Hand Domain Registration Today, Hoping for Sale Today

Maybe I will look smart with this, and maybe I won’t. Β  We’ll see…

I was looking for a long tail domain name to register today with the hopes of re-selling it to an end user later on today. One domain name I found was PhiladelphiaTourGuide.com, and I registered it at Godaddy this morning. I chose Godaddy because almost anyone who buys domain names has heard of them, and the trust factor for an easy domain transfer/push is there and could reduce any anxiety.

I chose PhiladelphiaTourGuide.com for a few reasons:

  1. Philadelphia is a historical city with plenty of tours
  2. There are a whole lot of tour guides in the city, especially with a bad economy.
  3. There are very few barriers to entry to be a tour guide, so having a good domain name can propel someone to a higher search engine ranking, generating more business
  4. Large companies own other big city TourGuide.com domain names (ChicagoTourGuide.com is on sale for $2,388
  5. It’s a .com and .com is still king πŸ™‚

FYI…Sorry for going back and forth with past and present tense in this post. As I am writing this, I have not yet sent out any emails, but I am in the process of finding people the email.

I am going to send the following email to prospective buyers of this domain name:

Dear XYZ,

I saw that you are a tour guide in Philadelphia, and I think you might be interested in buying PhiladelphiaTourGuide.com, a domain name my company owns but doesn’t have plans to develop. When someone is looking for a Philadelphia tour guide, they are likely to search Google/Yahoo/Bing for “Philadelphia tour guide” or something similar. Have a website built on the exact match domain name can be very helpful to your search engine ranking for related searches.

Additionally, I believe it would be cool to be known as the “Philadelphia Tour Guide,” and that can be done more easily with PhiladelphiaTourGuide.com. You can build your brand with this great generic domain name. I am offering this domain name to several Philadelphia tour guides and tour companies over the next few days, and the first one to agree to buy it for $1,800 will get it. The domain name only costs around $11/year to renew at Godaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar.

I hope you consider buying this domain name. Please get back to me ASAP, as it will sell to the first person or company who agrees to the asking price. Payment can be easily made using Paypal or a trusted escrow service like Escrow.com.

Elliot J. Silver

I am going to search Google and Philadelphia’s Craigslist to find people who are advertising themselves as a local tour guide, and I will send them an email about this offer.

Should I not be able to sell it, I plan to park the domain name at Parked, and I will have a for sale notice on it in case people are interested in buying it.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I’m sure you already have a great system for this in place, but I’m currently testing programs that allow you to contact end-users and track their actions (and whether your emails were successfully delivered). Toutapp does this, and allows you to create templates for each email campaign. I’m using it right now to contact travel & auto rental companies in Germany and Australia about a domain that’s in auction right now in Sedo (mietwagenaustralien.de).

    I’ve emailed over 100 companies advertising in Google & who are listed in WhoIs as owning similar domain names. I’m normally wary of sending out unsolicited emails, but these are highly targeted prospects for whom this name stands a good chance of being relevant.

    MailChimp (and probably ConstantContact, which I know you’ve mentioned before) also have analytics like this. The downside of Tout is that you have to email each person individually, and the program has been a little inconsistent for me this afternoon. But still, it’s a great way to keep track of who I’ve emailed and which prospects click on my links.

    Thanks for sharing this info, and best of luck with the sale!

  2. Good luck with the sale Elliot! I feel like your e-mail pitch is a tad long. Honestly, I think it could do without the second paragraph (except the price).

    If an end user is even considering purchasing a domain, it’s very likely that are savvy enough online to know about godaddy, renewal fees, etc..imho. Also, the last sentence of your first paragraph seems a bit limiting, it talks about building a site on this particular domain. What about those who may already have an existing site, shouldn’t they consider your domain as a lead in page or for re-direction?

    I find this post especially intriguing since I have been reaching out to end users much more lately.


  3. Oh Noooo!
    not the dreaded “hand registration” don’t you know that word is an abomination in this industry!!?

    I read it at least once every other week in some blog or another, how hand registering domains is just an absolute waste of money and time. This kind of malarkey is even perpetuated by some of the Domain Kings and their flunkey’s, who will argue that they snapped up everything worthwhile years ago and you are the equivalent of an imbecile to even try and register anything that has any future value. Sad, but true some are convinced that basically the world and technology stopped evolving 10 years ago.

