Dynadot

(Almost) A Decade of Domaining...

Namecheap
Status
Not open for further replies.
Impact
5,368
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.
 
Impact
5,368
Thanks for another incredible post!

One question: Did you specifically search for Deletes, as opposed to expiring, simply to keep the Reg costs minimal? ( i.e. not get into a bidding war etc.)

Thanks!

Thank you. In previous years, I felt the quality of inventory available in the deleted .COs was quite high, so I only bought at auctions for those domains that were exceptional. Over the last two years, this isn't the case. Firstly, the registry have introduced premium tiers, meaning deleted .CO are more expensive to hand register. And secondly, there is significantly more competition for .CO domains, which increases the amount of inventory being backordered and subsequently entering into auctions.

Reviewing sales from 2010-2011, most of the low $xxx sales from that time I would not even bother renewing today. However, some of the high $xxx and low $xxxx sales from that time I would price higher today.

I didn't really start buying .CO until 2015(-ish), so missed out on the landrush in 2010. Sometimes when a new extension comes out, it's hard to immediately be able to tell which types of SLDs will pair well with that particular SLD. Probably a bit easier with nTLDs, but can be tricky with re-purposed ccTLDs.
 
Last edited:

Ntmt

Top Contributor
Impact
2,584
I didn't really start buying .CO until 2015(-ish), so missed out on the landrush in 2010. Sometimes when a new extension comes out, it's hard to immediately be able to tell which types of SLDs will pair well with that particular SLD. Probably a bit easier with nTLDs, but can be tricky with re-purposed ccTLDs.
Do you see some types of SLD that goes especially well with .CO?
 

leland

Premium Domain for sale
Impact
294
Hi, Nicol
Thank you so much for sharing :xf.smile:
This is a very valuable post I saw on namepros
If he charges, I think I will pay.

I have two questions,

01.
How do you register 1,600 domain names in batches,
Use the tool to register manually or in batches, if you follow the method you wrote to register the domain name,
How long does it take

02.
2020 is coming to an end, will you share the new sales report


I wish you increased sales
Thanks
 
Last edited:
Impact
5,368
01.
How do you register 1,600 domain names in batches,
Use the tool to register manually or in batches, if you follow the method you wrote to register the domain name,
How long does it take

Thanks @leland - I built my portfolio over time (years). It's either a few domains each week or sometimes was in volume during a discount or coupon deal. Either way, it was manual - no tools other than ExpiredDomains.net (to monitor expired and deleted domains)

02.
2020 is coming to an end, will you share the new sales report

Yes, that's the plan! :xf.smile: Hopefully in the first or second week of 2021.
 

leland

Premium Domain for sale
Impact
294
Thanks @leland - I built my portfolio over time (years). It's either a few domains each week or sometimes was in volume during a discount or coupon deal. Either way, it was manual - no tools other than ExpiredDomains.net (to monitor expired and deleted domains)



Yes, that's the plan! :xf.smile: Hopefully in the first or second week of 2021.
Hi, Nikul
thanks for sharing
I really think he is valuable,
I recently acquired some LLL.co
Hope to find some final buyers and make some money

Thanks
Leland
 

leland

Premium Domain for sale
Impact
294
Thanks @leland - I built my portfolio over time (years). It's either a few domains each week or sometimes was in volume during a discount or coupon deal. Either way, it was manual - no tools other than ExpiredDomains.net (to monitor expired and deleted domains)



Yes, that's the plan! :xf.smile: Hopefully in the first or second week of 2021.
Hope to hear your suggestions :xf.wink:
Thanks
 
Impact
5,368
Greetings everyone - I hope all of you are well and staying safe. Thank you to everyone who has liked, shared and supported this thread so far. And welcome to anyone reading for the first time…

I wanted to give a quick update and talk through my 2020 trading.

