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Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Domain Portfolio Pivot

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

In my rather unremarkable basketball career through college I did pivot maybe a million times. Give or take a few hundred thousand. When it comes to entrepreneurship however the term "pivot" takes on a whole new meaning. One that is very relevant and useful to most entrepreneurs and businesses alike.

So the reason I want to write about the entrepreneurial "pivot" is because I am clearly taking a pivot at this time with my domain name portfolio.

Here is a great definition of the business/entrepreneurial "pivot" from

Definition of pivot

When used in relation to entrepreneurship, pivot (which generally refers to a shift in strategy) describes the tortured path that most start-ups go through to find the right customer, value proposition, and positioning.
Eric Ries, the creator of the 'Lean Startup' methodology, reminds us that pivots imply keeping one foot firmly in place as you shift the other in a new direction. In this way, new ventures process what they have already learned from past success and failure and apply these insights in new areas.
Don’t get caught traveling as you jump from idea to idea without absorbing lessons learned along the way.

Over the last 15 years or so I have generally carried around 500 domain names in my portfolio at a given time. I have been the classic domain name speculator. This has allowed me to buy and sell thousands of premium (and not so premium) top-level domain names. Many more than I care to remember. My operation has always been run as a "break even enterprise." What ever revenue I did earn (from parking and domain name sales) was funneled back into the business at a given time. A constant process of registering names and letting names that didn't produce or sell to expire.

Here is a definition of Domain Name Speculator from

Domain name speculation is the practice of identifying and registering or acquiring Internet domain names with the intent of selling them later for a profit. The main targets of domain name speculation are generic words which can be valuable for type-in traffic and for the dominant position they would have in any field due to their descriptive nature. The speculative characteristics of domain names may be linked to news reports or current events. However, the effective period during which such opportunities exist may be limited. Quick turnaround in the resale of domains is often called domain flipping.

It has been quite interesting and enjoyable for me. The experience has been invaluable. This process has got me to thinking recently about the difference between knowledge and wisdom. A good deal of which (hopefully) I have accumulated regarding the domain name industry.

These definitions are from



acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition:
knowledge of many things.

[wiz-duh m]


the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.

So now my current portfolio numbers somewhere south of 100. Basically the fewest I've ever had. Also, dwindling by the day.

Will my portfolio get to zero? It is quite possible. It will take some sales of names that I am holding onto or determining other uses for the names.

For the skeptical sorts who would propose that you can't be a domain speculator and own zero domain names.

Let me ask you this.

Can you be a stock market investor and not own any stocks at a given time?

Can you be a commodities trader and not own any commodoties at a given time?

Can you be a gold speculator and not own any gold at a given point in time?

Can you be a real estate developer and now own any real estate at that time?

I may just try to do it.

Then of course, I will start all over again.

So at this time, I am resetting my domain name portfolio. The structure and make-up that will evolve over the next year.

What domain name purchasing strategies will I employ?
Private sales, auctions or hand registrations?
What domain extensions will I buy?
How many characters in the names?
New gTLDs such as .web,  .app, .blog, and .shop?
Alpha or numeric?
Country code names?
Generic names?
Brandable names?
City/GEO names?
Niche names?
Traditional gTLDs such as .com, .net and .org?

I will be interested to find out myself.