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Glad I'm a Domain Investor

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The US Dollar is weak and real estate values are dropping in most parts of the country. To make matters even worse, the stock market has been tanking of late. With the value of domain names continuing to rise, I am certainly glad to be a domain investor at this point.
Who knows how much farther real estate values will decline or how much more the market will slide, but a common sentiment among people I know is that if anyone needs to liquidate their generic names to generate cash, there are plenty of people willing to buy them at fair prices. The Internet continues to grow, people are growing their online presence, and as the economy struggles, more people will move online to make money.
Down Jones

CNN Buys iReport.com for $750,000

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Following up on a post from a few days ago, it was revealed that Rick Schwartz sold the name iReport.com to CNN for $750,000.   Also included in this price is the hyphenated version, i-Report.com. These great domain names will be used by CNN to supplement their i-Report program.
Founded in August of 2006, i-Report encourages viewers from around the country to send their own videos and photos of breaking news stories in their cities and neighborhoods. This user generated media feature has become popular, and it frequently allows CNN to break news stories before other networks are on the ground.

Perfect Domain Auction Email Marketing Tactic

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The best direct marketing tactic for a live domain auction I’ve seen didn’t come from an auction house. Nope – it wasn’t from one of the major companies actually hosting the auction. Today I received an email from someone who has a domain name listed for sale in the upcoming DomainFest Snapnames Live Auction.

To Whom It May Concern:
Wu.net will attend the Domainfest auction (in person and also online) from Jan. 22, with reserved price of only US$ 10,000.
If you are interested, please visit their website as soon as possible, and make all the necessary preparations:
https://www.snapnames.com/liveAuctions.do
Thank you and good luck!
Meken”

I’ve seen many complaints from people who have names in various live auctions, and many of them are related to the auction house not doing a good enough job of bringing potential buyers to the auction. This seller isn’t going to simply rely on the auction house to bring a buyer for his name. He is going through his past emails, finding people who have inquired about this name in the past, and encouraging them to sign up and bid. I had sent him an email in October of 2006 when I was in the market for a 2 letter .net domain name.
I applaud Meken for not relying on Snapnames to bring potential bidders to the auction for WU.net (although with their fantastic auction inventory, I don’t think it will be a problem). I also happen to think he has a reasonable reserve price of just $10,000 for this nice domain name. I would bet that WU.net will have a new owner in a couple of weeks.

Mike Berkens' Daily Domain Blog

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The domain investment business is fairly small, so there are many individuals that “everyone knows.” However, there aren’t as many individuals that everyone knows and likes. Mike Berkens is one of those few people. Mike’s company, Most Wanted Domains owns tens ft thousands of great domain names, and as far as I know, Mike is as bullish on domain names as anyone else in the industry. (You can read my “5 With Mike Berkens” interview for more detailed information.)
Mike started a great blog recently, and although I’ve linked to it a few times, I want to separately encourage everyone to add TheDomains.com to your RSS readers. Mike is one of those types of people that can move and shake the industry, and I have great respect for him. He has maintained a low profile until recently, and I am glad to see him blogging.
Mike is an influential guy in this industry, and his blog is a daily “must read.”

Keyword Search Tool to find Domain Names

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I’ve been using a great keyword search tool to help me target domain acquisitions. Using KeywordDiscovery.com, a tool created by Trellian, I am able to find popular search terms related to specific keywords. I can then target specific domain names by putting the popular terms together. While I presume the main intent of this tool is to find keywords for developed website content, this tool helps me target potential domain acquisitions.
Oftentimes, the names that I find aren’t the obvious $100,000 domain names that many people target. These names are usually the strong second tier names that could sell for anywhere between $10,000 – $50,000 at auction or private sale. The advantage for me is that most of these names are less mined, meaning that the owners receive less solicitations. As a result, the owners are more inclined to discuss the sale of their domain names, and I am more likely to complete a sale.
As a rough example, using the keyword “cheap,” the most common searches are for “cheap tickets,” “cheap flights,” and “cheap airfare.” I would imagine the owners of CheapTickets.com, CheapFlights.com, and CheapAirfare.com receive hundreds of domain inquiries a week for these particular names, even though two of those are developed and one is parked.
Using the KeywordDiscovery.com search tool, I can see that “cheap bridesmaid dresses,” “cheap textbooks,” and “cheap lingerie” are all fairly popular search terms, indicating that the corresponding domain names would have some value. If I was looking for a name in this genre, I would probably hone in on these names.
Now that the Overture Search Tool isn’t work much (if at all), KeywordDiscovery.com is a great tool for domain investors to find potential domain names. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that corresponding domain names receive traffic, it is indicative of the search term being desirable.
Also, I am not being compensated to write this. I am using the free trial.

Affiliate Sites Help Build an Internet Based Business

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Large travel companies like WC Travel are making it easier for people to start their own travel business. I believe that if a person creates enough unique content on a website, visitors will find the site either by search engine or word of mouth. If the site owner offers visitors relevant advertising, the visitor is much more likely to click through. More (qualified) traffic and trust in the website lead to higher click through rates, and higher click through rates generally mean higher close/sales rates, generating more revenue for the site owner.
For a person that loves to travel and write about traveling, using an affiliate site like WC Travel to create a white label reservation engine is a great solution. Instead of having to seek out potential advertisers or rely on Google’s Adsense to display relevant advertising, affiliate travel sites can actually brand a travel search engine using the website’s logo and header. This can lead to much greater revenue opportunities than other alternatives.
For my Lowell.com project, I will be using a few affiliate sites in areas that would be difficult for me to maintain. If I give visitors the most efficient way to book travel, find tickets or a job, they will benefit, and they will surely return to my site in the future. Associated Cities is a great organization for city .com owners as they have relationships with many affiliate sites. In a few days, I will provide more details about where I plan to use affiliate relationships on Lowell.com and give reasons why I believe that’s the best option.
There are many different affiliate sites out there who are willing to build a white label product to help you generate revenue for your website. Although you may generate less revenue through an affiliate than if you were to sell your own products, it can be much easier to start an Internet based business using affiliate relationships. You don’t have to worry about customer service, fulfillment, credit card authorization, billing…etc. However, since your site will be associated with the affiliate companies, it is important to do your due diligence on the company to make sure their standards are as stringent as yours.

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