Here’s a summary:
  • $141k of total sales
  • Minus $21k in commissions and fees
  • Minus $29k renewals and further registrations
  • Minus $45k for purchases and acquisitions
  • Net approx $46k (before tax)
  • 83 sales in total (an average of 7 per month)
  • 42 sales via DAN ($56k) - mostly Make Offer
  • 38 sales Afternic ($78k) - mostly BIN
  • 3 sales inbound via email
  • Extensions sold: 76 .CO, two .IO - and one .CC, .GG, .SO, .UK and .CO.UK
  • Average sales price of $1700
  • Average hold time per domain was 20 months
  • Average purchase price of domains sold was $34
  • Average portfolio size around 2000 over the year, now close to 1700
  • Annual sell-through rate at 4%

Here’s how that 2020 stacks up against the previous three years:

cqgonLs.png


You can find a breakdown of my 2017 to 2019 trading in last years update here:
https://www.namepros.com/threads/almost-a-decade-of-domaining.1056328/page-5#post-7572841

At the start of 2020, my portfolio was somewhere around 1500 domains. By the middle of the year, it had peaked at around 2200 domains (mostly coupon deals). I’m down at around 1700 domains and still have another 400 that will drop over the next few months.

My sales volume in 2020 was higher than previous years... but I continued to see a fall in average sale prices:
  • In 2018, it was $2670 - removing an outlier $19k sale brings it down to $2144.
  • In 2019, it was $2252 - removing a $15k sale and $9k sale brings it to $1809.
  • In 2020, it was $1700 - I had no outlier sales (the highest was $5.5k)

I was surprised that despite a strong year in terms of volume, I had no sales in the five figure range. I did have several inquiries for the more premium end of the portfolio, but most were in the low-five range and my expectations were higher.

ODb05az.png

(Please note: three domains are not displayed on the above list)​


A NEW NORMAL?

At the start of 2020 (like many others around the world), I lost my ‘normal’ source of income as a consultant. Far from ideal, but was super fortunate to have a domain portfolio to fall back on.

I’ve said it in the past, but unless you’re already a millionaire, it’s stressful, difficult and financially unproductive to depend on domain names as your main source of income. This is especially true if you live in a city with an above-average cost of living. You can give up as many luxuries as possible, and reduce your monthly expenses, but it remains stressful because you need sales to pay for things like rent, utilities and food. It’s difficult because you naturally become risk averse: every purchase or negotiation method gets double-guessed. When you constantly doubt yourself, it takes a toll on your own mental health. Lastly, it’s financially unproductive because pulling money out of the business for living costs will reduce its ability to be reinvested and to compound over time.

In March 2020 I started to lower my prices to increase the sell-through. I was hungry for cash flow (which remained an issue throughout the year), needed the certainty of sales revenue and also felt an emotional need to be motivated by the dopamine rush of making a sale. I think all of us initially were concerned about the economic ramifications of COVID and the subsequent lockdowns - and there was a bearish mood. There were very few domainers who remained bullish (notably @Josh R, who had the foresight to anticipate that higher demand was on the way).
My traffic by March was up around 20% across the portfolio and inbound inquiries were consistent (around 10-15 per month). I wrote a very brief summary in April about Q1 performance here:
https://www.namepros.com/threads/in...en-in-sales-and-queries.1185306/#post-7721141

Until March, I was trading in a very similar fashion to previous years. Here’s what the year of trading looks like in a cumulative fashion:


ZfmrxRo.png


I underpriced for the first burst of end-user activity - which was probably around March to May. After numerous conversations with peers around the influx of startups and the rush for businesses to digitise, I started to lift my prices back to previous levels. After getting back to normal prices in June, I continued to see sustained levels of sales despite higher prices. The demand in the market was absorbing the price.

That second burst of sales continued across the summer months of June, July and August. These were normally quieter for me, but things didn’t slow. The sales of those three months in 2020 were higher than the previous two summers combined.

September and October continued at a good pace, and I finally saw some cool down for November and December.


