5 ways to save time domain investing

Here are five ideas to reduce the time you spend buying and selling domains.

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Successful domain investors spend a lot of time researching domains to buy, handling sales, and managing their portfolios.

Many domain investors I talk to don’t fully account for their time when thinking about their profits. This might be because many investors enjoy the process and don’t think of it as work.

That said, there are certainly some mundane aspects to investing that would be nice to eliminate. Here are five ways I’ve found to reduce the time I spend domain investing.

1. Choose your expired domain markets wisely

Some domain marketplaces are easy to use, and others are a pain. It mostly has to do with what happens after you win a domain.

DropCatch is perhaps the easiest. Since all of the domains are deleted, there’s no concern about whether or not the registrar partner will pull back a domain like what happens on GoDaddy (although GoDaddy has made significant improvements on this lately). Also, the domains show up right away — there’s no waiting for domain transfers to complete. The domains all show up in one NameBright account, so they’re easy to manage. The downside is that NameBright isn’t in the Afternic Fast Transfer network, so you can’t list them for sale unless you move them elsewhere.

GoDaddy has improved on auction pullbacks, which is a huge benefit for investors. Also, all of your domain wins show up in one account, so you don’t have to chase them down. This saves a lot of time compared to the biggest timesuck of them all…

SnapNames and NameJet are a lot of work. You never know where the domains you win will end up. Even if they are at Network Solutions, they could land in any number of accounts there. And you have to track the domains to make sure you receive them. Because of high renewal prices, you need to transfer them to other registrars once they are eligible, and transferring out of Network Solutions is not easy. I price this time cost into acquiring domains there.

2. Use batch processes

You probably do two things when you win an expired domain: update the nameservers to point to your favorite landing page service and list the domain for sale on marketplace(s).

This is time-consuming if you log in to your registrar and marketplace accounts each time you win a domain. I prefer to batch this process. I track all of my auction wins in a spreadsheet. I check which domains I’ve received once a week and go through the nameserver and marketplace listing process. Then I check again the next week for any new domains.

3. Consider “buy now” auctions

Bidding wars are a huge time suck. Most auction services extend end times when someone bids in the last few minutes, so auctions can be drawn out for hours. And you might be bidding against a bot that is more patient than you. Some are designed to bid at the last minute to stretch things out. It’s a war of attrition.

There are alternatives, albeit not for the best domains. GoDaddy’s closeout auctions are buy now reverse auctions. DropCatch offers “Discount Club” purchases that do not go to auction. With Discount Club, you are placing backorders at your best offer price. There’s no auction if the domain is caught.

Again, these aren’t the best domains. But they’re still good. Domains I acquired as closeouts account for about a third of my sales.

4. List with “buy now”

Much like bidding in auctions takes a lot of time, so does negotiating with domain buyers. For this reason, consider listing your domains at fixed prices. The domain buyer can take it or leave it and you don’t need to go back and forth with them explaining why your domain is worth your price.

If you’re worried about missing out on buyers that want to knock a few bucks off the price, Afternic’s brokers will handle negotiations for you. Just add a “floor price” on your domain listings there.

5. Consolidate your domains at one registrar

Few domain registrars have the best prices for all top level domains. It makes sense to shop around. But keeping a handful of domains at various registrars has a cost — your time.

Consider consolidating your domains at one registrar, or at least having a primary one. You can renew all your domains in one place, manage nameservers without logging into multiple accounts, etc.

And once you put most of your domain assets at one registrar, be sure to add two-factor authentication to secure the account.

What have I missed? Please let me know other ways to save time buying and selling domains.

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