Why I’m Focusing On .COM In 2011

First let me quell any fears that I am suddenly denouncing the ccTLD community or ending my love for .us names. I am still as big a ccTLD fan as ever and .us is a TLD that I’ve made a major focus of mine and think has real value over the next few years. However after my experiences in the 2nd half of 2010 I am excited to announce – I’m going .com baby!

That’s right. In August of last year my portfolio consisted of almost no .com’s and plenty of .us names along with 20+ other TLDs. It was in August that I looked at my portfolio and decided I was happy with the ccTLDs that I bought and think they represent an incredible investment in the long-term. My .us names I see as very valuable passive income vehicles when developed…but I was missing something important – domains that I could sell now.

Of course you I can sell any of my domains with traffic and revenue anytime…but that’s my passive income and I’m not very interested in selling off the exact vehicles I’ve been creating for the last three years. I see all my revenue names as my future and an nice reliable income source that comes in whether I’m sitting at the beach or skiing in Whistler.

Over the last three years I’ve found it difficult to sell undeveloped domains and I could never really realize what I was doing wrong. I had domains with amazing keywords with strong search volume and CPC, in many cases their corresponding .com’s sold for tens of thousands of dollars…why wasn’t I able to get any interest in the .net, .us, etc?

I started talking to some of my friends in the industry who have no problems selling their names and started asking them for some advice. This was around the time that I wrote my post titled, I suck at selling domains

Everyone that I spoke to had the exact same consensus – if I wanted to reliably sell domains I’d have to focus on .com’s. The more I thought about it the more it made sense. Suppose a business wants to rank well in the search engines for a specific keyword or brand around it. I’d say maybe one in every 100 businesses might want to buy a .com domain from you and once you stray to even .net or .org it goes to one in every 1,000 or more.

Now I’m not saying that .net, .org or other TLDs suck, I’m just saying that .com is king and it is also by far the TLD that end-users are the most comfortable paying big bucks for. In essence having .com domains just increases your available market of buyers, it’s that simple. So August was when I made the switch and since then I’ve purchased about 30 new .com domains, all from drops.

Before when I would send an email to a targeted group of buyers for a .us name or a .net name I would never hear anything back from anyone. This all changed when I started focusing on .com’s. With every email I sent-out I would get a few responses and about 50% of the time that would translate to a sale!

Now I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. So many people love to say they make a fortune flipping domains when they really don’t. I’m not saying there aren’t people making money flipping names…it’s just not as many people as you might think. I’m not making enough to retire with my flips over the last six months but I can say it’s added a nice additional revenue stream to my business. In total I’ve made about $10,000 profit on my flips with one $5,000 flip (from an $100) purchase responsible for 50% of my success.

I know I still have a lot to learn but the big lesson here was that after three years of holding-out I’ve decided to go .com! Am I late to the game…looking at the drop market I’d say “No” there are lots of good .com’s available, you just have to know where to look and be patient. Snapnames and Go Daddy Auctions have been two of my best friends as of late.

So let me be clear here. I still love .us, .net, .org, .co and a number of other TLDs and will continue to develop these and turn them into real online companies. That’s my long-term strategy and I’m proud of the passive income and brands I’ve built over the years – that’s still my focus. However, when it comes to selling domains I’ve been missing the boat, playing in a smaller market. What I learned about selling domains in 2010 is what most people learned much quicker than me, if you want to be able to reliably sell domains and have the biggest potential market .com is the way to go!

Okay, I know your next question…you want me to share some of the drops I’ve picked-up with you. Well it wouldn’t be fun to give it all away but I’m happy to share a few I’ve picked-up lately, no TLD listed because they are all .com’s:

0APRCreditCard (8,100 global monthly searches and a CPC of $21.68 – developing this one)

Like I said in total I’ve purchased about 30 .com’s all from drops. Right now I’m pretty laser focused  on credit, debt, and insurance but am always on the lookout for domains with existing backlinks or the highly coveted DMOZ listing.

That’s it – I’ve put it all on the table! So just to re-iterate since I can already see the comments coming. I still love ccTLDs, I think I’ve made some great investments in the space. I’m still building-out .us names, they continue to do well for me. I’ve never put much time into selling domains because I love passive income, but I can only hear about great flips so many times until I have to get some skin in the game. With my skin now in the game I feel a bit like I’ve walked into the matrix…except rather than seeing a bunch of code I see the same thing repeated over and over again – .COM.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton