How to sell domain names for a profit: This comprehensive online guide covers how to value domain names, estimating traffic, how to register domains, how to flip domain names, how to push or transfer domains to buyers, ways to make money with domain names, and much more.
Update: I wrote this post a few years ago. I have made money with domains for years. There are still opportunities to make money with domains. However, the market isn’t quite as profitable as it once was. As such, I no longer focus on domains as heavily as I once did.
Nevertheless, there are still some good tips in this article that are still applicable for today’s time. As with any business, you can make money or lose money, so keep that in mind. Also, some of the companies or websites I mention may have changed their terms or fee structures since I wrote this, but much of what’s here will apply.
Lastly, this is nearly 17,000 words long, and I poured my heart and soul into this to spill every secret I’ve learned. If you find it useful, I’d really appreciate a link to let others know about it.
How to Sell Domain Names
- What is a Domain Name?
- Domain Name Valuation Methods
- Flip domain Names for Profit
- Make Money with Domain Names
- How to Transfer(Push) Domains
- Domaining Tips
What is a domain name? That is the question many people ask when they first hear about them. In fact, I am often surprised that many people have no clue what a domain name is (despite typing one in the browser bar daily), much less how to profit from them. I am even more surprised that there are some people who have actually registered a domain (sometimes in conjunction with a website) and simply watched as their domain name expired after they decided to end their venture (instead of reaping the potential profits by reselling the domain). So with all the confusion & questions, let’s start with a brief definition & explanation of a domain name.
Domain Name Definition
Simply stated, a domain name is a unique name that identifies a website. It can consist of letters, numbers, and also a hyphen. These letters and/or numbers are not case sensitive (which means capitalization doesn’t matter) and they simply represent a numerical IP address. An example of a domain name is www.example.com. When you type the domain (example.com) into your browser, you will be taken to the website used in conjunction with the domain name. Of course, you don’t have to use a domain with a website. You could simply register the domain & do nothing.
Classification of Domains
Domains are usually classified by their extension (.com, net, etc.) or the “top level domain” unit. The top-level units can be divided into 3 basic categories: Generic top-level domains, country code top-level domains, and an infrastructure top level domain. The generic top-level domains are the most commonly used & traded. They normally consist of 3 letter extensions and contain the well known .com, .net, .org, and many more.
Country code top-level domains are domains that are usually only 2 letters long and they are associated with a specific country or region. For instance .us is used for the United States. The country code domains are also occasionally used & traded, but much less often than the generic level domains. The infrastructure top-level domain extension is .arpa and it is used only with internet infrastructure (not traded or used by normal individuals or businesses).
These different extensions used with domain names usually stand for the intended purpose or location of the domain. The .com stands for “commercial site,” .net means “network,” .org means “organization,” .gov is used with “government authorities,” and etc.
Some of these extensions are open and unrestricted (such as .com), which means anyone can register it & you don’t necessarily have to use it for its intended “commercial” purposes. It could be used for just about any kind of a website. Other domains extensions, however, are more tightly regulated & can only be used or registered for a particular purpose or by individuals in a certain location or organization. For instance, .edu can only be registered by a post-secondary school that shows proof of accreditation.
The list below contains common generic top-level domains along with their originally intended purposes:
Generic Top-level Domain Names
- .com- commercial organizations (open & unrestricted)
- .net- for networks & organizations (open & unrestricted)
- .org- for use with various organizations (open & unrestricted)
- .biz- for use with Business (open & unrestricted for business uses)
- .pro- for use with professions (restrictions apply)
- .edu-for accredited secondary schools (restrictions apply)
- .gov- for governments & agencies (restrictions apply)
- .mil-for U.S. military (restrictions apply)
- .info- for information sites (open & unrestricted)
- .jobs- for job/career sites (restrictions apply)
- .coop- for cooperatives (restrictions apply)
- .aero- for air travel related sites (restrictions apply)
- .name- for families & individuals (open & restricted to personal names)
- .tel- for telephone & internet organizations (restrictions apply)
- .travel- for vacation, travel agents, hotels, etc. (restrictions apply)
- .int- for international uses (restrictions apply)
- .cat- for Catalan cultures & languages (restrictions apply)
- .museum- for use by museum (restrictions apply)
- .mobi- for sites used with mobile devices (restrictions apply)
Again, just because .net was originally intended to be used with a network doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be used for that purpose. You could use it with about any kind of website because it is open & unrestricted for registration.
Domain Regulation & Authorities
Domain names are maintained and regulated by authorities and systems such as the DNS (Domain Name System), ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers), the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) & more.
Basically, these systems & organizations are in place to deal with the technical aspects of domain names (such as maintaining accurate IP address data) as well as making certain delegations & restrictions to ensure stability and expansion of the World Wide Web. For instance, ICANN oversees the introduction & approval of new domain name extensions, the regulation of the DNS, and much more.
Domain Name Registration & Expiration
Most domain names can be registered for periods ranging from 1 year to 10 years. To register a domain, you must use a company (called a registrar) that deals with domain name registries. There are several companies that perform this service (such as Godaddy.com, Yahoo.com, etc.) and you can find a complete list of available registrars at the following address: http://www.internic.net/alpha.html. When you decide to register a domain you will need to first make sure the domain is available, then select a registrar, & register the domain name (the complete steps will be given later on how to register & transfer a domain). Again, you can select a domain registration period between 1-10 years depending on your own personal choice.
Once you register a domain, the domain is in your possession for the complete registration period. Your contact information will by made public in the WHOIS system (unless you opt for private registration). You can then renew the domain before it expires & theoretically own the domain indefinitely (as long as you continue to renew the domain & you don’t break any major “rules” set forth by ICANN or other authorities). If you do not renew the domain name prior to its expiration date, then the domain will “expire” and another individual will have the opportunity to register it.
However, the domain expiration process is actually quite slow and the exact process & time frames can vary for different categories of domains and for the different registrars. For most top-level domains, the individual that registered the domain will likely receive a notice from the registrar (the company they used to register the domain) approximately 90 days before the domain expires. This is to simply inform the owner that the domain will expire in 3 months if it is not renewed.
Then a 60 day notice will usually be given, followed by a 30 day notice, a 5 day notice, and then a final notice. If the domain is not renewed after the final notice, then the domain will start the expiration & deletion process (which could take as long as 1-3 additional months).
After the expiration date, the domain name is typically placed on a 30 day grace period. During this period, the domain is given the status of “REGISTRY-HOLD” which will prevent the domain name from functioning (as well as any websites or email addresses associated with the domain). This will indicate to the owner that the domain has expired & give them another chance to renew the domain in case they did not receive the expiration notices. During this grace period the owner can still renew the domain by paying the renewal fee.
After this 30 day grace period ends, the domain name will change to a REDEMPTION-PERIOD status. During this stage, the owner can usually still renew the domain, but will also have to pay an additional service fee that could range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Usually when a domain reaches this stage it will continue through the entire deleting process.
If the domain is not renewed by the owner during this final REDEMPTION period, the domain’s status will change to PENDING-DELETE for approximately 5 more days. This means that the domain name is now preparing for deletion from the registry. Usually at this pending-delete stage, the domain cannot be renewed by the owner or the registrar.
Once the domain name has been deleted from the registry, it will then be available for purchase by the general public. Even this process, however, can be complicated. If there were people interested in buying the domain before it even expired, they may have used a backorder service (we will discuss more about backorder services later).
If this is the case, the individual using the backorder service will be able to acquire the domain before anyone else. If there are multiple individuals using a backorder service, then the domain name will likely go into a private auction between those individuals (more will also be discussed on auctions later).
Now that we have discussed some basic information about domains, we can begin to understand why they have value and ultimately how to make money with them. So what exactly makes a domain name valuable?
First, any thing can have value as long as it has some perceived benefit. If any thing can have value, then any thing could potentially be sold for a profit. For instance, a simple idea could be sold for millions (in the form of a product patent, book, script, music lyrics, etc). Knowledge is sold every day in the form of tuition, eBooks, books, etc. Domain names are no different. They can be sold for a profit, if they have a perceived value.
How much money can an individual make with domain names? This can depend on several factors. You may have heard stories of domains such as Business.com selling for around $7.5 million, Loans.com selling for around $3 million, and Men.com for around $1.3 million. It is true that domains can and have been sold for hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions. The value of a domain depends on several factors. Obviously not all domains are worth millions (or even thousands). However, there is still plenty of money to be made in the domain market.
You may have heard of a guy named Kevin Ham. He was relatively unknown domainer (and still is) until an article was released about him in the magazine Business 2.0 in 2007. According to that article, he has amassed a fortune estimated to be around $300 million, mostly from buying, selling, & monetizing his domains. Ham is just one of the top domainers in the world, and there are also thousands of small time domainers making extra money from their own home simply by monetizing domains.
