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I'm James Iles: Q&A (Interactive Interview Session)

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Hey NamePros! I'm James Iles, I'm the lead writer for the NamePros Blog, where I've written about 630 articles since May 2015. I also buy and sell a few domain names and I operate as a broker, working with select startups and established companies regarding domain name strategy.

Away from domains, I have also worked as a photo retoucher (of course, I own PhotoRetoucher.com!) for an established portrait photographer. In my spare time, I'm an amateur runner, doing two 24-hour events this year.

Ask me anything! Post any questions here and I'll do my best to answer them :)
 
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James, like the others above, I'm a big fan and appreciate the info you give out. I have 300+ geographical, medical dotcom domain names from the 50 largest cities in the US. I'm interested in renting them or a lease/buy option. What are your suggestions on marketing these names to end-users; who do you use; who have you heard good things about? Thanks in advance.
 

omelet

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I believe there’s going to be continued disparity between high end and lower end names - the top 1% will continue to rise, but lower end names will struggle, I believe.

I think we’ll see more rental (rather than lease-to-own) deals occurring too, as investors look to hold on to their names whilst monetising them with end users.


Question1: James do you have any more insight with regards to the domain rental business? I personally havn't seen any deals happen and I thought from buyer side owning always better than renting?

Question2: if a domain's listing price is $2000 USD, how much is rental fee reasonable, and is it charged by monthly normally? And what about with a listing price of $20,000

Question 3: what do you see domain rental business in next 3-5 years

thanks!!
 

johnnie018

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I believe there’s going to be continued disparity between high end and lower end names - the top 1% will continue to rise, but lower end names will struggle, I believe.

I think we’ll see more rental (rather than lease-to-own) deals occurring too, as investors look to hold on to their names whilst monetising them with end users.

Thanks to you sir. What do you mean by “lower end names”? I mean a lot of those names would be worthless now and always wouldn’t them, or do you mean something that might get $500 on namejet?

Please example of “high end” and “low end” names?

I think there will be a disparity between the 1% and the 99% - the top 1% of names will continue to rise in value, with some lower end niches struggling a little.

You realize top 1% means 3.5 million domains? That is way beyond 1 word .com, probably includes $10-$20 3 word domains.

Would the other 99% be worthless anyway?
 
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cabotower

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Re:outbound
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any ideas on how to make contact with companies that don't have direct management contact on social media and on their websites there is also no management contact.a lot of companies have their contact setup for orders or complaints.and i find that a lot of that is just regular run of the mill gmail where you know that is being opened by somebody with no buying authority.
 

ThatNameGuy

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I think I saw you at NamesCon but didn’t get a chance to meet.

I did read those comments, and whilst it was an official Verisign post that was likely approved by someone else before publishing, I don’t think her comments reflect Verisign staff as a whole since I’ve spoken to a couple of people at Verisign who were very receptive and fascinating to talk to.

It’s unfortunate that a public figure such as Jeannie would choose to air these views, especially with those views being aired just a day or two after Verisign was given permission to raise .com prices.

It’s also a sobering thought that such a powerful company would sanction an official blog post calling the likes of Frank Schilling (who owns hundreds of thousands of .com names) a hoarder!

Domain investment is a legitimate venture that Verisign has indirectly profited from for many years. There are, of course, cases of cybersquatting that the industry should (and usually do) educate against.

I hope that there are no adverse reactions from higher up in Verisign in the wake of this.
James, thanks for your response. So you're the UKGUY:xf.smile:....btw, ukguy.com isn't available to register, but UKGUY.uk is:xf.wink: As for Frank Schilling of Uniregistry holding "Hundreds of Thousands of .com names" and selling off just 2% of his inventory annually, if that isn't the perfect definition of hoarding I don't know what is. I don't necessarily blame Frank, but rather the "NATURE OF THE BEAST", the beast being the domain industry. And as for "cybersquatting", I barely knew what that was when two members of NP falsely accused me of cybersquatting due to a case of mistaken identity. I've already named names here, but one of them is a lawyer from Philadelphia.