    Anyways, sorry to go off on a tirade. I do find it odd though that you would register it and try to sell it in the same day?
    If you do have that capability than that is great, good luck.

    • @ Dean

      I’ve had some luck in the past and haven’t sold others… it’s a crapshoot. I do think PhiladelphiaTourGuide.com is a decent name and would have imagined it would be registered. I wouldn’t want a name like BismarkTourGuide.com, but with its rich history, Philadelphia is perfect for this name.

  4. Elliot,

    It is a crapshoot to some degree, but an inexpensive one at that. While I am more focused on new technologies, I realize their is a maturation period for some domains that could be a few months or years, others could be potentially ready fresh off the shelf?

    I would think a great selling point for something like what you are doing would be if you had a ready made template that you could attach the domain to. Especially if you were to host it with Godaddy as well. That way a potential client could basically have a turnkey website with a keyword brandable domain for a fraction of the cost, without the hassle.

    I would think something like that would fetch more and be easier to sell than just a name. Anyways, just some ideas, now you got the wheels turning. Great introductory letter btw, may have to adapt it for some future project.


  5. @ Dean

    That seems like much more work than it’s worth. It’s an $8 gamble to me, and if it doesn’t sell, someone may stumble across it in the future. I’d rather risk $8 than extra time setting up a template site πŸ™‚

  6. Hey Elliot:

    Good luck on your venture.

    I personally think it is a great idea.

    I also think your letter is a good one.

    Regarding Mike’s comment above, with all respect, he is incorrect about cutting the letter.

    As you know being educated in direct marketing, “the more you tell, the more you sell.” The great David Ogilvy did quite a bit of copy testing and found that longer copy letters did indeed sell more.

    Love your initiative. I look forward to hearing results.

  7. “As you know being educated in direct marketing, β€œthe more you tell, the more you sell.” The great David Ogilvy did quite a bit of copy testing and found that longer copy letters did indeed sell more.”

    Wow, would this mean if I sent out a 50 page letter with applicable information with each domain pitch I would probably sell more?

  8. @Troy

    50 pages might be too much.

    However, I know a copywriter who specializes in direct response who was paid a fee of $25,000 per direct mail package he wrote. He often wrote sales letters in the 10-12 page range that would garner a response rate of 15%. That’s a lot of sold product on a mailing of 1 million packages. The often mis-perception is that “people won’t read”. This is wrong. If the headline makes a promise and a prospect is interested, they will read and read and read, and most importantly, order. They will, click, call or send in a check to buy what is being sold.

  9. interesting elliot and wish you the very best… elliot i have a lot of respect for you and you know how to move things..i think it is pretty much a given in what your doing and im sure this reminds you back in the day when you first started out by buying and selling a lot of hand regs and look where your at now..

    elliot-whats the recent update on hand reg contest you ran a couple months back for your audience and one lucky winner had won.

  10. Probably one of the best hand regs I ever read about… except for my own of course πŸ™‚

    Seriously, great domain but I think $1800 is way too high. I would think $750 would yield you at least two offers of $500.

    So, did you sell it yet?

    Replies? Offers?

  11. I am just curious…how you came up with the price of $1,800? I know you are going to say…it’s your gut feelings. πŸ™‚ But, do you mind share with us your thought process on the price. I assume you will be equally happy to get rid of it for $800, or even $500. Why set it at $1,800?

  12. Did you get these leads?

    I have my own end user harvesting process.

    I found these domains registered and the shorter list below are domains that are developed, forwarding or minisites.


    Developed, forwarding or minisites. Potential end user list.


    Good luck.

  13. @ Poor Uncle

    Price is a gut feeling, but it’s based on the idea that a buyer might make an offer in lieu of agreeing to the price, and then it gives me room to negotiate.

    So far, one response from someone that’s not interested. I actually thought there would be more people who did tours, but there weren’t as many as I thought when I searched Craigslist and Google.

