Hand registering domains today is a fools game

late night domainer

So many new domain name investors start the same way, their journey into the Domaining world goes something like this. They read an article about domain investing and go, “wow, people are making money buying and selling domains, that’s amazing!” Then they look at DNJournal and see the prices that domains are selling for and think, “wow – some of those are names that I feel like I could have come up with myself!”

The next step is usually what I like to call, the famous, domain name buying spree. This usually involves hand registering tens or hundreds of domains and saying to yourself, “I’m set, if just one of these sells for a few thousand dollars I’ll be profitable, if two sell I’ll be making some real money!” Then, a year goes by and guess what, none have sold.

I know this story all too well because it’s the same mistake that I made when I first started in the Domaining world. I learned my lesson the hard way, but not everyone has to. The reality is, as Andrew Rosner from Media Options says – hand registering domains today is a fools game.


So if you’re just getting started in the domain world, don’t make the same mistake that most new investors make. Instead, focus on buying domains in the aftermarket, expired domains in particular are a great place to start. Like anything, start slow and take the time to learn. Luckily, the domain industry has a ton of great resources to learn more about domains like DNAcademy, DomainSherpa, forums like NamePros and conferences like MERGE and NamesCon, so you really have no excuse when it comes to learning the ropes!

Just remember, if you find yourself setting in a dark room illuminated by the glow of your computer screen at 2AM hand registering domains that you “think” will be worth a fortune…you’re probably just buying a bunch of junk that you’re going to look back at year from now and kick yourself for buying.

{ 38 comments… add one }

  • Richard Morris aka Bulloney August 23, 2018, 11:04 am

    Wow Morgan……I guess I’m the exception, but then again I’m pretty exceptional. Not ONCE in your post did you say that every domain in existence today was first hand registered….hmmmmm??? Question for you….is everyone a FOOL who first hand registered a domain name? If that’s the case, most industry leaders today are fools, and that would most likely include you.
    Most everyone reading this know my business background and experience. I don’t just randomly buy domains and hope and pray that someone will find them. I hand register names with a particular “end user” in mind, and I have a plan for how they’re to be sold/marketed.

    Regardless of what you or anyone else may think, I’ve accumulated a decent portfolio of names that are industry specific, and other names that are pretty incredible like IncredibleFlorida(.)com.
    Take a second and check out the website IncredibleIndia(.)com, and just maybe you’ll understand why I hand registered “Incredible Florida”.

    That’s all I got Morgan, other than I’ve been at this less than a year and I’m getting better and smarter at this every day, much to the chagrin of the typical domainer.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share my 2 cents Morgan…Cheers!

    Richard Morris aka Bulloney

    • Snoopy August 23, 2018, 4:03 pm

      Richard, you are not an exception. You just don’t realise yet that the names you’ve registered are not worth anything.

    • domainee August 23, 2018, 7:32 pm

      IncredibleIndia flows well off the tongue and has a website… IncredibleFlorida has neither. I would prefer FantasticFlorida.

      • Richard Morris aka Bulloney August 23, 2018, 10:43 pm

        I don’t disagree there either, but names like incredibleindia and fantasticflorida are already taken. IncredibleFlorida(.)com isn’t bad, especially considering how “incredible” florida truly is. From a pure business perspective Florida’s economy is so huge, there’s plenty of room for major industry sponsors like the Golf Industry, the Entertainment Industry (Orlando/Disney), the beach/surf/fishing industry, the worlds largest retirement industry, etc. Any of these industries that believe Florida is truly incredible are prospects I intend to target.

        What I’ve learned is, there are domainers who can be critical of any domain/name idea. I’ve also learned to consider the source and the motives behind the critique…..Cheers!

        • Sigma August 24, 2018, 7:43 am


          There are no participation trophies in domain speculation. There are those making sells and those accumulating renewal fees in the hopes of one day making sells; which are you?

          Few domainers will ever make a sell. Good luck.

