Challenge: Look at your pile of domains. Now throw them out.

Great news! You can listen to the “podcast” of this post in glorious… decent sound quality.

This post might make me sound like the Marie Kondo of web developers, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Guys, we need to stop stockpiling domain names for “fantastic ideas” that instead end up as yearly reminders on our credit card bills that we had this idea once which we never did something with.

Five years ago, I decided that I was spending way too much money on domain names. I decided to keep track of them and designed an Excel sheet. At the time I was holding 111 domains which cost more than 1100 euros a year (or 1210 dollars) which was and still is a lot of money.

What was I doing with so many domain names? Nothing. I just owned them.

Okay, I didn’t just buy them for fun. I was convinced that I had a bunch of great ideas which would all result to fantastic websites and projects, and some of them would certainly make more money than all of those domains cost combined.

However, that was not what was happening, so something had to change.

When I updated my list later that year, I had bought four additional domains. Didn’t see that coming, did ya?

At the time, it was a “badge of honor” amonst web types to have a throve of domain names. “Look at how creative I am! I’ve got so many amazing ideas and no time, if only I wasn’t held back by boring things such as my job!”

However, my financial anxiety finally did something positive for me and won the battle against my AD(H)D like mind that had another idea that I had to follow every single week. I listed up the domains, and started axing them.

Two years later, at the end of 2016 I had gotten rid of half of my domains, reducing my bill to a manageable €500.

During the three years that followed I mostly stayed on top of things, “only” adding a domain here or there (or so I thought, while adding 25 domain names back to the pile). Things finally got out of hand again in 2019. My job related anxiety peaked and I started stockpiling domains again. I was on a mission to find an idea that “worked” and that would generate enough money so I could quit my day job. I wasn’t wasting money, I was investing. One idea would turn into an amazing project and the money spent on domains would be peanuts.

Of course that didn’t happen, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing blog posts urging everyone to get rid of the domain names they don’t need. Turns out, finding another job was far more effective than playing wannabe entrepreneur to reduce all job related anxiety. Anyway…

I could have known the “One Big Idea” theory was BS and that I was just wasting money on projects I would never work on. In the past six years or so, I have only ever used a hand full of the domain names I owned. I want to say I have used maybe 10 at the same time at most, but that might be too much and I wouild be ignoring the fact that a domain name attached to an empty blog doesn’t mean it’s really “used” so much as “being parked like a project car on the lawn of an empty project house”.

Being honest with myself, the reality was and is that I am not a great multitasker. I can do one or two projects in my free time, at best. On top of that, I don’t really enjoy building websites in my free time. I would rather be doing something “creative” like writing blog posts or creating videos. Or do something that’s actually relaxing like watching a movie or play a game.

As the title indicates, however, this post isn’t just about my poor relationship with spending money on domain names. It’s also a reminder for you to check on your pile of domain names.

So, how about you?

How many domain names have you been sitting on that you never used? Most of the people that follow this blog build websites in some shape or form, so for some of you the answer might be “a lot”. But even if you don’t think you own “that much” domains, this thought exercise is for you.

Go take a look at the domains you own, and do the simple math: Domains owned x Renewal Fees = ???

Domains add up fast. It might be “only” ten dollars for a domain name. But ten dollars for a domain name you aren’t using is ten dollars wasted. Try putting things in perspective.

  • When you cancel three domain names, you could go to the movies.
  • Cancel ten of them and you could get yourself or someone you love or like a really nice gift.
  • Cancel twenty of them and you’ve saved a big chunk of money towards that gadget or item you’ve been saving money for.

Personally I have scrapped twenty domains since I started paying attention again. In total I must have let over a hundred domains expire over my “career” as an “investor” in “Premium Domain names”. Thinking back, I can only remember a few of the domain names I have let go of because they were “special”. They just weren’t useful anymore. So much for perfect and unforgettable brand names, huh?

I don’t want to boast, but because I’ve been cancelling these domains I wrote the draft of this blog post using a €60 fountain pen. What?! €60 for a pen?

No. €60 for 6 to call yourself the owner of non-physical goods, now that’s a waste of money.

Do yourself a favor. If you are sitting on domain names you are not using, stop burning cash, cancel the ones you never used and spend the money on something nice instead. You would be surprised how soon you’ll forget about that “great” domain once it stops appearing on your credit card bill.

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