Buying and Selling Domain Names

I was talking to a new Domain Investor last week who was trying to figure out how to get the business-side of his domain investing side-hustle setup correctly. He’s going to end the year with about $5,000 in sales, and while he agrees it’s nothing to write home about, he’s hoping to break into five-figures next year.

He asked me,

“now that I feel like this is a real way for me to make a meaningful amount of money on the side, what do I need to do to make sure it’s all organized the right way?”

Once you are making more than around $5,000/year buying and selling domain names it’s time to think about a few simple things you should probably do. The top three things on my list that I share with new investors is:

  1. Start an LLC (or the equivalent in your country) – there are a number of key advantages to setting up an LLC for your domain business, the main being personally protecting you and your personal finances.
  2. Create a separate bank account and credit card for your LLC – the easiest way to keep your finances organized is to keep your personal and business finances separate. This will make your life a lot easier for you to provide everything your accountant needs to file your taxes. It also makes tracking income and expenses a breeze.
  3. Use Quickbooks – sure, there are other solutions out there for keeping track of your books but I’ll be honest, Quickbooks is the easiest to use and the one that every accountant on the planet knows how to plugin to and use instantly.

While it might take a bit of time to get all three of these things setup, once they’re up and running you’ll be able to really treat your investment portfolio like a business. Tracking how much money you’re spending, how much you’re making, and how your portfolio is performing month-to-month is a lot easier if you can just login to something like Quickbooks and get a Dashboard full of data.

Using a separate bank account and credit card means setting up Quickbooks is insanely easy, you literally just add the bank account and credit card and it will take care of the rest.

Yes, it’s pretty damn exciting once you start making real money with domain names, just remember, a little work on the back office can make your life in a front office a whole lot easier as your business grows. I hope this is helpful!

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For fellow video game fans there’s a good chance you remember the Silent Hill franchise. If you don’t know Silent Hill you probably still know Japanese game studio Konami, don’t think you do…common – you’ve definitely heard of and probably played Contra, right?

Konami originally came out with Silent Hill back in 1999 for the Sony Playstation. The game did well and ended up getting two additions to the franchise ending with Silent Hill 3 in 2003. Unlike Rocky, there hasn’t been a never-ending string of follow-ups to keep this franchise alive.

While you’d think a studio like Konami would hang onto the domain name for a past franchise in case they decide to bring it back from the dead, that’s not the case here. Instead the domain is listed for sale by a third party seller for just under $10,000 on popular brandable domain name marketplace BrandBucket:

The current owner describes the domain as “an evocative name with a slightly eerie, placid vibe.” At the end of the day if anyone does buy this domain they’re going to have an uphill battle building a brand that doesn’t get confused with this previously popular horror-themed video game.

When you’re buying a brandable domain it’s always good to look at the past history of the name, a clean slate is often a better starting point than a previously established brand. In this case there’s another additional complexity…Konami recently announced they are bringing the Silent Hill franchise back:

Keen to cash in on the Silent Hill name without, you know, having to actually make another Silent Hill, Konami has unveiled its latest game in the landmark horror franchise. Well, two of them actually.

Silent Hill Escape and Silent Hill Return are pair of new slot games available to play on an upcoming cabinet Konami plans to show off G2E – the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. These games look to borrow from Silent Hill 3 and the more recent Silent Hill Downpour, presumably featuring audio and video based on the two horror titles.

(Source – The Sixth Axis)

My guess is that Konami will just buy the name from the current owner. The price seems pretty darn low given how big this franchise is and since it’s clear that Silent Hill is top-of-mind for Konami that means the .COM might be as well.

I’m still pretty surprised that Konami didn’t just pay the $10/year to keep the domain name but $10k is a drop in the bucket for them so either way I think it will work out fine in the end.

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Domain Investing News

Hello, happy Friday, and welcome to my weekly Domain Investing news roundup. Every week I hand pick a selection of news stories from across the Domain Investing world from blogs to Twitter to Instagram I’m always on the lookout for a good story to share.

This week .ORG has been in the news quite a bit after its controversial sale to a private equity firm continues to move forward. The NamesCon domain auction has also been a hot topic as it moves onto Go Daddy and the bidding begins.