So which domain names are most valuable and why? Let’s examine some features that make a domain worth the extra money.
Here are some of the more common ways to assess a domain’s value or worth:
Domain Traffic Valuation
One feature that makes a domain extremely valuable is traffic (also called visitors or hits). A domain name will generally get 3 kinds of traffic: Type-in traffic, search engine traffic, and link referral traffic. Type-in traffic is just what it sounds like: traffic resulting from individuals randomly typing a domain into the browser bar.
This is common with really good domain names. For instance, I can only imagine how many type-ins simple domains like “free.com” or “money.com” or even worse “sex.com” get each month. Of course the other two types of traffic will usually exist because there was a website that previously used the domain. It can take time for search engines & directories to remove domains from their indexes once they have been online, especially if they were used with a popular website.
Also, other websites may have links to the previously existing site, producing traffic through the links. Thus, traffic will continue to flow to a previously used domain name for months or even years.
Why does traffic make a domain valuable? The simple answer is TRAFFIC=MONEY. If a domain is getting consistent traffic ratings (at least a few hundred or thousand a day) then the domain can be used in various ways to make money almost instantly (discussed later in more detail), or at the very least to save on advertising costs. This is very important whether you buy the domain to use for yourself or to flip it for a profit.
Okay, so what are some ways you can check the traffic rating of a domain? Well there are various tools you can use to get an idea of the traffic or popularity of a domain name or website without being able to actually look at the statistics/logs. These methods are Alexa.com, Google PageRank, back links, search engine & directory check, and using website/software tools.
Alexa.com is a common tool used by domain investors. It allows you to check the approximate traffic stats of a given domain. The stats are given based on ratings ranging from approximately 1—8,000,000. The actual traffic rank is not the same as “hits” per month. Websites with very low ratings get a lot of visitors. Sites with very high ratings will get fewer visitors. Yahoo & Google are usually in the top 5 because they generate an enormous amount of traffic. Usually if a website is within the top 500,000, it will get a good traffic flow. The further away you get from the 500,000 figure, the less traffic a site or domain will have. If it is near 6,000,000 or higher, then it probably does not get very many visitors at all.
To use this information, go to Alexa.com. Then simply type the domain name into the search bar and click “search or traffic rank.” This will bring up a page with information such as traffic rank, overview, etc. On this page you will be able to see the traffic trends, reach, & other important information. Let’s pretend we are checking a domain called example.com (this is not the actual data for example.com).
From the traffic rank, graph, & table above you can conclude many things about this domain. First, the domain has a rank of 13,932 which means it gets a very large volume of traffic. From looking at the graph, you can tell that this domain’s traffic has remained steady for many months with a slightly decreasing trend. This is good because although ideally the domain should be gaining traffic, it is not having major fluctuations. Also, you can make the assumption that it is probably mostly natural traffic rather than traffic from pay per click, robots, or some other aggressive marketing means. Normally a domain or site with these numbers would easily be worth many thousands of dollars.
Another useful tool to assess the estimated traffic or value of a domain/website is Google’s PageRank. PageRank is simply a tool Google uses to help determine a page’s importance on the web. It ranges from 0-10, with a PageRank of 10 being the best. Generally, if a domain or website has a high PageRank associated with it, it will be more valuable. To find the PageRank (PR) of a domain or site, you can download the Google Toolbar, or use one of the many services online (described later). The only downside is that PR can sometimes be manipulated by hacks & redirects.
Back Link Check
Another way to find out if a domain or site is valuable is by taking a look at its back links. What is a back link? A back link is simply a one way hyperlink pointing to a site or domain (from another website). If you have ever tried to develop a website, you probably know all about back links.
The reason they are so important is because popular search engines (such as Google.com) rely very heavily on back links as an indicator of a site or domain’s value. Thus, a site with several quality back links will be more likely to get top rankings in search engine results.
Top rankings in the search engine results mean more traffic, which in turn means more money. Thus, webmasters often spend many hours sending link requests & finding good sites to use with link building.
To check the back links of a domain, you can use any of the major search engines or services on the web. For instance, you can go to Yahoo.com and type in the following command in the search bar to search back links:
This is a common command & it will bring up most all significant back links on the web. You can then see how many sites are linking to the domain. You can also look at each individual link to see if they are quality back links or just a lot of useless forum spam.
Search Engine/Directory Check
Another way to check the popularity of a site/domain is to see if it is indexed by the major search engines & directories (as well as how many pages are indexed). This can easily be done by going to the major search engines and entering the following command:
This will let you see if the domain is indexed by the search engine, and how many pages are indexed (if a website was used). Also, it would also be beneficial to check all of the major directories to see if the domain is listed. There are thousands of directories online, but Dmoz.org (the open directory project) and Yahoo Directory are 2 very large directories that most of the smaller directories use to gather information.
To see if the domain is listed, simply go to Yahoo Directory and Dmoz.org and perform a quick search to see if it is listed. If the domain is listed within either of these 2 directories, it will also add value. Remember, when a new website is created it takes time to get indexed & listed in directories. It could take as long as months or even years to build a good traffic ranking & an established presence on the internet. If a domain or website has an existing presence, it can save time and advertising costs.
So if you are buying a used domain name, you will want to check out some of these traffic indicators to see how much you are willing to pay. Also, these features make a great selling point when you go to actually sell the domain or site. These features can add hundreds or sometimes thousands to the price tag.
Tools & Software for Domain Names
These tools to check traffic estimates (such as Alexa.com, PR, back links, search engine indexing, etc.) are great, but it can be time consuming doing each of them individually by hand. This is especially true if you plan on checking multiple domain names. However, there are many websites & software packages that will allow you to check multiple things at once. The list below has a few great websites that allow you to check multiple factors at once.
These are some great sites that allow you to check various things about a domain (or multiple domains) at once and there seem to be more and more of these sites popping up on the web. To use one of these websites to find information on a domain name, simply go to the website & enter the domain you want to check.
Then, it will search things such as: The domain’s registration date, PageRank, inbound links, Alexa Traffic Rating, indexed pages, estimated link value, & estimated site/domain value.
There are also several software packages that will perform the same kind of operation. The main advantage of software is that most software packages are more sophisticated than the website searches. They also contain more detailed information, and can provide information on a bulk list of domains at a time. Also, some software packages allow you to contact owners via their WHOIS information& many more features. The table below lists a few of domain name software packages available on the web.
- Domain Name Pro®
- Domain Research Tool®
- Expired Domain Sleuth®
- Expired Domains 1.0®
- Domain Name Analyzer 3.2®
- Domain Quester Pro 6®
These software packages can be found online & the prices range from a free download to around $100. Also, many packages will allow you to download a trial or demo so you can actually try the software before making a purchase. Each software package has its own set of features, so it is recommended that check each one to see which software package has the features you are most interested in using as a domain investor.
Also, remember that you don’t necessarily need to have software to make money with domains. If you are new to selling domains, I would recommend you start slowly & gain experience before investing too much money in software or other tools. This will allow you to build confidence & find which of making money that you are most successful using.
Other Domain Name Value Factors
As mentioned before, existing traffic can make a domain name very valuable because traffic can be converted into money. However, there are several other factors that can make a domain valuable aside from traffic. The other factors that make a domain valuable include: type of extension, character type & length, hacks, and more. This is important because a domain does not necessarily need traffic to be profitable. As I will describe in detail later, I have made money by simply registering quality domains that have never been registered & then I flipped them for a quick profit.
Valuable Domain Extensions
One factor of value is the domain extension (TLD unit). Normally the most valuable domain extension is the “.com”. The .com is the most popular extension and it is usually sells for a higher price than other extensions. For instance, example.com will usually be considered more valuable than example.net (excluding all other factors). This is due in part to the fact that the general public is more familiar with .com as a web address and it will be more likely to build traffic & establish a brand. However, other extensions such as .net, .org, .biz, etc. can still be profitable. Even country code top level domains can be sold for quick profits.
However, I recommend sticking with .com, .net, and .org. You will quickly realize that if you check any of the top domain selling sites (listed later) then you will see that “.com’s” usually make up about 50-75% of the completed sales (& also sell for higher prices). Next are the .net & .org extensions, followed by .biz, and .info. Country code domains also occasionally sell, but in much less frequency than the other TLD’s. Again, I recommend focusing on the .com first, followed by .net & .org. You can then work your way to other extensions.
