The weekends are normally a time where I spend a few hours simply thinking. It allows me to reflect over the week, but even better than that it helps me position my mind for what to expect in the near future. There are a few things going on, that I wanted to share with you. A few of these things prove, that you don’t have to stop domain investing once you throw on your full time job jacket.
I’ve done reflection posts in the past, which focused on summarizing my entire week into one blog entry. I liked that format, but wanted to go a little further by summarizing a few things and sharing a few of my thoughts at the same time. Lets get right into my first Saturday’s Food For Thought post and hopefully this will be something that I can keep up with on a weekly basis.
I’m in the process of planning another Southern California Domainers meetup. I’ve been talking with a few people about changing the formatting for it, with the objective of making it less formal and more fun. The idea would be to have an informal gathering of minds, share a few drinks and give way for members to network among themselves. I also want to improve the frequency of the events, so everyone is given the chance to attend them. You’ll definitely hear more about this within the next month or two.
The game plan has changed and I am now actively investing in domains again. I decided to pick back up once once I made another sale. This sale occurred occurred on June 7th and I have been actively participating in the domain aftermarket since then. I’ve picked up some great names, some of which will end up in the flip bucket. There are some amazing deals and along with that tends to be increased competition on the aftermarket side. That brings me to my next thought.
Whether it be an increase in Help Wanted ads or a new flurry of investors bidding for names on auction sites. There seems to be more people bidding at GoDaddy Auctions. What used to be my little secret has now become commercial, where some of the names are shooting up so fast you have to make sure that you place your bids strategically. I’ve been a big fan of GoDaddy for quite some time. I could care less what the old founder used to do on his off time. Once thing you can’t argue with is he created an incredible company, one which serves as the blood line for many domain investors.
Flippa has turned into more than just an anomaly for me. It has actually proven itself. I can expect to sell names on Flippa that I haven’t necessarily had great luck selling anywhere else. I am a firm believer that the site is just going to get better, especially with the new pricing plan it has adopted for those of us who want to create a site and flip it within the same month. You can list a new site on Flippa for only $9. I really hope they end up developing a new pricing structure for domain only listings. I would post listings on the site more frequently if they ended up doing that.
Don’t forget to reach out to those end-users! This specific thought could be its own blog entry. It’s not always easy to sell a name, but you increase your chances of doing so if you make it part of your daily routine. I sent out 40 emails to targeted end-users about a domain that I am looking to sell. I received around two to three replies, but none were interested in buying the name. Since I have reach the cap for this particular name, I will most likely save it for development or sell it off. Now it is time to focus on another name. I learned that if you spend a decent amount of time trying to sell a name and no one bites at first, then focus on another name to increase your chances of selling a domain. If the market doesn’t want the name I am selling, then I will give the market something that they are looking for.
I want to end this buy saying, to become successful you need to surround yourself with successful people. There is something viral about the energy that positive minds tend to share. Recently I reached out to AbdulBasit Makrani to work on a few things together. I’ve always thought he was one of the more passionate domain investors I’ve come across and would be a great guy to work with. He kindly accepted my offer and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can make out of this new found partnership.
It’s time to start getting ready. My girlfriend is treating me to dinner and I have a feeling we will be watching the new Superman movie afterwards. Whatever we end up doing, I always enjoy getting away from the normal grind of things. Although I work a full shift on Saturday and Sunday, I still have the evenings to enjoy a little R & R and for that I am lucky. Have a great weekend everyone and make sure to log off for a few hours!
Today’s domain spotlight is shined upon LosAngelesHelpWanted.com. If you are in the Los Angeles area you just might of heard of this website. Although it is a long domain name it is once which stuck with me. I heard my first advertisement for this site, when I was listening to Pandora a few weeks ago. The company behind this website has an active marketing campaign targeting those of us that live within this region.