If you’ve been living in a cave all week and feel like you need a nice strong dose of Domain Investing news then make sure to check out the stories that caught my eye this week, enjoy!

  • Let’s sue ICANN (read more on OnlineDomain)
  • 882.cc closes at $42,500 highest reported 3N.cc sale ever if it’s paid (read more on TheDomains)
  • End user domain sales topped by a new TLD (read more on DomainNameWire)
  • Blockchainwallet.com expired a year after being purchased (read more on TLDInvestors)
  • Class action lawsuit aGAINST ICANN may be only answer to future of domains (read more on NeusNews)
  • 60+ Single .WS Emoji Domains Expire This Week (read more on Kickstart Commerce)
  • SaveDotOrg to hold public web conference tomorrow with Ethos execs (read more on DomainIncite)
  • CTX.com – From Berkens to Telepathy to China to expired at GoDaddy auctions (read more on TLDInvestors)
  • Wanda.com Beats Total Price Paid for a Trio of 3-Letter .Coms to Top This Week’s Domain Sales Chart (read more on DNJournal)
  • JustBalls.com Comes Up in Elon Musk Trial (read more on DomainInvesting.com)
  • Bogus domain names and spoofed emails lead to $1m theft (read more on TheDomains)
  • NamesCon domain auction moves to GoDaddy and Proxibid (read more on OnlineDomain)
  • ICA to Host Dinner During NamesCon Global (read more on DomainInvesting.com)
  • A Pragmatic View on the .org Sale (read more on WhizzbangsBlog)

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Ah .ORG, it has been in the news more over the last month than ever before, mostly due to its controversial sale to a Private Equity firm. Beyond all the issues with this deal there’s a fundamental issue that .ORG has always had that doesn’t get talked about as much.

Dot-org symbolizes neither quality nor trustworthiness. It’s a marketing tool that relies on a widespread but false association with credibility.

(Source – New York Times)

Ouch.

It might be blunt but it’s spot on, the idea that .ORG is somehow associated with non-profits or has anything to do with trust is all just marketing fluff. Anyone can register a .ORG domain and do anything they want with it, the article goes on to say:

The Public Interest Registry and Ethos Capital could channel some of the millions earned from the dot-org mirage to fund initiatives that educate the public on the domain’s shortcomings.

They can start by adding a bright red asterisk to their royal blue logo: “Dot-org implies nothing about an organization’s intent. Buyer Beware.”

(Source – New York Times)

I think the fallout we’ve seen with .ORG in the short term is only going to accelerate. The reality is, a huge amount of trust has been lost and now the veil of trust .ORG has built their reputation on for years has gone down the drain, the question is will PIR, Ethos Capital or ICANN do anything about it. For now we’ll just have to wait and see…

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Welcome to December, we’re on the home stretch and all over the world people are getting into holiday-mode as they get ready to wind down the year. For some reason, historically Q4 has always been my best year for domain sales, I’m not entirely sure why but I’ve thought it might have something to do with the fact that companies that have budgets with unspent funds feel the pressure to spend later in the year.

At the same time, I also take action, usually in December, to lock in a sale or two via outbound. I don’t normally do any outbound and for this particular outbound technique, I’m leveraging inbound to do outbound so it’s different from pure outbound to cold leads.

So here’s what I do, and am likely to kick off starting this week. First, I login to Uniregistry and Efty and pull together one master list of inquiries I’ve had over the course of the year. I then separate these into two groups – potential buyers and tire kickers.

Tire kickers are people who have usually put in a very low offer, and then when I follow-up, they stay low. Potential buyers are people who may start with a low offer but do show that they have some budget, just not enough to close the deal.

Once I have my two lists I first email the people on the “potential buyers” list, usually with a subject line like, “Price drop – [domain-name]” where [domain name] is the domain they were interested buying. I don’t give a specific amount, and usually I’m not going to dramatically drop the price, but I am happy to shave off a bit in order to make the sale.

I typically let 3-4 days go by and if I don’t hear back then I start emailing people that were interested in the same domain on the “tire kicker” list. The reason I reach out to these folks second is that I know I’d have to likely take an even bigger haircut on the price if I want to sell to them so I’d rather start with the group that is more likely to pay more.

