Six months ago, domain investor AbdulBasit Makrani made the decision to move his almost four thousand domain portfolio from Uniregistry landing pages to Afternic to see whether the established Afternic platform would help to increase sales.
Every month at NamePros, AbdulBasit has been open about his experiences with Afternic, publishing his sales data for all to see. Since AbdulBasit is six months into his experiment, I took the opportunity to chat with him about his Afternic test, and some wider-ranging topics to do with domaining.
Can you give a brief overview of your portfolio?
I seriously started building my portfolio in 2010 but at a very slow pace until the last 3 years during which I’ve doubled my portfolio. Today I’ve 3,880 domains. It consists of 90%-92% of .com domains which is my minimum target to have .com domains in my portfolio. Most of my domains are 1-2 word brandable domains.
How many domains do you typically acquire and sell in an average month?
For the last couple of years, I’ve been acquiring 50-80 domains per month and average sales per month is 5-6.
How do you go about acquiring domains usually? Are you someone who acquires most names privately, or via auctions?
Normally I buy domains via auction houses like GoDaddy, DropCatch, SnapNames. Also, I buy privately but that portion is close to 10% of my portfolio. Buying in auction gives you relief that the domain is yours either at the time of auction finishes or the transfer takes a few days to complete. But in auctions, I’ve to pay higher than acquiring privately.
On the other hand, buying private has pros and cons too. The good thing is you can always get a good deal if you negotiate and communicate well. And the biggest problem is the domain owners either don’t respond or the entire communication takes weeks and sometimes months in order to complete the deal.
In January, you started an experiment with Afternic. Can you tell me a little about what that experiment entailed?
For at least 6 years, I’d used Uniregistry landers for selling domains and I’d had a great experience using them whether selling domains directly or with the help of their brokers. But with the passage of time, things do get changed and since last year I was asked by several friends in the domain circle to try out Afternic landers along with Afternic approaching me directly to give them a try.
At the end of last year, I finally got convinced to try and move all my domains to use Afternic landers. But before I started using Afternic landers, all my domains were already listed with Afternic but using Uniregistry landers.
Why did you choose Afternic over any other company such as Dan or Sedo?
It was pretty easy to choose over Dan or Sedo mainly because of the exposure Afternic provides. Afternic gives worldwide distribution through 100+ reseller partners with more fast-transfer enabled resellers than any other marketplace. Although I was a bit reluctant in trying at first due to their 20% commission which is pretty high keeping in mind I was paying nothing using Uniregistry when handling the leads myself. But I can say they justify the 20% with the results they’ve shown.
Both Dan and Sedo don’t give such exposure especially Dan so using any of their landers doesn’t make sense… at least to me.
Your recent blog post shows a $49,000 income from sales at Afternic in May. Is this a figure you expected to achieve by this point?
As far as I can recall, that was the best month with Afternic. It was not surprising because I’ve added some great domains over the years. The best thing in the last month was that I had no 5 figure sale but still the total sale amount crossed $49,000. Although the number of domains isn’t too many, I consider the quality of 3,880 domains is pretty good. I’m sure to break this record at Afternic again and multiple times.
Which have you found to be most effective at Afternic – Buy Now, or Make an Offer?
Let me tell you one secret here. As I said above, I’ve had all my domains listed with Afternic for the last many years but I made a mistake of not putting up BIN on any of the domains. So the number of sales which I make every month on an average right now, I used to sell a similar number of domains in the entire year!
I started adding BIN on my domains early 2018 and that’s where I started seeing the sales get increased. Actually a lot more than I expected. So I highly recommend anyone to add BIN at Afternic as Make Offer is simply useless. To validate my point, check this https://www.afternic.com/sell-
Since January, have you noticed an increased average sell-through rate with Afternic?
With the current global situation, I would say I’m having a decent year. A little slower than last year considering the number of domains I’ve added. Overall, I would say it’s going very well and I plan to continue using Afternic at least until the end of this year extending from this June which was initially planned to review from the start of this year.
Will you be testing other marketplaces? What is your philosophy on testing new services for your portfolio?
I’m happy to test out new marketplaces but it should make clear sense and have something unique on offer. There are several marketplaces which I would never for several reasons like lack of exposure, too high commission, not enough marketing to sell domains, etc.
The main goal is to have as many sales as possible with any marketplace. Using your own landers or Uniregistry gives you the leverage to pay 0% commission when dealing directly. So I’ve to think deeply about the return I’ll get when trying out any service because I moved the entire portfolio for using Afternic landers for at least 6 months and in case of failure, not only the time is wasted but with lack of sales, the acquisition of domains would stop as well.
Anyone trying any marketplace should move the entire portfolio to see better and clear results. That helps in deciding your next move.
What are your favorite tools or services related to domaining, and why?
Well, I use Google, DotDB.com, ExpiredDomains.net, and Domain Name Analyzer Pro on a daily basis. Google of course we know is helpful to find out potential end-users and gives an idea about the specific keyword
As far as DotDB.com is concerned, this is one of my best tools I use. You can filter out Alphabets, Digits, Hyphens, IDNs, and whatever Suffixes (TLDs) you don’t want. What really impressed me is the number of extensions we can extract out the result which makes it easier for anyone to check and decide on buying and pricing as well. You can also use space between two keywords which will give you additional variants registered between those two keywords. It has several other filters which are helpful at times and can be tweaked according to the need.
ExpiredDomains.net – Many of the domain investors are already aware of it. Depending on your need and creativity, using their filters is the way to find hidden gems. A free tool for everyone. Without this, it’s very difficult to find out what domains are dropping and through which marketplaces.
Last but not the least, I use Domain Name Analyzer Pro (https://domainpunch.com/