        • Morgan August 24, 2018, 11:30 am

          @Richard, I responded to your comment below if you want to take a look./

  • @domains August 23, 2018, 11:07 am

    I would agree if you’re just starting out that hand regging a bunch of domains without getting educated on what makes a domain name valuable is a bad idea. However, once you do get more information and have a better idea, I wouldn’t totally count out hand registrations. There are always new words, terms, acronyms, slang, etc, coming out every year, and if you’re one of the first to recognize it then you could hand register some valuable domains. There are so many places, languages, businesses, situations and so on in the world that it’s impossible for anyone to know about all of them, and it’s always changing. Turning a hand reg into $500, $1000 or $2500 is by no means impossible and there are examples over the years of people who’ve done much better. Hand registrations are just another way to possibly get good domains, along with buying in the aftermarket, drop auctions, and contacting owners.

    • Bob August 23, 2018, 11:47 pm

      Absolutely agree with your comment especially with proper research, top keywords, close or latest trends & technologies, etc. I have already done quite well with some good sales of hand-registered domains over the years but now strictly limited to two-word dot-coms only and also with great help from GoDaddy free domain values & appraisals, though I do know they may not give the real or actual amounts as they are just very much depending on what price they are willing to pay.

    • AbdulBasit Makrani August 24, 2018, 2:03 am

      Very well said! Couldn’t agree more.

  • JZ August 23, 2018, 12:04 pm

    I managed once to sell a hand reg for 35k. That was extremely lucky though. I managed to reg the name after hearing about something on the news and was up early enough to beat others to it. Yes, there are exceptions but by and large hand reg domains are not going to be the road to success.

    Before hugedomains it used to be possible to hand reg the odd half decent dropped domain but they’ve virtually put an end to that.

  • Nick August 23, 2018, 12:16 pm

    EVERY domain name is a hand reg name. 🙂

    I have have made my earnings from 100% hand-reg names since 2000 and I do fine. In the programming world this is like hearing “COBOL is a dying programming language” (since the 80’s). Meanwhile it runs billion dollar banks, oil companies, and more – and its still going strong.

    There are way too many hand reg successes to stop registering “at 2am” 🙂 Just read namepros and you’ll see.

  • Logan August 23, 2018, 1:06 pm

    Y’all — to review, Morgan said, “…if you’re just getting started in the domain world, don’t make the same mistake that most new investors make.”

    Yes, of course, one can hand register domain names today and sell them for a profit. For example, we hand regged and sold SmartConveyance.com earlier this year for $4,375. The point is NEWBIES should not be trying to hand register names. They are NEW to this field of investing. They do not know what they do not know and will thus lose a lot of money on “pigeon shit” domain names.

    More experienced investors, yes, can hand reg names and sell a name on occasion, just as we did. It takes EXPERIENCE to do so, however. A NEWBIE trying to hand register names in hopes of selling them at a profit is indeed a FOOL, just as me, Morgan, and Andrew found out when we each first started out in this field.

    • Morgan August 24, 2018, 11:29 am

      Well said @Logan and spot on!

    • Richard Morris aka Bulloney August 26, 2018, 2:33 am

      Sorry for pontificating so much about hand registering domains, but this is such a hot topic for me, I just can’t help myself. Morgans thread/post here combined with his previous post titled California.com has inspired/motivated me to register four new domains in less than 72 hours;

      Maybe the best of the four is the one I hand registered just a few minutes ago; WordInvesting(.)com. What got to me thinking about this name is how few people in the world today even know what a domain is. Here is how one registrar describes a domain;

      ” Numbers are great for a computer, but it’s easier for hedgehogs (and people) to use “words” they can remember. The “words” used to identify a website are known as the domain or URL, and like the IP address, they’re unique to each website.

      Regardless of what domain critics might say, WORDS or a combination of words make up 90% plus of domains registered in the world. This got me to thinking about domain investing and how I might attract investors. To add value to my new domain, it should be noted that certain “words” or combination of “words” can also be trademarked. In it’s purest form, investing in words is investing in Intellectual Property. As such, I consider any domain purchased as intellectual property.

