Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Domain Collecting

Might Be Called Hoarding…

By nature, I am a collector.

Actually, by nature, I am a picker. I buy things to resell and have a wonderful time in the search. Finding something for a buck and selling it for a hundred has a real thrill attached.

I actually collect and hold very few things. I sort of collect marbles (although we sell many) and very old paperback books. Old meaning the first 500 or so of each publisher back in the late 1930s up through 1960. That’s it.

Everything else I buy to resell.

Except for one small exception: Domains.

Now I don’t go out and try to grab domains that are logical to try to resell. I only get domains that have something to do with some business or writing idea one of us has. Plus pen names, series names, and on and on.

In fact, before any idea is spent any time on at all at WMG, I grab the domain to make sure it is available.

Seems logical, right? Just good business in this modern world.

Until this habit goes on for a decade or more.

Just yesterday, for a possible future project, I grabbed three more domains and that was when I noticed how many I was paying for every year. Shocked.

Stunned would be more like it.

This domain stuff is the opposite of picking. I get a domain and then keep paying for it over and over, year-after-year. No thought of ever selling it. Yikes.

So I decided to try to thin some of them out.


Couldn’t thin a one. All were attached to ideas, names, and so on.

All might be used at some point.

And I heard myself think that and I realized for the first time I had just experienced a hoarder mentality. “It might be used at some point.”

Now I have a lot of stuff, sure. Two full stores full of stuff, plus a couple of warehouse areas. But it is all for sale or will be. (Except the paperbacks, digests, and marbles and maybe even them in short order.)

So this hoarder mentality shocked me. I went back and still couldn’t get rid of any of the domains I am paying for. They all seem logical to keep and might be worth something to us in a business project at some point.

So I wonder if I am the only one out there that does this?

Put your hoarding in a range. Only count domains you pay for year-after-year. You don’t have to say anything unless you want. Be happy if you don’t have a problem with this. You are saving a ton of money every year.

Stage One: 1-10 domains.
Stage Two: 11-25 domains
Stage Three: 26-50 domains
Stage Four: 51-100 domains
Stage Five: Over 100 domains.

Sadly, I am Stage Five. I think I need to go to meetings because I clearly have a hoarding problem.

Sort of snuck up on me.



  • Harvey

    Nailed it. I have domains for “big” characters as well as for personas and pseudonyms I might use or have used but hardly use anymore, as well as a few for business names. But I’m only at the tipping point of Stage 2/3.

    But I don’t attach a label to it. That’s for others to decide. I’m just having fun. I feel “safer” owning those domains, so I do.

    I just went looking for another one yesterday. Didn’t think it would be available, and it wasn’t. It wouldn’t make money for me, so I didn’t bother checking on who owned it, but I have a feeling it’s you. (grin)

    • dwsmith

      Yup, low cost per domain, automatic renewal, can’t get them back. Low cost per adds up though. Luckily the renewals are spread out over the entire year so I don’t really notice it adding up.

  • Lassal

    Stage 5 as well …
    Yeah … lot’s of money.

    But I like to brand and interlink my projects
    And most of them are in more than one language.
    Adds up quickly.

    Site maintenance is becoming a pain, though.

    • dwsmith

      Really does, doesn’t it. I was stunned that I couldn’t pull them down in numbers. So many good ideas, so few hours. (grin)

      And I don’t even want to think about what you are dealing with in more than one language. We are headed there as well.

  • J.M. Ney-Grimm

    Goodness! I’d never thought about this as a potential problem, but I can see that it might be. Hoarding for the 21st century: all sorts of digital hoarding. Not just domains, but all the free ebooks on ereaders that no one ever reads or has any real intention of reading, all the old files on your computer that have truly become obsolete (like old travel lists, old recipes, etc.) with the passage of years, all the abandoned blogs, all the old MP3 players that are so small no one ever bothers to root them out of the corners where they lie and get rid of them, and so on.

