I have to say that I think we’re at a peak time in the domain industry when it comes to people sharing data about what’s working and what isn’t. One of the people I’ve been the most impressed with is Abdul Basit who regularly shares his sales data and his June numbers were impressive to say the least.

If you haven’t been following along with Abdul’s adventures with Afternic, you can play catch-up, here’s details on his sales this year so far:

In total Abdul sold $76,540 in domain names in June and his acquisition cost was under $5,000. The highlight of June was without a doubt the sale of AutoFun.com for $50,000 which sold at BIN. His other sales were names like ToothBar.com for $6,888, TinaChen.com for $1,988, GMTransport.com for $4,888, 40HZ.com for $2,888 and a .BIZ sale, ww.biz for $4,888.

One easy observation here that always makes me happy is the absolute dominance of two-word .COMs when it comes to good investments. As I’ve said many times, two-word .COMs are my personal favorite when it comes to low buy prices and high (relative) sale prices.

Congrats to Abdul, especially on AutoFun.com and thanks again for sharing your journey with all of us! 🙌 If you want to read more about Abdul’s June sales you can check out the full thread here on NamePros.

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Today I found an interesting article when searching around for domain news – someone listing a bunch of scuba-related domain for sale. Okay, so nothing too interesting there yet, but give me a minute here.

Domains in a related category are listed for sale, or more frequently auction, all the times on sites like Sedo but in this case, the domains were listed on a popular scuba diving blog, DeeperBlue.com.

Scuba Domain Names

It looks like a company called eScuba Pty Ltd. bought the domains in the 90’s (according to the blog post) and has recently reduced their prices and listed all their scuba-related domains for sale here.

What I thought was interesting about this blog post is that is showed up when I did a search on Google News for domain names. That means this particular scuba blog is an approved news source on Google News and judging by the fact that they have 286, 879 fans on Facebook and over 25,000 Twitter followers, it’s safe to say it’s a relatively popular site.

While I’m not sure if eScuba Pty paid to get this blog post on DeeperBlue.com or if they’re buddies with the blog owner, I think it’s a pretty solid idea. If you think about it, you’re likely to find more people interested in buying domains related to scuba diving on a scuba diving website vs. a domain marketplace.

If I was someone in the scuba diving world, looking for a domain for a new product or service I was offering, I’d probably be pretty interested in the domains eScuba listed for sale. I thought this was an interesting idea and one that would work either for a portfolio or for one or two high-value names in a particular niche.

I’ve never tried this myself but thought it was a clever idea and worth sharing. Anyone else tried anything like this before?

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I saw this tweet today and it made me think a lot about my first few years as a domain name investor.

While we all buy domains names and think at the time they would make good investments, a year or two later, it’s okay to realize that some aren’t. Most of the domains I’ve dropped over the years are domains I either hand-registered or bought off the drop for $50 or less.

It can be easy to develop a bit of sentimental attachment to a domain. I’ve seen this happen with a domains that follow a certain theme, like maybe you find out there’s a new trend and register a bunch of domains like: <trend>now.com, <trend>online.com, <trend>blog.com, etc. While you might have stumbled on a new trend, you’ll know soon enough if offers and sales start coming in, if not, then dropping the 20 names you hand-registered doesn’t just save you money, it can actually be leveraged to make better investments.

Here’s what I do when I drop domains. Over a given quarter, I look at the total dollar amount I’m saving from domains I dropped, then I usually put that into one or two names. My logic here has always been, if I drop 20 domains that I probably would never sell, and buy one domain for $200 that I could sell for $2,000 – that’s a better move.

Don’t be afraid of looking back a year later and thinking, why the heck did I buy that name? It happens to everyone, the key is, over time, learning which names in your portfolio are real assets that will sell for a good ROI over time, and which are actually liabilities that will cost you $10/year just to sit in your portfolio.

