thread, I’d try to come up with a clickbait title. This post doesn’t warrant to be treated as a secret recipe or a get quick rich guide. Your own personal circumstances will be vastly different to mine. Your own experience and knowledge will also be different to my own. My appetite for risk-taking and ability to absorb that risk might be different to yours.

I started with an allocated budget and a rough plan in mind. I wouldn’t ever do anything like this on a credit card. I hope that nobody reading this thinks that’s even an option. Throughout the experiment, I had a ‘stop-loss’ in mind and knew that I would stop it if I sank below a particular amount. Knowing when to quit is sometimes more important than trying to win. Walking away intact with a manageable loss allows you to learn from mistakes and come back to fight another day.

Whilst I’ve tried to share as much as possible, keep in mind that this is a relatively small sample size of data. The main reason for measuring the performance of this test portfolio was that I needed a truth that I couldn’t hide from. It’s easy to look back after a while and make up a new narrative that fits the present needs. I didn’t want to lie to myself, and keep repeating a process where the true costs and true value were unknown.
I’d also place emphasis on keeping a simple journal throughout an exercise like this. It’s very difficult to reflect back and remember how things actually felt at the time. The financial profit isn’t always the ultimate scorecard.

As with everything, there is opportunity cost. I’ve spent roughly 315 hours across 210 days, and I expect to spend at least another 35 hours on this portfolio by the time the last domain expires. If I look at that another way, that’s 50 days at 7 hours per day (10 workings weeks!). That time could have been used working, learning new skills, exercising, relaxing and with family. That’s a genuine opportunity cost, even though it’s not an opportunity of capital.
The same financial investment might also have yielded a decent return from a single premium .com domain, within the same timeframe… without the time investment or grinding. Investing $10k in stock like Nvidia could have yielded 2.5x over the same period. The obvious trick with both of those examples is knowing which stock or which premium domain to buy... not so simple for most of us.
For comparison, when including the projected future sales and future time investment, the profit generated by the experiment works out at an hourly rate of $98/hour. That calculation has costs, commissions and corporations tax (20% in UK) already subtracted - but it does not exclude income tax.

I’ll probably still continue to look at .CO deletes, but without the same level of vigour as the last six months. I know that the game might change by the very nature of this blog post itself. This post could create more competition for those same deletes, but that’s ok. I might spend the next year by testing slightly higher upstream, with drops and backorders instead of deletes. I’ll also be using data from the experiment (offers and lander pageviews) to extend registration of approx 10% of the total inventory at the higher renewal price.

I place importance on documentation and administration but I’m sure that I make mistakes. I’ve excluded any sales or purchases that are not part of this .CO portfolio and I’ve also excluded any .CO purchases that I made (non-handregs). Also excluded are a dozen domains that I passed to others for free - family, friends, startups that I admire and companies in my business network. I also ended up returning three domains to previous owners (for free), each of whom had active businesses running on them and had let them expire for various reasons. (Two additional requests from previous owners were refused, because the domains were parked and not in commercial use).

Before I conclude, an essential disclaimer: I have my own particular choice-supportive bias with .CO because I’m heavily invested in it. Take everything written in this post with a large pinch of salt.
This test focused on .CO and the choice of extension will no doubt have had influence on the outcome. Having said that, the methodology isn’t specifically limited to .CO and could be opened out to other TLDs that have demand from end-users but are undervalued. I’m not suggesting that .CO is the most profitable TLD nor am I saying that any domainers should put all of their eggs into one extension (something I am guilty of myself). I’ve written openly about the pros and cons of .CO before here on NP: https://www.namepros.com/threads/dot-co-confusion.1033963/#post-6293060

It’s also worth stating that I have no affiliation with the .CO registry, any marketplace, any registrar mentioned or ExpiredDomains. I work as an independent, without agenda or any other hidden motive. I’m not an expert or a seasoned professional. I trade domains for fun, to learn about myself and to earn a little extra money for my family. If it’s not fun for you, don’t do it.