I know what some of you are thinking. The name is kind of long. I completely agree with you and the company also acknowledges that. They realize the name is long and have even decided to use that as an advantage in their marketing campaign. The slogan on the site reads:
Long name… amazing results!
It is a long domain name indeed, but what do you expect for a job site which is targeting the Los Angeles area. I actually like the name more than I like the design of the site. I’m not sure how well this site will do against competitors like Craigslist, but I do like the fact they are using a geo domain name. The job market is still a little tough out here and I have to commend anyone who is willing to try and making the job seeking process a little easier.
I don’t actually know anyone who uses this site, but I felt it was important to feature it because long tail names are being used for development projects. This is a perfect example of one which is being used in the right way. Here is a screen shot I took while listening to one of my favorite Pandora stations:
By now, we have all classified ourselves as either loving GoDaddy or simply hating them. Whatever side you are on, you need to realize that GoDaddy is here to USE. Not use in a bad way, but in a good way. Most of my domain acquisitions tend to occur on GoDaddy auctions and I am now starting to set aside some time to really crawl through the listings.
I have now decided to start acquiring names again. There are way too many names dropping for me not to take advantage of this market. I tend to purchase names which are $50 and below on GoDaddy, some of which were found in the bargain bin on the site. Enough about where I find my names, let’s talk about where I sell them.
I sell my names on GoDaddy….wait a minute I said GoDaddy one too many times in this blog entry. Well it is the hard truth or as I like to call it, the simple solution. I use GoDaddy’s premium listing to price my portfolio with fixed prices. This technique has been very profitable for me this year. I recently made a sale the other morning, when I haven’t sent out emails to end-users in months. GoDaddy’s premium listing feature might just be the solution you are looking for.
If you have a full time job and the portfolio of a full time domainer, then you obviously have to buy some time somewhere. Although I plan to revisit hiring a sales person locally to help sell some of my portfolio, at the moment I have decided to use GoDaddy to take care of this aspect for me. Finding genuine leads isn’t always easy and regardless of what other domain investors might tell you, good domains don’t always receive offers on a daily basis.
Since that is the case, use GoDaddy as your personal sales team and price your domains within a specific range where you could see yourself selling. I tend to price my domains around the $998 mark and have sold 3 within the last few months. I decided to change up the pricing a little by raising some of the fixed prices, but will soon bring the prices back down to this level for the majority of my portfolio. I’m not looking to become a millionaire through domain investing. I am looking to generate an additional income stream which will present itself to me on a recurring basis.
To simply put it, I want to be paid a small salary for the time that I spend finding domains. This is no longer just a fun side-project for me, it has become a business which has had a positive impact on my life. If you are pressed for time, then find a way to buy a little time even if it means sharing a bit of your profits. Time to get back to the auctions, I have a few minutes before I need to start getting ready for work!
Entrepreneur.com published an interesting article about GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving’s growth strategy and guess what? It revolves around informing the customer about what GoDaddy actually does. As domain investors, many of us know what GoDaddy does but we aren’t the market they are trying to reach. They want the average person to understand who they are and the new CEO has a plan to do just that.
Here is an interesting statistic taken from the article:
Half of GoDaddy’s revenues come from services for small businesses, which it defines as companies with five or fewer employees.
One thing we have to all agree on is GoDaddy does a tremendous job advertising to small businesses. The majority of us in the domain investment space fall into this category and it is no coincidence that my fellow counterparts and I tend to do some serious business with GoDaddy. Blake’s plan consists of bringing in the brains, obsessing about the product and keeping it fun.
We’ll just have to see how his plan ends up panning out. As a domain investor I choose to only register domains with GoDaddy, but I don’t necessarily care to utilize any of the additional services they offer. GoDaddy will always be a registrar to me, not a place where I would seek additional services. I am sure this is not the case for the average person and the new GoDaddy CEO has set off on a mission to not only advertise to the average Joe, but to inform them of what they actually do.
To read more on the article feel free to visit this link.