James, I own a domain that I just hand registered in February DomainEthics.com. You can check HosterStats to see that it had been continually registered for almost 20 years until it was just dropped in December 2018.....well, I own it now much to the chagrin of critics who have been stalking, harassing and berating me for the last 12 months. James, can you possibly imagine why I may have searched for the name "Domain Ethics"? Just for the record, I know a little about "ethics" in that I've been chairman of the Ethics Awards committee for the Virginia Beach Kiwanis Club where we give special recognition to kids from K-12 deserving of the award. Does this make me an expert on ethics? NO, remember I said I know "a little about ethics".

Finally, it wasn't until I had a run in with a local registry/registrar that I had actually done a favor for that led me to search for and register the name DomainEthics.com. Fortunately for me I have a pretty good reputation in my hometown, and I'm outspoken enough that I'm developing a controversial reputation in the domain industry. btw, Verisign also happens to be headquartered in the state of Virginia, and they only confirmed my first impressions and suspicions about the domain industry.

There's a lot more to come from this tenacious but charming Bulldog James. Thanks for allowing me to post and comment(y)
 
What is the best landing site?

Sedo has very bad landing pages: ppc links are not clicked, and pays almost nothing, but for some minimal trackig it is needed. Offer pages at Sedo are even worse.

Some other possibilities: Afternic, Efty, Bodis, Undeveloped. I haven't used any of these for landing or parking. Most people here praise Afternic. so maybe this suggests that domains should be parked there for more or better sales(?).

I believe that Efty provides excellent solutions that are well designed for the purpose, and I’m also a fan of Uniregistry’s landing pages and lead management.

For me, a landing page should be simple, clearly state that a name is for sale and should also convey some trust to the potential buyer. For example, when godaddy added their logo to Afternic landing pages, it produced a rise in inquiries and sales (I believe, from what I’ve heard Paul Nicks say).

I am not interested in the PPC ads of any network, I’m more interested in the design and effectiveness of landers.
 
James, like the others above, I'm a big fan and appreciate the info you give out. I have 300+ geographical, medical dotcom domain names from the 50 largest cities in the US. I'm interested in renting them or a lease/buy option. What are your suggestions on marketing these names to end-users; who do you use; who have you heard good things about? Thanks in advance.

Thanks, appreciate it.

To consider leasing/renting, you’d have to make it worthwhile to the end user. Would they just get a name or would they get a lead generation site that has existing traffic, local search rankings and existing leads? That would be a better solution than purely offering a name to rent in this scenario, with the end user expected to do all the work. Make it worthwhile to the end user - they probably don’t have the time or interest to develop anything out.

As for services, I’m only really personally experienced with the escrow.com solution for leasing which seems to work fairly well but would likely be more for higher end names.

I believe Epik may have a solution for this but I haven’t looked into this.
 

Skumars

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James, I have questions mainly related to outbound domain sales

1) While doing outbound on one-word .com domains, how long does it USUALLY take to close the deal based on your experience (1-2 weeks, 2-3 months)? I am seeing that the few companies I have outbound to have opened the emails over 10 times but are not responding. Only 2 of them responded and after hearing price, they went blank.

2) What is the significance of follow up on outbound domains as per your experience? How often have you followed up (3 times, 4 times, 5 times)?

3) When it comes to selling high-value domains through outbound, what is the most convincing logic/statement which can speed up a sale?

4) Have you ever picked up the phone and tried to convince for sale while doing outbound? If yes, how successful it is?
 
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Question1: James do you have any more insight with regards to the domain rental business? I personally havn't seen any deals happen and I thought from buyer side owning always better than renting?

I personally haven’t any further case studies that can be made public. In most cases, buyers may prefer purchasing outright. But what if that isn’t an option?

At the moment, if you can’t afford a name, the options are either raise capital for a one-off payment, or lease to own. I just think this could be another option that domain investors with high value premium portfolios may be interested in pursuing.

Question2: if a domain's listing price is $2000 USD, how much is rental fee reasonable, and is it charged by monthly normally? And what about with a listing price of $20,000

There probably could be a standard formula for this. As someone earlier said, following the real estate market as a comparison could be a sensible approach.

I think it would be more worthwhile on high 5, 6 and 7 figure names rather than low range $2k domains.

Question 3: what do you see domain rental business in next 3-5 years

I hope I’m proven right and we have plenty more publicly disclosed rentals. It’s only really a theory right now as there isn’t much public data to back up my statements.
 
