What country are you based in?
United States of America.
Do you feel your location has an effect on your domain investing?
How long have you been involved in domains?
On November 25, 1998, I registered my first domain name, PowerWealth.com, for my now-defunct personal finance blog. I’ve renewed it for 23 years.
I started investing in domain names in 2009 after the global financial calamity of 2008 when my long-short hedge fund startup went nowhere fast.
Are you a full time domainer?
Yes, although I prefer to say “domain investor”. While I do earn a high income with my domain investing each year, I am certainly blessed to have a partner in my wife, Iris, who is a very successful salesperson in the wholesale seafood industry. Her stable and predictable income stream helps me feel more confident and less stressful in my domain investing with its far more splotchy and unpredictable income stream. Given the frenetic nature of going several weeks without a single sale and then – boom! – suddenly making a $35,000 BIN sale, I likely would not be investing in domain names full time without my wife as my life partner.
How did you find out about domain investing?
I do not remember exactly but it was likely by way of some old tech or SEO forums back in 2008 or 2009.
How many domains do you currently hold?
I hold all of my domain names through Media Code LLC, which now owns a little over 2,000 domains.
What's your favourite non .com tld/nTLD/gTLD?
While I prefer .com from an investment perspective, I have found investment success in alternative ccTLDs, including .io, .gg, and .ai.
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?
Rick Schwartz’s “Don’t buy PIGEON SHIT!” was very influential for me back in the day when I was buying exactly that.
What kind of goals do you set yourself?
I set an annual sales target for Media Code LLC each year. Beyond buying the best quality domain names I can at prices well below economic value to corporate end users, I do no active outbound selling to achieve my sales target. I simply wait for BIN sales to happen. I believe a good quality domain name sells itself eventually.
Who are your top 3 domain investors?
The three domain investors active today whose success I aspire to emulate are Braden Pollock, Andrew Rosener, and James Booth. They trade in a level of domain name quality I have yet to reach. I want to do more of what they are doing.
The three domain investors who have had successful exits I hope to one day emulate are Frank Schilling, Mike Berkens, and Kevin Ham. All three sold large, good-quality portfolios to GoDaddy’s NameFind subsidiary for millions of dollars. That’s an enviable outcome for any domain investor.
What's the toughest part of domain investing?
Keeping faith that you are on the right track every single day that no sale occurs while yet more renewal bills hit your inbox.
How do you structure the domaining part of your day?
I do most of my domain name researching, buying, and listing on weekdays. I only need four to five hours per day to do it all. We have a toddler now, so my weekends are largely focused on family time.
How do you manage your portfolio?
I manage everything with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
Do you also have any NFTs or Crypto in your portfolio?
While I do invest in cryptocurrencies and NFTs, I do not invest in these through Media Code LLC, which is strictly a domain name portfolio company. I have found more success with cryptocurrencies than with NFTs, of which I still struggle to grasp the intrinsic value that others far savvier than me are able to sense and monetize.
What's the most you've ever spent on one domain?
Have you ever done outbound? If so, were/are you successful?
I tested outbound over a decade ago but I did not like its inherent negotiation disadvantage. A domain name investor is in a far more powerful pricing position when a corporate end user in the market for a domain name approaches the investor asking “Can we buy this from you?” than when the investor approaches a corporate end user not even thinking about domain names asking, “Do you want to buy this from me?”
You're given $10k to spend on domains, how do you spend it?
In the past, I would have said I would spend $10,000 to buy a dozen or more low cost domain names of good enough quality to then resell at four or five figures. Nowadays, to evolve my investing success to the level of those I aspire to emulate, I would spend $10,000 to buy only one or two domain names of the highest quality possible to then resell for six figures or even more.
Outside of domains, what other business/wealth/personal growth figures do you look up to?
I have admired Warren Buffett and his lessons in value investing since I was a young college student trying to teach myself about stocks, bonds, and real estate. Domain names are very different than those asset classes, but successful domain name investing is still very much value investing – buying assets well below their intrinsic value to capture a margin of safety and then waiting for the market to discover and price the assets at a much higher level. That is a lesson Buffett has taught for decades that applies to asset classes of all types.
What do you do when you're not domaining?
I spend much of my non-investing time doing family stuff with my wife and daughter, Laili, who is now 21 months old. While Laili is at school, my wife and I work from home for several hours each day and then relax by spending an hour or two at our local gym lifting weights and/or decompressing in the saunas. We take Laili for swimming lessons at the same gym on Saturday mornings – she loves it! As an international family, we enjoy eating different Asian cuisines at local restaurants. We also go for family walks around our neighborhood and at local parks. We live a pretty simple life really.
What advice would you give to people just starting out in domains?
It’s simple really: at the very beginning of your domain investing journey, do not start hand registering a bunch of domain names and mistakenly believe you are a genius because nobody else has registered them before. There’s an extremely high probability that you are deluding yourself and you’ve just registered a bunch of “pigeon shit” that you will let drop unsold in a year or two. We’ve all been there before and it was a huge waste of money that we all wish we could claw back from the registrars. Instead, keep your newbie ego in check and sign up for DNAcademy. Yes, it costs several hundred dollars but that is very small price to pay compared to the thousands of dollars you will lose by registering a bunch of worthless crap on your own without the benefit of DNAcademy’s advanced education in domain name investing. Just do it.