From $100 to $5,000 – My First 50x Domain Flip

As you all know I’ve changed my Domaining ways and put my focus almost entirely on .COM. If you want to know why I made this change just read my earlier post – Why I’m Focusing on .COM in 2011. About 95% of what I’m buying now is .COM’s through drop services like Snapnames an Go Daddy Auctions. In both of these cases I’ve created saved searches that I can easily access so I don’t have to enter the specific criteria I’m looking for each time. I’ve found this saves me a lot of time and I can spend just 20-30 minutes each morning combing the drops looking for that needle in a haystack.

Well I’m excited to say that I recently sold a domain I bought for $100 on Snapnames for $5,000. That’s right, it’s my first 50x flip and I’m pretty excited. So I thought I’d share the process I used with all of you since I know this is an event we’d all like to have happen as much as possible! Oh, and as for the domain name itself the buyer has asked me not to mention the name in my post. I can understand this – being a blogger I want to share every aspect of this however this guy will never buy a name from me again if I post all the details of the sale…I’m sure you can understand! Heck, would any of you buy a name from me if I posted how much I paid for the name and how much I sold it to you for?

So how did I identify this domain as a good investment?

I was searching on Snapnames one day following my usual process which is to look at the search volume and CPC of .com names to identify strong development candidates. Remember as someone focused on building brands I’m looking at these names for their monetization potential more than re-sale potential.

This particular domain had just under 1,000 Global Monthly Searches (Exact) and a CPC around $5. In general I look for names with over 500 Global Monthly Searches (exact) and a CPC of $5 or more. While this name was towards the bottom of my threshold I knew it would be something I could develop and rank well for quite quickly. The next step I usually take is to head over to Google and see who’s advertising for the term.

I was surprised to see a ton of advertisers when I searched for the exact keyword phrase in Google. This is what pushed me over the edge and caused me to bid on the name. I realized that if all these people/companies were willing to advertise for the term there would be money to be made with this name either through development or resale.

So I put in an $100 bid thinking there was a 50-50 chance I’d get the name, and I got it. About a month after I bought the name I contacted a good friend who does brokerage for me and asked if he could shop the name around to some of the people advertising on Google. Three emails later and we had a $5,000 offer.

It all happened so fast! I mean it literally was a few hours after contacting a few people on Google that my broker called me and said – we have a serious offer. I thought the offer would be $1,000 or $2,000 which I’d of course be happy with given my initial investment. When he told me the number my jaw dropped – wow, that’s 50 time what I paid for it! A few days later the name was in Escrow over at (my #1 choice for Escrow services hands-down!) and as they say, the rest is history!

So if you’re staring at drop lists every day and wondering if you can still find good domains at low prices I’m here to say you can! I have re-invested all $5,000 into more domains and thus really boosted my .COM portfolio with some even better names. When I sell a domain name my current plan is to take 100% of the money and re-invest it, I think this is the best way to move from four-figure sales to five-figure sales but it does take finding those hidden gems. Thanks to Snapnames I experienced the thrill of my first big flip (or big in my book since I’m not a big domain seller) and I am continuing to buy names that meet a similar profile.

What I think is important to point-out with this particular flip is that the domain didn’t have tens of thousands or even thousands of exact-match searches. I know that many Domainers would completely ignore domains with such a low exact-match search volume…but my flip proves that there is money to be made with names that have a search volume below 1,000 if there are advertisers in the market.

One final thought…I don’t think I would have ever flipped this name if I bought the exact same keywords in a .net, .org, or .us, or many of the other TLDs I know and love. I’m not saying these are useless TLDs but I am saying that the liquidity is in the .COM market while the other markets still have excellent development potential. So when you’re looking at drop lists and want to have the best flip potential, just check the .COM box and find your hidden gem!

Have you also had some great flips recently? Feel free to share your flip and how you identified the domain in the comment section below!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton