Jan 11 2017

Selling Off My Domains

Over the past 16 years I've been registering domains as placeholders for project ideas that might need a domain. Too often I revisit an idea and look for a better name. And a lot of my ideas lead to more ideas. Also, I have a lot of ideas in general. This process has led me to register over 200 domains. I've spent roughly $23k in renewals, and as of recently I'm now spending nearly $400/mo to keep these mostly unused domains.

Now I want to sell these domains and I need your help.

tldr: Check out this list of all my domains and pick ones you might be interested in buying or hearing the story of.


Last summer Glider Labs stopped taking client work. I rebooted Glider Labs to focus on innovating in open source. I don't just mean building innovative open source software, but innovating for open source as well. Specifically, I'm trying to find a good way to build open source sustainably. Although I definitely want to help the greater open source community, I'm firstly motivated to find a way for myself to live a life doing what I love. Part of that is building great open source building blocks.

I've been paying my living expenses and a living wage for a staff of one other from my savings. The faster we prove our model, the faster we can stop worrying about it. Taking client work would help with costs, but after two years doing that and juggling open source work, for us it's just not worth it if there is another means. And I just happen to have a bit of money saved.

This means I needed to get efficient! Over the past few months I've been reducing costs, both personal and Glider Labs. And this month I finally put together a solid financial model to plan with. This is how I found out I pay $400/mo in domains.

So I should get rid of some of them, right?

Well some of them are pretty good. I used to let some of them expire, but I've regretted it every time. So instead, I figure I should try to sell them. And of course it clicked, I'd use the money for Glider Labs!


The basic idea is that I want to auction them off. I know how much I've spent on all of them, and I'm looking to see if a professional appraisal would be cost effective. There's a whole practice of buying and selling domains, but getting the highest value is a lot of legwork for each domain. Services that can help I don't think are worth it because this is basically just a one-time thing.

I don't need to get the best value, but for each domain I'd like to at the least make back double the amount I've put into them. That gives me a good default starting price for auctioning.

There are auction sites for domains, but (surprise!) they're not free. And I have over 200 domains across a wide range of value. So instead I came up with this process:

First, I'm sharing a list of all my domains. They're presented in a Google Form to collect interest from my friends and network, including the Glider Labs community. I'm going to use this data figure out which ones to focus on.

Part of what I'd like to do, and a few people have requested, is list the idea I had for each domain! It would add context and value to the domains, and it would help share some of my ideas I haven't gotten to writing about. However, some of these are long stories and, again, there's 200 domains here.

So this interest survey will also help me pick which ones to write a quick blurb about.

Also! You'll quickly notice these domains are mostly for ideas in the developer tool space. Some companies in this space have content strategies that could use relevant domains. For example, Auth0 runs jwt.io, which is a site that I intended to make with the domains jsonwebtokens.com and jsonwebtokens.org. They beat me to it and now I don't have a use for those domains, maybe they'd like to buy them? So I'm reaching out to them.

But there are others that might be a good match with a company that I don't know about. After looking at the domains, if you represent or know a company that would be worth asking, let me know!


Once I have enough interest data from the survey, I'll start writing about them and have an informal auction using another Google Form. That form will include only domains of interest that are for sale, including a short version of their idea/history, and the starting price. There'd be a field for a bid.

The bids would not be public, so any bid would be a mix of what value it has to the bidder and how much they want to contribute to Glider Labs. I'm assuming by starting with my network, there are at least a few of you that would bid just to help out Glider Labs. <3

Depending on how it goes, I figured I might do 2 followup rounds, where the minimum bid for each domain becomes the highest confirmed bid from the previous round.

This might not work at all, or it might work a little. Either way, it will definitely help me determine a better value to take to auction platforms or domain marketplaces for the remaining domains. That process would definitely take longer and be more costly, so that's partly why I'm trying this way first.

I think that's about it. Here's the list of domains. It does include all my domains, including ones I'm using or probably won't sell. However, if there happened to be a private offer I couldn't refuse, I'm sure I'd adapt. ;)

comments powered by Disqus