Share a Secret or Tip To Help Others

I want to try something a bit different today and see if others will follow suit with comments. The domain business isn’t as secretive as it once was, but there are plenty of things that some people still won’t share. I try to be as helpful as possible by sharing insights into my business and how I am making money (or not) in the domain business.

That being said, I wonder if you would be willing to open up and share something that you haven’t shared before. It can be a secret or a tip, but it should be something you think others might find beneficial.

Here’s a “secret” tip to start this off… hopefully it helps you. I use Freshdrop every day to scour the lists of domain names. This may be a surprise, but the most important category I follow is the GADV, which is the # of advertisers on Google for the keyword phrase.

In my opinion, the more companies advertising on a certain keyword, the better the exact match domain name will be. Of course, the name has to make sense, so it involves a sanity/gut check before placing a backorder or buying the domain name.

What are you willing to share to help others?

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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 read elliotsblog regularly to pick up tips and try to understand his mindset. Unfortunately I am not very bright and I am lazy so I haven’t gotten very far. But I think reading various domain blogs does help because they tend to become repetitive and repetition is the uncle of learning.

  2. Not a big secret, but I have done MUCH better monetizing my domains with the Ebay Partner Network than with adsense.

    A lot of people have trouble getting accepted into EPN, but for me it was pretty simple. I just submitted a blog of mine that was about a year old. I cleaned up the look and removed the ads. That did the trick.

  3. General but still an overlooked point.

    Contrary to what people often say on blogs/forums, hang-regging fresh .com names is very alive and well and quite lucrative if you really know what you are doing, spend hours every day doing research, and are willing to wait 6 months – 2 years for them to “mature.” Many will miss entirely, but with the right research you’ll nail the ones that eventually become popular and widespread and easily make up for the ones that miss.

    There are new niches being created every day, so consider looking beyond the obvious “3d” and technology names. Any niche you read about on domain forums/blogs is already exposed and probably not worth attacking. Research, research, research.

  4. “hang-regging fresh .com names is very alive and well and quite lucrative if you really know what you are doing, spend hours every day doing research, and are willing to wait 6 months – 2 years for them to “mature.””

    @ m

    I generally agree, although I don’t hand reg many names. I picked up this morning.

  5. Elliot, do you use Freshdrop PRO Basic or PRO Plus?

    $200 for the Plus seems a bit expensive compared to similar services available.

  6. I learned this through experience, as have many other domain investors — if you are going to develop a domain that requires fresh and original content, stick to a subject that you are PASSIONATE about (or hire the right person to take the lead). Also, have a monetization strategy BEFORE you start development.

  7. If you want to buy a domain from an end user – don’t rely on email.

    I bought my best name 2 years ago, after a 6 month friendly negotiation with the former owner – who rarely, if ever checked email. When I bought the name I saw in the inbox an email from another domainer from months before randomly offering $X for the name. I paid $3x for the name, and it has paid itself back about 5 times already and soon will make $10x per year for me.

    If he had picked up the phone he probably would own the name today instead of me…..

  8. @Elliot
    When you outbound to an end user are you signing off with one of your Corp names or as Individual?
    How many hours a day would you say you outbound to end users?

  9. @ Joel IMHO Ever since EPN left and started a PPC platform revenues have tumbled not worth my time or effort.

    Been with them back when it was like printing money, there is tons of info online can attest to their crummy payout. So unless you’re trying to promote their lacklustre “partner program”” and you work for EPN

    My tip would be to do onsite SEO, Meta tags Description etc along with keywords in terms of getting search engine traffic.

    Never link your analytics account to other ‘G’ products, it’s like exposing your troops on the battle field and this refers to white hat seo. I use statcounter

    You can make money with adsense, it’s like pruning a tree. Track your sites, eliminate the ones that pay 3 cents click. You can easily get $1/click on average or more.

    Use the Adsense/custom search tool =$$$ that you’re leaving on the table!

  10. Elliot, I am about to subscribe to freshdrop. Do you use Freshdrop pro Basic ($99/month) or pro Plus ($199/month) ?

  11. Not a secret either – but the google adwords keyword tool is the font of much statistical goodness.
    Think of a hot keyword, enter it with maybe some close alternatives. Hit exact (or not), sort by search volume, copy everything from the top 500 into a bulk name checker.
    Weed out all the dumbass wrongway round or other rubbish names and very occasionally you might find a little gem sitting there unregged. Not nearly as many nowadays though!