Domain Characters & Length
Another factor that makes a domain valuable is the type of characters used. Regular numbers & letters are preferred to characters such as hyphens or symbols. For example, ThisExample.com would be considered more valuable than This- Example.com. Most domain appraisals (whether performed by human or software) will consider a domain less valuable if it has a hyphen or other similar character.
The domain name’s length should also be considered. Generally, a domain name will be considered more valuable if it has a short amount of characters and/or words. Try to stick with a one word domain if possible, with as few letters as possible. Getting a two letter domain name is almost the equivalent of winning the lottery. I also frequently see three letter domains sell for high thousands (or hundreds of thousands in some cases). Even three character domains consisting of numbers & letters will also frequently sell in the high hundreds or thousands even if it has never been registered. Four letter domains are also very valuable.
Also remember that if you are registering a new domain, try to avoid the use of “filler words” such as “the” (e.g. TheDomainExample.com). These extra words make the domain harder to remember, and less valuable. Of course, these very short domains are hard to find. Most all of the very best are already registered. However, remember that nearly 10,000-20,000 domains expire daily, and there are still undiscovered domains out there that can easily be registered & flipped for a profit.
Domain Acronyms, Homophones, Phrases, Misspellings, & Hacks
Also, don’t forget that domain names are sometimes considered valuable if they consist of acronyms, homophones, unique phrases, & misspellings.
- Acronym domains are domains that are made up of the first letter of each word in a certain phrase. For example, (ICANN.org) is an acronym that stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers. If you can find a clever acronym, it could be profitable.
- Homophone domains are domains that have the same sound as a certain word, but different spellings and/or meanings. For instance, you could have a domain like HareDye.com (instead of HairDye.com). These could also be very valuable to a potential buyer (or business).
- Phrases can also be used with domains. For instance, you could have a domain that has a catchy or popular phrase such as “ILoveYou.com” or something similar. This can be a great way to come up with a profitable domain because there are constantly new phrases & slang terms constantly being added to the human language, and they can get type-in traffic after they are registered.
- Misspellings are another huge potential for domains. I can only imagine how many thousands of hits domains like “goggle.com” receive–which is an easy misspelling of google.com (one of the top search engines in the world). Again, misspellings have sold for high prices and they can be very profitable as long as you aren’t breaking any rules.
- Domain Hacks/Cracks are another popular way to come up with domains to register & flip. A domain “hack” or “crack” is simply a play on the domain & extension. In this method, when the phrase & extension is combined, it creates a word or phrase. The table below lists a few examples of good domain hacks.
Hacked Domain Word Spelled Inter.net, Cabi.net, Del.icio.us
These hacked domains are sometimes considered extremely valuable because they are very easy to remember, consist of fewer letters & make a lasting impression.
A domain may also be considered very valuable if it contains popular keywords. Popular keywords can increase type-in traffic, potential branding & more. If you are considering flipping new (unregistered) domains, then one great way to come up with potentially good domains is to use a keyword tool. You can check Yahoo Publisher Network, or Google Adwords keyword tool to find out popular searches & keywords. You can then see if any domains are available with similar keywords.
Beware of Cybersquatting
While you are looking for things that may make a domain name profitable, you should be careful to avoid cybersquatting. Cybersquatting is the process of registering or using a trademark name in a domain name in any way with intent to profit. For example, let’s say you registered a domain like walmart.com with the intent to either sell it at a profit or use it to make money in any way. This could be considered cybersquatting because you are using a registered trademark name that belongs to someone else & you are trying to use their “name” to profit in bad faith.
Although there are several gray areas as to whether some domains are actually considered to be trademark infringement, you should try to steer clear of using trademarked names. Instead, go for more general names & phrases like “car” (instead of Ford Cars) or “Cell Phone” instead of Nokia Cell Phone. By doing this, you can avoid cybersquatting & the domain will likely have a greater market potential. For more information about ICANN’s rules concerning cybersquatting, you can visit the following URL: http://www.icann.org/udrp/udrp.htm.
Now that you know some of the factors that make a domain valuable, you can learn to estimate the potential value. However, before learning techniques to estimate the value, remember that the true value of a domain is the price a person is willing to pay. Person A may be willing to buy your domain for $5,000 while Person B may be willing to buy your domain for only $20. The key is to pick good domains, & find the “right” buyer (this will be discussed in detail later).
While these techniques I am about to mention can be a great way to get an estimate of the value, you should not consider the estimate authoritative. You could get more or less from your particular domain. These methods are a good starting place & I use these methods on a regular basis to get a general idea of my buying or selling prices. They include: Domain appraisals and completed sales search.
Domain Appraisal Services
There are several domain name appraisal services on the web. These services range from free automated domain appraisals that you can perform yourself, to paid “human” appraisals. Appraisals can be a good tool to get an idea of the estimated value when buying or selling a domain, but just remember that the true value is the price a person is willing to pay. Also, an appraisal service will be more accurate if it considers multiple factors such as length of time registered, potential market, keyword popularity, back links, number & type of characters, future potential, etc.
You can find several free (automated) domain appraisal services on the web. These sites use a simple algorithm to achieve an estimate based on different factors. A couple of sites that you can use for appraisals are: www.urlbuyers.com/valuation.com, www.swiftappraisal.com, www.websiteoutlook.com.
These sites can be great to get a quick figure, but the “do-it-yourself” automated appraisals are going to be less accurate than a professionally evaluated appraisal. But for speed & price, they can be great to add as a selling point or for a quick check.
There are also several companies that offer paid domain appraisal services. Paid domain appraisals are usually more accurate than automated appraisals because you will have an actual human looking over your domain and evaluating the value based on multiple factors. Here are some websites that offer paid domain appraisal services:
Of course, paying for a domain appraisal service can get quite expensive. This is especially true if you are paying for appraisals of multiple domains. The only time I will actually pay for a domain appraisal service is when I have a really good domain that I think will fetch in the high thousands. This way, I have an independent company’s appraisal to show potential buyers the true value of the domain.
This can gain buyer’s confidence & help “sell” the domain. Prices for paid domain appraisal services range from $5.99-$100.00 depending on the company. If you expect to flip the domain for a couple of hundred dollars or less, then I would probably not worry about paying for an appraisal. Instead, just use one of the free services or forget about it entirely.
Search Completed Sales of Domain Names
Searching completed sales is very important when it comes to estimating value for domains. This gives you an inside opportunity to check the following things:The actual selling price, if it had a website with it, when it was registered, if it had any traffic (and approximately how much), & much more. This can be a great indicator of how other domains with similar spellings, categories, or traffic might be worth. Also, it can generate ideas for new (unregistered) domains that can be flipped for a profit.
To search completed sales, I would recommend checking some of the top domain selling sites listed below. These sites will let you access recent sales price.
Once you go to these sites, you can usually see the recent sales prices on the home page in the lower corner (except for eBay.com). Below is an example of the recent sales price section on Sedo.com & Afternic.com. It also shows the incredibly high prices a good domain can reach. This information is updated on a daily basis.
To check the completed items on eBay.com, you must first click on the link for“advanced search.” Then, enter the word or category for “domain name” and then select the “completed items” box. This will display the completed sales price for all recent sales. Below is an example of the completed items search:
This will then bring up the results for the recent domain selling prices on eBay.com. Next, you should refine your search by selecting “highest price first.”
This will sort the results by price from the highest price to the lowest price. This allows you to search faster & you won’t have to sift through the “junk” domains listed for next to nothing. You can then find the quality domains that have sold for reasonable prices.
Once you have this information, you can use it for research. Just plug in the domain to one of the tools mentioned earlier (such as Alexa.com, dnscoop.com, etc.) to find more information about the domain. You can then compare those stats with the stats of the domain you plan on selling, or use it for ideas to register similar domains to flip.
Using completed sales search is also great because this is a possible indicator of profitable unregistered domains. You can use this information to register similar domains. For example, let’s say you find see a domain sell for $2,000 called FastCash.com (not an actual sale–just hypothetically). You do some quick research & find that it has little or no apparent traffic rating, & it only has a couple of pages and/or back links indexed. Also, you see that there is no website established that is being sold with the domain.
This tells you that the individual basically purchased the “name.” So you can use this information to put together other possible domain combinations. A neat way to do this is to use a thesaurus. Most word processors will have a thesaurus built in, or you could find a free thesaurus online. You can then generate possible similar words for each domain world & come up with similar domains. For example, you might come up with domains like QuickCash.com, FastMoney.com, QuickMoney.com, etc. which you could quickly register & flip.
Flipping domain names is one of the quickest & easiest ways to make money with them. This is similar to buying stocks or flipping wholesale goods for a profit. The difference with domains is that you usually have a much lower investment, nearly unlimited supply of inventory, a profit potential of hundreds or thousands, and while you have the domain listed for sale it could be generating income to pay for itself.
