An Interview with Neil McCarthy: Customer Service Professional Turned Domainer

Neil McCarthy is a customer service professional turned domainer who has made a promising career in the world of domain investing.

With over two decades of experience in customer service, he has built a portfolio of valuable domain names and helps businesses elevate their online presence.

In this interview, Neil shares his insights and strategies for success in the domain industry. Learn from his domain investment experience.

Domain Investor Neil McCarthy Interview

An Interview with Neil McCarthy at Start Your Online Journey!

You can follow Neil on Twitter. Here's a link to his Twitter profile:

An Interview with Neil McCarthy

1. How did you get started in the domain investing industry, and what inspired you to pursue this career path?

I had been a Carer for my late Father for 6 years and I found it difficult to get back into my former career in Insurance where I’d spent over 20 years working in Customer Services.

I thought that there must be a way to start a business online. I began with a pocketful of dreams, broadband and $200.

2. What criteria do you use to evaluate potential domain names for investment? How do you identify valuable domain opportunities?

The two things that I have plenty of are patience and time. I try to keep up to date with technology in general and especially emerging technologies.

The next big thing could be just around the corner and as I have always said, I only need to get lucky once.

This is true for everyone, but you must be prepared to pay the price by studying the markets and conducting your own research.

3. Can you share some of your most successful domain investments and the strategies that led to their success?

I spent many hours researching the potential for ‘Ai’ related domain names and I’m certain that I have a few that could go on to be adopted and used by technologists in this arena.

However, these are maybe for down the line, and they may take a few years to produce significant profits.

4. What challenges have you faced as a domain investor, and how have you overcome them?

I have always worked for large multi-million dollar companies, where technology was a major part of their day-to-day running but I am not from a technology background.

I specialized in Customer Service and I found that this was in a small way a disadvantage, but I had experience in other areas that was of benefit to me.

I have seen inside an insurance company from many different angles and I’d consider that I have a broad understanding of many different areas which can relate to being a Domain Name Investor.

5. How do you stay updated on industry trends and changes in the domain market?

To become a Domain Name Investor, one must also become an Analyst. This would be like someone who trades in stock and shares.

Before you pull the trigger there are many hours studying many different things. Reported sales, historic past sales.

Trends now and in the future. World events and current affairs. Technology and developments within the aftermarket for domain names.

6. What factors do you consider when determining the right time to sell a domain name in your portfolio?

Outbounding to potential end users can be somewhat time-consuming on a small to medium-sized portfolio, so I tend to take an almost passive approach and 90% of all my sales were inbound.

I had the courage to set prices for all my domains and this is something that takes time and effort to get right.

My philosophy was to be cheaper than the majority of domainers and I spend my time adjusting prices daily rather than by outbounding to potential end users.

This has allowed me to concentrate on improving the quality of my domain names. Don’t worry folks, I’m not finished yet LOL!!!

7. Can you provide examples of negotiations you've engaged in with buyers or sellers and the strategies you employed to achieve favorable outcomes?

My only successful outbounded sale was on Twitter. Someone posted that they were looking to buy 4 letter domains and as I only had one I put it forward and it was accepted and sold.

The transaction was so seamless and simple. I don’t know why more sales are not conducted in this way. And guess what? It was commission free for both parties.

8. How do you handle domain acquisitions and sales in a competitive market? What sets you apart from other domain investors?

99% of all my domain names are hand registered. This is the result of hours of research each day and is guided by the fact that I don’t have access to large sums of money to participate in auctions.

I’d say that by turning up every day, 7 days a week and putting in the time it gives me a slight edge as I’m literally and figuratively competing with every other person on the planet.

You snooze, you lose I guess LOL!!! Although, I do sleep even if the money never does.

9. How do you diversify your domain portfolio to manage risks effectively? What types of domains do you prefer to invest in (e.g., brandable, keyword-rich, geographic-based, etc.)?

Being an online Domain Name Investor sometimes doesn’t feel like I’m operating in the real world. It is as though it doesn’t really count.

My view is that if I didn’t spend the money on domains I’d spent it on something far less tangible and I’d end up with nothing to show for it. It is akin to gambling in a way, but if I were to put the money on a horse and the horse doesn’t win I’d lose the money.

With domains, I still have the digital asset and it is up to me which names stay and which ones go.

Never be afraid to just drop a domain that hasn’t sold and may not sell for the next year or two. With hand regs, I can use the money I would have spent on a renewal to replenish my portfolio.

It is hard to predict what will sell next so a fresh domain may in effect have a better chance of selling. I always try to ensure that the new name is better in quality than the one that is being dropped.

