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My Best Domain Purchases in 2010

Last year I did a post that got some good feedback - particularly through Twitter - regarding my best domain purchases for 2009. It's interesting to me to look back at my acquisitions, my plans, my execution and compare that with what I've acquired this year, so I'm going to continue the annual tradition by listing my best acquisitions of 2010. This list is even more scary to publish then last year as I've not been as active domaining or developing but I think I've been "active enough" to merit a list.

Here we go:

  1. VideoGames.info - low 4 figure

    This is a name I've had my eye on for over a year and finally bought it as a sort of birthday present to myself. For those that were paying attention to my post about .INFO, this here is the name that is getting a lot of my development attention

  2. MarriageHelp.com - mid 4 figure

    This is a name I was helping my father develop for his Christian Marriage Counseling information and services. We went ahead and purchased it outright this year and I'm excited about really digging in to monetization this year

  3. OurAdventure.com - ???

    I grabbed this at a GoDaddy drop auction. I think this has some great end user sale potential, and if nothing else I'll use it as a travelogue when I retire!

  4. .US backorders and aftermarket acquisitions - 4 figures total

    • Mugs

    • Fur

    • Jog

    • Yosemite

    • Blocks

    • LaminateFlooring

    • GolfShop

    • HelpDeskSoftware

    • FishingGear

    • Dozens more...

    These are names I largely picked up through the course of just a month or so of heavy drop auction action. I've added significantly to my .US portfolio this year as I'm now up to over 200 names.

  5. .TV hand reg's

    • DesktopComputers

    • DesktopWallpaper

    • CyberWeek

    • StateParks

    I'll be the first to admit I missed out on the great deals available when the .TV registry changed their premium pricing. I was *this* close to picking up some killer names but for one reason or another it didn't work out. I've got my eye on the .TV space though, so expect to see some nice .TV names in the list next year!

So here's your chance to vote!

And be sure to add your favorite purchases in the comments or just tweet me!


  1. I like marriagehelp.com more then anything else by a long shot. For one, it is domain will be used for existing business = awesome. Two, it is very action oriented domain, who ever is looking for that service, is very motivated to find help, hence ranking high and having trust worthy website and domain is amazing. Three, It is two word domain with a huge demand. Its win win win. Mid 4 figures is a good deal for just domain, it is fantastic for the already existing business.

  2. @Art - Thanks!

    Note: for those trying to list every purchase they made in 2010 - I am not going to advertise your portfolio. If you want to post at most your top 10 purchases or hand reg's, then I'll be glad to post them. Any more than that will go in the spam bucket.

  3. After spending thousands of hours searching for hand registrations with potential in 2010, I posted about 90+ domain names to the comments section of your blog as my favorite picks out of about 1,500 total registrations for the year.

    Most domainers seem reluctant to post bulk lists of their domain name registrations for scrutiny by their peers. Ask to see a domain portfolio, and the threads suddenly go silent. Because I invest in domain names, I welcome the opportunity to view the domain portfolio of other investors. How else am I going to improve my name picking skills? If the names I register are of poor quality, then not only will I learn something, but others might better understand how to avoid my mistakes. If there are quality picks in what I have posted, then it might provide valuable insight for domain buyers who believe there are no longer any dotCOM domains worthy of registration.

    Every day I go through lists of thousands and thousands of expiring, expired, deleted and soon to be deleted domain names. I spin names as well as look for new trends, emerging technologies and markets. What I rarely see are the portfolios of others who have gone through the same process. By posting my 2010 favorites, I thought others might do the same. With 100 registrations, I might better understand the buyer's selection process. With only ten names, not so much.

    Please accept my apologies if it appeared I was spamming your thread. That was not my intent.

  4. SDM:

    Here's the first dozen or so that you listed:

    2010 dotCOM hand regs:


    Now, looking at that list and looking at your post I can say that you should stop spending $10k-$15k a year on low quality hand registrations and instead spend that money on high quality names. Poor quality domains are a liability not an asset. By focusing on higher quality names you'll also have to spend less time sifting through crap. Some of these aren't *bad* but you could easily cut 90% of the number of names in your list to free up capital for bigger purchases.

    Many if not most domainers search through thousands of names a day, but learning when to pull the trigger is key. There are also opportunities outside of drops you should consider as well.

    If I was forced to pick out a list of my "favorites" from your list of 100 names it would be:

    And then a few of your "future trend" type domains like NeuralSensors and MultitouchProjector

    I hope that helps!

  5. I forgot to post my list. This year i was taking easy in terms of domains buying. Unlike my previous few years. I have my own business that has had a lot of successes due to appropriate domain name and it has been a busy year for me.

