Domain name investor Aishwin Vikhona stumbled across the industry in 2012, and it soon became a profitable side hustle for him. From buying domains and selling them within days, Aishwin built a domain portfolio filled with premium domain names.
Through careful tracking and an ingenious bucket system, Aishwin is creating a long-term, sustainable portfolio that is building regular income.
In this interview, we talk with Aishwin about his portfolio, his bucket system, and which products and services he uses, especially his experience with GoDaddy’s Investor app.
Q&A with domain investor Aishwin Vikhona
This interview has been gently edited for length and clarity.
What is your background, and how did you start investing in domains?
Aishwin Vikhona: I'm an IT graduate, and while working in the IT space, I was taking care of sales and business development. At the time, my uncle wanted to buy a specific domain for his business, and because I was an IT graduate, he thought I would know about domains. I did not, but that was when I started researching domain names.
I quickly realized that most good domain names are taken, and there is demand from end-users who want to buy them.
That’s what got me into it.
What kind of domains did you start buying, and which platforms did you use to start purchasing domain names?
AV: It was 2012, and I started buying exact-match keyword domains like city plus profession domains (for example, CancunDentist.com). I could register them and quickly sell them for a couple hundred dollars each. I built my portfolio up from there using the capital from these sales. I would earn and then reinvest that money.
What does your portfolio look like now?
AV: I have around 2,300 domain names, which are registered at GoDaddy. My domain names are broken down into categories like one-word, two-word, and three-letter. My domains include VMR.com, Sovo.com, and Inferior.com.
Importantly, all my domains are priced. After listening to GoDaddy’s President of Domains, Paul Nicks, at NamesCon, I realized how important it is to price every domain.
Why do you think it's beneficial to price every domain?
AV: The chances of a sale multiply if a fixed price is attached to it.
I'll tell you one example. I used to have a domain that had an NFT landing page. I switched landing pages to one that showed a buy now price of $50,000. A buyer came to me with an opening offer of $20,000.
I don't know if he would have come to me with a $20,000 offer without me displaying the $50,000 price. Usually, I received $1,000 or $2,000 offers, but with a buy now price indicated, they have an anchor. So, they looked at the anchor of $50,000 and made a counteroffer of $20,000.
What’s your strategy with pricing at Afternic? Is everything priced there?
AV: I keep everything priced at Afternic. In addition to this, Afternic brokers come to me with offers from buyers that are less than my buy now price, which I can consider.
How do you value the domains you are buying, and how do you determine the price you put on them when listing them for sale?
AV: Most of the time, it's intuitive, but this intuitiveness comes from research like visiting NameBio.com and seeing what is selling, what price they are selling for, and how the market is reacting.
I also look at GoDaddy’s GoValue appraisals as an idea. If GoDaddy is appraising it at a certain price with similar sales data, it gives me a basic idea of value.
Which tools do you rely on for finding and purchasing domains?
AV: I use ExpiredDomains.net to search for domains. I have all the formulas and filters there. All I have to do is keep running those filters to what's new at sites like GoDaddy Auctions.
I also have the GoDaddy Investor app. That is a huge relief, especially for people in India, where GoDaddy auctions finish at night.
You don't want to go and sit in front of your office or PC at night, so before leaving work in the evening, I just make a list of names I'm interested in, and I just star mark them on the Investor app. Once I do that, I get a notification 15 minutes before the auction ends. I love it. I use it every day.
What do you do with your domains once you have purchased them? Where do you list them, and which landing pages do you use?
AV: It depends on the domain and how much I bought it for. If it’s a domain I paid over $5,000 for, I tend to hold them. For smaller buys, like Closeout domains or names up to $300, I normally have a small team of people who reach out to potential leads after I’ve bought the domain.
They put the domain in front of the right audience, which naturally helps generate price inquiries and offers.
The domains also get listed on Afternic with a fixed buy now price to make sure that the domain is available on the aftermarket so the Afternic team can start receiving inquiries. They do a very good job with closing, and it's very relaxed. You don't have to do anything.
How do you decide which domains to try to sell quickly and which to hold?
AV: My domain investments are in three buckets: A, B, and C. Bucket A houses my ultra-premium domains. They are the prime domains that I want to keep in my portfolio. The aim is to build a good portfolio filled with Bucket A domains.
If a domain goes into Bucket A, it will be renewed for two or three years. These are my long-term investments. Bucket B has slightly lower-quality names that I get inbound inquiries from, but I also perform some outbound. Bucket C is mainly where I buy and sell quickly.
Buckets B and C are where I make most of my money, which covers purchases and renewal fees. I don’t want to take money from liquidating Bucket A domains.
Is your ultimate goal to make Bucket A domains 100% of your portfolio?
AV: Yes. I still want to sell Bucket A domains, but I have to be patient with these names and can’t be desperate with negotiations. Getting money from Buckets B and C lets me be more relaxed with my Bucket A investments.
Buckets B and C are where I want to sell. Even if I'm selling it for $300, as long as I bought it for $20 or $30, I make the money and keep the cycle rolling so I don't have to go to Bucket A for sales.
How has 2023 been for you, and what is your outlook for 2024?
AV: In 2023, I’m seeing some sales, and I have some good domain inquiries that I feel will result in sales. My sales from 2023 so far have mostly come from Buckets B and C through GoDaddy, Afternic, and Dan.
Next year, 2024, is also promising, and I’m ready to capitalize because I have a good portfolio, and I make sure that I buy two to three good domains every month.
It's looking positive. Everything is positive.
If you want to find out more about Aishwin’s investments, connect with him on X or visit his homepage, Aishwin.com.
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