Domainer Show – Episode 20 with Luke Smorgon

Luke Smorgon started Transpire in 2009. In 2017 he won a multi-million dollar contract from the Department of Veteran Affairs. In 2018 he made the Australian Financial Review’s Fast 100 and Deloitte Technology’s Fast 50 award.

In May 2020, Luke sold Fleet.com.au for $12,000 and Link.com.au for $66,000. Watch the show to see exactly how he did it.

Robert runs Registry Australia and DBR.com.au
Ed runs OnlineImpact.com.au

16 thoughts on “Domainer Show – Episode 20 with Luke Smorgon

  • Luke Summers
    June 11, 2020 at 7:50 am
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    Luke has a keen eye for quality and he’s built a great portfolio of domains. His quality over quantity approach is one that more domain investors should take.

    Congrats again on your recent sales Luke and thanks for sharing behind the scenes info on these deals.

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    • Avatar
      June 11, 2020 at 9:44 am
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      Thanks Luke! Glad to try and help build the awareness of the industry, the value of premium domain names to businesses, and the mechanics of doing good deals that benefit both buyers and sellers of domains.

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      • Avatar
        June 13, 2020 at 9:17 am
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        A great watch! Link was a good quick flip

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  • Avatar
    June 12, 2020 at 9:46 am
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    Good interview.

    Luke I disagree with your approach and rationale with Fleet.com.au. If developed, the novated leasing leads (for fleet) would’ve been worth $200 per lead. Rather than relying on SEO, a well-executed Adwords campaign and converting site would be all that is needed to easily arbitrage SEM traffic. I think you gave away the domain, especially since you had the capabilities to make development happen.

    Lack of interest in the present does not mean lack of interest in the future. New entrants and competitors every month and every year keep demand for generic domain names strong, and because most people hang on to generic domain names even if and when the venture is not successful or discontinued, supply is tightening at an exponential rate while demand is growing at an exponential rate.

    Supply tightening exponentially.
    Demand growing exponentially.

    This is not made up, this is the state of the .com.au market.

    It is akin to the market for land in metropolitan cities over a 100-year plane. It is also akin to Bitcoin, where supply is tightening and demand is growing with generational change.

    I give you full marks for getting into domain name investment. But 1,000% ROI does not interest me personally or other Australian .com.au investors I know.

    It’s like saying one should flog off the vacant block of land that has been passed down from grandparents (who bought on the cheap) at less than market value simply because there are no keen buyers for that particular block right now.

    Your cost was $1,200. If the market value is 4,000% or 5,000% eg. $48k or $60k then selling at 1,000% ROI is still a loss of opportunity.

    Holding costs (renewal fees) are paltry, and you were already in the money when you bought.

    Just a few thoughts. More than anything thank you for sharing your successes, I wish others did too.

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    • Avatar
      June 12, 2020 at 3:40 pm
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      It all depends on what you paid. 1000% gain is superb if your investment was $100k. But if your investment was $100 then it’s crap.

      True story: I offered a keyword generic .com.au to a business for a 4300% gain 2 years after hand-registering it. They said no. A few years later that same business bought it for 30400% gain from me. Outbound again.

      People change their minds all the time. Sometimes it just comes down to who you are dealing with or whether the industry is doing well or not or whether that business is doing well or not.

      Premium is premium. Good domain names are not going down in value. What you don’t sell today you will always sell tomorrow and for much more.

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      • Avatar
        June 13, 2020 at 7:50 am
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        Hey Luke just cause Link Market Services said no this time doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have come back to you in the future. Corporates are like brontosaurus, they take a while to turn around.

        Corporates don’t do unplanned capital expenditure of 6 figures without a board meeting or 2.

        You said you bought it for a project anyhow?? I would’ve kept it

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    • Avatar
      June 13, 2020 at 8:21 am
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      Hi David, I appreciate the feedback and am glad you enjoyed the interview.

      Certainly I agree many domains have higher theoretical value if significant investment of time and capital is put into developing them into lead generating sites.

      With a larger portfolio of names and this not being my primary business interest, this becomes harder to scale, so I am content with building out just a few selective projects and selling other domains for just their ‘land value’ rather than their developed potential value.

      There’s a trap we often fall into as well which is over-valuing our own assets and thus never selling any, yet we don’t have the time to develop them all.
      So I am happy to realise monetary value along the way with a high ROI for some domain names and still have plenty of others to develop, use for future projects and of course the select few that I too will always romanticise about being worth 6-7 figures if I just keep hanging on to 🙂
      Cheers, Luke

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      • Avatar
        June 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm
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        Fair enough. Each to their own mate. You must have some other very good ones.

        The difficulty I think you will have is being able to replace Link.com.au with others. There just aren’t that many good domain names going to auction any more, and end users are beginning to get in on the action. eg. Sleep.com.au.

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    • Avatar
      June 13, 2020 at 8:39 am
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      I get the supply / demand part, but other than that I don’t think domains are like bitcoin. There are many bitcoins, bitcoin is a commodity.

      But for someone wanting the perfect domain name to match their existing brand or a new brand they have settled on, there is generally only one option.

      Each individual domain name is it’s own market.

      What one domainer chooses to sell one unique domain name for (and announce to the market) has only a limited bearing on what another domainer might choose to sell his or her unique domain name for. Or even what that first domainer might choose to sell a second unique domain name for.

      There is no substitute for the perfect domain name, because each domain name is unique and a market unto itself.

      This is how and why some .com.au domain names sell for very large sums – when the seller keeps saying no to lesser amounts.

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  • Avatar
    June 12, 2020 at 11:15 am
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    Interesting interview! I’ve got some good domain names but I don’t want to sell them. I agree with Rob, it’s good to have a portfolio of domain names you can choose from when a project comes up.

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  • Avatar
    June 13, 2020 at 11:31 am
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    Someone should add Law.com.au $50,000 to the list on Domainer

    Who is winning more on the expired auctions these days? Is it a Netfleet or Drop? What %??

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    • Avatar
      June 13, 2020 at 3:02 pm
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      I think Drop but if you don’t bid on both you run the risk of not getting the name you want.

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  • Avatar
    June 13, 2020 at 4:02 pm
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    Hey rob I think you said something about the conversion rate with having a keyword .com.au over a brand domain?

    The CarLoans.com.au article done by SmartCompany a few years back goes into it

    https://www.smartcompany.com.au/technology/online/from-beep-to-carloans-how-a-domain-name-change-resulted-in-a-40-million-turnover-boost/

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  • Avatar
    June 16, 2020 at 3:04 pm
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    Well done Luke and a great interview. I think we all make the mistake of falling into the value trap at some stage.

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  • Avatar
    June 17, 2020 at 5:25 pm
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    Link.com.au – $66,000 L.Smorgon
    Sumo.com.au – $63,250 DBR
    Urban.com.au – $59,820 DBR
    Fleet.com.au – $12,000 L.Smorgon
    Finder.com.au – $55,000 Private
    Bega.com.au – $50,000 Private

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