What To Do With Your New Domain Find

Vital DomainsWhile perusing some posts this morning I saw a question by someone who claimed to have a great “find” on a cheap domain name. He said he got it for only 99-cents. That, in itself, is a good price – considering that regular pricing for domains is in the neighborhood of 10 dollars. That may vary a bit among registrars like GoDaddy.com, or NameCheap.com or the myriad others “out there*.”  However, the post/question was not about the original cost but about whether he should develop it or try to flip it for a profit. He mentioned reselling it because he believes it to be a “brandable” domain. It is unique, short, easy to remember and should fetch a good price (yeah, right) and asked where he might go to sell it.

My response would be, had I chosen to post a response on that forum, would be something akin to this…

You can post it on SEDO.com or you can make a one-page site advertising it for sale and put an Escrow.com “button” on the page. Either way may lead to a sale – but it will take some work on your part to convince a potential buyer that the domain can be brandable.

Another option might be a website called “Flippa,” which bills itself as “The #1 place to buy and sell websites, domains and mobile apps.” I have never used Flippa but I have had good success, both buying and selling through Sedo and Escrow.com. With Flippa I am apprehensive about their tag line which asks if the reader wants to earn “passive income***.” That always scares me a bit – because passive income always takes a lot more work than (most) people want you to believe.

It is a cute domain but will take a lot of time and effort to actually created a brand around it. As is, it is worth about what you paid for it. With proper marketing you may see a couple hundred bucks but, again, that will take some effort on your part – unless you get lucky*, that is.

 

I now steer clear of Network Solutions, however, because I have not had a good experience with them. I’ve been having problems transferring a domain from there to put it with my registrar of choice, eNom.com.

**I have found over the years that the harder you work the more luck you will find. 

***Yes, I do earn some nice passive income in my semi-retirement. However, I find I need to work (at least) two full days a week to maintain it. 

 

Seasonality in Affiliate Marketing

The issue of Seasonality in Affiliate Marketing…

…was brought up in an affiliate marketing forum. I began typing a response there but soon realized it might do more good here. (Why give content to another company, eh?)

A long time ago when I first started in affiliate marketing (circa 1999) I built two “destination” websites, specifically in Baltimore and Ocean City, MD. I sold a few guide books through Barnes & Noble that first year and added hotel reservations in 2000. Those sites grew in interest so I then built a couple of “national” sites and brought a few more city “destinations” online. Hotel reservations, especially in summer-tourism areas are, by nature, very seasonal. That’s when the AOV (Average Order Value)is highest because of higher summer rates and more multiple-night bookings. Over the years I have worked with most of the larger online hotels merchants but today find that Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Priceline.com fill the needs of site visitors quite well.

I made some serious cash back in the day but mostly in the summer – and wanted something to carry weight in the fall, winter and spring. I joined the ShareASale Network and picked up a couple of merchants – for some very niche domains I had acquired in those early years. However, being a one-man shop, I knew I didn’t want to take the time to focus on the fourth-quarter crush of holiday sales. I wanted something that might work on a year-’round basis.

Personal Checks at Girly ChecksThe folks good folks at ShareASale suggested I get involved at ABestWeb, which I did – rather extensively. ABW was, at the time, the best place to interact with real folks in the Affiliate Marketing Industry. I attended my first Affiliate Summit in Miami in July of 2007 to further expand my horizons. I found it was very rewarding, personally and professionally, to meet – face to face – many of the people whom I first met on ABW (most of whom, unfortunately, no longer interact there). I also made some new “friends” in the business – some of whom have become personal friends. One of those was Kim (Rogers) Salvino – who introduced me to checks. I told her, “I have a beach site, I can’t sell checks.” She said they have beach checks. In fact, “We have a check for everyone!” was one of her responses. She also offered to have  one of her graphics people create a page for my main beach site. (How’s that for service from a company recruiting affiliates?)

Business ChecksWhen I got home from ASE’07 I did explore the viability of selling checks. I installed the two pages of beach checks provided by Kim and the good folks at 4Checks.com – and never looked back. Today I still do hospitality (hotels) and checks – a LOT of checks. The “seasonality” with checks is that the strongest quarter is, by far, the first quarter. So, between hotels and checks, I had good sales during the summer and winter seasons. The other, focused niche domain, sites are sporadic but do help fill in the rest of the year. For example, I have a strong education domain, from which I sell school supplies. There is a surge for school supplies in the late spring and early fall.

But now I plan to – semi-retire. So I am refocusing and trimming out the “slow stuff” – to focus mainly on checks and my two original hotel/city destinations. I still interact with a several of the folks I met over the years, at ABW and at Affiliate Summits. Today, however, we mostly interact via email, social media (closed groups on Facebook) and phone. That way we don’t have to put up with all the newbie/spammer/scammer “noise” of a forum that is more concerned about post count and ad sales than developing (or RE-developing) a real community of affiliate marketers.

That early start with 4Checks.com got us a great foothold into the checks vertical but they are no longer on our “best merchants” list. We do promote for nearly all of the larger online checks merchants but find Checks-Superstore.com and CheckAdvantage.com to be the most responsive in meeting the needs of affiliates.

Retirement, or semi-retirement, will bring about additional seasonality issues. I can foresee having to deal with  summers at the beach in Delaware and winters cruising the Caribbean. 🙂

Spreading some Sedo.com Love – Domains for Sale

We are beginning to clean out our locker full of unused domains. All of these domains were purchased with the intent of developing them – absolutely – at least it was a grand idea at the time. 😉

Instead of letting them simply expire we have begun listing them on www.Sedo.com, a well-known domain marketplace. Sedo.com bills themselves as the “World’s Largest Domain Marketplace.”

This morning, for example, we had a fixed-price offer for a listed domain. The buyer made an escrow deposit, we were notified that the funds were in escrow, we pushed the domain into Sedo’s domain account (they have accounts at all the major registrars, such as www.eNom.com, www.Moniker.com, www.GoDaddy.com) and a credit memo had been generated – all in less than two hours. We get paid via ACH (for parking revenue and sales) so the funds will be in the business account on the next business day (or maybe two days).

We can earn “parking” revenue while a domain is listed for sale (if the DNS is set to Sedo’s nameservers), quick and safe transactions, and only a 10% commission charge for domains sold directly through Sedo. I think it’s a pretty good deal.

There is also an option that was also choose. That is to have Sedo market a domain through several of their partners (such as www.GoDaddy.com). That increases exposure by a large factor so the chance of attracting a buyer is better. The only caveat is that a sale through a “partner” incurs a higher (usually 15%) commission charge.

We are about to launch a small site listing our “listed” domains at www.VitalDomains.com. After all, a good domain is vital to the success of your business website. This may provide some additional exposure and give us a chance to do a bit of our own marketing. However, any sale will still be directed to go through Sedo – because their service is quick, safe and the commission is about the same as if we conduct the sale privately through an escrow service, such as www.Escrow.com.

Anyone else use Sedo?