I am quite the domain junkie. You may already know that I love hand registered domains, premium keyword generic domains, really, just about all types of domains. My wife would call it an illness as I snap more photos of domains than family on our family vacations. I’ve even reached out to local businesses with free advice and interrupted people in line for coffee with my domain suggestions when I’ve overheard them talking about their new business venture.
That said, I look forward to the emails in my inbox from JustDropped.com. Dan Rubin started the business back in 2003. He has a keen eye for expired domains that have value which has made this a successful venture for him.
The service provides a hardy list of recently dropped names that have been acquired and available for purchase at wholesale prices. Usually, $99. There is great opportunity here for domainers to resell these domains to end users at end user prices!
Mike: What initially attracted you to the domain industry?
Dan: I was working a job as an Internal Investigator for a retail department store here in Florida called Burdines (later acquired by Macy’s). My focus was employee theft. I used to place a small ad on the only website in the Loss Prevention industry looking for investigators to join the company. This gave me the idea to begin registering domains… I started registering domains pertaining to my industry and then ventured out to different types of domains across all areas. I started receiving inquiries on many of these domains which gave me the bug to keep registering.
Mike: I mentioned I look forward to your emails. How many subscribers have you built up to over the years?
Dan: Currently I mail out to over 100,000 subscribers on a weekly basis.
Mike: Your emails provide a long list of domains to choose from. How many domains would you estimate you have you bought and sold over the years?
Dan: Mike it is very hard to calculate. The number would be well into the hundreds of thousands over the past 20 years.
Mike: Do you have any favorite stories about domainers who have purchased from you and resold for a premium?
Dan: There are so many… I have been selling to a lot of the larger domain investors for years. Mike Berkens comes to mind who was a regular buyer back in the day. I think he paid for my kid’s college education based on all the domains he purchased. Mike later went on to sell his portfolio to Godaddy.com which contained hundreds if not thousands of domains he acquired from Justdropped.com.
Mike: Are all the domains listed yours? Did you pick them up on the drop?
Dan: Every domain I list is owned by Justdropped.com and 99.9% of them were acquired on the drop.
Mike: What other services does JustDropped.com provide?
Dan: My main focus is domain sales. We do offer a few upgraded services such as keyword monitoring and domain list subscriptions.
Mike: Do you focus on only dot com names? If so, why?
Dan: Yes, my main focus is .com. I find it is hard enough to sell a .com domain name. When you venture out to the alternate extension’s your buyer pool only diminishes from there.
Mike: Can we expect to see a list of .ETH or Web 3.0 domains at some point?
Dan: I have no plans to focus on anything other than .com domains
Mike: How do you select the names on your list? What makes for a winning drop?
Dan: Domains just need to make sense… it seems like a generic answer however you should see the lists of domains people send me daily. I take the daily drop list, filter out the longer character domains, hyphens, numbers, etc. I then go through each and every domain, picking out domains I feel have resale value. It is a time-consuming process however the end result provides me with a quality list of drops to go after each and every day. You can only automate the domain selection process so much, it takes a human eye to manually review the drop list which many people do not do based on time constraints, laziness and many other excuses. The deeper I dive into a drop list the more domains I find of value.
Mike: How are you able to acquire the names? Do you have a system that allows you to snatch them before the other drop catching services?
Dan: I use some of the registrar API’s to assist in registering domains on the drop. I also utilize my partnerships with some of the larger backordering companies in obtaining domains on the drop.
Mike: I imagine that not all the names sell, at least not right away. What do you do with the names that don’t sell hot off the press?
Dan: Domains that do not sell I list in the marketplaces such as Afternic.com and Sedo.com. I may also relist domains after a certain amount of time as our subscriber list continues to grow each and every day.
Mike: You provide domain names at wholesale prices. My guess is that your target audience is domainers who will resell the names at a profit for themselves. What advice do you have for new domainers entering the market?
Dan: Patience, patience, patience… Domains do not sell immediately in the marketplaces. New domainers need to allow time. Most of my aftermarket sales are domains I have held for a number of years. Spend time understanding what makes a good domain. DomainSherpa.com is a wealth of information for any newbie. Take the time to go back and watch the interviews with many of the successful domain investors. That information in so valuable and must for new domainers.
Mike: Along those same lines, what approach do you recommend to domainers to resell domain names? Do you recommend outbound marketing, listing services, or some other option?
Dan: If you have quality domains list them and forget about them. List them in every domain marketplace you can find. A good barometer of your current portfolio is based on domain inquiries. If nobody is contacting you about your domains it may be time to review your holdings and get rid of some of the trash.
Mike: You have been in the industry as long as anyone. What trends have you seen over the years and what can we learn from them?
Dan: The trends come and go however .com sales have proven to remain strong over time. I have seen all the trends over the years and continue to focus on quality .com domains. I do not get caught up in the hype and remain focused on what I have been doing for years that has proven to work.
Mike: Do you ever come across names on the drop that you decide are so good you need to hang on to them for your personal portfolio? How large of a personal portfolio do you maintain?
Dan: There are many domains I acquire I do not list in my daily newsletter. Some of these are based on my acquisition cost. I may pay more for certain domains that do not meet my reseller pricing strategy within the newsletter. I currently maintain a portfolio of approximately 38,000 domains so it is important to make shrewd purchase decisions in addition to renewal decisions.
I do not make a dime each year until I sell enough to cover my renewals and new domain acquisitions…
Mike: Has the market for wholesale domains changed in recent years? What. Have your observations been and what do you think is the cause?
Dan: I have only seen the wholesale market grow over the years. Our subscriber base continues to grow along with our sales. I saw a large increase in sales when Covid hit as more and more people moved their business online. Everyone was looking for domains at that time and a new side hustle to bring in extra cash.
Mike: How have you managed to spread the word and build your mailing list over the years?
Dan: I have been fortunate. My mailing list is one of the longest running lists in our space. I have been publishing the same mailing list for the past twenty years. The list has grown exponentially over the years by word or mouth, social media and organic traffic from our website.