75% of Domainers Should drop ALL of Their Domain Names!

Morning Folks!!


It never gives me pleasure to tell somebody they have a domain that might be worthless. I don’t try and discourage folks even when they ask. My job is not to burst their balloon.


But in general let me state for the record that 75% of portfolios I have looked at do not have a single domain of value. I mean NONE!! If I tell that person he will get angry and lord knows I don’t need another enemy. So let me talk to the general audience. The 75%,


How do you know your domains may be worthless? Well first of all you are not making any money and the bills are piling up. That may be your first clue.


If you have 10,000 names at a cost of $80,000 a year and you make no money…..just dump every last one of them and start again. You have an $80,000 budget from day #1. You can leverage that $80,000 and buy a few GREAT domains with a simple formula. With a down stroke and payments. Many domainers are open to these type deals.


Point is WHY keep chasing failure?? Gather what you have learned and parlay that into a new start. 1 great domain is infinitely better than all the Pigeon Shit in the world. It’s simple and so few get it and even fewer do it.


The trail has been blazed. The path is there. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Just get ONE great domain and you will be on the RIGHT path and never have to look back or over your shoulder.


Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

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38 thoughts on “75% of Domainers Should drop ALL of Their Domain Names!

  1. Gene

    I’m sure that the population of portfolios that you’ve reviewed would give you a pretty accurate statistical sample to make such a judgment – so it would be tough to argue with your conclusion.
    And every single domainer should (constantly) review their portfolio with a critical eye; and prune accordingly. It’s the folks who don’t perform that exercise who fall into your”75%” bucket.
    My only question is this: How do you square your consistent message of”buying tomorrow” with what you’re saying in this post about”buying one great name” today?
    Except for something like Power.com, the”one great name” would likely be something quite generic; and something that really is viewed as”great” from today’s standards.
    If someone’s going to”buy tomorrow” there’re almost, by default, purchasing names that cover future trends — and those can frequently be hand-registered. Although, perhaps you’re suggesting that domainers should buy generic/keyword names that, while viewed from a certain perspective today, could (with vision) be viewed entirely differently tomorrow — and that’s reasonable.
    But I’d appreciate you clarifying these two seemingly contradictory positions. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Josh Bond

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” —Albert Einstein

    Reply
  3. Dave Conners

    In the past two years, I’ve agressively pruned my 16,024 domains down to 1,700; and, due to content piracy, I’ve discarded 90% of my adult-related domains. Last night, I pruned even more of my Dec, 2011 upcoming renewals.

    Reply
  4. Bill Roy

    One major problem with the 75:25 split is that it has to be aimed at ‘domainers’, and by strict definition this would not include any who are building website/s on their domain/s. After all what would any of the following ‘domains’ be worth if they were not built out:
    Google
    Squidoo
    eBay
    Yahoo
    Baidu
    Wikipedia
    Bing
    Flickr
    FC2
    imdb
    Tumblr
    Xhamster
    Zedo
    I would imagaine that none of the above would be worth registering on just pre-development type-in traffic? Perhaps ‘FC2’ and ‘imdb’ would have an aftermarket value, but which others?
    It is undoubtedly true, as sure as night follows day, that some domains have a value through type-in traffic being monetized. What is just as surely true as day follows night though is the fact that some ‘seemingly’ worthless domains and portfolios can be transformed into huge money minting presses with appropriate development.
    I do not think the problem is that 75% of domainers own rubbish, I think the problem is that they do not develop the domains they initially had a vision their domains could be developed into. And yes that does not mean that all such developed websites would be a success, of course not, but the perceived initial value of the registration would at least stand a chance of becoming a reality – left undeveloped and with the vision not being shared will result actually in a higher percentage than 75% I am sure.
    By the way, I fully realise that most, including you Rick, would definitely include my portfolio amongst that 75% percentage. :)

    Reply
  5. BullS

    You are so correct, I dump all and kept”BullS” because it reminds me of all the pigeon shit domains.
    Now it is worth so much money.
    Way to go!!!

