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Industry-wide Need For Domainer Portfolio Management Service

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Is this type of service one you would pay for if it were available tomorrow?


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As I laid out in a recent tweet:


I believe there is a need in the domain industry for a domainer focused portfolio management service. It's a service I'd definitely be willing to pay for, so I suspect others would as well.

I'm not talking about corporate domain portfolio management, like a Mark Monitor, I mean something targeted to domainers, that would help ease routine, day-to-day administrative burdens such as:

- transfer newly acquired names to consolidated registrar after 60-day lock is up
- list new names at marketplaces, including verification (changing name servers back and forth, etc)
- making updates and adjustments as needed (changing prices, switching from bin to make offer, etc)

I'm sure there are plenty of other tasks, it seems like from my own experience various tasks and demands come up on an ad-hoc basis, which is one of the reasons I don't personally want to hire/train someone as I believe it would take me longer to explain and oversee someone doing these ad-hoc, one-off tasks than if I just do them myself. But if a company started such a service and has a trained stable of account managers, maybe each one is working with 5 - 10 domainers, and they are trained up on the ins-and-outs and quirks of the various registrars and marketplaces, without the threat of constant turnover (i.e. I hire someone, train them on all the complexities of these systems then they don't even last 6 months and have to do it all over again).

I covered some additional thoughts in my tweet, including risks such as insuring against domain theft.

I'm curious to hear others thoughts, do you think there is a need. Is it the type of service you would use? I created a poll where you can answer if you wish.

For me, I feel blessed to be a domainer. It's a job I can wake up each morning and be excited for the day. On the other hand, dealing with the administrative aspects, particularly with what I consider to be many buggy and let's say "challenged" software platforms that can easily suck the joy out of my day, (won't name names, though I did name one in my tweet, but you know there are some really great platforms and some really sucky ones). So as much as it is freeing up more time to work on acquisitions and sales, it's moreover alleviating a constant pain point, things that can very easily turn into 'headaches' and killjoys that bleed into the rest of my day/work/life.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Probably not...I'm quite happy just doing it myself. Often, people don't feel the need to pay for a service, unless they REALLY need it. Some of the things mentioned above aren't a major inconvenience, at least for me. If you're a domain investor, with thousands of domains and a hyper busy schedule, maybe different. IMO
 
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I am not all that excited about doing mundane administrative stuff either, but it is just part of running a business.

One issue I would have with this solution is security. Basically you are giving someone the keys to your domain assets to make changes.

There are also logistical issues when it comes to using different registrars.

On the business side, I am not sure there is enough demand to scale into a viable business.

With that said, I am always open to find a way to make domain management easier.

Brad
 
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Hi

if....
you got so many names that you can't manage them yourself -
then
hire a secretary/clerk or admin assistant to do it for you.
or teach one of your kids, your spouse, etc.
rather than go "out the house' and your shit is exposed to 3rd party

besides, doing all the tasks necessary to accomplish the end goal, is good exercise for the brain.
:)

imo...
 
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Probably not...I'm quite happy just doing it myself. Often, people don't feel the need to pay for a service, unless they REALLY need it. Some of the things mentioned above aren't a major inconvenience, at least for me. If you're a domain investor, with thousands of domains and a hyper busy schedule, maybe different. IMO

Thanks for sharing. I've been doing it myself for as many years as I've been domaining, but I'd like to optimize my time, energy, and output. The time isn't the biggest factor, thought it's certainly a drag, it's the headache of working with some of these platforms. Often a task that should take two minutes takes twenty because of some random error. If I could I would just not use some of the worst offenders and vote with my feet, but they are typically the ones that make me the most money. For me, the older I get, the more I value protecting my energy. I want to work on my business, not spend time battling technical difficulties. It's the same reason people hire web masters to look after their website instead of doing everything themselves. Maybe the position could be called 'registrar master', which is basically what it is.
 
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I am not all that excited about doing mundane administrative stuff either, but it is just part of running a business.

One issue I would have with this solution is security. Basically you are giving someone the keys to your domain assets to make changes.

There are also logistical issues when it comes to using different registrars.

On the business side, I am not sure there is enough demand to scale into a viable business.

With that said, I am always open to find a way to make domain management easier.

Brad
Yes, definitely ensuring the security is the biggest challenge. That's why I suggested in my tweet maybe the business is bonded to insure against theft. Not sure how viable that would be.

To clarify, the routine administrative stuff for me is not the key issue, though of course cutting out that time out of the week could be helpful. The bigger issue is all the snafus, bugs, and errors I find myself constantly running into in performing the administrative duties that really cuts me. Maybe it's just me.

And it's certainly not all platforms. DAN, for example, has always been stellar. Can't think of a single instance in five or six years since using it that it has given me one problem.

Also, it would be like having a virtual assistant who is exclusively trained on domain administration and has a generalized familiarity with how to navigate registrars, including for example some of the more arcane ones that domains won at SnapNames or NameJet sometimes get sent to.
 