I wasn't competant enough to shorten this very long post, so a genuine thank you if you have read this far. Above anything else, this was a learning process for me. So as always, I’m looking to hear from your experiences too. Criticism and feedback are not only welcomed, but they are valued and greatly appreciated. Sticking with the AMA theme, feel free to ask me anything below.

Links to the NP sales thread for the sales mentioned (apart from the two most recent):
 
Last edited:

Doron Vermaat

Co-founder, EftyTop Contributor
Efty Staff
Impact
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Thank you to everyone who has read, shared, commented or got in touch with me about the original post in this thread. The response from NP readers was a major motivation for writing this update. I wanted to follow up with a deeper dive into one of the specific things that I had mentioned back in December 2017:


[Make a cup of tea or coffee first, the approx reading time is 25 to 30 mins :xf.grin:]

A little over a year ago (in May 2017), I began hand-registering deleted .CO domains in order to build up a sub-portfolio. The general hypothesis was that some of these deleted domains were undervalued and could be resold for profit. I filtered the domains using some well known tools, registered a few each day and aimed to sell at least one a month to generate some cash flow.
I didn’t expect to sell more than 1% of the total portfolio over the whole year, so I knew the domains had to be priced in a way that would allow for break-even (at minimum).

The portfolio was tracked and measured over the course of the year. By the end of April 2018 (at peak-inventory), it consisted of 1262 .co domains at a total cost of $9.5k. As of today, (time of writing = end of June 2018), the portfolio has had 19 sales, totalling almost $38k. After deducting the registration costs and marketplace commissions, the portfolio has made $23k of profit to date.

2W5NWIn.png


I wanted to share some details about the methodology and results, for two main reasons. Firstly, so that my posts on the sales thread would have some context, and secondly, so that others could learn from the process. (Please head up to the top of this thread if you haven’t read it before!).

Getting started...

The first step was creating an account on ExpiredDomains.net. If you haven’t used this tool before, I’d strongly recommend signing up and having a play. I used the ExpiredDomains search tool to create a filter looking at the daily deletes. I tried a variety of filters in the first few months, but in the end, I settled with something very simple. The three filters I use are:
  1. CCTLD = .CO
  2. Social Namecheck = Twitter
  3. Name in selected TLD is registered = .com plus 5 others.
The ‘CCTLD = .CO’ is obvious, we only want to see deleted domains for .CO

The social namecheck for Twitter is useful because I’ve noticed that if the domain doesn’t have a matching twitter handle, there is unlikely to be a business that is actively using that name. It also automatically eliminates domains with hyphens or domains over 15 characters.

Lastly, for ‘Name in selected TLD is registered’, I was searching for the domain to be taken in other TLDs. I always selected .COM in the filter because for an end user, buying a .CO is nearly always an alternate option to buying the same domain in .COM.
If the domain isn’t already taken in .COM, I think it’s pointless to register the .CO equivalent.
I also found a specific selection of other TLDs that showed me that the deleted .CO domain could have a higher propensity to sell. I don’t want to reveal exactly which ones because it’s not the purpose of this post to give a specific recipe. It also eats into whatever tiny bit of competitive edge that I'll have remaining once this is posted! What I can say is that all of the other boxes I tick are also ccTLDs.

Aside from the filters, I used to sort the presented list based on ‘SG’ (global searches) but I quickly found this metric to be unreliable as it displayed zero for a lot of domains. I started sorting by ‘TLDs Reg’ which shows the number of TLDs the domain is registered in. For me, it’s the simplest way to give a ball-park estimate that there is existing demand for the domain. If the domain is registered in my six selected TLDs, along with 20 others, it’s a great signal. This is one of the reasons I’ve found it easier to sell hand registered .CO rather than hand-registered .COM. It’s hard to pay $9 for a .COM that is registered in 29 other extensions. However, it’s still possible to find a .CO that gets deleted and is already taken in 25 to 31 other extensions. Potentially, that’s a bad sign - and the counter-argument might be that the reason it gets dropped is because it is perceived to have no value.

