Put the Home Buyers guide down and turn on your computer. If you haven’t heard already, domain names are the new real estate investment trend that is turning your .com purchases into serious profit. But how does one go about researching the most prime digital property, purchasing and developing it, and then successfully selling it? Enter API Domain Investments, the premium domain development firm that is doing just that.
We caught up with Aaron Pitman, the firm’s president and founder, who is on a mission to inspire others to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams through digital real estate investment.
What do you guys do?
We are a comprehensive monetization and full-scale domain name development firm. Our experiences optimizing premium digital real estate, and our strategic partnerships, have made us pace setters. Our firm creates successful properties, from the acquisition of the domain name to the creation of a complete, revenue-producing business.
On top of development, we are domain name investors. We purchase and hold some of the greatest domain names on the planet. Our proprietary turnkey model has allowed us to build fantastic ROI on our development projects to date.
Can you explain domain names and why they are important or valuable?
Domain names are critical to any company in today’s Internet age. We refer to domain names as digital real estate, and this real estate is only going up in value as time goes on. The future of business is online. As the business world shifts more and more toward a reliance on the Internet, it’s increasingly important for you to own the best domain name your budget will allow.
Domain names are a great investment to enhance any company’s marketing and branding strategies. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs do not see this value. Common marketing today includes print, billboards, radio, and T.V. These are all great, traditional branding methods, but today, people are finding you from their iPhones and laptops.
Traditional advertising can cost thousands, or even millions, of dollars for one-time exposure. A simple investment in a good domain name can yield lifetime results. By investing in a strategic domain name, you’re investing in your company’s marketing strategy forever. Imagine you’re a lawyer in Miami who owns MiamiLawyers.com – this is far more valuable, for a much longer period of time, than spending tens of thousands of dollars on a highway billboard.
Purchasing domain names is like renting a shop in the middle of Times Square: People can easily find you, and you gain instant credibility. A one-time investment in a domain name for your business could cost you $10, $10,000, or even $200,000. While a domain name can be costly, it lasts a lot longer than spending $200,000 on a full-page spread in a major newspaper.
You make it sound like purchasing a domain name is an investment. Can you explain?
We think domain names are a new asset class for investments, like real estate, commodities, stocks, bonds, etc. While still considered an alternative investment, we believe investing in the right domain name can yield high profits, just like buying a great piece of vacant land.
I finally understood domain name investments when I heard the story of a man who invested $300,000 in a piece of vacant land. He sat on the land for a few years until the area started to become more populated. One day, a bank called the man, asking to buy the land. He was able to resell the land for over $900,000, and all because he saw value in an asset before someone else did. That is exactly what we do with domain names.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
- Do not waste money on fancy office buildings and expensive toys.
- Get online quickly. eCommerce was invented so you could have a high margin and sell straight to your customer.
- Buy your domain name as early as you can. It will become more expensive over time.
If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be, what would you eat, and what would you talk about?
I would have lunch with Mark Cuban. We would meet in Chicago, and we’d eat at Joy Yee’s in Chinatown. I would order kimchi beef fried rice, my favorite dish on the planet. I would drill him for advice on investing in other companies. I admire his crazy, outgoing personality and his ability to see value where others do not.
Biggest startup challenge?
The biggest challenge was to systematize my business model and eliminate my need to be there. It took a lot of time to network and build connections to put together a team. My business model entails buying an undervalued domain name and flipping it for a profit, or developing a category-defining domain name into a full-fledged, cash-flowing company with the intent to sell.
To do this, I needed to put together a team of people who would help procure the best deals in the domain name secondary market. I had to contract a web developer, a content team, an SEO expert, and a business development team to help negotiate profit margins. I also needed brokers to help divest the domain name assets when I was ready.
My time is the most valuable thing to me. I always go into a new business opportunity thinking, “How can I best put together a team and systematize my model so I don’t have to be involved 24/7?” I started as an entrepreneur in order to have freedom. I wanted to be able to work from my phone or my laptop. I wanted to have the freedom to travel the world, work out as I pleased, and spend time with my wife. When I read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, I realized it was totally possible to start a business, put together a team, train them, and trust them to grow the company.
Web app you couldn’t live without and why?
Dropbox is a necessity. As an Internet entrepreneur, my entire business can be run through my phone and my MacBook Air. In the Digital Age, technology makes it so easy to access files anywhere. Dropbox eliminates the need for me to carry around a thumb drive. I can update a file on my office computer, laptop, iPhone, and iPad simultaneously. It syncs perfectly; my files are always there for me, and it saves me a ton of time.
What’s the greatest thing about API Domain Investments?
This business is insanely profitable. We are at the forefront of the Internet. I believe investing in domain names is just as valuable as investing in the right land back in the ‘50s. If you purchased it at the right time for the right price, today, they are worth a ton.
We are still in the infancy stages, and most people don’t realize it. Domain names represent one of the single most powerful investment vehicles of the last 100 years. Our company turns domain names into living, breathing online companies.
For the entrepreneurs out there who want to learn about Domain Investing, how can they get involved?
I have actually been working on a course called “How to Turn a $10 Domain Name into Over $3,000 in Profit within 14 Days.” This will be geared toward entrepreneurs who are looking for a new business opportunity that’s simple to start and quick to generate income. This project is currently undergoing development, but please reach out to me if you have an urgent need concerning domain names.
Where can our readers reach out to you?
Readers can reach out to me via my personal website.
If you are a business seeking a top-level domain name, or if you have any domain name business-related questions, please get in touch with me. We are able to help VCs, startups, and established companies find the perfect domain name. We are open to all opportunities. Check out our website for more information about what I do and love.