    I only maybe 10-20 purchases through the whole year. Most of the were strategic or complimentary to my existing business.

    My biggest purchase of the year has been:
    operations manager dot com

    Which in itself is a great domain name, since it is a profession exact match. But the highest value of it for me is that i am an operations manager by profession and have an MBA degree in it. As you can see i am much more exited about it then domainer who would have no ties to the field. It is currently developed as news website with 150-200 visitors a day. I bought it in privet purchase, anyone wants to take a guess how much i spent? it was just domain, no development.

  6. Art: I like it. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue for me personally and you're right, I have no ties to the industry... so my guess is you got it for upper 3 figures to lower 4 figures assuming you picked it up from a domainer. If it was an established site or held by someone in the industry then it would have demanded a higher price.

  7. At: SDM

    I just took a look at you blog, very interesting long winded articles. However that been said a close look at the domains reveals a list most would envy. The ecommerce sites you could build on the Led domains alone should retire most. MileHighInternet is an obvious and the DiyCoupon domain is a business onto itself.

    At: woo

    Don’t understand the response (10-15k on low quality hand regs) especially considering
    These sales as reported a TheDomains http://tinyurl.com/34vrybq and if that’s not interesting enough take a look at this thread and explain to me what the domainers with these back orders are thinking and what the heck the registrars are thinking with these asking prices http://tinyurl.com/3y8o4he

    More interesting of course is while domainers like SDM try and participate in blogs all their names are ridiculed continuously. I see this all the time on the forums regardless of the quality of the names. I don’t see anyone saying on the theDomains…excuse me but you back ordered prayforchange.com ??? A back order ?

  8. In his Dec. 20 blog post, Rick Schwartz said you have to assume that hand registered domain names are worth "ZERO value" at the time of registration. Otherwise, why would they be available?

    Rick hand registered 2,840 domains in 2010.

    I agree. When it comes to hand regs, I believe time is on the side of the domain investor. It is my experience that many keyword based domain names registered several years ago with very low search and CPC will grow into highly searched properties if I make smart choices now. Other names will fall by the wayside, but I am confident that development of the domains that eventually gain traction will make up for the ones that don't. On that basis, I place far less emphasis on current search, CPC and domain appraisals.

    That's not to say I ignore domain names with good metrics. I don't. Below are my company's metrics based hand regs.









    IMHO, waiting for metrics to offer proof positive evidence that specific keywords are growing in popularity all but guarantees that a domain name based on the exact search term will be unavailable for hand registration.

    Happy Holidays!

  9. @Art - SDM said he had 1500 registrations in 2010. 1500 x $8 a piece = $12,000. I also said that I liked some of his names and that he would do better long term by cutting down that number by 90%. In SDM's case, that means dropping from 1500 to something more like 150. 150 x $8 a piece is $1,200. He could improve the overall quality of his portfolio and free up over $10,000 a year for higher quality purchases. I didn't say he had to buy a single $10,000 domain. He could choose to buy 50 $200 names for all I care but he would be improving his portfolio and reducing his carry costs.

    I would also caution against looking at sales lists and thinking "my domains are so much better than that!". There is a fickle finger of fate involved in domain sales - out of the 200 million .com domains registered, a very tiny fraction will actually change hands in any given year. The larger the portfolio, the higher the carry costs. You should be focused on getting the best domains for the lowest possible cost, but that does not mean that you should only hand register domains because they are the cheapest. It is not always the best return on your investment.

    @SDM: Take what you read from Rick with a grain of salt. I said I did like some of your future trend domains but I would caution against having too large a portfolio of future trend domains as the carry costs are significant to hold them until one or two are worth anything above reg fee.

    In terms of keyword domains - See my post about keyword domain investing and the rule of 1K. Even after the recent changes to the google adword keyword tool, there's still some good advice there. You can find it by clicking the link on the left hand side of the page for "Domain Investing"

    There are some decent hand registrations available but if you are serious about domain investing, then hand registrations should not be the only place you look to acquire names.

  10. Woo, just to clarify. I am not Annonymus. I didn't post anything after my named post.

  11. But since i am in discussion anyway i will give my 1 cent. To Anonymous who ever you might be, all domains are just potentials unless they are ultra premium, no single one will retire anyone unless they build a business out of it. Could be, should be, leave it for dreamers.

    TO SDM: Rick also has a lot more money then most due to early investments. If Bill gates goes and buys and island in caribean, it doesn't mean i should go buy an island in Alaska. Not same visitor attractors. Hand reging and then renewing every year is a cost in itself. Major cost.

