information Blog post from my first month as a domainer

Spaceship Spaceship

Joe N

Top Member
I ran a very basic blog for a couple years, and on it I wrote a few posts on my early domaining experiences. Now that I'm seven years in, I found my very first post (below) quite entertaining!

What struck me in particular is just how much work I did on stuff that I don't use at all today. It was a good reminder that I actually had to learn and work quite a bit, and do a lot of trial and error, to figure out what works for me, and to find a modicum of success in domaining.

Some amusing things I noted:
  • My first website: such a random choice. Headscratcher for sure.
  • My first brand name as a domain reseller. Slight TM issue perhaps? Oops!
  • It's amazing just how many sites and tools are out there to help (or distract) you on your journey. Very overwhelming for newcomers!
Anyway... you newbies may find some solace int he fact that whatever challenges you're facing have been faced by many others before you. You're not alone. And please don't think of this post as a list of things to do! It most certainly is not that.

You more senior members will probably have a good laugh or two. :)



So I have this new hobby. I'm attempting to become a domainer. It's the whole reason I started this blog. I've never catalogued a learning experience before, and, well... this will definitely be one.

If you've never heard the term "domainer", I invite you to join me in the 21st century (I just arrived a few weeks ago myself). Here's a definition from the Domain Sherpa:

"A domainer is an individual or company that actively engages in the buying, selling, marketing, monetization and publishing of internet domain names and other related web and/or internet-based properties."

Seems like an odd thing to want to turn into a hobby, right? It actually reminds me of poker (which I love) in many ways:
  • It seems like a simple thing. Then you realize just how incredibly complex and time-consuming it can be.
  • It's a gamble, but a controlled gamble. The control comes from skill and experience. You could luck into some money as a newbie, but odds are that you won't.
  • It combines mathematics, creativity, adaptation, aggression, and people skills.
  • Everyone is waiting for that one big score, but the smart ones know you have to grind it out.
  • You can do it sitting on your couch in your underwear.
So you can see the appeal...

Anyway, I've been at it for about a month. I've learned a lot, and yet there's only one thing I've learned with absolute certainty:

Domaining is hard!

I'll end the suspense for you right now... I haven't sold a thing yet. Depending who you listen to, I shouldn't even be buying anything for the first six months! But I can't learn that way. I can't be invested in a hobby that I'm not invested in, you know? So yes, I bought a bunch of domain names. Yes, a lot of them probably suck. So what. I call that motivation.

I think I've been fairly productive in my first month. My strategy? Try a bit of everything. Something has to eventually click.

Anyway, I want to get some kind of chronology going, so that's what I'm listing here: everything I've done in my first month. Worst-case scenario, it'll give me a good laugh in a few years (not to mention any real domainers who stumble onto this). Enjoy.

Day 1
  • Create NameJet account.
  • Buy five cool-sounding (but crappy) domain names.
  • Create GoDaddy account.
  • Hand register three cool-sounding (but crappy) domain names.

Domain count: 8

Day 2
  • Have "clever" idea: hand register three fashion niche domains (crappy) based on a "next trends" article on Elle website.
  • Sign up for Flippa account.
  • Submit one crappy name for Flippa community appraisal. (Five days, zero reviews. Hmm.)

Domain count: 11

Days 3 to 7
  • Second "clever" idea: turn crappy domain into "helpful" website.
  • Sign up for most basic HostGator hosting account.
  • Build website and publish results.
  • Attempt to sign up for 8 to 10 affiliate programs. Let's make some money!
  • Receive denials from all but one affiliate (was it the zero page visitors?)
  • Create plethora of social media pages/posts to help website: Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, Reddit, StumbleUpon.
  • Create Google and Bing Webmaster Tools accounts.
  • Hand register one more crappy domain, based on upcoming reality show in U.K. (where I do not live)
  • Email and ask for way too much money for my crappy domains. No response.
  • Create Sedo account. Park all my domains there (except the one I put a site on).

Domain count: 12

Days 8 to 14
  • Discover NamePros forum. Thank God.
  • Chat extensively with Will of Omar and Will fame. Classy guy; very helpful. Will confirms what I suspected: my names suck. But he was pretty encouraging and had a lot of good tips.
  • Read a bit on NamePros everyday.
  • Create account. Start exploring deleted and expired names.
  • Find some pending delete names I like based on Will's criteria.
  • Create accounts at DropCatch, SnapNames, and Pheenix.
  • Place backorder bids on four solid names, using all three sites plus NameJet.
  • Begin emailing potential end users for two of my crappy names with commercial potential.
  • Start creating blogs and news articles on my website.