      Finally, GD where I hand registered WordInvesting(.)com appraises it for $1,456. Critics will say it’s a waste of $8.47….comments appreciated. Thanks

      • CulminantDomain February 18, 2021, 8:15 am

        I notice that wordinvesting/com is available and has increased to 1530. Any good news?

        • Todd Peterson April 24, 2021, 9:40 am

          I just checked all of the 4 domains that “Richard Morris” bought in 2018. As I type this, it is April 24th, 2021. 3 of the domains that he bought are now expired and can be purchased by anyone. The final domain is expiring soon.

          So….I agree with Richard, in that, those were great “sounding” domains. But…having bought upwards of 2,000 domains that went the same way….I am not one to make a comment, other than….I also had to learn the hard way, and that the advice of experts who have been in the industry should most often be heeded…and for good reason.

  • Scott August 23, 2018, 1:18 pm

    I have to ‘partly’ disagree here.

    Absolutely, for newcomers to domaining, it is advisable to never go on a domain regging spree before you’ve learned enough to give yourself a good idea of what sells, and that takes a great deal of time. I also agree that one shouldn’t expect to get rich off of hand registered domains.

    However, if you follow trends and technologies closely, you can often buy domains at the ground level before anyone else. I too have mostly hand registered domains and have done well for the last 15 years.

    Take crypto for instance. If you were reading Google News religiously a few years ago, you would have noticed “crypto”, “token”, “ICO” and “altcoin” becoming big terms and would have registered accordingly. Many who did flipped some of those names for healthy profits… including me.

    The secret is knowing what types of names to buy… keywords, etc, … and not going “all in” on anything. Be very selective, and only grab a handful of the very best you can find.

    I can agree when Rosener says it’s a gamble… it absolutely is, but if you know what you’re doing and put in the research, it’s an educated gamble.

    Spending money in the aftermarket is almost always better if you can afford it, but you have to already know what you’re doing.

    • Richard Morris aka Bulloney August 24, 2018, 4:26 am

      I’ll admit to having gone a little domain crazy at first, but it’s been a tremendous learning experience. I’ve been a business guy and an investor all my life, and the 10-12K i spent hand registering domains was well worth my time, and yes….the entertainment. Domainers here who have never started or named a business in their lives called me crazy which only encouraged me even more. They insinuated I would be stuck with these names the rest of my life, when in fact I won’t be renewing from 70 to 80% of them.

      The one thing I would recommend, if you are to hand reg names, is that you carve out a niche or two or three where you already have some experience. I have a lot of experience in financial services, healthcare, most sports (golf especially), travel (domestic and international) and life in general.

      While I’ve learned a lot by using tools like Namebio and GD’s appraisal and comparable domains features, I’ve also learned a lot about word power. The word “Incredible” is just one example, and if you were to Google “Incredible Florida” you would see what I mean. Combine this with the fact that I’ve traveled all over Florida, owned a condo in Florida, been to Disney several times and still vacation there, you might understand why I own the domain !ncredibleFlorida(.)com. Sure it may not be as good as Florida(.)com or FantasticFlorida(.)com or even VisitFlorida(.)com, but it’s good just the same.

      Finally, while were talking about “incredible” domains of which I own a dozen or so at a cost of $120, I have a list of about a hundred !ncredibleNames(.)com that are available that I intend to research more thoroughly. Some of them could make a good name for a resaurant like Incredible Ribs, and others could be used to market/sell products online like Incredible Diamonds.

      Thanks again Morgan for pointing out what an !ncredible fool I’ve been…..Cheers!

  • Zev August 23, 2018, 3:54 pm

    Lol, new people – please reread the article, you’re missing the point. (Yes u are new people).

  • Snoopy August 23, 2018, 4:10 pm

    It is extremely difficult to make anything from hand registered names. Pretty much every imaginable term has been registered 5 times over by other domain investors, its like searching for money in junk yard.

    Different story for those who got in a long time ago. Today though the vast majority of businesses are already online and domain registration volumes are getting closer to “the peak”. The chances of finding an undiscovered gem is low.

