I Just Spent $10,000 on Domain Names…

So it’s true, along with my fiancée we just spent $10,000 on Domain Names!

Unfortunately for me though, they are not domain investments for me to resell.

After more than six years of being a retailer of other company’s makeup brands on Makeup.co.nz, Claire and I are finally starting our own makeup brand! We’ve decided on “Colouration Cosmetics” as the brand name.

Before my mostly domainer audience checks out at the word ‘makeup’, read this: Future Market Insights (FMI) valued the global cosmetics market in 2017 at US $52 Billion! This is anticipated to touch a value of nearly US $80 Billion in the year 2026. It’s a massive industry!

How Do You Spell That?

‘Colouration’ is dictionary word, and an offshoot of the root word ‘Colour’.

In our native country of New Zealand, colour is spelled with a ‘u’. In the US it is spelled without a ‘u’ like ‘color’. It’s a funny thing, that English word spellings can be so similar, but so different just based on region.

If I’m not mistaken it is only in the US where ‘color’ has no ‘u’. The rest of the Western World, i.e. Europe and the Pacific spells it with ‘u’. So Claire wants to use the spelling with the ‘u’, as that is what we are used to, and most of our prospective customers (except the US) spell it with a u.

So What Does ‘Colouration’ Actually Mean?

According to most online dictionaries, “Colouration” means:

“the appearance of something with regard to colour”

Appearance and Colour. These are both perfect brand connotations for a makeup company! Especially where colour will be a major factor of the products themselves.

The name also has the word colour in it, so even without knowing it is a cosmetic brand, it signals to someone hearing it for the first time that this brand is related to colour. Could it be the perfect name for a makeup brand? (Claire thinks so ; )


So What Did We Buy Exactly?

The problem with ColourationCosmetics.com is that it’s pretty long. That’s a 20 character domain name. We of course own all spellings of this domain, and both versions of ColourationMakeup.com too. However the main issue is that having a 20 character primary domain name is likely problematic.

So we got thinking, what if we could get the single word – Colouration.com.

And so started a long journey….

Did we really want to pay up for a single word .com? Did we want to wait, and get some sales first, then try to get it later? Did we just want to stick with the two-word version we already owned? What about the other spelling: Coloration?

These were all questions that took weeks to discuss. This is your brand, your global presence. You don’t take something like this lightly. You don’t want to do all this work and realise that you should have done this, should have bought that at the beginning, etc.

But at the end of all of our discussions, we decided that launching on a single word domain would do wonders for branding long term. Having the root word was important to protect the ‘Colouration’ brand long term. And with the word Colouration already being a long enough word on its own, using just the root word as the domain name just made sense.

We don’t like to do things by halves here, so we wanted to secure both the UK spelling (Colouration) and the US spelling (Coloration). We couldn’t be losing traffic to the other spelling, especially considering the word is not exactly used very commonly. Owning both would mean that we would have no leakage of traffic to some other website. ‘U’ see what I mean?

Can We Even Get Both Names?

The Mission: Buy Colouration.com and Coloration.com
The Locations: Korea and France
The Venues: Sedo Make Offer and Direct Email
The Cost: Get $18,933 in asking prices down to an acceptable level
The Risk: Not Tipping off either Seller that the other name had sold
The Challenge: Get Both Names or Walk Away
Other Factors: 3 Time Zones, 3 Currencies to convert: NZD, USD, Euros…

Game on!

One domain was on Sedo as ‘Make Offer’, and the other had a landing page to contact the owner directly. We were very worried about Sedo reporting the sale before we secured the other one. So we had to slow negotiations down, as one was getting close to finishing. We had to try to get both deals to close at the same time.

Each offer that a party makes via Sedo is valid for 7 days, so we really did use this feature to slow things down while we were starting negotiations on the other name.


Negotiating using Sedo’s ‘Make offer’ system, is something I haven’t done before. Usually I have done my all my domain negotiations by email. Sedo’s systems mean just sending dollar amounts back and forth. You can add a short message, but you don’t really get the feel of the seller.

With email negotiations obviously everything is on the table from names, locations, occupations, email addresses, wording of emails. And of course all the research one party can do on the other. With WHOIS now being somewhat locked down, it certainly makes researching the other party a lot harder.

Two Domain Negotiations To Secure One Brand

The asking price of $18,933 for the two domains was a deal breaker for us! Plus if we couldn’t get both spellings, we probably didn’t want either of them, due to the leakage factor and the fact the half the world spells it a different way. But it was meant to be. We negotiated hard and managed to get them for a combined cost of around $10,500 including escrow fees.

It was quite a contrast in negotiation styles buying two almost identical names, via two different methods. I’m not sure which negotiation method was better. But somehow we managed to close both deals on the same day!

It was quite a challenge to pull these two deals off simultaneously. How many people really make the effort to buy alternative spellings in this way? Perhaps we are a little crazy!

What are the chances that both versions would be unused and available 20 years after registration. And both be owned by domain investors willing to sell? It was a tense few weeks trying to get the initial crazy prices down on these two domains. But it was definitely worth it.

After the weeks and weeks of work trying to pull both of these separate deals off, we manged to do it! But unfortunately the work is not done. We now need to build a new business from scratch!


