It’s 2023, and domain flipping is alive and well. Similar to any other vibrant industry, top domain flipping experts are still making a solid chunk of change. Some, even millions of dollars. The domain investing industry has been around for a couple of decades, but you don’t have to buy and sell domain names for that long to stumble on the same few names. There are plenty of similar who’s who articles out there, but since I interviewed some of these domain flippers, I figured I might as well write this list.
I do have to say that I don’t think the industry is at a crossroads of sorts. It does seem like “business as usual,” unlike back in 2015/2016 when new gTLDs were being introduced, and I asked these same domain experts what they thought was going to happen. I know I am biased, but with 11 domainers sharing great advice and predicting the future, I thought at the time it was a great article primarily because they were the ones doing the writing.
Starting a “best domainers” list is not an envious task. It might anger some people. If you think someone else deserves to be on this list, please let me know, and I will consider it. I take responsibility, and it’s probably because I haven’t done my work well instead of that person not being a great domainer.
Domain investor semantics
Semantics will get the best of me here. Domain flippers, domainers, domain name traders, domain investors, how do we call these people? These people and companies are buying and selling domain names for fun and profit. The best of them do it for a large profit. So you can call them any of these names. I’ll probably go back and forth, shuffling through these titles mostly because of SEO. Because of that, whichever name I use, be sure it’s the same domain expert.
Now that we got that out of the way, we can start the top 7 domain flipping experts list. I’ll first list the ones I’ve already interviewed, and then I’ll supplement the list with some of the experts I know directly (but haven’t interviewed), and then I’ll end the list with domain investors I saw online were making waves, but I don’t personally know them.
1. Frank Schilling
Mr. Schilling has done well, and even people outside of the domain name industry have heard of him. Born in Germany and living in the Cayman Islands, you wouldn’t imagine him staying indoors registering domain names (back then, you could hand-register them) left and right. So much so that it was speculated his company has several million domain names. Over the years, this number changed because some domain names were sold, and some were let go.
Around 2015 Frank Schilling was busy building Uniregistry, which was the second time I caught up with him for a short interview. We talked about his plans and his thoughts on where the industry is heading. Uniregistry was a major player (like Paul Stahura’s Donuts) in the new gTLD rollout, creating dozens of new domain extensions. Uniregistry had .hosting, .link, .help, .game, .photo, and about 20 others. The reason why I wrote had instead of has, is because Frank Schilling sold Uniregistry to GoDaddy. Uniregistry was holding 350.000 domain names at the time.
In short, Frank Schilling started his domain investing career by buying and selling domain names. Fulfilling his career dream of starting a domain registry and holding new domain extensions. Selling everything to GoDaddy in order to pursue new business ventures. And perhaps, riding off into the proverbial Cayman Islands sunset.
2. Rick Schwartz
I interviewed Mr. Schwartz back in 2012 when he shared 10 simple (and by simple, it doesn’t mean easy) how to get to your first million dollars as a domain investor. Speaking of which, Rick Schwartz may be one of the first few domainers that got to the first million dollars by buying and selling domain names. Even after two decades, Rick Schwartz is still going strong with his domain-flipping business. Buying and selling some domain names. Domain names like teamwork.com
Yes, Rick Schwartz bought porno.com for $42,000 in 1997 and sold it in 2015 for $8.88 million. But, as you can see from the video above, Rick Schwartz sold teamwork.com for $625.000 and put the company on a growth trajectory they hadn’t experienced until they launched this new domain name.
Domain flipping is just a simple game. You buy a domain name for 3-4 figures. Sell it for 5-6 figures. Then reinvest a large part of your profits into better domain names, rinse, and repeat. If you need a reminder on this process, read the Rick Schwartz interview again.
This has nothing to do with the fact there were more opportunities in the 90s. Yes, there were more domain names that were available for registration, but people thought you were insane if you bought a domain name for six figures. Almost no one knew what a domain name was. A simple whois check will confirm that large corporations haven’t registered their domain names until well into the nineties.
- pepsi.com in January 1993.