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I was talking to a friend today who is looking at buying a portfolio of .IO domain names. We’ve all seen .IO domains command higher and higher prices over time with domains like Jackpot.io selling for close to $50,000 this year and one-word .IO’s going for over $1,000 at Park.io every day.

While a premium one-word .IO domain can sell in the $10,000+ range, once you have a bunch of them together in a portfolio, the price goes down. Of course this is true for any domain extension not just .IO. I know many investors that have bought and sold .COM portfolios and on a per-domain basis, names sell for a lot less than they would individually.

I’ve heard some people say that when you sell domains as a portfolio you essentially take a 1/10 haircut, i.e. you’ll sell the domains individually for a tenth of what you normally would at retail. That being said I’ve seen ranges from 1/5 up to 1/20th so it’s hard to know if there is really one magic number.

Assuming a portfolio has mostly premium one-word names, what do you think a per-domain price would be in .IO? Since it’s not fair for me to ask the question without answering myself, I’d say somewhere in the $750 – $1,500 range per domain, so a 100 domain portfolio would sell for $75,000 – $150,000. This is just a guess, and no there really is no right answer here, it depends so much on the specific names in the portfolio.

Portfolio sales can be a great win for a domain investor, but it all depends on what they pay per domain and what their expectations are around both price and timing. Most people I know who buy portfolios usually find a handful of names in the portfolio they really like and buy the whole portfolio expecting to turn a profit on those specifically, the rest are gravy.

Okay – that’s my two cents. What do you think? What is the wholesale per-domain price on a .IO portfolio?

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Yogi Solanki

I talked about Yogi Solanki a couple of weeks ago on my blog, as a quick refresher – he’s the guy who is pretty much selling a domain a day, all outbound. For anyone that has tried outbound before, you probably know – it can be a tough road. Rejection is a part of everyday life when you’re doing outbound sales so you need a thick skin and the willingness to learn and adapt quickly.

What Yogi seems to have mastered in relatively short order is both finding the right kind of domain that sells well outbound, and the price point that’s allowing him to do it repeatably. Oh, and what I think is pretty awesome is that he’s been sharing his journey with us on Twitter.

I reached out to Yogi and asked him if he’d be open to an interview, he said yes, so here it is. Enjoy!

1) When did you start investing in domain names?
I got seriously involved in this in mid-April 2020.

2) How did you first find out about domain investing?
I knew about this since 2014-2015 I guess, but never really thought about giving it serious thought.

3) What are the main resources you’ve used to learn about domain investing?
I’ve mentioned this before in one of my tweets, I consider Michael Cyger as my domain guru. I have seen all his videos on domain sherpa & DN academy & learned a lot, currently, I’m listening to Josh podcast he provides great insights.

4) Do you focus on .COM domains or do you invest in other TLDs as well?
YES .Com is my priority, I’m new to this so I think for a beginner .Com is the safest option to begin with.

5) Do you sell more domains inbound or outbound?
I only do outbound. 

6) What has been working the best for you with outbound sales?
I think outbound is not that easy but one thing I’ve learned from my last two/three months experience that if you want to be successful in outbound one has to be persistent & patient. I keep my outbound strategy very basic & up to the point, every day Monday-Monday I spend about 6-8 hours a day or more digging looking for good domains & potential prospects.

7) What hasn’t been working for you with outbound sales?
I’m yet to make a solid four-figure sales through outbound but I’m working on it & I hope it will happen soon.

8) If you were going to give advice to a new domain investor getting started with outbound, what would it be?
I’m not a guru or expert in domain industry I’m also a beginner but one thing I would like to share is outbound is not that easy if someone really wants to be successful they should give enough time to get the result, sending few emails or using an automated process to send thousands of emails won’t work if you don’t have a good name and list of potential prospects. Buy just one good domain name & give yourself a target to sell that domain name in 10, 20 or 30 days if it sold use that money to invest in more good names & keep on repeating the process.

Thanks to Yogi for taking the time to answer these questions, something tells me this is just the beginning of one heck of a domain investing success story!

