I started buying and selling domain names back in 2007. When I started people told me I was late to the game, all the good domains were taken and I wouldn’t stand a chance. Those people were partially right, most of the good domain names were taken, where they were wrong about is thinking that the only way to buy domains is to hand register them.
The vast majority of domain names that I have sold over the years are domains that were already taken, I had purchased them in the aftermarket. This means I either bought the domain name directly from the owner or through an aftermarket domain sales site like NameJet or Go Daddy Auctions.
Sure some of the domains I’ve sold have been hand-registered, it’s awesome when it happens, but those sales are not the norm and I could not have built a great portfolio out of hand-registered names. Earlier this year I did sell a name I hand-registered, ZenVodka.com for $4,890, I paid under $10 for the domain. While that may sound great, that happens maybe once a year it’s not a regular thing for me.
Most of what I sell is names I paid more than $10 for and someone or a number of people owned the domain before me. Which leads me to why the average person will lose money trying to sell domain names.
I find that most people trying to break-into the domain space head to a site like Go Daddy and start making things up trying to find what’s available, that diamond in the rough. They’ll typically register 50-100 domains and then list them for sale on marketplaces like Sedo hoping for a huge return.
A year goes by…no sales. Another year…no sales. After a few years they say, “well that was stupid, all the good names are taken and I wasted thousands of dollars!” Yes – you did waste thousands of dollars, but it’s not because nobody is making money with domain names, just look at DNJournal.com’s YTD sales, domain names are selling like crazy…just not random domain names that people are thinking up.
Yes, you could get lucky, but anyone that shares a story like my ZenVodka.com sale and tries to play that off as them being a “successful domain investor” is probably trying to sell you a story because that’s not how to build a real portfolio of investments. Some people invest in stocks, others in real estate, I invest in domain names, but just know if your portfolio is all domains you made-up yourself, you’re probably not really making investments, you’re playing the lottery, and like most gamblers, you’re going to lose.
If you’re in this situation you have two paths to take, one is to give up, the other is to learn. If you’re looking to learn there’s no need to spend any money, just check-out a domain forum like DNForum, NamePros or DomainState and make sure to read Domaining.com to keep up with all the great content in the domain investing blogosphere. Don’t buy, take a step back and learn, ask questions, and you might just find that there is a path to make money, it’s just not the same path that you’ve been on.