Letting Go is Hard

I maintain a fairly small portfolio of domain names – fewer than 2,000 in total. Part of the reason for this is to keep my overhead costs low. Even with a relatively small domain name portfolio, it doesn’t make sense to carry domain names that I don’t think have a good chance of ever selling. Deciding what to let go is difficult.

For the most part, I don’t let many domain names expire. If something about a domain name caught my eye and I bought it, that luster usually continues to exist. I usually let a couple of handfuls of domain names expire each year because there’s almost no chance of them selling. For instance, earlier this year I let a domain name with the word “Famer” in it expire because I bought it thinking the word was Farmer – whoops.

In the past, I would run an eyeball and gut check on the domain names in my portfolio. I would give a quick look over and if a name stood out and I asked myself “WTF was I thinking,” I would take a look at traffic numbers to see if it is worth keeping. A great deal of these have been hand registrations from many years ago that I just kept renewing. Eventually, I would turn off auto-renew and not look back.

This year, I am going to be a bit more analytical in my approach. I am going to take a look at my least expensive domain names by acquisition cost. I am then going to use DotDB to see how many other extensions are registered for these domain names. It’s not necessarily bad if my .com is the only extension registered, but it’s a signal that the keywords may not be widely used in domain names. If that is the case, I should really consider whether it has commercial value.

Once I have a list of names I am leaning towards turning off auto-renew, I will spend some time researching each domain name to get an idea whether I think it has any chance of selling. I will evaluate why I liked it in the first place and see if I still feel the same way today. I will look at each of the names and decide whether I would rather have $10 in the bank or the domain name in my portfolio.

Ultimately, I hope to let a few dozen domain names expire as the next renewal time comes around. It’s not going to save a lot of money, but it will get rid of some dead weight that I don’t think will ever sell.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

7 COMMENTS

  1. It has to be pretty bad for me to not renew. Generally if Godaddy estimated value has dropped below 1k and I don’t see a market for it I might not renew it. It’s tricky though because a keyword that isn’t used now can explode tomorrow. Also, I have sold a good many names that have been dropped by large scale portfolios after they held onto them for 10+ years without it selling.

  2. I call this portfolio pruning. I do it monthly and manage a small portfolio of 127 domains, down from over 250 a few years back. Only keeping a smaller portfolio of names I really really like, keeps renewal fees lower, and allows portfolio management to be much more efficient and less time consuming.

  3. this is really hard
    i had planned to not renew 12 domains last month, then one sold with a bin of mid 4 figures and is now the brand of healthcare company

    i have a portfolio of about 2000 too

    I have had zero 6 figure sales in 2022, but many 5 and 4 figure sales, so it could have been worse

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