Guest Post

Diversify Your Domain Portfolio: How IDNs are Registered in Punycode

You might have heard that people in other countries like to type, search, and create content in their native languages.   Investing in Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) is a way to capitalize on that trend, and for anyone who wants to diversify a domain portfolio, buying a number of IDNs is a must.

I am not fluent in any foreign languages, (though I come close with Hebrew).   How can I register IDNs in large countries such as China, which has more people than any other country in the world?   Is it a problem than I am not a native speaker and that I do not have Chinese characters on my keyboard?

It is actually fairly simple.   All you need is a good, free online dictionary and a punycode converter.

Step 1: Translation
If you use a reliable foreign dictionary and translate “Liyang”, the Chinese city,   from English to Chinese you will get 溧阳.com

Step 2: Punycode Conversion
Then if you want to register this name, many registrars require you to register it using the punycode representation of these characters.   If you copy and paste 溧阳.com into the IDNTools punycode converter, you can just press the convert button and you will get the punycode representation of this word

Step 3: Registration
Then go register   As a result, if someone types in 溧阳.com into a browser, you would own that page and can develop it like any other.   Even better is that IDN keywords are not as competitive so if one were to do SEO, you would be in a great position for the valuable keyword “溧阳”.

Step 4: Bulk Registration
Now that you understand the basics, you can still hand register some great IDNs, and the best way to check for availability is in bulk.   Pull together a few hundred English keywords.   Translate. Punycode convert.   And availability check.

A few hurdles still exist, though they can be leapt over.   First, you are bound to make some translation mistakes as some dictionaries aren’t always accurate.   We’ll show you in the next post how to use the best dictionaries, and when to use natives to minimize mistakes.   We’ll also explain that the question “why would anyone register a foreign name, then dot an English extension?” is resolved by .com being aliased to foreign extensions.

Next post: Translating Domain Names

Aaron Krawitz of IDNBlog and Gary Males of IDNDemystified, are guest authors of this IDN series on ElliotsBlog.   Aaron and Gary co-own   IDNDroplist, IDNTools and IDNNewsletter.

IDN Series Introduction

When I was writing down a list of a few things I’d like to accomplish in 2010, learning about the IDN market was one of those things. I know of a few domain investors who invest in IDN domain names, but I don’t know enough about them yet to invest. In fact, as of right now, I don’t own a single IDN domain name.

One of my friends and business colleagues is Aaron Krawitz, publisher of, co-owner of, and an expert in the IDN business. Aaron previously wrote a guest post about why he thinks IDN domain names are going to grow in value, and I asked Aaron if he could follow that up with a small series of posts that could break down investing in IDN domain names.

Beginning tomorrow, I will be posting a 3 part series written by Aaron and his colleague Gary Males. To give you a bit of background about the two authors, Gary Males first entered the domain industry with early acquisitions of names. Aaron Krawitz made his first big splash in domaining when he bought a premium Portuguese and Spanish portfolio. Both investors were looking at global domains from the outset as they saw a valuable commodity and a large untapped world market.

As mentioned in the previous post about IDN domain names, both Aaron and Gary will be visiting the posts to answer any questions, as clearly I am not well-equipped to handle them. Thanks to Aaron and Gary for sharing more information about a market in which I am unfamiliar.

Guest Post: End User Follow Up

This is a guest post from domain investor Calvin Washington, and I wanted to share it in the hopes that it helps others who are dealing with end user sales. If you are doing something unique that could help other domain investors, and you’d like to write a guest post, please email me. As long as you aren’t trying to sell something or get a back link, and it’s helpful to others, I would be happy to post it.


I have been using this trick successfully lately when selling to end users who for whatever reason showed no interest in my particular domain. It has been working for me after getting a “No!” or “Not interested” reply. It’s really simple and I’m sure many others are doing something similar but you never know!

Thanks XXXX,

Though you expressed no interest in, I appreciate your getting back with me. The highest offer we received was $XXX. I guess it’s best to let the market decide it’s value. If for any reason in the future it may be of value to you, we will be willing
to accept $XXX.

