Domain investing

Labeled as guide in General Domain Discussion, started by Dave, May 20, 2019


  1. Dave

    Dave Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I see so many posts from newcomers asking how to make money from domains so I thought I'd write you all a little guide on the different possible types of investment in domaining. Consider carefully how you want to invest before spending your hard earned money. In my opinion the best investment strategy is dividing your investments across all different possible types.

    This guide is catered to the 99% of typical domain investing. Getting into that top 1% means you need to learn to do all the following correctly in the first place.

    PLEASE NOTE that all the following is not to be considered as definitive investment advice. Please use this as only a guide to help better learn and understand more about domain investing. Afterwards do your own research further before spending money.

    The following guide is also only for .com domains.


    Firstly we have the brandable type of domain. These are usually conjoined keywords / phrases or keywords that match well together like a colour + animal. They can also be known business niche keywords combined with an adjective, noun or verb.

    Examples of brandable type domains:

    • (combines intelligent + zone)
    • (business niche + word)
    • (business niche + word)

    Brandable domains are one of the more difficult but lucrative types of domains to invest in. They are lucrative because they can typically be acquired for lesser amount than other types whilst yielding huge ROI. Most brandable type domains don't usually have an existing end user, you'll most likely be investing in these with the hope of a startup naming their company, product or service with the matching name.

    • Lower acquisition cost than other types
    • Still plenty to be hand registered
    • Has potential for the most ROI
    • Very low chance of being able to outbound
    • Can take a long time to sell
    • Low percentage sell through rate
    Brandables are typically the domain of choice for those starting out with a small amount of capital. For example if you're only starting domain investing with $100 capital then it's either this or GEOs as your choice of investment.

    You want to typically try and acquire brandable domains for 50x less than what you'd expect to sell it for. This is because sell through rate is typically 1-2%. The sweet spot for most brandables is the low 4 figure range. Of course there are 5 figure+ brandable sales but they are less common. The higher valued domains typically have a better sell through rate so you have more leeway on acquisition cost.

    Tiered acquistion cost of brandables:
    • $1000-3000 sale price: Acquire for between reg fee - $50 at 2% expected sell through rate (50x cost)
    • $3000-5000 sale price: Acquire for between reg fee - $250 max at 5% expected sell through rate (20x cost)
    • $5000-10000 sale price: Acquire for between reg fee - $750 max at 7.5% expected sell through rate.
    Take a look at brandable marketplaces like Brandpa or SquadHelp to get a feel of what makes a good brandable.


    Next up we have the GEO type of domains. These are a service or offering targeted at a particular city, town, state or country.

    Examples of GEO domains:
    GEO domain values are based on primarily the following factors:
    • Population
    • How many companies are offering said service in the geographical region
    • Search volume for the keywords
    • Advertising competition for the keywords
    GEOs can be a great investment if you know a particular business niche really well, or if you know the competitors within said niche.

    • Relatively high sell through rate compared to brandables, typically looking at 10-15% depending on keywords and location
    • Best type for outbound by far, so it's a great choice if you see yourself as a salesman
    • Easier to identify what makes for a good GEO domain compared to other types, they're typically very intuitive
    • One of the lowest ROI of all types, the majority of GEO domains typically only sell for $xxx
    • More time consuming to invest in, requires plenty of research to identify good niches / markets to target
    As mentioned most GEO domains typically go for $xxx with the sweet spot usually around low to mid $xxx. This means you'll only want to acquire for between reg fee - $99 at most. Yet again of course there are more premium GEO domains but this guide is targeting the 99% as I stated.

    The value of GEO domains increases along with search volume. Consider the following search volume to sales price list as an example only:
    • Search volume between 100-499: $100 - $299 sales price.
    • Search volume between 500-999: $300-799 sales price
    • 1000+ search volume: $800-$xxxx+
    GEOs are again a good choice for those just starting out with less capital. Take a look at deleted .com domains or closeout auctions to try and find some gems.

    Keyword Domains

    Next up we have keyword domains. These type of domains are what people search for. Their value is primarily based on the keywords search volume online. GEOs, generics and category killer domains are actually highly specific subsets of keyword domains. The difference between general keyword domains and those specific types is that they are typically more targeted searches within a particular niche.

    Examples of keyword domains:
    • (CBD but specifically CBD oil)
    • (not just hotels but hotels near me)
    If you choose to invest in keyword domains you typically want to only buy keyword domains that have medium to high competition in advertising and above 1000 in search volume.

    Category Killer

    These are domains whereby the keywords are the exact match for an entire niche of product, offering or service.

    Examples of category killer domains:.
    Category killer domains are some of the most valuable. You either have to be incredibly lucky to register them ahead of a niche blowing up or you will require a lot of capital to invest in this type of domain.

    Final Thoughts

    Domain investing is NOT a get rich quick scheme. It takes time, effort and realistic pricing if you want to have any hopes of making a successful return on investment.

