bob

Bob Hawkes

What country are you based in?

Canada.

Do you feel your location has an effect on your domain investing?

Not except that it allows me to invest in .ca that requires a Canadian presence. Growing up in a bilingual and multicultural country has indirect benefits for domain investing.

How long have you been involved in domains?

My first domain registration dates to 2001, but I have only been investing for sale purpose since 2016.

Are you a full time domainer?

Definitely not.

How did you find out about domain investing?

I don’t really recall. But it was when I stumbled upon NamePros that I began to learn about domain name investing in any kind of comprehensive way.

How many domains do you currently hold?

About 670 total, but a number are one-year trials. I keep saying I want to get back down to 300 again. I think that is perfect size for me.

What's your favourite non .com tld/nTLD/gTLD?

It’s definitely not currently the best investment, but I love across the dot positive phrases possible with .quest. I got in early while some strong SLDs were available to hand register.

What's the best advice you've been given by another domain investor, either directly or through something they've said on twitter or in an interview?

So much great advice from many sources including NamePros, Twitter, podcasts, blogs, Domain Socials and events like NamesCon and The Domain Show. Among the most important buy domains that someone will want, balance the effort put into buying and selling, and try to add only domain names that would place in the top 25% of your existing portfolio as a way to help build quality.

What kind of goals do you set yourself?

To learn something new and try something new every few weeks. Beyond that, I try to improve portfolio quality each year, and to have more sales than the previous year.

Who are your top 3 domain investors?

So many strong investors, but I would single out:

Swetha of XYZ fame. She has built an amazing portfolio, held out for good prices, and redefined how web3 end users view the extension. Strong, smart, successful.

Nikul Sanghvi of Hypernames has now broadened somewhat, but in early years concentrated on .co and had clear vision of what names were truly superb in that extension. His analytical posts on NamePros are among the most insightful on the forum.

Tony of TonyNames has really moved rapidly since re-entry into domain names. I am envious of his regular sales. I also appreciate the sound advice that he shares on Twitter and at NamePros.

What's the toughest part of domain investing?

Patience, and that goes hand-in-hand with having confidence to hold names that deserve being retained. I find it particularly hard in TLDs with higher renewal rates.

How do you structure the domaining part of your day?

After retirement I try not to structure my day too much. Early morning I look at the NameBio sales posted overnight, and check into NamePros responding to messages and comments, and see what is trending. I often check my Alter portfolio to see what has gotten views or favourites in last day. I also check in on Twitter multiple times each day.

How do you manage your portfolio?

I have a large Numbers (Mac) spreadsheet with many columns that lists most parameters for names I currently hold. In an instant I can sort names by name, TLD, expiration, registrar, BIN price, birthdate, length, cost invested, etc. It has separate pages for names I sold or let expire. I have a second spreadsheet, with 40 or so separate pages, one for each TLD, that I call my WishList of names that I have considered. I probably research 50 names for every 1 I acquire.

Do you also have any NFTs or Crypto in your portfolio?

No and no.

What's the most you've ever spent on one domain?

In the direct purchase, actually only about $50. The invested amount with renewals is higher on some, but only about 5% above $100. I only invest in domain names what I make from domaining. Probably holding a few expensive names would yield a better return, but at my age I like to see things happen, and have the fun of a larger more diverse portfolio.

Have you ever done outbound? If so, were/are you successful?

Essentially never. Domaining to me is a retirement hobby. I hate getting unsolicited calls and emails about anything, so why should I do it to others? I did several years ago make a handful of emails on 3 different domains to very obvious possible users. One almost resulted in a sale, but in end none did. I think I would be poor at doing outbound.

You're given $10k to spend on domains, how do you spend it?

Slowly. I would probably search for 2 to 4 names in $500 each range. The rest would invest as I do now, a mix of low-cost auction, closeout or aftermarket names and hand registrations.

Outside of domains, what other business/wealth/personal growth figures do you look up to?

A good question. My favourite blogger outside of domain investing is Ben Carlson of A Wealth Of Common Sense.

I am a fan of positive psychology and Shawn Achor the author of The Happiness Advantage book.

Warren Buffett quotes are inspirational.

William J Bernstein has written a number of interesting books on investing, although most some time ago now. I particularly liked The Four Pillars of Investing.

What do you do when you're not domaining?

It is wonderful to live close enough to share time with our daughters and their families, now including three grandchildren. In past, have loved hiking, camping, sky gazing, photography and home construction, but most of those more challenging now. I live in an urban area within walking distance of some great waterside and park walks. I have volunteered on space and astronomy classes with elementary school students. I volunteer at a nonprofit community newspaper, doing research, writing, layout and a bit of photography.

What advice would you give to people just starting out in domains?

1. Read and explore a bit before you buy almost anything.

2. Decide what your goals are, how much you are willing to spend and potentially lose, and why you are in domain investing.

3. Be reasonable in your expectations. To not lose money in year one is a very realistic goal.

4. Take advantage of your advantages. By that I mean what knowledge, skills, experiences you have should drive your sectors and niches. Invest in what you know.

5. Invest in what you are genuinely excited about. If you are not passionate and willing to put in the work, it is really hard to be successful.

6. Try different things – different marketplaces, different places to acquire domain names, different pricing, and at least a few different types of names. But don’t try to invest in every hot sector.

7. Interact with others, read a lot, but don’t let others define your path.

8. Seek ideas everywhere.

9. Be organized. Also be disciplined. It is easy to acquire too many names. Acquire a few then work on optimizing how they are presented for sale.

10. Have fun.

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