How does it work? You simply buy a domain (either new or expired), list the domain for sale on a top domain selling site, market the domain, transfer the domain to the lucky buyer, and collect your profits. Sounds simple enough right! Now let’s break down each step in detail, beginning with flipping a new (unregistered) domain name.
How to Register & Flip a New Unregistered Domain Name
Many domain investors only focus on buying expired domains to use for making money. While expired domains can certainly be profitable (and in several ways), some investors have no idea that it is just as easy to register a new domain & flip it for a profit (or perhaps even easier).
There are several individuals & businesses that are willing to pay a higher price for a good quality “fresh” domain. Also, remember that most of the very best domains are already registered, so if you can use some brainstorming & tools to find new domains with great quality, then you can reap the profits in exchange for your efforts.
Step 1: Finding a Quality Domain Name to Flip
When you go to search for new “quality” domains, you should try to keep in mind all of the things that make a domain valuable. Also, when searching for a domain remember that there will be 3 potential buyers: Businesses (buying for business use), individuals (buying for personal or hobby use), and other investors (buying to use in some way to generate profits). Keeping these things in mind will help you to be more critical & pick only the very best domains. After you have brainstormed & used tools such as thesaurus, dictionary, etc. to generate a list of possible keywords, you can then check to see if they are available.
It’s a good idea to generate a large selection of possible domains in notepad, a database, or a word processor. Then, you can copy that into an online form to check the availability of the domains. I usually do this process at Godaddy.com using the “bulk registration” form to see which domains are available. To do this, go to the Godaddy.com home page. Click the “domain” tab in the top left corner, then click “register in bulk” from the drop down menu as pictured below. You will then be able to list up to 500 domains at one time & check to see if they are available.
After you enter the security code & then click the “go” button, Godaddy.com will automatically check the domains & remove the unavailable domains from your list. You can then proceed to check out & purchase any (or all) of the available domains.
Purchasing & Registering Domains
Once you have selected some quality domains, you can then proceed to purchase & register the domains you have selected. You can use any registrar of your choice. I usually use Godaddy.com to register my domains. This is because Godaddy allows you to “push” a domain name to another individual’s account at any time. This is extremely important if you are trying to do a quick flip.
Why is this important? ICANN has a rule that when domains are registered they cannot be transferred to another “registrar” for a period of 60 days. So if you wanted to sell the domain using a company that doesn’t allow the “push” feature, then you would have to wait 60 days to sell it. However, using Godaddy’s “push” feature, you could register the domain, sell it at any time, & push it to the buyer’s account free of charge without having to wait 60 days (I will go over this in detail later).
The buyer will have to have a Godaddy account to do this, and if they don’t have an account they can get one of those free of charge also. So remember, if you are going to try for a quick flip, use a registrar that allows you to “push” it to another account free without having to wait 60 days. By using this loophole, I have registered domains & flipped them within 1-2 days. There are other companies that will allow you to do this (such as eNom.com) but I usually use Godaddy.com.
After you have chosen a company (registrar), you can purchase your domain(s). This is a simple process. It is just the same as buying anything else online. You will usually just add the domain(s) to a shopping cart, proceed to checkout, and enter the payment & personal information.
During this process, you will have the option of selecting things such as the registration length, auto or manual renewal, and you will probably receive add-on offers for additional products or services. If I am buying the domain to flip, then I select only a 1 year registration period, manual renewal, and I do not worry with any additional offers such as private registration, etc. This keeps the domain registration price as low as possible to ensure a healthyprofit.
You will then enter your payment information, & finish the checkout process. After you have done this, you will have ownership of the domain for the complete registration period. You can then proceed to sell the domain on one of the top domain selling sites.
Selling Domain Names (How and Where to Sell Domains)
When it comes to selling domains you have several options. You can list the domain on a popular auction site, you can list it on a site made for domain trading, or you could market the domain directly to potential buyers. Each option has its pros & cons as summarized in the list below:
Auction Sites Pros: · Domains typically sell faster · Good exposure · Use bidding, buy now, or best offer · Accept any payment method Cons: · Selling fees charged · Domains sell for higher prices on other domain sites
Domain Name Selling Sites:
- Domains sell for higher prices on these sites
- These sites are well known & used exclusively for domain selling/trading
- Potential buyers are often referred to these sites.
- Commissions/fees charged
- Domains can take longer to sell than on auction sites
Direct Selling of Domain Names:
- If you have a good domain, buyers may come to you
- Choose your own payment/selling terms
- Avoid costly selling fees
- Less Exposure
- Unless individuals are already interested, you will have to do a great deal of marketing/advertising
- Could take more time to sell if there are no buyers interested immediately
As the list summarizes, each method of selling domains has its pros & cons. Here is what I personally do: I divide my “great” domains from my “good” domains. I get my “good” domains & list them for sale on eBay.com. This allows me to quickly flip them for a profit, but I usually do not make as much money. I might make anywhere from $10-200 profit per domain. So instead of making large profits from one domain, I make smaller profits on a greater quantity.
Also, eBay allows you to have multiple accounts, so you can have a special User ID just for selling domains. For the “great” domains, I list them on one (or all) of the top domain selling sites. This usually takes me longer to sell it, but I will get a higher price for the domain on average. Occasionally, you may “get lucky” and have an interested buyer contact you directly. In this case, you can arrange the transaction however you would like.
Selling Domain Names on Auction Sites
There are a few auctions sites around where you can sell your domains. I usually sell on eBay.com because it is the most popular auction site & I already have accounts established.
To get started, sign into your eBay account. If you do not have an eBay account, you can sign up for one free. Once you are signed in, click the “sell” link. You will then be able to make a listing & list your domain for sale. When you list your domain, you will be charged a listing fee which varies based on the price. You will also be charged a final value fee, but only if the domain sells. You can access eBay’s fee structure by going to eBay.com & clicking the “help” link.
If you sell several domains, then you can make one HTML template & use it over & over again. This makes listing your auctions much faster. I use a simple template with the sales pitch & description typed out & I just change the domain details for each listing. You will also be able to set the price & choose from auction format, fixed price (buy it now), or a combination. I would recommend either choosing a buy it now price or starting an auction for the minimum price you want to sell. This way you won’t have to sell it for less than it’s worth. This is important because many times you may only have 1 interested buyer & the bidding price will not increase with just 1 bid.
Also, don’t forget to “sell” the domain in the auction listing. Use persuasive language & explain why your domain is a good investment. Think of your potential buyers (businesses, individuals, & investors) & try to include selling points that appeal to each one.
The list below lists some important things to remember when selling your domains in an auction:
Selling Points & Tips Details to Include in the Auction
- Offer a free & fast “push” to the buyers account · Point out the domain’s features (few characters, short, catchy, etc.)
- Could be branded for a business
- Potential to increase in value
- Great name for a website
- Rare/ Quality domain
- Appraisal value (free or paid)
- Use an eye catching gallery picture
- If you have trouble selling a domain, consider using a promotional tool (highlight, bold, featured , etc.)
- The domain’s expiration date · Where the domain is registered (Godaddy, etc.)
- How it will be transferred (e.g. free push to buyer’s account) & how quickly.
- Payment method you prefer
- Any back links, indexing, or traffic the domain receives
Note : Also remember to instruct the buyer to send the following information along with payment: First & last name, email address, phone number, and home/business address. You will need this information to “push” the domain to the buyer’s account.
You will also need to indicate which payment method you will accept. You have several options. You can have the buyer send a business or personal check, pay through Paypal.com, money order, wire transfer, etc. I usually stick with Paypal.com because you can receive the funds instantly to your email account. I stay away from methods that involve western union money grams or other unusual payment methods. These can sometimes be scams. Instead stick with a securepayment method, insure the payment clears, and make sure the buyer’s information matches the payment information.
Once the payment has cleared, you can then “push” the domain to the buyer’s account. To do this, you will have to log in to your registrar’s account. Again, you will want to select a company that allows you to “push” the domain to an account without having to wait for 60 days. Since I use Godaddy.com, I will take you through the steps of “pushing” the domain.
First, log into your account by entering your account name & password. Then click “My Account.” Next, click the “Manage Domains” link. You will then be able to view all the domains you have registered. To “push” the domain to the buyer’s account, select the box next the domain and then select “Account Change.”
Then it will bring up a window to enter the new owner’s information. Make sure to fill that section out completely with all necessary information.
You will then be asked to “confirm” or “save” the changes. Click the “confirm” or “save” button. That’s it! This will initiate the push to the buyer’s account. Then the buyer needs to simply log into their Godaddy account within 10 days & accept the changes. The domain will then be in the buyer’s possession. This is the easiest & fastest way to flip domains for a profit. Not only is the “push” free, it also gets around the 60 day waiting period because you are only changing the account information (not registrar companies).
