The ROI # is not That Important to Me

I’ve been asked what ROI I expect to achieve with my domain investments. While I have heard (and probably said) a 10x ROI is a good goal to have, I really don’t really have a hard and fast rule that a 10x return on my domain name investments is critical. Perhaps a 10x return is a fair goal across a portfolio, but it is difficult for me to think like that when it comes to selling individual domain names.

Last week, I received a $5,000 offer for a domain name I like that I priced at $25,000. In backing up his offer, the buyer cited my NameJet purchase earlier this year for a bit less than $500. I chalk it up to a good buy on my part, but I am not going to sell a domain name like this one for $5,000 simply because it would yield a 10x return on my investment. Names are getting harder to acquire at good prices, and it will be difficult to replace this name in my portfolio with an equally valuable domain name.

Similarly, I have bought more domain names at GoDaddy Auctions this year than prior years. I don’t know if my overall spend is up or not, but I am buying more names at less than $100 than prior years. Many of these domain names cost about $20 total after the bid and renewal fee. I certainly wouldn’t set prices on these $20 names at $200 or close to that figure. Some of them are priced in the low 4 figures on Afternic because it’s pretty easy to sell that way, but I wouldn’t do a private sale at that level. It’s often too much work and not worth the effort.

On my higher value domain names that I spend a lot of money to acquire, I am not always looking for a 10x return. I paid a bit more than $15,000 to buy at NameJet a week ago, but I would not price it at $150,000. I have it priced at just over a 5x ROI on Afternic / GoDaddy. The profit margin is not 10x what I paid, but if it sells for $83k on Afternic, I would net a nice return on my investment.

The majority of domain names are not very liquid. In fact, they are quite illiquid. As a result, a higher margin is necessary when pricing domain names than other types of investments or inventory. While a 10x ROI may sound like a reasonable target, I don’t typically look at that as my goal on individual domain names.

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. Agree 100%.

    10x is a great made up number as a general goal for a lot of domainers when buying and selling, but i never use that made up number in my buys and sales either.

    Ive made 100x + ROI on some of my smaller purchases. I’ve also made 2, 3 & only 4x ROI on some of my larger purchases. Sure it feels awesome to sell a hand reg for 2k. That is $1900 profit and 235%

    I would take 2, 3, or 4x on some of my purchases and be much happier with more money overall. Even a 1.5x on a big purchase is still a positive return, especially if it was just inventory and i never ever intended to build it out.

    If any domainers portfolio sales keeps their renewals up to date and adds extra money for new inventory that is success no matter what the multiple of ROI is.

    But always, more money in the account is always better than hitting a certain black and white formula in such an Industry full of gray .

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