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Own Your Future - Flippa

As the ability to make money online accelerated over the last decade, so has the number of people with a “side hustle.” It makes sense, in the 1950’s the concept of a “side hustle” meant physically going somewhere and doing something, today it means staying right where you are and just doing something different on your computer.

Add to the mix that the cost of hosting has dropped dramatically and solutions like WordPress, Wix, and others make it possible to build a website without writing any code and there’s a lot of opportunity out there.

When we started Bold Metrics, it was a side-hustle. Daina was doing her PhD, I was working at Sonos, and we had an idea for a way to use machine learning to solve a really interesting problem. It has been an incredible experience quitting my job and turning my side hustle into my full time job, and the fact that we’re eight years in and still rocking feels amazing.

Some people like working for a company, like the idea that they can focus on one area of a business and let other people worry about all the other stuff. For me, I was always interested in understanding all the different parts of a company from raising money from VCs to building a team, working with clients, marketing, etc. When I was at Sonos, I really loved my work but I only worked on one part of the business and there was no way they would have let me join their investor pitches, interview engineers, or any of the things I’ve had the chance to do running a company.

Over the years I know a lot of people who have had side-hustles that they want to turn into their main hustle, they’ve asked me what I think and it’s always a hard question to tackle. The reality is, everyone’s situation is different, every idea is different, every opportunity is different – in short, it’s tough to navigate and know what path is right.

So I was pretty excited to see that Flippa, a market for buying and selling online businesses, websites and domain names, is running a virtual conference dedicated specifically to this topic. The event is called Own Your Future and it features speakers like serial entrepreneurs like Sandra Shpilberg and Noah Kagan and many more.

The event is free and will take place on July 9th, you can snag a ticket here.

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Trademark

Today was a big day for domain names. As you might know, Trademark law prevents you from getting a Trademark a generic term for say, something like the word “Wine” and the same used to apply to domain names…but that’s all changing.

For anyone that was rooting for Trademarkable domain names, you have Booking.com to thank. Here’s the scoop:

Trademark law prohibits anyone from registering generic terms that describe a class of products or services. Anyone can start a store company called “The Wine Company,” but they can’t use trademark law to stop others from using the same name. When the online travel giant Bookings Holdings sought to trademark its booking.com domain name almost a decade ago, the US Patent and Trademark Office concluded that the same rule applied.

Booking Holdings challenged this decision in court. The company pointed to survey data showing that consumers associated the phrase “booking.com” with a specific website as opposed to a generic term for travel websites. Both the trial and appeals courts sided with booking.com, finding that booking.com was sufficiently distinctive to merit its own trademark—even if the generic word “booking” couldn’t be trademarked on its own.

(Source – Ars Technica)

While this worked for Booking.com, don’t think you can just Trademark any generic domain name you own. The key for Booking.com was showing that consumers saw Booking.com as essentially synonymous with the brand, which makes sense given all the marketing and branding work they’ve done over the years.

If you just went out and bought Bongo.com, don’t expect to get a Trademark just because you own the generic domain, you’ll have to prove that you’ve made that domain synonymous with your brand. Still, in my opinion this makes generic domain names more valuable than ever before, and they were already pretty darn valuable.

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The size of funding rounds has grown over the last five years. When we were raising our Seed round for Bold Metrics, the average Seed round was in the $1M – $1.5M range, now it’s not uncommon to see Seed rounds hit $5M and higher.

In fact, if you go back in time, Seed rounds today are really more like the Series A round of the past. Here’s a look at the data from 2010 through 2019:

(Chart source – Wing via Techcrunch)

So it came as no surprise to see a new service aimed at making video easier for developers, API.video announced a $5.5M Seed round last week. The round was led by Blossom Capital, a VC firm based in London. The kinds of startups raising $5M Seed rounds in the current global economy are usually repeat founders that already have a solid track record and often a pre-existing relationship with the VC who leads the round. This rings true for API.video:

Founded in 2019 by Cédric Montet, the former founder and CEO of Libcast’s live streaming and on-demand SaaS video platform, api.video aims to do a lot of the heavy lifting required to incorporate modern video functionality into websites and mobile apps, and in turn help grow the market for what it calls “transactional video communications”.