    • Richard Morris aka Bulloney August 23, 2018, 4:50 pm

      Snoopy…are you one of my antagonists and critics from down under? I’m not sure if it’s ignorance or arrogance but, NOT “every imaginable term has been registered 5 times over by other domain investors” Only an IncredibleFool(.)com would make such a comment.

      Over 50% of the posters here agree that hand registering domains has merit. Just because you’re not creative doesn’t mean others aren’t. For example, I suck at golf and I’ll be the first to admit it. However, I luv the game, thus I play. There are times in a round I hit a golf ball every bit as good as the Pro’s on tour, and that’s what keeps me coming back. Plus, I luv the comradery and it never lets me down. Do you play golf Snoopy? Have you ever been to Florida?

      Finally…i don’t think you’ve been paying attention. I’ve been at this game for about a year, and I’ve had every bit as much fun at this as I’ve had at playing golf. Thus far, I’ve covered my nut, if you know what that means, and I’m just getting started. You sir have offered a newbie like myself absolutely nothing of value, but that hasn’t stopped me from learning. There’s still a lot of opportunity in this business “if” you’re creative, you know how to sell, and you’re willing to take a “little” risk.

      Keep the insults coming Snoopy…they make me even more determined. Cheers!

      • Bold Beluga October 30, 2020, 7:56 am

        Hello Richard,

        I agree with you absolutely. I am new to naming and entered this exciting industry by chance. I have been a 10-year blogger in the healthcare industry and have created names for blogs, taglines, websites, etc. that I used personally. I have studied the science of naming, even read studies on why hard consonant sounds perform better than soft consonants in names (interesting).

        It seems crazy to read that hand registering is a fool’s game. Every name ever created was hand registered as you say. I think the fools are the ones that enter the game for money and only money. No experience, and they jump in, create awful names, with no understanding for the industry and expect to get rick. FOOL!

        I am not such a fool. I look the creativity of names. I love words. All combinations of words are no where near gone or taken. There are plenty of amazing names waiting to be created. I have created several hundred. But I’m smart enough to have only purchased a few, while I learn this game.

        I registered posturevideos.com long before posture was even a thing in healthcare. It was my first domain sale just a few months ago on Flippa (plus the accompanying digital assets). I sold it for $52k. Not bad for a hand registering newbie.

        I’ll be back!

  • Reggie Me August 23, 2018, 6:49 pm

    Lots of hand reg names still available that make sence. Its when you get drunk and start registering crap .today thinking you know it all. You have to troll here now you got the boots from namepros. Will say the newbies are making huge errors you can tell by looking at namepros

  • Mark Thorpe August 24, 2018, 5:20 am

    It’s not a fools game, it’s a selective game.
    You can hand register some domains and sell them, you just have to know which ones to buy.
    Like Crypto domains, Cannabis domains and so on.
    Buy the future, not the past.

  • Spike August 24, 2018, 7:49 am

    What a narrow-minded viewpoint! These days, you just need to be smart and evaluate many avenues for profit-producing domain acquisition opportunities (e.g., acquiring domains from end users, auctions, hand reg, deals with other domainers). To say one of these avenues no longer has any merit is completely off base. I make money with hand regs. So do other people as described above and other places. It may not be in your business model, but it is in ours because it is…well, still profitable.

  • Morgan August 24, 2018, 11:27 am

    @Richard – thanks for your comment but I’m confused, you said “Wow Morgan……I guess I’m the exception”

    Does this mean that you’ve been able to build up a profitable business buying and selling hand registered domains? If so I’d love to hear more about how you did it!

  • Suhail August 25, 2018, 12:46 am

    Anyway, I bought a domain http://www.gccpro.com and listed it on godaddy Auction , I hope someone will need it with in 10 years.

  • Richard Morris aka Bulloney August 25, 2018, 12:49 am

    Morgan….i’ve found in life, there are as many ways to succeed in business as there are ways to fail. While I’m relatively new to the domain game, I’ve started, named, bought and sold over 25 businesses in my lifetime, and I can point to five of those businesses that are still in business today.

