Domain names are an interesting asset. Some people collect them, some build companies around them and some attach one of the biggest recessions to their name. You can make money by flipping them, reselling them and sometimes by just parking them.
Three-letter and four-letter .com domains
I have to admit I was always fascinated by short and old domain names. That’s why, even though I knew the industry was talking about not being able to hand register a four-letter .com domain name, I’ve decided to conduct research around it. No one has done actual proper research on this topic, up to that point. It was back in December 2013 that we used our Whois API to check this. Afterwards, I went ahead and bought a few four-letter .com domains myself. I did it on the aftermarket.
A few years later I sold those domains and learned you can sell them directly (to a potential client), via forum (by advertising on a forum that you have this domain name for sale) and via marketplace. In case you are wondering why you haven’t been able to utilize those routes, one of three things could have happened. You are asking for too much money, the domain name is just not usable or you haven’t tried hard enough.
Short acronym domain names, even without meaning (I am not talking about dogs.com, cats.com, cars.com) like vuif.com, laeq.com or lvcb.com will always have some intrinsic value. Few years ago domain investors from China raised the price with their speculation, and once they were done with it, the price came down. The marketplace always sorts itself out. I can talk a lot about this topic, but I have to proceed with other areas of my experience with domain names.
Why should you care?
I think that three-letter (if you can afford them) and four-letter .com domains are a great store of value. Like the gold and silver. They are good for short-term flipping, and long-term holding. These domains are very liquid, and this recent screenshot from Namebio proves it.
Back in 2006, I co-founded a small web hosting business. And with it, we also provided domain registration services. It was a very tightly bootstrapped business, and my partner and I were able to grow it to about 500 clients before selling it to a larger web hosting company. Over the course of those 5 years, and later from a different company, I was working with and using several different domain registrars. Tucows, GoDaddy, Directi, Uniregistry, NameBright to name a few.
Coincidently, I wrote an interesting blog post, followed by a video on why I choose the domain registrars I work with now. In case you are looking for a good place to register your domain names, you should definitely check it out.
Why should you care?
Well, it’s very simple. In case you have more than 10 domain names, it becomes a hassle to manage them. Not to mention the cost grows significantly over the years. Any serious domain name or website investor holds more than 50 domain names. Let’s see how that looks on a 10-year example.
50 domain names X 10 years X $11 USD = $5,500
50 domain names X 10 years X $8.03 = $4,015
If you think that $1,485 is not that much money, I’ll give you my bank details and you can send them my way.
Domain data and domain monitoring
This part of my journey and experience is probably the most complex of the three. It’s strictly B2B (more so, on the enterprise side of the B2B) and partly requires coding skills. Partly because in order to get domain data you need to operate an API which requires coding skills. And then domain monitoring comes out of that part. Essentially, we are using domain data for domain monitoring. Some of my clients are using domain data in other ways (cybersecurity, SEO, reputation management, etc). How exactly do I use domain data, and monitor my domains and websites?
I started buying websites a couple of years ago and fell in love immediately. I was looking at the SaaS tool that we built (Webmaster.Ninja) and realized that with a few minor adjustments this tool could become very helpful. So, with this tool, we are accessing the data that’s publicly available. In case you were wondering how exactly this looks, I would rather not share a screenshot because we are in the middle of redesigning our dashboard and building a version 2.0.
Why should you care?
In case you need reminding, it’s a major blunder if you forget to renew your domain name. With proper data and tools, this is easily preventable. I will be the first to advise to renew your domain name for the next 10 years but looks like almost no one does that.
Not only that but this way it is much easier to track your portfolio! If like many, you are using several domain registrars and web hosting providers, it becomes hard to keep track of everything. And what about problems like email blacklists, website downtime, expired SSL certificates? Well, our monitoring tool does all that as well.
So there you have it. A short reflection on my experience with domain names, and why I think you should care. I hope this helps, and remember, you have to act on these things. If you let your domain name expires, and you lose it after all cycles have passed through, don’t contact me. It will be too late.