In either case, take care!


In closing, it’s strongly recommended that your price that you’re willing to accept be higher than your highest offer received. If not, you may come across as being dishonest. Hope this helps someone. Another big point I’d like to stress is the salutation. “Best” is my way of basically saying to the end user “This is my last contact to you, take it or leave it”. I sure there are some grammatical errors or misuse of punctuation, so make the necessary corrections when needed.

Castello Brothers on Successful Site Development

The Castello Brothers Top 10 Suggestions For Successful Site Development

My brother Michael and I have done well financially (is there any other way?) developing our sites. Nevertheless, we’re both on a lifelong learning curve and after 10+ years in this wonderful business we still feel like we’ve just begun. Here are ten suggestions we’d like to share with you so you can unpark your names and start making some real money.

1) Choose a domain name that reflects a topic you’re madly passionate about. Don’t do this and your site will become the worst thing it can be – work.

2) Stick with dotCom or the ccTLD of your country. If you don’t agree, please visit our portfolio, choose one of our names and develop the dotNet.dotOrg or dotInfo version into a huge site. You’ll quickly become our best friend and we’ll buy you a bottle of 1995 Dom as we toast the direct nav traffic you’ll be giving us.

3) Don’t build a site, build a brand. There’s a difference. Anyone can build a site.

4) Write at least a page of original content a day (in a year you’ll have 365 pages). What would motivate you to do this? See suggestion #1.

5) The content you write must turn your site into an authority or “reference site” about its topic. This is important for site credibility, SEO, return traffic and selling to advertisers. Remember, the last thing you want is someone having to go somewhere else for info about your site’s topic.

6) Do not put Adsense on your site. Why would you send valuable visitors away for pennies on the dollar? Who thought of this? Google (and that’s why they’re rich and you’re not). Furthermore, you need these people to tell you why they’re on your site so you can continue to build the user experience and discover their expectations (and you’ll also meet somebody else – potential advertisers). This will not happen when you keep sending them away. On a developed site, Adsense is the equivalent of opening a store on Madison Avenue and guiding customers from the front door straight out the back door as they hand you a quarter along the way.

7) Add a forum and blog that is monitored daily. Forums and blogs instantly turn an inorganic site into a living, breathing thing with a heartbeat. They add excitement, personality and lots of loyal, returning visitors. Also, add a Calendar of Events that is relevant to your topic.

8.) After you’ve developed the traffic and SEO rankings start selling static advertising to people who would profit from being on your site. Who are these people? By the time you’ve developed the site and achieved high SEO rankings they’ll be right in front of your face. For example, we’ve met many who were giving us listings to be on our Calendar of Events and didn’t know they could be on the front page for a fee.

9) Never, ever email a potential advertiser. This is Sales 101, but most people don’t know this. Get them on the phone or, if possible, meet them in person. If you won’t do this get someone who will and share the revenue with them. Don’t ever try to sell someone something you wouldn’t buy. You’ll come across as disingenuous and nothing will kill your reputation and credibility faster. On the other hand, if you believe in the power of your site that passion will be instantly communicated and selling is a cinch.

10) During this whole process, make the site an extension of your personality. It’s got to have your creative fingerprints all over it. Your site is your baby and never hand the reins over to someone else unless you’re selling it.

Researching and Buying Dropping Domain Names


I am still away for DomainFest, and two of my friends have written guest posts related to topics in which they are experts. On Monday, Jeff Behrendt of, wrote about investing in Indian domains. Yesterday, Richard Douglas discussed social media for domainers. Today, Richard discusses investing in dropping domain names. Richard has a diverse background is systems administration, web development and security. You can read more about domain development on his blog or follow him on twitter.


If you scan the drop lists, you’ve probably noticed a lot of good quality drops lately. And I think this trend will continue throughout 2009.

When I look at drops, I’m looking for domains that could be developed into full sites.

In addition to checking keywords, search frequency and advertiser interest, here’s a few tips of how to spot good drops for development.

