Today we learn how Calvin has sold more than 200 domain names (a 17 percent portfolio sell-through rate), garnered more than $200,000 in revenue, and profited by more than $60,000.
You’ll also hear how he selects his brandable domain names, what his process is for managing domain names, how he optimizes his sales process, how he’s trying to liquidate 30 to 50 domains per month at NameJet to right-size his portfolio, and why he turned down a six-figure offer to sell his entire portfolio.
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In September 2015, Christian Calvin came on DomainSherpa and did a profitable flip show talking about how he went from an $80 purchase to $12,500 sale in four months and a $99 purchase to $9,000 sale in less than one month, both with brandable domain names. Today we’re going to catch up with Christian, hear how his investment strategy has worked out, and how he’s modifying his investing tactics a year later. Also why he turned down a six figure offer for his portfolio. This is a true, “from the trenches” view that you don’t want to miss. Stay tuned!
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Michael: Hey, Sherpa network. Thank you so much for joining me today. My name is Michael Cyger and I’m the publisher of DomainSherpa.com, the website where you can learn how to become a successful domain name investor and entrepreneur directly from the experts. My goal is that you’ll watch these interviews, take away strategies, tactics, and ideas. Become successful yourself. And then come back to DomainSherpa and do an interview like today’s guest is gonna do. In September, 2015, we learned about an investor who bought an $80 domain name on a GoDaddy auction and sold it for $12,500 in only one month of ownership. But it wasn’t a one off sale. He also bought a $99 domain name that he sold for $9000.
We learned his strategy and tactics and today we’re gonna do a catch-up show with him, find out what’s worked in strategy, what tactics he’s modified and where he’s going in 2017. It’s part of a new series of shows to find out what successful investors are up to since last appearing on the show. I’m pleased to welcome back to the DomainSherpa show Christian Calvin, an individual investor and owner of PlentyOfBrands.com. Christian, welcome back.
Christian: Hey, thank you, appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
Michael: It’s so funny. I was just checking out Facebook this morning while eating breakfast and you know how they do that on this day reminders from previous years?
Michael: Yeah, I love to see those because my kids pop up and I can see them from six years ago or whatever. Here’s the one that popped up today…
Christian: That’s pretty cool.
Michael: It was Christian Calvin…
Christian: I did not know that.
Michael: Sometimes things get lost in the mail. Then they show up and they make your day. Thanks, Mike Cyger, DomainSherpa. You came on. You did the show that I was just talking about where you talked about profitable flips, not one which is the typical MO for the show, but two within a year. And you’ve got your DomainSherpa mug which you only get when you come on the show and it says, “I’m a Sherpa helping others reach their peak, DomainSherpa.” So cool and you were on in September. So cool that you got it and you posted it. Thanks for doing that.
Christian: Yeah, sure. That’s cool. I didn’t know that it’d show up today.
Michael: I know. It’s so fitting, right?
Christian: Yeah, and whenever you sent it, it got lost in the mail and it was like a couple months later, but I did get it. Unfortunately, I’m a bad guy today. I don’t have my Sherpa cup. I’ve got the Starbucks.
Michael: No worries and I appreciate you coming on the show. You mentioned earlier to me yesterday that you’re a little under the weather, and thanks for being a trooper and taping today’s show. So let’s do a catch-up. How many domain names do you own today and in roughly what are the TLDs? How do they shake out?
Christian: I own around 1200 dot domains. I’d say about 90% of them are dot com. And then it falls off really…as far as a few dot nets, a few of the new TLDs, a few dot orgs, but I’ve mainly focused on dot com.
Michael: Okay, so you’re mainly focused on dot com, 1200 domain names today. How many domain names have you sold since you entered the industry in about mid to late 2015?
Christian: Well, I had to go to use my Efty account and also…
Michael: I appreciate you saying that.
Christian: It’s something I don’t have listed on Efty, but it’s about 200.
Michael: Two hundred domain names sold?
Michael: Wow. So that’s a pretty phenomenal rate. Let’s see here. You came on in late 2015. I think you started investing in mid 2015. Is that right or was it earlier?
Christian: It was earlier than that. I was in the business a couple years ago. I call those my throwing money away years. It’s where I did not listen to people that gave me advice about hand registering names and things like that. So probably around 2010, 2011, I started and around 2015 is when we did Plenty Of Brands and we got a bit more focused, so…
Michael: So 200 domains sold out of 1200. I know you’ve bought more than that but that’s roughly a 16%, 17% sell through rate, where most investors would be happy with like a 2% sell through rate so that’s a pretty phenomenal number. If you add up all the domains that you’ve sold since you entered, what’s your total sales volume? Do you know that number?
Christian: I don’t have the exact number. I know it’s a little bit over 200K. I know the website reports I think 141. There has been more sales since then that aren’t included in there, and then there’s been some sales that I had before we created Plenty Of Brands. I try to kind of keep the number on Plenty Of Brands with what’s happened on Plenty Of Brands. So there are some before and then there’s probably been maybe $150,000 to $70,000 on Plenty Of Brands.
Michael: Yeah, pretty phenomenal numbers there, Christian. You know I think any investor that’s like on NamePros, for example, or just an individual investor that’s buying domain names, they would kill to have the kind of stats that you have. Where you have 1200 domain names, so that means that if you’re paying $10 on average for renewal that’s a $12,000 holding cost for those domain names, $200,000 total sold. Even if it’s over say 3 years, that’s $70,000 in volume. You’ve got $12,000 in holding costs. Clearly, you’re buying some more than that. Are you in the black? Are you positive and if you look at your total expenses buying and holding domain names and you compare it to your total revenue?
Christian: Yes. Once again, I logged into my Efty account, because the good thing I like about the Efty account is I can put what I paid, what I sold, what my renewals are and it kind of factors all that in. And I’m about $65,000, $70,000 up so just with what I’m keeping up with in Efty, so I’m pretty happy with that. I mean, obviously I’d like to move that number a lot, but that’s where we’re at right now.
Michael: Yeah, and just in full disclosure. It’s down in the disclosures in DomainSherpa. I am a partner and owner in Efty, E-F-T-Y.com which does help you market, monetize and manage your domain name. So you can put all of your domain names in there. You can find all your domain names, you can track them. And I do love that as well I think that investors need to be investors. If you wanna be a hobbyist and you just wanna collect things, like you like collecting Pez dispensers or you like collecting domain names, more power to you. But if you actually wanna make some money, if you wanna like make sure your cash flow positive on a yearly basis. If you wanna track your expenses because you’re a long term investor and you’re treating this like a 401K which is the way that I typically invest, then you need to track your expenses and that’s what you’re doing with Efty.
Christian: Right and I wouldn’t mention Efty if it’s not an important part of what I do. Like if I purchase a name, I go to the right places, whether it’s Plenty Of Brands. But Efty is one of the places that I need to go and I need to log it, I need to put how much I paid for it, when it expires. So I don’t log in to my Efty account every day but it’s been a pretty good tool for me to manage where I’m at, what I’ve done in the past, what I’ve got to look forward to in the future as far as renewals and things like that. So yeah, it’s a great tool for me.
Michael: Yeah, you know, like just yesterday I saw the story that Dot Shop is giving away free domain names for a year, like one domain name per account, and you can get a freedom domain name. So I went to I think it was Moniker which is having the promotion and I typed in a few phrases and I found one that I wanted to buy. Dot Shop bought it for zero dollars. Went to my Efty, clicked Add, added it put my zero dollar purchase cost. And then I put a note in there saying upon renewal you may wanna drop this if you don’t have any inquiries and I’m done. And so when it comes up for renewal I click the domain name, I look at the notes. I can decide if I wanna renew it or not. So back in 2015, Christian, when you were on the show you told me that you had about 380 domain names and today you’ve got 1200 domain names. How have you acquired so many? What’s been your thought process around that?
