1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How to Get Started as a Domainer: 28 Tips, Techniques and Resources

Discussion in 'Domain Names & Parking' started by twerpygeek, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. twerpygeek

    twerpygeek Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    36
    How to Get Started as a Domainer: 28 Tips,

    Techniques and Resources
    How does a salary of $10,000 per day sound to you? Webmaster and marketing
    extraordinaire Marcus Frind reportedly pulls in $10,000 per day in Google
    AdSense from his dating website PlentyofFish.com. But that?s chump change
    compared to the $100,000 per day that domainer Yun Ye was pulling in before
    he sold his domain portfolio for about $164M in 2004 and subsequently
    disappeared under the radar.
    When it comes to making a buck on the internet it seems that everyone has a
    solution, although few of them seem to work. But if you?re looking to capitalize on
    one of the most powerful cash earning enterprises on the internet that is actually
    making plenty of people money, you should check out domaining. Although you
    may not be quite as successful as these two entrepreneurs, it?s never too late to
    start in the domaining industry.
    A domainer is someone who earns a profit buying and selling domain names.
    The philosophy is similar to the stock market: buy low and sell high. Here are 28
    tips, tools, techniques and financing options to get you started on your way to
    successful domaining.


    Domain Buying Strategies
    Domaining is a lot like stock investing, the very best in the field have moved
    beyond basic strategies and have developed their own specific formulas for
    success. But just as with stocks, to obtain the skills necessary to reach that
    advanced stage, beginners must first understand the fundamentals of strategic
    domain buying. In this section we introduce you to five traditional domain buying
    strategies, and explain a bit about each.
    Trademark Typo Domains.
    One of the original domainer buying strategies was to hunt for any
    trademarked names that hadn?t yet been purchased, and failing that, to
    purchase typos of those domains. These trademark typo domains often
    yielded a lot of type-in traffic, and because e-commerce law hadn?t yet
    developed to its current state, companies would often buy out these
    domainers at very inflated prices. But if you?re thinking about getting into
    trademark typo domaining, the ship has sailed. Current trademark law
    treats domainers that are seeing lots of traffic from a typo domain, and
    don?t otherwise have a legitimate business use for owning the name, as illegal trademark diluters. As such, trademark typo domainers typically
    have to turn over the domain to the trademark holder with little or no
    compensation. Simply stated, avoid the trademark typo strategy
    altogether.
    Keyword Typo Domains.
    While the trademark typo domain loophole has closed, a very legitimate
    and ethical domaining technique is pursuing keyword typo domains.
    Keyword typo domains (e.g., Mortgeges.com) can bring in a good deal of
    type-in traffic and are often significantly undervalued. While normally
    these aren?t the type of domains that someone would want to build a highvalue
    company around (though typo domain Voyuer.com went for
    $112,000 in 2005), smaller individual webmasters are always in the
    market for targeted type-in traffic, so these sites are often in high demand
    among small-time domain purchasers.
    Automated Volume Buying.
    The next strategy, automated volume buying, is simply that; using an
    application to automatically search for available domains that meet your
    pre-set criteria, and purchasing the domains that result from the search.
    Automated volume buying requires, first and foremost, an excellent
    application to accept your search criteria and conduct the searches. While
    there are a number of domain research tools available for purchase, many
    top domainers use a customized version. No matter which volume buying
    tool you?re using, however, they all work in roughly the same way by
    allowing you to search WHOIS servers and filter results by keywords,
    Overture price ranges, search engine results, etc. So, for example, you
    could filter your potential domains by those that have a minimum of 1000
    keyword searches per month and which yielded more than a top bid of
    $1.00 on Overture. While it is certainly true that now that more people are
    using automated volume buying tools the easiest bargains are usually
    taken, domainers can still find a good haul of cheap .com?s as long as
    they stay ahead of the curve by getting creative with their filter criteria.
    Trendwatching.
    If you?re looking for a domaining strategy that is longer-term but that can
    be highly lucrative, you might consider trendwatching. Trendwatching is
    simply the practice of anticipating popular domains before they become
    popular. The keys to successful trendwatching are good sources and
    creativity. One of the biggest mistakes novice domainers make, is
    attempting to trendwatch a very diverse group of industries, rather than
    focusing on a few and becoming an expert in those areas. The best way
    to start trendwatching is to pick two or three niches that you feel
    comfortable with and which are reasonably lucrative, then add eight to ten blogs within that niche to your RSS feed. Bloglines, Newsgator, and Google Reader are all free web-based feed readers, just in case you are
    unfamiliar with RSS. If you?re in a competitive niche, time is of the
    essence, so regularly check your feed for information on rising stars, new
    technologies, burgeoning trends or hot products, and once you hear of the
    trend, pounce on it immediately by buying up some relevant domains. In
    addition to RSS feeds, Google Trends can also help keep you on top of
    developing trends by showing relative query volume for one to five
    keywords or phrases. One thing to keep in mind when trendwatching, is
    that not every predicted trend will pan out, so anticipate plenty of total
    losses for every big hit. As a consequence, it is important to keep your
    domain holdings diversified, so that you aren?t too heavily invested in a
    single trend, and thus you can afford to wait out the staggering returns
    when one of your trend predictions proves true.