Domain Specialty Sites
If you feel you have a really good domain and you want the maximum amount of money you can get, then I would suggest selling it on one of the top domain sellingsites. The top selling sites are: Afternic.com and Sedo.com. The advantage to selling on one of these sites is that you will get great exposure to serious domain buyers. Many large businesses, domain investors, and individuals will seek a specialty domain selling site for quality domains before they will consider auction sites.
Again, in my personal experience you can usually get more money for your domain if you use one of these sites designed to deal especially with domains, but it may take longer.
Each domain selling site has a different fee structure. For instance, Sedo.com allows you to list your domain free, but you will be charged a commission of around 10% (with a $50 minimum) when the domain is sold. Afternic.com requires you to join a $19.99/yr. membership to list domains for sale, plus a commission when the domain is sold. TDNAM.com (another popular site) charges a $4.99 annual membership fee plus a 5-7% commission on the final sales price. These sites are usually worth the extra expense if you have a good domain.
Which site is the best? It really depends on which fee structure and features best suits your preferences. I usually make 80% of my “great” domain sales on Afternic.com & Sedo.com, but I have also made sales on tdnam.com and other smaller forums or sites. In fact, I usually list my domain on every site that I can for maximum exposure. The more people you can get to look at your domain, the better your chances are of selling it.
To get started selling your domains on one of these sites, simply create an account and pay any necessary fees. You will then be able to list your domain for sale. You may also want to consider extra marketing or selling promotions that are offered. For instance, on most sites you can get your domain featured on the front page, or marketed more aggressively for an extra fee. This is obviously an extra expense, but it could give a good return on your investment if you are able to find the “right” buyer by doing this.
When it comes time to transfer or “push” your domain, the process will usually be the exact same as mentioned before. The only difference is that the company that you are using (e.g. Afternic.com) may have an “escrow” service. This is simply a service that makes sure the buyer’s funds & seller’s domain are exchanged without a problem. You will still “push” the domain to the buyer in the exact same way.
Flipping Expired Domains
The process of registering & flipping new domains is very simple & straight forward. Buying & flipping expired domains, however, can get a little more complicated. Not only will you have competition also looking to get the domain, but the whole process can take longer, and the domain itself may end up costing considerably more. But remember, many of these expired domains could have existing traffic & links, making them well worth the additional hassle. Now let’s go through the steps of buying an expired domain & flipping it.
Step 1: Finding Expired Domains
To find expiring domains, start checking the websites that have lists of expiring domains or use your expired domain software. Also, it is a good idea to find a site or use software that allows you to search through the different expired domains as well as check features (such as traffic, etc). The table below lists some great sites to search for expired domains: Expired Domain Sites
- Godaddy Auctions
Now you can begin to search through the thousands of domain names that will soon be expiring. Again, try to stick with quality domains that have existing traffic. You can use search tools on the software or website to find domains with certain extensions, or domains that contain certain words. This is very helpful to weed out the “bad” domains so that you can find the “great” domains.
Step 2: Backorder the Domain
After you find a domain that you are interested in purchasing, you should first try a backorder service. A backorder service is a serviced performed by a company (normally a registrar) in which an attempt is made to register the domain as soon as it becomes available. Remember, domains don’t expire when they say they willexpire. Instead, they will go through a long process of 30-60 days. As soon as you see a domain you are interested in buying, choose a backorder service.
Before I do this, I will find the registrar that the domain is currently registered. You can do this by using the software/website, or by performing a quick WHOIS search. To do a WHOIS search, just go to a site like NetworkSolutions.com (or go to Google.com & enter “WHOIS lookup”). You can then find out the domains registration information. Then, I will try a backorder with that company. Usually, backorders are more effective when they are performed by the company in which the domain is currently registered. However, you can use multiple backorder services for the same domain to increase your chances of getting it.
Some popular companies that will allow you to use a backorder service are: Godaddy.com, Pool.com, eNom.com, SnapNames.com, NetworkSolutions.com, and more. Some of these companies will charge an upfront fee to use a backorder (such as Godaddy.com), but if the backorder is unsuccessful you can re-assign the service to another expiring domain. However, some companies will allow you to use backorder for free, and you only pay if the backorder is successful. Fees can range from $20-200. Godaddy.com actually has a fairly reliable backorder service.
I usually will use Godaddy.com and then follow up with as many free services that I can (such as Pool.com, etc.). This combination has worked well for me. Just make sure you understand the fees & terms of each company that you use.
If the company is successful in the backorder request, then you will usually be notified via email & you will be able to assume control over the domain. Many times, the backorder charge will cover the registration & ICANN fees. In this case, everything is over and you will have your domain name. However, if there are multiple backorder requests, the domain will usually go into an auction.
A domain normally goes into an auction if there are multiple backorder requests with the registrar that obtains the expired domains. In this situation, you will be allowed to enter a bid against other interested individuals that have also backordered the domain. This is where you must be careful. Bidding prices can get out of control. It is easy to get caught up in emotions & bid more than the domain is actually worth. I always do my research to find out the value of the domain. I will then set a figure in my mind and I will not go beyond that figure. Also, remember to keep track of all of your fees. The backorder fees are not included in the auction bids.
If you are the winning bidder, then you will be able to acquire the domain. You can then flip the domain on an auction or domain selling site (preferred). This is similar to flipping unregistered domains. The only difference is with unregistered domains, there isn’t as much competition & the registration/buying process is much easier. You simply buy low, and sell high. With expiring domains, the process is much lengthier, competitive, and requires more of an investment.
With this method you buy high, and sell higher. However, you must remember that expired domains can be like a block of gold if you get the right one & use it in the right way.
Parking Domain Names for Cash
Another way to earn cash with your domains is by signing up with a paid parking service. What is paid parking? This is a program where you assign your domain with a paid parking company. The company then places pay per click ads with your domain. If someone clicks on an ad, you earn commission. As you can imagine, if the domain gets a large amount of traffic, you could earn a large commission. You could earn anywhere from a few cents to a few thousand depending on your domain quality & traffic. The best part is that this gives you a way to earn extra money while you are in the process of selling your domain.
Sometimes you can get your entire investment back on the price paid for registration. If you have a domain with great traffic, you could earn a very nice passive income. There are several companies on the web that offer a paid parking service. The list below lists a few of the most popular programs:
Paid Parking Services
- Adsense for Domains
Some of these companies are free to use (such as NameDrive.com), while others charge a small monthly fee. Usually the “free” companies offer lower commissions, while the companies that you pay a small fee offer higher commission percentages. Which company is best? Again, it depends on your preference. In my experience, I have tried several “paid parking” services. I like Sedo.com simply because I am often selling domains on the site & it helps me to keep everything organized. However, other programs have given a good return.
How Domain Name Parking Works
To start earning money with domain parking, sign up with a company that offers the service. Again, there are several to choose from. Then, most companies will require that you provide a list of all the domains you want to “park.” This may take time you have a bulk list of domains. In this case, many companies will allow you to upload a spreadsheet or file with the entire list of domains.
Next, you will have to forward the domain to the paid parking service so you can start earning money for clicks. There are a couple of ways to do this. Most companies will allow you to forward the nameserver, or forward via a URL link (or both). To change the name server, log into your domain registrar’s account (e.g. Godaddy.com). Then click on “Nameservers” as pictured below.
Next, you be taken to a page where you can view your Current Nameserver, and make modifications. Click the “Custom Nameserver” tab as pictured below. You can then enter the Nameservers of the company you are parking with.
In the Nameserver 1 & 2 location, you can enter the paid parking Nameserver. For instance, Sedo.com uses the following Nameservers:
The domain can also be forwarded to the parking service. To do this, click on the “forward” tab on the “manage domains” home page. You can then add a redirect URL.
Make sure to click “enabled.” Then enter the URL for the redirect . For Sedo.com, you would use the following: www.sedoparking.com/Domain.com. You would replace domain.com with your own domains. Then click “ok” to save (changes may take up to 48 hours). The domain will now be forwarded to a “parked page.”
After your domains are redirected to your parking page, you can optimize and customize your pages. You can do this by selecting relevant keywords, and choosing a page layout that best suits your domain. This simple step is often overlooked. If you will simply take the time to research & select high paying keywords, your earnings could be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, or more! It is important to select keywords that match your domain.