The Real Work Begins

We have had the idea of starting our own makeup brand for probably 2 years now. We have learned a lot in our 6 years in the beauty industry. We see certain brands doing things one way and we are like, Why would they do that? So it’s time we used our knowledge to create something new and special. We feel it is time we took the next step!

We have had a few brand name ideas over the past 2 years, and we’ve even bought domain names for them. But it was always ‘something’ + cosmetics. This always means the domain name (and therefore brand) was long.

And the shorter and more common the word you pick, the more challenging the trademark situation becomes. But once we saw both versions of Colouration/Coloration were available, we decided a one word brand would be way better than a two-word combo.

Having a one word .com will really set us apart from the other small indie makeup brands out there. And most of the large makeup companies use a single word .com, so this just helps us along on our branding journey.

Also helping us along is the fact that there are almost no trademarks for Colouration / Coloration. In fact none. A few old ones for Colorations with an ‘s’, so we are pretty much good to go in terms of trademarks.

To date we have been a retailer of other brands makeup via Makeup.co.nz. This is our first venture into creating own our brand. Manufacturing your own products (especially something as complex as makeup) is a long process. The work involved is nothing like we have undertaken before.

To be honest though, Claire is the visionary of this. She will be doing most of the creative work. She wants to build this mostly herself. She will be the face of the brand, do the product development, website and branding etc. I am happy chipping in with strategy when needed, and doing the number side of things. I need to spend my time on domains right!

Our Next Step

Now we have our brand name sorted, the hard part begins of actually pulling this off. Claire has been working most days on various aspects for months, but we still could be 6 months away from actual launch. When your product will be going out with your name on it, you have to do things right.

Once we have launched I would love to do some study on type-ins to see how many people are typing in each spelling. In fact could probably do that as soon as we start promoting the pre-launch page.

For now though, only domainers know about this, so go ahead and be one of the first to check out the site! (aka Mailchimp Landing page!)

Check out: Colouration.com
(Logo Still in progress!)

The added benefit for me is that I finally own some one-word .coms! But they aren’t for sale unfortunately!

Follow and Tweet me @NZDomainer

My Domain Flip turned $100 into $1250! How far could this initial $100 take me?

New readers to the blog: Welcome! Please read What is this Blog About. It explains how I am an experienced ccTLD domainer, but completely new to .com domain investing. You may also like to read about My Domain Investing Journey So Far.

After my very first .com domain flip,  I now have some moolah to invest in more names!

I was planning to move a lump sum of savings over into my domain buying account, to start ramping up my .com purchases. However seeing that my first flip happened rather quickly, I have a CRAZY IDEA…

I just turned $100 into $1250. It could be kinda fun to see how far this initial $100 can take me. What if I invested no more money into my .com portfolio, and relied solely on reinvesting all profits?

Could I continually reinvest the profits off this initial $100, and turn it into big bucks? Or will it get locked up in a number of domains, waiting for end users to come along? I don’t know, but it could be fun giving it a try.


How Far Could I Get with $100 Seed Money?

There are three issues that may make my domain portfolio growth slower if I stick to this $100 route:

1. I prefer to sell to end users only, not wholesale to other domainers. So there is a risk I could get stuck with a limited number of domain names and not be able to turn my domain inventory very fast.
2. I would rather not outbound sell my domains. Limited time is a big factor for me.
3. I will need to get another sale before I run out of my $1250.

But, it could be a fun little experiment, to see how far this $100 will take me. I could buy say 5 – 10 names and see how I go, hoping I get some enquiries or even buy nows if I list them in marketplaces.

Of course there is always the chance I will burn through the $1250 quite quickly buying names. However I can always bring in my lump sum later. I am intrigued to see how far I can take this $100.

I will of course keep you all updated as I go!

Cool Idea? Dumb Idea? How far do you think I could get? Be honest! Let me know!

Comment below, or Follow/Tweet me @NZDomainer

My Domain Portfolio is Empty. Noughtfolio?

New readers to the blog: Welcome! Please read What is this Blog About. It explains how I am an experienced ccTLD domainer, but completely new to .com domain investing. You may also like to read about My Domain Investing Journey So Far.

Thanks for all the support of my recent interview on DomainSherpa. It was a fun experience!

And if you read my previous post you’ll know that I already flipped my very first .com domain investment to an end user in my first 7 weeks. $100 > $1250 for a profit of $1150.

The domain has now been transferred to the new owner. However, this sale now leaves me in a funny position – I have NO .com domains in my portfolio. It is a Noughtfolio…

There are so many Domain Investing Strategies with .com!

I am currently researching all the different Domain Strategies and niches I can find. In my local domain market of New Zealand, there is basically only one strategy for domain investment.

Your only real option is to buy one word commercial terms (or the very best two words) and set up a landing page. There is no wholesale market, no aftermarket, renewals are high at $15, demand is low, and there is limited upside in sale prices in such a small market/country.


But with .com, I am spoiled for choice when it comes to strategies. There are so different ways to proposer as a domain investor. There are so many niches and you always have the wholesale market to sell domains into if you want to change strategies.

