Do you have a plan? Why most new Domainers quit.

I get a lot of emails every week from people who read my blog, read my book(s), or watch my videos or live show. The email usually starts-out the same way, “I thought that I could make a lot of money with Domains, I watched one of your videos, got inspired and bought many domains and I’m still not making any money.” Here’s what happens – people get inspired by something, the watch a ten minute video, read ten pages of a book and go “Eureka!” I’m going to make a fortune and they dive right in.

Domaining seems cheap to new investors who say, “well it’s only $10/name so there is a very low point of entry into the space.” However, once you buy a few hundred names and have thousands of dollars in renewal fees the reality starts to set in. You didn’t have a plan.

The motto for my company is – Stop Collecting. Start Investing. So many new Domainers really start-out as collectors rather than investors. As a former collector I speak from experience. I’ve made it no secret that I spent five-figures buying domains in 2007 and dropped half of what I bought the first year – it was like flushing a brand-new car down the toilet. This is where most people throw-up their hands and say, “I quit!”

Let’s stop for a second. Am I describing you? As you read this post are you saying, “Hey I bought a bunch of domains, and you’re right, I’m not making any money.” You might be getting ready to throw-in the towel, maybe lash-out at long-time Domainers for getting in early. What you don’t realize is it’s still EARLY and people that started Domaining last year are laughing their way to the bank this year…but their is a difference between what they did and what you are doing.

Most Domainers quit because they don’t have a plan. They buy a ton of domains that they think sound great, park them, and then try to sell them for 50x what they paid for them. They try to sell them to other, often more seasoned Domainers, for a ridiculous price that no Domainer would ever pay. That’s not a plan, Domaining is about investing not gambling. There are plenty of $5 tables in Vegas, there’s a low point of entry, but if you don’t know much about the game, don’t have a plan to win, then you really are just gambling.

So how can you come-up with a plan? Research, network, attend conferences – be a sponge! Learn everything that you can and reach-out to people for advice. There are a lot of people who are successful in this industry that are happy to share their secrets with you – this is very rare in any industry. At the bare minimum you should have a good answer to these three questions:

  1. What criteria do you look for in a domain? You need specific criteria that you look for because you have Buyers that are looking for the same metrics or you know how to develop and monetize in that niche. Buying a domain because it sounds catchy or because you think there is a perfect end-user out there is a great way to build your collection…but you want to be an investor right?
  2. How do you make money with each domain? You should know even before you buy a domain that it will either make or sell for more than you paid for it. If you are hand-registering a domain you better be able to develop and monetize it because many hand registered domains are worth $0 to anyone except for you. Most new Domainers stick to hand-registering their domains when they should be playing the drop game.
  3. How many projects can you work-on at once? Domainers often work on 10,000 different projects at once making little or no progress on any of them. Pick one or two projects and put all your time and energy into them. Don’t stop until you’re making money, and please don’t rinse and repeat until you have a working model. So many Domainers throw-up unsuccessful mini-sites and then keep doing the same thing on more domains – get it working first, then roll it out in mass.

So now let’s take a step back. If you’re a seasoned Domainer this post was probably just a review for you, and in fact I’d be happy to hear additional thoughts and comments as always! If you are a new Domainer getting ready to throw in the towel hopefully this post gives you some perspective. If anyone could make money in Domaining by just buying a bunch of Domains don’t you think everyone and their grandma would be doing it? This is the future of investing, the real estate gold of the next ten years – put together a good plan and we can reminisce together about the good ol’ days!

{ 31 comments… add one }

  • backorder it October 22, 2010, 2:00 pm

    Good post…as ever…;)

  • Wufuquan October 22, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Good post…. 🙂

  • Nathan October 22, 2010, 5:35 pm

    A good post for newcomer’s!