For instance, if your domain is Carparts.com, then you don’t want to have keywords for art, painting, etc. You would want to use keywords that are related to car parts. Next, you want to use a keyword tool with a pay-per-click company to see which keywords cost the most for advertisers. You can do this by going to Yahoo! Publisher Network, or Google Adwords. Do a quick search for keywords related to your domain. Then, compile a quick list by copying & pasting the highest paying words.
Next, use these for your keyword optimization on your parked page. By using the highest paying keywords, you can maximize the revenue you receive from each click. I learned this lesson the hard way. By simply changing the keywords I was using, I was able to double my earnings almost instantly.
Also, you will have the option of selecting a page layout. This is less important, but you will want to look & see which design compliments your domain. Also, see which design has the best “click through” appeal. Pick the design that looks natural, with ppc links that blend in with the page. The more natural & blended the page looks, the more revenue you will likely earn.
The sites mentioned above are great if you have a small portfolio of domains & you want to earn revenue while you are either trying to sell them, building a website, or simply holding them as an investment. However, if you happen to have a large portfolio (or eventually build one), then you may want to look at other options. For example, Google has a special domain parking service that allows domainers with large domain portfolios (that generate large amounts of monthly traffic) to use their Google Adsense program in conjuction with the domains.
The program works similar to paid parking with other companies, however, you basically cut out the middle man. You simply use Google’s special code that analyzes domains & displays ads on your parked pages. Again, this is mostly for very large domain portfolios. The last time I checked I think the minimum required traffic from the domains had to be around 750,000 hits/month. So that means if each domain you own receives 100 hits per month, you would need 7,500 of them before you were accepted. However, Google may change the requirements at any time. For more information on this program or to apply for the service, you can visit http://www.google.com/domainpark/.
Domain PPC Brokerage/Arbitrage
Another way to make money with domains is by taking advantage of pay-per-click (PPC) “brokerage.” What is PPC brokerage? This is similar to paid parking, but you can control every aspect of the pay per click program. This is a method where you set up a domain, make a simple 1-10 page site, place pay-per-click ads on the site, and then drive traffic to the site. When you “buy” traffic, the idea is to pay a minimal expense for the keywords, and then have higher paying keywords on your site. You might pay $0.05 for a keyword, and then you “sell” another keyword for $0.50 (making $0.45 cents in gross profit). This may not be much, but it doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out that if you are doing this in the thousands or hundreds of thousands successfully, it can be very profitable.
Starting a Pay-per-click Campaign
To get started, you must sign up for your own PPC publishing program. There are many companies online to choose from. The table below lists some of the most popular pay-per-click companies.
Google Adsense Yahoo! Publisher Network MS Ad Center Miva Simply
Simply choose a company (or all companies) & sign up for a publisher’s account. This is usually free, and takes only a few minutes. Some of these programs may want to verify your site before accepting your application. That’s why it is a good idea to have a general layout for your website before you apply. Once you have been approved, you can quickly get the code to insert into your page so that the ads will display.
Build a Simple Site
Once you have the ad code, you can begin making a template for a simple website. Many hosting companies will have built-in templates that you can use. You can also use a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) html generator such as FrontPage, Web Expression, or Dreamweaver. You will also need to have your site hosted online. There are several companies that will let you do this for free, but they display ads on the page also. Your best bet is to go with a cheap hosting plan for around $3.99-6.99.
This way, you don’t have to worry about the hosting company’s ads. The idea here is to build a simple web page or website (1-10 pages in length) and place links (or plain ads) on the page. The links will then lead the visitor to a page with almost nothing but ads on it. This leaves the visitor almost no choice but to click on an ad. Of course, you could always add pictures or content.
Of course, the better you make your site, the more clicks you will get. Try adding pictures, content, and more for a better look. The more blended & natural the ads look, the more clicks you will get. When you are ready to build pages, do a keyword search like I mentioned before on a popular site such as Yahoo! Publisher Network. You can then find top paying keywords. You will then use these keywords for your Meta Tag & any content you place on the page.
This will usually cause the ads with high paying keywords to display on your site. Also, try adding content at the bottom. You can write a short keyword rich paragraph at the very bottom of the page. This way, the ads display at the top, and the visitor would have to scroll down the page to see the words (this technique is often used).
You can build one good site, and then forward all of your domains to that one site, or point each domain to a separate web page. This is good because it saves on hosting fees. Also, many hosting plans now allow for “multiple websites” on one plan. This means you can literally have as many mini-websites as you want, all on the same hosting account. So you simply use one hosting plan, and you can monetize your entire domain portfolio using all of the techniques mentioned in this guide.
This works the same way as before when I discussed forwarding your domain to a paid parking service. Instead, you can create one page, and forward all your domains to that one page with ads. Also, you can group domains (for example, all medical related domains), and then create a page with medical related ads & keywords. Then, forward each medical related domain using the forward button.
If you want each domain to have the appearance of it’s own web page without actually creating a separate page for each domain, you can do this easily as well. Create one generic page with no logos or typing. Then, when you forward all of your domains to this one page, select the “mask” or “alias” button. This makes it appear as if the “typed-in” domain has it’s own page, when in reality it is being forwarded to another page. This “masking” feature keeps the domain that the person typed in visible in the browser bar. For example, you have 50 medical related domains. So you create one generic web page with all medical related links on it.
We’ll pretend this page is created on “nurses.com.” Then, you forward all of your medical related domains to this one page. If you select “mask,” then it will keep each separate domain visible in the browser bar. So a person goes & types in one of your medical domains (doctor.com), & it forwards them to the generic medical page you have for nurses.com. They will never know it was really nurses.com, because you “masked” the real page’s domain. This can be a real time saver if you have a lot of domains & you wan to create a “mini-site.”
Driving Traffic to Domain Names
After you have set-up a simple 1-10 page site with ads, you can begin to drive traffic to the site. This is where you will start to realize that traffic=money. Of course there are 3 ways to do this. First, there is the free way. Next, you have the cheap way. Finally, you have the expensive way.
The free way to get traffic is by type-ins (if the domain is good), and by taking advantage of forums, social networking sites, email campaigns, search engine referrals, and any other free marketing methods you can develop. You can respond to forums & use your link as your signature. Go to social networking sites & tell your “friends” about your site. Put links in an eBook & offer it for a free download.
Create a video with the domain advertised in a subscript, and circulate it online. The sky is the limit. As long as you aren’t spamming or breaking any rules or terms of service, then you have almost unlimited free resources to drive traffic. Also, this is where it can pay off if you purchase an expired domain with existing traffic (or bulk of expired domains), and then point them to your site.
If you don’t have a lot of “resources,” and you want to drive even more traffic, then you may want to take advantage of the second method of getting traffic (the cheap method). To get cheap traffic, you will actually use PPC campaign and banner advertising methods. Again, the key here is to pay a low price for traffic and then receive a higher price when they click on your ads.
To do this, seek the absolute lowest bids on keywords, but build as many keywords as possible. You can create multiple campaigns, with up to 500 “cheap” keywords for each campaign. You will not get as many clicks per keyword, so it is important to get as many as possible.
Also, use cheap pay-per-click companies. GoClick.com will allow you to bid as low as $0.01 per click. If you use creative banner advertising with Adwords, it could be even lower. You can then drive large amounts of traffic to your site for dirt cheap prices. Then, you can reap the profits for the clicks you receive in return. Just make sure the traffic sources you are using are real “genuine” visits. Avoid companies that use automated robots, etc.
Obviously, you should stick to the first two methods to drive traffic to your sites. This is because the last method (the expensive way) could devastate your profits. If you pay too much, you could actually lose money. That is why it is extremely important to find the cheapest advertising methods as possible, and monitor your progress very carefully. Also, beware of “bad” sources of traffic. What are “bad” sources of traffic? Usually, it is involves these “get 1,000,000 hits for $10” schemes.
This traffic is usually worthless because it involves automated robots or other ineffective ways to deliver “fake” or “undesired” traffic that usually results in no clicks. So you must be very careful when paying for traffic.
Track Progress and Collect Profits
Again, it is extremely important to measure your progress. Try to find out which method results in the best return. Be careful not to overspend. Using brokerage/arbitrage can be very profitable, but it can also make you lose money.
Your success will depend on your own skills of finding cheap, clever ways to get traffic, while making sure you stay at a profit. If you get really talented at doing brokerage, you could literally almost double your investment (or more). If you are not careful & clever, you could actually lose money. The key is to start slow, and spend cautiously.
One Word of Caution: Read Also, be very careful to read all of the fine print in the terms & conditions (and program policies) of any PPC programs you decide to use for the purpose of generating revenue. The last thing you want is to get banned by the company you were using to generate click revenue. Some programs (such as Google Adsense) are not too fond of the type of sites I just described.