My Current Domain Investment Strategy

I will be publishing The ULTIMATE List of Domain Investing Strategies in an upcoming post. However for now I am going to keep doing what worked for the first domain.

1. Buy on GoDaddy Auctions

2. Pick Names that businesses would want to actually name their business or re-brand to.

No tempting domains that ‘sound good’ but are not actually desired by end user businesses.

3. Use Efty for the landing page

The only change I am going to make to what worked before, is I am going to list the domain on the major marketplaces GoDaddy/Afternic, and Sedo. I didn’t even get to this point with my first domain.

So this is all very simple I know! But this worked for my first sale, so I will stick with this strategy until I publish my big list of domain investment strategies list very soon.

I do need to start incorporating ExpiredDomains.net into my daily routine. However with hundreds of thousands of domains dropping each day, I am going to need to work out some filters to wade through all the noise.

This .com domain journey restarts again! I hope to have some new .com purchases to report soon…

What is your favourite niche, or current domain hunting routine? Feel free to leave a comment, or any suggestions below!


NZDomainer Interviewed on the Domain Sherpa Show!

New readers to the blog: Welcome! Please read What is this Blog About. It explains how I am an experienced ccTLD domainer, but completely new to .com domain investing. You may also like to read about My Domain Investing Journey So Far.

NZ Domainer Face to Face Interview!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, I was recently interviewed on the Domain Sherpa Show!

As readers will know, I have been a fan of the show for many years. I have watched/listened to every single show (that’s over 400!). I have learned a great deal of my domaining knowledge from the show. To be invited and featured on the show to share my story was a great honor!


WATCH: “Category Killer ccTLD Acquisition to 7 Figure Business in 2 1/2 Years”

In the interview I share a lot about my journey to date, as an entrepreneur. I also talk about how domain names have played a role in my ventures, how I started as a local ccTLD domainer, and my future plans with domains.

What is the Interview About?

The interview features the story of my business journey of buying a category-killer Exact Match Domain, and building a 7 Figure business on it with my fiancee.

I also discuss my domain investing journey so far. I haven’t had million dollar domain sales, but I have an unique story of how I first got into domains, and how I have invested in domains so far.


The interview is also an introduction to the NZDomainer blog, and my passion for domaining. I am essentially at my halfway point in my domain journey. I’ve been successful in one domain niche (.co.nz domains).

However, with a population of only 4 million people, the opportunities for domain investing in New Zealand are limited. I feel I have gone as far as I can go with domain investing in this small market.

But now that I know how to build a valuable domain portfolio, I have big plans to transition my domaining skills to enter the .com market. However I am a complete newbie to .com investing, so watch this space/blog!

The point of this blog is to share my journey as a new .com domainer, as I build up my portfolio. I hope to share my successes and failures along the way.

I Hope You Like The Show!

I was super nervous to be interviewed, but it was actually really fun. I have been inspired by so many guests on the show over the year. So I hope my journey in business and domaining so far, might be inspiring to Domain Sherpa viewers.

In the interview we also discuss the Paper Trading Domains technique I have been using to start teaching myself about .com domain valuations. But before I give too much of the interview away, I will leave you to watch the show on the Domain Sherpa site!

Watch The Domain Sherpa Show Here

My thanks to the Domain Sherpa team and especially to Tess Diaz, the Domain Sherpa host. She did an amazing job interviewing someone who has never spoken on camera before! Thanks also to Michael Cyger, the original founder of the show. As a consequence of avoiding network television for years, Domain Sherpa has been my number one watched regular show!

I am honored to be featured, and hope you enjoy my interview.

Feel free to make any comments, or ask any questions below.


I Just Flipped My Very First .Com Domain Investment! #newbie

New readers to the blog: Welcome! Please read What is this Blog About. It explains how I am an experienced ccTLD domainer, but completely new to .com domain investing. You may also like to read about My Domain Investing Journey So Far.

I’m as happy as a kid in a candy store right now! I just sold my very first .com domain investment! The name was HaloSolar.com.

To be honest I am surprised the name sold this quickly. Around 7 weeks ago I blogged about HaloSolar.com being my very first .com domain purchase for $100. Unfortunately this sale now brings me down to zero domains in my portfolio…

I have been away from .com domains in the past few weeks, tending to other business. I haven’t had much of a chance to buy more .com domains just yet. But let me tell you, this fast sale has stoked my .com fire even more!

How Did I Price My First .Com Domain Investment?

I set HaloSolar.com up on an Efty landing page, like I do with all my domains. While I owned the name for 7 weeks, the landing page was only live for around 4 weeks. I received the buyers initial offer 9 days after the landing page went live.


Note: I did no outreach on the HaloSolar.com. My strategy is to never reach out to buyers. I like the passivity of clear, for-sale landing pages, and the targeted visitors that type in your name. When a buyer approaches you, you have the upper hand in negotiation too.

The domain was listed with a Buy Now price of $2500, but also open to receive offers of any amount. I did not do too much research into this pricing to be honest. All I had was a hunch, which came from my initial Domain Paper Trading research.

I had seen that two word names such as HaloSolar were likely worth $1000 – $5000 to an end user. Solar names do sell, but surprisingly on NameBio there weren’t an amazing amount of them in the past 2 years.

