james

James AKA DomainGuy

What country are you based in?

I actually split my time between the UK and The Netherlands.

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

Not in a negative way. In fact, I have exposure to both the UK and NL markets (the Dutch have Efty and Dan, so are very innovative in this space). I also think being based in Western Europe has advantages being in between the Americas and Asia for auction timing.

How long have you been involved in domains?

I started in February this year – it’s been a steep learning curve!

Are you a full time domainer?

No, I am not. I’m a lawyer by day, with a background in intellectual property, corporate law, etc. which can be pretty helpful.

How did you find out about domain investing?

I was looking for something new to listen to and found the Domain Sherpa podcast. I have worked for a large US business for over 20 years and have learned a lot from them, so Domain Sherpa resonated for me. I listened to most of the back catalogue (it’s insane that this much quality advice is free) and actually donated a couple of domains to them as a thank you.

How many domains do you currently hold?

1841 (although come February 2023 this will drop to under 1000).

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

That’s like asking who’s your favourite child! No, seriously, it is more difficult for new investors like me to get quality .com (the auctions are very strong), so I have tried to focus on quality, relevance and opportunity in other areas:

  • .org: I have a soft spot for .org, there’s just a lot of quality (and relevant) names for reasonable prices. Much smarter and more experienced domain investors also believe in this, so I am not claiming to be original.  
  • .ae: This felt like a strong market and I had the opportunity to acquire some great .ae single words. I continue to invest in .ae where it makes sense.
  • .vc: Again, there are opportunities here. Whether through backorders, WhatsApp domain investing groups, Expired Domains, etc. strong .vc names can be obtained for a fair price.

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?

If you have to spend time explaining the meaning/point of your domain to someone it probably isn’t worth it.

What kind of goals do you set yourself?

For domain investing I have three goals: profitability, time and enjoyment:

  • Financial: For the portfolio to be making only 20-30% loss in year 2, self-funded in year 3, and profit in year 4. 
  • Time: Learning this market has been difficult, but now I am more established I try to limit my time to no more than 30m per day. 
  • Fun: To enjoy the people, research and overall experience. Others disagree and laugh, but I do feel a part of a community. 

Who are your top 3 domain investors?

  1. Andrew Rosener (@andrewrosener): I’ve listened to Drew more in the last 9 months than my family! He just speaks sense with authority.
  2. Bob Hawkes (@AGreatDomain): A gentleman and superb authority, growing the domain investing community through his hard work.
  3. Arif Arafat Rusho (@ArifRusho): A fellow amateur investor and now friend who demonstrates what hard work, determination and being smart can achieve. He has been very generous with his time and knowledge to me.  We partner on some domains.  

What's the toughest part of domain investing?

Knowing where to invest/what to buy. In my first couple of months, I sold a $10 hand-reg for $3700 (via Brandpa) and thought that was easy! I’ve sold a few others for low 4 figures, but otherwise it’s been smaller sales. I am fine with this as I am still learning and I’m only 9 months in.

How do you structure the domaining part of your day?

I travel a lot, have a busy family life and have a demanding job: domaining has to fit around all this. I can do a lot with my iPhone, so when I get 5 minutes spare I check auctions, Twitter, answer enquiries, etc. When I have my laptop online I manage renewals, new purchases, listing on after-market, etc. 

How do you manage your portfolio?

I am not the most organized person and until recently my listings on the various marketplaces were all over the place (varied prices, unlisted, etc.). Someone recommended Domain.io and I could not live without this now (I pay $39 pm for the pro subscription). The cost will drop at renewals when I drop hundreds of the ‘average’ domains I purchased when I had no idea what I was doing. 

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

Honestly, I don’t really equate the domain market and Crypto/NFTs.  Domains underpin the global economy (every large business is online and either trading with a premium domain or will want to do so).  They are stable, easy to trade and secure. Crypto/NFTS are highly volatile and extremely prone to abuse and theft. I have less ETH and NFTs than I did about a month ago as they were stolen! Web3 needs to fix this fast.

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

$4k for a strong one-word .com. 

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

Now that I have built my base portfolio, outbound is the next stage for me to focus on.  I have sold a couple (each less than $1k) via outbound, so I know it works. I have read Yogi Solanki’s (@ysolanky) helpful guide and I have helped a few other domain investors (whose first language is not English) to outbound.

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

One (if possible two) strong .com.  I really just want to focus now on a few good .com to add some depth to the portfolio. 

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

I was recently introduced to Steve Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO podcast, which is interesting as it provides a human side to business. Other than that, I’ve been very lucky to work with some excellent leaders in my day job – I prefer to look up to people I have experienced first-hand. 

What do you do when you're not domaining?

Like many people, I just don’t have enough time. If not working or spending time with family, I am into photography, electric guitar, I play a lot of football (soccer) and spend time with good friends. Being British, I am also partial to the pub. 

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

Welcome, now pause and buy nothing for 3 months. Try to find time to do the following:

  1. Learn the basics from YouTube, Twitter, NamePro newbie section, etc. 
  2. Read and read, ensuring you understand what people are talking about (jargon and concepts). 
  3. Create your public profile (Twitter, Dan, LinkedIn, etc.). 
  4. Take time to network on Twitter and contribute where you can (being positive). 
  5. Watch the easy-access auctions, like GoDaddy and Sav. See what sells, price and consider why.  Review the last month of sales on crunch.id.
  6. Do not follow the trends (e.g. Web3, Meta, XR, etc.) at the start. 
  7. Do not hand-reg names unless you really have to.  It is often easier to sell something that at least one other person has bought. 
  8. Be realistic about your time: how much can you dedicate to this?
  9. Isolate your budget and stick to it.
  10. Set your goals, as that will inform your strategy. For example, if you have £1k, do you buy 100 names for $10 or 1 name for $1k. 

BONUS QUESTION: As you're almost a year into the domaining, what are your impressions so far?

Honestly, it is about 98% positive. There are well-publicised criticisms of disparate systems, technology issues, lack of standardization, etc. but on the whole, I have loved every minute.  I am a newbie and realize I still have a lot to learn, but most people I’ve interacted with are supportive, constructive, and willing to share their time and insight.  I cannot think of another market where people give up their time to educate and assist others like this.  It could be better, as the assistance, guidance and support are often centralized around a core group. I would challenge the silent majority to be more confident in their opinions and the value they can add: don’t just wait to announce sales, but turn up to Twitter and engage.  Most of all, I love the global nature of domain investing. In a day I will interact with people in Europe, Asia and the US – all with a common goal and understanding.  

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