I found this metric of ‘TLDs Reg’ to be a north-star metric. In the absence of any other data, it reflected the sale-potential better than any alternate metric. It fits in this context, because I was not focusing on any other specific aspects of the domain - such as keyword volumes, ppc competition or age. The filter simply looked for domains that were taken in many of the other most popular extensions.

The drop for deleted .co domains happens at around 18:04 GMT or 19:04 BST (British Summer Time). Once the list became available, I’d quickly hand-reg one or two (near the top of the list) based on gut feel. For the others, I would:
  • Search the domain (without .co on the end) on LinkedIn, filtering for ‘Companies’ only. Depending on how many companies came up in that list on LinkedIn, I’d either register immediately, or dig deeper. When digging deeper, I open out at least a dozen companies listed on the first page. I ignore any companies that don’t have a logo and I also tend to exclude companies with only 1 employee. It’s easy to look for potential buyers by expanding the company profile and looking at their existing domains in use. Here’s the opportunity to spot the upgrade paths. Could someone with example-group.com upgrade to example.co? I’ll talk about outbound later, but this information is something that I didn’t fully utilise.

  • I also search quickly for the domain (again, without .co on the end) on Twitter. If I could see under the ‘people’ tab, a handful of businesses using the name, it was a good sign. I’ve found over time that businesses who are active (or have presence) on social media are more likely to invest in domains.

  • Lastly, for many, I would run a quick search on Google and Wikipedia.

  • Here are a few more notes about how I choose what types of .CO to buy/register: https://www.namepros.com/threads/wh...ce-for-two-words-domain.1063706/#post-6557582
(For more expensive domains, I have a deeper research process. I have detailed an example here: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-567#post-6484675)

If everything looked ok using the search criteria above, I would register the domain. In summary, I was looking for business names that already have a high level of usage. Firstly, because it provides an immediate variety of potential buyers. Secondly, if the business name is already in frequent usage, it’s likely to be used again by newly formed businesses. That last point is counter-intuitive, but the logic is that, if there are already 50 businesses called example, it’s likely to be a popular choice. If there is only one business called example2, it’s not a popular business name and the domain is unlikely to find a buyer. I think it’s important to clarify at this stage, that the goal was (and still is) never to seek out unique domains that are in use by a specific business. I made every effort I could to avoid specific trademarks or unique domains that could only ever have had one buyer. Every domain purchased needed at least a dozen potential end-users.

I had set aside around $15k at the start of the process, but I didn’t end up using all of it over the first 12 months. Here’s the breakdown of my registrations:

6E8sTBA.png

The first spike in July 2017 was a Name.com Happy Hour, followed by the .CO birthday special a week later. The last spike in March 2018 was a $4.88 Namecheap price promotion that lasted almost a week.

Below is the breakdown of the registration costs consolidated by month:


Lbd6qcO.png


I started buying in early May, but I was distracted by new arrivals into my family. On the days where I was active, I found that my filters weren’t giving me the right types of domains. On other days, I was searching several hours after the initial ‘drop’, but many of the good names had already been taken. In the first few months, there wasn’t a daily discipline. On average, I ended up searching ExpiredDomains only once or twice a week on average.
It wasn’t until October that I really started to ramp things up. Around 90% of my total spend was concentrated in the seven months between October 2017 and April 2018. This partly skews the results of this exercise but I still wanted to include those first five months in the data, as I was still learning and refining during that time.

Over the year, I used four different registrars: Namecheap, Uniregistry, Name.com and GoDaddy.
I bought at nine different price points (shown below) including six discount promotions.


7nDrqrH.png



These NP threads were really helpful and I’m grateful to everyone who flagged up a discount code or promotion: https://www.namepros.com/forums/domain-coupons-and-offers.358/

I spent around $1.8k during those promotions and picked up 431 domains at an average of $4.25. In hindsight, I underutilised many of them… especially the $1.50 (and less!) event for the .CO birthday celebration.
The remainder of the budget was mostly split between $8.88 at Namecheap and $9.88 at Uniregistry. Again, in hindsight, I could have constantly sought cheaper options but I found that spreading the domains across more registrars would complicate the management of them.

