How a Domain Investor Can Preserve Cash for a Recession

In a recession, there are a few levers a domain investor can do to preserve capital and increase runway if it becomes necessary. Slowing or halting domain name acquisitions, portfolio downsizing, and selling domain names at reduced prices are the three levers that will have the biggest impact on cash preservation for a typical domain investor portfolio.

Reducing acquisition spend may be the easiest way to save cash for a business that spends a substantial amount of money on domain acquisitions and registrations. I typically spend a lot of money on domain acquisitions each year, and reducing my spend would have the greatest impact on cash preservation for my business. Other people may look at halting domain registrations as a means of preserving cash.

Portfolio downsizing is difficult. Every investor has a % of domain names in their portfolio that will never ever sell. I can’t speculate what that percentage would be in an average portfolio, but there will always be domain names that are simply not desired by third parties. These are the domain names to dump. Identifying these domain names is not easy.

When I look at my past 25 inventory-quality domain name sales, I see many names that I was fairly surprised to sell. They have some sort of meaning, but it took that one in a thousand buyer to identify with the domain name and spend the money to buy it. These domain names are pretty indistinguishable from much of my portfolio, so it would be tough to drop bad names without dropping some that could generate interest in the future.

To identify what names to drop, I would evaluate things like acquisition cost, traffic, inquiries, other extensions registered, search results for the keyword and tax write-off potential (if possible). Before turning off the auto-renew, I would think about each domain name and imagine how likely it is that someone buys it in the short term. Would this be a name I can see someone really spending money to acquire?

Selling domain names at reduced prices is also a challenge. Reaching out to past prospective buyers is a good way to drive sales, but many of those people will have already moved on or are facing recession issues, too.

Selling to other domain investors is a possibility. There will always be domain investors who want to buy domain names, but most people slow their buying in a recession. In addition, there is often a flight to quality. Better domain names become available, and investors would rather spend their free cash on quality assets. There are auction and sales platforms that cater to investors, and those would probably be good options to investigate.

If I decide I need to reign things in and preserve cash for a recession, the biggest lever I would pull for my business is acquisitions. I would also probably reach out to some investors I know who always seem to be buying to sell individual names or work out a bulk deal. With a portfolio of under 2,000 domain names, my entire renewal bill is probably less than $18,000/year. Dropping domain names is not going to give me much runway.

If you need to preserve capital, how would you do it?

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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


  1. As Elon Musk said β€œIt has been raining money on fools for too long. Some bankruptcies need to happen. companies should go bankrupt for the good of the economy”

    A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist
    sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

    There will be many opportunities!!!

  2. i own about 2500 domains. Culling domains is not easy.
    I had intended to drop one of my worst domains – it would be great as a .com, but it was a cctld and had received no offers. few inquires
    then the email from afternic domain has sold for xxxx
    if my portfolio comprised 3000 domains, I would have placed this domain around 2990
    domain sales more art than science, despite comps, data
    a few months ago a gambling company paid high 5 figures for an .org…i own the exact same name in .com, but never receivee an inquiry…i did contact ceo and now they’re considering buying my .com, but bottom line: seems you as seller must have a brand like rick, swetha, andrew, the Booth brothers, to get the best bangs for your domains – and they should be commended

    • “seems you as seller must have a brand like rick, swetha, andrew, the Booth brothers, to get the best bangs for your domains – and they should be commended”

      I don’t agree at all. AFAIK, Swetha sells her names via platforms like Afternic and Dan, where buyers don’t know her identity. Andy Booth has used brokers to sell his assets, so the buyers don’t know him. Personally, I think the biggest reason some of these people get more for their great names than others might get is they ask for more and say no to less. Simple as that. I also think there are plenty of people who make nice sales but keep them private.

  3. there will be a housing correction, but my area seems to be immune from a correction, due to limited inventory, and a prime locale for vacay homes and a thriving tech hub

    if the usa plummets into a depression, i’ll just sell a few lots and buy a house in portugal…i invested zero in crypto or nfts, and everyone called me an idiot for buying real estate rather than crypto…my primary home has doubled in value since 2019, which is insane – and i recognize it’s at about peak…and there will be fewer or no more bidding wars on local real estate as in june 2021-march 2022) and the dollar is above the euro…dream houses avail in portugal on the water, etc….and i speak portuguese….so portugal will be most likely exit strategy if usa economy falls off the cliff

  4. I agree to an extent, as my biggest domain sale ever was the first domain i ever registered. it was also the name of my startup. i rejected offers from their broker marksmen for weeks, months, and even requested they not contact me anymore, as i had zero desire in selling…when the offer went over 7 figures, things changed.

    i sold. the buyer was a Fotune 10 company.

    and it was 90 percent luck.

    at the time, i had no expensive kid college tuitions.
    i probably would have taken the mid 6 figure offer – this negotiation lasted 8 weeks – and they called me – i never called them, except after the transaction.

  5. How does Swetha sell so many average domains in an average extension for such high prices? It must be a volumn game like Mike Mann.

    • Swetha owns thousands of the most desirable (one word) .xyz domain names. It may be a volume game, but she has the most coveted names, too.

      Even I sold a one word .XYZ domain name for nearly $20k and I only had a handful at that time. I still own fewer than 50.

  6. Sounds like she might of bought when they were doing a 1 cent promotion. Good for her and glad it’s working out.

  7. no doubt swetha has super xyz names. but i imagine she’s earned a reputation as a responsible seller and i’m sure this helps. now do people check whois prior to buying these names on,, etc? No idea

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