Christian: Well, I’ve purchased a few portfolios.
Michael: You did?
Christian: Yeah, they were small and one thing I was gonna say is my tactics have kind of changed. If I’m gonna buy a portfolio, I’m looking at maybe per domain cost. So let’s say I see five of them that are in there that’s really, really good and I’m buying 100 or I’m buying 50 or 30 or how many I’m buying. I try to get that per domain cost down as low as I can. And I may be interested in inventory, let’s say for Plenty Of Brands, but I do like these five. So purchasing daily I have a certain… I spend about two hours a night just basically looking at the drops. I have a certain set of keywords that I look for. If I see something I like, I will buy it. And also purchase in a few of the portfolios. So that’s how I grew from 400 to 1200. Now I’m not saying that that’s a good thing. Tactics may change…
Michael: Well, your metrics tell you if it’s a good thing. If you’re selling more it’s a good thing, right?
Christian: Yes, that’s true.
Michael: All right, so let me back up for a sec. So your strategy is brandable domain names?
Michael: You typically buy domain names that are… what kind of domain names? Because people define brandables differently. Sometimes it’s not a keyword domain name, so it’s not like work out or CrossFit workouts. You’re buying domain names that are either an adjective and a verb together or an adjective and a noun together. Or you’re buying like made up words? Give us an idea what kind of domain to buy.
Christian: So when I first got into it kind of what I was going to do was have the made up words. Kind of have true brandable names or missed…not really misspells, but let’s just use ownmoverzs.com It’s M-O-V-E-R-Z.com. I’m not a big fan of the Zs and I’m not a big fan of the typos and misspells and stuff like that. But that’s kind of where we were focused at the beginning. Now I’ve kind of shifted my focus to more…names more like two word dot coms, that I would say could be used as a brandable but are not necessarily brandable domains in the industry or they’re not made up words.
Michael: Yeah, like what? What would be an example of a two word dot com that could be used as a brandable?
Christian: Well, to me like membersclub.com or proescrow .com. To me if I was a company and I was wanting to brand my company and I’m an escrow company, I love proescrow. com. It’s a great domain. There’s probably several companies named proescrow.com. I’m not sure. I can look it up. I consider that a brandable but I don’t think the industry would consider that a brandable. They may consider that more of a basically, maybe just like a two word dot com. I mean…
Michael: Yeah, no, it’s a brandable because you’ve got your noun or verb which is escrow and then you’ve got pro which is an adjective, right? It could be escrow pro, it could be pro escrow…
Michael: It could be expert escrow, it could be escrow trust dot com. There’s a million different opportunities and what you’re doing is saying I’m investing in brandables. I’m investing in domain names that a company would select as their name that makes people feel a certain way. Right? That’s…
Christian: Right and that it explains their business. I think that’s an important key. At first I was buying names that were made up like okay, we’ll use cater for example. C-A-Y-T-R. Now…
Michael: And you talked about that on your last show…
Christian: The last.
Michael: Which I’m gonna link up in this interview.
Christian: Well, the thing is I still own it. It may not be a good domain. But if I’m a catering company and I wanna be different, maybe I use K-A-Y-T-R, maybe I you see C-A-Y-T-R.
Christian: It’s C-A-T-E-R is what they’re, you know, so it doesn’t pass the radio test and a lot of those five letters or six letter made-up domains don’t. So they can be a bit confusing for branding purposes. So I’ve kind of decided to shift my focus more towards one word dot coms and two word dot coms personally.
Michael: So your strategy is still brandable, still coming up with names for companies that are starting, not technology, necessarily technology startups but just companies that are starting like proescrow. And then you’re shifting your tactics a little bit saying instead of buying the made-up words that don’t necessarily pass the radio test, you’re gonna go with two word dot coms that a company would potentially want to call their company.
Christian: Right and one of them…this is another example. I own paymentpros.com. And I’ve had some startups reach out to me about that domain, wanting to purchase that domain. I like that domain. To me it may not fit into the typical brandable domain, but to me there are several companies out there that wouldn’t mind having that as their name.
Christian: They wouldn’t mind owning the dot com to match it. So that’s where I’m focused is more towards what would people look at, does it explain a business, or does it explain a service? And if it does then it may be right fit for me. So that’s kind of what…
Michael: And so now that you know what kinds of…you sort of shifted your focus of the brandable domains that you’re buying, where do you typically buy these domain names? Are you hand registering them? Are you finding them on auctions? Are you contacting end users to try and buy them? How do you acquire these domains?
Christian: Well, okay, so if it’s something that I’m wanting to use as an inventory item on Plenty Of Brands and if I have money to burn then I’ll hand register domains.
Christian: Not saying that it’s a waste of time. I have sold a lot of my hand registered domains.
But I have certain keywords and I’m pretty strict on my keywords, I have a keyword list. So I’m pretty strict on what I buy. But like let’s say brandable domains, five letter regular misspelled typo domains, personally I’m trying to stay away from right now just…and one of the reasons why is let’s say I’ve registered 300 and I may own 280. So if I’ve sold 20…or let’s say I bought 500 and I’ve sold 20, the numbers just don’t make sense to keep purchasing those names for me. And I do hand register some names. The majority of the ones that I purchase to get back to your question I would do in auctions. I look at the drop list but once again I do keep the keywords that I like that I think fit my business. Those are the ones that I focus on. Sometimes I get off on purchasing ones that I shouldn’t and getting off my list but I try to stick to a certain keyword list.
Michael: Yeah, that makes sense and so you said that you do this at night because you have a day job, right? We talked about this on your last show. Your day job, you work in the family business which is a furniture…how do you describe it?
Christian: Well, we have a furniture rent to own business. I don’t know if you have heard of Aaron’s or Rent-a-Center or any of those. We’re basically like them. We started in 1981. We are now going into our 36th year so it’s been a great business. It’s a fun business. Typically we help people who either can’t afford to buy what they wanted. We help them buy high quality products at affordable prices. We set their payments up when they get paid, and it’s been a really good business for my family. So we do that during the day and then I work on Plenty Of Brands, be a father and…
Michael: Yeah, so you come home. You have your dinner. You hang out with the kids. You put the kids to bed. Do you typically do your work on Plenty Of Brands and domain name investing after the kids are in bed?
Michael: Yeah, and so what hours do you typically work per day? On investing I mean?
Christian: On investing? We try to put them to bed at a certain time and right after that I get started, and I’d say between two and four hours is what I’ll spend. So I’ll spend till between 12:00 and 2:00 at night is kind of where I’m focused…
Michael: Good for you, man. That’s hustle, baby. That’s, you know, when I was building my first media company, before I sold it I would put the kids to bed. I would hang out with my wife. And then when she went to bed at 10:00, then I’d start working from 10 to like 2 a.m. Because that’s a whole another half day and in corporate America that’s like a full day, right? If you factor in like the BS time around the water cooler, and the meetings that you don’t really care. So like, yeah, that’s the way to do it 12:00 to 2:00 and get the work done. So what is a typical work night look like for Christian Calvin?
Christian: So that’s a good question, too, because normally I’ll have like eight windows open. So I’ll have a GoDaddy window open, like a lot of my names at GoDaddy. I actually give to all the registrars. I have domains everywhere but I’d say 90% of mine are GoDaddy. So I’ll have that window open. I’ll have a domain auctions window open to see what auctions and what names are dropping tomorrow. I’ll look at what domains drop today to see if there’s any that I wanna register with my keywords. That’s where I pick up a lot of the domains that I like for Plenty Of Brands. And I’m also working on…I bought bartab.com. I’m building that out. So I’ve got it open. I’ve got writers that write for that. So I’m trying to put content on there. I’m doing like…
Michael: I’m gonna come back and ask you about bar tab because I remember when your owned mortgage.info and I remember what happened with that, so let’s come back to that. But you mentioned that you’re working two to four hours a night. You’ve got your GoDaddy window open which makes sense because GoDaddy is the largest registrar in the world, if domains are expiring they’re likely expiring there. So you gotta play that auction. But how do you track all the auctions that are going on? Do you use a certain piece of software that helps you get through the 100,000 domain name, dot com domains that are dropping per day?