    Woo: you almost right about my domain, though i think i got very lucky with deal, i estimate it in value at around mid to high 4 figures for domain. Which similar to past sales in that field i have seen. since it has very high search traffic for exact match.

  12. Sorry Art - fingers didn't type what the brain was thinking :)

  13. @Woo

    No doubt, the cost of holding hand regs can become expensive and limit other opportunities in the domain space. Over the past few years, that has become very clear. In 2011, I have no choice but to be focused on development and not registrations.

    My strategy for hand regs, beginning in 2003, was to register enough quality domain names so that development would allow me to scale-up over time for increased revenues. My concern was that if I developed first and added domains later, domains with good to excellent development potential would be too expensive to acquire. In such event, the prospects for generating significant income from a large portfolio of domain names (w/each published website showing a modest profit) evaporates.

    From a metrics point of view, my concerns were well founded. In 2010, dotCOM domains with greater than 1,000 [exact] search/$1.00 CPC were much more difficult to acquire at hand reg prices.

    I think you would agree that my previous dotCOM regs like MesotheliomaPrognosis, EditPhotosOnline, 4SliceToaster or SendingLargeFiles are not going going to be widely available for hand registration no matter how many hours are committed to searching for names of similar quality.

    Quality brandable "i" and "e" dotCOM domains like iJzy, iPrefab, iCribbage, eOutlines, eSavant, eMovieReleases or eWeddingPhotos are also much more difficult to discover as available for hand registration.

    Even the best dotPRO keyword domain names are being registered in record numbers. Finding a dotPRO with [exact] monthly search in excess of 100,000 used to be a no brainer. Not anymore.

    As I see it, the benefit of owning thousands of domain names is similar to a diversified stock portfolio. Some sectors of the market will be up while others are tanking. With domains covering virtually all major market sectors, there will always be domains that are performing well. In addition, owning quality domains is like owning stock in the Internet. Despite the belief of many that the economy is turning around, the only bright light I see for the future is shining on the Internet. Internet advertising dollars are now exceeding dollars spent on print for the first time in history. That margin will only widen. Cable television didn't have long to bask in the limelight after moving past broadcast television. In fact, it appears that cable television is already looking over it's shoulder as the Internet closes in.

    Nevertheless, your point is well taken. Certainly for new investors to the domain space, the aftermarket may offer the best opportunity to jump start a quality portfolio.


    I appreciate your comment, but to compare apples with apples, in 2010, wouldn't my hand regs come from the SAME available pool of domains that Rick Schwartz tapped into for hand registration of his 2,840 names?

    So, I'm not understanding your two-island analogy. Unless you know something that I don't, I assume that both Rick and I are hand registering domain names from the SAME island.

  14. If you can hold thousands of domains and not see it as potential liability (and not just opportunity) then more power to you, an as you mentioned you have been in this field since 2003, right around the time Frank Shillings golden age of 2 and 3 word domains.

    You cant compare stocks to domains, thats not apples to apples, it is apples to oranges. Liquidity on stocks is 10000 times greater then domain names. While diversifying is great, there is a limit to how much diversification there should be. To me owning 3000 domains, if compared to stocks would be like owning 1 share of 3000 different companies. Since stock comparison doesn't work in this case, then we have took at what is different in stocks and domains:

    1) liquidity is much less in domains
    2) one domain can be sold for greater premium,
    3) domain can be used to start a business, not same with stocks.
    4) Value is not exact, it is precived value. To one person domain can look like 10$ (reg fee) to other it might look like ($$$$) of dollars. Which was the case in my field, i hand reg domain 3 years ago in my field which is pretty specific, and i was shocked no one else had it and if someone did have it and came to me and offered it i would have paid $$$$ since i saw value immediately. Yet 100 people next to me wouldn't even pay 25 cents for that name, let alone reg fee.
    5) Range of fluctuation of value is greater in domain depending on trends, fields, utility, precived value.

    I have been in domain world just a bit over 3 years and at my peak had 900 domains hand regs which i though was overly much. Since then i have parsed out my portfolio to about 300 which is still significant yearly investment, i do think it worth in the long run. I took few of those domains and developed them into full businesses, often using domains as a tool to the mean.

    My main business is build on exact match domain from which i make pretty good living. What i am saying, diversification is good but to a degree. At which point to much is too much? Who knows, for me it was 900. I realized that it was becoming unwieldy nor could i afford it in a long run.
    Rick Schwartz has deep pockets, and i have feeling he is also does it for fun, since he made a killing on those early acquisitions of his. I know i wouldn't be able to hold 25k of domain names unless i knew for sure i can at least recoup my investment. There is no sure thing in domains though.