|Another week, another idea!
This week’s idea is a riff of Steve Procter’s Domain Club idea he shared as a reply to this post on Indie Hackers this week.
I own a lot of domains. Most of them are impulse purchases. I come up with an idea, I think of a cool name for it, I find a domain, and if it’s a cool one I have an urge to buy it. Sometimes I resist it, but most of the time I fail.
Unfortunately, most of these domains end up sitting on my virtual shelf. Each year, when the time comes to renew them I have an internal debate if I should or should not pay more for them. I lie to myself, that I’ll do something with it and I renew it.
I’ve tried to sell some of these domains but all the websites I’ve come across are selling domains for thousands of dollars. Some get sold, but the majority just keep sitting there creating no value whatsoever.
This led me to a question: how can I create value with my shelved domains? Here’s the answer I came up with.
An online club where people can bid on domains. But there’s a twist - you bid with ideas, not with money. The community votes on your idea. The person with the most votes gets to buy the domain. There’s a cap on the price, so people can actually buy them.
🐣 Idea genesis
Creating value with shelved domains
I like domains because they are a nexus for an idea. When I share them with people, they are almost like a riddle. Noob.so - hmm what could that be? Cleanup.social, Pseudo.so - if you’re like me, your wheels are spinning with ideas.
Why not encourage a community to brainstorm over a domain name. The domain becomes an anchor for the conversation and the community can go wild with what they’d build with it.
If you can tie this to the actual ability to buy the domain, I think you have a fun game people can play and get motivated to start a new business.
- People have lots of shelved domains from impulse purchases. These domains sit there and are of no use to anybody.
- People want inspiration for their next venture (it’s the reason you are signed up for this newsletter).
- There is a big community of people that hone their ideation skills by brainstorming in public. I’ve had multiple encounters with you - my readers on Twitter just riffing off each other’s ideas.
- Domains are a great nexus for ideas.
💵 Possible Monetization Streams
- A marketplace that lets people list their shelved domains and sell them to people that want to build something with them.
- People bid on listed domains by submitting an idea, the community votes on the best idea.
- The winner of the most votes gets to buy the domain.
- Domains have a cap on their price so sums don’t get prohibitive for people to buy.
- The cap should be calculated by a formula taking into the account purchase price and maybe years of ownership.
👍 What are the benefits?
- Revenue share with the seller.
- Paid community.
🤑 Are people currently spending money on this?
- You can sell your shelved domains with a purpose.
- You can buy domains and get an initial idea validation from the community.
- You can just lurk and get inspired.
✅ What do I need to validate?
- People are spending money on ideas (paid newsletters, idea databases, etc).
- People are buying domains.
🧰 How I'd validate?
- Are people willing to list their shelved domains for a capped price?
- Are people willing to bid with ideas?
🤔 How will I get first 10 customers?
- Build a prototype using no-code tools:
- You’ll need a domain submit form (Google Form).
- You’ll need a website to list the domains & let registered people submit ideas and upvote. Here’s a guide on how to do that with Webflow.
- A checkout page to purchase the domain (this can be done manually with Gumroad, to begin with).
- You can automate this by building a full solution using Webflow, Jetboost, and Memberstack. Nocode.mba has a great course on this here.
📈 Will it be sustainable?
- Directly reach out to people that are active makers (find them on Indie Hackers, Twitter). They are very likely to have shelved domains. Ask them if they’d be interested in doing a sale in your club.
- Pitch this idea on Indie Hackers and Twitter, get people to sign up pre-launch to gauge interest.
- Be active and valuable in the usual indie maker communities (Indie Hackers, r/startupideas, Twitter...).
👉 Am I the person to build this business?
- This is both a marketplace and a community play - it’s kind of like Product Hunt meets eBay. You’ll need to work hard on both aspects.
- The good news is that a thriving community will generate demand.
- It’s also likely that people that are there to buy will later be there to sell (and vice-versa).
- You can tie in a lot of cool things on top of this:
- A weekly newsletter with top ideas.
- An active community for people to post updates on what they did with the purchased domain.
- A podcast to talk with people that bought a domain and are successful with it.
- Bundle this into a paid community for extra income etc.
- If you like coming up with ideas.
- If you are willing to put in the work to find sellers and purchasers (the latter will be more difficult because of fewer incentives).
- If you have some experience or are willing to learn quickly about building and maintaining online communities (here’s a good podcast on why it’s not as easy as it sounds).