In June 2020, I interviewed domain investor AbdulBasit Makrani, a prominent member of the domain investment community who had gained notability in 2020 for his popular Afternic experiment results, in which he candidly documented his journey after switching the vast majority of his extensive portfolio to Afternic landing pages.
AbdulBasit stopped sharing his Afternic sales in September 2020, but he has kept remarkably busy, adding a domain consultancy service to his overall domaining business.
As the end of 2020 approaches, I took the opportunity to catch up with AbdulBasit Makrani to chat about his latest sales, his Afternic experiment, and his acquisition strategy.
Can you give us a rough overview of your domain portfolio as of December 2020?
First of all, thanks for inviting me to another interview and I really appreciate that 🙂
Coming back to the question… I just reached 4,800 domains this week and around 90% of my domains are .com and my target is to get close to 95%. A lot of my acquisitions are 1-2 word brandable domains.
Some of my very recent acquisitions are TheCouncil.com, Marvest.com, SensoryOverload.com, Hatchers.com, RightLiving.com, TheAmpersand.com, FaithCity.com, AFCN.com, SHDH.com, and TONQ.com.
I always love to invest in 4L domains which makes overall a good combination. For example, the domain AFCN has “CN” which may attract end-users from China. With SHDH, “SH” can be used for Shanghai. For TONQ, it’s a pronounceable domain. Although it fails the radio test but to me, it doesn’t matter as we can see plenty of companies using such pronounceable domains for their brands and TONQ fits for that.
In September, you stopped publishing your Afternic sales experiment report. How do you feel the experiment went? Did Afternic surpass your expectations?
The main purpose of sharing the Afternic sales experiment report was to make everyone aware of how my sales are coming up and what kind of domains are selling and at what prices as well as with how much consistency which is one of the important aspects to consider when someone is willing to do this as a primary business.
To be very frank, I didn’t expect the experiment to go so well and I was very surprised to see the sales flowing in consistently and for some great amounts. As I shared earlier that my first 6 months of this year were a bit slow but if I see the last 6 months where December is still more than half left, then I’ll say that the last 6 months’ time has been much better than the first half of 2020.
Since stopping your experiment report, have you made any further changes to your portfolio, such as changing the landing pages/services used?
I had some 60 of my best domains using SAW.com landers from early of this year until the last few days. Now all those domains I’ve moved back to Afternic landers so I expect more good results in the coming months. Although the numbers are very few and the prices set on those are high but overall I see the results to be better since I’m adding a good number of domains every month.
What has been your standout sale for the past 6 months?
The last 6 months of this year have been better than the first half, I had several 5 figure sales and the top ones are as follows:
- Exicon.com $40,000
- Aumet.com $29,888
- LivingLabs.com $25,888
- MyGoodHealth.com $18,888
- YNNI.com $15,888
One interesting thing is that the slowest month this year was July and even December so far has been better than that.
What changes, if any, have you made to your domain acquisition/sales strategies in the past 6 months?
If someone has read my previous interview, I said I was acquiring 50-80 domains per month and had 5-6 sales per month on average. This has dramatically changed in the last 6 months. I’ve been focusing more on private acquisitions because the prices at auction houses are crazily going high and a lot of times the auction ends up at unreasonable prices.
So in the last 6 months, my monthly average acquisition is a little over 100 and my monthly sales average has been touching 7. I’ve been focusing a lot on private purchases and doing some bulk deals which have increased the number of domains in my portfolio pretty quickly.
In our June interview, you mentioned that 2020 has been a little slower than 2019 in terms of sales. Is that still true?
Yeah, I remember saying that. But now I would say that even though the first half was slower than 2019, the last half has been fantastic in that it covered the slowness of the first 6 months. In short, I can clearly say that this has been a record-breaking year in terms of the number of sales where I’ve just touched $500,000 with 4,800 domains which is very satisfying for me when I had no 6 figure sale and still reached this mark.
Are you looking to try out any other domain marketplaces exclusively in 2021?
I already tried SAW.com but didn’t get the desired results. I don’t really plan to try out any other marketplaces in 2021 because I’m getting the top results with Afternic and I’m more than satisfied with them when it comes to making sales.
What would be your advice to anyone hoping to make domaining their full-time occupation in 2021?
Since the auction prices are crazily high and will go even further higher in 2021, I suggest focusing on the following things.
- You need to have a good budget to start off in today’s time. My advice is to start with an amount of $20,000. This amount might be on the higher side for someone but since the advice is strictly for someone seriously willing to get into domaining as a full-time occupation.
- One mistake many people make is to simply start buying domains and don’t study this business properly. I strongly recommend reading and read a lot of available material which can easily be found at Domaining.com and NamePros.com.
- GoDaddy closeouts with .com only.
- Private acquisitions – This can happen by knocking on the door of domain owners whose domains are not resolving, the site gives a look of the 90s, not updated for a long time, etc. Also, there are plenty of other ways one can find out good deals by networking with fellow domain investors at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook domain groups, NamePros, NameLiquidate.com, DNWE.com, etc. By the way, I haven’t bought/sold any domains via the last 2 sites I mentioned but I’ve heard some good feedback from friends who keep getting good deals from there.