I also registered the vast majority of those Namecheap and Uniregistry domains via my mobile phone (approx 800 in total). The workflow was optimised for speed at time of deletion/release. I had the Namecheap or Uniregistry mobile app open on a phone. On my computer, I had ExpiredDomains open on one browser and LinkedIn on another (to allow faster tabbing between the two). The cost of this faster workflow was that it wasn’t always the cheapest. The gained advantage was the ability to register domains that would otherwise be gone within the first ten minutes of availability.

It’s worth noting here that this entire experiment is only made possible by the fact that the first year fees are subsidised for .CO domains. The full price at time of renewal (at the end of year one) is upwards of $23. Buying 1262 domains at that price would have cost $29k instead of $9.5k. If an investor doesn’t keep an eye on the ball when renewals come around (with auto-renew enabled), it can end up being a very expensive learning experience.

Turning registrations into sales...

After registering the domains, I set the nameservers to Sedo parking, and listed them on Sedo and Afternic. Some registrars allow you to set default nameservers that get applied to every new domain registered, instead of having to do it manually.
As expected, parking revenues from Sedo were negligible - and I never intended to make money from it. It’s a shame that Sedo nameservers resolve to parking landers, instead of directly to a sale page - but that’s a rant for another day.

For the first 10 months, I had the Sedo landers set to ‘Make Offer’ with an asking price listed, but no minimum offer. For Afternic, I’ve had a Buy It Now price (same as the asking price on Sedo) along with Make Offer and a minimum offer. In mid-May 2016, I also began using Efty landing pages, at which point I enabled BIN on my Sedo listings.

I didn’t use any advanced methodology on pricing - but instead used the number of potential end-users as a guiding metric. Most of the asking prices were set between $2000 and $5000. My floor price varied from domain to domain, but I tended to look for between 40% to 70% of the asking price during negotiation. I was inconsistent with this, which is something I’ll talk about later.
Throughout the year, I messed around with the numerical endings (00, 25, 49, 50, 75, 88, 98 and 99) but found little conclusive evidence that one was vastly superior. The majority of the sales closed with 00 as an ending. I rarely ever found that any buyer negotiated without numbers rounded to the nearest hundred.

Out of 19 sales: four sold at BIN (Afternic), 11 with Make Offer on Sedo and the four most recent were private deals. I lost about 12 additional serious negotiations on Sedo because I was overly-aggressive, even when I should have accepted the opening offer. I also had three accepted offers where the buyer decided not to pay and disappeared.
There’s not a ‘right-way’ or perfect method for negotiations that I can share… or an answer for why some deals fail. Maybe some buyers back out because their offer is accepted too quickly - and they feel like they could have pushed harder. Others might have backed out because they hit a ceiling, and I mistakenly thought that they could keep going higher. It’s difficult to negotiate on some marketplaces because there is no direct relationship between the two parties.

Below are the domains for the 19 sales, shown against the month they sold in and the net proceeds (money in my account after commissions). All transactions are complete and paid for in full. Please respect the buyers and don’t write the domain names in the comments, to avoid search engine indexing.

JuawfSt.png


The chart below shows a little bit more detail about the sale prices of each domain, along with the marketplace commission. The sales without any commissions against them were made privately. For non-marketplace transactions I used Escrow.com and most buyers covered the transaction fees.

Du4fgnz.png


The average gross sale price was $1994. After commissions, the average net price was $1728.
My mean purchase price was $7.71, so the average sale price was 259 times the average registration cost.

The average hold time between registration and sale was 107 days (roughly 4 months). The fastest sale was 8 days after registration and the longest was 298 days after registrations.

j6H9sCd.png


I didn’t have any sales from this portfolio for the first five months. If I include those months, my inventory sell through rate was 0.18% per month. Excluding those first five months, the monthly STR averages at 0.28%. That means that if I have 1000 domains, I can expect to sell roughly 2 or 3 domains per month. The sell-through-rate is important to understand, because it has a relationship with the pricing strategy.
If I only sell one domain out of 1000, that one domain has to pay for the cost of itself, along with the other 999. If each month I register 150 domains, than I have to sell at least one domain for a minimum of 150 times the average purchase price, in order to break even for that month. Or alternatively, I can sell two domains for 75 times the average purchase price, etc.