Christian: I do not.
Christian: No, and I probably do 1980s style. Like, I actually just pull up the auctions I look at them. I see if any catch my eye put and I put them on a watch list.
Michael: So you’ve got search queries for the keywords at GoDaddy?
Christian: Yes, so I have search queries and then they email those search queries to me. Anybody can set that up. I actually don’t even look at those anymore. I get so many in there that I don’t have time to look through them. So what I do is I’ll basically go to whatever auction website I’m at and I’ll see which ones I like, I’ll put them on my watch list. I have apps on my phone that like tell me when the auction is about to go off, and if I wanna bid on it I’ll bid in it. If I wanna watch and see what it went for, I’ll do that. So that’s kind of how I keep track with it but it’s really not a science at all. I basically just skim through them with my eyes. I don’t have any special tools to capture these names or anything. But I know a lot of people do that and I know they have a big advantage over me because they have it as a science. To me sometimes I’m thinking look if I’m catching this name or if I buy this name and millions of people passed over it, is it really a name that I need to buy? So I just basically go with my instincts and sometimes it’s paid off and sometimes it hasn’t. But if I’m getting names like what we mentioned before, bar tab, and some of my other names, if I’m being able to purchase those names I feel pretty good about it so, you know.
Michael: Yeah, totally. So you’re mostly playing the expired domains. You’re buying them on GoDaddy. How many of the domains that you acquire, you win the auction, actually get clawed back by prior registrants? Because GoDaddy auctions them before they technically expire and are available for sale. They try and pre-sell them so that they don’t ever have to give them up from from their registrar.
Christian: That actually…that’s a good question. A lot of my domains that I buy do get picked back up.
Michael: They do? That’s a bummer.
Christian: Yeah, and they’re giving me refunds and it’s a little bit of a hassle. I would say that, you know, as far as a percentage, I’m not really for sure what the percentage would be. But I can tell you this. It’s a lot of good ones first of all and trying to think of the last one that…actually, I’ll tell you one of the ones that just happened. I actually purchased or I was in an auction. I don’t think I won the auction of this but it actually got picked up by the old owner, homechoice.com.
Michael: Oh, yeah. That’s a nice brandable.
Christian: I loved that domain. I loved it for Plenty Of Brands. But I also loved it for…I’m in the furniture business and I like to look at domains that are good for our business. Home Choice we could have used. You know? So, it’s an example of one that… I think it went for like $3000, so not too bad. I feel like that’s maybe a $20,000 to $30,000 domain, in my opinion. So somebody got a good deal but then it got snatched right back up. So yeah, you know… I think they’re gonna change that. I’m not sure when but I feel like they’re gonna change that to where that’s not happening as much.
Michael: Man, I hope so.
Michael: So let me ask you, Christian, just a few minutes before you mentioned that you were purchasing portfolios. How do you find portfol-…when you say you wanna buy a portfolio, how do you hear about these portfolios to evaluate buying them?
Christian: So, I bought portfolios of four letter dot coms, so I bought between 20 and 50 from people before. A lot of those were flips. So I bought them and resold them also…
Michael: Oh, really? So you’re playing the short term game rather than the long term game like you do with your brandables, you’ve gotta wait for somebody to come. In the four Ls you’re trying to play arbitrage. You’re trying to buy low and sell high within a short period of time?
Christian: Yeah. and I got in on four letters a long time ago. I actually had probably 30 or 40 of them that I paid between $20 and $40 a piece. Sold them for $400 a piece. So I did pretty good. I also stumbled upon about 10 or 15 Chinese premiums. I didn’t pay a lot for them and sold those for $2000 a piece. So it wasn’t a lot of those and I sold a few before it hit. And a few after so…
Michael: Meaning a few under value price before they hit their peak and a few after when they when they hit their peak?
Christian: Well, I sold four for $500 when they were selling for $1500 and…
Michael: A few months later, yeah.
Christian: They hit me at a really bad time believe it or not. Not financially, but we were going in to have twins. It’s been about a year and a half ago. Had four Chinese premium names and I was in a hospital room and I kept getting this guy who would not leave me alone. He’d get…and what he did is he sent me an offer of $2000 for four four letters and I’m like that seems fair. I didn’t really… my mind wasn’t there.
Michael: Oh, totally. You’re like losing sleep. You’re worried about your wife, the twins. You’re like yeah.
Christian: Yeah. And we’re not in the delivery room yet but we’re getting ready to be in the delivery room and I should not have even been checking my email to be honest. But I was in the room checking my emails, you know, my wife’s about to give birth to the twins and I get a $2000 offer and I’m like I think I’m gonna sell some domains in the hospital room.
Michael: Seriously. Yeah.
Christian: So I…
Michael: That’ll buy some onesies for the twins.
Christian: Yeah. It’ll help pay the… It worked out. I mean, we paid the hospital before we left and some other stuff. Yeah, I ended up selling them. They were probably worth $6000 to $8000 and I sold them for $2000 because I had agreed upon it and it and before I transferred them I’m like wait a minute. These are Chinese premiums.
Michael: You’re man of your word when…
Christian: But I sold…
Michael: You’re a man of your word, Christian. Hey, so you purchased a portfolio of the four L’s dot com. Did you purchase any brandable portfolios or were they all sort of liquid domains?
Christian: A lot of them were liquid domains. I bought a few BrandBucket. I would consider BrandBucket portfolios that they had already been approved through BrandBucket. They had already paid the fee and I was just trying to dabble a little bit into the BrandBucket names, but I think whenever they went from 10,000 domains, now I think they have 40 something thousand. My 50 names or 40 names, I think I have 43 names there, they get lost in the mix. And so that’s about the only brandable portfolio. I bought it from a few people I’ve a purchased portfolios that way. Now I’ve also sold some of those names to where I didn’t hang on to a lot of them, but I still have 43 of them. And they make a really pretty logo and I know that they get a tremendous amount of traffic and I know they have verifiable sales behind their business. I just haven’t personally had a lot of luck with that, but I don’t know if I have enough names there either.
Michael: Yeah. So those 43 names that you have, it sounds like you haven’t sold any through BrandBucket or is that not correct?
Christian: I have not sold any through BrandBucket. It’s hard.
Michael: Yeah, when I listed some domains on BrandBucket, too, they didn’t sell in a year so I pulled them down. Nothing against BrandBucket. I think it’s really a function of the domains, not necessarily the marketplace.
Christian: I think so, yeah.
Michael: So when you acquire domain names, when you like pick up a domain in an auction and it actually hits your registrar account, Christian, so it’s your domain name, what’s your tactical process as soon as you have it? Do you immediately put it on Plenty Of Brands? Do you set a buy it now price? Do you list it for sale in marketplaces? What do you do?
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Michael: So when you acquire domain names, when you like pick up a domain in an auction and it actually hits your registrar account, Christian, so it’s your domain name, what’s your tactical process as soon as you have it? Do you immediately put it on Plenty Of Brands? Do you set a buy it now price? Do you list it for sale in marketplaces? What do you do?
Christian: So I list it on the marketplaces first for a couple of reasons. Just to keep up with my portfolios on other marketplaces like I said earlier, Efty, Sedo, Afternic. I’ll spend a few minutes in list and not list them there, but put them on there to keep up with my portfolio. Then I’ll decide if I wanna put it on Plenty Of Brands. If I do I’ll build a logo. And then what I’ll do is I’ll go in and I’ll forward the domain. I’ll create the page. Sometimes I price them, sometimes I don’t. Obviously…
Michael: Depends on the domain, right, like if it’s just a good domain that you think is worth…let’s just set a price of $2000-$3000, you just set it. But if it could go $20,000, $30,000, I’m sorry, you may not set a price, right?