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Hi

if....
you got so many names that you can't manage them yourself -
then
hire a secretary/clerk or admin assistant to do it for you.
or teach one of your kids, your spouse, etc.
rather than go "out the house' and your shit is exposed to 3rd party

besides, doing all the tasks necessary to accomplish the end goal, is good exercise for the brain.
:)

imo...
I don't have so many that it would justify employing someone, it might only need to be a few, or say 5 hours a week. The way this scales is there are a lot of others like me (in theory) so a business offering this service is able to have one account administrator helping 5-10 clients, so these are full time employees, not part time assistants. Keep poking holes in it though, if we get to a point where you can't poke any more holes maybe someone will take this up as a startup, which is my hope.
 
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I'm sure there is a B2b need for this, not so much from domainer's. There are companies that manage large portfolios of domains that need help, but usually they have IT departments.

Domainers tend to like to do things on their own to cut costs.
 
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I don't trust anyone to do anything correctly. If it's something I can do I'll do it or something will go wrong.
 
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Needed yes? Could someone make money off domainers offering even the best service like this? NO! Tools are created for industries when people can make a profit. We are lucky that there are some tools for domainers that are even available like expireddomains namebio etc.

This is a small industry just look at the forum action and of the people in it, a small amount have a big enough portfolio that would need software to manage it. Most of them have their ways and are set in them.

This industry is a graveyard of people that built a business based on offering solutions for domainers. Domainers would rather look through lists of dropping names written on used toilet paper, than pay you 1 penny a decade for access to a searchable database. Expireddomains is free because if he charged very few would go there. They would download raw data and have their eyes fall out looking for names in a notepad file or they would import the data into their stolen copy of excel.
 
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Domainers are a stingy bunch (no offense intended... I also raise hand here) and they are always wary of losing their names - for good reasons.

So no.

Edit: "stingy = one that has money but is reluctant to part with it" - hell yeah, I am quite reluctant :xf.grin:
 
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The better question would be, how much are you willing to spend?

Because of the security aspects of services like this, it doesn't come cheap.

Automation is the keyword here but:
After tax, insurance, infra, dev, time... You'll be left with pennies if you charge just a nominal fee.

Let's face it, most domainers won't pay $500+/month on portfolio management.
 
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What exactly would your involvement be in the domain industry with this service? Just choosing your domains and adding them to it? Though maybe that might even be tiresome by some standards.

I'm sure this service would be wonderful for someone looking for a "hands-off" approach to domain investing.
 
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I really think the missing link is just good API support at registrars. Software could handle the rest.
 
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Needed yes? Could someone make money off domainers offering even the best service like this? NO! Tools are created for industries when people can make a profit. We are lucky that there are some tools for domainers that are even available like expireddomains namebio etc.

This is a small industry just look at the forum action and of the people in it, a small amount have a big enough portfolio that would need software to manage it. Most of them have their ways and are set in them.

This industry is a graveyard of people that built a business based on offering solutions for domainers. Domainers would rather look through lists of dropping names written on used toilet paper, than pay you 1 penny a decade for access to a searchable database. Expireddomains is free because if he charged very few would go there. They would download raw data and have their eyes fall out looking for names in a notepad file or they would import the data into their stolen copy of excel.
I understand domainers on the whole are cheap bastards, or frugal to put it mildly, but this is a bit of an exaggeration. For example, I pay for ZFbot which I use quite often and find invaluable. It actually is one of those solutions you mention that was on it's way to the graveyard, literally, and I know this because I chatted with the developer, Ken, around that time and he related he wasn't able to cover his server costs on a free model with advertising and was thinking of folding up the service. Believe it or not, I was one of the ones, (perhaps the only one, I'm not sure) to strongly encourage him to start charging for it, rather than see the site go away. Since I use the tool nearly every day, the first thing I said was that I'd happily pay for it rather than see it go away. And apparently enough others were willing as well, as it's still around to this day. There are other tools people pay for, like Estibot, DomainTools, etc.
 
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What exactly would your involvement be in the domain industry with this service? Just choosing your domains and adding them to it? Though maybe that might even be tiresome by some standards.

I'm sure this service would be wonderful for someone looking for a "hands-off" approach to domain investing.
I'm thinking of it like a virtual assistant service. Probably the same business model can be applied. I just want someone to delegate tasks to, give them a list of what to do and they do it. That's what I'm imagining anyway.
 
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Agree with others, I can't give some random person access to all my accounts. If anyone would ever be doing that it would be an extremely trusted employee or family member.

However, I would pay for domain portfolio management software that also provides:

- private nameservers with HTTPS support
- routing rules (e.g., send domains priced above X to this URL, send .xyz domains to this URL, etc)
- customizeable pricing rules (e.g., automatic discounts when a domain approaches renewal, or the ability to apply a discount per category)
- analytics. I use Afternic's NS5/6 but of course Afternic somehow in 2022 still provides no analytics.
- sedo verification / DNS templates
- customizeable landing pages (ideally allow me to provide HTML/CSS templates)
- renewal / cost calendar (like Dynadot)
- API to add / remove domains

It should use APIs for pricing updates / marketplace listings wherever possible, but bulk uploading CSVs works as a fallback.