  • Jonathan October 22, 2010, 6:12 pm

    As a representative of someone your talking about. I haven’t quit yet and I’m learning slowly but surely. However this sounds like all the other useless articles to newbies out there. If you SINCERELY want to help us; WHAT are those criteria (1,2,3…) we should really be looking for when hunting a domain? What is a good plan to sell a domain (pointers, tips, actual services,…) when we have it? What are the specifics for basic success? Thanks, Newbie

  • Josh October 22, 2010, 7:28 pm

    Great post, Morgan. I had my first end-user sale today because of a plan. Am I rich? No way… But I do think success always begins with at least a framework of a plan. There are definite steps to mastering anything; knowing where want to go and forming a plan to get there are two very important steps.

  • DomainMaven October 22, 2010, 9:38 pm


    Interesting article.

    What have been your most successful or profitable development projects ?

    What are some of your top domain sales thus far ?

  • Wendy October 22, 2010, 11:33 pm

    Hey Morgan,
    Great meeting u on DNCruise. Thanks for the article. U r writing about where I am presently and a few roads I have been down.
    I have a few old gems I was lucky to hand reg. I must decide on just one, find the formula (variables that work for that category ie: design, develop, market, seo, advertise) that works and keep plugging connections that make it expand (traffic, money, subscriptions) into that one domain.
    Once I have proven track, then rinse, repeat! Right???? K! Now to pick one and develop plan. mmm K.…next…project treatment, then the fun part! Design for me! Thanks again. Have a great weekend.

  • 3ddi3 October 22, 2010, 11:35 pm

    I was on the same boat until I realize that a large part of it is hype as most of the good names are already taken. And the best advice that I heard came in a little too late. Nevertheless, I took that advice and started developing and combined that with my knowledge in affiliate marketing. I also took with me some of the lessons in acquiring a good domain name.

  • Richi - October 23, 2010, 6:41 am

    RE: Jonathan :::

    You cannot be serious asking questions like that!!!!! wow your funny! n

    Nobody tells everyone THEIR PERSONAL secrets for the sake of being kind and helpful as it can jeopardise everything that they know and end up having millions copying the same blueprint of success! As frustrated as you sound over it the only way is to learn your rights from wrongs YOURSELF and succeed that way! There is no 100% winner for everyone, some people do it slightly different to another and to their own tastes and still succeed. You CANT cheat by asking for people for their blueprints of how they do it and how they succeed big. If you want to do that and not learn from your OWN experience and you want to be a LEECH off other people ideas and personal knowledge then go and invest your time and money elsehwre into opening up a newsagents and copy exactly what the newsagent does next door to you 😀 lol.

    You should try out different things yourself until YOU get it right, then roll out the structure to the rest of your domains. Then YOU youself can be so “wonderfully kind” and a good friend to the world and her internet newbies by telling them in the future all of your discovered secrets as see how good it does you 🙂

  • Richi - October 23, 2010, 6:43 am

    Apologies for my spelling mistakes, My ipad is being a pain in the backside..!

  • Aolofs October 23, 2010, 6:56 am

    Thanks Morgan. Jonathan: I think newbie domainers should learn from eachother. That would be the best way to get some relevant info. Matt Fulton recently started a facebookgroup called “domaining”. I just created one myself. “Newbie domainer”. Get networking with people in the same boat!

  • Jason October 23, 2010, 8:58 am

    People quit domaining because they want quick results. People have to think like a business. A business takes time to grow. Most domains I sold are ones I purchased back during the learning stage.

    You don’t have to develop domains to make a profit. I hand register 99.9% of all my domains. Think what is most popular on the net.

    1) Resume/cover letter/cv
    2) jobs
    3) education
    4) services
    5) travel/hotels

    The majority of my domain traffic fall into these niches. Cool article. Thanks.

    • Morgan October 23, 2010, 11:34 am

      Thanks for all the great comments everyone!

      As always I can only share what has worked for me which has been development and monetization.

      I have always been focused on building a piece of property online that makes me money for years to come rather than just selling for a quick profit. Now that u have developed over 150 domains (and I have about 1000 total in my portfolio) I can do absolutely nothing for a month and still make money – this is why I’ve always been focused on monetization.

