Thanks for this post. I do good with Adsense and wanted to branch out so I bought 5 domains from Namejet after reading this thread. After the 5 auctions ended I spent $500 total. I contacted 30 people about these domains and after a few bites I was able to sell one of them for $500 so I got my money back and now what I sell the other four for is all profit. The best part about this is that it is not very time consuming. I spent maybe an hour on Namejet. I spent maybe two hours sending out emails. Thanks again!
If you are looking to monetize an idle domain, looking to third-party platforms would be a good idea. Many of these platforms such as Nameforest ourselves will create a logo alongside your domain, which will be added to the list of preexisting domains on their sites. This is useful as the demand for your domain will also be greatly increased after it is rented as opposed to a domain that leads to a blank site - thus making it easier for you to find a potential buyer.
There are several types of domain names to avoid. One is intentional misspellings, as these make it less likely someone will search for them. You also want to avoid names with extra symbols like hyphens, or with added prefixes and suffixes like "e" or "my." Outside of a few notable exceptions with very strong brands (like eBay), those additions can only hurt the value.
I have an interesting twist on how I have done it in the past. I will buy a domain and use it as a development domain for blog posts and things of that nature. Then over time it will gain DA and PR. Then I will sell it off and buy another development domain and start the process over. Not quite the process you mentioned, but it works. People will link to the development site to show things off as well sometimes, so that helps.
While numbers like the ones seen above are impressive, most domains sell for significantly less extravagant prices and are generally in the two or three-digit range. Not long ago, those who were able to secure general terms (like icecream.com or pizza.com) not protected by trademark rights often found themselves sitting on virtual gold mines. The glory days of this boom have long since passed, and those looking for a profit in today’s market need a keen sense for coming trends.
Selling on auction sites is another great way to find buyers. Ebay.com is perhaps, the most popular place to sell domain names. Afternic.com is another site that allows sellers to find good buyers. If you have premium domain names, become a member at GreatDomains.com and list your domain name there. The site is a reputed marketplace and brokers deal with thousands of dollars trading domain names. You can also sell domain names through Sedo.com, a site which has its own selling program. Sedo.com has the largest marketplace in the world, and boasts of having a list of the most expensive domain names in the market. It also has a safe and secure escrow service for domain name buyers and sellers.
The most popular place by far is ExpiredDomains.net. The main advantage of ExpiredDomains.net is that it aggregates data from a lot of different auctions and websites around the web. There are also paid services like DomCop. DomCom helps you identify worthy domains faster by displaying some additional data points that allow you to vet domains easily and in a unified interface. And finally, there are services that curate domains they believe are worthy such as JustDropped.com’s newsletter.
Control your expectations and keep them based on facts, data and expert opinions. Use a tool like EstiBot to get a general idea of how much the domain may be worth. Do understand that this is an automated appraisal tool, so take those numbers with a grain of salt. However, it’s great to get you started. You can also use paid, human-based appraisal services from Sedo and other providers, but these can get costly. If you’re not careful, you could easily overspend on such services and then realize your domain may not even be worth the appraisal fee.
The backlink profile of a recently-available domain is a double-edged sword. While some expired domains have been well cared for by their previous owners and have high-quality links from reputable websites, some contain quite questionable backlinks. The worst case scenario is that the domain was merely used as a link farm to strengthen a major project in a satellite domain network and has already been penalized by some search engines.