How Kevin Bacon & Six Degrees Helped Kick Off My Domain BusinessPosted: October 4, 2011
The interesting thing about the domain business is that it’s such a new business that almost no one actually in it aspired to be in it. When I was little, domain names didn’t exist, so I couldn’t dream of making a living with domains. Most people never even realize that there is a domain industry to begin with!
That said, my past was aligned in such a way that domains may have been inevitable for me. Unlike many people my age, I’ve been on computers since I was a kid, back when owning a computer was a luxury. I still remember 8 inch floppy disks and playing the text-only game named simply “Football”. By the time the internet arrived, I was already hooked on computers and the internet was merely an extension of that fixation.
I had become aware of domain names around the late 90s and had registered a couple domains for personal websites through my parents at the time as I was only 16. Over the next 4-5 years, news stories like Business.com selling for millions of dollars caught my attention and I started looking closer at domains as a potential income source. In early 2004, as I went from college to my first day job in a real estate appraisal firm, I also started my new hobby of collecting and reselling domains.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have read more about domains and talked to more knowledgable domain resellers before diving in. Like most people starting in domains, I felt I knew what domains were worth and what would sell. After 9 months and a couple thousand dollars invested, I had no sales under my belt. Needless to say, I was getting antsy and starting to second-guess this fun but difficult hobby.
Suddenly, in the course of a week I managed to make 2 sales. The first sale, Ringtone.cc for $550 on Afternic, gave a little bit of relief although I was still in the red. The second sale would essentially change my life forever, and for that I have a major Hollywood actor to thank – Kevin Bacon.
SixDegrees.org sold for $2,000 on Sedo and a couple years later a charity was launched on it led by none other than Kevin Bacon! I had actually been considering letting the domain expire when renewal time came around as I wasn’t sure it could sell. I took that sale money and reinvested into what started to become my new business, and never looked back.
Fast forward to 2007 and my hobby had turned into my biggest source of income, dwarfing my day job income at the time (after two promotions even!). No one ever told me how to leave a job though and I still felt that sense of loyalty and obligation to stay and continue working. Between school and that job, I had 21 years of “go here and do XYZ for this person” embedded in my head. It would take a major spark to prompt me to take the leap and go into domains full-time.
That spark came in August 2007, when I made the record $60,000 sale of Poker.in in the Domain Roundtable live auction (still the highest public .in sale on record). The profit from that sale was more than 2 years of after-tax pay at my day job, which translates into more than 4,000 hours of work and 800 hours of commute. How could I justify working 40 hours a week and enduring about 8 hours of commute per week for someone else after that? So I finally gave my notice to quit. It was still extremely tough to do, but once I left, I was living day 1 of a new life.
The immediate freedom I felt after that is a joy impossible to express in words. Based on my experiences, I encourage you to follow your passions and find a way to make a career out of it. Whether it’s domain names or something else, if you have drive and ability, you can do what you truly love to do for a living and experience the same kind of freedom.