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Domain Tasting - How to do it properly

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by devi, Dec 28, 2007.

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  1. devi

    devi Newbie

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    This was originally going to be a reply to the "real value of domains" thread, but I thought it might be useful enough to warrant a thread of its own.

    Below, you'll find a brief explanation of domain tasting, and the best/cheapest way to do it.

    In regards to registrars, I would actually recommend Moniker - with some extra points to be made as to why...

    Moniker's normal pricing for .com's is rather steep, but, if you're a member of the NamePros forum, you can get special pricing ($6.95).

    That, in and of itself, isn't all that special... the real power of Moniker shines through in what is considered to be a borderline BH domaining technique called "domain tasting".

    Domain tasting is basically a try-before-you-buy "loophole" in the ICANN guidelines thingy... it's there to protect consumers who make a typo, or somesuch, when registering (and not on purpose). The specifics are that you can get a "refund" within 4 days of purchasing the domain. "Refund" is in quotes because the amount is credited back to your account with Moniker, but hey, then you can "taste" another domain.

    Of course, they do have to charge you, at bare minimum, the $0.25 ICANN fee. By default, they'll charge you $1.00 per refunded domain, but again, if you're a member of NamePros, you get a break here, and they reduce it to $0.25.

    Once you've gotten the NamePros special pricing, the rest is pretty much automated, and you can test out domains to your heart's content.

    Personally, I run my own server, so a lot of the following is VERY easy, since I have direct access.

    After you buy the domain, but before you change the nameservers, set up a folder on your server to point it to, or create a VirtualHost entry for it if you're using Apache. If you are able to, set it to use separate log files from your main server content (this is important for following steps).

    You can throw some content into the folder if you like, it's certainly recommended to load a page with at least some ads or affiliate links related to the domain. I use PHP scripts to dynamically generate content based on which domain is accessed, and use the include function to specify meta/header content, such as keywords, description, etc (I could, and should, simplify this a bit more, but I'm lazy, I'll get around to it later). For adult domains, I run a self-coded MGP/TGP script using PHP, MYSQL, and the Smarty templating system to cache the results (saves hits to the DB and reduces load time significantly) with click tracking to sort the MGP/TGP results by popularity every hour. Go go gadget geekgirl! But, I digress...

    Anyway, content or no, I really hope your host provides per-domain statistics. If they don't, you might be a little screwed in terms of adequately judging the traffic, but there are always ways around this using scripts, or specific file-naming conventions. If you're running your own server, lucky you, you have complete and total access to your statistics. Get a stats program, I recommend webalizer, and edit the conf file to use your "tasted" domain to generate statistics.

    Now that you've got everything set up, change your DNS to point to your host or server.

    Submit the domain to some search engines, then sit back and watch the traffic for the next 3 days. If it doesn't generate enough (this term is relative to your definition of "enough") traffic, simply log in to Moniker, click on the number next to the "Domains in 4 Day Grace Period" text, and delete them! Simple as that, and you only lose $0.25... unless you followed my advice about the ads and managed to get some clicks, in which case, you may actually come out ahead!

    You could theoretically BH the hell out of any tasted domains to potentially generate enough revenue to cover the entire registration cost within the first 4 days, and thus have enough to register TWO domains next time (or more, of course, depending on your success). I haven't experimented with this yet, but if you don't have to worry about raising page rank, you can play around with some techniques you wouldn't otherwise try on a domain you'd paid a whole year for!

    Well, that about sums it up. I'll do my best to answer any questions if you have any, and if you found this post useful... well, you know what to do!
     
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  2. devi

    devi Newbie

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    Does anyone else have tips on this they'd like to share? As mentioned, I'm fairly new to this, so any veteran advice would be a helpful addition.
     
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