    Reply
  6. domain guy

    constructive criticism is the way to correct the problem. if you do that every one will hate you even more. but that is the way to shine the light and correct the problem.and probably the only way some domainers/public will ever learn and will beneficial to everyone.
    if instituted correctly everybody will learn for the better and comprehend what exactly you mean by the discriptive term pigeon shit.harvard review does analysis of companies that are good and are failures..executives learn from these hbr stories…..

    Reply
  7. Tut

    This is absolutely true. What means domain like amazon.com it is nothing, however it is one of the biggest store on the net. Many of the large sites has very very strange domains like these 360.cn , kaixin001.com , 58.com , 163.com – the last one is case and one of the biggest.
    Good domain is potential to build great site easier and also potentional investment, the better domain main the better potential to build great site easier and also to have good investment.
    But it is the potential, not automatically true :)

    Reply
  8. Louise

    It would be kinder to say,”Most domain investors should dump 75% of their portfolios, and keep 25%.”
    You’re tops at monetizing great domains, and I’m sure with guidance from TRAFFIC events, some great domains can be monetized.

    Reply
  9. LS Morgan

    It would be kinder to say,”Most domain investors should dump 75% of their portfolios, and keep 25%.”

    It might be ‘kinder’, but it isn’t true.
    He gave the dead-on metric for how to know; whether or not you’re making money. If the amount of money you’re taking in from domains- year over year- exceeds the amount of money you’re laying out to hold them. It really is that simple. If you aren’t staying black, then it’s time to re-examine everything you’re doing from the ground up.
    The biggest problem is that there’s an enormous segment of domainers who seem to hate money but love dreaming. Or they think that domain speculating is some bizarre game that revolves around the GAKT.
    Over 2011, I’ve sold about $8K worth of domains that I purchased from the Godaddy closeout bin. It’s important to mention the”closeout bin” part because that means it went through an entire auction process- with thousands of supposedly ‘expert domainer’ eyeballs looking at it- without a single one believing it was worth a $12 bid.
    I think a lot of the really smart guys in domain speculating got in early and are pretty much comfortable on their laurels with what they have, or making the occasional larger ticket purchase. There is *so much* opportunity left out there just in the domain crumbs that occasionally trickle through. No, it isn’t huge Frank Schilling money, but it’s damn good money for working stiff like me- money that all too many ‘domainers’ just ignore because they’d rather buy dogshit domains based on ‘hope’ and ‘dreams’ rather than spending a few bucks on the types of domains that someone might want to buy, build a business on, build an application on, use as a marketing peripheral.
    Schwartz may occasionally come off as a tool, but he’s dead-on correct- and has been saying for years- that they way to ‘know’ if you’re going about it right is by real-time performance and not”future hope”. That’s the bottom line. Ignore it at your peril and expense.

    Reply
  10. MyLocator

    Somebody owns the greatest strategic domain portfo ever created, but you’ll never hear Rick comment who he believes it is. I like the comment that it truly only takes one premium domain to make your dreams come true.

    Reply
  11. I have said this for years

    I have been telling people this for a number of years. They tried to run me out of the forums but it didn’t work. Now, take a look at the once thriving forums and you will see that they are cesspools of disgraceful worthless names.
    Most of the posters who remain are the worst of the worst. They have finally figured out that what they own is absolute DOGSHIT and now they will clog the forums up until every last forum goes offline.
    It was easy to see this happening. Domain forums have imploded so much that they really are unrecognizable. I blame the forum owners for this, as well as the knowledgeable posters who didn’t step up and call out the scammers when the worthless extensions get peddled. By the way, what ever happened to Pinky Brand…lol?
    It is a site to see, but all parties actually get what they deserve here. I am pretty sure that 90 percent of all people/entities that were ever in a position of trust in this industry have abused that trust and been publicly outed for their behavior. I guess the others haven’t been caught yet.
    Sorry about your lock, suckers. Listen to Rick and not some broke ass loser sitting in his underwear giving you some dumb appraisal saying….”this name is worth XX, but with development it is worth XX,XXX”. They totally miss the freaking point of what makes a domain name have value.

