One common reason cited for not getting into the buying and selling of domain names is that there’s no really valuable domains left to buy, followed by some grumbling that all the big shots ‘got lucky ‘ because they bought the best domains “back in the hey day.” And there may be an element of truth in that. Some, however, would argue that’s just a cop out for not wanting to put the time and effort into learning the business properly. Take Page Howe for example; a guy who was far from lucky in business, came into domaining late, and ended up selling two of the most expensive domains ever.
Page Howe bought his prize domain Seniors.com back in 2002 during the Dot Com bust. It wasn’t a good time to be parting with $100,000 for a domain, when everyone thought the value of the web was dead and buried. But Howe had vision, and held onto that domain for another six years, until in 2007 he sold it for $1.8m ($1.5 after commission). Seniors.com came available after a DotCom venture had failed; the domain name was sold off in an attempt to recoup some of the venture capital investment.
Page Howe entered the record books again just a few months later when he sold Guy.com for $1m, a domain he’d only owned for four months.
It wasn’t always roses, though, and prior to his success Howe had a rough ride. A startup he worked for was nearly purchased for millions of dollars, something that prompted him to invest in a second home in Tennessee. It didn’t happen. Howe was then forced to move his family to the more affordable Tennessee residence. He also sold his collection of 200,000 baseball cards for liquid cash. In addition, he worked part-time as a CFO.
Howe, ever the fighter and enthusiast, saw legs in the domaining industry, and in 2001 set up a registry named Basic Fusion in an attempt to acquire top level domains from ICANN. His application was rejected and he lost his $50,000 investment. However, during this time the company had acquired around 4,000 domains of their own. They sold all but 20, and among those kept were Seniors.com and Guy.com. Not long after this Howe struck gold!
Persistence, intuition, belief and enthusiasm are words that all spring to mind when considering Howe’s journey. It’s encouraging to know that the big break you’re looking for is potentially just around the corner; you might not make the most expensive domains list, but you can be sure that your hard work will pay off to some degree of success.
It’s never plain sailing either. Howe went onto make a huge error of judgement when his company, Basic Fusion, sold GasPrices.com for $8,000, only to watch it resell a few years later for $225,000. But hey, win some lose some. That’s how it goes in business. But one thing’s for sure, you’ve got to be in it to win it.
Page Howe now runs Joe Domains (domains for the average Joe), and is the president of BigNameHunters. Howe and his companies own about 25,000 domains, generating between $25,000 to $50,000 in monthly sales.
For more on Page Howe check out this video interview with Domain Sherpa (bear with the first 2 minutes of ads), it gets really interesting after that.