Overview of My Business | DomainInvesting.com
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Overview of My Business

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While at the TRAFFIC conference a couple of weeks ago, I met a number of people I hadn’t met before. Most of these people had heard of my blog, but a couple of them asked me what I do aside from my blog. I explained what I do to them, and I thought I would also give you a general overview of my business.

Before I get into it, I recommend reading Shane Cultra’s post about the three important aspects of his business. I think he said it well, so I will use that as the baseline for my post to give you a better idea of what I do and how I make a living as a domain investor.

Cash flow: This blog generates a decent amount of income. I am usually paid at the beginning of the year or quarterly, and the income has become more consistent over the last three years. Other websites my company owns, such as DogWalker.com and DogPark.com also earn a consistent monthly income (less, but consistent). Finally, domain name leases, financed domain sales, and on a smaller scale, PPC revenue, round out the consistent cash flow for my business.

I bank on this income to cover my overhead. This income also allows me to take on greater domain investment risks than I’d be able to take on without the income, including domain acquisitions and rejected offers. I am able to project with some level of confidence the approximate monthly income I will earn, without including income from domain name sales, which can fluctuate.

Higher Margin Products: When someone asks me what I do, I tell them that I sell domain names. This is where I earn the majority of my income. Some months are better than others, but I am always actively buying and selling domain names in the aftermarket. I would guesstimate that the majority of my domain sales are in the $3-15,000 price range, and the profit margins are “healthy.”

I spend quite a bit of money on domain name purchases, and I have to pay taxes on the profit from sales, so I need these sales to keep my business growing. Although my sales numbers are hard to predict, they’ve become pretty consistent. Some months they might be low and other months are high, but it evens out. The only issue is that I am required to continuously buy and sell to keep my business growing and the cash flowing.

The Gamble: With considerable competition from other domain investors, as well as the reluctance of sellers to part with their domain names, I often pay more than I should to acquire specific domain names. When I buy a name for $20,000 and my trusted friends/colleagues tell me it’s worth $10-15,000 reseller, it’s a bit concerning. However, buying high value and high priced names in the aftermarket can yield big profits, especially because many of these purchases are from people or companies that have held the names for many years, and they haven’t been on the market before.

Many people are discomforted when it comes to making 5 figure speculative purchases, but you need to gamble on some names to make large sales.

In addition to this, I often keep names in my portfolio that I don’t have an interest in selling unless I get top dollar or get a buy out offer for my entire portfolio. A domain name like SHS.com wouldn’t be for sale unless I got a huge offer. Turning down $50,000 for the name was an educated gamble, but I would rather have the name than the cash.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (30)

    Jeff Edelman

    Thanks for being so open about your business. I have always been so impressed with what you’re doing and how you’ve done it.

    June 12th, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Shane

    One of my favorite posts you’ve done. And thank you for the mention

    June 12th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Joe

    One of your best posts, Elliot. Definitely an interesting read.

    June 12th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    AB

    Thanks for pulling back the curtain Elliot, very interesting

    June 12th, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    BullS

    Life is always a gamble.

    Invested all the profit I made in Stocks since 2010 and now enjoying the nice fat return of 45%. Can sell with just one CLICK.

    Cash is KING!!

    When someone asks me what I do, I tell them that I sell Marijuana because my name is Marijuana Guy.

    So buy marijuana from the MarijuanaGuy.com

    No need to be in fear anymore because it is legal now.

    June 12th, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Samit

    Brilliant post Elliot, enjoyed it!

    June 12th, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Domenclature.com

    Hi Elliot,

    Did you sell Burbank.com? If you did, when did you sell it? To who, and for how much? If you signed a NDA, could you shed some releasable information on it. If you didn’t sell it, how come you rarely mention it anymore, and completely ignored it on your overview here? How is it doing revenue-wise? Thanks in advance.

    June 12th, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I still own it, but the revenue isn’t enough to warrant a mention. I didn’t mention EventManagement.com either, but that name makes a few thousand dollars a year in revenue. I have other sites that earn a decent amount of money, and they are all lumped together.