    The numbers and figures I've used in this guide are based upon my personal experience with the various types of domains. When I started out in domaining I wasted money on nonsense domains for a long while before I turned a profit, so with this guide I can only hope to help others not do the same. Since those awful beginnings I've only ever been in profit from domaining, which to me is a success as I'm sure many will agree.

    Please only take you what I've written here as a guide and reference to help in your own investment choices.

    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. VIP

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  3. Riz M.

    Riz M. Founder @ Previously Empire Names VIP Gold Account

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    impressive :)
  4. NickB

    NickB it's a mystery VIP

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    Great post Dave

    Thanks for sharing....
  5. domains21

    domains21 Established Member

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    Great post, Dave! This will be invaluable to a lot of people. (y)
  6. Joakim

    Joakim VIP Gold Account

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    Quality post, I am certain. Saving this until after work.
  7. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    This is an outstanding post that should somehow be mentioned in the required reading in the beginners section of NPs. Thank you @Dave both for the comprehensive and clear nature of your post, but also I really like the balance of mentioning pro and cons. The brandable section is particularly strong.

    Do you have thoughts on investing in numbers (or combination) and acronyms? Similar pro and con and description in those would be really helpful.

    It is already very complete, but I wonder how you feel about domains with primary use not as the company name, as in brandable, or not quite a category killer, but rather a descriptive name for a product the company deals in. Maybe the dividing line is very fuzzy from category killer, though.

    These all seem, naturally, business oriented where the majority of the domain business is. However there is a significant (10% to 15%??) of the resale market for nonprofits, etc.

    But mainly I just wanted to say thank you for an incredible post!

    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  8. vravis9

    vravis9 Top Contributor VIP

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    Good analysis @Dave

    Thanks for your efforts in educating new comers...

    Very few gave explanation with stats of average selling prices and profitability.

    I am definitely in the first stage you mentioned of your own experience...hope to see some positive results soon..

    Thanks again,
  9. awwalmb

    awwalmb VIP

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    Good info, especially for beginners, would save lots loads of money. Thank you for sharing.
  10. Jevsim

    Jevsim Established Member

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    Must Read! and Must to be Rereaded several times
  11. WatchDogue

    WatchDogue Top Contributor VIP

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    This is a very well researched, reasoned and, written guide to domain investing!

    A " must read guide " for those starting off and new to domain investing and, also a nice refresher for
    those well seasoned in domains who nevertheless could use a brush-up on fundamentals.
  12. BaileyUK

    BaileyUK Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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    What's equally impressive as the content Dave, Is your post is so well written and succinct

    I am going to add another possible investment opportunity to the key word sales. But, as mentioned it's a risk strategy. Over the years I've had a few good sales low to mid $X,XXX by adding just one letter or number as prefix or suffix to a KEY Word. You can't be doing it randomly it has to stick-out as a sort of semi-logical add-on and of course avoiding any numbers or letters that may get misread (.com only)

    This does obviously fit under your branding/brandable category. Our boy Elon Musk's SpaceX is a perfect example (nope it wasn't one of mine, unfortunately)
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  13. NickB

    NickB it's a mystery VIP

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    Nice tip - thanks for sharing
  14. Dave

    Dave Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I don't have anywhere near enough experience in numeric or acronym domains to feel confident writing about them. I have sold 5Ns and 6Ns in the past but not enough.

    There are also of course LL, LLL, LLLL, 5L and CVCV type of domains but I feel these are far more easily accessible and researchable to those who have the money to invest. They're not as in depth as those types I listed. I wanted to write about what the majority of investors buy and sell everyday.

  15. Boudi Kai

    Boudi Kai

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    Thanks for sharing very informative! (y)
  16. Dave

    Dave Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thank you all for your kind responses
  17. KhaledA

    KhaledA Established Member

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    Great guide and nice sharing!
  18. Somertonian

    Somertonian Established Member

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    @Dave, a very well presented article that was simplified enough to be understandable. Thank you for taking the time to write and post this article.

  19. ndeekay121

    ndeekay121 Established Member

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    God bless you for sharing. Thanks.
  20. wwwulff

    wwwulff Top Contributor VIP

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    Great post - I sold FlowFox last year - Bought via GD closeout for approx. 3 years ago and sold in the range you mention via BP
  21. Oruko

    Oruko Established Member

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    What a wonderful and succintly written post.

    Thanks for sharing!

    I am sure gonna bookmark this!
  22. FolioTeam

    FolioTeam VIP

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    Succinctly put. Thanks for sharing
  23. stevo

    stevo Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    .com is king, but there is opportunity in others as well. .net, .org, countrycodes too.

    I have had offers on numerous domains outside of .com


    The offers did not meet my expectations, but perhaps someone else would have sold. Do not run off registering cc's and other non-.coms without having a good idea of what sells. Do your own due diligence - as they say.
  24. RogueWriter

    RogueWriter Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Very nice. One of the most well organized intros to domaining that I have seen.
  25. Vinod R

    Vinod R Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Great post with some solid advice all the way. Thank You.

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