    Reply
  12. John Humphrey

    If about the best you can expect is 2-3% of your portfolio to sell in any given year, you couldn’t really say you weren’t ‘making any money’ unless your sample included what, say, a 10 year time span at least, right? Rick Himself has only sold 15 domains in his entire domaining career (DomainSherpa interview). What if he waited til year 9 and sold a single million dollar name? For me a better question is: If your objective is to make money, could your time be better spent elsewhere? Myself, I like domaining. Call it a hobby if you like, but it would only take one large sale to turn me ‘pro’, and in the meantime I use a metric of ‘is it paying for itself more or less?’ to keep me in check.

    Reply
  13. I have said this for years

    Some of you still aren’t getting it. Just because a group of people build a business around Flikr.com or Tumblr.com does not make those names worth shit. How some of you posters who have been around for years fail to see this is beyond me. Jesus Christ.
    Now, Amazon.com would be worth something without a business being built around it. Do you see why? I mean, you either get it or you don’t, and I find it hard to believe that such a high percentage of people seem to be blinded to the truth of what makes a name have value.
    You are the same people who ruin forums with your ignorance. You also jump on the forums when a legit business that uses a dotcom name is sold for hundreds of millions and usually yell something like DidlyDoo.com just sold for 250 million!
    Dumb and dumber.

    Reply
  14. Rob Sequin

    I think the 75% number is low.
    I show up well for a search for domain broker so EVERYDAY I get an email or a phone call from some newbie looking to sell his domains.
    Put it this way, I stopped replying to emails a long time ago.
    I say there are maybe 500 people in the US that make a living off domains. I don’t mean investing in domains for long term price appreciation… I mean people that can live off their domain names or domain related projects or services.
    Speculation is out of the market and either you have a business that makes money or you are a”long term””investor”.

    Reply
  15. LS Morgan

    “Rick Himself has only sold 15 domains in his entire domaining career”

    Right. Rick also ‘discovered’ certain things very early on that allowed him to develop a portfolio of generic, type-in producing names that amount to a lifetime annuity that will never go away. He’s the old man who bought that 640 acres before the railroad came and now and now, he’s rich. Congrats, but that doesn’t mean shit to the opportunities that are available to you and I, now, today…
    Guys like him”got it” in 1995 and now own the types of .com domains that most of us do not own nor will we ever own. That opportunity resides in the same, distant place as parcels of oceanfront in Florida for $800; the past. The opportunities that exist today don’t resemble the”build a type-in portfolio and wait for an end user for the big hit” opportunities that the stone-age domainers exploited. Congrats to them, but for someone coming into the game after 2004 or so, you aren’t going to find your roadmap to domain speculating success in the rear view mirror, which is exactly where 90% of them are looking, trying to employ time-sensitive model, 10 years too late.

    Reply
  16. LS Morgan

    Amend to the above- none of this is to suggest that over the years, Rick hasn’t developed a knowledge-type that would allow him to succeed if he started, right now. There’s no doubt he would succeed, but that’s because he first understands what makes a good domain name. The fact that he understood that in 1995 lead to huge success since the opportunities back then were so ridiculous, but the fundamental understanding of a domain name with potential versus a domain name with no potential is the same today as it was then. There’s just no more low hanging fruit left to pick, but the opportunities are still out there in other ways. It’s a mind-blowingly simple thing- one might even argue that ‘simplicity’ is the very essence in question- yet it seems that so many will not or cannot ‘get it’, so instead, they buy shit then develop an entire college of psuedo-logic and excuses to rationalize it.

    Reply
  17. Daniel Dryzek

    One of the most valuable posts ever, Rick! I have learnt a lot during my 5 years of domaining :) Going from 15k domains to 4k domains was one of the most difficult parts but one of the best things I have ever done. Now I am being more and more selective regarding (my) domains everyday.

