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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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!