  14. elliot

    just curious why didnt you say something like ” if your firm is interested in the domain name please contact us” vs having a set price and where they say wow, thats a lot of money.

    by not going a set price you get to see if they reply and have the prospects email address. down the road you can always email them back and say 500 dollars or something like that?

    just my 2 cents.. i know people like seeing a price vs replying and wasting time as well.

    • @ domainer

      I’ve done that in the past, and usually it leads to a very low offer. In this case, even a $200 isn’t too bad since I just bought it, but when I’ve done it in the past on names I’ve bought in the $500 range, it’s annoying.

      Every email I send is a test to figure out the best approach… hopefully you can get some ideas for your next sale.

  15. @Elliot,

    You’ll find a buyer. Why? There are over 500,000 average results and the terms are searched for over 200+ times per month. You can also mention to the buyers that when they increase the searches for the keywords, such as when they develop the domain, they will turn a nice domain into a very valuable investment.

    At the price you have listed in the letter, you will come across a few that will want to negotiate with you. I even find myself cutting deals with throwing in an extra domain or two, and sometimes reducing the cost to accommodate a business.

    The most important aspect of selling is finding someone that wants the domain. You can always work out the price. The best e–mails I receive is “How much do you want for the domains” or “Why would I need that domains”

    You know more than enough to build interest in the domain. I’m predicting a sale for less than what you’re asking for the domain. Good luck.

  16. Setting the price higher allows you to negotiate. If you want $800 for a domain, then it won’t benefit you to ask $850 for the domain. If you want $800 for the domain, set the price at $1200. It gives you room to negotiate.

    There is no accurate appraisal system. You have to evaluate a domain based on its stats, the target market and how much interest there is for such a service. WichitaFallsTourGuide.com would have much less interest than PhiladelphiaTourGuide.com.

    I’m sensing that you scored a nice amount on the executive headshots domain. Your new domain registration will work for a company that offers such services. There are a few domains that shares website keywords.

    Good luck

  17. Very nice to go and break the stereotypical no hand reg rule amongst domainers. It’s a bold move and I applaud that. But what’s great is that it gives others that inspiration to not give up on their handregs considering a pro’s doing it alongside them and gain success. Not to mention the target of selling it to an end user within one day!

    I’ll be looking forward to the results of this experiment. BTW, what was your Email Subject like? I’ve been trying to experiment with end-user templates as well and more often than not, the advice is to keep it short and simple with an attractive subject. So this lengthy approach is a surprise on my part as it goes against what many people say considering that it’s you doing it πŸ˜›

    Anyway, good luck! Love your posts πŸ™‚

  18. Hi Elliot,

    I’m looking forward to seeing the results. I would think the best time to send this type of email would be morning hours 9-10 AM early in the week. When did you send it out?

    I agree with most of your points except this one…

    “Large companies own other big city TourGuide.com domain names (ChicagoTourGuide.com is on sale for $2,388”

    I would not advise people to valuate their domain names based upon what other names are being offered for. If you can show a similar name that sold recently that would be reasonable but to think because a similar name is priced at x,xxx makes your name worth about the same doesn’t add up.
    If that was so, why wouldn’t it be worth $10,000 like these names which I just exported from Sedo’s marketplace.