As most of you know TRAFFIC in Las Vegas occurred last week. This was my first time attending the conference in its full capacity and as with any conference it had its positives and negatives. This year it was all about paying my domain investor dues. If you are part of the domaining community, I feel it’s important to catch a conference or two.
Now that I have finished paying my dues, I’ll probably wait a few years before I attend the conference again. If you haven’t guessed it by now, you don’t need to attend a domaining conference every year. Going to Webfest Global earlier this year, then attending TRAFFIC was a great way to meet some of the power players in the industry. Although I may never conduct business with these guys, it is nice to see that they are approachable and willing to help at a moment’s notice.
I won’t give any specifics but, I had the chance to network with some great people. The majority of the networking that occurred in Las Vegas happened away from TRAFFIC and the conference itself set the grounds to make all of it happen. Networking is key at these events. I had the chance to attend a dinner which had some of the greatest minds in the industry. Some of these people you know and some you have never heard of. I would of never had the opportunity to share such an experience if I hadn’t of attended this conference.
If you were lucky enough to attend both Webfest Global and TRAFFIC then you might of had a little déjà vu. This is something that I expected would happen, especially since some of the panels were identical in nature. The panels that I blogged about in my previous two entries were well attended. Even though I had heard most of the information, a few months earlier at Webfest Global, I felt it was nice to have a recap which helped reignite my domain investment spirit.
Being a “domainer on the side” requires a profound amount of motivation. I love domain investing, but it’s now time to make a little more money with it. I have a feeling that I will make more money domain investing part time than I have made in the past partaking in the field full time. When you don’t have much free time, you tend to want to grind a little more within the time you do have to get things done. In the next couple of days I will be mapping out a plan for my domaining business which will help me maximize the return for my portfolio. The fun and games are over. It is time to turn my domain investments into a real business, one that generates real returns for the time I have put into it.
TRAFFIC served as a reminder of what you could accomplish as a domain investor. The successful people which attended the event are living proof that the industry is still thriving, even if it might be dragging at times. These individuals are continuing to pivot, while moving this industry closer to one which is accepted by the public. As a domainer buddy of mine told me, in order for this industry to continue thriving we have to continue to educate those who would be interested in this investment class. New money is important for any industry and it is especially important for domaining.
This year I made an effort to attend both of the major domaining conferences, although my domain investment conference days will be slowing down in the future I still do plan on attending at least one a year. The goal for the near future is to start attending conferences outside of this industry. I will be making an effort to start attending local meetups in areas which interest me, one of which is the startup sector. Who knows what will happen in the next couple of months? One thing I can say is I will be ready for it as I will be fully equipped with a business plan to partake in bigger and bigger domain investment deals.
I’ll end it by saying this…Google will no longer be factored into the equation.
Here are some random notes that I jotted down during the Blog Roll segment of TRAFFIC. It was a very informative session which included Ron Jackson of DNJournal.com, Adam Dicker of The ArtofTheName.com, Shane Cultra of DomainShane.com, Morgan Linton of MorganLinton.com, Andrew Allemann of DomainNameWire.com, Elliot Silver of ElliotsBlog.com, Michael Cyger of DomainSherpa.com and Michael Gilmour of WizBangBlog.com. Please ignore the typos as I didn’t have time to proof read it. Enjoy!
See the trend from minisites to building business instead of just websites. Any idiot can register 100 domains. There is a lot more that people have to do. The next 12 months you will be hearing about is new top level domains. Regardless of what you think will happen with .com, there will be a lot going on with the new top level domains.
Develop businesses, do not develop websites. You can’t build that, you need to build a business. Turn your domains into a business, make it profitable and repeat. PPC is stabilizing, there is some opportunities for upside. It just depends, if you do nothing don’t expect nothing to change. If you have declining revenue, then do something about it.
You don’t need to have a widget business, something that sells something. It can be a lead generation site. Don’t shotgun approach it and do 10 domains at a time. Focus on one domain at a time.