Christian: Right. Well, and look I have high priced domains on my website. Not saying that their worth that. Some of them could be worth that, some of them may not be. But maybe I see something in the domain that maybe some other people don’t or I see a…like I just purchased fastfresh.com. And I love that domain.
Michael: That’s a great brand.
Christian: So we’ll use this as an example. I don’t know whether to price it or I don’t know whether to not price it. But I do think it’s a great domain, the type of domains that I’m trying to build around Plenty Of Brands. And we were talking about BrandBucket. I don’t want 40,000 domains on there. I want 500 to 5000 domains. But I want them to be like fast fresh, bar tab, members club, lend source, pro escrow. I want to be good brandable two words dot coms. So with fast fresh it’s just one of those I don’t know. I think I priced it at like 25K or something. I think. Just trying to remember off the top of my head, but I don’t know if it’s worth that. It may be worth $50,000, it may be worth $3000, but to me…
Michael: Well, if you go out…before you price it do you ever go and like look up companies, look up brands on Crunchbase or trademarks and see?
Michael: Because everybody wants things fast and everybody…the whole trend around fresh now is big. Fast fresh is a phenomenonal brand for anybody like supermarkets, eateries, restaurants, you name it. I think you could easily get 25K. I think you could probably price it at 40, 50K and negotiate down to 30K as well. But it’s not a $2000 domain name.
Christian: Right, so that’s maybe a rare exception but I was using that as an example. So sometimes it’s hard for me to come up with a price. So when it’s tough for me to come up with a price then I won’t put a price, or just being a business person I say what would I be happy getting? So maybe I don’t come off 25K at all. Maybe I’m saying, “Look it’s a value right there. I’m not gonna come off any.” So it really depends on the domain, depends on the situation and sometimes depends on the company inquiry that becomes difficult. Because sometimes they don’t want to give up who they are, what they’re about…
Michael: So tell me did you pick up fastfresh.com on a GoDaddy auction?
Christian: I did, yes.
Michael: What did you pay for that one? It’s probably public. I don’t have a browser up though because I try not to bring up too much stuff for me.
Christian: I’m pretty sure I paid $2500.
Michael: Twenty five hundred.
Christian: I’m pretty sure I paid a lot of money or for me.
Michael: But $2500 that’s a good…it seems like brandables are now going for that kind of $2500, $3000. But yeah it’s a $25,000 domain name easily so you get your 10 times when you wait. Great domain. So you put it on Efty but you own… So one of the things that Efty does is it tracks your domains, tracks your buy, tracks your costs, it tracks what you sell it for so you can see your overall portfolio. But it also provides a marketplace and landing page but you actually do that with Plenty Of Brands. How do you decide if you wanna a for sale landing page when somebody types in say, for example, fastfresh.com and show them that it’s for sale versus listing it on Plenty Of Brands? How do you decide between those two?
Christian: So I look at, you know, parking is not really what it used to be. You can’t really earn a lot of money. So parking to me is kind of out of the picture. So then I still decide can I make money with it parked? So I do think of that first if it’s not gonna be on Plenty Of Brands. Personally I’d rather all of them be forwarded to Plenty Of Brands for a couple reasons. I like to work my own leads. I like to talk to people. So I decide what I’m gonna do with the name first, then that’s when I decide to make a logo anything like that. Or a landing page like Efty I have I think 10 domains that I have Efty landing pages on. I use those. Those are great. You guys are coming out with new ones. I like a the way they are. They get to the point, they tell a story, they show a price. It’s everything that a person who’s wanting to purchase a domain is. That’s kind of what I try to do with Plenty Of Brands landing pages. If it’s a domain that I can earn some money on I would like to… and sometimes I just try to gauge traffic, for instance, I own flygram.com.
Michael: What is it?
Christian: It’s flygram.
Michael: Oh, flygram, F-L-Y-G-R-A-M?
Christian: Yes, okay, so I hand registered it I believe. I’ll have to go back and look. I’m pretty sure I hand registered it. And I had an app idea about three or four years ago, I’d have to go back and see when I bought it. And it was gonna be like how can I get information quickly using an app to people? So if I wanted to send you a message not…let’s say it had documents with it and it had images and it was a business proposal. You could go to Flygram and we could transport those documents. Here I am giving this idea away but anyways. So I bought Flygram to say, “Hey, it doesn’t matter if it’s an image or a document or anything. We’re gonna be able to transport it through this service.” So first…and of course, it takes a lot of money to build an app and that’s…there’s a lot to it. So I parked it on…or not parked it, I’m sorry. I put it on Plenty Of Brands and I noticed man, this thing is getting all kinds of traffic. Like what is going on? So I ended up parking it. And so now it’s getting 130 hits a day.
It’s making a nickel per click. But I think it’s getting between $2 and $4 a day or something.
Michael: Wow. Yeah.
Christian: So I did a little research and apparently in Indonesia there’s an app that’s out called Flygram and they’re using flygram.net, I think, not do com, but everybody types in dot com. And so that’s a case where they would probably want to purchase the dot com instead of using the dot net.
Michael: Yeah. You know, from an investor perspective, yeah, it’s a great domain name because you stumbled into like somebody that may actually wanna upgrade to the dot com if they become successful and they wanna grow, and they wanna not have the loss of potential customers to the dot com. But, you know, there are people that buy domains like that, that have traffic, that look at the traffic, look at the potential links coming in, things like that, and you can make money, right? If you pick hand registration that’s making $2 a day, even like 50 cents a day. That’s like $15 a month you’re getting a 12 times return on your investment per year.
Christian: Yeah, and it’s earning $30 to $60 a month and before it was just on Plenty Of Brands. I feel like they’re going from…that company’s customers are coming here so I mean I may even try to reach out to them, and say, “Hey. you guys can really grow your business with this domain because I feel like I may be getting some of your traffic. It may be a good purchase for you,” and in situations like that I would make a fair price. I’m not gonna use domain. So depending on what the domain is, the traffic that it has… I’ll tell you one other story. I purchased garagedoorguys.com a couple years ago and I ended up parking it and I’m thinking it was making…I’d have to go back and look. It was making over $1000 a year. I mean, it was making a couple hundred bucks a month. Even in today’s, I was like this is crazy. So somebody reached out to me and wanted to buy it because that’s what the name of their company was, and they’re out of Texas. And I said, “Look, I mean, it’s like I don’t have to touch it. Like, I’m probably not gonna sell it to you for $2000 because it’s making $1000 a year,” like doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t have to do anything. On a name like…so it is just depends. I mean, I always like to see…
Michael: What did you end up selling that one for?
Christian: I didn’t sell it. I still own it.
Michael: Oh, you still own it.
Christian: Yeah, now the traffic is not dropped off, but it’s still earns. And allprotools.com was another similar…it was a website for several years. I bought it in an auction, and it was making pretty good $400 or $500 dollars annually. So it’s not a lot of money but if someone comes to purchase those the purchase price goes up a little bit because I’m not having to do anything and earning revenue off of it. But to like to first test…getting back to your question, the number of traffic. So sometimes I like to park it for like a couple of weeks just to see hey, is this an earning web domain? Is it or is it something that hey, it hasn’t had but a few people visit and I may put it on Plenty Of Brands at that point.
Michael: Yeah, I know investors that will take their domains as soon as they buy them. park I’m at bodis.com, B-O-D-I-S, because they don’t have a process for approval and you can immediately start tracking the traffic. Just to see what kind of traffic it’s sending…
Christian: And that’s where Flygram is, by the way.
Michael: It is, yeah, great parking place, too.
Christian: So I use Bodis, too.