Even if there is a correlated relationship between price and STR, I don’t know if it can be classified as linear or causal. There is a dependance on demand for each individual domain (and demand will vary), rather than all domains performing as a uniform commodity. Reducing the pricing by half, will have an effect - but it may not exactly double the sales. Someone who has experimented with pricing at a greater scale will definitely have a better answer on this.

The mantra here is not ‘go big or go home’. Far from it. I’m not advocating that everyone go out and replicate scale or start registering thousands of domains each year. Scale is not the only option but it has a purpose when configured correctly. If an estimated monthly STR on a portfolio is 0.2%, there is only a probability to sell one domain out of 500. If the portfolio consists of only 100 domains instead of 500, and has the same monthly STR (0.2%), the probability changes to a sale of one domain every five months. This is assuming the quality of the portfolio remains a constant, but it’s an example to show how larger portfolios can generate greater numbers of sales on a regular basis. Super sized portfolios will also have greater probability to generate outliers which deviate wildly from the average ROI (eg. $10 handreg sells for $50k).

If a domainer accepts a strategy where only 2.5% of the inventory will sell annually, they must also accept that 975 out of 1000 domains will be losers. This goes against most common wisdom for traditional domain ‘investing’, but may be more appropriate when called domain ‘trading’. Or maybe it’s just semantics, and we just have to accept that there are a multitude of routes to make money in this industry. Either way, it’s hard letting go of these losers - so learning to prune a portfolio and drop the excess weight becomes a skill in itself.

To date, around 200 of the 1262 domains have expired. These were registrations from May and June a year ago. Each domain comes with a year of registration, so I still have up to 9 months of holding time for the remainder of the portfolio. Looking at the expected inventory count for each remaining month and multiplying it by the lower of the two sell-through-rates (0.18%), gives me a projection for potential upcoming sales. Without considering other influencing factors, I forecast that I’ll have another 12 sales before the last domain expires or comes up for renewal. If I was to continue to achieve an average sale price of $2k per domain, that would be another $24k of sales generated by this portfolio. (I’ll try to follow up in April 2019 to see whether the actual outcome was close or completely different!).

There's always room for improvement...

No regrets - but there are things that could have been done better, and some that can still be improved.
  • The search methods and filters that I use on ExpiredDomains could do with refinement. I have only just scratched the surface in terms of functionality that the tool offers, and some of the untested filters could improve the quality of the registrations. Spending time to learn and understand how a tool works will always reap dividends.
  • I also only listed the domains on Sedo and Afternic, and I realise that there are many other marketplaces that were ignored, including Uniregistry and Undeveloped. I also sometimes took a few days before listing domains on Sedo... because I was busy or forgetful. Some domains weren’t listed on Afternic until after a month of owning them. Those delays reduce the overall opportunity for the domain to be seen and bought.

  • There is greater opportunity to explore pricing, both in terms of floors and ceilings. I’d be more interested to explore the lower bounds, by bringing the domains into the $1000 to $2500 range. If I had more time, I would also like a sliding system where the pricing has some form of decay rate, such as a quarterly half-life (3 months at $6000, then 3 months at $3000, then 3 months at $1500 etc.)
  • On review of every marketplace and email based negotiation over the last year, I can clearly see that I had an inconsistent negotiation pattern. When I had made one or two recent sales, I was overly aggressive during negotiations that followed. Where there hadn’t been any recent sales, I became fearful of drought and accepted significantly lower offers. A more constant yield might be achieved through a more consistent behaviour, driven less by emotion.

  • Before switching nearly all of the landing pages to Efty, I paid around 17% of total sales as commission to the various marketplaces ($5k in total). Switching landers to Efty earlier could have mitigated some of that.
  • I mentioned outbound marketing earlier in this post, but here’s is where I admit that it could have been executed with greater scale, effort and enthusiasm. I didn’t enjoy the process of reaching out to potential buyers, so I didn’t commit time to it. I think that a successful outbound strategy is essential for maximising yield from a large portfolio. I made lots of excuses to myself about why I didn’t do it, but it mainly came down to laziness.

