Why I Struggle with Domain Sales

The problem with domain sales

Let me say right up front that domain sales as a business model is really difficult way to try to make a living. There are some exceptions to this statement, but they are few and far between.

Escrow.com

The problem with most domain sales is they are more a function of luck than of a carefully planned strategic decision. They happen so infrequently that for the majority of investors they don’t know when and what quantum of size the next sale will be. This makes planning in your business next to impossible.

For instance, let’s imagine you have a portfolio of 5,000 domains and during the last 12 months you sold a domain for $5,000 in January, one for $20,000 in June and finally one for $5,000 in September. This brings the total of your sales to $30,000.

This sounds great and everyone trumpets the $20,000 sale when you get together at NamesCon in January. What most people don’t tell you is the fact their renewals are $50,000 and during the last 12 months they went backwards by $20,000. Sure, this is a contrived example but I think you can get my meaning.

The dream is that one day you’ll sell a domain for $1,000,000 and all the waiting and constant reinvestment will be worth it. I hate to rain on your parade but given that only a handful of domains are sold for these sums of money each year then your aspiration will likely remain a pipedream.

The question I want to ask sales investors is actually quite simple, “What domains do you drop to reduce your costs so you're profitable?”

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Wolftalker
..words of wisdom.
06 November 2019
mgilmour
Thanks for that!
06 November 2019
ideafarmer
As I sit on a 1000 domains portfolio dependent on occasional sales and hoping for a big sale... you make me reconsider my strategy... Read More
06 November 2019
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Why I was Wrong About Domain Sales

I need to apologise to readers….I just received some data from Escrow.com that proves that I was completely wrong about the size of the domain sales market. Back in August 2017 I estimated the market to be around $250m and what the latest Escrow data proves is that I was wrong…..by a long shot.

Escrow.com

According to the report, Escrow.com alone sold around $340m (all quoted values are in $USD) in domains in the last 12 months. By far the biggest market was the USA which did just over $60m in the first quarter of 2019 with Canada coming up a distant second with around $8m in sales.

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Guest — Snoopy
The "domains with content" is an outlier compared to prior months. Overall this data is not saying it is a good idea to develop ... Read More
17 May 2019
mgilmour
I completely agree with you on this point. What is also important is what is the profitability of building a site.....even it is s... Read More
20 May 2019
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Domain Sales is Overdue for a Shake-up – Part 2

The brokerage model needs to change.

In the previous article in this serious I took aim at the two major marketplaces of Sedo and Godaddy/Afternic. I then proposed a business model that solved the problem of the marketplaces being full of bad domains that must reduce the likelihood of sales transactions for potential buyers. You can read more about this hear: Part 1

I now want to propose a business model to help unclog the domain brokerage arm of the aftermarket.

Escrow.com

From a high-level perspective, the state of the domain aftermarket is as follows:
1.    Massive over-supply of domains – courtesy of the new gTLDs.
2.    Same demand.
3.    Anyone can put a shingle out and say they are a broker.

The vast majority of “brokers” aren’t brokers at all but are really “order takers”. What they do is take on lots of domains and then respond to inbound queries. These “order takers” just do what every serious domain investor does, with one exception, they didn’t pay for the domain they’re selling. So who do you think is more likely to sell the domain? The investor or the “order taker”? I’ll leave this up to you to work out.

On the flip-side of the coin there are the REALLY good brokers that know how to sell and pitch domains to prospective sellers and these people get the job done. They are worth their weight in gold and on the whole do an outstanding job for their clients.

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Domain Sales is Overdue for a Shake-up – Part 1

Marketplaces need an overhaul.

In this article I’m going to propose an idea that could be very unpopular amongst domain speculators but wildly popular amongst domain investors. Yes, there is a difference between those two camps and it’s this difference that needs to be highlighted.

Escrow.com

If we are to look at the domain aftermarket, there are really two major and a host of second tier (not second rate) marketplaces. If I was running either Afternic/Godaddy or Sedo I would look at two things:
1.    How I could remove the garbage domains from my marketplace.
2.    How I could make more money from brokerage.

The garbage domain problem is a real issue. When a person searches for a domain they are often presented a host a trash that covers the real gems that should be highlighted. How would I solve this problem? Easy, tax the domains.

I would charge some nominal fee per month per domain (eg. $0.10 per domain) with a minimum subscription of say, $50/month, to have your domains in the marketplace. All those with good domains will happily pay the fee and the speculated trash gets washed out. There could be a sliding scale depending upon volume, but I don’t think this is even necessary.

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2018 - The Year That Was...

The year that was and the year ahead!

At this time of year, I like to spend some time reflecting on the state of the domain industry and in particular what I’ve been up to the past twelve months. Let me say from the outset that I’ve seen a LOT of changes take place and from my perspective most of them have been good.

Escrow.com

Development
At the end of 2017 I wrote about a project that I was working on that took domain development to a whole new level. Internally we now refer to this project as “Sites” and it’s now integrated into the main ParkLogic core systems.

Along the developmental journey there were a number of critical factors that needed to be resolved. Without revealing too much, amongst many other things, “Sites” now contains:

  1. A flexible templating system to display landers that is very different compared to any of the currently available platforms (eg. Word Press, Joomla etc.). Widgets can be placed anywhere on the page and they both display information to the user AND also pass data back to the traffic quality system.
  2. A quality system that used both web and behavioural analytics to determine the quality of the traffic being received by a domain. Each and every piece of traffic is scored appropriately, and this score is aggregated at the domain and account levels.
  3. A reporting system that produces actionable reports based upon analytics at a dashboard, domain and traffic level.
  4. A fully configurable API so that any data can be pulled from any “Sites” server and then analysed by either “Sites” customers or the ParkLogic team.
  5. A back-end administrative interface that provides the necessary data for managing massive numbers of instances of “Sites” as well as assisting in determining more optimal monetisation solutions.

At the moment “Sites” processes around five million queries per day and in 2019 we see it continuing to grow as we focus our analytical skills upon it. It’s been quite a journey since its inception and it’s definitely not over yet….not by a long shot. When you control the page there’s a HUGE amount that is possible and this innovation will flow on as a direct benefit to ParkLogic clients.

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Guest — Ethan
Not sure if it's just me, but I feel the font size is a bit too small and uncomfortable to read.
01 January 2019
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