      June 12th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Elliot Silver

      If I ever do sell it, just like all of my other sales, it will be private and not published.

      June 12th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Domenclature.com

      I often wonder about ‘Geo-domains’, and running it by proxy as you’re doing.

      First of all I thank you for the response.

      Could you expound a little on why the revenue is lagging for such a wonderful name? Is it the company running it? Is it the economy? Why in the name of Providence would revenue be weak with Burbank.com? Do you still believe in geo’s? What’s your overall assessment of it?

      June 12th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I think there is a solid business model with geographic domain names, but I really think you need to be local in order to make a significant business out of it. Lowell.com makes a fair amount of money, but it requires frequent updates and it took a while to get there.

      June 12th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Domenclature.com

      Thank you.

      Speaking of EventManagement.com, I started developing EventLoan.com last night, and will be launching that in the fall, perhaps we could do something together, where I provide the loan for your event clients; and I am also beta testing SpainTelevision.com as a Geo-domain. My guess is that the internet has a major fault that needs to be tackled. Search, and monetizing is tricky (if not surreptitious).

      June 12th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Domenclature.com

      Lowell.com looks impressive.

      June 12th, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Meyer

      “Could you expound a little on why”

      Sometimes people ask questions that they themselves would not answer.

      Cute car tag – http://www.chutzpah.org

      June 12th, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Thank you. It’s more of a labor of love then a big moneymaker, but I enjoy operating the website.

      June 12th, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Meyer, it comes with the territory.

      June 12th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Domenclature.com

      @Meyer

      Yes, Mr. Meyer, though Chutzpah could is invariably negative in more traditional sense, in modern business parlance, is used to depict the amount of courage, mettle or ardor that an individual has; I will assume you had the latter in mind.

      I am not a blogger. Elliot is.

      When you watch Meet the Press, for example, you’ll notice the guest being pestered with intrusive questions that the host is not often subject to. Do you know why? Think about it. Ironically, a blogger is the guest in that analogy, believe it or not.

      June 12th, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Doesn’t hurt to ask I suppose, but you probably know by now that I don’t publish sale prices and rarely even announce sales.

      June 12th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    irfan

    Elliot Your copyright notice reads as
    © 2007-2013 DomainInvesting.com.

    I believe the results which you are sharing is the fruit of your labor over the last six years. If consistancy is the key then you’re an example!

    June 12th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Alan

    Insightful post in to your business. Thanks for sharing.

    June 12th, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Ravi

    I like “The Gamble”.

    June 12th, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    999names

    This post reminded me of Eric Borgos. Very genuine and heart warming.

    June 12th, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I enjoy reading Eric’s posts, too. Thanks for the compliment.

      June 12th, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Hugh

    A very nice post Elliot. One of your best.

    June 12th, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Dave

    I would agree with being local for geo city names, but do you think that the layout and content being the same on other geo city names might hurt the business model of Burbank(dot)com?

    Lowell(dot)com has a completely different feel and seems like a better layout.

    June 12th, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Have never thought about it. Ultimately content is king. I had originally developed Burbank.com (same layout as Lowell.com), and all the articles I wrote and had written by others are on the site in the different layout.

      June 12th, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Poor Uncle

    Elliot – so this blog alone generates more cashflow than all of your other websites/domains combined, not including domain sales?

    If that is true, it is a very interesting insight.

    June 12th, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      Elliot Silver

      What I meant was the blog is the biggest earner of my sites. I haven’t added the others up, so I don’t know.

      June 12th, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Carlos

    Excellent post Elliot, congratulations!

    June 13th, 2013 at 2:07 am

    stuwalker

    from Acorns …..

    Good to see what can be achieved and also shows how it can be sometimes prudent to hold onto “good quality stock ” instead of off-loading it if it isnt necessary .

    Stu

    June 13th, 2013 at 7:32 am

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