    Prior to finding myself in the domain business about a year ago, I’d hand registered just two domains; ContactUSA(.)com, a name that I registered around 1998 for a business I started in 1993, and MakeSomethingHappen(.)com a name I registered September 1, 2001. Morgan, My Mantra is; “Make Something Happen”, and I’ve used the domain by that name for my personal email address for the last 17 years.

    Morgan…as with every business I’ve started, I have a certain vision for how that business might look 3, 5 and maybe 10 years down the road. At 70 years young, I felt I didn’t have the time to selectively buy a handful of names, then list them with the likes of Sedo etc., and hope and pray they sell sometime in the future. I’m a take charge sort of guy, and I felt domaining the “old fashioned way” is the real “FOOLS” game. Hence, I started hand registering domains that met a certain criteria I felt I could sell to “end users”. You may recall, I’ve had experience starting and operating businesses in the financial services industry, the healthcare industry, and even in the residential and commercial real estate industries. In addition, I’ve led a pretty active life being involved in sports (golf in particular), travel (US and around the world), and charities like Kiwanis, who’s motto is “Serving the Children of the World”

    Finally, I’ve had several friends/investors who have invested in me and Domain Imagination, LLC by buying a small percent of my company, and by owning an interest in several domain names that we intend to develop together. I’m still looking for a technical partner who can help develop my domain marketplace, and help me to get the exposure I need to sell domains to the “end user” markets.

    And just one more thing…the very same domainers who refer to hand registering as a “fools game” also believe carving out a “niche” in new TLD’s like .Golf, .Club, .LLC etc. is also a fools game. Morgan, as an entrepreneur for 50 years, I’m all about risk vs. reward. I see the 10-12K I’ve invested in a portfolio of hand registered domains that appraise for over 1.2M to be, BY FAR the absolute best investment I’ve made in my lifetime.

    My Mantra, “Make Something Happen”

  • Richard Morris aka Bulloney August 25, 2018, 1:46 am

    I just this minute hand registered the domain;
    Can anyone speculate why I may have done such a foolish thing at 4:40AM EST?
    Hint: Millions of Retirees from all over the world dream of spending their last days on earth in Florida. Can anyone think of another reason? Thanks

  • John Ferns August 25, 2018, 8:36 am

    I hand registered my first domain vinylalbum.com in 2001. It was my love of records not for reselling that I bought it. Started hand registering short 5 letter names in 2006 because shorter is better. I watched the drop and could find a few good ones almost every day. Now it is rare to find a good 5 letter in the drop. I’m still selling those names. Sometimes a couple of them a month and sometimes I go for months without a sale but they do sell to end users. All the domains I own were hand regs but very very hard to do in 2018.

    • Richard Morris aka Bulloney August 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

      John….congrats on your success hand registering domains. Like you, I hand registered MakeSomethingHappen.com way back in 2001, but I didn’t even know what domaining was then. I luv the fact you recognized a niche with “5” letter domains back in the day, and you’ve been profiting from it ever since. While you said you would “find a couple of good ones from the drop list every day”, I guess that doesn’t qualify for hand registering, but it did get my attention.

      Just today I’ve hand registered two new domains that tie into a theme/niche regarding Florida and Retirement I’m cultivating. They are; FloridaHeaven(.)com, RetiretoHeaven(.)com. Not only is Florida the #1 retirement destination of anywhere in the world, with Disney and it’s Beaches, I believe Florida may also be one of the most popular tourist destinations.

      Anyone remember a popular TV series from back in the eighties called, “Highway to Heaven”? I knew that domain probably wasn’t available to hand register, but RetiretoHeaven(.)com was. Few domainers today would understand why it might be a good domain, but this fool knows better.

      Finally, while relatively new to domaining, I still see lots of opportunity to sell domains to not just “end users”, but also to potential investors. When single word .coms like “Florida” and “Heaven” appraise for 1.14M and 637K respectively, I think there’s a chance I may be able to attract an investor or two who might have an interest in owning, FloridaHeaven(.)com.

