One of the easiest ways to make money online is by buying something for a low price and selling it for a higher price. It is even better when you don’t need to pickup or ship a product. Today I’m going to talk about how to make money online by flipping domain names and how I personally have made tens of thousands of dollars in the past year doing this.
Here’s what you DON’T want to do: Target prospective buyers based on their perceived economic status, without any insight into the industry you’re targeting. “Lawyers seem to do well,” you think, “maybe I should start selling names to them.” So you rush out and buy a bunch of domain names you think would appeal to the law firms you’ve identified as potential buyers. Without knowledge of the space, you may not know that the American Bar Association and other industry-specific organizations set rules that govern some aspects of legal advertising. You’re not going to strike gold selling names your target buyers can’t use.
There's a lot of guesswork that goes into domain name investing. It's not enough to purchase domain names that are currently popular. Just like a stock, coming too late to the game won't be profitable. You have to think of the future, instead. What domain names might be profitable in the future? Is there a new product or service that may become a huge hit? Where is the future headed?
It is mind boggling how local search engine optimization has grown from a tiny market to a mammoth industry within a span of ten years or so. This is also one of the reasons why focusing majorly on local names is profitable. From doctors to pizza parlors to salons, everyone wants to see their business thrive on the first page of Google Search results with the help of target keywords.
There are many different ways to buy and sell domain names. Many standard domain registrars, such as GoDaddy.com, will facilitate sales via auction. Meanwhile, specialized websites, such as Sedo, are designed exclusively to buy and sell domain names. Finally, parking domains with a for sale page is a great way to draw targeted interest from potential buyers.
To join, you’ll need to purchase an annual GoDaddy Auctions membership for $4.99 a year. Once you’ve purchased a membership, you can take advantage of member benefits such as our Auctions Tools, which can help you prepare before buying or selling any domains. After joining the auction community, you’ll quickly learn how to navigate the world of domain buying and selling and can begin to make money by investing in domain names.
Buying a trademarked domain name could get you into a lot of hot water. Best case scenario is for the trademark holder to force you into handing the domain over and call it a day. Worst case scenario is you get into a legal battle and end up spending an arm and a leg. This is why it might be a good idea to use the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website to check for trademarks if you’re unsure about a domain name.
Sellers should also learn to identify premium domain names. Dictionary names are premium domain names. Domain names with dictionary-singular names are the hottest on the Web, and buyers are willing to pay a lot to purchase them. Names, such as search.com or askme.com, will get buyers more easily than long domain names. It is also important to note that unhyphenated domain names have more value. Even product-related domain names also can enable sellers to earn substantial profit. Once a seller has a certain degree of knowledge about the domain, he can start searching for buyers.
You can still buy two word or three word domain names incorporating your target keywords. Moreover, there are millions of domain names out there which haven’t been used at all and are bound to expire soon. All such domains keep coming back to the domain marketplace. What more, there are useful tools available to research and filter through such expired domains.
Listing on domain marketplaces: This is the most common route. You should, however, acquaint yourself with each marketplace’s policies and fees before deciding to work with them. For example, Sedo’s commission starts at 10% and BrandBucket prohibits listing the domain anywhere else if you’re selling with them. Here’s a list of the most popular marketplaces (in no particular order):
There are currently two main types of domain speculators: those that buy domains, build sites around them, and then flip the domain and accompanying website, and then there are those that buy and sell domain names without web sites attached. While both can be very lucrative businesses, the second type is much easier for novices to learn, and as such, shall be the topic of discussion for this article.
Sometimes people purchase domains that they plan to build a website on or sell in the future, but it just doesn’t end up happening. If an individual decides that it is no longer worth the yearly investment of keeping the domain in their account, they may choose to let it expire. Or, someone might just forget to renew the domain before the expiration date. If this happens, it’s a great chance for other domain investors to score rare domain names that are pending delete. Spending time perusing the list of recently dropped domains can be a worthwhile way to find high quality domains.
Check backlink profile: If you’re not familiar with what backlinks are, they’re basically any public website that “links” to the domain in question. Since there are numerous shady tactics in the SEO world, expired domains’ backlink profiles should be examined carefully. Check if too many links are coming from the same domain or if links have weird anchor texts/use foreign languages. You can use a tool such as ahrefs for these purposes.
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.
Parking the Domain Name: When you park a domain name, every time someone enters IHateCold(.com) into their web browsers, a page with a few ads and sales info is shown. So you’re letting the visitor know that the domain is for sale and you make a few cents on the ads displayed for views. There are several domain parking services for when their buying and selling domain names, but I’ll go into that in another post.
What I like to do is sort by DP which stands for domain pop, and this is basically the number of linking root domains. So, BL is the number of back links. As you know that can be somewhat misleading if they have a lot of site wide links or multiple links from the same domain. I like to sort by domain pop. What that does is it brings up the sites with the most amount of referring domains.
If the third party in question does not have the trademark rights they claim, or it is not a very strong claim. In most cases, the third party will need their trademark registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO website has a trademark search engine that you can consult. This may also require a cybersquatting attorney to help determine if the trademark claim is strong enough.
That’s it for deleted domains which you can just pick up by heading over to your favorite registrar and registering it right away as long as it says, free and green here. If it says registered it’s obviously taken. This is obviously a cheap way to get some great links because let’s say, you know, this site we saw is not bad. It doesn’t have page rank, but that could be just because there was no content on the site. If it has a solid link profile, you can be sure that the page rank will come back and you can pick it up for about $10.
There’s an important distinction to make here between domain flipping and website flipping. The latter mainly refers to buying and selling full websites. By full websites, I mean websites that actually have content and more often than not have traffic and revenue. When buying and selling websites, the domain name matters less as the main value there is the content, traffic, revenue, history/reputation, sustainability and growth opportunities. The same can’t be said for domain names where you’re just selling “the name” and hence it’s all that really matters.