One very important caveat to mention here is that I don’t do this for every single domain I’ve had an inquiry on over the course of the year. There are some domains that I don’t want to decrease the price on, and others I actually want to increase the price on. Instead, I focus my efforts on names I’m happy to sell for a bit less than I had them priced, and if they don’t sell that’s okay too.

This is pretty much the only time I ever do outbound, and since it’s outbound to people who have already inbounded it’s a nice group to email. While you can likely sell more names faster if you do general outbound year-round, I’m just too darn busy to do that so this is my one time a year.

If you haven’t tried this in the past, give it a shot this year with a handful of names, you might be surprised at what you end up selling. In the worst-case scenario, you remind a good chunk of people about the domain they were interested in which could bring them back around early next year. Either way, keeping your domain top of mind for them doesn’t hurt!

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Domain Investing News

Hello, happy Sunday, and welcome to my weekly domain investing news roundup. While this was a short week here in the US due to the Thanksgiving holiday it certainly wasn’t short on news. A lot happened in the domain industry this week but I’ve done my best to narrow it down to a handful of posts you can read to get all caught up.

So grab your morning coffee, or if you’re reading this in the evening, pour yourself a glass of wine, and let’s get you up-to-date on the latest happenings in the domain investing world, enjoy!

James Booth on the Domain Name Wire Podcast (listen to it here)

Mike Mann sells 6 domains for $137,138 in October (read more on OnlineDomain.com)

NamesCon Auction Now Live on GoDaddy Auctions (read more on DomainInvesting.com)

Four big developments in the .org pricing scandal (read more on DomainIncite.com)

Uniregistry weekly sales led by Greenroads.com (read more on TLDInvestors.com)

Sedo weekly sales led by Buoy.com (read more on TheDomains.com)

NamesCon Global 2020 News Including 1st Keynote Speaker, Live Domain Auction & Fun Day Finale (read more on DNJournal)

Report: “sale price of PIR > $1.135 billion” (read more on DomainInvesting.com)

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your weekend! As always, if there are any stories I didn’t include in here that you think should be mentioned, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.

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Black Friday Deals for Domain Investors

Black Friday Deals for Domain Investors

Hello and happy Friday! For those of you here in the US that celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, I hope you had a great time with family and friends. As I’ve said before, I don’t do much Black Friday shopping in stores, but I do often lock in some great domain deals from the warm cozy comfort of my own home.

I’m getting ready to go ice skating in Union Square this afternoon so I’ll keep this short and sweet, here are some Black Friday deals that Domain Investors might want to take a look at:

Get up to 90% off at Go Daddy

Up to 99% off at NameCheap

Black Friday Specials at Dynadot

$4 .COM Promo at Porkbun

Black Friday Deals at Epik

Save 30% on NamesCon 2020

Get 5 Months Free WordPress Hosting from WPEngine

Save up to 60% off hosting from BlueHost

If there’s any deals I missed feel free to share them below. Personally for me since most of my domains are at Go Daddy I’ll be making the most use of their Black Friday specials. Okay, beautiful day outside, time for some ice skating adventures.

Happy Friday everyone!

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Thanksgiving 2019

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers here in the US. I’m going to keep this short and sweet as Daina and I are getting ready to go ice skating in SF before heading to my Dad’s house for Thanksgiving. I’d like to take a moment to share what I’m thankful for this year, I feel incredibly lucky, life is short and I cherish every day.

Sitting here at 10:30 in the morning on Thanksgiving Day 2019…here’s what I’m thankful for.