    Reply
  18. Altaf

    Thanks to Rick. Have we not got insights would have lead us with so many PS. Now we dropped so many of those and opted in great names. Wait folks! Only time will tell the truth.
    Have a good day!

    Reply
  19. RAYY

    Domain business is all about timing, luck, trend and surprise…
    Remember, the late comers still make money…with instinct and smart brains…

    Reply
  20. Keith Brown

    Very true. I did this awhile back and started actually focusing on making money with a small handful of websites instead of hoarding hundreds of domain names. Great advice!

    Reply
  21. EmergingDomains

    Microsoft Files More Patents For Dual-Screen Swiss Army Knife Slider Phone
    http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/27/microsoft-files-more-patents-for-dual-screen-swiss-army-knife-slider-phone
    @ LS Morgan, I respect you, and if you make an extra $8,000 per year on domains, more power to you!
    Noone brings up the end of the golden years through 2008, when Adsense revenue was free-flowing. Since then, with Google updates to its algorithm, it seems like a different modus operandi is in order to make consistent revenue from one’s domains. It’s easy to criticize and make people feel like a failure nowadays, where they would have enjoyed success in former times. It’s a different market, and it’s worth exploring different avenues.
    If Rick said, buy the future, my recent registrations are well-timed, such as DualScreenPhones.com and MultiScreenServices.com. There is too much info now on those to keep up with a blog.
    I’ll do my thing, and you do yours, and we’ll see who succeeds.

    Reply
  22. Altaf

    Hi,
    I know someone who knows nothing of type ins or traffic. But unknowingly he chosen a nice niche.Selling Abayas (Arabic black dress/veil) online. Lately he reported to me that good orders are coming in from EU. Small ecommerce site with WU payment mode i.o. CC.

    Reply
  23. Gene

    @Keith Brown
    I wish you the best, but you may very quickly find out that it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to”hoard[] hundreds of domain names” than is is to build a handful of sites (that is, assuming you are really willing to make the investment(s) necessary).
    For the life of me I’ll never understand why ‘domain leaders’ build some of the ugliest sites on the web. Everything looks like it’s circa 1999. Maybe it’s simply that there are plenty of people – even very successful ones – that have no taste at all. Or, maybe their sister has convinced them that their slacker brother-in-law, who lives at Starbucks all day, is a ‘great web designer.’ Just don’t make that mistake (please).

    Reply
  24. EmergingDomains

    One domain inspired by Rick Schwartz I registered is:
    CloudBacklash.com
    Not because I want the cloud to fail – I want it to succedd and technology move forward. But large companies are taxing infrastructure resources that they avoid paying for by moving their profits to the Caymans, so that when these fail, it will affect the cloud.

    Reply
  25. LS Morgan

    LS Morgan, I respect you, and if you make an extra $8,000 per year on domains, more power to you!
    —-
    No, I said I made $8000 last year strictly from domains that not one single ‘domainer’ thought fit to bid $12 on. That doesn’t represent my entire income.
    The point is, there’s still a ton of opportunity out there but you aren’t going to find it listening to contemporary ‘domainer logic’.

    Reply
  26. Bill Roy

    I would like to add to the conversation by stating the most annoying aspect of domaining, according to me, is the fact that domainers do not work together. So often domainers with complimentary domains or even portfolios work independently of each other, stupidity seems to go hand-in-hand with domaining sometimes.
    Earlier this year I joined a new specific domaining group which included the foremost domainers within the niche, after several months I left as it had turned out to be a totally worthless exercise. Here was a group who if we worked together could ‘corner’ an entire niche, instead there wasn’t even a way for members to contact each other!
    LS, I totally agree with your development blueprint. Unfortunately you missed out one problem with ‘hiring’ local web developers/programmers I have come across (to my cost) and that is they seem unable (or unwilling) to actually build what they are instructed to build. I just wasted 5 weeks using a ‘local’, and throughout the whole time I was being constantly told that what I wanted was ‘not possible’ – until I spent the time and effort finding out how it was possible myself and pointing it out to him. So my advice would be start by using CMS (Joomla, WordPress, etc.) and build the site as much as you can yourself and then just acquire bespoke software as needed to further develop.

