Mark Levine has had an interesting history with domain names. While starting his own book publishing company, Mark started acquiring domain names for his business, soon, like so many of us, he got the bug. So, after selling his publishing business Mark decided to make domain investing his full time gig and it’s safe to say he’s been doing more than okay, he’s rocking 🎸
What I’ve always appreciated about Mark is his passion for learning and trying new things. Mark turned some early experimentation with .IO into a meaningful cashflow machine and more recently he’s dipped his toes in the .AI and .GG waters.
For those who have met Mark you also know he’s also one of the nicest people in the industry. Mark announced a pretty amazing month of sales in July so I asked him if he’d share more with me, and of course all of you. He said yes, so here it is, enjoy 🚀
1) You had a great month of domain sales in July, can you share a quick overview?
Total domains sold: 11 sales
TLD breakdown: Com(5), IO(4), GG(1), Ai(1)
Marketplaces sold: Afternic(4), Dan(4), Squadhelp (1), DomainAgents(1), Godaddy Auctions (1)
Total investment in the 11 names: $630
Gross Sales: $32,787 /Net: $27,000
Since we are halfway into August, I’m happy to report:
Total domains sold: 6 sales (so far)
TLD breakdown: Com (4), IO (2)
Marketplaces sold: Afternic(3), DomainAgents (1), Sedo(1), Dan(1)
Total investment in the 5 names: $293.66
Gross sales: $17,938 / Net: $15,143
2) You’ve seen good results selling not only .COM but other TLDs, what TLD has surprised you the most this year?
The strength of IO. I felt it lulled a bit in the second half of 2019 (for me). In the past two months, I’ve turned down five $1,000+ offers for five of IO’s as well as more than ever for my COMs. Also, I’m surprised at how well the GG’s I own are performing (both offers and sales). I own about 50 and have sold two so far, one for $1500 (Lions.gg) and one for $2500 (gather.gg). I’ve had offers on eight others.
3) Are you using a landing page service on your domains, if so which one(s)?
I use Dan and Efty about 50/50 for each. I think the purchase process for an end-user in the sub-$5,000 market is easier with Dan than having to go through Escrow.com. The news of the Efty/Dan partnership is exciting. I always move my Efty sales to Dan for escrow, if possible, so this new seamless handoff will be great.
4) What do you think made July such a good month for domain sales?
Many domainers I know also had good months. What would normally be a slow month with people on vacation, etc. is now like any other month because of Covid. I also think end-users, who’ve had ideas or plans for an online business see now as the time to try. I saw a similar kind of thing back in 2008-2010 in my publishing business, when people who had always wanted to publish a book took the uncertainty surrounding them and used it as a motivator to finally do it.
5) What percent of your revenue do you typically re-invest into new domain investments?
It varies, but in July I spent $5,200 buying 168 domains. In August, I’ve purchased 100 names, so far, spending $5,400. Total YTD is 911 names for $37,650.
6) When you look at domain investments you’re planning on making this month, are there any niches/TLDs you’re focusing on?
Now that I’m back in the book publishing industry, I’m picking up more of those types of names than I have in the last few years.
As for TLD’s, I wish I could get more IO’s at decent prices. The aftermarket is spendy. I’ve sold 12 IO’s so far this year. Eight of those were hand-regged and all later than 2018. I’ve only paid more than $500 twice for an IO. One I sold for $6850 in 2019 and the other I still own. I did hand-reg 11 IO’s in August and based on the ones I’ve sold in the past few years, I think these will do well.
I also buy Ai, but due to reg fee, I only have a handful (less than 25). However, I’ve already sold two this year for $5,000 each (stork.ai and roost.ai).
Finally, I’m a fan of .gg. My interest in .gg was as a result of reading your extensive posting about the esports event / conference you attended last year and from a feature on HBO’s real sports about esports. I’m not a gamer myself, but in addition to my two sales this year, I’ve gotten offers on nine others, so for whatever reason, I feel I’m able to pick good names. I hand-regged 23 GG’s in August and in terms of keywords and type-in traffic so far, I think these will pay off well.
7) If a new domain investor were to look at your sales in July and say, “I want to be able to do that!” – what would be your advice to them to get them moving in the right direction?
I would tell any new investor to look at my July sales as something achievable. Two-thirds of my sales this year were names I either hand-regged or got at Godaddy closeouts. Any new investor, IMO, should start at GD closeouts and with a fixed budget, with the understanding that you should only invest what you are prepared to lose. And, they should start investing in fields/industries they know. I still do a lot of that with keywords that are related to publishing. I know Shane Cultra does that too related to horticulture related terms. Buy what you know then branch out once you’ve made sales.
If I was a new investor, the first thing I’d do is spend the few hundred to take the DN Academy course. It will be the best money they spend in domaining. What is contained in that one course took me years to learn through trial and error.
8) Anything you can share about your investing plan for the rest of 2020?
My domain buying is totally dependent on my domain selling and I only use money I’ve made from domain sales to buy domains. I’m a disciplined buyer, but I will spend up to get a name I want. For the rest of the year, my focus is on publishing-related .com’s and IO’s. I will continue to dabble in GG and AI.
Thanks to Mark 🙏 for taking the time to answer these questions and congrats again on one heck of a summer ☀️