  • My amazing wife Daina. I get to spend every single day with the love of my life, and that really never gets old. Not only have we been together for 13 years but we’ve spent the last seven years working and spending every day together. This Sunday is Daina’s birthday so today in many ways kicks off a birthday weekend celebration! 🎂
  • My family. While we travel a lot, I always make time for family, from having breakfast with my Dad to watching a Warriors game with my Mom, to hanging out with my sister and nieces, I love my family. I’m looking forward to all spending time together this evening…and my Dad said he ordered charades so things might get a little crazy 😜
  • My friends. I have a really good group of friends. I’m still very close with my High School friends, I see my good buddies from college all the time since we’re all here in the Bay Area, and I’ve made some new friends since starting Bold Metrics that have been great to go through the founder journey with together.
  • Our amazing team at Bold Metrics. I’m really proud of the team we’ve built at Bold Metrics, at the end of the day if there’s one thing I’ve learned about building a company it’s that the people are without a doubt the most important part of the equation. While I’m incredibly proud of the product we’ve built and the impact we’re making, without a great team none of that would have been possible.
  • The domain investing community. Last but certainly not least is the incredible community we have in the domain name investing world. Some of my closest friends I’ve met through the Domaining world, and honestly when we’re all together it does feel like one big happy family. I can’t wait to see everyone in Austin and I’m still buzzing from spending some real quality time together with people in Asheville this summer.

Okay, well I guess that’s my version of short. That was a bit longer than I had expected. Before I end though I wanted to give a special thanks to Francois Carrillo who runs Domaining.com. Me and many other bloggers have directly benefited from Francois’ hard work and it’s great to see the blogging community continue to grow and prosper. Thanks Francois for everything you do for us!

Now stop reading domain blogs and get back to spending time with your family. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and as always, thanks for reading.

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Black Friday for Domainers

It’s that time of year again – families all get together and enjoy a break in the action, friends who don’t visit family hold “Friendsgiving” and we all eat too much, get sleepy, and go to bed early. Then, Friday morning comes and people catapult out of their homes for a day of shopping and locking in deals on stuff you probably didn’t even want.

I personally have never been a big Black Friday shopper, for physical things…but digital goods, well that’s a whole different story. As a domain name investor I’ve found that Black Friday is an excellent time to lock in great deals that can benefit me for the year ahead.

From cheaper renewals, lower registration costs, and discounts on the platforms and services I plan on using, I usually see Black Friday as the first day of my 2020 investment planning in many ways.

In the past I’ve tried to put together a solid list of Black Friday deals for Domainers and this year I thought I’d start a couple days early to let the community share deals they think are worth highlighting.

So if you’re like me and use Black Friday as your time to start the 2020 savings for your domain portfolio, let me know what deals you think are worth checking out this year. I’ll happily share just about any deal you share in the comment section below in my post on Friday as long as it’s of course relevant to domains.

For those who are traveling today – safe travels! Snow storms are hitting across the US so I know it’s going to be quite an adventure flying from one place to another. If you’re stuck at an airport and bored you’re also welcome to share your travel woes in the comment section below as well!

Either way, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

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In case you missed the memo, last week was Global Entrepreneurship week, the largest celebration of Entrepreneurship in the world. To give you an idea of what a big event this is globally, over 35,000 unique events were scheduled last week with over 10M entrepreneurs worldwide participating in them.

Since .CO has been a go-to domain extension for entrepreneurs for almost a decade now they decided to do something special to honor this global celebration. Here’s the scoop:

To showcase the incredible impact that the .CO top level domain has had on the global startup community, we commissioned a film crew to crisscross the world filming short micro-documentary interviews with .CO community members in some of the cities with the most thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems, including: San Francisco, London, Bogotá, New Delhi, Melbourne and New York City. The interviews feature the stories of the founders behind some of the most interesting new startups, early stage ventures, and emerging powerhouse brands. 

(Source – Go.co)

The campaign featured seven companies from around the world – here’s who was featured:

Lori Anne Wardi, the VP of Branding for Neustar Registry Solutions shared her excitement for the campaign:

“We are so excited to launch the We Run on .CO campaign, highlighting the inspiring community of creators, businesses and brands who are building their ideas on the .CO global platform, More than a web utility, Colombia’s .CO TLD has become a dynamic, global digital brand – a platform where the brilliant ideas of a thriving community of innovators and entrepreneurs are coming to life each and every day.”

(Source – Lori Anne Wardi, Neustar)

The new micro-videos from .CO will be released over time on their website at Go.co. I had the chance to go through all the different startups featured above and there are some really cool companies highlighted here, I’m looking forward to seeing the videos. Congrats to .CO and all the amazing entrepreneurs that call a .CO domain name home, there’s definitely good reason to celebrate!

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