December 2009 - Issue #53

 
Monetizing a Domain Portfolio - Multiple Streams of Income

When monetizing your domain portfolio it is important to adopt the concept of multiple streams of income.  Many domain owners got lazy in the last few years as domain parking provided good income for domains that received traffic.  Google and Yahoo were the source of most of this income, and both of these companies have been cutting back on the percentage of their revenue that they pay to domain parking companies.  The domains you own, on average, need to earn at least enough to pay for their annual registration fees.  There are many routes to this goal.  You should consider all of the following:

  • Domain Parking - The major domain parking companies still pay good money for many domains. By all means continue to park the majority of your portfolio while you also pursue these other streams of income.
  • Quasi-development - Sites such as WhyPark and DevHub create semi-automated mini-sites that can sometimes draw more traffic than parked domains.  Experience to date suggests that even though the sites draw more traffic and look nice they do not always make more money.
  • Mini-sites - Developed mini-sites are one step up the food chain.  Often these appear to be templated "made-for-AdSense" sites that usually include some content.  The best of these include unique content and may get listed in search engines for this reason.  (My plan to get some mini-sites developed was temporarily delayed, but this is still planned.)
  • Affiliate Advertising - You can use your domains as landing pages for affiliate products, such as those found on ClickBank
  • Domain Sales - This will be the focus of an upcoming post.  If you sell a few domains a year you can probably pay the registration fees on the remainder of your domains.

Monetizing Domains through Sales - Best Practices

Before domain parking most domain owners monetized their domain portfolio through domain sales.  Paying the registration fees for a large portfolio can be a challenge.  Before you allow your domains to expire, consider these best practices for domain sales.

  1. Keep your contact information up-to-date, and include a real email address where people can contact you.  I get more sales inquires through people who look-up the whois on my domains than any other way.  Sure, some of these people want me to sell for $50, but others understand the value of a good domain for branding and direct navigation.  Back when BuyDomains first started (and before they were bought by NameMedia) they always used a statement such as "This Domain For Sale" instead of their actual registrant name.

  2. Consider creating a sales site for your domains.  I created HealingSites.net for my domains in 2001.  It gets good Google rank for niche keywords, but I have sold more domains through the whois data and sites such as Sedo and Afternic.   

  3. Get listed everywhere you can.  Sedo and Afternic are absolutely essential.  It's difficult to keep up the listings at both places if you have a large portfolio that changes, though.  NameDrive's new NDX service is similar.  Consider the expanded options that these companies offer.  Afternic will list you and collect 10% of the sales price.  If you allow them to collect 20% your names will also show up on places like GoDaddy, DomainTools, DirectNIC, BuyDomains, and even Network Solutions. 

  4. Use the Expanded/Premium promotion on Afternic for the domains you believe have exceptional potential and those you can afford to pay 20% (minimum $120) to sell.

  5. Price your domain names.  The research shows that priced domains consistently sell faster than "make offer" domains.  A potential buyer will hesitate to make an offer because they have no idea what ballpark you are targeting.  Afternic has a pretty good webinar on pricing, but the login requirements are a little annoying.  Just put it on YouTube guys.

  6. Copy BuyDomains.  This company sells more of their own domains than anyone else in the world.  Take a look at how they do it and follow their lead.

  7. Auction sites like eBay can be a decent sales venue for very timely domains (especially those that don't have as much lasting value).  If you own a domain that covers a topic in the news, try selling in a quick sale on eBay.
 

DomainSponsor Invades Europe

DomainSponsor announced Monday that it is opening an office in Europe in early 2010.  They have appointed Joerg Schnermann as General Manager for DomainSponsor Europe. They also announced the appointment of  Jessica Besseling and Joe Higgins to the European team.

Schnermann was formerly COO of KeywordDomains.com. Before that he worked in the "real world" as a marketing manager with the Coatings Division of BASF AG,and as a corporate banker with Commerzbank AG.

“The European market is considered to be the fastest growing sector in the global domain space,” according to Peter Celeste, Oversee.net Senior Vice President and General Manager of Domain Services. “This is a significant milestone for DomainSponsor.  We’re delighted to welcome such a talented core team of seasoned domain industry experts. They understand local needs and will help build on existing relationships and establish new ones within the European community.”

DomainSponsor  also recently announced that DOMAINfest Global will once again include a party at the Playboy Mansion.  Tickets for the event are on sale, and hotel rooms are filling up fast.  This critically acclaimed conference should be one of the best of 2010.

DevHub gets more Money

We've followed DevHub since it was EvoLanding.  The parent company announced in November that it has secured a round of growth capital totaling $1.5 million.

DevHub reports that they now have over 30,000 publishers whose websites attract over 2 million unique visitors per month. The site creation tools and revenue-generating modules to make it easy to create quality niche topical sites.

DevHub focuses on domainers.  The platform is optimized for revenue-generating purposes, but their revenue has not always been stellar.  Still, it is very easy and quick to create mini-sites at DevHub .

“In addition to aggressively growing the feature set to support and grow our individual publisher base, the capital raised will enable us to quickly expand the DevHub platform to encompass larger, content-rich sites on the Web that sorely need a revenue-focused platform to build upon,” according to EVO Media Group CEO, Geoffrey Nuval [the parent company]. “The Internet is realizing it can no longer stand on a freeconomy and publishers large and small are looking for ways to optimize monetization for the content and brands they create; we are seeing this more and more with the increasing number of potential partners approaching us for a solution.”

 
Get Ready for Mardi Gras
 
I can only make it to a few domain conferences every year, partly because of my day job as a psychologist.  I will be at Domainer Mardi Gras in March.   I've never been to Mardi Gras, and I have not seen New Orleans after Katrina.  I hope to see many of you there.