Chad Folkening, co-founder of Domain Holdings interviewed by Inc.com

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Inc.com recently interviewed the co-founder of Domain Holdings Chad Folkening.
A very interesting interview.
Here are some of his perspective:

When did you buy your first domain?
In 1996. I was always an entrepreneur--even as a kid. Now I do it 24/7.
Well, I take five days off a year. Maybe 10.

What's the state of the industry right now? Aren't all the good domain names drying up? What's left?
The supply of good names coming into the marketplace hasn't necessarily slowed down. It's picked up. There are still a lot of really good deals coming in. The opportunity for people to get in is still there. I thought that window would close years ago.

Interesting. What kinds of domains are coming in?
Yesterday I bought SkillsAssessment.com for $200. I bought StartupOffice.com for $300. I bought StoryDesigner.com for $22. If you hunt enough, you can find the good deals.

But this is for maintaining a massive portfolio--you have thousands of URLs at any given time.
It's all about timing--when to buy and when to sell. That's the business.

What about coming from the other perspective--if someone has a startup and needs a URL, what advice would you have for them?
If you have a good business, you can build it on whatever your TLD [top-level domain, such as .io or .uk] is. What we are seeing from our client base, and we've done almost $35 million in transactions this year, is that if and when you get venture capital money and are ramping up as a legitimate company, you need to be as close as possible to your customers. Spend the money now, because the price on the domain you want is only going to go up.

I see 98 percent of your sales last quarter were URLs that end in the traditional .com. So .coms are still the way to go in your mind? Why?
Russia and China are keeping the .com portfolios up, because startups there want to go global from the beginning. That keeps everybody's level up. Thirty or 40 percent of our business now is from Russia and China.
How long has that been the trend, as far as you've seen?
That started a few years ago, and has picked up in the past three to six months. They're being more aggressive in acquiring those assets. That's forcing startups to make the moves now. You have to look at your competition as in not the next state, but everywhere around the world.

So say a startup founder approaches you wanting to buy a domain name you own. What happens?
I go for fewer sales, bigger volumes, and the only way for me to squeeze that price up is to say "no." We've got deals that start at $3,000 and go up to six digits. It can take a day or a year.

Is time ever on your side as an entrepreneur trying to buy a URL?
Sure, sometimes. If the owner says, "I want $100,000 for this domain," do your research. It may change and go to $50,000, over time. What happened in our industry before the new TLDs were released, for example, is a lot of instability, and people loosening up their inventory. [Folkening is referring to what happened beginning in 2013, when hundreds of new top-level domains, such as .bike and .ventures, started to hit the marketplace.] Some owners started selling URLs they had been holding, based on uncertainty over how the market would react.

Read the complete interview
 
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