I picked $2,500 as the Buy Now price, and I wanted to see what kind of enquiries might come through by having no minimum offer level.

My First .com Domain Offer

So nothing happened for about 1.5 weeks. I was busy with other things. I wasn’t hoping or praying for an offer to come in on my one domain. I actually forgot about it. But then an offer came through!

I feel a bit funny writing about receiving one offer, on one domain name. But when it’s your first offer, it’s special. I’m sure we can all remember the feeling of receiving our first real offer on a domain.

So the offer amount was $250. A decent offer, but 10% of where we needed to be.

I countered by saying that the Buy Now price was $2,500. And that I needed a reasonable offer to consider selling the domain.

About a week went by. No reply. So I followed up.

Again, no reply.

At this point I had been wondering for over a week if I had a genuine buyer or not. I Thought I had lost it. I was even emailing the person on their company email.

But I followed up 3 days later, asking if they still had any interest?


They came back the same day with $1000! We were finally getting somewhere!

So at this point I was at a crossroads. Do I try to get them up a little or up a lot?

With this being my first domain investment, I was quite eager to get a score on the board. I would usually negotiate a bit harder, but I was keen to get this sale in the bag.

I knew a $1000 counter would very easily go up a little bit more, so I countered at $1250 + 3% PayPal fee. (Yes I know Paypal is potentially risky for domain sales, but this is a lower level sale)

I knew I had it. Adding $250 to a $1000 offer is easy for the buyer. They accepted!

The Handover

So we had a deal! The buyer requested to pay by credit card, so I suggested PayPal as a fast and easy option.

Being an employee the buyer was worried about making a payment to persons unknown, but I explained how the transfer of the domain would work after payment. It was enough, and I received one of those beautiful PayPal emails: “New PayPal Transaction Initiated” – I had the money.

From there it was as simple as the buyer creating a GoDaddy Account, and pushing the domain over. It’s great when a transaction happens fast.

I thought It could be useful to include the “journey” of this domain flip in my inbox! You can see the purchase on Aug 25 at the bottom, and money come in on Oct 13 at the top. Beautiful!


Note: For privacy reasons I have covered the buyers name. The buyer was not the HaloSolar.net business discussed in a previous post.

Disclaimer: To potential buyers of one of my domains, who is reading this post….

Every domain negotiation and sale is different. While I was happy to reduce my expectations on this sale for certain reasons, it doesn’t mean I would be negotiable at another time, on a different domain.

There are a lot of factors that go into domain pricing and how movable a domain investor is on price. It may depend on the time of contact and whether the investor needs some cash, or conversely has no desire to liquidate in a hurry.

The domain itself may be a “hold till a big pay day” name that an investor may never move much on. Low ball offers are usually quickly left alone, if they show no sign of a decent follow up offer.

One simple fact to note as well, is that a domain may have actually cost the domainer very close to the listed price. They may have recently dropped the price, and not be likely to lower it further.

There is no way for a buyer to know the owners thoughts and rationale behind the price of a particular name. Now back to the sale….

What Did I Learn with this sale?

Could I have held out for more in the negotiation? Yes

Could I have priced this even higher to start with? Potentially Yes

Is a Confirmed Sale at 12X, better than a “Potential” One at 25X?  Yes

Whether this was a $1250 sale or a $2500 sale, it’s still a sale, and the money is in the bank.

It turns out the buyer is a multinational company, so I’m sure I could held firm and got more. But sometimes you never know. With two word domains there are plenty of alternatives, and your buyer may be making offers on several names at once to see their options.

I’m happy with a 12X return in 7 weeks. If my math is right that would be a 8,990% annualized return. Not bad for my first domain flip!

Getting some sales velocity means that what I am doing is working. (Or I just got lucky with this one). I’m sure if I hadn’t received a sale in my first 6 months with .com investing, I would not be as excited to continue buying more names.

This sale is a perfect example of why you should get your for-sale landing pages live the same day as you acquire a domain. I left the domain sitting with no landing page for 2 weeks after I purchased the name.

An offer can come through at any time, and often right after a domain moves to a new owner. If you have no landing page, you don’t know what offers you are missing out on. I mucked around with this domain by waiting, I am very lucky my buyer didn’t skip over the name!

My First .Com Domain Flip…It’s a Start!

Obviously this is just one sale, of one domain name. I have a long way to go.

But I am excited by this first flip, and with a fast turnaround of just 7 weeks.

I will of course keep you all updated as take my next steps to grow my .com portfolio!

QUESTION: What period of time was your fastest domain flip?

Comment below, or Follow/Tweet me @NZDomainer  – Adrian

Paper Trading Domain Names to Test Your Valuation Skills

New readers to the blog: Welcome! Please read What is this Blog About. It explains how I am an experienced ccTLD domainer, but completely new to .com domain investing. You may also like to read about My Domain Investing Journey So Far.

How Good Are Your Domain Name Valuation Skills?

This is a new strategy I have started to do as of today (22 Sep). I want to “Paper Trade”  domain auctions that are ending soon, and follow up to see if my guesses on sale prices were correct.