Michael: One little tip on Efty, if you set up Google Analytics you can track your whole portfolio as well as the individual domain name. So you can track it there, and most domains aren’t earning anything in parking. But if you check it once a month and you see it’s got some traffic or a couple of weeks later then, yeah, go park at Bodis…
Christian: That’s a good idea.
Michael: Go park it at Uniregistry. Start making some money.
Christian: That’s a good idea. Yeah, so when I purchased it like the steps I’d do is when I purchase a domain that one of the first things I do is I’ll go and I’ll see…I’ll park it at say Bodis or something like that. Let’s just see if it’s got traffic…
Michael: That’s smart.
Christian: Let’s just see if I could earn revenue and…
Michael: And most of them don’t, right, 99% of the domains you buy don’t have traffic.
Christian: Ninety nine percent don’t have a lot of traffic…
Michael: And when I say no traffic. It’s not over one per day, two per day, something like that.
Christian: Yeah, and to me I’m looking more as does it have traffic and what type of traffic is it? Is it reliable traffic? Is it traffic that I have the right keyword set up that they’re gonna click through? Is there something that we can earn revenue off of? If it’s not then I then I’d like that traffic going to Plenty Of Brands and I’d like them to look at the whole portfolio I have and let’s have an opportunity to let them find a domain that’s similar or something. So that’s just kind of my strategy but I do try…
Michael: Makes perfect sense. Park it, see if it’s got traffic, put it in Efty so you can track it. Maybe it goes up under Plenty Of Brands or an Efty landing page. You said you also listed on Sedo and Afternic which is smart. And this is what we teach in the academy that you wanna get it where people are going. So it sounds like what you do immediately is you take the domain name, list it in your portfolio on Sedo, so it goes out to all the Sedo partners as well as people that go to sedo.com typing in domain names to look for them which is big internationally. And then you go to Afternic which is owned by GoDaddy, also has other registrar partners. So if somebody goes to GoDaddy, largest registrar in the world and types in fastfresh.com, it doesn’t say, “Sorry, this is taken.” It says, “Yes, this domain is available. Click here to inquire.”
Christian: Right and that goes to Afternic I believe.
Christian: But if you’re not on those platforms and if you don’t list your names there, you’re not ever gonna know. So yeah, I go to Sedo, I go to Afternic, I go to Efty, and then of course Bodis and Plenty Of Brands and that’s just kind of what I do with the domain.
Michael: And how many of your domains roughly…and we didn’t discuss this in the pre-interview, Christian, so do you know roughly how many sell through Plenty Of Brands, how many sell through Sedo, and how many sell through like an Afternic?
Christian: So I’ve sold only one name through Sedo, I’ve only sold one name through Afternic… I’ll take them back. I’ve sold four names through Sedo. I’ve only sold one through Afternic, I’ve sold maybe five or six through DomainNameSales. I still use that platform, that’s not the one that…
Michael: So you listed on DomainNameSales…
Christian: Of course.
Michael: Which is the new Uniregistry.com. So you get access through Uniregistry nowadays. Yep.
Christian: Correct and it’s an unbelievable platform. I love it. I work my own leads there. I’ve sold…I’d have to go back and look, between 5 and 10 domains there. And yeah, that’s…
Michael: You gotta be where the people are, so I love that tactic. A lot of people are like well, I only set up Efty, or I only listed them on Afternic. I’m like you gotta be where the people are, right?
Christian: Yeah, but I would tell you this. The majority of them, they go to Plenty Of Brands and a lot of these people that are coming there are smart people. They’ll go look at the who is and then reach out to me through an email. So I know the domains listed at Plenty Of Brands, I know that they went through Plenty Of Brands to find me. They don’t feel comfortable sending me an offer through there, so they’ll find out who I am, email me and work the deal that way. I’ve sold a few names just through direct through Plenty Of Brands where they’ll click through, they’ll put it in the cart. They’ll call me. They’ll find my phone number online and call me or email me. But the majority of them are actually looking up the who is it because my…
Michael: Yeah, it’s a great tactic. So make sure your who is information lists your contact information.
Christian: Is up to date.
Michael: Not something nondescript, not who is privacy, not domain administrator. Christian Calvin, here’s my email address. Here’s my phone number.
Christian: Yeah, and the reason why is because I still…believe it or not I signed up for an AOL account in ’93. I still have it. I mean, people are like, “Wait dude, you have an AOL?” I’m like, “Yeah. I mean, it’s what I’ve had since I was a kid.” And so when I know that they’re emailing me through that they are bypassing Plenty Of Brands and they’re looking up the who is in and they’re going to an AOL. So that way I know it came from a who is so…
Michael: Yeah. Totally. I just had a profitable flip interview with Marti Peltia [SP], and he talked about his tactics for buying domain names that are selling and he’s into marijuana. He’s into drones and he’s into virtual reality. All three are trends that are growing…
Christian: Yeah. Those are great.
Michael: So he’s doing what you’re doing on a nightly basis, he’s searching keywords that are dropping including those types of words. Without revealing all of your secret sauce for Plenty Of Brands, Christian, what kind of words do you search on when you’re looking for domains that you know are selling that you wanna buy?
Christian: So I have a keyword list and anybody can have their own keyword list of domains if they like. I have certain ones. We’ll take a few off the top of my head. I like pros. If you’re a pro at something, I like that. So payment pros or something like that is a name that I would…
Michael: I love that one. It’s got alliteration. It’s focused on financial which is a big sector.
Christian: Yeah, so pros. I like let’s see, masters. If you’re a master at something. I even don’t like matters some. So when I’m saying these names these are keywords that are at the end of the domain. So let’s say cannabismatters.com or domain matters or domain masters or cannabis masters or cannabis pros using the weed and candidates and….
Michael: So the noun or the verb is first and then you put the descriptor on the second word.
Christian: Right, so I have my own keyword list that I like. I mean, people…everyone’s different. People like different words. I have my certain key word list I’ve put a lot of time, effort into putting together and those are the ones that I search for. They’re not look…here’s another thing just so everyone knows out there. I haven’t sold a ton of those names. So I’m not saying that they’re a good investment. I just personally like them. Keg pros dropped last night. Anybody can go register it right now, if you’re a beer drinker, if you wanna be a pro at selling kegs or something or pro at drinking kegs. But anyways, so sometimes everyone needs to find their own niche, and what they wanna do and what they wanna be successful at. And then if they take that and they take that passion and put it forward, that’s how they can be successful. I just personally have mine that I like. But that’s a few of them and I like those names.
Michael: Yeah, right before the interview you were telling me about another investor and without naming names an investor that tried to get close to startups, and physically moved to get closer to startups. Can you tell me a little bit about what you learned from that conversation you had with that investor?
Christian: Yeah, I talked to him yesterday. In NamesCon last year we spent quite a bit of time together. We went to dinner a few nights, so we got close and kind of talked about his business. We’re in the same business. Were in the brandable business so we have a lot of things in common. So he actually moved out there and the reason he did is he said he wanted to be closer to the startups and closer to the tech bubble and all those companies that would possibly be looking for a domain. He also went as far as going to the meetings that they’re having or the round ups or the discussion groups or the…so he went to those groups and I’m not gonna name the companies that sell brandable names that he said that they had never heard of. But some of the bigger brandable domain companies, they’re like they’ve never heard of.
So kind of what he learned is a lot of the investors are gonna go to GoDaddy and they’re gonna type it in and if it says it’s taken they’re gonna look for another one, and if it’s taken they’re gonna look for another one. So kind of what I learned and my advice to anyone out there looking or looking to sell more names is if you do buy a name and you do happen to buy it from GoDaddy, go to Afternic and list it. They’re combined. List it for a price and then when they search at GoDaddy, it will say the domain is available and you can actually sell it right then with a buy now price.