  12. @ LindaM: The Domain Espionage Firefox extension will do all that work for you. It lists the .com/.net/.org extensions next to each keyword suggestion and shows whether it’s available or not. Saves me a TON of time every day!

  13. Elliot, are you referring to or

    I see a testimonial from you on but the GADV column you spoke about is on the service.

  14. @Joel Yeah see now this is cool – anything that can help automate the (already phenomenally powerful) old gakt/bulkcheck gambit is great, I figured there wouldnt be much around so didnt bother to check.
    You have given me some of my life time back with that so thanks 🙂

  15. Exact matching domains resell a lot easier when pitching cold, but there’s a type of .com name that’s being increasingly abandoned by domainers, probably because they don’t earn their keep when parked (nor do they rate very high on the automated scripts used to scan the drops, given the metrics those things employ)…

    Think FanWorld or ChairKingdom or TableLand or DeskZone or GuitarIsland or LampCenter. These types of names rarely register on domainer radars unless they’re “aged” or particularly striking… but I’ve bought a couple good ones recently for cheap on the aftermarket.

    A good keyword plus a good, sensible noun makes for a good domain. My last 5 figure sale was a domain like this, that cost me XXX.

    All the really-really good ones are taken, but I’m starting to see aftermarket prices on some great ones low enough to have tempted me into buying a couple.

    I always kinda think from marketing/development vantage first, so perhaps this perspective is why I’m interested in these domains while ‘domainers’ are increasingly dropping them. Maybe they’re right and I’m wrong, who knows, but these names can easily be a used in a very full scale enterprise, while a lot of the shit that’s presently in vogue with ‘domainers’ is only relevant to Bob Parsons account.

    New guys beware, though. You’ll lose your ass if you get too topheavy in these kinds of names without first really knowing what you’re doing, or stray very far from top quality. These are a lot trickier than exact matching domains. If exact maching domains are assembling a jigsaw puzzle, these domains are carving ‘David’ from a block of Marble.

  16. Domain names with volume and high CPC values are clearly valuable, but finding domain names in certain lead generation verticals are worth an extreme amount. If you start with the end in mind you can quickly see why these particular names are great assets for people who know how to develop them.

    Let’s take car insurance domain names. If you were to build a site on a name like and rank #1 for that phrase, you might only get 10-20 visitors/day, but those visitors could each net you up to $9/click or $20/lead (or both depending on your model). Keep in mind you would start getting long tail traffic for the site w/ proper content and links so really your revenue is only up to your imagination and how far you can take it. The main insight I can share is that car insurance companies like Geico, Progressive, All State etc have nearly an insatiable demand for quality auto insurance leads. There are other lead gen verticals similar to Auto Insurance, my favorites are: online education, life insurance, credit cards, hosting, payday loans and mortgages.

    You can monetize your site either through a CPC model (Surehits or BrokersWeb) or you can sell your leads to, or even better opt for a 3rd option where you create your own form and can control all the information flow. When you have your own form you can then sell to the highest bidders and raise your earnings per visitor even higher. In addition you can sell multiple leads (did you know 10-15% of people that get an auto insurance quote also want a home or renters insurance quote?) and you can sign up your customers to your newsletter and market them different products as long as you continue to provide value.

  17. 1. Last year figured out format of CEOs email address by using format of workers email format. Emailed blindly and he responded over weekend. If sale was reported- would have been a top 10 sale in 2010(brokered deal with another broker).

    I’m 1 for 1 on this and like My batting average. Haven’t attempted again.

    2. Get things in writing and don’t be mr nice guy.

    3. Don’t spend hours a day on forums. Waste of time.

    4. Trust your close friends. Remember who they are and who have helped you along the way.

    5. Failing can lead to success.

    6. Copy and paste auction names into google or keyword tool. Unfortunately I didn’t do this on 2 names and costed me some cash.

  18. Google rewards synonyms in domains so consider that when you are evaluating a domain. For example, if you have a domain with the term “top” in it, you may also be able to rank for a term with “best”.

  19. @Tommy

    I have a asking price, but give an option of a lower price if somebody wants to buy right now … If you have an interest in buying “domainnameforsale”.com, the asking price is $1,495.00, but I would take $1,300.00 … Everybody has their own method of selling.

    I also keep track of who I send an email to with the date, amount and a copy of the full email in an excel spreadsheet. I might what to go back at a later date and lower the selling price again … and thank you Elliot for the hint on how to keep track.

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