Paper trading is a term from stock market trading where an investor will ‘pretend’ they hold some stocks. Instead of spending real money on them, they will write down their dummy stock purchase on paper. They record the number of stocks and the price they “bought’ them at. They then track how the stocks perform over time.

I have taken this concept and applied it to domain auctions due to close soon. It is super simple:

Step 1: Go to the GoDaddy Auctions Homepage

Today I am using GoDaddy Auctions to do this paper trading test. GoDaddy Auctions is one of the key places to buy expired domains. You can also use this strategy on any high volume domain aftermarket venue such as NameJet and DropCatch.

It is free to view Domain Auctions on GoDaddy, however if you do wish to bid, you need to become a member. Annual membership is less than $10, so if you are a Domain Investor you need to join!

To start our Paper Trading test we need to visit the GoDaddy Auctions homepage.


Step 2: Sort ‘Most Active Auctions’ By Time Left (Max 24h)

Make sure the two default filters on the Auctions homepage are set to “Most Active” and “100 Results”. For the 3rd filter, we simply go to the ‘Time Left’ column on the far right and click on it. We want the auctions ending soon to show at the very top. That’s it!

The domains on the page are the Most Active auctions which means they have a lot of bids, or they have a lot of views or watchers. We look at Most Active for two reasons:

1. The Most Active auctions are ‘usually’ the highest quality domains. Here we let the crowd find the best domain names for us. (This technique is borrowed from Andrew Rosener’s tip on a recent Domain Sherpa show).

2. The Most Active auctions are very likely going to result in a sale, there is no point guessing the prices crappy domains might sell for, and then don’t even sell. We want to ‘paper trade’ with domain auctions most likely to sell.

Step 3: Copy 10 Domains You Like into a Spreadsheet

In my previous post I talked about a daily research process of picking your favourite domain name sales from the day before, using the NameBio Daily Market Report. We essentially do a similar process here with expiring auctions. Except this time we get to guess the prices BEFORE they sells This is a great exercise to start building your valuation muscle!

Scroll down the list on the GoDaddy Auctions homepage, and pick your favourite domains ending soon.


When you find a domain you like:

1. Click the Watchlist Eye Button to save it
2. Copy the whole line into a spreadsheet.

As you scroll down the whole list, repeat these 2 steps for each domain you like. Keep going over to page 2 until you get to Time Left 1D (1 day).

On the day I am writing this post (Sep 22) there are about 150 domains ending in the next 24 hours. To keep this ‘paper trading’ process manageable, aim to collect a maximum of 10 domain names to your spreadsheet.

Today, these are my favourite domains:


Step 4: Enter the Price You Think Each Domain Will Sell For

Now for the fun part! In your spreadsheet you will enter a price you think each domain name will sell for. However, we need to understand that domains that sell on GoDaddy Auctions are ‘mostly’ bought by investors.

There are some exceptions, and sometimes an end user will end up buying a domain name on GoDaddy Auctions. But for the most part it is investors who are buying domains on this platform at wholesale prices.

Therefore, the price you think the domain will sell for shouldn’t be the highest end user price. A domain investor will pay much less for the domain than an end user would. A domainer would likely want to pay 5-20 times LESS than the end user price.

This does mean that if you want to actually buy a good domain name on GoDaddy Auctions, you will likely be bidding against other domain investors. But this is a good thing, as investors do not want to pay too high a price.

So when you are pricing each domain in your list, there is a bit of guess work needed. Think what a domainer might pay for the name in an auction, not an end user. We are guessing the highest price we think the name might go for in the auction to another domainer. What is the maximum price you, as a domain investor, would pay for this domain?

You could guess what an end user might pay, and work backwards, but this can get complicated. If the end user price is a guess, and then you work back 5 or 20 times less, this is quite a big range.

The point is that you won’t get any bids 100% correct, but you will start to learn the RANGES that certain domains you like, go for at auction. So go ahead, take a guess and enter in the prices you think each domain might end at.

There is 24 hours or less to run in each auction, you will likely also find the current bid of the auction helpful.

My list is here with my guesses in the far right column:

Sep-22 Bids Current Bid <24h Est Sell Price
mystemcell.com 29 $184 * 2000
fugq.com 8 $115 * 300
ozido.com 3 $22 * 400
hempshack.com 14 $305 * 1500
batteryzone.com 36 $519 * 2500
uniforex.com 15 $204 * 800
shipmore.com 29 $140 * 350
bluehue.com 5 $105 * 800
thegroundwork.com 27 $355 * 800
nodifference.com 7 $35 * 300

So that’s it. Let’s see how I fare tomorrow:

Step 5: Next Day: Enter Final Auction Price Into Your Spreadsheet (via NameBio)

UPDATE: It has been 24 hours and I have the auction results for each auction. How did I do?

NOTE: There is a roadblock here. As you put all of the auctions in your watchlist yesterday, you would think that you could go and look at what price the auctions ended at. But no, for some reason GoDaddy auctions removes auctions from your watchlist after they end. So there is no easy way to check how you did.

But luckily NameBio has a record of the daily domain sales, so we can go and check the auction results over there.

Please bear in mind that this is my first ever time paper trading .com domains. I am blogging this process, as I do it. Being a .com newbie, I actually have very little idea of .com valuations. So here goes my first attempt, and in public to add even more excitement (or potential for embarrassment).