SALES VENUES

The final breakdown for the year ended up looking like:
  • 42 sales via DAN ($56k)
  • 38 sales Afternic ($78k)
  • 3 sales inbound via email ($7k)
Here’s a breakdown of the 2020 sales volumes between DAN and Afternic. I’m not quite sure what happened in July, but it was a clean sweep for Afternic! I was using DAN landers for the whole year, other than three weeks in November.

iiuxKwh.png


I consolidated my sales venues towards the middle of 2019, to focus on Afternic and DAN. I had domains listed at both, using BIN and MakeOffer (but no minimum offer value). I also consolidated to using DAN landing pages for 95% of my portfolio, again with BIN and MakeOffer. I continued to use this setup in 2020, as it seemed to work quite well.

In previous years, there had been some issues getting .CO domains to display properly on GoDaddy - and in January 2020, I discussed this briefly with Cameron Cortez at NamesCon in Austin. He reached out to me a few weeks later with a follow up email and we discussed plans to get as much of my portfolio activated for Fast-Transfer (shoutout to Cameron!).
I hadn’t used Fast Transfer in the past, mainly because .CO domains were not eligible - but Cameron informed me that this had been resolved within the last year. As a bonus, Fast-Transfer activated .CO domains would also start displaying within GoDaddy. And following the GoDaddy acquisition of Uniregistry, it also joined the Afternic network - allowing me to list hundreds of domains that were previously ineligible for Fast Transfer. After finally getting Fast-Transfer enabled for most of my portfolio, I quickly saw an increase in sales coming from the Afternic Network.

Whilst I was super impressed with the Afternic network and Fast Transfer (and the GD/Afternic teams!), I was less impressed with their landing pages, which I tested for 3 weeks in November. DAN has always been the best performing landing page for me. My portfolio isn’t big enough to produce any statistical significance, so please keep in mind that my experiences are personal and anecdotal. Having said that, DAN constantly produced around 10-15 inquiries per month for me over the course of 2020, and I would convert somewhere between two to four of those inquiries into sales.

At the start of November, I switched around 1800 domains over to NS3/NS4 servers for Afternic landing pages. I had three BIN sales over those three weeks, and zero inquiries. I heard nothing else from Afternic - radio silence. I missed seeing the regular flow of inquiries, and I missed seeing the traffic data in Google Analytics. November was very close to being the worst month of the year, so I switched back to DAN landers. I can’t really say why those Afternic landing pages didn’t perform for me, as I know they have worked wonders for other sellers. I very likely didn’t give them enough time before switching away.

I also think DAN landers work better for domains in the sub-$5k range. With the Afternic landing pages, the buyer can’t even see the price upfront - so unless they are highly motivated to buy the domain, they are unlikely to fill out a form and talk to a broker on the phone. Most of my sales tend to be in the $500 to $2500 range - and I suspect a large portion of these are impulse buys that do not bode well with ‘Price On Inquiry’ format of landing pages. Just a thought, and I have no real data to back it up with - so I encourage everyone to try different landing pages and find what works best for their own portfolio.

I’d be more interested to try Afternic pages again if they had:
  1. BIN landers (which I think is in the works)
  2. A better flow of information - visibility on inquiries, traffic volumes etc
    (I did manually ask an Afternic rep for a report, but didn’t receive anything back)
  3. A better front-end user experience (such as the Uniregistry or DAN UI/UX)
I don’t make use of payment plans for now, but plan to test them in the future. And I suspect this is another feature that will be rolled out by Afternic/GD in the not too distant future.


SALE FORMAT: BUY IT NOW VS. MAKE OFFER


Including the three sales made via email inquiries (as Make Offer), I had in total:
  • 40 BIN sales - at an average of $1656
  • 43 MO sales - at an average of $1741
Pretty close as far as averages go.

My analysis also tells me that those 43 domains sold using Make Offer had a total list value of $126k - but generated a final sales total of $75k. The total value of domains sold via negotiations was 60% of the list value. So my average discount during negotiations throughout the year was -40%.

