If only you knew this before you started domain investing…

Readers share things they wish someone told them before they started investing in domains.

Graphic that asks, "What's one thing you wish someone had told you before you started domain investing?"

Last week I asked on Twitter, “What’s one thing you wish someone had told you before you started domain investing?”

We all wish we knew then what we know now. Here are some of the responses.

Frank J wrote: “Maybe I read it but the best to do at start is to manage a virtual portfolio Beside a tiny real one with low value names”

This seems like a difficult task because tracking when domains are sold and for how much would be hard. However, one way to test the investing waters without putting your own money at stake is to use Squadhelp and submit domains that aren’t registered yet. Here’s how that works.

Theo from DomainGang wrote: “That $100 dollars for 2 years was still worth it at a time when lots and lots of single word .com domains were available.”

Theo passed on this opportunity in the mid-90s. I feel his pain. I was in college in the late 90s and registered domains when they were $70 each. That was a lot of money for a college student. I should have registered many more.

Tehyah aka Deborah Thomas wrote: “Estibot gives exaggerated valuations for new gTLDs.”

I followed up to ask if she registered domains based on these appraisals, and she said she did. It wasn’t just Estibot. At least early on, GoDaddy appraisals were super high for non-.com domains.

Edwin Hayward wrote: “Don’t buy IDN. Just don’t.”

Ouch. I remember talking to at least one person who invested a substantial amount of money in IDN .com domains on the theory that they would explode in value when you could get the matching IDN.transliterationofdotcom when those became available. That didn’t pan out.

Todd Ryan wrote: “That 95% of domain investors are not profitable, and, of the 5% who are, less than 1/4 of them make more than 10k in profits per year. Less than 2% of domain investors find it financially worthwhile. (Of course these numbers are hard to verify but real domain investors know it’s true.)”

Todd obviously pulled these numbers out of the air, but I think the premise here is fair. Many people never get into positive cash flow. Even some of the people who brag about their big sales don’t mention that they have negative cash flow. There are easier ways to make guaranteed money than investing in domains. But it’s not as much fun!

Neil McCarthy wrote: “Trust in what you already know from your own life experience rather than trying to emulate what others know from having 20 years more experience in domaining which will never come around again. The loudest voices are not always the most wise.”

This is a good one. The advice of someone who bought a bunch of domains in the 90s isn’t as relevant to you as a newer domain investor who has figured out how to play the game in the past five years. You don’t have a time machine.

There were also several responses about if you should buy a lot of domains or focus on just a handful of really good ones. I fall into the first camp. If you have limited funds, I would choose volume (while still looking for decent quality) rather than buying one or two great names. But that’s a debate that will never be settled.

Perhaps the best advice is something that doesn’t have anything to do with domains. Page Howe wrote:

buy 100 shares of


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