Sep-22 Est Sell Price Final Auction Score
mystemcell.com 2000 261 WRONG
fugq.com 300
ozido.com 400
hempshack.com 1500 1226 CLOSE
batteryzone.com 2500 2577 SPOT ON
uniforex.com 800
shipmore.com 350 365 SPOT ON
bluehue.com 800 204 WRONG
thegroundwork.com 800 10,250 WRONG
nodifference.com 300

Step 6: Analyze How Good Your Guesses Were

So yeah I think I did pretty well for a first attempt! I could not find the results of 4 of the 10 auctions which was a shame. Reasons for this could be:

1. The auction did not surpass $100 therefore NameBio did not record it
2. The auction was removed
3. I’m not 100% sure of the .com expiring process but current owner may have renewed
4. Network or other retrieving error at GoDaddy or NameBio
5. I just plain missed finding it.

Of the 6 successful auctions I got 3 auction end prices completely wrong, and 3 good guesses.

My Best Guess:

ShipMore.com – I guessed sale price of $350. Sold for $365! Only $15 off the mark!

My Worst Guess:

TheGroundWork.com – I guessed sale price of $800. Sold for $10,250! $9,450 off the mark!

So I received a 50% mark on my first attempt. I’m happy with that. This is a very fun test of one’s valuation skills. I highly recommend you give this a go right now!


Give it a Go (Can you beat 50%?)

Here are the steps:

1: Go to the  GoDaddy Auctions Homepage
2: Sort ‘Most Active Auctions’ By Time Left (Max 24h)
3: Copy 10 Domains You Like into a Spreadsheet
4: Enter the Price You Think Each Domain Will Sell For
5: Next Day: Enter Final Auction Price Into Your Spreadsheet (via NameBio Reports)
6: Analyze How Good Your Guesses Were

This entire paper trading process can be repeated on any high volume domain marketplace. I am especially keen to give it a go on NameJet!

Do you have any other ideas for testing one’s domain valuation skills? Feel free to comment them below!

Where Does a Newbie Domainer Start?

New readers to the blog: Welcome! Please read What is this Blog About. It explains how I am an experienced ccTLD domainer, but completely new to .com domain investing. You may also like to read about My Domain Investing Journey So Far.

This Might Shock Domainers

I’m sure many domainers take the daily NameBio Domain sale lists for granted. We may glance at the top domain sales, then get on with our day. However, I am coming into the .com market with fresh eyes, and I can see so much value in all domain sales on these lists, it is unbelievable.

To date I have only invested in .co.nz New Zealand domain names. On NameBio there are 70 entries for .co.nz sales. That is 70 publicly recorded sales EVER. Not much data to start investing from! Imagine if NameBio only had 70 .com sales in its entire database, how would you invest?

Over the past 5+ years, I have had to blindly test, analyze and reverse engineer things for myself in the NZ market. It gives real meaning to the term “self-taught!”

Newbies: Put Your Wallet Away and Start Researching

The .com market is so large, there is so much data, it is almost overwhelming for a newbie domainer. What kind of domains do you look to buy? Brandable, Generic, Numeric? Two Word, CVCV, 4L? It can be quite a challenge to know where to start.

I am making a point to do a lot of research before I pull the trigger and start buying. Sure I could go out today and buy a bunch of domains, but without a strategy, without a plan, I would just be following one trend after another with no direction.

So as I learn more about .com strategies, I am starting to formulate my own research process. My very first process as a newbie .com domain investor is to see what names are selling each day. Thank god we have NameBio to help with that.


For about a week now I have been reviewing the NameBio Daily Market Report each day. The report is a list of all the publicly reported domain name sales over $100.

I have had a cursory glance at the Expired Domains Lists too, and for a newbie the tens of thousands of new .coms expiring each day is a little overwhelming. At this early stage, I don’t have a defined buying strategy for .com. Therefore focusing on something small each day, like the NameBio domain sales lists, is helping me to learn about the market before jumping in.

There are usually about 200 publicly reported sales per day, and I find the process of studying this limited set of data is manageable for a “newbie”. The expired domain sites are great at filtering, but when you don’t have a clear strategy on what names you want to be buying, all the filters in the world won’t help.

My Method for Digesting the NameBio Daily Market Report

For those who would like a simple checklist to refer to, this is located at the bottom of this post. However I encourage you to read the reasoning behind each step, as you read this post – it might help you to look at your research in a different way.

So, I have signed up for the NameBio’s Daily Market Report emails (subscribe on the right side of this page). Receiving a daily email is a great reminder to complete this task each day. Sure you can go directly go to the site each day, but it takes 30 days to form a habit right? So I find the emails helpful for building this new research habit.

Below, I share my process for analyzing these domain sales lists, which is helping me to work out where I may be able to enter the market with my own approach to domaining.

Step 1: Open the Daily Market Report Email, and click through to the site

Step 2: Scroll down to the All Sales Results Table

Step 3: I look at each Domain Sale. I am not concerned with prices, I am trying to eyeball domain names that I like the sound of. Names that I would like to own right now, names that I would buy at an auction.