      There are many great ways to make money in this industry – I got hooked early on with passive income vs. spending time looking for buyers and then selling the asset that I just bought. I still hand register plenty of domains but buy them specifically for monetization.

      For those who said I wouldn’t give-away my secrets – I do and have since 2007 on this blog. I have seen many people get started the wrong way buying a bunch of junk domains – doing nothing with them and losing thousands or more every year. I am very grateful to everyone in the industry that has shared their secrets to success with me – you’ll find this is one of the most transparent industries there is!

      Just make sure to attend a conference if you haven’t yet – they are absolutely 100% worth it. Thanks again everyone and go forth and conquer!

  • GeekDiva October 23, 2010, 9:23 am


  • Jason October 23, 2010, 9:48 am

    Such recent domain registrations.

    Registration in July. and already made back the cost of registration in 2 months. 

    My recommendation is to look for high search keywords, and or popular fields. Education domains are good, especially when many clicks generate better revenue than other fields.

    My sales are from job domains, travel, taxi service, movie industry, cake business, and a few other fields. Resume industry domains are going to be very popular.

     Also focus on education and job domains. There are plenty of good domains that are available. Many owners are letting them drop. 

    I bought several GEO generic hotel domains in smaller cities. In my hometown are, I registered rentals, hotels, restaurants, and apartments. I also have the city .biz, .org cityof….com and the .co. 

    I have lists of domains that I want to register. Some have been around for months. Newbees have to drop the label, and begin thinking like a business. 

    Do some research. Read for what sales in the industry. Check out what people are bidding on. And why? Type in addresses that sold on the past. Are these sites developed, or do they point to a business?

    Read blogs that provide information on selling techniques. Ask commentors questions. Always ask questions. Register names that pull up in search suggestions. 

    Yesterday, I received clicks on a popular movie job site I registered last month. I monitor that stats to determine what people are searching for online.

    Register .com. I don’t have much luck with .net. Never sold one. I have sold a few .us and .info. All my sales are mostly .com. I own some good .net. 

    There are some lead generator tools that can help to find end-users. Email businesses that sell products and or offer services that are similar to your names. Cold calling never work. Email using contact section. 

    List your domains at Sedo, Go Daddy, and other domain marketplaces. Make sure to be consistent with pricing your domains. Offer the buyer an option to make an offer. Include starting price. The buyer will have an idea on the ballpark figure.

    Read as much as you can. There are many good articles, as well as blogs that help people online. Ask experienced domainers a few questions. Keep in mind that they have to answer many questions, so you may not receive a quick answer. Good luck.     


  • Jason October 23, 2010, 9:59 am

    Excuse a few of my grammar and structure errors in the long post. I mostly use the Iphone to type comments. Newbees have to drop the beginner label.

    I never associated myself as being a domain newbee. I always asked questions. Many would criticize me for asking questions. I stayed up many nights researching the industry. I use my iPhone as a research and selling tool.

    In the past, I registered names that are popular today. Initially, I assumed I would make sales in the future. I managed to flip domains, and continued to located quality names.

    Don’t ever give up. There are plenty of good domains available. There are many times I got discouraged, but then I asked questions. You have to be persistent. Good luck.

  • Ray October 23, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Jason wrote: “look for high search keywords”

    How high? is there a minimum for you?

  • Jason October 23, 2010, 1:56 pm

    1,000+ us monthly searches in US.

    I have purchased domains that don’t have any searches such as and

    High search keywords generate more traffic. They’re usually hard to find.

    I acquired The keywords produce many searches.

  • Aolofs October 24, 2010, 1:22 am

    Cheers all!

    So Morgan… Tell us a little bit more about those early mistakes. Could be helpful. I mean, it´s quite a narrow path to success, and if you have no idea which one it is, it could be an expensive “adventure”.

    You seem to have kept your nose above water, and slowly begun striving. What did you drop after the first “misregs”, what did you keep, did it work, and why?