They consider these M.F.A. sites (made for Adsense) and they have been banning publishers that have created these types of sites. Does this mean you should forget about the whole idea? Not necessarily. It simply means to read & understand everything to know what is allowed & what is not allowed. Maybe you will have to make a slight alteration (such as add more content, etc.) if your site has nothing but ads. Things are not always “black and white” with these policies. However, they will ban you if they feel you are behaving in a way that is bad for their business. So be careful to read & follow the policies of the company you use, and be careful where you by your traffic.
Use Affiliate Links for Domains
Another way to make money with domains is by using them with affiliate links. This idea is similar to PPC brokerage, only you are using your own affiliate links to earn commissions (instead of PPC ads). You simply sign up with an affiliate company, place your own special referral links on a page, and drive traffic to the domain’s page. When people click on your links, it is tracked by their cookies. You can then earn large commissions if they visitor makes a purchase.
To get started with this method, you need to sign up with an affiliate account. There are lots of different affiliate programs on the web, and each one deals with different kinds of products. The table below lists some of the best affiliate programs online.
Top Affiliate Programs
- CJ.com (Commission Junction)
These programs allow you to earn commissions on anything from digital products to tangible products. These usually pay on a CPA (cost per action) basis. In other words, you only earn commission if the visitor clicks on your referral link, and then performs a certain action. This “action” can be anything from making a purchase, to signing up with an account. Also, some companies (such as CJ.com) will manage affiliate programs for other large companies (such as eBay.com).
With eBay’s affiliate program, you can earn money (up to $20) for each new account that you refer (if they make a purchase/bid within a specified time period), or you can earn a percentage of the sales price. Here is how you can start cashing in on these affiliate programs.
First, you will have to go to the company of your choice & sign up for an account. Most companies have a quick approval & affiliate accounts are almost always free to join. You may even want to sign up for more than one affiliate program. This way you can diversify your links and product offerings.
Next, you will want to create a simple 1 page site just like you would with the ppc brokerage. You can then place your affiliate links on the page. Some programs will give you access to text links, special links with product pictures, and more. You can then set up a page with your special affiliate links placed on the page.
After you have the links set up on your page, you can point all of your domains to the site. Again, this is where buying expired domains with traffic can pay off (especially if you have a bulk of domains). Simply forward the domains to the one site. Again, you can do this by logging into your domain account & following the steps mentioned earlier.
Once you have the site set up & your domains forwarded to the site (or set up as a sub domain) then you should start seeing traffic. To increase your traffic flow, you can use the techniques (free & cheap) that I mentioned before.
Sell Your Links or Ad Space on Domain Parked Pages
If you have a website, then you probably know all about back links. As I already stated, search engines (such as Google.com) rely very heavily on back links as an indicator of a site’s value. This is because links used to occur over the natural course of a website’s development. They were slowly built up over months or years. A webmaster would link to another site if he or she felt like the site had good content or features.
After webmaster’s learned that back links could help get higher results in search engines, manipulations started to take place. Webmasters then started developing linking schemes designed to make their sites appear more popular than they actually were (to the search engines anyway). Entrepreneurs have now realized that links can be valuable as well. This opened up a market to “link selling” and people now sell back links on their websites.
Some links can go as much as $50-200 a piece or more. But how do domains relate to back links? Well there are a couple of ways you can make money with this. First, if you have a domain that is generating traffic, you can offer to forward the domain to a site for a yearly/monthly fee. Secondly, you could build a simple one page site (or full website), write articles, and sell the back link.
Sell a Forwarding/Redirect Service
The first step is simple, and it doesn’t require you to build a site. To do it, you just need a domain that has some traffic and a search engine presence. Again, this is where buying expired domains can prove profitable. If you can find a domain that was used with a website, then it will almost always have traffic. Use the tools on domain software, or check a domain expiration site that gives this information before attempting to purchase an expired domain.
Once you have a domain that gets a reasonable amount of traffic, you can then sell a “forwarding” or “redirect” service. This can be done in several ways. First, you can make a simple listing on an auction site or website offering the service for sale. Check your traffic logs to see how many hits the domain is receiving. You can show a screen shot in the auction/site to prove to the buyer the kind of traffic the domain receives. You can then offer to forward the domain’s traffic to the buyer’s site for a given length of time (months, years, etc.). You can do this with one domain, or you can do this with multiple domains. You will keep ownership, but the buyer will get the traffic.
To forward the domain, follow the steps shown earlier on forwarding the domain. Simply log in to the account, redirect the domain to the new URL, and forward the domain to the buyer’s site. How much should you charge for this service? Again, this depends on a few factors such as the amount of traffic the domain receives, Page Rank, etc. A typical back link can cost anywhere from $5-$1000 a year (or more).
A good way to estimate your selling price is to calculate the cost of the traffic if a ppc campaign was being used. For example, let’s assume you have an expired domain that receives 100 unique visitors per day. You are interested in selling the domain’s “redirect” service. So to come up with an estimate, you take 100 visitors and multiply by 0.01. The $0.01 represents traffic if purchased from a ppc company like Goclick.com. This works out to be $1/day.
Now multiply that by 365 days in a year, and you come up with a value of $365. So roughly, the domain is worth at least $365 because it can generate this revenue in a year (or at least save on advertising costs).
If you are selling the service, however, you would probably want to offer a lower price to give the buyer an extra incentive to buy your redirect service. This is a quick & easy way to make money with domains, with almost no work involved. Remember those companies I mentioned earlier that offer “100,000 hits in one month for $xx.xx?” Well one way that these companies do this is by using automated robots that generate nearly worthless “hits” and usually no clicks. However, another way this is done is by investing large amounts of money into expired domains with good traffic figures.
They are then able to direct 100’s or 1000’s of visitors to your site by forwarding (or redirecting) these hits to your domain or website. There are several companies that are now using this method with domains to generate revenue.
This works out well for the company. The revenue they generate from domain traffic covers registration fees & expenses. Meanwhile, they get to keep the domain as it goes up in value. Then, they can always flip the domain for even more money in the future. This is the same as investing in real estate. You buy a few extra rental properties. Then you rent the properties & make a small profit. Meanwhile, you retain ownership while the value keeps rising. You can then flip the house in a few years for substantial profits. This is all very similar to domains!
Build a Real Website for the Domain Name
Another method way to profit from domains is to use them with an actual website. This seems to be the best method for today’s search climate. This is different from the methods I mentioned earlier. In those situations, you are only creating simple 1-5 page sites containing very simple designs, and very low content. The idea was to place PPC ads or affiliate links on the site.
However, it can be just as profitable if you develop an actual website. This is true whether it is an old or new site. How can domains help make money in this method? First, let’s consider a brand new website. When starting a new website, traffic will be virtually non-existent. You will also have to do tedious things such as: Submit to search engines, build back links, develop marketing methods, etc.
These things can all be very time consuming (or expensive), especially when you have to actually develop the website and build content. This is where domains can prove helpful. You can register an expired domain and use its existing internet presence to deliver traffic to the new site, or you can register a new domain and forward several other (expired) domains to the new site. Either way, thiscan put your new website on the fast track to gaining traffic & popularity.
How can you monetize the new website? There are literally dozens of ways you can make money with a website. I have already covered a few of them. Again, you can use PPC ads to generate revenue, affiliate links, and you can always sell back links. In addition you can sell your own product, subscriptions, etc. By using several “high traffic” domains to drive traffic to your site, you are not only saving money in advertising costs, but you are also maintaining an investment (the domain itself) which you can later flip for an even greater profit.
Remember, you can roughly calculate the value of a domain’s traffic by comparing it to the expense of running a ppc campaign. Let’s assume you can buy an expired domain that shows average traffic values of about 100 visitors a day. Again, this would roughly cost at least $365 a year to get this traffic if you were running an inexpensive ppc campaign. You can often acquire expiring domains with these numbers for as little as $30-100.
Even if you have an established website, don’t underestimate the power of domains to beef up your existing visitors. By using the same techniques, you can deliver good quality traffic to your existing website & see results almost immediately. In fact, most top websites & webmasters have a large arsenal of domains delivering quality traffic over & over again. If you have a very large portfolio of domain names, you can long in to your domain account & select all of the domains & then forward all of them to the same site. Then, all of the traffic will flow to the one site you have the domain redirected towards.
Thus far, I have covered several methods on how to make money with domain names. All of the above mentioned methods can work great if they are executed successfully. Now I would like to change gears and give some tips & tricks about domains that I have learned from my own personal experience. These can help save you money, boost your sales, and more.
Domain Name Buying Tips
When it comes to buying your domains, you should seek the lowest price possible. Even a $0.50 difference adds up to a large amount if you register several domains. Here are some tips to save money when buying your domains.