You may think “Oh, I like the domains that sold for the most”. But often times the top priced sales are for domains that are not the kind of domains you ‘like’.


View the full Sep 12 list here

For Sep 12, 2018 the number 1 sale is Gab.com. This is a great domain, and a great sale at $220,000. But let’s face it, as a newbie, 3 letter .com domains (aka 3L or LLL) are not the type of domains I am going to be buying just yet, due to the higher investment level needed. (Generally starting around $30,000 for a cheap one)

The number 2 sale is “DepotCheck.de which sold at $19,203. However, as I mentioned above, not all big sales are domains that one would like to own.

There seems to be a few high value sales of German domains today: festzinssparen.de and webthings.de also featuring high on the sales list. I only want to invest in .com domains so I always skip over any extension that isn’t .com.

The next highest .com sale was memed.com for $5,000. While a nice sale, I personally wouldn’t buy this kind of domain. I like terms that make sense, are commonly used, or contain two words that go together. From my “week” of doing this daily research, I am leaning towards investing in two word .coms.

The next domain is survivalworks.com. I don’t really like this name. What is it for? It doesn’t sound like a good brand that I would like to own. BaristaPro.com sounds nice. But it’s probably on the borderline of what I would choose to own. There are quite a few other words you could put in place of pro.

If I can, I would like to own domains for which there are very few alternative words that could replace one of the two words. The more alternative words that make sense in a domain name, the more chance a buyer could enquire then walk away if the price is too high.

BaristaPro actually is sounding better to me now, but I would rather have a word different from Barista. I will skip this one, there are plenty more I like better.


I keep going down the list. Some of my nos are:


Jesuit.com – Religious? I want commercial terms.
ProfessionalBeauty.com – It would sell, but its a boring name. Less desire = lower price.
LandRollers.com – I see this being something, but I wouldn’t want to hold it for 5 years.
IconSource.com – I just don’t see what this would be used for. Celebrity site. No excite.
Marrick.com – Likely a Last Name which would function as a business name. Not for me.
LinkShack.com – Sounds like a link farm. Do these still exist?

You get my drift. From the entire list, these were my favourites:


$ 3,326 KingsRoad.com – This could be a great brand for a Trucking Company, Tools etc.
$ 3,122 Glucosa.com – Great brand for a medical device or app.
$    630 PrecisionVision.com – I like the rhyming aspect of this brand. Medical perhaps.
$    565 Cavera.com – I like this Brand Bucket style “brandable” name. For Pharma or Tech
$    431 LivingTools.com – Brand for a camping/outdoor equipment company.
$    289 PropertyTrading.com – Exact match term for a Property Investment Strategy.
$    142 FireScanner.com – Someone would name a product or app this.

Important:  For each name I like in the list, I copy/paste the whole line from NameBio into my spreadsheet. When I copy a domain I like, I copy the whole line to include the Domain, Price Sold, and the Sales Venue. Be sure to write the date above the day’s entries.

Once I have been through the whole day’s list, I have a handful of nice domains in my spreadsheet. You could also look at this as pretending. Perhaps I look at my spreadsheet and pretend that I am looking at my portfolio ha ha.

When I have had my initial looks at some of the expired domain lists, I almost felt a bit repulsed because I see so few good names that I like. Having this “collection” of nice domain name brands, helps me to define the .com names I like. By collecting these names, I will have more of a nose for finding similar names.

Step 4: Once I have my personal collection of domains I like to separate them out into 2 columns, one for Wholesale Prices, and one for Retail Prices.

Domain names are either bought by investors, who want to buy cheaply so they can resell the domain again. Or purchased by end users who will build a website on the domain name.

If we can work out whether the domain name sold for a retail price or a wholesale price, we can start to learn how much the kind of names we like end up selling for to end users. Conversely, we can learn how cheaply we may be able to buy domain names we like.

The difference or ‘spread’ between wholesale and retail is where a domainer makes their money. If you don’t know the prices a particular domain name should be bought and sold for, you will struggle to make a profit as a domainer.


Retail Prices for Domain Names  (The Buyer is an End User)

The retail price of a domain name, mean the price an “end user” pays for the name. An end user is a business or person who will actually use the domain name and build a website on it. An end user is the “final” person who will own the domain name, i.e. the domain isn’t purchased by another domainer who will resell it again.

The end user pays an “end user price” which is the generally the highest price that the domain will command at that point in time. Generally, end user prices are in the thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When it comes the the NameBio lists, the retail prices are always the domains at the very top of the list. If a domain name has sold for over $100,000 it has almost always sold to an end user.

Wholesale Prices for Domain Names (The Buyer is a Domainer)

Wholesale Prices are lower prices, that domainers sell to other domainer for. Sometimes a domainer no longer wants to own a particular name, or they need some money fast. So instead of wait potentially years for an end user to pay top dollar, the domainer will price their domain lower, so that another domainer will buy it.

The domainer who buys it believes that they can sell the domain name for a higher price eventually so they are happy to pay the wholesale price. The domainer selling it is happy because they have sold the name and hopefully have a small amount of profit to use for something else.

In terms of the NameBio Domain sales lists, they are not categorised by whether a domain name sold for a retail price (to an end user) or a wholesale price (to a domainer), but we can generally work it out easily.