Concentrate on one business at a time and grow it and nurture it. You have to put a lot of hard work into it to grow a business. It is extremely important to grow a business. It can be very profitable if it is done the right way.
For a lot of people who are involved in the domain space, they have full-time careers. When you talk about building a business, there is a lot more that goes into it than just paying a developer. It is important to know your limitations.
Contact someone successful you know who has done what you have done and go to them. This is one of those unique industries where people will give you advice for free. You can’t do two things at once. What you would have to input to get performance. INPUT PERFORMANCE
People don’t have a clue of how many hours it will take to really get that business plan rolling. A lot of people figure they have a great name, but they don’t have a business plan. Everything has a business plan. Everything done has a business plan behind it. There is a motive behind every action we take.
The biggest problem with this industry is it was easy to make money. Things have changed now. People haven’t changed their mindsets about how to advance to a new level and how to change direction. Developing multiple revenue streams. You have to be totally pationate about a subject and it is incredibly time consuming.
You can buy and sell domain names and start small. If you can think of five different ways to develop revenue streams then you are great.
A lot of time you don’t have a few thousand dollars to layout in cash. There are traditional ones like PPC.
They wanted advice on the domain industry, you can consult for people.
Wouldn’t go down a single path and it needs to be coupled with focus. Look at everything from a publishing lense. Revenue declining and llooking at your assets. The way you make more money is by taking out intimediaries. Have direct advertising relationships. Take off Google Adwords.
Every single one of your domains has a business model attached to it. Once you know what the business model is for your domain than you can take active steps.
Domainers tend to also not be so good at managing domains. When they do manage it takes up a lot of their time. More domainers will be outsourcing the management of their domains.
If you can outsource that problem, then you can get your time back. There is a huge opportunity cost in managing your domains. Every business needs a business plan. How are you going to earn your first dollar? Just want to see the one dollar, see the revenue cycle completed. How to get to that point as fast as you can. It is not technical problem anymore it is a business problem. Spend a little bit of time looking at wordpreess.
Everybody needs a little project on the side to learn from. Really consider those things and get those side projects happening.
From a domain investing and selling perspective. Everyday sending emails out and prospecting. There are a lot of opportunities out there to acquire domains. If you make a less than competitive offer you have your foot in the door to strike a deal.
The 10k-15k-20k deals are happening monthly. See what domain brokers are looking for and are selling look at Ron’s report and try to get similar names. Buy names that are good deals and if you have the capital it is a buyer’s market.
It takes more than a business plan, need a marketing plan, need a budget. You need to know what revenue is. With the dwindling PPC I have to have other businesses to help with renewal fees. It is not ok to just be a domain investor unless you can afford to sit on the names and wait.
For those of you who couldn’t attend TRAFFIC, here are some random notes in no specific order that I had the chance to take during the Selling To Startups segment. This panel included David Evanson of Sedo.com, Morgan Linton of LintonInvestments.com, Braden Pollock of LegalBrandMarketing.com and Joe Uddeme of DomainHoldings.com.
Crunchbase is a great site to find out who is funding companies, then you can use a tool like namebio or go onto dnjournal to find out what the specific names were purchased for in the past.
Find out where the money is coming from VC wise.
Brokers take the emotion out of a sale.
If startups don’t find the right name, they move onto the next.
Get educated and know what a startup is about or else you are going to leave money on the table.
Sometimes companies want the generic, but can’t pay upfront.
Do the research and understand the client.
Startups will start small at times and then when they get another round of funding, they might buy the name they originally wanted.
Understand the client and ask questions.
Make sure a broker has demonstrated sales to startups.
Has the broker put out releases or announcements for those types of situations.
Call broker on the phone and ask questions.
Selling to a startup is different from selling to normal companies.
Goes to places where startups go. Startup Weekend, Lean Startup Machine, AngelHack.
Get the brokers to know what type of names you have.
