Countless new businesses sprout every day and each needs an Internet presence. As strategized in real estate, the stock market and other investment verticals, a premium domain name is a highly valuable asset. As a matter of fact, as long as the internet is growing, domain names might just be the only definite investment there is. The millions of domain names that are bought and sold every year have given rise to an industry of countless domain name investors.
Understanding the science of domain names, how to pick the right ones from the digital vine, can be a bit tricky. But there are a set of rules and if followed properly they can prove to be very lucrative. What if you had a guide, someone to show you the way and make the journey easier?
What follows is the first of the series of interviews with the pack leaders of domain name investment industry in Pakistan. We hope it to be an avenue where the new entrants in the field, and fresh entrepreneurs, both can cultivate an insight into successful domain name investment.
We are glad to welcome AbdulBasit at the PW Domain Investment Interview.
AbdulBasit Makrani, only 30 years of age, is one of the smartest domain name investors we have from Pakistan. Based in Islamabad, he has been working in the field for over a decade now. Working full time buying and selling premium domain names, Makrani has quite a few laurels under his belt.
What follows below is a candid interview PakWired team (PW) conducted with him. We are grateful for his time, and the knowledge he (ABM) has shared with our readers.
PW: When did you register your first domain?
ABM: I registered my first domain in last quarter of 2004 which was Traders.cc and I’m still holding onto that. It was registered solely for the purpose of development because at that time I had no idea about domaining.
PW: How (and when) did you get in the business of domain name investment? What is your oldest domain name?
ABM: I came to knew about domains from my father many years back and he always wanted me to get into domain business. I never showed interest until 2004 when I first bought my domain Traders.cc which I still own. I developed that domain into business forum which didn’t turn out to be as successful as I had wanted. However, I learnt a lot from the experience. Later, I began buying .CC domains with no intention of selling them to the end-users. Gradually, I got over 20 .CC names with me.
My oldest domain in terms of creation date is OTAL.com registered since Feb 1995.
PW: How did you think about it when .com was launched?
ABM: I was not even born when .com was launched. *LOL*
PW: How much does a domain cost now? What did it cost you when you registered your first?
ABM: Normal hand registration domain costs around $8-10 for a .com depending on the registrar. For newbies, a hand registration domain means a domain which is available to register at normal price.
Well, when I registered my first domain Traders.CC, it cost me around $20. As every extension has different prices, so the cost varies. But .CC domain registration, as well as renewal, is almost half that price nowadays.
PW: What is the market value (both wholesale and retail) of the best domain names?
ABM: That really depends on the domain. Like you’re asking for *best* domain, it definitely costs in 5-6 figures (wholesale) and 6-8 figures (retail) value. There are several factors including the buyer and/or seller’s demand, acquisition cost, time of holding that asset, market value, potential future value, etc.
PW: What kind of domains are worthless and should be dropped?
ABM: As of today’s market, almost all hand registration domains are worthless. Here I’m talking purely based on domaining perspective where you’re involved in buying and selling of domain names. A domain which receives almost no to zero type-in traffic must be dropped.
PW: Which domains are valuable, and in what way?
Short domains which includes LL, LLL, LLLL, NN, NNN, NNNN, NNNNN, 1-2 word brandable domains (all in .com) are valuable because people easily remember short and brandable domains.
PW: What is a brandable domain?
ABM: Suppose Apple.com which is actually a fruit, but is being used in an entirely different purpose and is brandable and can be used for any product/service. On the other hand, I have Phresh.com which is another type of brandable domain and can be used for many different purposes like perfumes, spa, food, health, drinks, gardening, etc.
The more usage of any brandable, the more potential value it has.
PW: Which domain names may invite legal issues?
ABM: Honestly speaking, any domain could come into trouble anytime so you never know! However, if you buy worldwide known trademarks like HasanGoogle.com or TwitterPakistan.com you are calling for trouble, because these are very well known TMs and always better to stay away from such domains.
PW: Which domains deserve marketing efforts to sell?
ABM: Any high quality domain doesn’t require marketing and it’s better to put a landing page which says the domain is possibly available for sale so people can contact you directly. On the other hand, for all low quality domains, marketing is quite necessary in order to sell and survive in this business.
