I strongly believe that a person could learn about the domain industry right now, do some research, make a small investment, and make a profit. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that only people who started 10+ years ago can have success in this business. I also don’t think you necessarily need hundreds or thousands of dollars to start.
If I had to start all over again today, and I was only willing to spend $50, I think I could still make a profit. It would certainly take time to make an impactful amount of money, but that is the same as just about everything else.
So how would I start today with $50? I would focus on two things.
1) I would look around to find companies that own a whole lot of domain names in their vertical(s), and I would see what types of names they own using a Reverse IP tool or by looking at the names that reside on their nameservers. There are quite a number of companies that own hundreds or thousands of long tail domain names, and I would try to find unregistered names that are similar to what they already own. One company that immediately comes to mind is Vacations To Go, although I haven’t sold them any names.
Before registering the names I found, I would do some research to find out who at the company would buy the names. If the company is small, I would contact the CEO. If it was large, I would probably not waste my time. I use the company’s website management page, tools like LinkedIn and Facebook, information on press releases, Whois information, and other sleuthing tools to find the CEO or owner. Once in touch, I would ask if the company is currently buying good domain names. Nothing more, nothing less.
If the person on the management team says the company is buying, I would then register 3 of the best domain names I could find from my previous research. I wouldn’t try to hit a home run and name a ridiculous price on these names. If I paid $10, I would probably offer them for $150/each. It’s a huge profit margin, but not too expensive for the company. It’s also not an amount that would require a lengthy contract or ownership confirmation, which would reveal the recent registration date. He or she will just buy if they like the names. If the company isn’t interested, I would list them on a place like DNForum for $40 just to recoup the investment and move on.
The key is to make sure the domain names make sense and are actually good names that a company would want to buy.
2) I would do geo-keyword research to find unregistered geo profession .com domain names and email people in those professions. I would offer to sell the names for $150/each, again because the price isn’t too high that it would cause someone to take a lot of time to think about. There are a ton of solid names that have been dropping, and I think a person with some time could do well by registering a few and contacting people who are in the field. Many of these types of names were coveted by the professionals in the field, but they were previously owned by large domain companies. You can now buy these names at registration fee, and try to re-sell them at a profit.
Take a look at your local phone book and see what types of urls lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, and other professionals are using, and see if you can find similar names for other cities. I know a large law firm in my hometown that uses NashuaLaw.com as their domain name. I also know there are a bunch of CityLaw.com names unregistered.
There is still a lot of money to be made in this business, whether you started 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago.
Great post Elliot.
This info is not only good for beginners … but also for those who have been in the business for awhile.
One of the things I did when I first started out was I sold a bunch of domains to different endusers at around $30-50 each. I kept those contacts. I now have huge amount of contacts who regularly buy from me.
It’s important to serve different niches when using this approach. Another thing I do is for every domain that I sell to an end user, I buy 3 more similar names so I can contact them in about 6 months to a year.
2) is a great idea.
2) “Quick Flip Formula” covers this strategy. Really would recommend it to any domaining novice
Elliot, How about setting aside $500, invest it, and report on it for two years, what you buy/sell and turn it into. This is is 10 times what you said you could make a success out of, and would be a really interesting case study for your readers!
I guess one of the problems would be that sometimes you have to sign a CA and can’t really talk about the domains. Maybe you could just refer to them as longtailshopping.com cityname.org etc. But then that wouldn’t be as interesting.
I’ve actually thought about doing something like that before, but it would take up too much time and would hurt my business. If I didn’t put a full effort into it, the results wouldn’t be accurate.
How about the $50 challenge starting Jan 1. All readers of Elliot’s Blog are invited to see how much they can turn $50 into over the course of 2010, and publish the results monthly. You just set up the interface and the readers post updates. There would have to be some rules such as arms length transactions only i.e. cant start with one of your own names that you/estibot values at $50.
But thinking about it the problem is that one year is too long for a competition, and with domaining you would need at least that long.
Tyler Cruz’s publisher challenge works for affiliate marketing, but for domaining maybe the same thing wouldn’t work.
Perhaps a low risk and effort way to do it would be to set the challenge, and folks have to register in Jan, and then report to you the results in a year. Then you can make a post out of it. I am sure there would be a few interesting twists and turns.
These 2 points suggested by you for being a Successful Domain Investor look very informative and I am surely going to try these.
I’m a new domainer. I would be willing to detail how everything goes using a blog.
I will buy a website for $1-50 and see how quickly I can turn that investment into profit. It will be a fun and interesting adventure.