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Year-End Domain Investor Checklist

1

With the year coming to a close in a few days, I want to share a few things I have either done or plan to do before the clock strikes midnight on December 31. There is still some time to get things done before the books close on 2017, and I am taking advantage of the remaining few days to get some things done.

Here are 5 things to do before the year ends:

Renew domain names and transfer domain names - I am renewing domain names I know I plan to keep for a while, and I have also been transferring some domain names to other registrars to consolidate my holdings. This is also a good time to turn off auto-renew on domain names I don't want to keep.

Buy office equipment and supplies - I wanted a new laptop for (more…) → Read More


Don’t Buy a Domain Name with One Buyer in Mind

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When buying one word .com domain names, I like to ensure there is either a great deal of usage for the keyword in brands or that I can envision the domain name being used as a new brand by a major company. One thing I try to prevent is buying a great domain name where there is only one prospective buyer.

I know some people in the business of domain investing target good domain names that match the brand of a hot startup. By way of a hypothetical example, they might see a company called AAAAAA (made up) that operates on an inferior domain name and purchase the exact match AAAAAA.com with the hopes of selling it to them in the future. The thinking is that if AAAAAA becomes super successful and either starts making serious revenue or gets significant funding, AAAAAA.com will be worth much more.

There is some risk to this strategy. If AAAAAA becomes a widely known brand, it may prevent other companies from using that brand name. If AAAAAA (more…) → Read More


Be Courteous and Reply

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I received an email a couple of weeks ago from someone who was frustrated with the lack of response he received after emailing a small group of domain brokers to represent some of his domain names. He was a bit upset, frustrated, and disappointed with his experience. This should not be the sentiment someone has after trying to connect with a domain broker.

There are many people seeking a domain broker. This assumption is based on the number of people who ask me to broker domain names despite a message on my corporate contact form that says "Top Notch Domains, LLC is not a domain broker and does not offer private domain consulting services." I am sure domain brokers are inundated with requests for brokerage services and there is more inventory than broker availability. I would also guess that the vast majority of domain names brokers receive are of little value, let alone worthwhile to bring to market. Responding is important though.

Domain brokers have the most contact with people from outside of the domain name space. They → Read More


Buyer Dropped a Domain Name I Sold

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A couple of years ago, I sold a domain name to an end user buyer for mid 4 figures. Last year, I saw the domain name expire and it was headed to auction. I reached out to the buyer and my contacts at the registrar, and the domain name was renewed a day before it would have gone to auction. Unfortunately, this happened again and because the buyer was out of the country, the domain name could not be renewed in time.

During the auction, I worked with the buyer and won. I re-sold the domain name to the buyer for the exact price of the auction. I confirmed that the domain name is now set to auto-renew, and the buyer has an active credit card on file. I didn't have to work with the buyer to win the domain name back, but I felt it was the right thing to do and my effort was appreciated.

I am not sharing this story to get platitudes or other praise. I am sharing this because (more…) → Read More


Time to Inquire Again

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The end of the year may be a good time to make deals happen if you can get them closed before people go on vacation or otherwise close their books for the year. Based on my own schedule and what I am seeing, I think the next 10 days is probably the best time of the year to make some domain name acquisitions.

As the year finishes up, there are people and companies looking to hit their numbers for the quarter or the year. There may not be a whole lot of opportunities to drive revenue as the year is winding down, and a nice offer on a domain name may help the business add easy revenue to get closer to their target. I am going to be going through my emails from the last year to see if there are deals worth pursuing. I am an opportunistic domain name buyer right now, and I am willing and able to move quickly to close on a deal. I think now is a great time for domain name purchases.

In my opinion, the next week to ten days is critical. For a deal to happen, especially one in which multiple sign-offs are needed, the purchase agreement → Read More


One Major Difference Between Domain Names and Real Estate

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People regularly compare domain names to real estate, and I think it is generally a good comparison. When a domain name owner is negotiating the sale of a domain name to someone unfamiliar with this "virtual real estate," it can be helpful to use physical real estate as a comparable asset class.

There are several important differences (like tax treatment and asset class among others) between domain names and real estate, but I want to share one major difference people probably don't think about - the branding aspect.

I am evaluating a couple of major lease and lease to own offers on domain names my company owns. One issue with a deal that involves a future payment where a buyer or lessor is allowed to use the domain name in the interim is the goodwill of the domain name can potentially be harmed. If the company goes out of business, is a scammer or spammer, or if something bad happens to the company using the domain name, the domain name brand could be irreparably harmed.

Allow me to illustrate with an example: (more…) → Read More


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