I am excited to share my latest flip with all of you which I think does a great job of illustrating how much opportunity there still is in this space, even if you’re starting out this year. I’ve heard far too many people say, “all the good names are taken” or “the top guys bought all domains in the 90’s so there’s no opportunities for the rest of us.” This just isn’t true, in fact I think the opportunities are only growing as are the tools for finding them. Opportunity is everywhere, you just have to know where to look, and what to look for.
First let’s get the raw numbers and dates out in the open. I purchased Summon.com for $3,500 in February of this year from an end-user who had owned it for some time. The name didn’t expire, and wasn’t for sale on any major marketplaces, I sought it out myself because I liked the name and wanted to use it for a project.
This first step is one that’s important to highlight that I think many new Domain Investors miss. Yes, there are some great opportunities in the expired domain market, auctions, etc. but there are also plenty of great names, taken by normal people, who could sell them for a price far below what you’d buy them for on the open market. Finding these isn’t easy but tools like DomainTools can make it possible and honestly without DomainTools I don’t think this deal would have happened because I would have never emailed the owner in the first place.
DomainTools can save you a lot of time by showing you how many other domains a person owns. Someone that has hundreds or thousands of domains is most-likely an investor so expecting a rock-bottom or even fair price is usually out of the question. Couple this with the monitoring and research tools they offer and you should see why $50 is absolutely nothing for what they offer.
I was looking at a number of different domain options for this project, wanted a one-word .COM, and wanted something I could get for a fair price. I looked at ten names and Summon.com was the only one that wasn’t owned by someone with a zillion other domains, so I sent the owner an email. We discussed pricing and he said he’d be happy with $3,500, a few days later I was the proud owner of the name.
As my team started working on the project, offers started to come in on the domain at the rate of about 2-3/week. Most were low-ball offers but I always responded politely ince you never know who your buyer is. I’ve heard many stories of offers starting at $500 and ending in the six-figure range so I’ve learned never to be rude to anyone making an offer, plus I’m a nice guy so it’s really just not my style.
In April an offer came in for $2,000 and after a bit of negotiation I was able to get the buyer up to $20,000. He wasn’t able to pay it all right away but said he could put a down-payment in May 1st and pay the rest off over the next few months. I put together a contract, we both signed it and that was it, I was certain I had sold the domain for $20,000. May 1st came along and no first payment, so I emailed the buyer, no response. Send another email on May 2nd, still no response. By May 5th I realized this buyer, despite being great at the initial communication and signing a contract just dropped off the face of the planet.
By this point the team was working on other projects and I had the name listed on Sedo and Afternic so I decided to wait until the next offer came in. Then, two weeks ago I was contacted by Rich Green from Afternic, there was a buyer and after a bit of negotiation we settled on $17,500.
Afternic has been my favorite domain listing service for three reasons; they have a huge network so your domain gets in front of millions of eyeballs, their transfer process is always smooth, and most importantly they hire great people like Rich who go above and beyond. From the moment the offer came in Rich was on it with prompt communication and excellent follow-up. I was able to call him on the phone and immediately get him on the line, this kind of peace of mind is why Afternic is #1 in my book, they hire great people like Rich.
The payment and transfer process with incredibly smooth and I was excited to see Summon.com as the #1 reported sale from Afternic last week, a first for me! Posts like this is what my blog was created for, to share my experiences in the Domain Investing world with all of you. I hope this post shows many of the new investors out there that the opportunity in 2012 is still huge, you just have to take the time to do the research and buy quality names.
Thanks for reading and as always I welcome your comments, comment and let your voice be heard!