Re:outbound
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any ideas on how to make contact with companies that don't have direct management contact on social media and on their websites there is also no management contact.a lot of companies have their contact setup for orders or complaints.and i find that a lot of that is just regular run of the mill gmail where you know that is being opened by somebody with no buying authority.

Have you checked Crunchbase or LinkedIn? These would be two obvious places. Look up the company, find the staff that work there and hopefully you’ll find your contact point.
 
James, what price strategy do you deploy that effectively gives you power over a domain sale, having a buy it now price or allowing only make offers only?

For end user sales I typically remove all BIN prices from any marketplace and I will usually ask for offers rather than state a price, especially if the name is high four figures or more.

Lower value names (more impulsive buys) in the $4k and under range I am happy to keep a BIN price.
 
1) While doing outbound on one-word .com domains, how long does it USUALLY take to close the deal based on your experience (1-2 weeks, 2-3 months)? I am seeing that the few companies I have outbound to have opened the emails over 10 times but are not responding. Only 2 of them responded and after hearing price, they went blank.

This is all dependent on the name and circumstances. I closed a one-word sale this year that took about 2 years to come to fruition. But then again I’ve closed a couple of transactions within hours/days.

In my opinion, it’s also highly dependent on the expectations for the name. If it’s a 6/7 figure name, you may need to wait a year or two for the right situation to come round.

2) What is the significance of follow up on outbound domains as per your experience? How often have you followed up (3 times, 4 times, 5 times)?

Following up with an email is important I think. It’s easy for an initial email to get overlooked, so prompting after a few days to a week is something I do.

I follow up a couple of times usually - Mike Robertson also recommends something similar. He was our expert in a recent outbound series on the blog that I’d thoroughly recommend (there are 4 parts).

3) When it comes to selling high-value domains through outbound, what is the most convincing logic/statement which can speed up a sale?

Good question! I don’t believe there’s anything specific to every scenario, but researching the company & competitors and accurately conveying your vision for the domain within their company can be effective.

4) Have you ever picked up the phone and tried to convince for sale while doing outbound? If yes, how successful it is?

The large majority of the time I stick to email, WhatsApp or Skype. Sometimes the situation requires a call but it’s rare.
 
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....An example I’ve given from a recent Sherpa show is Braden’s lease/rental of Monopolize.com. Acquired for about $1600, he’s leasing for $325/month. (That’s public info)....

The more I think about someone paying $325-mo for a relatively low priced $1,600 domain makes me wonder if there's more to the story. It makes no sense unless name is valued at far more than its purchase price.
 
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The more I think about someone paying $325-mo for a relatively low priced $1,600 domain makes me wonder if there's more to the story. It makes no sense unless name is valued at far more than its purchase price.

My source is https://www.domainsherpa.com/20190325/ at 28:50 onwards. $1634 was Braden's acquisition price there - apologies if there was any confusion about that.

I still think we'll see this (domain rentals) becoming a regular occurrence amongst high value names (5,6,7,8 figure). Of course - I could be wrong - it has been known to happen ;)
 

john888

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I also have tried rent or rent to own to buyers that really want the name, upgrades form another extension. I don't think they trust the systems that are involved for money and domain name transfer. They don't know what Escrow.com is. Maybe Escrow should start advertising like Godaddy to legitimize their business.
 
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$1634 was Braden's acquisition
Just want to stress that as James has consistently said the $1634 was Braden's acquisition price. That does not mean that is the value of the domain name to an end user, which is probably significantly higher by some factor. That might help make the rental more in line with the figures.
 
Hi @James Iles
Would you write your analysis about the prospects of new TLD .Best ?
Thank you very much

Best Kind Regards

I believe that some new extensions can be beneficial to end users as viable alternatives for smaller companies/startups (not investment worthy though). TLDs like .app, .xyz, .global all have usage (just 3 off the top of my head), and clients have specifically requested names in these extensions in some cases.

I see no end user scenario where a .best name would be of any benefit, and frankly that’s all that matters when it comes to new tlds (in my opinion).
 
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Probably X.com
🚩

Are you sure?
No, wait - actually, because you wrote
"probably", I have to ask why you aren't sure?
It seems you think that it is possible that there is another domain name that matches my mentioned criteria better...
 
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