How Do You Know if a Domain Sold for a Retail Price or a Wholesale Price?

There are two ways to determine if the domain sale sold at a retail price or a wholesale price. Any domain that sold for over $5,000 is generally purchased by an end user, which means it was a retail price.

Most average domain investors like to keep their investment in each domain name low. So they tend not to spend over $5,000 per name, unless the domain name is amazing, and they can afford it.

Some of the more experienced .com domainers will happily buy a domain name for $5,000 to sell it for much higher later on. But for the most part, on the NameBio lists, domains over $5,000 have sold to end users, which means they sold for Retail Price.

The second way to work out if a domain name sold for a retail price is to look at the Venue the domain name sold at. Generally domain names sold on Sedo are purchased by end users, who paid a retail price.

So take all the domain names you picked that are over $5,000, and put them in your Retail Prices column. I have my Retail Prices column on the right. I then leave all other domains on the left which is the wholesale prices column.

If a name sold at NameJet, Godaddy or Flippa this is generally a sign that these were wholesale sales. These venues are for the most part wholesale marketplaces where domainers sell domains to other domainers.

Categorising like this is not perfect, but the more you do this kind of exercise, the more you will be able to work out whether a domainer bought the name or an end user.


Step 5: Study and Analyze

You now have domains you personally like the sound of, listed in two columns:

Wholesale Prices: Rough prices you could potentially buy a similar domain for.

Retail Prices: Rough prices you could potentially sell a similar domain for.

Look at each name  in your list. Look at the words in the domain, look at the placement. Say the domain name out loud. What made it stand out to you? Is it perfectly descriptive? Is it catchy? Is it short and to the point?

Now look over at the price the domain sold for. Did an end user buy it? What do you think made them pay that much for this exact domain name? Can you think of a variation of this domain name that would have been better? Can you find a better name and buy it at a wholesale price?

Or did a domainer buy this domain? Wish you had bought it for that price? Did the domainer pay too much to make a profit?What do you think an end user might pay for this domain? Maybe it is time to start filtering the expired lists for similar names?

These are great questions to ask of each domain in your list. It is only by asking questions like this that you will start to understand what makes a domain name valuable.

But please note that all domain names are unique, and just because a domain name sold for X, does not mean a similar domain name will sell for the same price. There are many factors which make each unique domain name valuable, or not.

But by starting to study names in this way, you start to form anchors in your mind of values. And domain name investing is all about knowing your values. As a domainer you are always trying to buy below value, and sell for market value or higher.

I know the values of the .co.nz domain name market inside out, but when it comes to .com I know very little. But even just a week of doing this process of analysing sales of domain names I like, I am starting to learn the kinds of names I like in .com,

Remember I am completely new to .com, and I am just starting to form my strategy. I look at these daily sales lists as a way to get a pulse on what kind of domains are selling. I am less concerned with exact prices at this point. I am looking for domains that make me say “Yeah that is a great domain, a great domain I would like to own”.

We all have names in our portfolios that we just shake our head at and say “What was I thinking”. Sometimes two words put together just don’t sound right. And we realise no one is going to come knocking for this name.

I am trying to avoid buyer’s remorse at this early point, by keeping my eyes open to what is out there. What I am trying to do is make a big list of domains that make me go “WOW, nice name”. Then when I begin to start combing the lists of tens of thousands of expiring domains, I will know a name I like when I see it.

The benefit of “collecting” these sales is that when I come across a name I like, it may remind me of a similar kind of name that I saw in the past. I can then go to my spreadsheet and see what that kind of name sold for. Even if the keywords are completely different, sometimes the sentiment of a name can be similar to another one.

By this process, I am trying to hone my skills BEFORE buying. I want to avoid the typical newbie scattergun “buy and drop” approach. I have probably dropped 400 .co.nz names in my time, while learning that market. I am not about to repeat that with .com!

Summary: My Process for Analyzing NameBio Daily Market Reports

Step 1: Open the Daily Market Report Email, and click through to the site

Step 2: Scroll down to the “All Sales Results Table”

Step 3: Copy Domain Names that you like the sound of, and paste into your spreadsheet.

Step 4: Separate them out into 2 columns: Wholesale Prices, and Retail Prices.

Step 5: Ask Questions about why each domain sold for the price it did:

Questions To Ask About the End User Sales (Retail)
– What do you think made them pay that much for this exact domain name?
– Can you think of a variation of this domain name that would have been better?
– Can you find a better name and buy it at a wholesale price?

Questions To Ask About the Domainer Sales (Wholesale)
– Wish you had bought the domain for that price?
– What do you think an end user might pay for this domain?
– Did the domainer pay too much to make a profit?
– Maybe it is time to start filtering the expired lists for similar names?


NameBio Rocks

Shout out to Michael Sumner and Adam Strong at NameBio for publishing these reports each day. This is such a great service for the domain community. Where would we be without NameBio!

You can view NameBio’s daily market reports here. I highly recommend subscribing to the daily emails on the same page.

Let me know if you like this research strategy idea? Do you have similar tastes in domains as I do?

If you made it this far, congratulations! That’s 3060 words read! My poor hands… Comment below to say you MADE IT!