    Brute Force.

    Automated Domain Research Tools (DRT?s) allow you to sift through
    millions of available domains to find the few thousand that you might be
    interested in buying. But getting from those thousand to identifying the few
    specific domains you want to purchase can often be accomplished only
    through brute force. By ?brute force? we refer to the most common
    domaining technique, which involves the use of a compilation of different
    manual research tools to identify the most lucrative domains. Each tool
    listed in this category simply helps to facilitate the process of manually
    going through and examining each potential domain on an individual basis
    (thus the ?brute force? moniker). While it is impractical to cover every sort
    of tool that would fall into the ?brute force? category, we have compiled a
    few of the most common tools to get you started.
    ? AjaxWhois is a convenient web2.0 domain search engine that
    executes multiple Top-Level Domain (TLD) queries on a root
    domain name. This can be a time-saver if you already have a
    specific root domain name in mind to purchase.
    ? dnScoop provides a variety of information about a domain,
    including whois, traffic, domain history and popularity, appraisal,
    pagerank check, inbound links and more.
    ? DigitalPoint is a set of webmaster tools geared more for websites
    and SEO?s, but which also provides some helpful tools such as a
    keyword recommendation tool which can help you come up with
    new domain ideas and word combinations.
    ? DomainState tools is a suite of browser-based domaining tools
    and links to trademark databases.
    ? Domain Tools has a suite of useful tools for domainers, including
    domain history, reverse IP (to see what other websites are hosted on an IP), DNS tools (whois, traceroute, etc.), domain monitor, and
    more.
    ? PagerankPredict is a very simple tool that gives you a predicted
    Google pagerank for a domain. This tool is handy if you plan to
    build out a domain with content. It is also free, but the site limits
    you to 5 queries per hour.
    ? SearchStatus is a robust SEO, SEM and domaining tool that
    works as a plugin for the Firefox browser. It will enable you to
    quickly get an overview of a potential purchase as well as a look
    and what backlinks are powering your competitors? sites.
    The Marchex Model.
    Back in early 2005, Marchex Inc. paid a whopping $164 million for
    100,000 high-quality hand selected domains, planning in the short term to
    leverage the domains? type-in traffic for revenue, and in the long-term to
    selectively sell their appreciating portfolio. Individual domainers can follow
    a similar strategy, by targeting domains in the $1,000 to $5,000 range that
    are of higher quality and thus have a higher long-term upside potential. By
    targeting a dozen or so sites in this higher price range, Marchex Model
    domainers can eliminate most casual domainer competition and though
    they face higher risks, there is the possibility of much higher returns. It
    should go without saying, that having access to cheap capital is a must,
    as well as having a good understanding of domain appraisals. Unlike brick
    and mortar real estate, the domain name resale market is still not fully
    competitive, meaning that domains are often wildly under-priced, but can
    also be wildly overpriced. As a result, simply following market valuation for
    a domain without having a firm grip on your own appraisal metrics, is a
    certain way to fail when Marchex domaining.

    Financing Your Domaining

    No matter what buying strategy you decide to follow, the first step to getting into
    domaining is acquiring enough capital to play in the market. Put simply, the more
    capital you have, the easier it is to build your domaining portfolio. So in this
    section we cover some simple strategies for coming up with the right types of
    capital you need to get your domaining off the ground.
    Spend only cheap capital.


    What?s the point of making a profit domaining only to pay it right back out
    again with high credit card interest rates? It is difficult to consistently make
    a return of more than 20-50% on your domain flipping, but you will need
    that return just to break even if you are funding your operations on credit
    card debt. So to minimize the risk of paying out all or most of your gains in
    credit card fees, make sure that early on you are only purchasing domains with only the money you have, and not what your credit limit says you are
    worth. If you do buy domains on credit, make sure that you are paying off
    the cards before they start accumulating interest and fees; otherwise you?ll
    start to see your domaining profits shrink as your break even point
    becomes that 20-50% interest rate.

