I just read an interesting article about a guy who 14 years ago bought the domain pizza.com for $20 (and had to pay $20 each year to keep it). He didn’t really know what it was worth, so he recently decided to put it up for auction to see what he could get for it and it went for a cool $2.6 million. How is that for a nice return on investment?
I remember about that time looking for domains to buy because I had heard a few people comparing it to the California Gold Rush. I spent about 15 minutes typing in domain names and then gave up. Maybe I should have kept at it a bit longer.
While the Pizza.com story is remarkable and not the norm, people have been and continue to make money with domains. I haven’t gotten too involved in buying or selling domains, but if anyone is interested I would be willing to sell ChristianPF.com for a bargain price of $2.5 million (it’s not quite as valuable as Pizza.com hence the discount).
I found another article that talks about how you can still make money with domain names today. The domain name market has some similarities with the real estate market.
Here are a few of the ways the author suggested to make money with domains:
1. Buy existing domains and increase their value (or just flip’em) – it takes money to make money, but you can start small. The domain name aftermarket is extremely inefficient, meaning you can buy domains from one venue and sell them quickly on another. You can also buy underutilized domains, build them up, and watch the cash roll in.
2. Embrace the power of predictive domaining – One of the best new blogs about domains is Predictive Domaining. It discusses ways to determine tomorrow’s hot topics and keywords so you can register (or buy cheap) domains today. Here’s a case in point: the term “blog” wasn’t around during the original 1994 gold rush. There are lots of other terms that aren’t hot (or even known) today that will be tomorrow. I would consider myself a good predictive domainer, but the Predictive Domaining blog always teaches me something new.
3. Stay in it for the long haul – so domain parking revenues are down this year. Perhaps it’s just a speed bump. Will we look back ten years from now at domains that sold for millions when they are then selling for tens of millions? There are still great buy-and-hold strategies for those who are able to hold for the long term.
Real estate and “virtual real estate”
I see the similarities between real estate and domains, but the thing that stands out to me is that there is a limited amount of real estate. There are only so many square feet on the earth, however with “virtual real estate” it is a seemingly unlimited supply.
I understand that the most valued domains receive quite a bit of type in traffic, but it seems like sometimes it may not be worth the investment. For instance eBay, Google, and even amazon all chose not to go after the prime domains and built their brand around a more obscure name. It seems to have worked well for them.
Domain Name tools
If you are curious to see what domains are still available use this tool, it makes it very quick and easy to spot what is available. And if you are trying to find a domain with a particular keyword included – Nameboy is a good tool as well…
Buy your name
I have read a few articles that have suggested to buy YourName.com if it is still available. Domains are cheap – $8 a year with www.GoDaddy.com and it is a lot easier and cheaper to buy it from them than a private party down the road.