What Seinfeld Taught Me About Domaining

If I had a dollar everytime somebody told me I’d missed the boat domaining I… I probably wouldn’t be speculating money on domain names.

I started speculating on domains in 2007, after hearing a talk by Jeff Libert speak at PubCon. Domaining is not a core part of my business, it’s a hobby – like a flutter on the Grand National.

But over the years I’ve sold a lot of domains in the four-five figure range, bought many premium domains (like Wish.co.uk) and learned a thing or two along the way.

You hear the same lines peddled over and over again about domaining…

“You’ve missed the boat with domaining.”

“There’s no money in registering fresh domains.”

“The money is in buying premium aftermarket domains.”

Lies, lies, lies. And yet you hear them peddled time and again.

Yes, the money is in aftermarket domains if you are if you are Frank Schilling and already own a huge slab of the worlds greatest domains. But that’s not helpful advice for the rest of us.

But you’ve got to remember that 90% of blog posts on domaining are puff pieces to prop up asset bubble prices.

So I thought it’d be more interesting write about the lessons I’ve learned the hard (read: expensive) way.

Three Golden Rules Of Domaining

There’s only three key things you need to know about making money domaining.

#1. Make Like George Costanza

The trouble with aftermarket domains is they don’t come cheap. Premium domains require capital.

Call me crazy, but I am in no rush to tie up $100,000 on a single word domain monetized with Sedo parking. Where’s the fun in that?

My solution was to become the George Costanza of domaining.

That means becoming a cheapskate. I mean a *real* cheapskate, paying c. $10 per domain. Fresh registrations (no fancy drop catching tools) that you can buy at your regular registrar for the standard fee.

Then, um, you sell them for more than you paid.

In short: you make your money on the buy price, not the sell price.

#2. Feel The Quality

Quality is everything both in terms of TLD and the domain itself.

You’ll never shift that dot biz domain for millions, nor will that three-word-domain-with-hyphens get you too far either.

Scott at Self Made Minds gave a great tutorial on how to register fresh domains that have resale value.

#3. Know The Market

You need to buy domains in sectors where there are active buyers, and you need to know the real market value of the domains you hold.

Yes, PeruvianRugVendors.com is available to register, but are peruvian rug vendors big buyers of domains? Probably not.

(Please correct me in the comments if I’m mistaken)

However, some sectors are bustling with activity (like poker or finance). Take a look on NameBio.com and DNJournal.com to see which sectors rack up a lot of sales and what realistic sale prices are.

Note: I’m not saying you won’t flog PeruvianRugVendors.com, just that the odds of selling at a profit are far, far smaller.

Case Study #1: HardGraft.com

I registered the domain HardGraft.com for $7.44 in February 2008 using my Domain Lookup tool.

I sold it 13 months later for c. $2700 in cash and product from the company that would make it their home.

(Go check out the site, they sell beautiful handmade laptop cases).

Could I have sold it for more money? Probably. I like the products they sell, I liked the people and I liked the freebies they sent me as part of the deal.

Case Study #2: DoubleDown.org

This was another registration using Domain Lookup. I bought if for c. $10, and sold it not too long afterwards for $1000.

Like the first example, I could probably have sold it for more (the anonymous buyer turned out to be a Las Vegas casino business).

But, hey, I didn’t say I always followed my own advice (but more on that in my next blog post).

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