I’d say I take different risks online than I would in the real world and I’d say that I have domains which cover many different markets and niches and I’m happy now that I have the spread in the ratio that I believe has the most chance of long-term success.

10. As an experienced domain investor, what advice would you give to someone who is just starting in this field?

You will not have enough hours in the day to learn everything from scratch so just use the real-world skills that you already have and work out how that will assist you in becoming a Domain Name Investor.

If for example, you are a very organized person and you have good time management skills work out how these can help you to gain an edge.

Be prepared for many hours of doing ‘nothing’ to find that one rough diamond. You may see what others have missed and just like golf, the more you practice the luckier you will become.

11. How do you balance long-term investment strategies with short-term profit opportunities in your domain portfolio?

I have an exit strategy, and this is either when I have returned a sufficient level of profit to just quit or I fall out of love with being a Domain Name Investor and I start something else.

By nature, I don’t always have a full attention span and I’m working towards my portfolio becoming self-sufficient and completely passive in terms of the hours put into it. I have a vision and I will know when I get there.

12. In your opinion, how has the domain investing landscape changed over the years, and how do you adapt to these changes?

I had only been going for 2 years when the global pandemic happened, and I realized that the whole world would change after it, so I had to pivot, and I dropped many names and almost started again.

My circumstances did not change but everything else changed around me. Knowing that I had to change was down to other life experiences and it had nothing really to do with domains.

13. What are your thoughts on new domain extensions (gTLDs)? Do you invest in them, and if so, how do you assess their potential value?

Part of my pivot was to realize that anything other than dotcom was a hard sell and although there are examples of these domain names selling they perhaps need a different set of skills and/or knowledge so after the global pandemic I decided to go all in on dotcoms. I’m at about 98% now so I’m happy with the spread of domains.

14. How do you ensure the security and management of your domain portfolio? What measures do you take to protect your valuable assets?

I have two-factor authentication (2FA) on anything that requires it and I always ensure that I have the strongest possible passwords for anything that I deem to be important.

15. Can you share a memorable experience related to a particular domain acquisition or sale that taught you valuable lessons as an investor?

I figured out very early on that many domainers are not very patient and do not always hold good names for long enough.

They maybe think that domaining is a quick way to make money and wouldn't involve much sweat equity. This is far from the truth.

It can be a long and rewarding business if one is patient and learns when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

16. As the domain industry evolves, what future trends do you foresee, and how are you preparing to stay ahead of the curve?

Without wishing to give too much away, I’d recommend keeping up to date with changing trends and new technologies.

Yes, mankind may go to Mars (eventually) but there are related industries and markets/niches that are involved with that process, and they are happening now, today even. Identify where the smart money is going and find your rough diamond.

17. How do you leverage technology and tools to streamline your domain investment process and enhance decision-making?

As far as I’m concerned, an Excel spreadsheet is as good as anything that has since been invented for keeping track of your portfolio.

Spend time getting to know your spreadsheet and it will end up saving you time and money. Something we never have enough of. Instinct is perhaps the one essential skill related to domain investing that can’t be taught.

Learn as you progress and remember your failures as well as your successes but fully understand how and why they happened. Losing money sure is a quick way to learn. I should know LOL!!!

18. Are there any specific industries or niche markets where you focus your domain investing efforts? If so, why do you find them promising?

Life is a gamble. Domaining certainly is. Learn what sells and learn this lesson fast. In fact, learn this lesson backwards before you buy any domains.

Knowledge is powerful, but it also makes you wise in ways that didn’t exist before. Understand humans and half your battle is already won.

19. What are your thoughts on the impact of emerging technologies like blockchain and NFTs on the domain industry?

I know nothing about Blockchain or NFTs and I didn’t have time to learn so I kind of just ignored them really.

I can spend my efforts on something that I at least understand whether from reading and learning about them or by using my additional life skills learned over a long career.

20. How do you maintain a positive reputation and build relationships within the domain investing community?

I always tried to have fun doing this or what is the point? I treated everyone as my equal and I was prepared to learn from anyone.

Some of the most successful domainers IMHO are those that started with nothing but were determined to succeed and they put in the hard yards.

They asked the right questions in the right way and as they couldn’t afford to fail they hustled and hustled and found their path.

They found their place in the big pond. Me, I’m still a little fish on the bottom looking up, with those same dreams in one pocket and a few rough diamonds in the other. The only certain thing about being a Domain Name Investor is the uncertainty.

Please Note: This interview post is a part of my interview series to support the domain industry. The questions are taken from my post on the best interview questions for domain investors. Do like, share, retweet and comment to spread the word.

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