I tried Efty and thought it was well made, but I found it limited in enough ways (e.g., landing page template customization) that I found I needed to make my own software anyway.

Bodis.com probably gets the closest to be honest, and I do use them for some domains (e.g., .app domains which won't resolve at all without HTTPS support). But the landing page template customization is lacking and it can't forward to the Afternic Buy It Now landing pages, only the "call us" ones.

I have about 5k domains to manage. I've already got a bunch of PHP scripts that do a lot of this but would pay for a better solution.
 
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Agree with others, I can't give some random person access to all my accounts. If anyone would ever be doing that it would be an extremely trusted employee or family member.

However, I would pay for domain portfolio management software that also provides:

- private nameservers with HTTPS support
- routing rules (e.g., send domains priced above X to this URL, send .xyz domains to this URL, etc)
- customizeable pricing rules (e.g., automatic discounts when a domain approaches renewal, or the ability to apply a discount per category)
- analytics. I use Afternic's NS5/6 but of course Afternic somehow in 2022 still provides no analytics.
- sedo verification / DNS templates
- customizeable landing pages (ideally allow me to provide HTML/CSS templates)
- renewal / cost calendar (like Dynadot)
- API to add / remove domains

It should use APIs for pricing updates / marketplace listings wherever possible, but bulk uploading CSVs works as a fallback.

I tried Efty and thought it was well made, but I found it limited in enough ways (e.g., landing page template customization) that I found I needed to make my own software anyway.

Bodis.com probably gets the closest to be honest, and I do use them for some domains (e.g., .app domains which won't resolve at all without HTTPS support). But the landing page template customization is lacking and it can't forward to the Afternic Buy It Now landing pages, only the "call us" ones.

I have about 5k domains to manage. I've already got a bunch of PHP scripts that do a lot of this but would pay for a better solution.
You're not really talking about portfolio management here, but rather a customized lander solution. Or you're mixing both, well tbh I doubt someone will get both parts right due to complexities of each.
 
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I think a portfolio management software/app instead of SAAS would be more appropriate in this case, because trusting another party with sensitive information, is like adding another door to insecurity. With registrars, we are already at the mercy of multiple 3rd parties. Adding another domain management layer actually becomes a 4th party.

Hence a software, where the domainers themselves can add some trusted automation is a better option, especially if there is an open source initiative. I think domainers should join forces and fund such open source initiative. That would be a great achievement for the community.

BTW, open source doesn't mean you don't pay, there will still be people with large portfolio who'll pay for support and further development.
 
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Do you know why this hasn't been already built?

Note, since being a member of NP I saw about 10 launches of such tools. None that any of us still know of. None has a chance to make it. Have you ever thought why?

Because it's a daunting task.

Efty is a good example. They have been at it for what, like a decade? Yet here is where they are. I'm not saying they did a rubbish job. They did alright within their scope and resources etc etc. And they are still the best private solution of this kind, although as per my taste I find it unbearable. You can't even add a dang link to point at your Afternic sales page. That hard...

It requires a ton of code and customizing.

I've also tried doing it (for my own needs first of all) and I found it requires expensive hardware. For reasons that don't become obvious until you try.

Domainers have thousands or tens of thousands of names. I used to have 25 k at some point. Even with the fastest and lightest solution this won't be hardware lightweight, but the contrary. So you need to start with a good server ... at least. You'll be surprised though to see you can't host more customers than hand fingers you have, because server resources run out faster than you think. Especially if you also do https (there's a reason many big players out there don't do https).

It all boils down to cost vs revenue.

Domainers are stingy, and there's not many of us who would agree to pay say $99 per month for such a hosted solution. Make that $299, well, I'm sure you'd have trouble finding clients. And there's not many of us overall. Not talking about the millions of people having 100 regged names, but rather those who do this successfully. And many don't want/need such a solution and simply use the next best option out there such as your truly pointing everything at Afternic and having Excel manage my domains.

It's a tiny niche, overall the industry is estimated at 3...4B which is insanely small still vs. the importance and significance of domain names. Also it's a code-heavy, resource-heavy and problem-heavy thing, including support which is costly (few know that an hour of support might cost $20 and see how fast a $99 user can eat up all the profits if they ARE using support).

Marketplaces are might be the solution, I think. Because they get a % of the revenue, that's a different sum. Who would build this and NOT be a marketplace is taking the bone and leaving the meat behind.

But the problem is, once you're a successful marketplace you don't worry about being a portfolio management app at all. You worry only of getting more revenue through domain sales.

That's why I don't see it done properly anytime soon, if at all.
 
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Or at least the above is my view... I'm pretty sure not everyone shares the same.
 
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yea hard to take seriously man who buys curving,eth and then somehow thinks its good or special enuf to showcase it around like this. next.
 
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Let's face it, most domainers won't pay $500+/month on portfolio management.
Hi

maybe somebody with 10K > 100K domains could use something like that, but majority of domainers don't make $500 a month, and their portfolios aren't large enough where it's needed.


imo...
 
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yea hard to take seriously man who buys curving,eth and then somehow thinks its good or special enuf to showcase it around like this. next.
LOL. It's my last name. Thanks for your comment though.
 
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