Michael: Yeah, so you pick it up for say $200 on a GoDaddy auction. You go immediately to Afternic. You list it for a buy now price of $2499, and then when somebody goes to GoDaddy and searches, it’ll say, “Congratulations, this domain is available, buy it now $2499, 2004 under $99.
Christian: Right and that’s called a premium listing with them and I’m not a spokesperson for GoDaddy or anything but I’ll tell you, it’s really nice to be asleep in the middle of night at 3:00 in the morning, and hear your phone go off, and you pick it up and it says, “Congratulations, you’re premium listing just sold for $3495, and you’re like it’s in the middle of the night here. So for two reasons pricing your domains that you do not think are $20,000 to $50,000, $100,000 domains. Pricing them is important because that sale was made by the domain being priced, and for it being on Afternic and their search partners. I’m not saying that they went…well, they bought it through GoDaddy so I don’t know if they searched through GoDaddy but they purchased it through GoDaddy. And I think GoDaddy has got a new plan where they pay pretty quick now. I think it was like a 45 day period before, I think. That was pretty rough for domain owners, but I think they’ve sped up and so…
Michael: So I bring up that story because I think it’s important to understand…and you’ve learned this. It’s important to understand how end users are finding the domain names. They’re are not necessarily going to the market. First thing they have an idea for a business, they think through the business, first thing they’re not doing is going to a brandable marketplace to start searching for them. They’re doing their own ideation, they’re brainstorming names that they think would be great for their business. Investors always ask me what they can do to drive more traffic to their portfolio maybe they have a website like PlentyOfBrands.com that they’ve built from the ground up like you. Or maybe they’re using a WordPress site, or maybe they’re using Efty and they want more buyers to come to their marketplace to browse their domains. And the fact is that if your domains are good, the end users are gonna think of the domain, type it into their browser and see if it’s for sale. See if there is a landing page that says, “Yes, this domain is for sale. Contact us or buy it now. And you don’t want to make it difficult for them, right?
Christian: Right. No, you don’t wanna make it difficult and I will say this, too. It’s important that you are a little… I’m probably not as organized as I need to be on my prices. I’ll be honest and I’ll share this example. One time I had a domain priced at Afternic for say, I think it’s $25,000 I think is what you can list it for, and then I had it at Plenty Of Brands for $16,000. So it’s not a good idea to have them priced differently at these marketplaces so like they will shop the different areas. So you could save $5000 by just going to Plenty Of Brands or vice versa. If I had it priced lower over here they could or $9000 actually.
Michael: Which is an interesting strategy if you list it for sale at GoDaddy and Afternic and Sedo with a buy it now price of $3000, let’s say, but you know you’re gonna pay 30%, so that’s gonna be $900 in commissions on Afternic and Sedo I think it’s 20%. So maybe you list it for $2800 on Plenty Of Brands and you get the sale directly. You don’t have to pay the commission. That’s one you can do.
Christian: But what I was gonna say is that smart business owners will look. They will look at different places, they will get the information to say, “Hey, what are the platforms that I can purchase this domain?” And if you have it priced differently at another one, they may take advantage of that. So now just like you said if it’s 30% at Afternic or Sedo and they’re not gonna pay any percent with me maybe I’ll discount it with me because I’m not gonna pay the 30%. And maybe they pay the same price with me as they would over here, maybe I try to be fair if you wanna purchase with me it’s $2400. If you wanna purchase with with them, it’s $3000 so just another tip that’s kinda helped me.
Michael: So do you set buy it now prices on Afternic and Sedo as well as your website on some domains?
Christian: Some domains, yes.
Michael: Okay, because I’ve actually been burned once where the domain sold in an auction on NameJet and I forgot to remove the buy it now price on I think it was Sedo and then it sold on Sedo because the person didn’t win the auction at NameJet and then I had to pay a commission on Sedo as well.
Christian: Yeah, I mean once again, the proper thing to do is to take it down off those platforms once you sell it so the whole process is in reverse. Once you sell a domain, go to Afternic delete it, go to Sedo delete it, go to Plenty Of Brands delete it, go to Efty and get it out of…actually say that you sold it, put a price so yo can track it.
Michael: Mark it as sold.
Christian: So yes, it’s the same situation backwards when you sell it because yes, you can get burned.
Michael: So, what’s your monthly traffic roughly on PlentyOfBrands.com, your marketplace where you sell domain names. I’m interested because you’re having a good amount of…a 16%, 15% percent sell through rate and you’ve got 200 domains sold. You’re doing great on finances. Are you seeing a decent amount of traffic? I wanna give users an idea of the amount of traffic that you see in order to lead to that kind of sales.
Christian: So I’m getting roughly 6000 to 7000 visitors a month. And we looked at it a little bit earlier. It looks like they’re at 1.2 to 1.5 pages. They’re not going there and staying for a long time. They’re not clicking through a lot of domains. A lot of people are actually typing in the one domain that they’re interested in. They’re either seeing oh, it’s sold or oh, he wants $30,000, whatever the price is. A lot of people if they see that it’s taken, if you don’t tell them it’s for sale, they go to another domain. And I struggled with this for the first year of Plenty Of Brands. I said, “Look, I put a price there but nowhere on the page does it say for sale.” It’s very important to say this domain is for sale. And it needs to be prominent, so I had someone put a little…like a little click button on there. Buy now or make an offer or something like that but, yeah. So it’s important to let people know that it is for sale and I know that’s elementary, but believe it or not I would put a price or make an offer but I wouldn’t say the word it’s for sale. I learned a lot that first year that you need to let people know it’s for sale.
Michael: Yeah. Definitely. So how are you modifying your strategy and tactics going forward into 2017? What do you think are the big takeaways that you’ve learned from 2016 that you’re taking into the next year?
Christian: Well, so far like and we’ll go back to the brandables, I’m just changing my focus a little bit on the brandables. I’d like to have more one word, two word dot com brandables, and get away from the made up words, the five letters and six letters. Now if the one word dot com is the actual word and it’s five or six letters that’s fine. I’m just getting away from the made up words. I do like domains that can be spelled differently and have the same meaning and I’ll give an example. I own imbellish.com. It’s I-M-B-E-L-I-S-H. I think it’s a hand register, I believe, but we know it’s spelled with an E, but I like it with an I. I don’t mind those types of names. It’s a one word. It’s a misspell. But it’s a brandable and to me, I like that.
But more of the five to six to eight letters that are just made up words, I’m kind of moving out of that and getting into domains that are two word dot coms, like membersclub.com or part… I own Part Logic. I think Michael Gilmore owns Park Logic but this is part, P-A-R-T, like an auto part. So Part Logic, affordableapps.com. I own familybusinesses.com. I own createdcorporation.com. Domains to me that make sense for companies to use. A misspelled typo five letter to me is… I’m not gonna say it’s a waste of money. There’s been a lot of people make a lot of money with that. Me personally, I still own a lot of them. And I still own the ones that I made up or that I bought. I don’t see myself through…I see me sell through rate really nice with the smart buys that I’ve made in one to two word dot coms. So I’m gonna shift focus a little bit. I’m gonna get away from the short brandables or mid-range brandables and go more towards two words and one word dot coms. So I’ve started that probably two months ago and I bought names like fastfresh.com, lendsource.com like to lend source. Carpet today, carpet choice, names like that to me are where I wanna focus on moving forward. And that’s kind of…
Michael: And so I reached out to you last week because I saw that you were selling some domain names on NameJet under PlentyOfBrands.com so if you got a NameJet.com, you go to featured auctions, you can scroll down the page and see Plenty Of Brands has it. Why are you selling… NameJet is a wholesale market, right? You’re selling by other investors primarily and you’re listing some domains. How many domains are you listing over what period of time and what kinds of domains are you trying to liquidate?