(Source – Techcrunch)

Given how critical video streaming is in our new normal, it makes sense that a company focused on helping developers easily integrate it into their products makes a lot of sense. It also happens to be the first .VIDEO domain names I’ve personally seen in the wild, and it’s a good use of the domain extension, especially given what the company does. I’m not sure APIVideo.com would get the point across in the same way, but I still think the domain probably should buy that domain and forward it to avoid confusion.

Either way, it’s going to be interesting to watch API.video grow, with a fresh $5.5M in the bank and a world more dependent on video streaming than ever before, I think it’s safe to say the sky is the limit here. Congrats to CĂ©dric and team, here’s to the journey ahead!

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A friend of mine is buying a domain for his startup, it’s not their primary domain, it’s the name of a product. The .COM that matches the product domain is owned by a multi-billion dollar company so while it’s still possible to buy, getting it for less than six-figures would be unlikely.

So when it came to their second choice, .APP was what they were looking at, and after that .CO. I was surprised that .NET wasn’t in their top two so asked my friend a bit more about that. He said that he was a fan of .NET but that most of the team felt it was an old/less-relevant extension, they also talked to one of their advisors who said the domain broker they had been working with had always been down on .NET.

I’ve seen a handful of situations like this over the last few months, companies that look at extensions like .IO, .APP, .CO, .AI and others and often don’t even consider .NET. While I’m a fan of .IO and .CO, I’m not a big .APP guy, that one makes less sense to me, but I still have plenty of love for .NET.

Is .NET less hip than something like .IO or .CO? What do you think?

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Why are 4L .COMs so cheap?

There was a time when 4L .COMs were selling in the $2,000 – $4,000 range, back then it really felt like the sky was limit and that these domains really were becoming a meaningful asset class. I wrote an article on the future of 4L .COMs back in 2016 and well, sitting here four years later I think we all know what the future held, and it hasn’t been great for 4L .COM investors.

An interesting thread has started recently on NamePros talking about this, started by Igor Mironyuk who has been a long-time reader of my blog. He kicked things off by posing the question: why are 4L .COMs so cheap now?

RJ had a really solid reply to this question that I thought you’d all enjoy as well:

They are cheap because there are 456,976 of them and not enough demand to raise the current price.

I’m glad you called them cheap, because I also think 4-letter .coms (4LC) are undervalued. They are liquid assets, which is pretty much the holy grail achievement of dominating. Even a $100 liquidation value for non-premium four-letter combinations is not insignificant, because having a reliable liquidation value means the assets can be used as store-of-value, a currency, collateral, or type of security. If a big investor enters the market, the wholesale liquidation value will assuredly go up.

456k might sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. Consider the similarity to Bitcoin that also has a limited supply of 20 million BTC. There will never be more than that. At a $150 valuation for any combination, that is only a theoretical $69 million dollar market cap (1/4 of Dogecoin’s) A wealthy investment group could easily swallow the entire aftermarket of 4LCs at this point and the prices would rise accordingly.

Chinese domain investors poured a lot of money into buying 4LC a few years ago and achieved a $1000 liquid value for domains that met their criteria. Any domain that didn’t contain a vowel or the letter V was valued at minimum $1000, and were called “CHiPs” (Chinese premium domains.) This type of $1000 valuation could happen again for all 4LC if investors around the world caught onto the concept of buying these domains as assets.

This is not investment advice of any kind, just my own personal opinion of the market.

(Source – NamePros)

I agree with RJ here, but I’m not buying any more 4L .COMs for now, still I think this is an interesting category to watch as it could spring back to life in the future. But who knows? What do you think?

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