  • The final frontier, would be automating the buying and listing process, using a combination of APIs and some CRON jobs. But this is way beyond my skill set. Without the human touch, I would guess you’d also need a large budget to deal with any mistakes that the system makes. Unlike financial algorithms or stock trading-strategies, it’s hard to test a setup like this in a simulated environment.
Wrapping up and other stuff worth mentioning...

I posted this here in the AMA because I wanted transparency. I was also worried that if I created a new thread, I’d try to come up with a clickbait title. This post doesn’t warrant to be treated as a secret recipe or a get quick rich guide. Your own personal circumstances will be vastly different to mine. Your own experience and knowledge will also be different to my own. My appetite for risk-taking and ability to absorb that risk might be different to yours.

I started with an allocated budget and a rough plan in mind. I wouldn’t ever do anything like this on a credit card. I hope that nobody reading this thinks that’s even an option. Throughout the experiment, I had a ‘stop-loss’ in mind and knew that I would stop it if I sank below a particular amount. Knowing when to quit is sometimes more important than trying to win. Walking away intact with a manageable loss allows you to learn from mistakes and come back to fight another day.

Whilst I’ve tried to share as much as possible, keep in mind that this is a relatively small sample size of data. The main reason for measuring the performance of this test portfolio was that I needed a truth that I couldn’t hide from. It’s easy to look back after a while and make up a new narrative that fits the present needs. I didn’t want to lie to myself, and keep repeating a process where the true costs and true value were unknown.
I’d also place emphasis on keeping a simple journal throughout an exercise like this. It’s very difficult to reflect back and remember how things actually felt at the time. The financial profit isn’t always the ultimate scorecard.

As with everything, there is opportunity cost. I’ve spent roughly 315 hours across 210 days, and I expect to spend at least another 35 hours on this portfolio by the time the last domain expires. If I look at that another way, that’s 50 days at 7 hours per day (10 workings weeks!). That time could have been used working, learning new skills, exercising, relaxing and with family. That’s a genuine opportunity cost, even though it’s not an opportunity of capital.
The same financial investment might also have yielded a decent return from a single premium .com domain, within the same timeframe… without the time investment or grinding. Investing $10k in stock like Nvidia could have yielded 2.5x over the same period. The obvious trick with both of those examples is knowing which stock or which premium domain to buy... not so simple for most of us.
For comparison, when including the projected future sales and future time investment, the profit generated by the experiment works out at an hourly rate of $98/hour. That calculation has costs, commissions and corporations tax (20% in UK) already subtracted - but it does not exclude income tax.

I’ll probably still continue to look at .CO deletes, but without the same level of vigour as the last six months. I know that the game might change by the very nature of this blog post itself. This post could create more competition for those same deletes, but that’s ok. I might spend the next year by testing slightly higher upstream, with drops and backorders instead of deletes. I’ll also be using data from the experiment (offers and lander pageviews) to extend registration of approx 10% of the total inventory at the higher renewal price.

I place importance on documentation and administration but I’m sure that I make mistakes. I’ve excluded any sales or purchases that are not part of this .CO portfolio and I’ve also excluded any .CO purchases that I made (non-handregs). Also excluded are a dozen domains that I passed to others for free - family, friends, startups that I admire and companies in my business network. I also ended up returning three domains to previous owners (for free), each of whom had active businesses running on them and had let them expire for various reasons. (Two additional requests from previous owners were refused, because the domains were parked and not in commercial use).

