DNForum founder discusses the state of domain investing and his popular forum.
Adam: Dnforum.com is now up to about 106,000 members and that number grows by over 250 each day. We have over 1.7 million posts on a variety of topics. Dnforum.com is continually voted the best domain community on the web by your readers.
DNW: When I last interviewed you, you said one of the draws of the forum is that it’s a “forum where people go to do business”. Domain sales have changed a lot over the years. How have you adapted on the forum?
Dnforum.com has had to adapt to the changing industry with the focus still remaining on educating community members so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes others did when they were just starting out.
We started showcasemanager.com, a marketplace designed to offer domainers the chance to sell as many domains per year as the want for $69. Previously domainers were paying anywhere between 10%-30% of their sale price just to have a link on their parked page that said ‘this domain may be for sale’ and that’s way too much. From my experience, none of the current marketplaces are working hard to promote more eyeballs or retail customers to the their domain sales path so why pay the commission when you really don’t have to. Showcasemanager.com hasn’t even officially launched yet but we have over 300 portfolio owners signed up in the first 48 hours. We are also looking at the possibility of adding leasing domains as a feature of showcasemanager.com and I believe no other marketplace currently offers this.
Now by no means am I suggesting you don’t list your domain names for sale on other marketplaces. You should list them wherever you can to maximize exposure. The one thing I do suggest is you keep commission in mind when listing at all marketplaces.
For example, if you want to sell a domain for $1000:
You should list it at $1,000 at Showcasemanager.com because the commission level is 0%.
You should list it at $1,100 at Sedo because the commission is 10%
You should list it at $1,150 at Go Daddy Auctions because the commission is 15%
You should list it with Afternic at $1,200 because the commission is 20%
You should list it on Go Daddy Premium Listings for $1,300 because the commission is 30%
This strategy always guarantees that no matter where it sells you will get the $1,000 you want out of it.
There are three areas that seem are approaching a slow death: domain parking, domain brokerage and minisite development.
Domain parking revenues have dropped across the board to the point that if you are not making domain sales on a regular basis you will be forced to go look for full time work again soon and just do domaining as a hobby.
Domain brokerage seems to have dropped as well with everyone claiming to be a broker but it takes a real salesman to approach an end user and negotiate a sale and this industry has very few people capable of accomplishing such a feat.
With many people consolidating portfolios, there has never been a better time to invest in good solid domain names. My own personal strategy of late has been to sell three or four lower end names and spend half the revenue and get a good generic name. I am a firm believer in the .com and .ca marketplaces while most other tld’s are just domainer pipe dreams that make the registrars money.
A positive area that is taking off quickly is our expansion into selling websites through dcg.com, these are fully functional, original content websites created for the purpose of selling or promoting a product or service. Each site includes ten custom written articles that are submitted to article sites bringing back valuable targeted traffic. Some examples of sites are liberationtreatment.com, gout.ca, limo.ca and igolf.ca.
With focus on our new content development we are offering with custom content, SEO promotion and features we are generating a lot more income on our own domains through PPS then parking. Within 1 month of launching Limo.ca we began receiving over 15 real leads a day on limo rentals and receiving a 25% commission on each sale.
DNW: There were only a couple domain blogs around 5 years ago. Now it seems like one is popping up every other day. Do these new outlets for news and opinion change what people come to DNForum for?
Adam: I recently started a controversial string on dnforum.com called “Newsflash: just because you can install WordPress you are not a domain expert!” and I believe this to be true. Too many people are starting blogs and giving advice without a proven track record and the advice is dangerous and somewhat misleading to those just getting started out in the business. To this day, I read very few blogs and the ones I read all serve different purposes. Some of the best blogs are written by people that I would say are reporters turned into domainers and that includes dnjournal.com and domainnamewire.com.
As far as the effect these new blogs have on Dnforum members, I would say that it is minimal. People come to dnforum.com because they can expect to get an honest appraisal or valuation of a domain or business idea they may be thinking of starting up. Dnforum.com continues to offer valuable tips and direction to those starting out in the industry as well as seasoned veterans that sometimes need a dose of reality, sometimes we all need that.
DNW: You’re a successful domainer who also spends a lot of time running this successful forum. Yet you’ve also worked for a couple domain companies, including IREIT and then Go Daddy. With all this on your plate, what attracted you to work for these companies at the same time?
Adam: I was attracted to both companies because I wanted to share the passion that I have for this industry and make a difference where I could. Both companies have great people yet they were very different and so were my experiences. The experiences and perspectives I gained from working at both companies have helped me tremendously in my current and future endeavors.
DNW: What are some of the bigger initiatives you’re working on that forum members should look out for?
Adam: Dnforum.com will be releasing an iPhone and Android application by the end of June that will make it more convenient for our members to browse our forum easily.
Both Dnforum.com and Showcasemanager.com have great affiliate programs that allow our members to earn 25% on sales they generate.
As this industry continues to consolidate down, Dnforum.com will continue to grow and add new services and partners to benefit our members.
We have many partnerships in the works that will benefit our members both short term and long term that will be announced in the coming weeks.
I would say I still work 18 hours a day but — when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.