A few important details on Mike Mann’s domain sales

Opinions

I have a few important details and comments on Michael Sumner’s “Don’t Shoot for the Moon” post on Namebio.com about Mike Mann’s domain sales that people must consider.

First of all I have to say that Michael makes many good points in his post but I have to add a few important ones.

As I am a numbers guy (like Michael), I will start with the numbers.

Michael says that Mike Mann has reported 25 5-figure sales in the past year. I think Michael has missed a few of Mike Mann’s reported sales.

I have 61 5-figure sales from Mike Mann posted in my monthly posts. The 61 sales are from November 2018 to October 2019. (I have not yet posted the October 2019 report. You can see the September report here and from there you can find links to all the previous reports.)

Then we must consider that these prices that Mike Mann lists on his website are opening prices. These are not firm BIN prices. Mike Mann has said many times that he negotiates sales and his own landing pages have a “make an offer” option for buyers. For example Mike sold DynamicInsight.com for $28,500 but it was listed for $49,888.

I too always leave enough room for negotiations in my quotes. Probably around 35%. If you subtract 35% off of Mike Mann’s prices then the number of domains that are higher than $10k drop from 175,426 to 131,563. That is a drop from 49,8% to 37,3% in the number of domains over $10k in the entire portfolio.

When you have the option for the buyer to make an offer (instead of using BIN prices only) then you have to leave room for negotiations.

These 2 numbers are enough to make Mike Mann’s sell through rate (in the $10k+ range) come up from 0.014% to 0,046%. So it would take you around 4.35 years (instead of 14 years) to get a single sale if you have 500 domains.

So if you count the renewals (at $10) in that 4.35 years then you need that single sale to be $21,750 to break even.

Of course that is not nearly good enough to sustain a business. But as Michael Sumner said Mike Mann does not report all his sales (e.g. most of his 6-figure sales are never reported). So his stats must be a lot better.

And of course Mike Mann has shared that his average domain sales price is about $3200. That means that he sells a lot of domains below $5k.

One last thing to consider is that Mike Mann changed his pricing during the summer increasing prices on many domains. He also changed his pricing levels since March 2019.

He only had 26,9% of his domain prices over $10k in July. This number became 49,8% in September. I think that Mike sees domain prices going up so his pricing follows that trend.

The whole Michael Sumner post boils down to this (which I agree):

“Only if you already have a large, high-quality portfolio can you play the lottery game of going for crazy sales and actually win. But like Mike Mann, you should only do it with a small percentage of your portfolio. The rest should be reasonably priced for steady cash flow.”

It all comes down to what your overall portfolio consists of and then to individual domains.

If you have a small portfolio of about 500 domains (like someone in domaining does) that consists of 2-letter .com, 1-word .com, etc. then you can always shoot for the moon.

If you have a portfolio that consists of bad domains even $350 prices will not get you a single domain sale.

The whole point is to know when to shoot for the moon and when not to. It all comes down to knowing how to price your domain names. That comes with a lot of work, research, testing and more importantly experience.

I think most sellers keep a balance using BIN prices on some of their domains while keeping a few domains on the side for that moon shot.

I personally don’t use BIN prices for many reasons and that works for me.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and now live in Athens, Greece. I love domains and building websites. I am online since 1995, learned about HTML in 1996 and about domains in 2002. I started publishing the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

4 comments

  1. Fantastic article, and completely agree that there is place for Bin and there is place for custom offer. Since sticker shock can be quiet high if the buyer is going in clueless.
    I have been following discussion on it, and i will test out moving away from Mid-high bin (10-20x) of acquisition price on almost everything. This model was pretty successful for me, but i think it probably turning away a lot of people who might have been potential buyers in a long run. , and will try out no price, with make offer and no minimum offer limit for my Tier 1 domains, and then bin price it everything else under 10k. This certainly should open up more conversations for the bigger value domains, while moving the smaller deals. This year i had four low 5 figure sales, and only 1 under 10k sale. Hence the questions begs to be asked, am i doing as well as i can, am i under pricing or am i turning away people and only filtered in those that were willing to spend, while missing on few more sales because conversation didn’t start. I am starting the test today, so should know by next spring. Great Article Kionstantinos! Since i think both Rob and Michael are extreme out-layers, each with their own agenda. Name bio wants to see as many public sales as possible, and Rob wants as many people as possible to use his registrrar (and suggestions he gives about installments (and some other customization), is mostly possibly only thorough his registrar. Good to see both points considered at the same time.

    • Retail sales data is mostly about entertainment and inspiration as far as the domain industry goes, and it’s also useful for citing in negotiations. Do you think anyone is entertained by $2-3k sales, or that anyone is touting those as comps? Low retail does absolutely nothing for me.

      If I were biased I would be pushing Rob’s agenda trying to get everyone to make headline-worthy sales, not trying to encourage them to price reasonably and make a steady income. We only get a small percentage of retail data anyway, our strength is in wholesale, so it wouldn’t even make sense for me to try to influence a sector that we’re only scraping the surface of. I’m sure Rob understands that, but it’s more fun to throw mud.

      Rob on the other hand owns a marketplace that can’t really compete with the big boys on BIN landers, because name recognition matters in BIN sales. So he’s playing to his strengths of make offer and leases, and trying to get people to focus solely on that. In the thread he mentioned his SSL landers almost every post. Try to guess who is biased here.

      None of my advice has any agenda other than to try to help you be more successful.

  2. For anyone who is missing the backstory, it is here:

    https://www.namepros.com/threads/yall-wanna-shoot-the-moon.1162085/

    I stand by my position.

    As for Michael’s agenda, hard to say, but BIN pricing in marketplaces that give him data are probably more helpful to him than private marketplaces that don’t.

    I do think NameBio is an industry treasure most of the time and we are lucky to have it even Michael is being dogmatic to a fault in understating the importance of testing the upper boundary on inbound inquiries.

  3. Suprised no mention of sales ability of sellers.
    Absolutely the fuel that gets you to the moon.
    Generally, the consistently higher sales come from sales professionals of which there are few in domains.
    Appreciate Mann’s posting of holding time as well.

    Many times pros comment base retail pricing could be in the 10-20 k range. The price of a used car for a business platform!
    Installment payments / credit card purchases easily facilitate this range and higher.
    Appreciate Mann’s and others effort to trend towards higher retail base pricing that makes sense.

    Don’t know of any other industry that retail buyers have access to wholesale. Don’t see registrars / registries changing this.

    There is still a lot of consumer confusion of pricing that needs to be addressed in the industry.
    Mann does a good job of being consistent in price range.
    Uni does a fair job at retail in the 3 – 15k range.

    Most Combination Wholesale/retail platforms do not.
    Godaddy – suggested domain value 1200 yet offered for 5-20 dollars! – where else in the world ia this kind of
    “Retail” pricing ?
    Agree – comps/ estimated / don’t have much value when wholesale/retail pricing is combined.
    Just creates more confusion.
    Thanks for correcting the price analysis.
    Makes more sense.
    So does list pricing/ open to offers. Gives buyers a place to start, a view of comps in the same range and eliminates tire kickers.
    Cheers

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