A few weeks ago I sold a domain name that I hand registered about a year ago for $3,500. I mentioned the sale on Facebook and got a lot of great questions about how I sold the domain. So I thought rather than just share this with my Facebook buddies, why not share it with all of you?
First things first, I am not writing this post to brag about $3,500 like I can retire and spend the rest of my life vacationing around the world. What I do want to highlight is how my domain sales strategy has changed over the course of 2011 and the results I’ve seen. Last year I wrote a post about how I suck at selling domains.
This year I’ve made some very targeted changes to my sales strategy and so far the results have far exceeded my expectations. Still about 80% of my time is focused on building online brands that generate passive income since that’s really the most fun for me. However last year I hit a point where I felt that I was missing-out on a part of my business that could really grow.
To improve this part of my business I reached-out to a number of people I know and trust in the industry to get their advice. Across the board it was pretty clear, where I had fallen short on the sales side was the TLDs I focused on. I had domains with great keywords, high search volume and great CPCs, but in TLDs that were challenging to sell. So my first lesson was, focus on .COM.
I switched to my buying strategy to focus on .COM and it has paid off far more than I would have imagined this year. Before when I would send-out a sales letter to a group of end-users I’d rarely get a response. This year, thanks to my focus on .COM I’ve had end-users get-into bidding wars for several names which has been really fun.
What I’ve also learned is that there are some solid ways to make selling domain names much more passive. To this end I’ve made sure that all my names are listed at all the popular marketplaces. I still send sales letters to targeted end-users but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at the end-users that are now coming to me either directly or through one of the services I list my domains on.
Okay, so onto the title of this post, from $8 to $3,500. This was a flip that I spent no time on at all, it was a truly passive sale, and a domain name that I really didn’t expect to sell. At this point I know what your saying, “cut to the chase Morgan, what was the name and how did you sell it?”
The domain name is NearfieldCommunication.org – a domain that I hand-registered after reading some interesting articles about the technology. It’s a trend domain so I knew that it only had real value if the technology took-off. I listed the domain for sale through Go Daddy’s premium domain service that allows your domain to show-up when someone is searching for a similar name. Since Go Daddy takes a pretty good chunk of commission I’ve increased my sales price by about $1,000 for each name I list through this service. This more than makes-up for the commission so if a name does sell, it’s for more than I expected.
Well, Google announced Google Wallet (which uses Nearfield Communication) and two days later I received a notice that my domain had sold for $3,500. I wasn’t actively marketing the name, this wasn’t one of the many .COM’s I’ve bought this year with resale in mind, instead when the trend hit a buyer came.
Now I don’t want to make this sound like a repeatable strategy. This was pure luck and by no means does this sale make me a domain sales guru. What I did feel good about is getting a trend right and selling the name without doing any work. I really believed that Nearfield Communication would take-off, and it did. For an $8 investment and absolutely no time and energy spent selling the name this is a really nice return on my investment.
Every time I sell a domain I use it as an opportunity to trade-up. So in this case I’m not just turning $8 into $3,500, I’m using that money to buy one or two .COM names in the $x,xxx range that I can flip again. I’ve done this over ten times this year and it’s converted my domain sales profits into better names and stronger long-term investments.
Now please, don’t use this article as an excuse to buy a million crappy trend domains. The lesson here really isn’t about trend domains but about selling domains passively. Trend or no trend if there’s a buyer for your domain you only increase your chances of a sale by listing your name on multiple marketplaces. You may feel like your domain is a needle in a haystack but the more places you put your name the greater access you have to buyers. You can’t really control getting a trend right, that’s just luck, but you can control how many eyes are on your domains. The more places an end-user can find your domains the greater your chances are of selling, it’s just that simple.