Before I conclude, an essential disclaimer: I have my own particular choice-supportive bias with .CO because I’m heavily invested in it. Take everything written in this post with a large pinch of salt.
This test focused on .CO and the choice of extension will no doubt have had influence on the outcome. Having said that, the methodology isn’t specifically limited to .CO and could be opened out to other TLDs that have demand from end-users but are undervalued. I’m not suggesting that .CO is the most profitable TLD nor am I saying that any domainers should put all of their eggs into one extension (something I am guilty of myself). I’ve written openly about the pros and cons of .CO before here on NP: https://www.namepros.com/threads/dot-co-confusion.1033963/#post-6293060

It’s also worth stating that I have no affiliation with the .CO registry, any marketplace, any registrar mentioned or ExpiredDomains. I work as an independent, without agenda or any other hidden motive. I’m not an expert or a seasoned professional. I trade domains for fun, to learn about myself and to earn a little extra money for my family. If it’s not fun for you, don’t do it.

I wasn't competant enough to shorten this very long post, so a genuine thank you if you have read this far. Above anything else, this was a learning process for me. So as always, I’m looking to hear from your experiences too. Criticism and feedback are not only welcomed, but they are valued and greatly appreciated. Sticking with the AMA theme, feel free to ask me anything below.

Links to the NP sales thread for the sales mentioned (apart from the two most recent):

Love it Nikul. Perhaps you've answered this already somewhere in the thread but what is your plan when renewals strike? Let the entire portfolio expire or keep certain names based on traffic stats/inquiries etc?
 

Nikul Sanghvi

hypernames.coVIP Member
Impact
5,352
Love it Nikul. Perhaps you've answered this already somewhere in the thread but what is your plan when renewals strike? Let the entire portfolio expire or keep certain names based on traffic stats/inquiries etc?

Thanks Doron, I touched upon it briefly here:

I might spend the next year by testing slightly higher upstream, with drops and backorders instead of deletes. I’ll also be using data from the experiment (offers and lander pageviews) to extend registration of approx 10% of the total inventory at the higher renewal price.

I'll be assessing each domain to grade / sort it into one of three buckets:

A) Approx 10% of the inventory - will be renewed at around $23 each
B) Around 30% of the inventory - will be allowed to expire. I'll add the domains to a CSV file to be purchased only if/when a coupon is available at $4 or below. Will be interesting to see how many make it through and stay deleted. I know that some will be snapped up before I re-register them. At a guess, I'll probably only get half of it.
C) The rest - will be allowed to expire without any plans to renew.​
 

Isibor Imieka

Established Member
Impact
1,255
Nikul thanks again for such a detailed and somewhat exhaustive post on your journey/experiment. It has immense value to the community, I enjoyed reading every word, phrase, sentence and paragraph. You write very well bro, I hope you can put your thoughts in a book sometime in the future for newbies and seasoned investors.
 

GoKaizen

Always be LearningTop Contributor
Impact
3,094
Thanks for sharing this valuable advice and your experiences @Nikul Sanghvi.

The road to success is not always easy. :)
 

golan

GolanMedia.comTop Contributor
Impact
7,990
Nikul, thank you for another amazing piece of enlightenment!

Just a question on something basic...

create a filter looking at the daily deletes

Once the list became available, I’d quickly hand-reg one or two (near the top of the list)

Why don't you try to catch domains with API? I don't talk about expensive backorders, but some registrars who provide API have their regular prices on .co around $10, and while you can't use $4 and other promotions there, still for the best of your picks you could get much higher chances. Just compile a short list, throw it to DesctopCatcher, fire the scheduler, and forget about it. And then after that, if you have time, at the drop time check the remains for availability for $4 or whatever promotion you get today, just as you described.
 

Nikul Sanghvi

hypernames.coVIP Member
Impact
5,352
Nikul, thank you for another amazing piece of enlightenment!

Just a question on something basic...

Why don't you try to catch domains with API? I don't talk about expensive backorders, but some registrars who provide API have their regular prices on .co around $10, and while you can't use $4 and other promotions there, still for the best of your picks you could get much higher chances. Just compile a short list, throw it to DesctopCatcher, fire the scheduler, and forget about it. And then after that, if you have time, at the drop time check the remains for availability for $4 or whatever promotion you get today, just as you described.

Cheers @golan - I hadn't come across DesktopCatcher before or anything similar, but I'll definitely look into it! Thank you for the suggestion, it looks like a really useful tool :)
 
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