Christian: So, I’m trying to list between 30 and 50 a month. I haven’t been very successful. This is only my second or third month. I think I’ve sold maybe eight names with them, so I haven’t sold a lot. And if anyone goes to it watching the show, of course, the names that I have now will be listed on there, but there’s some really good buys for $69. There’s names like burger pros, you know, we’re talking about pros, burger pros. There’s names that I’ve picked over the years that I feel like are pretty good domains that someone else would like to own. And it would help me move through and kind of liquidate a lot of those domains. And even though that is a two word dot com that I like, I’m trying to liquidate a lot of those and maybe focus more on higher dollar dot coms, one and two words. So…
Michael: So you’re just trying to move up the ladder from that.
Christian: That’s it.
Michael: From the hand registration $20, $69 domains up to ones that maybe like fast fresh you paid $2500 for, so you can get a higher margin.
Christian: Yeah, and I’m trying to kind of…it’s kind of working two ways. I kind of want other people to have an opportunity to own these names as well so I’ve priced them pretty fair. I’ve had people buy names from me for $69 that are worth a couple thousand with NameJet, and they’re getting great deals and I’ve gotten great deals before. I’d rather liquidate those and let someone else purchase something by them. And then me stay focused on what I’m trying to do with where I’m at.
Michael: Yeah, and if you…do you have numbers in mind where you wanna try and use NamedJet to liquidate domain names that aren’t necessarily upper end like you want and you wanna take your domain from 1200 down to a certain number or you’re not really focused?
Christian: So yes, so that’s a good question. Yeah, I’m trying to get down to maybe under 500 domains. But I want the 500 domains to be nice one word, two word dot coms. It’s a little bit challenging for me to keep up with 1200. I have them renewing every day. I don’t do the all of them renew one day and I pay the $12,000. I should do that. And it’s probably a little bit more than that because I own some new TLDs that are a little bit higher. But I have them coming due every day. It’s hard to keep up with and I just kind of wanna simplify this business for me. And I do know it’s a numbers game, too, though. So either you can have some really high premium domains and own a small portion or you need to own a lot of domains and that way your inquiries are coming in by just pure volume. I always see these guys that own 200,000 and 300,000 domains or 50,000 domains or 20,000 domains. They’re getting inquiries every day. So whereas I’m in the space between that I don’t get inquiries every day.
So I have to work my leads smart. I have to make sales when I can, and then I need to invest wisely into the next domain. So I’m shifting focus a little bit. Plenty Of Brands is still gonna be there. We’re still gonna try to sell through there. But we’re gonna try to sell some of the names that are on there and then some of the names that aren’t on there. Turn that money into good one word, two word dot coms. And that’s just where we’re focused.
Michael: You talk about simplifying and going sort of upstream, buying those one word, two word dot coms that maybe have a little bit higher purchase price, but have a much higher potential sale price as well. You were recently approached…you didn’t advertise but you were recently approached to sell Plenty Of Brands, all of the domain names that are in your marketplace for a good amount. What was the amount and why didn’t you accept the offer?
Christian: Well, the amount was in the six figures but it was low. So right at six figures without giving anybody numbers. There’s a couple reasons why I didn’t sell. I feel like I have a few…like just a couple of domains that I could get that amount for. For instance, we’ll say fast fresh is…let’s just say it’s a $30,000 name or let’s say Members Club is a 10,000 name or pro escrows is a $20,000 name or labor now is a great domain that I like. There are several companies called Labor Now. Several companies that could use that domain. Plus labor and finding work and even in our business we have people come, we have people go, we have people quit. I need labor quick sometimes. I don’t use any of those labor services. I generally don’t do that. But I know that there’s thousands of companies all across the country that need labor now. They don’t need it tomorrow. We have deliveries today. We need to get these out today. So that’s kind of where that’s at. I mean…
Michael: So it just wasn’t a high enough number. They were offering you $80, $90, $100 a domain on average and you’re like well, if I sell three of my domain…three of my best domain names, I can make that money. So it just wasn’t enough.
Christian: So I didn’t wanna give the other 500 or 600 domains away for free for those three. I do understand how it works because if I was to buy Plenty Of Brands on the other side, I would be trying to purchase it like this. I just looked at it all the time, effort and energy that I put into building Plenty Of Brands to getting it to where it’s not a huge moneymaker or anything but it took a lot of hours to build the website, it took a lot of hours to get it set up. It took a lot of money to pay people to build logos. Now I build them myself but at the beginning I outsourced all this information. But now it’s set up to where I can just enter the name and boom, I’m ready to go. So I kind of pulled everything together and said, “You know what? I think I could make more money just selling one or two of these domains than selling them all.” And I don’t think I was really ready to do that yet. Another reason why is they wouldn’t really say who they were. I like to know who I’m dealing with. I like to know who they are, what they’re about, what they’re gonna do. I mean, if it’s a company like say GoDaddy or something, I’m just throwing that out there, you know, I would know that, and I like to know that.
Michael: Yeah. Totally.
Christian: I flipped it, too, and I said, “Hey, if I’m gonna buy this where would I wanna be?” I’d wanna be at about where they were, I’d wanna make money and I understand that. But I’m looking out for what I wanna do and so that’s a good question. I don’t look back on it and I don’t think they would get to where I wanted to get. So it wasn’t millions of dollars or $1,000,000 or anything but it was between here and here and in the middle I would have been pretty happy. I’d have said, “Look, I’ll start over.” But they weren’t gonna get there and I probably wasn’t ready to sell.
Michael: Yeah, well, maybe they’ll come back. You never know.
Christian: If they may come back and I’m adding much better names, too. The way I look at it is if they were interested at this price, if I start adding…because the names that I’m gonna be adding moving forward are gonna be great names because my focus has changed. So I’ll even get more money down the line so.
Michael: So you mentioned that you purchased a few new GTLDs, roughly, is that part of your tactics going forward that you’re looking to buy a new GTLDs or were you dabbling in them, and how has that worked for you? Have you sold any?
Christian: I have not sold any new TLDs. I just own a few. Actually I bought y dot…I do have a single letter dot guru though. To me I own y.guru. I love it. It’s a single letter. I look up some of these registrars that are trying to sell their single letters for like $60,000. I don’t know if it’s…it may be worth $1000, it may be worth $50,000. I don’t know. But I know that there’s only 26 of them and I have one of them so to me that’s pretty special. Actually bought that in the middle of the night half asleep while I was searching and I was like no way I can buy this domain.
Michael: And it was available for regular or reg fee?
Christian: It was available. It was back when guru…it was the first day I think guru was available. And I was just searching all the single letters because I’ve always wanted to own a single two letter dot com or something that was just amazing to own. So it was affordable for me to buy a single letter at the time and I bought it. I think it was like 4:00 in the morning. I bought it and I was like there’s no way this is gonna hit my account. There’s just no way. So I own that. I also bought Nashville.xyz, bought that from Page Howell [SP]. And if Page is watching he me gave a great deal, I really appreciate it. I live in Nashville. So it was important for me to have that. I don’t know what I’m gonna do with it, but if anybody’s interested in a big city dot XYZ there’s one. And to me if new TLDs makes sense like if it’s dot shop and you know like you said you bought a dot shop like computer.shop or domain.shop. If it makes sense I think it’s a good investment. I just don’t have the desire to sink a lot of money into them.
Michael: Yeah, totally.
Christian: It may change but so right now it’s got to make a lot of sense and I’ll do it but it has to make good sense.
Michael: So you mentioned earlier that you are developing bartab.com. You and I have discussed development in the past. I’ve done a lot of publishing in the past, I’ve done some development. You dabbled in development on mortgage.info. You paid a good amount of money for that domain name. I believe it was public…
Christian: Eighteen thousand.
Michael: I believe it was $8000 or so that you paid for it.
Christian: No, 18.
Michael: Eighteen thousand that’s what it was. You spent a lot of time developing, you wrote content, you hired writers, you developed the website, you ended up selling it for…
Christian: I think it’s public, isn’t it?
