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The Art of Domaining

May 18, 2011

Lying in bed this morning I was pondering the impression some people may have of what I do for a living from the outside looking in. I began thinking what I would say to anyone who ‘wanted in’ thinking this was some sort of easy money.  In considering my response to such a person, there are two fundamental assertions I would lay before them:

A.  I’ve worked as hard at selling domains as I have at anything else in my life

B.  Buying and selling domains is as much an art as it is a science

First, you have to have a ton of gusto in this business. Most domains don’t move themselves.  It’s a hustle.  Most knowledge is hard fought.  No one’s going to drop anything in your lap.  There isn’t a golden goose that’s going to come along and drop eggs in your basket. And even if there is, you can bet there will be dozens of other guys and gals busting their asses to get their basket in front of yours.

Now, I don’t say this to discourage anyone.  My point is that this isn’t like a jukebox where you stick in a quarter and out comes a song.  It just doesn’t work that way.

Maybe Cheryl Crow said it best when she said, “This ain’t no disco.  This ain’t no country club neither.”

So now that we have that out of the way …

the Art of DomainingSecondly, assuming you wanted to do what I do, even if I could transfer the bulk of my knowledge over to you, and explain everything I know on the subject, it still wouldn’t make all the difference.  It’s what you do with that knowledge, and there’s an art to it all.  The aftermarket is fluid, and you have to follow it, spend time in the trenches to get a feel for what sells and what doesn’t and at what prices.  What sold yesterday isn’t necessarily what’s going to sell tomorrow.  What you bought for $x today may not sell for $x tomorrow.  What I know now, isn’t necessarily going to apply, or apply the same way today as it will tomorrow.

Domaining is also a long term play, not a get rick quick scheme.  Although there is some fast money to be made, you are just as likely to wind up with an expensive lesson, if that is your approach.  For the most part, domains are not a very liquid investment.  You can’t expect to pick up a domain today and turn it around tomorrow for a hefty profit.   Although there are circumstances where you can do this.  As I’ve read that Rick Latona once wrote, that you make your money in the buying, not the selling.  By this he meant, you’ve got to be buying domains at prices that are undervalued.  To do this you really have to know the markets.  A lot of times this comes down to a gut feel.   It isn’t a pure set of metrics you can just plug in like an automated appraisal.  It comes down to knowing your craft, and knowing it well.

I could tell you how to lay brick, but unless you’ve ever picked up a trowel; know the weight and the feel of it; how the mortar lays, the consistency of it, how to finesse it onto the brick, how to lay the brick so it falls level and plumb and square with every other brick …. you get the idea.

Now, let me finalize this all by saying, although this may or may not come off as some sage-sounding advice, even I am by no means a domain jedi, guru, or master.  I’m still hustling every day and I still have a lot to learn.  There are plenty of people in this business (and I mean plenty) that have been at this much longer than I.  Give us both an equivalent amount  in start-up capital and they would leave me in the dirt in no time.

Still, I’m confident enough to say what I’ve said here in this post, no bullshit..

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