Three Ways To Clean The Junk Out Of Your Portfolio

Every week I get a constant stream of email from people asking me to evaluate their domains. I have no complaints about this and really appreciate all of my readers who reach-out to me for advice. Over the years the advice I give has evolved as my own understanding of the industry has changed. I’ve been quick to let people know that there are much bigger experts than me and that the best I can do is advise based on my own experiences.

Still I see a lot of the same mistakes being made and oftentimes by the time someone makes it to me they are deep in the mud. So I’m still happy to field these emails and give advice but I thought it would be good to provide all of you with a quick and dirty method to trimming down your portfolio and focusing on what you have that is of value.

As someone that has dropped a ton of bad domain investments over the last few years I know how hard this can be…but it’s a necessary step if you want a real investment portfolio rather than just a collection of domains. If you’re sending emails around to people saying, “I need money quick, looking to sell my whole portfolio,” then you’re in a bad situation and selling your whole portfolio usually isn’t the answer, and in most cases won’t happen because many of the domains may be liabilities not assets.

So if you’re drowning in domains and renewal fees it’s time to come to terms with the fact that you’ve made some bad investments, drop the junk, and focus on building a strong portfolio. As someone that has been where you are (and still doesn’t have it perfect!) I can tell you this isn’t something you can wait to do, the time to change is now!

  1. Start by dropping expensive ccTLDs that aren’t making any money. Do you think that .ES is going to take-off someday? Like me do you think .IN and .CO.IN have huge potential? Having a dream is great but making money is more important. I’m not saying to drop all your ccTLD domains but when you’re looking at renewal fees in the $20+ range it’s important to make sure you’re only keeping the premium names. Some of the best advice I’ve had here came from my interview with Ron Jackson in January of 2010. When talking about ccTLDs Ron emphasized the importance of having premium keywords. If you don’t own category-killer ccTLDs then drop them, and remember not all one-word domains are category-killers. If I have the Spanish word for “Stairs” in .MX or .ES is that really a premium keyword? I’d much rather have the Spanish word for “Hotel” or “Car”. I see too many people with ccTLD portfolios with plenty of one-word names but they either aren’t in the native language of the country or aren’t keywords that are premium.
  2. Are you really going to develop that domain? The next step is to go through your portfolio and look at those domains that you’ve tried to sell but never had any luck but are holding onto because you want to develop. Now it’s time to get real – you can’t develop all of your names, in fact you probably won’t be able to do a good job developing even ten of your domains. Development takes money unless you yourself want to muck around with HTML, CSS, PHP and Photoshop but then you’ve created a job not a business. The problem is most Domainers don’t want to invest money into a domain that isn’t making any money, but they do want the domain to be developed and making money. If you don’t have a budget of at least $1,000 – $2,000 for development and you aren’t going to develop the name yourself, let it drop. Obviously this doesn’t apply to category killer names or anything with great resale value. What this does apply to is all those domains that you’re saying would sell for a fortune if they were developed. Put your money where your mouth is or let it drop because all the $500 mini-sites in the world won’t bring you the revenue you’re looking for.
  3. When in doubt stick with .COM. This is a mistake I made and I’ve brought it up a few times on my blog now. I should have invested more in .COM domains from the very beginning. However through a great learning experience I had the epiphany and now just about everything I’m buying is a .COM and many were registered 5-10 years ago. If you don’t care about resale value and really want to develop in a niche that you have a .NET or .ORG in stick with it if you’re going to actually follow through. If you’re looking to sell your domains stay laser-focused on .COM’s as everything else is a risk right now. I still develop on my .US, .NET, and .ORG domains but I don’t even think about resale value with these because I know the liquidity is in the .COM market along with the highest sale prices. This doesn’t mean you should keep every .COM in your portfolio, still focus on the good names that are either making you money or getting offers – if it’s not making any money and nobody wants to buy it, why the heck do you want to keep it so badly?

Now that I look at this list I realized I could have gone on and on, and on however I think these three points are a good starting place. If you’d like a more in-depth guide you can review my 2011 Guide to Dropping Your Domains which I published back in January – I’ve listed each step below:

Is your Domain Portfolio Junk? 2011 Guide to Dropping your Domains – Part 1

Is your Domain Portfolio Junk? 2011 Guide to Dropping your Domains – Part 2

Is your Domain Portfolio Junk? 2011 Guide to Dropping your Domains – Part 3

This three part series will run you through a very data-driven way to review your portfolio and drop your names. The three steps I explain in my post today is a much more high-level way to look at your portfolio and really come to terms with what you need to part with. It might not be easy but if you’re just a collector, now is the time to become an investor!


{ 7 comments… add one }

  • TeenDomainer March 16, 2011, 10:55 am

    Nice advice and if a name is not making money let it go. If its a name you picked up for reg fee and thought about developing let it go and buy some better names.

  • Michael March 16, 2011, 10:56 am

    Great post Morgan. I certainly needed this. I still struggle a bit with letting go, but the renewal fees add up and so do the losses when you become emotionally attached. Thanks for the motivation to just let the crap drop!


  • Vexicore Media March 16, 2011, 1:25 pm

    Good advise! This is exactly what I am doing at the moment. It was hard at first, but after seeing how much it would cost to renew them made it much easier for me.

  • Kev March 16, 2011, 6:32 pm

    As usual your advice triggers ideas and actions. Ever since your guide to dropping domains earlier this year, I have dropped over 50 names so far and pretty much made back the registration fees on them. Holding on to useless domain names proved to be an expensive hobby so I’m shaving off as we speak.

    How do you recommend getting rid of unwanted domains?

  • todaro March 16, 2011, 8:18 pm

    i don’t know. next thing you’ll be telling us that fat girls are not sexy..

  • theo March 17, 2011, 1:52 pm

    When it comes to ccTLD’s you best try to register them at some local registrar.

    .ES can be bought and renewed for like 4.50 Euro’s or lower.
    .BE 2.99 or lower.
    .DE round 4
    .NL between 3.5 and 4 if you shop smart.
    .IN round 8 usd, renewal the same.

    Register the native language domain names ? Yeah the only right advise for sure. Tho a few english ones do not hurt if you manage to register them.

    Always check what the renewal fee’s are. .PL is offered real low at some places but the renewal will hit your wallet if your not paying attention.

  • Don March 23, 2011, 9:33 pm

    Very articulate article. My answer is I wait 25 days @ Godaddy VIP. I let the laser light of truth beam on in to the pocket lint and see what she tells me. I have personally had hand registered names for 5 years that were great and because I never listed them anywhere nor attempted to sell ended up dropping. Ouch! That’s worse than the drop itself!


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