      Thanks for sharing John…Cheers from an “Ol Fool”

      • John Ferns August 25, 2018, 2:46 pm

        If you don’t already try using expireddomains.net. it is free and shows the drop live everyday at 2pm EST. You can search the names a lot of different ways by keyword or search volume and many different other ways..

  • Ken Summerville August 25, 2018, 10:09 am

    I hand registered NationalShowTickets.com and it’s doing pretty well and I get offers all the time to buy it so there are opportunities out there and there is a price I would consider as well. Best wishes to everyone.

  • Richard Morris aka Bulloney November 11, 2018, 1:56 am

    Morgan…thanks for bringing this thread up again. Since the last post here August 25th by John Ferns, I’ve probably hand registered another 200 plus domains, the best of which is probably the domain that will become my Marketplace website; DomainGourmet™. I hand reg’d this name about a month ago to replace names like DomainImaginaton™ and DomainOriginator™ that I’d reg’d earlier for my marketplace. Since hand regging DomainGourmet™ (btw, I had an “insult” offer to buy it from me for $250 from another NamePros member) I’ve hand regg’d DomainBlackMarket™ (provoked by Verisigns slamming of this industry), and just last night I hand registered Domainiasm™ (where the landing page will explain the “iasm” means “I am sold myself”), and DomainGreed™ that’s suppose to be a lead generation site to attract attention to DomainBlackMarket™ where consumers and “end users” will hear a personal message from me about the domain industry. And speaking of domains registered just as “bait” to attract leads to another site, I registered; IntellectualPropertySale™ and BuyIntellectualProperty™ as lead generators to my new Marketplace site DomainGourmet™. In case anyone reading this doesn’t know, a domain name is “Intellectual Property”, and once I’ve become the sole owner of that domain, I immediately take advantage of that fact by telling the world that I lay claim to it by putting a “tm” next to the name for every domain I own. I realized I could do this about 18 months ago, and I’ll gladly explain how and why for anyone who would like to know.

    Morgan, the majority of the domain industry is outraged over my behavior, and I could give a rats ass. I know I own a portfolio of decent domain names (all of which I’ve hand registered), and the fact that I have a plan to take them directly to market/ “end users” is nCredulous™ to the domain community. Afterall, like I’ve been trying to tell the domain community, NO “end users” have ever heard of the likes of Sedo, Undeveloped, Uniregistry, Flippa or Afternic. And while these seller/brokers may sell domains for other domainers, it’s unlikely they’ll sell any of mine with the exception of Go Daddy for reasons I’ve explained ad infinitum.

    Finally, since my business model calls for taking domains directly to end users, I will eventually be offering an “option” brokerage service to domainers who aren’t moving domains via the likes of a Sedo or a Uniregistry…afterall, who has ever heard of them beside you and me, and the very very small population of comsumers calling themselves “domainers”

    Happy Veterans Day to all the Veterans out there who have served my country. And, I’ll leave you all with this…I registered the domain RaceRhetoric™ for a site that I would like to use for ALL concerned to tone down the rhetoric in my country….it’s out of control from the right and the left, and I sincerely hope anyone reading this isn’t part of the problem. However, you can be part of the solution if you choose to be. God Bless!!!


  • Dhirender August 21, 2021, 3:29 am

    Hand registered domains always worked in past and will work in the future too. I make around 50K per year by selling mostly Hand registered domain names.
    Not everyone can be Domain king or Mike Mann. So it still works pretty well.

  • SiteData.org September 4, 2021, 5:30 pm

    As trends and industries change, never-before heard-of technologies and concepts and industries are given new unique names as they are created/discovered/recognized.

    If these are unique and new names, the likelihood of being able to dropcatch or register expired domains will be low, since these terms did not have their current meanings, until recently.

    Also, I think end-clients are often interested in current trends and brandable names, which can often be hand-registered.


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