1. Shop around– The domain registrar market is highly competitive. You can often find that one company offers domains for a significantly lower price than another. You can typically buy new domains from $1.99-$8.99 (or lower). Again, you can use any company you want. I prefer Godaddy for the “quick flips” because you can simply “push” the domain to the buyer’s Godaddy account.
2. Coupon Codes– Before I make a domain purchase with a registrar, I always do a quick “Googling” for coupon codes I could use. Often times, coupon codes can be found online for domains, hosting & more. I can often find coupons for: 10% off entire order, $5 off if the order is a certain amount, etc. This is a great way to cut down your registration expenses. It only takes a second to search, and it could save you a significant amount of money.
3. Register in the Bulk– If you register domains in the bulk, you can often get a small discount. Again, you would want to check the registrar’s pricing information, but this may be better than using coupon codes.
4. Get Bundled Discounts– The registrar you use may offer special bundle discounts that you can use to save money. For instance, Godaddy often advertises that if you make any non-domain purchase, you can add a domain for only $1.99. This is great if you are purchasing any other item such as hosting. This has no quantity limit, but the only draw back is you can only get one $1.99 domain for every 1 non-domain item. So if you wanted to buy 10 domains for that price, you would also have to buy 10 non-domain items.
5. Watch for Specials– Many domain registrars will run special promotions & holiday discounts. Sometimes you can snatch a good TLD for only $0.99. So it is a great idea to watch out for these specials & register in bulk when you have the chance.
6. Domain Kiting/Tasting– Domain kiting is a process where a domain registrar registers domains is a massive bulk (thousands or even hundreds of thousands). They pay the necessary registration fees. They will then place ads on the page and earn revenue from any type-in traffic. They do this for 5 days at a time. This is because they have a grace period where they can get a full refund within that amount of time. When the 5 days have expired, they will then request a full refund on all of the domains. They repeat this process over & over again making money from advertising without having to actually pay the price (the money is refunded in full each time).
It used to be that only major registrars could do this. Now, companies such as Pool.com have enabled individuals to take part in this scheme. Only now it is called “domain tasting.” Why tasting? Because instead of getting a full refund, theyallow you to try the domain for about 4 ½ days. If you decide you don’t want it, you can request a refund (minus a fee of around $0.10). This is something you may want to keep in mind. This way you can always test a domain and if you decide it was a bad idea, you lose $0.10 at most. If you decide not to keep it, you can get rid of it within the 4 day time frame.
Domain Name Selling Tips
Whether you are buying a domain to flip instantly, or you decide to use it in another way to make money, you will eventually want to sell it. Of course, I have already covered the top websites I use to sell my domains (Sedo.com, Afternic.com, TDNAM.com, eBay.com, etc.). Here are a few selling tips to help you get the most out of your domain:
1. List the domain on as many selling sites as you can. The more exposure you can get, the better your chances are of selling the domain for your asking price.
2. If you are having trouble selling your domain, consider the price. If it is too high, it may be hard to find a buyer. If it is too low, you are losing revenue that you could have made otherwise.
3. Consider adding some selling promotions if needed. You can try things on a the site you have the domain listed such as featuring your listing, bold, highlight, etc. This may not be appropriate for every domain you sell, but you may want to experiment to find out which method allows you to sell domains the fastest.
4. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box for your marketing methods. For instance, you could run a banner or PPC campaign advertising your domain for sale. If the domain is in a certain niche (say insurance), then you could use the option on a ppc to advertise on popular insurance sites.
Also, don’t be afraid to advertise in free online classifieds, press releases, email campaigns, newsletters, domain name forums, social networking sites, affiliate/brokerage programs, and more. Sometimes, your domains will sell with little effort, and sometimes you have to “find” the buyer. You do this by using as many marketing methods as possible. Also, you could contact businesses that are related to your domain & offer to sell it.
5. Try different ways to profit from selling domains. You could find quality unregistered domains, and offer a “free” domain as an incentive to buy another one of your more expensive products. By using the domain as a “free gift” you could boost sales for as low as $1.99!
6. Also, you can sell bulk quantities of domains. For instance, if you have a great domain, register the .com, .net, .org, etc. along with it. Also, consider the plural version of the domain. Or you could simply offer a few domains that are related as one package (e.g. insurance related domains, etc.).
7. Make a pitch page! Sometimes when you register a domain, the registrar will offer you a free credit for 1 month of web hosting for each domain you purchase. Of course, this hosting usually displays ads, but you could still use this to your advantage. Make a simple “pitch” page explaining all of the benefits of your domain(s). Or, list all of the domains you have for sale on one pitch page, and drive traffic to that pitch page.
Since you usually get 1free hosting credit per domain, you can switch every month from the old hosting credit to a new hosting credit. Then copy & paste your list of “for sale” domains (or the sales pitch) into the new 1 month free hosting. Then redirect all your advertising traffic to the new URL.
8. Be sure to include any raw data that show’s your domain value. Things such as traffic logs, appraisal values, back links, amount of time it has been registered (domains registered for a long time are usually worth more money) and more can make the buyer have more confidence that they are making a good decision. Also, remember to include important information such as the domains expiration date, where it is registered, and how you plan to transfer the domain (free push, etc.).
Adding Value to a Domain Name:
Here are a few tips on adding value to domains. Sometimes, you can increase your domain’s value by doing one or more of these simple things:
1. Submit the domain to search engines and directories. This very simple to do and it could take only a few minutes. You can go to each major search engine (Google.com, etc.) and directory to manually submit the domain, or use a free online service that does it for you. There are several websites that offer free search engine submission. By having the domain show up in several search engines, it will make it more valuable. Of course, you may want to have a simple site set up for the domain when you do this.
2. Build a few back links. By taking a few minutes to build some back links, you could make your domain worth more money. This is simple, go to a few forums & use the domain as a signature. If you have a few websites, make a quick back link to the domain.
3. Brand the domain. What do I mean by brand? I mean you could make a creative logo & sell the logo with the domain. Some professionally designed logos can costs hundreds of dollars. If you do this yourself and “sell” the complete domain & logo image, you could add hundreds to the value of the domain.
4. Build a simple website template. Again, this goes along with the logo idea. You could use an HTML editor to build a simple 1-5 page website template. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can combine this with the logo idea and sell the whole package. Again, this alone could add hundreds to the domain’s value, and you can simply email the html code as an attachment after you transfer the domain.
5. Watch out for new trends. This is a big one. Every year new fads, diets, products, diseases, etc. hit the market. There is always a rush to register a domain related to that fad. Why? Because it will typically receive a significant amount of type-in traffic due to the rush in popularity. As long as you don’t infringe any copyrights or cybersquat, this can prove extremely profitable. Keep up with the latest domain news by browsing popular domain forums. Network with other domainers & learn as much as you can & stay up-to-date. You never know when you may get a hot inside tip before anyone else!
6. Keep the domain & let it rise in value. Every day, new domains & are registered. Imagine the domain market in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years. A certain domain may not be worth much now, but in the future, it could be a gold mine. This is because all of the quality names are slowly getting snatched up by eager domain investors, individuals, and companies. By keeping domains, you can use them to earn money each year to cover your fees and provide a small profit, and then turn around in a few years and cash them in big time!
7. Use the domain as a sub-domain with a popular website. Again, this will allow the domain to build a strong presence on the web. This will increase its value.
8. Watch for new extensions. Always keep a check on the latest extensions that are being developed & sold. Normally, every time there is a new domain extension added for registration, there is a huge “gold-rush” by other domainers to register the top words. If you are lucky enough to grab up one of the most popular one word domains, you could get a huge payoff.
Some Final Words About Making Money with Domain Names:
The domain name market is still active. There are multiple ways to make money with domain names. I have been able to use the methods I have described to earn money with them. It is my deepest wish that you too will be able to use the information from this guide to cash in on the domain market & improve your life.
Hang in there and don’t give up. It took me months of searching to figure out how domain names worked & how to make money with them. On my very first domain transaction, I listed one domain for sale on an auction site. It didn’t sell. I almost gave up on the whole idea completely. I decided to re-list the domain.
It sold the next time around for a profit. After learning the information I needed, it took only 2 weeks to earn my first domain profit. Since then, I have dealt with numerous domain transactions. I have also used the other techniques I described other than selling them to earn additional money.
My best advice would be to simply start slowly. If you are completely new to domains, start with just one & build up your experience & confidence. After you are successful with one method, then you can slowly grow & expand. Then you can work your way into using other methods. Things may not go perfectly the first time. It doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t work. It may just take time, more effort, or a different strategy.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan
Conclusion: Domain Name Profits
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