    Reply
  27. LS Morgan

    I just wasted 5 weeks using a ‘local’, and throughout the whole time I was being constantly told that what I wanted was ‘not possible’ – until I spent the time and effort finding out how it was possible myself and pointing it out to him.
    ——
    This is constructive criticism, wrought from having made that same mistake myself.
    The mistake you made was”5 weeks”. Within a few days, if I’m not seeing benchmarks being aggressively met, they’re toast. Period, period. That’s like a golden rule of projects management. The moment you get an inkling that you’re getting strung along, ditch them, even if that means starting over. There are way too many people with way too much talent and creativity (and not enough work to go around between them) to waste time with the non-performers.
    Establish your operational specs from the get-go.
    This requires forethought and you cannot do it on the fly. One way I do this is to sit down with a pot of coffee, a pile of 5X7 notecards then brainstorm every function on every page by drawing it on the notecard. I tried using a dry erase board, but big notecards and lots of empty floorspace makes the best notecard-site map (haha).
    You’ll get a strong visual representation of how you site should work and from that, you will be able to make a VERY clear and comprehensive spec sheet that will make any contractor nut, since their clients are usually confused and hardly understand what they want in the first place. Once you have that spec sheet and a clear idea of what you want your site to do, take that to your coders, or if you don’t have coders, shop it. You’ll get plenty of takers.
    Be aware of security issues.. Your”coder friend” may be writing bullshit into the script, so it’s an absolute requirement that you get multiple sets of trusted eyes on your code before it goes life.
    It’s really not too hard. Just really, really flesh out what you want, then make that as clear as possible to your providers, then lots of discussion about benchmarks, then cleanup and pen test before going live. If you get the feeling that they’re dragging ass, take away FTP access, fire them and find someone else to pick up where they left off.

    Reply
  28. patrick

    You are right Rick most names are crap,yet i own .CA domains like copyrightattorney litigationattorney aircraftleasing/financing stockmarkettoday currencyrates toptengames/songs/hits/downloads Ect, they do not make anything on PPc $20.00 at SEDO Last 12 Months get low volume direct type in from 0 to 400 per year but all have high search so should i dump them because they cost me every year.
    Ps have dumped a lot of chaff after the Google adwords keyword tool fiasco down from 400 to about 120.

    Reply
  29. Bill Roy

    Linton, such is always taken as ‘constructive criticism’ and is appreciated. I was too soft and generous, in the end it did neither ‘him’ nor I any good, and yes I have learned my lesson (I hope).
    Now it is just a case of onwards and hopefully upwards! :)

    Reply
  30. LS Morgan

    @ Bill- I’m not Morgan Linton, but don’t worry. You’re not the only one to make that mistake. I’m a marketing strategist for a private firm here in Chicago.

    Reply
  31. Joao

    Its actually funny. What i have dumped was 90% made of english based domains.
    Today i run domains in my native language. They make around 99% of my portfolio.
    I dont do good on revenue. The market is young and has the potencial that 250 million people can give. But they are mostly made of internet newbies. 99.9% of those domains are very keyword rich and best of all, they make sense.
    So…am i a”long term””investor”? fuck yeah. And i am very proud of it.
    Wasn’t Rick one as well, back in the past?

    Reply
  32. Jxff

    Late to the party…
    I would like to read opinions about the upcoming release of new gTLDs and trademark TLDs effects on existing domain portfolios. At HostingCon this year in San Diego I realized I was one a few persons attending that had any knowledge of ICANN’s planned release for new gTLDs and trademark TLDs. Hosting will get it’s biggest boost ever from the release and registration of these new TLDs… but few even realized what is going on. Rick mentions pigeon shit.. but I see the lack of knowledge of this release more as a pigeonhole situation. Domainers are crowed together in namespace with the ultimate opportunity left open.

    Reply

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