Startups tend to prefer to work on mobile apps first, because they don’t have to deal with Google.
2.5 million raise is the typical Series A raise.
Always provide alternatives to the original domain inquiry.
Defensive registrations are a good way of protecting your brand. Pick up plural and the dash names.
If startup doesn’t have funding and Series A is far off you can offer a lease. Most startups don’t think about leases, but they actually love them.
Broker makes money on lease and commission.
Leasing is a win/win for everyone. Best option is having an option on the back end.
Link profiles of domains are important. Scams hurt the names, make sure the domain is monitored when it is in a lease.
Make sure the language is clear in the lease agreement.
Time variable in selling domain to a large company company vs startup. It is easier to sell to a large company. Big companies take about 3 – 6 weeks to complete a transaction versus 5 – 20 weeks for a startup.
Standard broker fees still exist and the average is around 15% charged to the buyer or the seller.
Startups like .me and .co as alternatives to .com.
A typical adviser to a startup gets between .25% and .5% of equity.
If you can’t reach a deal, then tap into create ways to get the deal done.
I hope these notes prove to be useful for some of you, back to the conference.
These days, my normal schedule consists of going to work at 7am and heading home around 3pm. Once I am home, I normally work out, spend time with my girlfriend or go straight to bed. I’m still getting acclimated to this new schedule, but I wouldn’t trade it in for anything in the world. Although I’m not working for myself on a full time basis any longer, I am working for a start-up and the experience I am gaining from this is priceless. As most of you know my domain investment endeavors have taken a back seat.
I will always be a domain investor, but I can’t ever see myself doing it on a full-time basis. I am a Linux nut and every job I have ever worked has revolved around the operating system. I am a self taught Linux Systems Administrator with many years of experience. My current job is only 10 minutes away from my house, so I consider myself very lucky. I’ve never had a job this close to my place of residence, but figured if the opportunity ever presented itself that I would jump at it.
During the interview process I stressed to the company that I now work for, that I had two important commitments to tend to during the first couple of weeks of starting work. The first commitment was attending my little brother’s graduation at Yale. They were fine with that and understood the importance of me attending such an event. My job has been more than accommodating. Although I haven’t been at the place long enough to accumulate paid time off, I was able to take the days off without pay. Last week I hopped onto a red eye flight headed towards the east coast and embarked of my first commitment.
I am very proud of my brother and was glad to see him graduate. I am looking forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the future, something tells me this is just the beginning.
Although I knew I would be missing an important week of training, I had to request time off for another “prior commitment”. Without any questions being asked the time off was granted. Like I said above, I feel that I am very fortunate to be working for a company that allows their employees to have a life. This may be one of the last times I get to attend T.R.A.F.F.I.C. in its entirety, but I was never a big conference goer to begin with so this isn’t much of a shock to me. In the past I haven’t been able to make it because of work, but this time around I felt it was important to really make the effort to attend.
One of the main reasons I am attending is to get a better idea of where we all stand with our domain investments. I would be lying if I said that I haven’t noticed a drastic change in business in the last year. Yes, there are people who are doing well out there, but I think the majority of us have seen that lately it is not as easy to make a solid return in this space. With that said, I will be paying close attention to the conference to determine what the state of the industry currently is.
In addition to this I am really looking forward to enjoying some quality time with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I am sure there will be several opportunities to meet new people, but I am more concerned with reconnecting with those that I have already developed a bond with. I’ve been a domain investor for quite some time and have seen plenty of people evaporate into thin air. Fortunately, the close friends I have developed in this industry have been here from day one. Friendship will always mean much more to be than business and the friends I have met in the domaining world have become a staple in my life.
It is Wednesday morning here on the west coast and I am going to get a few more hours of sleep before I pack and hit the road. The goal is to reach Las Vegas in time to attend T.R.A.F.F.I.C Orientation and Early Bird Networking at 4pm. The drive takes around 4 – 5 hours from Los Angeles, so I’ll need to leave sooner than later. I’m looking forward to the drive, especially since I love the open road. I might even snap a few photos on the way and post them here later on the blog. If you are in Las Vegas this week, feel free to shoot me an email.
