How to Be a Domainer

16 comments

While I 've tried to dabble in the domain marketplace, the most I've ever been able to would pretty much barely cover dinner for 4 at a family restaurant. Aviva has pretty nice rundown of some tips on how to make money from domains.

If you’re looking for a domaining strategy that is longer-term but that can be highly lucrative, you might consider trendwatching. Trendwatching is simply the practice of anticipating popular domains before they become popular. The keys to successful trendwatching are good sources and creativity. One of the biggest mistakes novice domainers make, is attempting to trendwatch a very diverse group of industries, rather than focusing on a few and becoming an expert in those areas.

Any domainers in the house who'd care to share a few tips on whats worked for them and what hasn't?

Comments

from a relative n00bie domainer wannabe...

I think SEOs are getting into domaining and domainers are getting into SEO---there's a ton of natural synergy there, especially on the 'premium' side (e.g. keyword.com's ranking bonus for 'keyword', the branding+legitimacy the keyword.com gets you which makes you a bit more linkable, etc.)

In terms of what ISN'T working, I would recommend staying away from typo's and copyright issues, the noose seems to be tightening there.

Targeting a niche

has worked well for me. I have picked up domains from people who no longer use them and don't realize what they have and flip them to those who are looking for domains suitable for branding.

Trendwatching wtf??

It's called domaining.

Avoid trademarks, choose domains based around your skill set, or special interest. Ensure the domains have value to someone besides yourself. Pick high value services based industries ie. legal, loans. Also think local for the future, there are still a lot of valuable domains out there. Or find an old directory and run check it for broken links, reg the domains if the have merit, often the names give you new ideas. It's addictive :P

I agree about domaining and seo becoming alomst one. Part and parcel.

It's all RealEstate

The domainers are the landlords,
The SEOs are the architects/constructors.
A good cooperation is essential.

For me, The main lesson for a good domain portfolio is: Learn before you Burn - Study the market, get familiar with the domain theme you're hunting, use tools, only then blow some $$.

Besides that:

  • Many (not just affiliates) get easy rankings with brand names, generic terms and typos ( Holdam). Andy, I agree that this is subjective to competition's nature and feasible ROI but can't ignore the quantity of navigational searches.
  • If you got more then 30 domains think about risk management : whois, # of registrants, unnatural linking structures, unnatural "privacy" proxies.
  • Even if it's just PARKED, try to give the minimal user value for potential monetization. If the domain gets traffic, look for the best place to refer it.
  • Don't be cheap on Reputation management, when needed remember to secure enough popular TLDs.
  • Don't use registerfly :)
  • Always track your domains sheet for expiry dates.
  • Use a valid email that you ACTUALLY CHECKS from time to time...

>> track your domains

Always track your domains sheet for expiry dates.

I strongly agree. Last year I lost a $xxxx domain last year because of a bad email.

lost $xxx

That's why I have my real earners prepaid for YEARS in advance

As a matter of fact, there's a good chance a couple of domains might outlast ME!

Cheap

I was just being cheap and lost it. I was told that in the drop auction it sold for several thousand.

Or just be smart about it

Or just be smart about it and don't settle for anything less than auto-renew for every single domain you buy. Makes it super easy. Moniker does this by default and I love 'em for it.

I hear you Bill

My best "flip" was last year on one I have had since 1999.

auto-renew = no brainer

-auto renew doesn't always

-auto renew doesn't always auto renew. I had one at XXXXXXX that didn't auto. I caught it during the lapsed period. Since I don't have proof in hand, I won't name the registrar.
-resist the temptation to synchronize expiry dates and use the same email/phone for whois. It can't be good for you.
-don't keep them all in one account. It is very possible that Google will buy whomever, or that discovery will get access and then what good did it do you to associate all of your domains?
-if you plan to monetize by parking with ads, let GoDaddy park it for a while and watch the ads as they tune. When you are ready, set it up to show ads in that same niche. It might be standard adsense, but I think GoDaddy seems to optimize pretty well. One of my medical domains is good for legal ads, and I didn't see that watching AdSense, yet those are the only ads GoDaddy parking would show (might just be anecdotal... not sure).
-consider foreign culture interests. This might surprise you, but most of the world speaks than than english, and has unique ways of branding via english terms. I have domains that the Chinese love for certain pop culture things. AdSense doesn't know it, but a search of the web in china showed my domain name associated with that market, and sho' nuff it's a monetization oppty. Whoodathunkit.
-even if you register 10 years out like Bill says he does, check the whois contact email to make sure it is working. There are many reasons why they might contact you before stealing your domain away, prepaid or not. If you've got a lot of domains, put an autoresponder on all of their whois contact email addresses, which reports to the emailer about your domain managemetn system, with steps to follow to find you. It's a turing test, with a little whois obfuscation plausible deniability built in.
-remember Google parses strings into words. If you're not sure how Google will parse a multiword combination, run a test using page titles and h1 tags of a decent PR web page. MobyDick parses well into Moby+Dick and halfmoon reliably parses into half+moon but nakedooley is nake dooley (not naked ooley) so also reserve the hyphenated one in that case and I think you get the idea even with my bad examples.

wonder why they linked at

wonder why they linked at the domain registry of america site after they called it a scam.

Thanks

>>-auto renew doesn't always auto renew
Thanks for that reminder. I was getting complacent and that served as a wake up call.

My advice would be to get

My advice would be to get into the secondary domain market. We've just released our own auction valuation tool today. I'm sure a few TW members will find it interesting.

Automated Tools

Build your own automated tools.
You need a large network to squeeze money from each visitor.
You need constant money coming in, some people just buy domains and hold on forever.
The pros have money inflow from there network and hence can keep on buying for a long time and higher prices.
Patience is a virtue.

Poach domains from SnapNames and Pool

I basically scour old expiring domains at SnapNames and Pool, and identify domains that continue to receive steady traffic..

Nice article but ...

seems seriously misinformed in places.

PagerankPredict is a very simple tool that gives you a predicted Google pagerank for a domain.

Huh? Pagerank prediction? Even IF it does work what's it got to do with "brute force" domain identification?

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