Michael: I thought it was public. I thought that I saw it on someplace. You sold it. I don’t think you made money on it.
Christian: I did.
Michael: You did.
Christian: I did. I made..let’s see, without telling the price.
Christian: Let’s see, $13,000. No, $12,000.
Michael: Including your development time and the cost that you for writers? You made money?
Christian: Yes, about $12,000. Now, here’s the thing. Depending on what you would consider making money. I owned the domain for a little while, I think a year and a half or two years I have to go back and look. Now I bought that domain because to me that was the single, in my opinion, one of the single best dot info domains on the planet.
Michael: Yeah, agreed.
Christian: And that’s how I’ve sold it. I said look…and the gentlemen that bought it. they are end users and they called me and they said, “Look, we’re gonna turn into a brand. You’re gonna be very proud of the product when we’re done.” And we talked. He did not play around. He gave me a very solid offer to start with and do I think I could’ve sold it for more? Yes. But they’re doing a great job with it and…
Michael: That’s great.
Christian: I think they will do a great job with it.
Michael: And that’s fantastic that you made money. Most people I know that are domain investors that have a skill set in investing, that try and do development just throw good money after bad developing domain names, not having a clear business model, not understanding who is gonna potentially buy it. You made money. Does that give you the courage to go forward with bartab.com and develop that one as well?
Christian: Okay, so here’s the thing. To me, it’s fun. So I look at it as a project. So if you go to bartab.com you can see that I’ve hired some writers. Now look, I’m not spending a lot of money on this. I’m doing it very affordable. I’m not going out. I’m not spending thousands of dollars doing this. I have the same writers that wrote for me at dirtformortgage.info and they also…this is something that we don’t even talk about. I own probably 30 education lead generation websites. So whether it’s cnaonlineguide.com or pbttraining.com or for phlebotomy, so he writes for those as well. So I get articles very, very affordable, like incredibly affordable. They’re good articles. So with bartab I also enjoy building it out. So I enjoy finding the right theme, and finding the right layout and moving things around. So to me the value is in the domain. The value is not really into what I’m doing. I’m doing this for fun. I gotta cap that I’m gonna put on it. Let’s say $1500 is all I’m gonna spend on development.
I’m not gonna go a penny more. So I know what I’m gonna do, I know how much I’ve got invested, I know how much I’ve got. Hey, I’ve already been offered quite a bit of money for that domain, but I love this domain. I think it can be used for an app, it can be used for a lot of different things.
Michael: How much have you been offered for the domain?
Michael: Wow. What did you pay for bartab.com?
Christian: Thirteen hundred, I think.
Michael: So why wouldn’t you just sell? There’s a 9, 10 time ROI.
Christian: Okay. So here’s the thing. Well, I don’t know if I wanna talk about this one because I got an offer right now on it. Okay. So here’s the deal with that. This is just my opinion. I buy a name and I haven’t had it very long and I’m already getting offers of 10K. In my opinion, let me just hold it for a little while. Some people would say why don’t you flip it? You just make five times your money. Well, I mean, I could but think, this is a six letter dot com, it’s either one word or two words it could be used for an app, it could be used for a web site, it could be used for a large…paying bar tabs and stuff and it’s a big deal.
Michael: Are you worried that the development of the domain might turn away people who would potentially make inquiries to purchase it?
Christian: Yes, but I also think building it out creates value, so let’s say that there… obviously if it’s an app they’re gonna tear it down and do whatever they want to with it, but if it’s just somebody to love the domain that wants to have it and build a website. Well, now I’ve got 30 high quality articles on it. I’ve got unique content on it. I’ve got the ad placement in a good spot. I’ve got… it’s set up. So there’s more value that I’m building in the domain. So I look at it as a whole…I could have easily have made five times the money. I’ve also been offered 8000 for it, if the 10 didn’t go through I could have sold it for 8 which is going backwards, but..
Michael: Well, that’s an opening offer. That’s a phenomenal offer because clearly you can counter it, $50,000, try and meet in the middle.
Christian: Right, I mean, to me I’m getting good quality offers and these…I’ve done a background on the people. They’re not hiding who they are, they’re quality people. These are quality inquiries. These are not…somebody that’s not gonna follow through with it. So I’m not trying to…look, I love the name. I like building things out. That’s one of my better domains, so I’m gonna have fun with it and see. But yeah, I do think if somebody is interested in it, they go to it. They may say, “Hey, it’s built out to a website. Let’s find bar tab something else or let’s…but to me the six letters, it’s short, it’s a word, it has value. And if the inquiry…if it was two years later. That’s another thing to talk about. When the inquiries come in is important to me. We talked about unprofitable flips that I bought something for $80 and I think it was like 100 days later, three months later I sell it for $12,500. Well, if I had had that name for two and a half, three years I would maybe have sold it for $2000. It depends, like to me I’ve only owned bar tab for a short period of time and I’m already getting inquiries. So let’s just see where it goes. So if I owned it for three years and somebody offered me 10K, I’d probably be like I’m ready to let this go. This hasn’t even got an inquiry on it. This is…
Michael: Yeah, exactly. It all depends on how often you get those inquiries and how big the inquiries are.
Christian: Yeah, so two in a few months to me is pretty good. And they’re nice starting offers. They’re not…
Michael: Yeah. Seriously. So here’s the final question for you, Christian. Any newer investors that are getting into the industry, a lot of newer investors look at brandables because they can get them for a lower amount and they are popular right now. What advice do you have for somebody that’s thinking of building a portfolio of brandable domain names and is entering the market in 2017?
Christian: Well, for me, I think one of the most important things is to build a website if you have the domains. If you have between 20 and 100, build out a little website and forward the traffic right to yourself. I think one of the keys that I’ve done is with building Plenty Of Brands was I forward all my traffic to my domains to their own sales page. So it’s the same thing that you would do if they joined Efty or if they went to Sedo, or if they went somewhere, if they’d changed the name servers. Well, it’s really simple. In GoDaddy you just forward the domain. So my suggestion would be create a little website. It doesn’t have to cost very much. I mean, I’ve spent quite a bit on mine but it doesn’t have to be much. Create little landing pages. Get the right widgets involved and then forward the traffic to a for sale page.
And have it where they can buy it then. Just have a button where they can buy it. Get all that set up to where they can purchase a domain. That’s my thing because one thing I’ve noticed is the longer that we wait on a domain sale the less likely it’s gonna happen. A lot of people are impulse buyers and I’ve lost a lot of sales by waiting and thinking and then countering and all this stuff. And said, “Well, I shouldn’t have countered. I’d have been happy with $3000. Why did I counter at $6000?” So my suggestion is be happy with whatever price you price your domains at. Have been forwarded to your own landing page. You know, these are just a few little hints and then have the process to where they can actually get in touch with you. Put your phone number on there. Put your email address on there. I mean, if they can get in touch with you then you can sell a domain.
So have it easy to get in touch with you and also have a price on it, and don’t be afraid to ask a higher price. Just…to me I’ve asked higher prices. Some of them I’ve sold, some of them I’ve had to come way down. Some domains I’ve priced at $20,000, I’ve sold for $7000 or $6000. And I have to deal with that. I had it priced too high. So but you also want don’t scare me away, too.
Michael: Yeah, great advice. If you are watching the show and you have questions, please post them in the comments below the video on DomainSherpa and I’ll ask Christian to come back and answer as many as he can. If you received benefit from today’s show, learned something new, thought differently about investing in brandable domain names, please take a moment to thank today’s Sherpa. I’m gonna be the first to do so. Christian Calvin, individual investor and owner of PlentyOfBrands.com, thanks for coming on the DomainSherpa show again. Sharing information about how you’ve continued to build your portfolio, refine your strategy and tactics, sell to end users. And thanks for being a DomainSherpa for others.
Christian: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Michael: Thank you all for watching. We’ll see you next time.
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