Domain count: still 12

Days 15 to 22
  • All backordered domains go to auction. I win one auction going right to my spend limit.
  • Place backorder on another domain at DropCatch. Win it uncontested.
  • Both new names are potential trademark infringements of very large corporations. Possibly bad investment.
  • Register another new domain. Upgrade HostGator account to support multiple sites.
  • Create new site to act as my "professional store front". Use it to post a listing of my available domains; will email potential end users from here as it seems more legit than Gmail.
  • Begin emailing end users who may want awesome trademark-grey-area domains.
  • Hand register five crappy numeric domains to get in on this Chinese wave. Each contains seven numbers, with zeros. To the uninitiated: this sucks. But they each have some 8's and a pattern, so who knows. Long term, right?
  • Hand register a deleted adult domain because the monthly search results were around 2K (aka: a hair above crappy).
  • Hand register another that attempts to capitalize on the wearable technology niche.
  • Hand register My wife suggested that if I was going to blog, it should be about stuff I like. Imagine that.

Domain count: 23

Days 23 to 30
  • Have "clever" idea #3: think up great brandable names and hand-register them.
  • Spend a couple hours searching for decent brandables. Register three names.
  • Send names in question to BrandBucket, along with four I already had. Hoping to get a couple approved and listed.
  • Win another backorder on Pheenix (which is cheaper, so yay). This one is a geographic domain. I've sent out 20 or so end user emails about this one so far.
  • Take all my parked domains off Sedo parking. Instead decide to redirect them to my "professional" site.
  • Create Afternic account. List all my domains for sale there.

Domain count: 27

Present day

I heard from BrandBucket today. They didn't like any of my names. Did I mention domaining is hard? Anyway, I'm now submitting them to a relatively new brand site: Ubrandable. If that doesn't work, maybe BrandRoot or Namerific, or another smaller one. I'm not giving up on these.

According to Google Webmaster tools, my first ever website has received three clicks. Go back and read that. Three. Come on, that's funny. Good news on that front is that I did recently convince a respected men's health blogger to tweet one of my articles to his 4K+ followers. Have to admit, that felt pretty good.

Of the 60+ personalized emails I've sent to end users, I've heard back from four of them, all negative. I suspect my crappy names are to blame, but I'll keep plugging away. Will gave me some tips to improve my messaging, so I'll try that.

My next steps:
  1. Keep blogging. Develop this site and the other one. Learn what that's about and see if I can get any traffic.
  2. Email more end users. Way more. I have a spreadsheet now, with dozens of potentials. They say this is the best source for larger prices, so I'm going to keep pushing.
  3. Read. Read. Read. I have so much to learn.
  4. For god's sake, stop buying domains. 27 is enough. Get out there and sell one now.

So that's it for my first month. If you've made it this far, I applaud you. Shouldn't you be out there reading a successful domainer's blog?

Like I said, this will be a learning process. I hope that years from now I'll be able to look back on this post as the baby steps toward a very long journey. Maybe I'll be able to tell my kids a little something about how the internet works. Maybe I'll even have a little extra cash in my pockets. I would like that.
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
When did you finally see a tipping point?
I broke even during my first year thanks to a a couple three figure sales. Soon after I sold my first name for low four figures and have managed to show a modest profit each year since.

My early sales were all from outbound emailing, so it was really that extra effort that kept me going and learning until I got a better sense of what might sell.

when you made the first sale - in how many days/years after first domain name?

when you made the first sale - in how many days/years after first domain name?
It took seven months to make my first sale! The name was a very sketchy name with TM issues - Apple/Sale(com). I sold it for $288, which was only a profit of about $60 after fees (since I vastly overpaid for it at auction).

The first sale with a decent profit ratio happened two months later. Cloud/Native(net) for $700.
My early sales were all from outbound emailing
60+ personalized emails I've sent to end users, I've heard back from four of them, all negative

You wrote emails did not worked at the beginning

Can you share some more about your marketing effort at the start and now?
You wrote emails did not worked at the beginning

Can you share some more about your marketing effort at the start and now?
Yes, this post was written after only my first month. Remember, I didn't get a sale until I was seven months in.

Early on I registered some exact matches of types of products (like Clog Boots) and tried emailing companies that sold those products. No one was interested because my domains represented products that were only one of dozens (or hundreds) of products that these companies were selling.

Exact match product and service names are much more likely to sell if they represent one of the core offerings or purposes of the company you approach.
First sale a domain containing sale keyword(:
I think your domain contain not a trademark, we see a lot brand name in the brandable name with apple keyword, I think dictionary word can't be tradmarked.
You didn't try to copy your success and register domains with "sale" "apple"?
Wish I can read your story with BrandBucket(:
Nice story(:
  • You can do it sitting on your couch in your underwear.

This is my take-away. Probably one of the biggest overlooked strategic methods to domaining. That, and decisions made in the throne room. There is no prude in the nude.

Less than 10 years later with the PRO label, goes to show learning is a progressive effort, not a one and done. I think you laid a solid foundation for yourself by continually exploring new options until finding a groove. Well done. I think most get stuck in just doing the same thing over and over, ignoring results but hoping for better ones.

You did a lot more than most do to get a start in domaining, took it seriously with expanding your research and your domains' reach rather than just regging and letting them sit on a single plan expecting the dough to roll in. Regardless that they were "crappy".

Being able to laugh at oneself from the rookie years, I can definitely relate!