A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about what I envision my perfect domain portfolio to look like in 5 years. I think about this post on occasion, and I think a year later is a good time to review it again and see how I am doing and if anything has changed over the last year.
The first goal was that “I will have 2 fully developed city .com geographic domain names that are benefiting each community and the advertisers.” I am on target with this, owning Burbank.com, Lowell.com, and Newburyport.com, a smaller city in Massachusetts. It seems that traffic increases each month, communication with organizations and businesses increase, and the interest in the sites is growing. I still haven’t spent a lot of time working with advertisers, but the sites are making money and the groundwork is being laid.
The second goal was that “I will have 2 developed product/service based websites.” I was referring more towards a model like Warren has with Bobbleheads.com and I don’t have one yet – although I see that being an aspect of Torah.com. There are several names that are available to buy that are just outside of my price range right now, but things can change over time. Since I am so busy on other projects, it’s probably better to keep my cash liquid rather than locked up in a domain name I want to develop – as the necessity to sell would impact the business model.
Goal number three was to “have 15-20 domain names of friends and family.” I am well on my way with this one, as I own the domain names of friends and family who I know are going to get more successful as time passes and will neeed their domain name down the road. One of my friends will probably follow his dad into politics, and I will be very happy to give him his domain name any time he wants it. It feels good to be able to secure a friends’ domain name when I know they will need them, but they don’t realize it yet.
The final goal was to “own 10-20 speculative .com domain names.” At this point, I am still way above this number, and I don’t see it shrinking any time soon.
So… how have changes during the last year changed my perfect portfolio plans?
1) I have a number of smallish but growing mini-sites. These require little upkeep but continue to make money. They might not make a lot of money, but they are all on target to make a good amount over registration fee, so they pay for themselves and more. I would have added that I’d like to have a number of great mini-sites contributing to the bottom line.
2) I am not generating enough advertising revenue from my developed websites, so I can’t decrease the amount of domain sales I do. Consequently, I still own a lot of names that I am selling to make money. With an uptick in blog advertising revenue I am a little bit less dependent on domain sales.
3) I didn’t even mention anything about my blog in my initial post. A year ago, I never looked at my blog as a business. When I changed the design and offered more/better advertising space, I was overwhelmed with the response. As much as I enjoy blogging, last year, there were a few times where I felt the need to stop blogging because it was taking up way too much time and not earning very much money. As a result of the re-design, I am now making enough money to justify the time I put into the blog.
4) The economy has changed pretty dramatically since April of 2008, and I am spending more money on building a business than on domain investments.
Glad to know that the blog is making you money Elliot. I am sure that it takes a ton of work.
I love writing the blog, but it takes away from other revenue sources. Unfortunately I don’t have many sites making good PPC revenue, so turning this into a source of revenue was important to justify the time commitment.
I am dismayed to see no mention of TropicalBirds.com.
LOL… I still don’t know what I am going to do with it. The traffic continues to grow each week… crazy – but I don’t see a long term business for me. I am just not that into tropical birds.
The universe is testing you, Elliot. If you ever part with TropicalBirds.com I shudder to think of the cosmic consequences.
The funniest and best part is that I get tons of emails from people using the advertise form to ask me if I have birds to sell or can recommend breeders. If you ever go into the bird breeding biz, the leads are all yours.
If you’re getting that many inquiries about breeders, you need to get a national database up ASAP. Trust me on this. They’ll eventually start paying for upgrades the way they do now with Daycare.com.
I agree but have bigger fish to fry. Other sites charge $20/year for breeders, and I know how tough it is to convert to paid sales. I would rather focus on higher dollar advertising. It’s leaving money on the table, but I think someone will eventually buy this from me and build it out to make some real money.
You’re making a strategic mistake (not to mention the fact that you’re going to piss off a lot of birds and will soon be living a Hitchcock movie).
Installing a national database is a win-win. If you keep the name you’ll end up making money. If you sell the name the database will enhance its value many times over.
Sounds like you’re well on your way to achieving your goals 🙂
I’m quite fond of TropicalBirds.com myself as well.
I too like tropicalbirds.com. It’s unique and it’s global population beats any GEO even the ones David owns. Perhaps THIS will refresh your memory:
Here’s a suggestion for improving your mini-site revenue and tie in to your blog ad revenue. Challenge the mini-site vendors to a domain makeover and let the results be shared with all. That’s the most effective advertising then all the promises and posts they can tupe (hint Mikey).
As per TropicalBirds.com, I have this words for you. Please sleep on it and think about it. ” Line upon line, here a little there a little” Well in plain English I will say start from know to unknown. I personaly will start from the most popular tropical birds which are the Amazon parrots. They also comman reasonable cash per sale. Locate just 10 breeders (They are all over Florida) But locate ones that can ship (yes they ship birds). Offer Amazons for sale from these selected breaders and see what happens.
@David J Castello
Your talk about a database is pretty cool. I have a question for you. How do you go about getting one if non exists? This could help me with Pet*memorial*com
There are different ways to go about it. To get an idea, contact eDirectory, explain what you need and they’ll quote you a price for the whole deal. And tell them I sent you. My brother and I know their CEO (James Chubb) well.
Keep doing a great job and your hard work with many hours is showing! Must be rewarding to see things form from the bottom up and forming your geo sites out! Hope one day I can see these amazing results.
Your Geo names should be your main source IMO but I really enjoy reading your experiences on the mini site posts, how you encourage everyone to learn simple codes and a lot of us can relate to things.
Thanks D J C