leelovell

Lee Lovell

What country are you based in?

England

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

When you hear of large domain sales they typically come from global extensions so naturally I’d expect working on a US time-zone would help. However, I get continued sales from local cctld sales in the .co.uk and .uk extension so it works quite well for me. Typically the US is just waking up mid afternoon UK time so I can still play in that market.

How long have you been involved in domains?

I’m first and foremost a developer so investing is still only a hobby to me. As a developer I was using domains around 1998 but didn’t realise the investment potential until at least 2007. Even then I was thinking small and collecting names for development in the .co.uk extension. I’d love to have had the vision about .com names back then.

Are you a full time domainer?

I have two answers to this:

My first answer would be a definite no. If I slice up my day then I checkout the lists, reply to queries and make purchases but not for more than an hour a day.

My second answer is that I have a lot of automated software running all day, every day, either trying to catch names or sell names so my small setup is full time but my hands-on time is very much part time.

How did you find out about domain investing?

I grew up with the internet – from no one having it in their home to people slowly moving online asking for sites for their business. I found the names businesses would use got me interested especially around ranking in search engines. I saw more examples of people buying and selling names and linked the success of a good name to a business having success on the web and in search engines.

How many domains do you currently hold?

This time last year I had circa 1400 but I’m currently down to around 750 and rapidly reducing. I’m shrinking my portfolio by removing a lot of low quality names through either expiry, liquidation or reduced bulk sales. It’s tough dropping names you once thought had value. On the flip side I’m acquiring more quality names but slowly. Ideally I’d like to get down to around 180 names excluding my active business domains.

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

As a developer I like .io, .app and .ai but as a domain seller I’d say for single keywords .io, .org and recently .xyz.

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?

I’ve mentioned offers I’ve received on names before to some other investors privately and they’ve just replied with “sell it”. It’s either a blessing or a curse but I get attached to certain names and possibly add more value to a name than should be added. If I could detach more from my portfolio I would make a lot more sales.

What kind of goals do you set yourself?

I’ve gone backwards on my goals. I thought I could scale my drop-catching from cctlds up to global extensions but the cost to entry is too high. Instead I’ve now set myself more development goals. I’ve had success with recurring passive revenue on sites so I intend to continue with these and at the same time try to build more domain apps.

Who are your top 3 domain investors?

It’s hard to choose just three as there are so many clever people in this industry. Sometimes when I hear of incredible sales I have to stop and separate out those that broker names from those that invest and sell so I’d go with: Braden Pollock for the quality of names he holds and his position of not needing to sell them. His approach to making a sale work for both the buyer and himself, and lastly he has a certain down to earth comedy that he brings to the industry especially on panels or in interviews. Andrew Rosener for his no BS approach and the obvious killer names he’s sold. It looks like he’s got an awesome team around him in recent years that are taking his original one man band company to the moon. He’s a broker but gives great examples of putting his money where his mouth is and getting great returns. Shane Cultra for the transparency and time he shares with the industry. The way he built up his portfolio from reinvesting sales into better names and applying knowledge from the stock market into his strategy. Plus seems an all-round nice chap.

What's the toughest part of domain investing?

I’d say for me it’s separating the developer from the domainer as I will happily overpay on a name if I can see a development opportunity. As with many names the idea fizzles and you are left with a name that then has lower profit potential. I’ve done this so many times but I’m now getting better at knowing my limits.

How do you structure the domaining part of your day?

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t spend a great deal of time on investing. I do however spend an awful lot of time on using the domains I buy to TRY get recurring revenue. Sometimes I develop personal landers to experiment with or automated tools to catch and list names for sale. I have a day job and family so, although I love domaining, it is still only an early morning or late night hobby.

How do you manage your portfolio?

I used to be guilty of having my names all over the place in 10+ locations but these last couple of years I have names only at a handful of locations. I maintain my own site with all my names on so I’m definitely on top of the expiry / renewal side but in terms of pricing them I’m terrible at this. I have different prices at various marketplaces. I could certainly improve on this side.

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

Yes and Yes but not many. I see the potential but I also don’t have enough hours in the day or spare capital to dip heavily into either at present.

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

I am a big fan of payment plans so through this method I’ve bought names in the low 5 figure range through escrow.

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

I have and I had good success on some names. However, I don’t do it and I have no good answer why not. I’d say I like the passive, lazy approach through sites and tools but I know I’d make more money outbounding. I’ve never liked picking up a phone and I think to do good outbounding you need to have a conversation with an end user. Either to explain the value of a name or to press for a sale. I’m not comfortable enough in sales to do either of those. I much prefer someone to come to me with interest in a name and reply by email or message with my thoughts on value.

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

I’d suggest a couple of approaches to anyone reading this. Firstly short term profits – I’d buy liquid names (such as 4L com) at low prices via wholesale or liquidation sites and sell them low retail. My second suggestion would be to take up payment plans on names under $130 a month. Take on 3 or 4 more valuable names this way into your portfolio that have long term profit potential. Aim to sell one of those early on to give you that runway. Although not ideal, you can always drop out of a payment plan but there are some amazing names out there when you spread the cost.

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

I don’t invest much elsewhere other than in my own businesses and ideas. However, in terms of personal growth and knowledge, then I like listening to clever people who know a subject inside out. As a developer that could be a well known programmer such as Scott Hanselman. When he talks about geek stuff, typically from Microsoft, and shows a preview of what is coming soon it helps me plan what to learn in the future and grow my skills.

What do you do when you're not domaining?

I recently got married and have a young family so a large amount of my time is spent taking them to football (soccer) or on day trips or just seeing friends at similar stages of their lives.

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

Pick a niche that you know well. Relate your niche if possible to upcoming trends and hope to get ahead of the crowd. Avoid late night purchases, especially after wine, and always re-evaluate a potential purchase after you’ve slept on it. Finally, don’t forget me if you have success, I accept Eth 😉
BuyMeal.com An expired domain auction won late in 2020 brought life to helping a good cause. The site provides food directly to less fortunate people anywhere in the world. The win of a good global domain resulted in the creation of a fully registered not for profit company.  This company formation then allowed special Shopify and PayPal plans to be used that are available to Not For Profit organisations.  The result is that fees are really low for any donation made to the cause. Visit BuyMeal.org or email lee@buymeal.com for more information.

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