PW: Which specialized broker should you contact to sell a specific domain name?
ABM: I have worked with several and found Uniregistry.com aka DomainNameSales.com brokers the best ones. In short, they sell your domain like they are selling their own domain and won’t look for their commission while trying to sell your domain.
PW: How do you discover the perceived value of a domain name?
ABM: Decade of experience.
PW: What type of domain names you should consider buying when you’re starting out?
ABM: I would strongly suggest to read, read and read a lot before invest a single penny. Best place to start finding out domaining world is NamePros.com and Domaining.com where one can see plenty of domain bloggers sharing tips, experiences, sales, ideas, etc. For past and recent domain sales, you can always check www.dnjournal.com/domainsales.htm and www.namebio.com
Once you are ready and confident, start off with GoDaddy Auctions by buying closeout domains which will cost you $15-$20 per domain. Don’t invest in high price range domains because most probably you will end up with no money and everything will be into domains which you cannot sell on instant basis even for the price you paid for it.
PW: As a successful domainer, what do you consider to be your essential tool/tools?
ABM: Now you’re asking my secrets here ;-) *Makrani chuckled*
But let me share with readers that I use Domain Name Analyzer Pro software which I have been using for over 10 years and I really cannot operate my business without using it. This is must to have for anyone seriously interested in domaining. I have written an extensive post on it as well – http://www.abdulbasit.com/domaining/use-domain-name-analyzer-professional-for-bulk-whois-domain-generator-and-much-more
PW: Did you ever buy a domain just because?
ABM: I’m not that type of person who buys domains without any reason or only for fun. This way I’ve been lucky to not lose money like most domainers who invest heavily once they start their domaining career. I was very cautious at the start and rather than investing, I read a lot about how other successful domainers work. Then I slowly started investing with hand reg domains and selling them for very low profits and re-invested the same profit back into domains in order to multiply it.
Even these days, I don’t buy domains in bulk. Like I said earlier, I have been into domaining for many years but to date I have around 1300 domains in my portfolio which one can see at www.DomainsWeb.com
PW: What has been your biggest sale to date?
ABM: My biggest publicly reported sale was Symphony.com which I sold for a whopping $375,000 which anyone can read in detail here – http://www.abdulbasit.com/domain-sales/symphony-com-sold-by-abdulbasit-com-for-375000
PW: Now that you look back, what has been your biggest mistake in domaining?
ABM: I wouldn’t say I made any big mistake in domaining, but since I started off alone, I had to read and learn a lot myself. This took quite a lot of time compared to the situation if I had a partner to start off this business with. To sum up, I invested more than enough time during which I definitely let many good deals go out of my hand. Other than that, I don’t think of making any mistake(s). Overall, I’m and had been very careful in investing.
PW: What are your most favored sites for hunting domain names?
ABM: GoDaddy Auctions, NameJet.com, DropCatch.com
PW: Please list a couple of examples on how to identify a good domain from a bad one?
ABM: All featured domains listed at DomainsWeb.com are examples of great domains.
All known TM domains are bad investment like GoogleGreen.com, LegoPlaza.com
PW: Which extension/TLD’s are most popular with startups in Pakistan?
ABM: I see most of the people worldwide including Pakistan using .com. The second most popular is .pk/.com.pk.
PW: What is typically the most active month of the year?
ABM: Many people ask this but no one has been able to crack the code so far, including me – because the sales trend varies from situation to situation, market, economy, need of buyer and seller, etc.
PW: What’s your advice for a new investor stepping into domaining in Pakistan? Is it worth it?
ABM: For anyone who is seriously interested in becoming part-time or full time domainer, one must read a lot of news and articles, go through tools and relevant websites, seek advice from the successful domainers, and we have plenty of them here! Give at least couple of months to read. It’s a proper business and not a lottery ticket which one may think of buying and be able to sell at a 5 or 6 figures (USD) tag.
It’s still a great time to invest into domains and I personally see huge potential in this business for anyone who is willing to start domaining career in 2017. In my humble opinion, domaining is still in it’s early stage and yet to grow and blossom.
Hope you found the interview useful.
AbdulBasit Makrani has very kindly agreed to respond to any queries, questions, you may have. Feel free to use the comments section below.
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