I wasn’t surprised by this level of discounting, as I knew that I was factoring this into my pricing. What surprised me more, was that I was achieving a similar sell through rate and a very similar average price through BIN sales. And those BIN sales are 100% of the list price, so no discounts. That tells me I’m not overpricing… the market is willing to pay for those domains at full price.

And it’s not rocket science that if you have ‘Make Offer’ visible on a landing page, it will get used, even if there is BIN presented. I understand that, but I still like the idea that the BIN price being shown on a page will anchor a price in the mind of the buyer and represents up front what my ideal expectations are for the domain.

It leaves me scratching my head and wondering: if I switched to BIN only, would the loss in revenue from MakeOffer sales be offset by achieving 100% of the list price on BIN sales (no -40% discounts on half of the sales)?


SALES FORMAT VS. SALES VENUE

Looking from a different angle, it’s interesting to note that average sales prices of the domains sold on Afternic vs DAN:
  • 38 Afternic sales - at an average of $2050
  • 42 DAN sales - at an average of $1333

I started to think about what might cause this variance in average sales price between the two venues - and immediately considered how many sales from each venue were made via BIN vs. negotiated via Make Offer?

Below is a breakdown of the sales venue, as well as the sales format (BIN vs MakeOffer):

pQYsEvU.png

It’s clear that the majority of Afternic sales were BIN - and the majority of DAN sales were Make Offer. Of the 40 BIN sales in total, the average BIN price at Afternic was 65% higher than that of the BIN sales made at DAN. It’s likely that DAN wasn’t as effective at producing BIN sales because I had ‘Make Offer’ as an option on the page.

The Make Offer sales at Afternic were nearly three times higher in value than those at DAN. However, the domains were above-average in quality and BIN-priced to reflect that, and the inquiries were presented to me via Afternic reps. This might be because Afternic reps won’t bring offers to the table unless they are a certain percentage below the asking price. But I also didn’t discount as heavily, and the reps are likely much better negotiators than me.

Overall, the Afternic network yielded a higher total revenue than the DAN landing pages - even after commissions. It also yielded better averages on price for both BIN and MakeOffer. This is not however, a dig at DAN (they have been excellent!) - but more of an issue with my own strategy. Firstly, I have the Make Offer option displayed on the page. And secondly, when an offer does come in, I’m keen to close the deal, often with large discounts. Coming back round to the financial pressures of depending on domain sales for personal income, I can see that the eagerness to close sales might come at the cost of a lower yield. The regular flow of sales gives me comfort, but it could be less effective than a lower STR with a higher average price. Perhaps something to test out this year.


HOLDING DURATION


Over the previous three years (2017, 2018 and 2019), half of all domains sold were held for less than a year. And 80% of all domains sold were held for just under two years.

This year (and last year), it became harder to replenish inventory. Auction prices ran up quickly and the .CO registry continued to reserve domains at premium prices. It resulted in my holding times increasing slightly, as I carried on selling inventory that I’d bought in 2017 and 2018.

For the 83 domains sold in 2020:
  • 40% were held for less than a year (34 domains)
  • 18% were held for one renewal (14 domains)
  • 35% had been renewed twice (29 domains)
  • The remaining domains included one bought in 2015 and one that I’d handreg’d in 2011.


cmnZajD.png

The domains that I’d held for less than a year had an average sales multiplier of 34x (sale price divided by purchase price). For the domains that I’d renewed twice, this multiple goes up to 123x. This reflects the nature of .CO price changes that happened between 2017 and 2019. Although 35% of domains sold had been renewed twice, their average purchase price was only $11. No talent on my part, just pure luck of getting into the .CO extension before the premium tiers kicked in.


SALES MULTIPLES


Whilst we’re talking sales multiples (comparing the purchase price against the final sale price), I mapped out the 2020 sales in a similar fashion to the 2019 post. Again, I’ve used a logarithmic scale to give greater clarity. Of course, these multiples don’t reflect renewal costs, but simply show a relationship between the purchase price and the gross sale price.

