Domain Investing Is More Than Your Names, It’s Who You Know

Jul 16 2011

If there is one thing I’ve learned in business, it’s that no matter how good you are at something, there is always somebody that’s better at it than you. Those are the people that you want to associate with.  If you can’t be the best, become friends with them.

Business is business.  It doesn’t matter if you buy and sell napkins or if you buy and sell domains.  Different products, same concepts.  Although I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot over the years, the reality is that I’ve achieved more in domaining from the relationships I’ve built than I have from my own trial and error.   This is why I’ve stressed going to conferences.  There are so many people that specialize in different areas of our business that can help you get where you want to go. It’s an amazing way to take the escalator to your goals rather than the stairs.

I’m not talking about the blind email asking a million questions.  I’m talking about a relationship that’s built on mutual benefit that each person learns or gains through sharing of information.  It takes a while to develop as each person gets to know the other.  There’s a lot of leeches in this business because of the time it take to become proficient at certain monetization practices.  Everyone wants to do it,  but most don’t want to put in the effort required to get there.  So why would anyone want to share the results of their hard work with someone that can’t give anything back?  We can’t all be Adam Dicker (joke) and give away the secrets to making money in this industry.  You only share it with friends and business partners.

Once you’re “In” then the relationships spiderweb.  Say you’re looking a little help in a certain area.  What I’ve found is even if you don’t know anyone to help you, there always seems to be someone that will  introduce you to someone that can help.  They merely say “Call Dave and tell him your a friend of mine”  Instantly you have a reference and the door is wide open.  Again, I’m not looking for something for nothing.  All relationships have to be mutually beneficial. Not on every action but overall.

So how do you get to know people if you don’t ever get a chance to meet them in person?  I find the easiest way is to simply help someone with no intentions of receiving a favor in return.  You know someone likes a certain niche domain so you send them an email of a few names for sale you found at an auction they may have missed.  Maybe you introduce them to someone that can help them solve a problem or sell a domain.  You show them that you aren’t just trying to suck out free information or use them to help you move domains.

But if you really want to build a relationship you talk to them in person.  Two people talking a little fun and a little business over a few beers can lead to incredible things down the road. In one conference I had some great talks and meeting with Steve Brown of Namejet, Morgan Linton, Patrick “Chef” Ruddell, Oscar Correa of 6K Ventures, and Ron Wells, of Big Daddy Ron Wells Money Making Machine (actually don’t even really know his real company name).  Those relationships have matured to the point I consider them friends and the ideas and information we bounce off each other have led to tens of thousands of dollars in our pockets. Sometimes it’s just a phone call to see if a certain business move is wise.  A second opinion.  I have no problem flying out to see or meet someone.  Even if it’s for a day.  It’s funny because many people will say they don’t have the money to do something like that.  The same people that are trying to sell me domains for thousands of dollars.   According to them the have hundreds of thousands of dollars of assets in domains but can’t afford $600 to go have dinner with someone.  It’s an expenditure that is part of buidling a business.

In short, you can do it on your own.  Many people do. Other’s appear to be doing it on their own but the reality is they have a team of friends and associates that are guiding and helping meet goals. A friend that can help see things from a different   Mark Pincus has Fred Wilson, Warren Buffet has Sharon Osberg, and Steve Jobs.  Actually Jobs doesn’t have any friends or take any advice so skip that one.

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About the author

Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

View all articles by ShaneCultra


  1. Garry

    Hey Shane I read your blog every day and it seems like it keeps getting better and better and it’s by far my favorite domain blog. You have a unique perspective that you bring to this space. I just wish you would answer a damn email every now and then. Haha.


  2. Jason Stewart

    Awesome post Shane,

    I’ve spoken to less then 10 people in the industry on the phone. However, anyone would recognize all of their names. The community is far smaller and closer then I ever would have imagined. I’ve had countless good ventures because of it and try to reciprocate whenever possible.

  3. peter h

    I too believe that people should surround themselves with individuals who are smarter and better than them. This way whatever decision one takes will be a decision that is based on some of the best advice possible.

    This was a fantastic post Shane. The only point of contention with what you wrote is, that, sometimes people can be asset rich but cash poor because their holdings aren’t liquid enough. When you add the financial obligations that comes with raising a family, it can hamper the best of budgets. That 600 dollar trip can become impossible to take.

    Keep up the good work. Kudos.

    1. Post author

      I thought we had a pretty good talk one evening in LA . Flanked by mermaids and bikini girls if I remember. Dinner is next on the list.

  4. Dan DaMan

    Very good article. I have been domaining for 5+ years and I can honestly say a domain name ALWAYS takes a back seat to someones personality. My biggest mistake in domaining was believing that the domain itself was the focal point of the transaction. I was DEAD WRONG! Holding hands, endless emails and assuming the position are all the steps to being successful in domaining. Killer term? Only in your own eyes… you have to swallow to get someone to think for themselves and quite honestly I cannot even fathom how ANY domain brings over a thousand dollars!!! I have some world class terms and have never even got as much as an email for inquiry. So the dance goes as follows…find someone who “might” want the domain, stay on them for weeks like a heartbroken boyfriend then take exactly whatever they toss at you…unless of course you are a salesman type then you get them for more than it’s worth. Either way the domain was not the true focal point it was a grudge match over who cares the least….just my take nothing more

  5. Joel Skretvedt

    Good Points – Well said: “It’s all in who you know”… which is one reason LinkedIn has helped me so much. Sometimes you can do the above via it.


  6. Nima.Co

    Fantastic post, Shane. I can attest to the saying “your network is your net-worth.” Specially in this tight-knit community. I’ve spent five years working in the domain industry daily, but it’s my network that constantly keeps me motivated and trucking forward. We’re blessed to have topic experts and thought leaders as peers. Thank you for blogging and sharing your wisdom with all of us.

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