    Partnership.

    Nobody likes to share their profits. But teaming up with a few partners
    who bring capital to the partnership will allow you to diversify your holdings
    and overall lower your risks and increase your net earnings. Just
    remember, however, that if the partnership dissolves, you may be forced
    to pony up cash to buy out your partners, or sell domains for less than you
    were hoping for. So if you and your partners have different ideas about
    how to profit from domaining, it may be a good idea to instead opt for a
    joint venture in which everyone?s obligations are spelled out ahead of
    time.


    Credit card balance transfer arbitrage.
    If you?ve opened up your mail lately, you?ve probably noticed that 0% APR
    credit card offers have now replaced AOL Free Trial CDs as the most
    abundant piece of mail in the world. Well, some card issuers have taken
    the free credit offer one step further by offering you something called a
    transfer check, which is simply a 3-18 month interest free loan. They
    make the offer to entice you to use their credit card, but if want to live
    dangerously, this can also be an easy way to come up with some quick
    cash. This advanced financing method, known as balance transfer
    arbitrage, will allow you to use that ?free? money before the offer period
    expires, then pay it back. This is a very risky technique, however, because
    if you run into emergencies or other financial problems and cannot pay
    back the free loan before the regular high interest kicks in, then you are
    sunk. But in a situation where you come across the once in a lifetime deal,
    engaging in ?balance transfer arbitrage? may be worth the risk.

    Bootstrap and reinvest.

    Bootstrapping isn?t so much a single fundraising technique, as it is a ?do it
    yourself? mindset of leveraging what you earn back into growing your
    business. Entrepreneurs engaged in bootstrapping take very little of the
    company profits out of their business early on, and instead use those
    funds in lieu of a formal bank loan or venture capital. If you are anxious to
    quickly expand your domaining portfolio and can afford to live without the
    immediate profits, consider leaving all or most of your profits in the
    business to leverage new purchases. Bootstrapping is the poor
    entrepreneur?s way to compete against larger competitors, because by
    reinvesting their gross profits back into the business, bootstrappers gain a return which is functionally equivalent to compound interest.

    Important Practices

    Now that you have decided on a strategy for identifying domains to purchase as
    well as secured the financing to make those purchases, it is time to turn to the
    actual practice of holding and maintaining your domains. In this section we cover
    some basic ground rules and insider tips to keep in mind as you purchase and
    manage your domains.
    Organize and auto-renew.
    If you?re holding domains for longer than a year, it?s a very good idea to
    have them all set to auto-renew. Make sure all of your contact info is
    correct and updated, and if necessary, change registrars. Whatever
    source of funds (credit card, PayPal) you use to pay for auto-renew
    should always have enough in extra funds so that in case you miss the
    notices, you?re still able to avoid auto-cancellations, which usually cost
    more to get back than a new registration.

    Don?t fall in love with a domain name.

    Plain and simple, your goal in domaining is to make a consistent profit.
    One of the biggest mistakes new domainers make is holding on to a
    domain just because they like the name, or personally feel its worth more
    than the market will bear. If a domain doesn?t sell and you can?t monetize
    it to at least cover its costs, the domain is just dead weight. A name may
    sound unique or potentially popular, but you have to face the possibility
    that it may not have a market value beyond what you paid for it.
    Ridiculous domain names (the very sort new domainers tend to get
    attached to) can be lucrative, but the buzz may not last long enough for
    you to hold out for more money after a decent bid comes in. So when you
    are dealing with a gimmicky domain name and you get your chance to
    make a quick profit, take it.

    Name that domain.

    Whether creating new domains or acquiring existing ones, the current
    trend (which doesn?t show signs of changing) is to stay away from those
    domains that have digits and/or hyphens, as both naming schematics
    devalue a domain. The only exceptions are specific 3- and 4-digit domain
    names, most of which are all taken.

    Taste this.

    After you register a domain, many registrars offer a few day grace period
    during which you can rethink your purchase and still get a full refund. Domain tasting, is the ethically questionable, but legal, act of utilizing this
    loophole by parking a domain, testing the amount of type-in traffic, then
    cancelling it before the grace period expires. Most registrars are starting to
    recognize these loopholes and are quickly cracking down on this
    unscrupulous practice, but with those registrars that haven?t yet barred the
    practice, this can be a very good way of minimizing the risk of a purchase.

    Create traffic.