- mcdonalds.com was registered in July 1994. (founded in 1955)
- coca-cola.com in October 1994
- gucci.com in June 1996 (Fashion company founded in 1921)
3. Mike Mann
Mike Mann got on my radar when he registered 14,962 domains in 24 hours. It was 2012, and I began my venture in the domain flipping arena. I reached out to Mike Mann for a short interview only to learn that the 14,962 he had just registered was the tip of the iceberg. He knew he was onto something when in 1998, he bought a domain name for $70 only to get an offer of $25.000. Back then, registering a domain name was more expensive. So again, if you thought the pioneers had it easy, think again. Holding just 100 domain names back then would run you $7000 per year.
Goran Duskic: How and why you got into domaining industry?
Mike Mann: Sold menus.com for 25K and decided it was a good idea to invest more.
It’s 2023, so we can assume that Mike Mann has been buying and selling domain names for more than 25 years. That’s a heck of an experience, and we can see by his recent sales reports that he is still cashing it in! On his Twitter account, he often posts recent sales, such as:
- April 26, 2023 – majoris.com for $130,000
- May 22, 2023 – NewLifeWellness.com $39,000
- May 23, 2023 – ClosDuMarquis.com for $29,888.
Konstantinos Zournas keeps a good track of Mike Mann’s domain portfolio. So if you want to see most of Mike Mann’s recent sales, or if you want to be among the first people who learn when Mike Mann drops (doesn’t renew) 50,000 domain names, then Onlinedomain.com is a good place to start. Mike Mann sells 8 domain names for $143,856.
I asked ChatGPT who are top domain flipping experts
Making a turn with my “Top domain flipping experts” list
Realizing my list wasn’t that much better than ChatGPTs, I decided to make a change to my list. I was thinking about who I was going to put next on my list. Rob Grant, Michael Bernkens, or Kevin Ham and Yun Ye, as the Artificial intelligence so eloquently listed them. Braden Pollock is another top domain-flipping expert. Do I include him on the list or his company Legal Brand Marketing?
I decided to go after the proof. Who is successfully flipping domain names today? For example, what are the top domain sales for May 2023? That’s right, Mike Mann’s DomainMarket is there, and we have Sedo. Well, if Mike Mann is working with a company (DomainMarket), why not list companies as well?
Why did I decide to list Sedo? Well, they sell domain names on the aftermarket. If you list the top 100 sales of the entire 2022, you will see that a lot of these domain names were sold on Sedo. On this page, you can see 3 different Top 100 lists.
- Top 100 .com domain names sales
- Top 100 non-com domain name sales
- Top 100 ccTLD domain name sales
On all three lists, Sedo has the most domain name sales. How do we not include Sedo as a top domain-flipping expert? They were founded back on February 12, 2001, and they are still making waves in the domain name industry. Another reason why Sedo deserves to be on this list is that they help domain investors sell their domain names! And they have been doing this for more than two decades! You don’t have to be a top domain flipping expert in order to sell a domain name. List in on Sedo, and offers are coming in, as long as your domain name is a good one.
Here are some great domain name sales from Sedo, not from 30 years ago during the hay day of the nineties, but from the last year – 2022.
- Call.com sold for $1,600,000 on Sedo on 8/17/22
- GCP.com sold for $550,000 on Sedo on 3/30/22
- Termin.de (“meeting” in German) sold for €150,000 = $159,000 on Sedo on 4/27/22
- EV.fr sold for €120,000 = $128,400 on Sedo on 12/14/22
- Auto.ae sold for $101,000 on Sedo on 6/22/22
- Proton.org sold for $125,000 on Sedo on 3/30/22
- Best.casino sold for $60,000 on Sedo on 2/16/22
5. Legal Brand Marketing and Braden Pollock
I already mentioned Braden Pollock, and it’s time we mentioned Legal Brand Marketing. If you look at the list of the top 100 sales of the entire 2022 I just shared, you are going to see Legal Brand Marketing pop up with more than a few reported sales. If you are dabbling in domain flipping, you are also going to see Legal Brand Marketing buying domain names, both in the aftermarket and auctions. Braden Pollock founded Legal Brand Marketing, LLC back in Jan 2004, and last year (2022), they made some great sales.