    How much of your income comes from things that are not traditionally “domaining”?

  • Ray October 24, 2010, 11:53 am

    So is it safe to buy any domain with high search keywords? Or is there other criteria?

  • Jason October 24, 2010, 12:12 pm

    There’s a criteria. I’m receive good traffic on resume and cover letter domains. Also with film writing domains. Many of them don’t have less than 1,000 searches. I receive clicks on resume domains I register a fea days prior.

    The criteria is to find popular domains that market popular fields. I made up a ticket site that is worthless in terms of appraisal value, but is a cool name. In two months, I made back the cost of registration. The keywordsarw searched for 2-4 times a day. If you find sex sites with high searches, those will generate heavy traffic.

    Actual tourist places, services, jobs, products and other markets will make money. I made two good sales on two job domains. What do people search for online? Tickets, hotels, sports, sex, education, jobs, resume, money, loans, movies and etc…

    Not any high search site will make money. I would look for two wordsites which the words complimentine another. These sites are available. I have a few dozen .com that have more than 1,000 searches. Good luck.

  • Jason October 24, 2010, 12:14 pm

    My iPhone is pushing words together or changing the spelling. Please excuse the errors in my post. Thanks.

  • 3ddi3 October 24, 2010, 3:31 pm

    @Morgan – thanks for your blog. This is were I heard about the best advice for newbies concerning domaining. My thoughts are the same as yours – get a good domain, devlelop and monetize.

  • Jason October 24, 2010, 3:54 pm

    You don’t have to monetize a domain. Get a good domain that you think will attract attention. Use Why Park, or another service. While your site generates traffic, you can also find buyers.

    I have made back cost of registration on a few dozen domains. There are many .info that have made back many times the cost of registration. In addition, I flipped one .info in 10 days for a 300 times the cost.

    You don’t have to monetize domains. However, you can park them at Why Park. They have free accounts. The domain apos will generate traffic. No need to invest time into trying to build hundreds of sites. Evaluate the clicks and traffic in 2-3 months. Build the sites that are most popular.

    I turned a few sites into ones that generate 1,000+ unique per month. You have to look at the domain industry as a trend. What is popular right now? Jobs, resumes, tickets, education and more. What information are people for. Flu shots, medical insurance, and etc…

  • Jason October 24, 2010, 4:34 pm

    If you’re into domaining, no don’t need a plan. I made plans to become a screenwriter, to earn my college degrees several years ago, and to find success. Nothing ever goes as planned.

    I never planned to get into domaining. I accidentally purchased 20 domains in Jan 2009. A week before many of the domains were going to expire, I received an offer on one domain. I sold the domain. That motivated me to purchase more domains.

    I sold two more in February. I have no clue on how to develop websites. I build all my domains at Why Park using their domain apps. When you get the hang of domaining, you know what domains are good. It is impossible to develop 800 sites.

    The goal is to determine which of your sites are generating the most traffic. Of course, credit monitoring, law, medical, loans, insurance, credit counseling, and education sites are going to produce high CPC. However, there is no guarantee a high priced domain will generate traffic.

    From my personal experience, the most popular domains are education, exact generic items, ticket, hotels, travel, movies, resume and cover letter, and writing. You never know which domains will produce clicks.

    This blog has good resources for developing website to make revenue, but domaining involves more so buying domains to sell to end-users. There are many tools available to find the right buyer.

    You don’t need a plan to make money as a domainer. Planning usually disrupts success because you pass up on domains that you plan to buy later, or wait too long to develop a site due to lack of money.

    Persistence and spontaneity are more effective than planning. There are times I felt discouraged, but then I continued to press on. I found buyers, and located better domains. Half of the domains I sold are ones I purchased during the learning stage. I only sold these domains because I was looking for the right domains. I focused on the what generated the most interest. Jobs, travel,movie, NYC, and taxi domains helped me to produce decent sales.

