Will Domainers ever be able to shake the “Squatters” label?

Not a week goes by that I don’t hear from a friend of mine in the startup world that a “squatter” as the domain name they want for their company. I usually respond the same way every time, “Oh, so you mean you Trademarked the name, started using it for your company, and someone read about it and bought the name?”

After a confused pause they usually respond, “No, we just thought of the name yesterday, but someone’s squatting on it and wants way too much for it.”

This is usually where I explain the difference between a squatter and an investor, pop over to DNJournal and show them domain sales and also usually spill the beans that I’ve been investing in domains for over a decade. Most of the time, after about thirty minutes and hopefully a beer, they start to see the light and realize the person who bought the domain name ten years before they thought of the name is an investor, not a squatter.

But I’ll be honest – it’s exhausting explaining this over and over again and it’s always been a struggle for me and many other Domainers. We’re all passionate about domain investing but the vast majority of people put domain investors in the same category as scammers and patent trolls.

For this to change I think there will need to be more broad-based media coverage on domain investing as a real investment strategy. What’s crazy is DOGE, a memecoin that’s just pure speculative gambling, is getting coverage on every major news outlet and is heralding people who max out credit cards to get into DOGE. People who yell, “buy the dip” on Reddit every time DOGE drops are looked at as inspirational to new investors all over the world but domain investors that spend a decade analyzing the market and buying valuable digital assets are looked at as shady characters in the Internet underworld.

Am I being dramatic, sure, a bit. At the same time, I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they don’t want their family and friends to know they’re a domain investor, yet everyone who buys DOGE brags everyone about how they’re a crypto investor and gets accolades for it.

I hope this changes, but it’s going to be tough and there’s a long road ahead. I’m a proud Domainer, when I used to go the gym (remember gyms?) I would sport a #Domainer shirt. But I also end up spending quite a bit of time explaining to people what a Domainer is, and how it’s different from squatting. In six month DOGE gamblers have earned the moniker “investor” for news outlets around the world, can we get there with Domaining?

Feels like it must be possible right? What do you think? Will Domainers ever be able to shake the squatter label? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Logan May 12, 2021, 9:32 am

    I used to worry about others’ use of the moniker of “squatter” but now I no longer do.

    First, I actively try to avoid trademarks when and where I can to mitigate bona fide cybersquatting, of which most others fail to understand the legal definition.

    Second, I realized that most of the moniker use arises from jealousy, envy, and a false sense of entitlement by the moniker user, who is reacting emotionally, not rationally, to their outsider predicament or the market price of something about which they have yet to research the market. So, really, their feelings behind the moniker are on them, not me. It’s their own poor choice of word used during what is likely a conniption fit. I am just the owner of an asset minding my own business.

    Third, I try really hard to invest in domain names that only a large, corporate end user or well-funded startup end user would want and could afford to buy to make millions or even billions with it over the next 5 to 10 years. Should I care what a small mom-and-pop business owner or a not-so-well-funded startup founder (that is 95% likely to go out of business within 5 years anyway) thinks about my ownership of a good, quality domain name that they covet? Ultimately, they are not a real buyer of my asset, so their feelings, thoughts, and opinions about my asset and my ownership of it have no real impact on the outcome of my investment in the domain name. It’s just noise. I am focused on signal – real buyers, real transactions, real returns on investment upon allocating scarce capital in a global market for digital assets.

    Now, the moniker “domainer” I dislike because it cheapens what domain investors do. We are deep, deep value investors paying $100s or even less for digital assets and then selling them months or years or decades later for $1,000s, $10,000s, $100,000s, and even $1,000,000s. We see value where others do not and we get rewarded for taking on the risks of holding onto a portfolio of highly illiquid domain names for multiple years. Value investors in portfolios of stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. do the same thing and do not call themselves “stockers”, “bonders” or “realies”. They call themselves investors. Domain investors should always do the same to have respect in themselves, which they need to have before they can expect the same respect from others.

    Reply
    • Emeka May 12, 2021, 9:42 am

      Logan you have said it all .There you go ,Morgan.

      Thank you.

      Reply
    • Morgan May 13, 2021, 3:28 pm

      Logan – this is so well said I think it’s only fair to share it in it’s own post because this is really one of the best answers I’ve ever seen to this question. In short – you rock Logan!

      Reply
  • Mike Sallese May 12, 2021, 12:05 pm

    Logan is spot on! Great summary!

    Mike

    Reply
  • Alan Dodd May 12, 2021, 4:29 pm

    At root, it’s an emotive rather than logical or rational response to the situation we find ourselves in. But just because one party is being emotive, does that mean you should stop being rational?

    Reply
  • Mark Thorpe May 12, 2021, 5:07 pm

    Cry me a river. Good Domain Investors are just smarter than most people. Forward thinkers.

    Reply
  • Rob May 12, 2021, 7:23 pm

    There is always a flip side to consider. Here is a true story about a “premium” domain I was watching.

    Over a decade ago I wanted a domain name, three words with a plural. It was offered on a well known domain site. The asking price was around $1500, and over the years it crept upwards. This domain was marketed as “premium”, and the large, very well known domain investor with massive portfolio held it for about 15 years. Then one day I still had a watch on it and was told it would be dropped. Sure enough it did (I wasn’t interested in it any more by that time) and a well known drop catcher got it. It went straight up for sale at about $3500! After a year the asking price dropped to $2500. Then a year later it was dropped again. I think someone hand regged it sometime afterwards.

    Also note that the singular of this domain was/is being held by another huge and well known domainer, I think at least 15 years too, with only the one offer I made over a decade ago. Even at the minimum offer set to about $500 and sub $1000 BIN price nobody has been interested all this time.

    We are talking about big players here who held this “premium” domain. How can they get it so wrong? Sure, there are some domains that for whatever reason get a huge offer. But many of the domains being held are average or mediocre, yet they ask and hold out for lottery style offers, often which they will never get. And as many domainers and domain bloggers have stated, at least once a year it is good to go through your inventory and clean out the rubbish – translation: they are overpriced/overrated and not worth keeping even for the reg fee.

    I get that many really good domains sell for really good money, but many of those held are not really that good and not worth the asking price. Even the best domainers in the world can get this wrong, quite often apparently. So I can often see where this “squatter” tag comes from.

    Of course there is the flip side again (the original side)… where my 4 letter dot coms get unsolicited offers of $25… FFS.

    Reply

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