My domain investing has evolved quite a bit over the 15-years I’ve been in this business, and lately, I think I found my groove because these days, I usually make a few hundred dollars every month. I know I’m very different than most, because I develop websites. But, from what I’ve seen, most domain investors simply park their domains on a page of ads. While this might generate a few pennies income, it does very little to increase the value of the domain name. Worse yet, some domainers let their domains forward to the registrars’ default page. I also don’t recommend forwarding your domain name to an existing website either; this causes fake page rank and will discourage potential buyers. Maybe it’s because I am a writer, but what I do is slap up some articles on a domain, and in time, they go up in value. I’ll give you a few examples…
But first, let me tell you what I used to do. My first 5-years or so, I’d buy some domains and just hold them. I’d park them on Sedo and hope someone comes along and buys one. In all, I had sometimes over 30 domains on Sedo. Never once did I sell one, or even get an offer. This is nothing against Sedo- they’re a top-dog in this business. I think it was a better reflection of my ignorance. For example, I thought WeLawyers.com was an awesome name that some lawyers would fight over. I was wrong. Nobody was searching for “we lawyers”. After sitting on that name for about 5-years, I decided to make a website. In one day, I copied and pasted some public domain information onto it which I got from US Government sites, all about how to be a lawyer, and lawyers salary expectations. When I listed it on Flippa, I told the truth that this was duplicate content. But the site had traffic- about 2000 hits a month. And that was worth $100 to one bidder. So after renewing it for several years, and making just a buck or two from Adsense, once it had some verifiable stats I was able to sell it for a c-note.
Domain Investing: Buy Low and Sell High:
I used to buy low and sell high, and I still believe that works IF you can do it. But it’s not very easy simply because of all the competition. All the big registrars, domain name auction sites, and other professionals spend a lot of time browsing about-to-expire, and expired domains. They snatch names the very second they expire. While I do know for a fact this works, all the big names and people with big money are the ones that can get those domains first. They have the expensive software that can catch the name and register it in a split-second, before an individual can type it in and register it manually. So even if you have software that lets you know the very moment one expires, you still won’t get it fast enough.
Then there’s the low-income way of buying low and selling high (and I did this a lot- still do): Browse the domain name forums (DigitalPoint and NamePros are my favorites.) I look for the domains that are catchy, easy to remember, easy to spell, dot-coms, and super cheap, like $1 to $10. I’ll grab one for a buck or two when I see what I think is a good name. Sometimes I’ll put it on Flippa auction right away and sell it for $10 or $20 or even more sometimes.
Note: When selling on Flippa, do some domain appraisals and get free listings. This way you can afford to sell one for $10 or $20 and still turn a profit. You can do that once a week.
Developing a Website is the best Thing You Can Do to Increase Your Domain Name’s Value.
This is the single biggest thing I do to help my domain names gain value- develop it into a website. For example, consider this one-word .biz- Fajita.biz. The name alone is probably not worth more than $10 to $30. I got it for a buck or two about 7-years ago. I slapped up some fajita recipes, put together some ebook cookbooks, and only made about 15-pages altogether. It made some money back in the day when you could sell ebooks on eBay, plus a few bucks a month from Adsense. Once it had that track record, I sold it on Flippa for $155. I know that’s not really a lot of money, but that’s how I roll.
Here’s another one I did- eBaySkill.com. I started a blog all about how to sell on eBay. It’s tough to sell a domain name like this, with a copyrighted name in it, but I was able to get $150 for this one because it had some traffic and proven Adsense income of $3 a month.
Something that Will Increase the Likelihood of Selling a Domain:
Whatever you do, especially parked domains- put a little sign on it that says “this domain is for sale”. It also helps to have a reasonable price on it. And make yourself very easy to find. Leave whois information public. And place an obvious “contact us” link on the site. Unless, of course, you don’t want to sell it.
Several years ago I sold DriverStory.com for $1250. I had very obvious contact info on it, so the buyer found me very easily. His first offer was $1000. I counter-offered $2000. He countered back $1250 and I took it. (Just a little historic note about that name- the guy who paid all that money for it had a site for a few years, then let it expire. A domain snatcher got it and today it is for sale for $775. I offered him $40 but he never responded.)
Another way to buy low worth mentioning: I browse Flippa auctions almost daily, and I follow the listings with $1 start and no reserve, if they are good names. Here are some names I got on Flippa for super cheap- Playstation4Games.com, TrojanVirus.org, PoliceVideos.org. I expect to sell each one for several hundred one of these days. And if I develop a site on them I will get a lot more once I have verifiable income and traffic.
I can give you some more examples, but I think you get the idea now.