- Z.org sold for $257,000 by Legal Brand Marketing on 1/19/22
- Elmer.com sold for $125,000 by LegalBrandMarketing on 4/11/22
- Laura.com sold for $250,000 by LegalBrandMarketing on 8/17/22
Braden Pollock has been buying and selling domain names since the early 2000s and is undoubtedly one of the top experts when it comes to flipping domain names.
6. Media Options and Andrew Rosener
Similar to Braden Pollock and Legal Brand Marketing, I could also include Andrew Rosener and / or his company Media Options. Back in February 2nd, 2023, they sold galaxy.com for $1,761,000. Here’s the cool thing about Andrew Rosener. When someone buys a domain name like galaxy.com, the money isn’t funded directly into a bank account. It’s transferred to an escrow account. Once the domain name is transferred, the money is sent. In most cases, that service is provided by Escrow.com.
So Escrow.com is dealing with a lot of domain investors, and each year they list The Masters of Domains. These are the ten highest-grossing individual brokers of the preceding year. They receive a trophy and prize at the domaining industry’s premier event NamesCon. Guess who was at the top of this list the last 4 years in a row? That’s right, Andrew Rosener won in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Who do we list next? Since I mentioned Sedo, I could list another service, such as Bodis.com (founded in 2007 by Matt Wegryzn helps with domain monetization). We could also mention DomainSherpa founder – Michael Cyger, who helped make new domain investors with his project DNAcademy. Or I could list the company that acquired DNAcademy. GoDaddy! Because of their large domain portfolio, auctions, and, well pretty much everything, including being the largest domain registrar.
I know some of you are going to hate me for including GoDaddy on this list, but here are my facts.
1. GoDaddy is the largest domain name registrar by far.
3. They made record-breaking domain portfolio acquisitions
How do I not include GoDaddy on this list? Remember how AI mentioned Kevin Ham is a top 5 domain investor? Well, GoDaddy bought Kevin Ham’s domain portfolio. I mentioned Frank Schilling is a top domain expert, well, GoDaddy bought his domain portfolio and his domain registrar business – Uniregistry. GoDaddy even has a domain broker service. With over 100 domain brokers, 84+ million domains under management, and partnerships with the leading domain registrars. I just had to include GoDaddy. If there’s anyone on this planet who is flipping domain names, it’s GoDaddy.
Notable mentions – also top domain flipping experts
As you can see throughout this article, I’ve been name-dropping some notable mentions. Just in case you want to pursue that rabbit hole and find an interview with that particular professional. The thing is, most of these people have done some form of an interview where they share amazing advice! Even if you don’t resell a single domain name in your life, some of this advice is valuable for any domain name holder.
Zandi revealed that he had achieved around $20 million in facilitated domain name sales, but after working 20-hour days for almost six years, he says he “lost sight of everything that I was internally, mentally, spiritually, physically, etc.”. – Source
The publisher of DomainInvesting.com is Elliot Silver, an Internet entrepreneur whose company has bought and sold millions of dollars worth of domain names. Elliot’s blog is an incredible resource if you want to learn about domain flipping.
Anyone on the Escrow Master of Domains list
If you look at the names of people and companies on the Escrow Master of Domains, anyone there could easily make the list I created here. You have to sell a lot of domains to get on that list, and unlike some people I mentioned in this article, you would still have to buy and sell domain names recently and seriously.
Anyone listed on T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Although the T.R.A.F.F.I.C list is a bit dated (2004-2014), a decade is a pretty decent timeline. You will see plenty of the heavyweights (most I’ve already mentioned) but also Richard Lau, Rick Latona, Alan Dunn, Dave Evanson, and several others. You wouldn’t believe the domain names these people own, have owned, flipped, or brokered. The stories these people have are just as amazing as the one I’ve shared in the video above (Rick Schwartz selling teamwork.com).
Are you looking for an even longer list?
I just found a longer list of domainer millionaires consisting of 60 domain investors. The list is missing a few high-profile names, but it’s good enough to mention it here.
This concludes the list with top domain-flipping experts
Similar to my other articles, there’s a good chance I’ll update it over the years. Do you know a domainer who sold millions of dollars worth of domain names? Do you know someone who bought a domain name for pennies, only to resell it days later for thousands of dollars?
Featured image created with photo by Razvan Chisu.