    ratemytourguide.com 10,000 EUR
    cambodia-travel-guide.net 10,000 EUR
    cambodia-travel-guide.info 10,000 EUR
    asiaguidetravel.com 10,000 EUR
    travelguide4.com 8,000 EUR
    tourguide.ca 10,000 USD
    nyctourguide.com 10,000 USD
    realestatetravelguide.com 10,000 USD
    my-travel-guide.org 10,000 USD
    tourguides.biz 10,000 USD
    ustravelguide.cn 10,000 USD
    travelguide.my 10,000 USD
    guidedtour.com.cn 10,000 USD
    guide2travel.com.cn 10,000 USD
    carribeantravelguide.com 9,995 USD
    luxetravelguide.com 9,990 USD
    vegastripguide.com 9,800 USD
    genevatravelguide.com 9,750 USD
    tourguideitaly.com 9,750 USD
    germantravelguide.de 7,500 EUR
    tourguideparis.com 9,500 USD
    androidtravelguide.com 8,000 USD
    androidtourguide.com 8,000 USD
    tourguidedirect.com 5,000 GBP
    mumbaitourguide.in 5,000 GBP
    bombaytourguide.in 5,000 GBP
    travelguidescotland.com 7,500 USD
    travelguideaustria.com 7,500 USD
    travelguideswitzerland.com 7,500 USD
    onlinetravelguide.ca 7,500 USD
    travelguide.us.com 7,500 USD
    hawaiitraveladvisor.com 7,000 USD
    travelguide.info 6,999 USD
    nigeriantravelguide.com 5,000 EUR
    algarvetravelguide.com 5,000 EUR
    nigeriatourguide.com 5,000 EUR
    nigeriantourguide.com 5,000 EUR
    tourguide2europe.com 5,000 EUR
    tripguide.nl 5,000 EUR
    hawaiitraveladvisors.com 6,000 USD
    uktravelguide.com 5,400 USD
    floridatravelguide.co.uk 3,500 GBP
    thailandtravelguide.com 5,000 USD
    hawaiistourguide.com 5,000 USD
    nyctourguides.com 5,000 USD
    podcasttraveladvisor.com 5,000 USD
    hawaiiantraveladvisor.com 5,000 USD
    cooltravelguides.com 4,995 USD
    usatraveladvisors.com 4,950 USD
    adventuretraveladvisor.com 4,950 USD

    The same would hold true for the housing market.
    The Jones family is thinking about selling their house
    and they find out that the house down the street is
    on the market for $400K so they automatically assume
    that their home is worth the same. What they don’t realize
    is the neighbors home may have been on the market for
    months or years without any activity. Comps would tell
    them where the market is. You can tell this same story
    many times over from homes to cars to art. At the end
    of the day let’s just hope for a sale.

    If you did sell it for $500 you made 50 times your
    investment in one day. Where in the world can you
    make 50X in a year, let alone in a day.

    Happy Domaining to all…

  19. One question that I have when sending emails to end users is which email do you send it FROM?

    Did you add this site to your hosting account in order to get an @PhiladelphiaTourGuide.com email address, or did you send it from your @silverinternetventures.com or even from a Gmail account?

    I’ve tried contacting end users using a combination of my email addresses and haven’t had favorable responses using either of them

    Just wondering

  20. Does the average bear know that pricing is highly negotiable wrt domain sales?

    Not too important in this case because the language specifically reads as though the price is fixed (“first one to agree to buy it for $1,800 will get it”).

    But I wonder if business owners know that the lack of liquidity and uniqueness in domain sales makes it much different than negotiating bulk paper sales, housing, leasing, etc. All of which normally have a floor of less than 20% discount.

    In other words, most business owners are probably in the mindset that offering $750 on an $1800 asking price wouldn’t be accepted. So why bother.

    Just a thought.

  21. so you got me thinking. I’m been trolling your blog and trying to understand the domain world. Here in my area, there is a trendy street called Las Olas that has tons of bars and restaurants. I managed to snap up lasolasbar.com and lasolasbars.com.

    “Las Olas Bar” yields 458,000 google results. I am now thinking of contacting every bar along the road and see if they want it.

    Any tips?

    • @ James

      I’ve been on Las Olas a few times. The problem with a name like that is that I don’t know why a bar there would want to own the “Las Olas Bars” phrase. Maybe the singular since they are but one bar, but I don’t even know. Likewise, they can’t transact on the site, where as a Philadelphia Tour Guide can easily book a tour via website. Additionally, if I see a bar online (say it’s even using your domain name), I am just as likely to go somewhere else once I get down there and find other places to drink/eat.

      I personally wouldn’t register it because I don’t think there’s much value to a potential buyer.

  22. SL just clarified the niggle that was bothering me. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t work out what.

    Although new to domaining, I have built (and sold) a couple of businesses and I would not know that I could offer 50% of the quoted price and be taken seriously.