Below are all of the sales made during 2020. The X-axis shows the purchase price. The Y-axis shows the multiple at which it sold (10x, 100x, etc). In the top left, is a .UK domain that I can’t share, but it was registered for just over $2. In the bottom-right corner, is Syzygy dot co, which was an extravagant purchase for me at $279 and sold at a multiple of 17x.

FyLOTKF.png
The .CO sales are loosely represented as three groups:
  • The $2 to $5 promo codes sold mostly between 100x and 500x
  • The $9 and $10 handregs sold between 50x and 200x
  • Fifteen sales of premium tier .CO registrations (bought at $109-$120) were sold for approximately 15x to 50x
oaalvrg.png

The other extensions I started to play with (.IO, .GG, .SO) were handregistered in the $24 to $36 range - and they’ve ended up somewhere between 15x and 120x. There’s no conclusion to be drawn from those yet, as I don’t have anywhere near the same volume as .CO domains.


WHAT DID I BUY?

This time last year, I said that I didn’t really know what I’d be buying in 2020, and that lack of vision ended up as a mish-mash of spending throughout the year. I only had two main goals: diversifying and buying more quality domains.

As mentioned above, I started to explore alternate extensions like .SO, .VC, .CC, .GG and I also increased the number of .IO in my portfolio. This time last year, the composition of my portfolio was around 95% .CO. Within the next month, that percentage will be down to 70%.

Whilst I continued to indulge in the big .CO discounts at the start of 2020, I quickly realised I was getting sucked back into a trading strategy that I knew wasn’t efficient for me.
I started reinvesting back into fewer but stronger .CO domains (Axe, Chess, Lion, USA) - and also expanded towards premiums in other extensions, such as .IO (Eternal, Wear) and .NET (Crystal).

My overall criteria for what constitutes a good investment in alternative extensions has remained largely unchanged over the years, and doesn’t differ drastically between .CO and other repurposed ccTLDs: https://www.namepros.com/threads/will-a-buyer-buy-your-co-lets-discuss.1201025/#post-7875803

My investment strategy still recognises that there is money to be made outside of .COM. But I am also aware that I need to shift some percentage of reinvestment back towards, what is without doubt, the most dominant extension. So my overall spending plans for 2021 remain similar: explore other ccTLDs, diversify where possible and consolidate overall portfolio value towards fewer but better domains.


WRAP UP


If you’ve read this far, thank you... I appreciate the effort needed to stick with a post this lengthy.

I’m grateful to be part of the domain industry, primarily as a means of providing for my family - but importantly as a source of friendship and community. That’s why I believe that sharing the nuts and bolts of a portfolio helps others to learn, more than sales data alone. This process of writing helps me to find clarity - and I hope that everyone reading is also able to take away something of value.

Thank you again! I wish you health, happiness and plenty of sales. As always, feel free to comment or ask me anything below :)


LINKS TO REPORTED SALES THREAD FOR 2020:

JAN: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-770#post-7621842
FEB: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-775#post-7658323
MAR: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-786#post-7721139
APR: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-792#post-7754699
MAY: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-799#post-7797456
JUN: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-807#post-7845922
JUL: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-815#post-7883525
AUG: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-826#post-7942328
SEP: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-833#post-7978126
OCT: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-838#post-8018872
NOV: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-843#post-8060617
DEC: https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/page-852#post-8107775

 
Last edited:

Brandworthy

Established Member
Impact
1,212
Awesome post there. Really deep dive at explaining your sales funnel.
It leaves me scratching my head and wondering: if I switched to BIN only, would the loss in revenue from MakeOffer sales be offset by achieving 100% of the list price on BIN sales (no -40% discounts on half of the sales)?
How about increasing the BIN prices so that you can give the buyer the satisfaction of negotiating down, but still reach a win-win situation?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top