    If you own domains that aren?t receiving a lot of type-in traffic, you may
    want to try to increase their value by getting them indexed into the search
    engines so that the eventual purchaser will find it easier to get the site to
    rank for relevant search engine results. The easiest way to do that is to
    place a link with relevant anchor text to the domain on one of your own
    related websites. In addition to getting the domain indexed, this is also a
    way to advertise the domain to interested buyers. Linking to your domain
    is generally allowable by most parking sites, but you may want to check
    with yours just to make sure.

    Forums.

    Everyone loves to use forums to exchange information and to connect
    with people who have similar interests, and as a result many new
    domainers buy up ?forum? domains. But if you?ll notice, very few people
    are getting rich managing forums, and even fewer are making money
    holding on to forum domains. Popular forums can generate tons of traffic,
    but domains with ?forum? in the name are worthless without the actual
    site. Unless you can find a buyer capable of turning it into a site, or can
    build the site yourself, stay away from ?forum? domain names.

    Be prepared, legally.

    If you decide to domain full-time, talk to an accountant about at what point
    in the yearly tax cycle is financially most advantageous for you to form
    your domaining enterprise into a legal entity. Forming a legal entity can be
    a headache, but by not doing so, you may be missing out on business
    deductions you might otherwise be able to take. So, just in case, keep all
    your relevant receipts, even if you?re just starting out, to prove to the IRS
    how much you invested.Potentially more important than financial
    concerns, however, are the legal ones. Deciding to form a limited liability
    entity (Inc. or LLC) will limit your personal financial risk if legal problems
    ever arise. Though the legal differences between LLC?s and corporations
    can be subtle, they are not insignificant, (e.g. differing tax treatment) so
    you should do your research before forming an entity.

    Watch for pinchers, swipers, and thieves.

    Sex.com was stolen from its owner using a fake transfer form, eventually costing the owner millions. Slammers, spammers, swipers, and claim
    jumpers will try various tricks to get a domain away from you, including
    fake renewal email messages or snail mail letters (e.g., Domain Registry
    of America scam letters). If you fall for one of these sneaky transfer forms,
    you may end up paying extra for a domain or accidentally ?permitting? the
    transfer of your domains to someone else.In addition to having your
    existing domains hijacked through subversive transfers, there are an
    increasing number of reports of people having their domain ideas pinched
    before they can register the domain themselves. It appears that a number
    of domain research tools are culling the data from users? searches, and
    using that data to instantly purchase the searched domains before the
    searcher himself can do so. So, for example, if you are using a tool to
    research available domains and come across a real gem, the owner of the
    tool you are using may swoop in and buy up the domain, thus taking
    advantage of your ingenuity while depriving you of a great domain.
    Because of this possibility, it is important that if you come across a
    previously unregistered gem domain, spend the few bucks right then to
    buy it up rather than take the chance on losing it by waiting a few
    minutes.Beyond pinches and swipers, you also need to keep an eye on
    your registrar. There are a number of reports of domain registrars being
    intentionally slow or unresponsive in the days leading up to a domain?s
    expiration so as to ensure that the domain expires and reverts back to the
    registrar. If you have a dispute, check with WIPO for mediation, but the
    best policy is just to protect yourself in the first place by having at least a
    full-month?s buffer when transferring registrars.

    Techniques for Monetizing

    For almost every domainer, the big money is in the actual flip, not the domain
    maintenance. So just as with real estate, one of the biggest keys to domaining
    success is to limit your overhead during the holding period when you are waiting
    for your buyer. In this section, we cover some common and not-so-common
    techniques for monetizing your domain to cover your overhead expenses.
    Duke of URL: type-in traffic.
    Google may control most of the western world?s web traffic, but they don?t
    yet control everything. In fact, a good keyword based domain can receive
    loads of type in traffic. With a well converting PPC landing page, this type
    in traffic can bring in from $100 to $1000 per day for a top-notch domain.
    Not a bad way to bide your time waiting for that perfect buyer to come
    along! So, when you?re searching for domains, keep in mind that type-in
    traffic is entirely defensible, meaning it doesn?t rely on a search engine or
    any other third party to send traffic your way, and that with enough of it, you can entirely cover your overhead expenses.

    Optimize your parked domains.

    Some registrars allow you to add content and advertising directly to your
    parked domain?s page at no extra cost. If that is the case in your situation,
    you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity by optimizing your
    landing page. Try various configurations and combinations of affiliate ads
    and PPC ads to see what yields the highest return. Often simply changing
    the color of your landing page is enough to double your click-through rate.
    So, don?t sell yourself short by using a default ad configuration, or worse,
    not placing any advertising at all.

    The (traffic) collector.