    Regarding domains, I have only two (my author site and my publisher site), and they are both active. I find it onerous enough maintaining them that the idea of setting up another site for a possible future project gives me the willies. Noooooooo! 😉

    Also, all of the future projects that I currently envision would fit nicely on one of my two existing sites. No doubt I could envision projects that don’t, but I already have enough future projects to fill the next 50 years, so I’m not trying to stretch in this direction. 😉

  • Teri Babcock

    I feel you on this one, Dean. I am stage 1, and that is because I was fierce about dropping domains and only buying .com or .ca, nor both. (And no .org, .net).
    These are all for my day job with the exception of my future publishing company, and have keywords of competitive importance.
    I have story ideas that I\’ve thought about buying domains for, but made myself not buy them, so that I\’m not \’hooked\’ into paying for domains every year that I might not use, ever. If I was writing a lot and establishing myself/already established as a pro, I\’d be buying them though. Freaks me out a little, to think about. Every book, series, pen name…

    And thank you to all the people who responded to my short story challenge question a few days ago. I really enjoyed hearing about your success!

  • Steven Davis

    Over the past 2 years i got serious about thinning out my domains. I think I peaked at over 50 and I’m down to the low 20s. And I keep thinking them down as they expire.

    They’re too cheap and easy.

    Like ideas, they’re cheap.

    Focus on trademarks. If you’re not willing to spend for the trademark now, then the domain probably isn’t worth anything.

    If you have the trademark, you probably will be able to go after the domain if it is just parked.

    Just like other things in your magic bakery, trademarks are real property, domains just smell nice 😉

  • allynh


    Here’s an odd question you should ask.

    – If you could not write off stuff on your taxes, would you be spending the money.

    In other words, are you buying stuff like domains simply because you can write off the expense. If that is all you are doing, find a better return for your dollar. HA!

  • Leah Cutter

    I am on Stage 2, with 12 domains. However, 7 of those 12 domains are in active use, that is, they’re pen names, publishing companies, workshop site, the vacation rental, etc. The other other 5 are just sitting, primarily pen names that I keep think I’ll publish something under and haven’t (yet). However, I know the temptation to go out and just get that other domain name because I might do something with it. Or we might use it down the road…

  • Joe Cron

    Still a Stage One, but just barely. But the funny thing is that reading this got me thinking, and I ran over to my host site and bought two more!

  • Danielle

    I’m actually in the market for domain names right now; can anyone recommend “a low-cost registrar with decent policies” so I can grab a few?

  • Grace Bridges

    I thought my five were bad! Three are the same with different suffixes. One is stagnant but was once very active and hey, may be again! Other than that, I figure most folks discover stuff on social media rather than via the sites themselves. Snapshot of my current browser tabs: 6 blogs, 6 social, 1 mail, 1 feed reader. Yeah, it’s a slow day online (but a good day for work!). So if discovery is via social media…I’m happy to house my content – be it ever so varied – on subdirectories of existing domains.

  • J. D. Brink

    Wow. I’m the opposite! I only have two domains–one author/blog site, one “publisher” site–and have been wondering just how necessary the publisher really is. Is anyone actually looking that up, or is it just a waste of time and money to occasionally update?
    I can see the benefit of having a series website of its own, I suppose, but… Maybe it’s just that I’m so anti-tech that I don’t see the attraction. To me, they’re a lot of maintenance that hardly anyone has taken notice of. More irons in the fire I sometimes feel could do without…

  • Thomas Sewell

    Stage 3, with about 40, but I actually initiated an effort to get rid of about 5 of those a month ago, but convincing the person who should own them he needs to transfer them off my hands.

    Now I just need to steal the time to get my server back up and running to make them more useful again. Maybe in a couple of months after this challenge and my trip around the world.

  • Kate Pavelle

    Stage 1 here (4 domains), and plan to get another. I never wanted to set up domains for my characters. However, my FaceBook is cluttered with imaginary people pages (because it’s free,) and I had fun posting stuff as Attila or Kai or Blue Heron Acres for a while. Then I realized it takes time and maintenance, and now FB is after me with notifications (how many people liked a page, that I really should post again, how many followers are disappointed that I’m not posting.) It’s free, but it’s also a WIBBOW issue. I might set up a closed fan group for my series, if it takes off, where people can chat about the plot and discuss spoilers, but… ugh. If somebody steps up and volunteers to do it, great! I’ll sprinkle holy water and make an occasional appearance, and count myself lucky to have readers to begin with.