Jason Davis has success with domain names by focusing on a niche he knows.
When I interviewed Harry Joiner about his purchase of CEOjobs.com, he told me “the real story isn’t me. It’s Jason Davis, who sold the domain to me.”
Jason Davis certainly has a story to tell. Over the past decade he has amassed and sometimes developed one of the finest portfolios of niche job domains in the world. He bought Recruiting.com for $75,000 in 2002. His wife called him crazy until he turned around and sold it to Jobster in 2006.
In an interview with Domain Name Wire, he discusses how he got into domains, how he sells domains to end users, and how he values a domain name.
When and why did you start registering job related domain names?
In 1997 I read an article in a recruiting newsletter. Someone asked what a good domain name would be for a recruiting firm. A guy answered and said ‘if you recruit software engineers, softwarejobs.com would be a great name’. The bells started ringing in my head and I ran to the computer. The first name I registered was hardwarejobs.com because I recruited electrical engineers designing circuits – also known as a hardware engineer. By the end of the night I was the proud owner of a lot of names. (SoftwareJobs.com was registered and in use.)
You’ve sold some of your domains to “end users”. How did you approach them and convince them to buy the domains?
In the 90s I bought analogjobs.com because I recruited analog design engineers. There are significant fees paid for the successful hire of an analog design engineer. Two years ago, I decided I no longer needed the name and made a phone call to Texas Instruments. They pay huge sums of money in fees to recruiters. I explained why this domain name would deliver benefit to them if they were to develop the name. They saw the value and I told them I wanted 3 placement fees for the name. They ended up paying over $60k. Texas Instruments did not build out the name and today it is a redirect to their analog employment section.
All the names that I have sold for over 20k have been situations where I called the company or person and explained why I felt that they would benefit from the domain name.
How do you value domain names?
I usually assign a value based on what can be done with the name and the economics that surround the industry. For example, I own CircuitJobs.com. If you are a recruiter who places circuit design engineers, it’s a perfect name to start a blog with to write about the searches you are doing, the trends in the industry, and interviews with some of the industry leaders. You will make placements and generate new clients. So, if you take a salary of a senior circuit design engineer, say 100k, the fee for this hire to a recruiter should be somewhere between 20 and 30k. If I sell the name to you for 30k, one placement covers the cost. It was the same logic that made me comfortable paying 35k for SemiconductorJobs.com a long time ago, which I made quite a few placements from. It’s no longer an active site but I would never let it go for less than 150k.
Are you buying domain names?
I’ll consider buying a domain if I think I can get 20-30 percent return on investment each year. If the name is 500 bucks and I like it, I’ll buy it. At the 2k mark, I need a plan for it. At 10k or more it’s a big belief in market trends.
Are you actively trying to sell any of your domains?
I have about 150 domain names. Some of the ones I’m looking to sell are WirelessJobs.com, jobTV.com, StartupJobs.com, and GraphicsJobs.com. Right now I spend a lot of my time running RecruitingBlogs.com.