Expired domains offer great opportunities for investors, but here’s another buying strategy that’s often overlooked

Most people get started in the domain investing world the same way. They read an article about a domain name that sold for a lot of money, or they find a list of domain sales and boom – they’re excited. Then, they head to their favorite registrar and start hand-registering domains like it’s going out of style.

They “think” the names they are registering are so similar to names that sold for thousands of dollars that they must be sitting on a goldmine. Soon they take to Twitter and online forums to share the names they bought, they email domain investors and domain bloggers, they’re reading to start cashing in.

Then reality sets in. They just bought a bunch of junk, and suddenly the dreams of domain riches are washed away. I would guess that more than half of the people who jump-into Domaining by hand-registering domains quit after realizing the domains they registered aren’t worth anything.

For those who don’t quit there are two categories of people:

  1. Those who realize they made a mistake and start looking online for advice from people who actually know what they’re doing.
  2. Those who cannot admit they’re wrong and instead hang onto every name they registered, renewing them every year and refuting anyone who tells them to explore a different route to buying investment-grade  domains.

For those in Category #1, what they usually learn is that buying expired domain names is often where they should be putting their focus. This is true, expired domain auctions offer investors a real opportunity to buy investment-grade domains, the complexity is often buying at the right price.

What I think often gets overlooked is another way to buy investment-grade domain names. Reaching-out directly to the owner. I know a number of successful domain investors who along with buying expired domains put a fair amount of time, energy, and negotiating wizardry into buying domains from end-users, at wholesale prices.

Now I’ll admit, I personally don’t do this too often, I mostly focus on expired domains. The reality is, reaching out to domain owners and negotiating deals is time consuming and I just don’t have the time. But I did this in the past and one of my favorite examples from my own experience is Summon.com.

Back in 2011 and 2012 I had more time on my hands (yup, before I started running a startup, go figure!) and I was actively reaching out to domain owners. I reached-out to the owner of Summon.com and we landed on $3,500. At the time I knew this was a screaming deal, and four months later I sold the domain for $17,500.

Now hindsight is 20/20, if I could do this over again I would have waited and sold the domain for a lot more since I think I could have likely been able to get six-figures for the name if I waited long enough. Still, at the time I was happy to make $14,000 and making 5x your money in four months isn’t bad no matter how you slice it.

While I still don’t have time to do this direct outreach, yes – running a startup does take up just about every waking minute…I know that in the future, if I were to ever decide to do Domaining full time, this would definitely be something I’d get back into.

For those reading my blog who do have more time to commit to Domaining, you might want to give this a try. Of course, I’d still probably stay focused on expired domains, but if you haven’t tried direct outreach yet, you might be surprised at the opportunities that are out there.

Okay, now back to looking at expired domains!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton