Five lessons I’ve investing in .IO domains for the last five years

I just looked back on when I bought my first .IO domain and I’m pretty sure my first .IO investment took place on March 2nd, 2015.

IO domain name

I bought this particular name because I had sold the .COM variant for $18,000, and yes I know, I let the .COM go for too cheap. Live and learn.

As we’ve all seen over the last five years as the price of .IO names has skyrocketed in both the retail and wholesale market. I think it would be impossible to get Summon(.)io on Park.io today without a single person bidding against you.

Currently I have a portfolio of ~50 .IO names and over the last five years I’ve sold ~20 .IO names. As the market has matured I’ve adapted my pricing and sales strategy. Today, selling solid one-word .IO names for five figures makes a lot more sense than it did five years ago.

For those considering jumping into the .IO market, or anyone who just wants to get a brain dump from me on .IO, here’s five lessons I’ve learned over the last five years.

  1. In general .IO is a niche-specific (not generic) extension – unlike .COM, .NET, and .CO, .IO is relatively niche-specific. It is the most applicable to startups and developers or companies that have startups or developers as customers.
  2. The sweet spot for selling .IO names is in the $1,500 – $3,500 range – while .IO names can and do sell for five figures all the time, the sweet spot is under $5,000. I’m not saying you should sell your premium one-word .IO names in this range but if you look at your .IO investments you’ll probably find the most liquidity for your good/decent names (i.e. not your best names) in this price range.
  3. Renewal costs can add up – there’s a pretty wide range when it comes to .IO renewal costs. Remember to factor this into your price basis. If you paid $200 for a .IO name, and renewed it for $50 for four years, you actually paid 2x of your original cost for the name.
  4. 3L .IO’s aren’t as good as they might seem – I went big on 3L .IOs for some time, and while you can get lucky, overall if you aren’t buying a really meaningful three letters, playing the 3L .IO lottery is a losing game.
  5. Adding (or removing) an “S” can really kill a name – while this is also true in the .COM space it can really hurt you in the .IO space. Fast.io is an awesome name, Fasts.io, not awesome at all. Like I said, the same is true for .COM but I’d still say Fasts.com has some value and investment potential whereas Fasts.io could be more of a liability than an asset IMO.

Okay, now all this being said I think it’s important to point out that I am not a full time domain investor, nor do I consider myself an expert. So take all of this with a grain of salt and know, like most people, I’m still learning new things all the time. I continue to invest in .IO domains and am bullish on the extension and yes, Park.io is still my go-to, they rock 🎸

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Dk August 13, 2020, 2:00 pm

    Great article Morgan! Totally agree with you on 3 letter .io, so far they have been a dud for me as well. I been buying .io’s since early 2017. I started slow with mostly premium buys i think after my first year i had maybe 10 or so. But have since have scaled up my portfolio to around 70 names. I sold 2 names since the start, both in low 5 figures. i think i started to pick names that are not ultra premium as of last year or so (and pricing them under 5k range).

    Reply
  • FXAssure August 13, 2020, 2:09 pm

    Hi,
    Thanks for your detailed .IO diary. What has been your experience two words/exact match .io names. Where the words come together in compound nouns like videogames/game.io or teacup etc. Do you advice for the above or we should stick to only one words aspect?

    Reply
    • Steve Webb August 14, 2020, 9:56 am

      One word .io domains are preferable (in most cases), but strong two word .io domain names are becoming more and more valuable. For example, electricvehicle.io recently sold for $3,450 at auction (and I would expect that domain’s retail value to increase over time as Tesla and the other EV providers become more popular). Similar to one word domains, the value of two word domains ultimately depends on the quality/popularity/commercial value/etc. of the keyword(s) involved.

      Reply

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