    If you already have your own well-converting highly monetized website
    within the same niche as your domain, instead of optimizing your landing
    pages, it may be more profitable for you to simply redirect your parked
    domains to that website. The key consideration when making this decision
    is simple, can I make more money by optimizing or redirecting? By
    electing the more immediately profitable option, you ensure that the
    maximum amount of your domaining overhead costs are offset, which
    may ultimately enable you to hold out for the right buyer longer than you
    might otherwise be willing to.

    Park and go.

    While running your own PPC or adsense is the more lucrative solution,
    some domainers who are short on time or technical expertise choose to
    simply park domains at a service like Sedo. These sites allow you to
    optimize your parked page template, and they run PPC (Pay Per Click)
    ads such as AdSense for you, in exchange for taking a cut of any PPC
    revenues your domain earns. While this is a fine solution for those that
    are flipping sites on a very short timeline, for those domainers planning to
    hold the site for any significant length of time, the technical knowhow
    required to optimize on your own is very small relative to the earnings you
    may be giving up by sharing with a site like Sedo.

    Community spirit.

    Converting expired domains with traffic into web 2.0 community sites is
    one of the most popular new trends in domaining. The theory goes, that
    by starting your own community, regular focused traffic will visit your
    website in great numbers which you will be able to leverage to offset
    maintenance costs. Unfortunately, the hype surrounding web 2.0 typically
    overshadows the reality, which is that most community sites eventually
    fail, so trying something like this will require a lot of time, effort, money
    and luck. For those of you working on a tight budget, good ole? fashioned domain parking may still be the best solution.

    Creating your own lead generation.

    Buying up older expired domains with a niche focus can serve as an
    internal lead generation system. For domains with a narrow focus,
    redirecting them to specific landing pages on your more general highconverting
    website can be an excellent way of leveraging your domains
    into a sort private Adwords / PPC campaign.

    Adsense Arbitrage.

    Google AdSense arbitrage is the practice of buying traffic at a relatively
    cheap price, and leveraging that traffic by having those users click through
    to ads which are relatively more lucrative than the cost of bringing in the
    traffic. When considering whether adsense arbitrage is the best
    monetization solution for your domains, it is first necessary to consider
    whether it is allowed by your parking host. Even if it is, however, adsense
    arbitrage is a very risky game which is in almost every instance better left
    for more experienced domainers and webmasters.
    Choose volume over quality early on..
    It?s the volume domain purchasers who consistently earn the highest
    profits from domaining. New domainers are often intrigued by the
    possibility of owning THE keyword in a niche (keyword.com). But more
    often that not, it is better to diversify your holdings, start small, then later
    bootstrap your early profits into domains a bit higher up the food chain.
    Think of it like this: it?s easier to sell 100 domains at $10 profit than one
    domain at $1000 profit.

    Tools for the Trade

    In the business of domaining, automation and resource tools are your friend.
    Because the key to regular success is volume, not that one big hit, utilizing
    quality resources and tools will go a long way to improving your bottom line by
    marginally increasing the profitability every transaction you make.
    I?m pickin? up good registrations.
    Since you?re dealing in volume, a cheap registrar is important, especially
    when you?re first starting out. But some deals are too good to be true, and
    occasionally registrars will go out of business. For good cheap hosting,
    GoDaddy is a baseline option, but it?s not ideal for many high volume
    domainers or high quality domains. For your biggest domains, the ones
    you hope to sell and retire from the proceeds with, you may want to try
    Moniker. Whatever direction you decide to take, make sure to shop around, and at a minimum check the resource list at the end of this article for a few more of your options.

    Traffic monitors and predictors.

    Keeping track of a site?s traffic and popularity are both important metrics in
    valuating your own domains as well as those of potential acquisitions. The
    following tools, despite their individual limitations, are designed to provide
    you with a method of obtaining those stats on your own domains, as well
    as those of your competitors.
    ? Alexa is the benchmark traffic rankings directory. It is widely
    regarded as inaccurate, however, its relative numbers are still very
    valuable when studying a domain for purchase.
    ? Alexaholic is based on Alexa but allows you to compare the traffic
    charts of multiple domains. The value of Alexaholic (and Alexa) is
    that you don?t need the current owner of a domain to have installed
    a traffic monitoring script (which is usually not possible on a parked
    domain anyway) to estimate the volume of traffic the site is
    receiving.
    ? Ranking.com provides the popularity of a website and requires
    script installation on your domain.
    ? Ask the Owner. A domain parking service will provide traffic
    statistics for the site?s owner. So if you?re interested in a domain,
    simply ask the owner for proof of statistics.

    Hope that helps. From Domainbits.