    I imagine that margins in the tour guide business are pretty lean and therefore every % is fought for.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I would remove the reference to the ‘generic’ domain name. That’s a real domainers phrase totally unknown in treal world. More to the point, ‘generic’ might infer so-so or also-ran as with generic drugs.

  23. FlippingIdiot.com is (underconstruction)

    You have great blog,
    but sometimes I do not agree, we have Route66Bars.com (will develop it soon) unless flipped before its started.
    I think any business (casino to bar) would want to be on the site, or own it as we were thinking of a route66 tour site including all the advertising bars ect that pay to be on the site. (ps) its the annual route66 Stater bros car show this weekend San Berdo Calif
    Keep up ” the good News”
    FlippingIdiot.com lol is going up 4 sale soon

  24. Hi Elliot,

    You know, I went back and take a look at this example because I wanted to emulate and try something similar. Something didn’t make sense though.

    I am a newbie..so you’ll have to excuse my logic if it doesn’t make sense. Given that you wanted to flip the name on the same day for $1,800, I think if you were serious you would have bought up all the other extensions. I took a look and they were all available.

    I doubt that you were able to sell the name…if you did then it is better to be lucky then to be good. πŸ™‚ What’s going on here? Am I missing something? (I am doubting my logic…)

    • @ Poor Uncle

      The name did not sell yet. One reason I am speculating is that there were far less tour guides than I imagined. I thought I would find a lot of people looking for work advertising tours, but that wasn’t the case. I only ended up emailing 10 +/- people. I still think it’s a good name and will sell eventually but not yet.

      I don’t think many people care about anything but .com right now, unless it’s their business name or something else important. Look around your town over the next few days, and I doubt you’ll see many .net or .org domain name/websites advertised locally.

      My asking price was probably high, but I figured if someone wanted it, they would say, “I can’t pay you $1,800, but I will give you $500.” That was a starting point for me to see if there was any interest. I had nothing to really lose, although the next time I would probably not name a price but say, “If you’re interested, please submit your best offer” or simply not name a price and allow them to reply and open a discussion. At the end of the day, my cost was $8+ my time, so even if I sold it for $250, it would be a little profit.

      At the end of the day, it wasn’t a successful sale, but it was an interesting topic of discussion on my blog and hopefully gave some ideas/insight.

  25. @Poor Uncle

    Elliot will eventually sell the name. I think asking a buyer to make a reasonable offer is better than setting a price. You usually know what price you want for the domain.

    It’s not wise to buy up all the extensions because the .com is what businesses mostly want. I made that mistake back in February with buying up .net, org and .info on a few cake domains. I wasted a lot of time trying to sell autocollisionrepair dot net.

    If I owned the .com, I would have closed the deal. There are many .net, .org, .info, and .us that are worth acquiring. I wouldn’t buy all the extensions to set a monopoly. Maybe if you owned a premium education or job name.

  26. @Poor Uncle

    A good example is Elliot’s BumperProtectors.com. The .com is valuable. Every extension is available. Another example: ManhattanYellowCab.com. The domain sold for $2500. All extensions are available.

  27. I think you just got bit with a small case of bad timing. One of the most predominate tour companies in Philadelphia had a recent accident where one of their “duck boats” crashed and sank in the Delaware river, and now the city is looking at all tour permits and companies for safety and violations.

    This has caused the tour market in Philly to contract and the borderline companies (the ones looking to expand or build their online share) have gone into hiding or are working on renewing permits.

    Hang on to the idea and give it a shot closer to Thanksgiving when traffic and money will pick up considerably.

    P.S. I like the idea and I am actually going to try to “one day flip” a domain to see if I can.

  28. β€œLarge companies own other big city TourGuide.com domain names (ChicagoTourGuide.com is on sale for $2,388β€³

    Funny you mentioned it, I picked up TourGuides dot com half a year ago via SEDO auctions. I was the lucky bastard who bid $9,999 and halted all other users from bidding over it as they’re not certified for over $10k bids (evil laugh, muhahahaha)

    Within a week of that auction, I had several people email me offering up to $25k. Would of been an easy flip for easy cash, but I plan on developing this one. Perhaps travel the world and get some free tours in exchange for reviews.

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