    I never planned to make a sale. I don’t make money from writing on my blog. I find that two word generic domains that are specific generate the most traffic. You have to use the right keywords or you won’t make produce good clicks.

    I agree that pricing domains too high is the reason domainers struggle to sell their domains. Many domainers sit back and wait for a buyer to come along, instead of sending e-mails and looking up Whois information of potential buyers. Maybe a .com owner may want to buy a .info domain. You never know until you try.

    You don’t need a good domain to make money. I registered two domains, one is a generic coin domain and another is a Ticket one with a 3 letter extension after. These two have been extremely popular. The ticket domain has no appraisal value, though it has produced many clicks. The coin domain is worth $670. It has 18.000 average keyword results, and is searched for 3,000 times a month.

    A few months ago, I found 7 generic GEO hotel .com domains for cities with at least a population of 30,000. Instead of planning, set goals on what you want to accomplish. Do you want to make a big sale? Make monthly revenue? Find domains on the drop to sell in the aftermarket? Setting goals will help you reach success.

    We can’t plan success. You have to be persistent. I planned to do things a certain way. Many plans never work out. When I’m persistent and optimistic, I manage to accomplish my goals. Good luck.

  • FloName October 27, 2010, 10:46 am


    “You don’t need a good domain to make money” – BUT it certainly helps

    “If you’re into domaining, no don’t need a plan” – Again, it certainly helps!


    there is no surefire, universal way to make money with domain names. To each, their own. No 2 strategies are necessarily alike. IMO, a plan is equal parts research and execution. Find what works for you individually, rinse and repeat.

    Whether you want to resell, or like Morgan you buy domains “on purpose” and nurture them into cash cows, you need to take an educated approach.

    The successful domainer will read, research and determine what they hope to accomplish before ever registering/purchasing their first domain name. They will understand what constitutes value, what types of domains are selling and where, why and how they were sold.

  • Jason October 27, 2010, 5:32 pm

    A good start for newcomers is to think like a business. Buy domains that are specific. Make sure the keywords compliment one another. While everyone assumes a plan is mandatory, I think that making good decisions is much more important.

    You have to be persistent. And look at domaing as a way to capture an audience. Domains are your forum to communicate with the public. Customize content that target the mass. There are domains that will not earn anything because an owner chooses the wrong keywords. Spend time building your pages. If you’re not a good website developer, look into Why Park as an alternative. I built many pages using their domain platform.

    Because I was patient, I located quality domains. Beside one auction domain I won back in Jan, I never spent more than the cost of registration for any domain.

  • Yourdomainnamesucks November 2, 2010, 10:42 pm

    How bout some of you post some sales.

  • Hal Meyer January 18, 2011, 4:07 pm

    Many small business people are long on unreasonable expectations and short on patience.

    Virtually all successful investing, whether it is domains, stocks, real estate, or whatever –is at least on the scale of YEARS, but more likely, DECADES.

    Get a good business plan, and remember that success takes time.

  • J January 18, 2011, 4:20 pm


    There’s no plan when domaining. You buy, and sell in the quickest possibly time. I know it works because I make consistent sales. Why wait a year when you can sell in 2-4 months? I have one deal which is a major flip. And another deal close to completion on Sedo. I can easily write a book on domain flipping because I have experience with experimenting which strategies work.

    I don’t tell people to drop domains when they can be easily sold. Estibot is not the industry standard to determining value. It’s really bad advice to tell people to drop everything below $100. Good investors know what to buy right away. They know how to find the right buyers.

  • Gail L. January 22, 2011, 5:29 pm

    I got interested in domaining when my first two domains expired and dropped and I was too new to be aware and pay attention. I worked so hard on my 2 websites and was in tears when the realization hit me! Trying to research what happened led me to become very interested and aware. Now I am being that ‘sponge’ and trying to absorb everything I can about domaining without the emotional attachment. I think it can be a lucrative business but it will take time, patience, trial and error. Am hoping (actually planning) to someday find that perfect life-changing domain!


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