Domain drop tips

1. Domain age – look for domains that are 8+ years old. The SE’s like old domains, it’s a trust issue. I’ve had great results taking an eight or 10 year old domain that ranks for very little, building out a site of unique content and ranking in the top 10 for one or two word phrases and #1 for long tail phrases. I use a script using the whois command from my linux CLI to check domain age. There are lots of tools out there to do this, of course.

2. Check for back links – in a perfect world, a domain with back links, especially .edu or .gov back links, would jump to the top of my list as a good drop for development. The SE’s give a lot of trust to domains that have .edu and .gov back links because these type of back links are less spammy and harder to acquire. I use yahoo search using the following command formats to check for .edu and .gov back links: “ .edu” and “ .gov”. I use this command to check all back links to the domain, except internal links from the domain itself: “”.

3. Verify the back links – if you find that the drop has back links, you need to verify them too. You never know if people played games to get back links, and the SE’s have devalued or ignored the back links. Once you use yahoo search to find those back links, copy the back link URL and search for it in google to see if google lists it. If the page is listed, that means google is giving some weight to the back link. Normally, I just check the .edu and .gov back links in google because they are the most valuable.

Put it to the test

Elliot has added a top drops page to his blog. I recommend that you check it out regularly.

As an example, I have selected a domain from Elliot’s top drops page to illustrate the tips. The domain is:

1. This domain was registered in 2000. Great, keep it on our list.

2. The domain has 83 external back links according to yahoo search. Woohoo!

3. The domain even has four .edu back links, and three of the four are listed in google!

In this example, is a domain worth chasing on a drop for development.

What do you look for in a good drop?

Social Media for Domainers


While I am away for DomainFest, a couple of my friends have written guest posts related to topics in which they are experts.   Yesterday, Jeff Behrendt of, wrote about investing in Indian domains. Today, Richard Douglas discusses social media for domain investors. Richard has a diverse background is systems administration, web development and security. You can read more about domain development on his blog or follow him on twitter.


Everyone knows how popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are. What you might not know is that these sites have matured well past the days of posting notes about being at the doctor, being stuck in traffic, or what you’re eating for breakfast.

What you might know know is that savvy businesses are using social media to market themselves, get feedback from customers, launch new products, do research, and more.


Micro blogging sites like Twitter are full of up the minute info, news, events that can be easily searched for whatever your interests are. You can use Twitter for all kinds of research such as a search for domain names or manage your brand with a search for Elliot Silver.

Brand Management

Many domaining service providers are active on twitter and using it for feedback with their customers. For example, Network Solutions updated their clients on their recent DNS problems here and here.

Networking and Promotion

End users are on social media all day or from their cell phones while they’re on the road or at night while sitting at home watching TV. So capitalize on this by posting your latest blog post or tweet about a few domains for sale. You’ll meet new people with common interest and make a few sales too. I’ve found that regular users of social media, search the social media site before the SE’s. There are several Twitter apps you can install on your Mac, PC, iPhone or Blackberry to make using social media faster and easier to use.

Build Your Brand

Do you have a service or domain that you want to promote? Be a blabbermouth and people will notice. Talk about it on social media, link to your content or blog post, make some videos and promote them on social media. Search for people with similar interests as your brand and connect with them so that when you have something to say about your brand, they will spread the word too. Gary V. is a perfect example of building your brand with social media.

Syndicate Your Content

If you’re a blogger, why use just RSS when you can syndicate your blog posts to Twitter and Facebook and get three times the visitors? There are tools on both Twitter and Facebook to autopost your blog posts to make syndication easy.

Ask Questions, Get Feedback

Need a script for that next project or do you want to know who launched that new site? Ask questions and get feedback from people you’re networked with and even new contacts who are watching or searching for what you’re posting about.

Jump On Board

Many domainers are already using social media to network, market their services/domains and promote their brand.

So what’s holding you back?

PS. If you need help on what tools to use or how to syndicate your blog posts or content from your web site, just post in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.

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