There was a time where I thought about my domain portfolio every single hour of the day. At this time that is not the case. I find myself only checking in on it once or twice a week. I was recently hired by a startup company here in Los Angeles and am now only looking at my domain portfolio as an additional income stream. This has happened to me in the past, but this time it is a little different.
Although my domain portfolio doesn’t receive much of my attention these days, I’ve set myself up to still generate an additional income stream from it. Before I continue, I’ve never been one to boast about how much I make from domain investing. Anything I’ve blogged about or posted on facebook has been purely for educational purposes. In all honesty I don’t care to talk about that aspect of it. My goal is to focus in on the systems that we can all create for ourselves and generate a few extra dollars while doing so.
The system I have created for myself is one that has been used by many for years. There is nothing unique about what I am doing. Now that the majority of my days are spent at work, I truly had the chance to test out this system. As most of you know I am not really acquiring additional names at this time. The one thing I am doing is parking my names. Almost all of my domain portfolio is currently parked with DomainSponsor.
Many of you have asked why I tend to use DS for my parking needs. To bluntly put it, I like the results that I have seen so far. Although I only earn a few dollars from parking my names with the platform, it is enough for me to continue doing so. My domain portfolio would be considered small in comparison to those who have focused their efforts on building a parking portfolio. My goal was never to build a parking portfolio. The goal for me was to park a name, until a better opportunity presented itself.
Domain parking has taken on a new meaning for me, because I don’t have much time to focus on anything more than that. I do plan on building a team to help sell names, but I don’t see that happening in the near future. For now my focus will be on parking names, answering inquiries and developing one site. One of the main things I like about domain investing is the fact that you can have a full-time job and still make a decent profit.
One thing I have learned is if you are not parking your names, then you are not only missing out on valuable analytics but you are also leaving money on the table. Regardless of what you are planning on doing with your portfolio, a domain should be parked until you have developed a plan for it. I wasn’t always a believer in domain parking, but I am now. Especially since Adsense, can’t necessarily be depended on for minisites anymore. I’ll go more into this later, but to make a long story short I’m not happy with the Adsense program right now.
On March 27th I posted a poll titled: “Are You Buying Or Selling“. This poll was well received and a whopping 51 votes were placed in total. According to the poll, the majority (24 votes) of you are Buying And Selling names. I used to fall within this category but have since decided to shift gears and concentrate on selling.
Selling Domains was the second most popular choice with 15 votes. I originally decided to conduct this poll because I noticed a number of premium domains being liquidated at discounted prices. Buying Domains came in 3rd with 10 votes. I wasn’t surprised that this was the case. I know a number of domain investors who have slowed their buying habits down within the last few months to concentrate their efforts on selling and developing.
I’m Not Buying Or Selling Domains came in fourth with a total of 2 votes. I’ll guess that the two people who voted for this option are most likely developing or simply holding onto their domains.
This poll was fun to conduct. I like the fact that Buy and Selling was the top selection, but have struggled to actively do this for myself. Although I like to multitask, I am much better when I concentrate my efforts on a single task. With that said, the majority of my efforts will be on selling for the rest of the year. Here’s a great article from Inc. magazine on why you should do the same: Don’t Multitask: Your Brain Will Thank You.
- Jason Thompson on Saturday’s Food For Thought
- Brian Diener on Saturday’s Food For Thought
- Jason Thompson on Domain Spotlight Thursdays: LosAngelesHelpWanted.com
- Jason Thompson on Domain Spotlight Thursdays: LosAngelesHelpWanted.com
- Jason Thompson on Domain Spotlight Thursdays: LosAngelesHelpWanted.com
- Affiliate Marketing
- Domain Development
- Domain News
- Press Release
- Southern California Domainers