From $100 to $5,000 – My First 50x Domain Flip

As you all know I’ve changed my Domaining ways and put my focus almost entirely on .COM. If you want to know why I made this change just read my earlier post – Why I’m Focusing on .COM in 2011. About 95% of what I’m buying now is .COM’s through drop services like Snapnames an Go Daddy Auctions. In both of these cases I’ve created saved searches that I can easily access so I don’t have to enter the specific criteria I’m looking for each time. I’ve found this saves me a lot of time and I can spend just 20-30 minutes each morning combing the drops looking for that needle in a haystack.

Well I’m excited to say that I recently sold a domain I bought for $100 on Snapnames for $5,000. That’s right, it’s my first 50x flip and I’m pretty excited. So I thought I’d share the process I used with all of you since I know this is an event we’d all like to have happen as much as possible! Oh, and as for the domain name itself the buyer has asked me not to mention the name in my post. I can understand this – being a blogger I want to share every aspect of this however this guy will never buy a name from me again if I post all the details of the sale…I’m sure you can understand! Heck, would any of you buy a name from me if I posted how much I paid for the name and how much I sold it to you for?

So how did I identify this domain as a good investment?

I was searching on Snapnames one day following my usual process which is to look at the search volume and CPC of .com names to identify strong development candidates. Remember as someone focused on building brands I’m looking at these names for their monetization potential more than re-sale potential.

This particular domain had just under 1,000 Global Monthly Searches (Exact) and a CPC around $5. In general I look for names with over 500 Global Monthly Searches (exact) and a CPC of $5 or more. While this name was towards the bottom of my threshold I knew it would be something I could develop and rank well for quite quickly. The next step I usually take is to head over to Google and see who’s advertising for the term.

I was surprised to see a ton of advertisers when I searched for the exact keyword phrase in Google. This is what pushed me over the edge and caused me to bid on the name. I realized that if all these people/companies were willing to advertise for the term there would be money to be made with this name either through development or resale.

So I put in an $100 bid thinking there was a 50-50 chance I’d get the name, and I got it. About a month after I bought the name I contacted a good friend who does brokerage for me and asked if he could shop the name around to some of the people advertising on Google. Three emails later and we had a $5,000 offer.

It all happened so fast! I mean it literally was a few hours after contacting a few people on Google that my broker called me and said – we have a serious offer. I thought the offer would be $1,000 or $2,000 which I’d of course be happy with given my initial investment. When he told me the number my jaw dropped – wow, that’s 50 time what I paid for it! A few days later the name was in Escrow over at Escrow.com (my #1 choice for Escrow services hands-down!) and as they say, the rest is history!

So if you’re staring at drop lists every day and wondering if you can still find good domains at low prices I’m here to say you can! I have re-invested all $5,000 into more domains and thus really boosted my .COM portfolio with some even better names. When I sell a domain name my current plan is to take 100% of the money and re-invest it, I think this is the best way to move from four-figure sales to five-figure sales but it does take finding those hidden gems. Thanks to Snapnames I experienced the thrill of my first big flip (or big in my book since I’m not a big domain seller) and I am continuing to buy names that meet a similar profile.

What I think is important to point-out with this particular flip is that the domain didn’t have tens of thousands or even thousands of exact-match searches. I know that many Domainers would completely ignore domains with such a low exact-match search volume…but my flip proves that there is money to be made with names that have a search volume below 1,000 if there are advertisers in the market.

One final thought…I don’t think I would have ever flipped this name if I bought the exact same keywords in a .net, .org, or .us, or many of the other TLDs I know and love. I’m not saying these are useless TLDs but I am saying that the liquidity is in the .COM market while the other markets still have excellent development potential. So when you’re looking at drop lists and want to have the best flip potential, just check the .COM box and find your hidden gem!

Have you also had some great flips recently? Feel free to share your flip and how you identified the domain in the comment section below!

{ 40 comments… add one }

  • Troy March 8, 2011, 10:36 am

    Congrats! That is awesome news!

    Reply
  • Leonard Britt March 8, 2011, 10:41 am

    Yes an important point that while the search volume for the .COM was not a phenomenal number, because it was a .COM, the name was easily flipped. I recall emailing end users about a one-word .TV with 74K exact & 3.35 million GAKT phrase searches. The one response from a site with a double-hyphenated domain was $15. The product sells anywhere from a couple hundred to many thousands of dollars.

    On the other hand if developed how much money do you really think a 500-1000 search phrase domain is going to make? I have a site with 50K exact GAKT searches ranking on page one of Google and it gets around 500 visitors the last month. Adsense CTR is always low single digit so you can do the math…

    Reply
  • a March 8, 2011, 10:45 am

    Awesome news Morgan. I’ve grabbed tonnes of domains off drops and have very little to show for it. Really nice to hear some focussed and experienced advice from someone who’s done it right. Just need one to pan out like this and I’m back in the black – your advice will really help to cut down on the “lame duck” purchases (and help with figuring out how to find a buyer).

    Reply
  • a March 8, 2011, 10:48 am

    GAKT = Google Adwords Keyword Tool (for any other noobs who had to look that up πŸ˜‰ )

    Reply
  • Joe March 8, 2011, 10:54 am

    Congrats, Morgan, I’m really happy for you!

    Reply
  • Michael Cyger March 8, 2011, 10:57 am

    Congrats, Morgan!

    Reply
    • Morgan March 8, 2011, 10:59 am

      Thanks for the congrats everyone! I think now is one of the best times EVER to buy expired names!

      Reply
  • MarkH March 8, 2011, 11:09 am

    Nice job Morgan.

    I need a good broker. Who should I contact?

    Reply
    • Morgan March 8, 2011, 11:29 am

      @Mark – I would recommend Domain Advisors which is a company I’ve partnered with to broker my client’s domains. Feel free to shoot me an email and I can help make the introduction!

      Reply
  • Johan March 8, 2011, 12:00 pm

    Congratulations on a very nice flip Morgan. Last year I made some really nice flips myself in the swedish domain market, which I focus on still. I hand registered several domains for $10 and sold a couple of them for between $1,000 and $4,500. Many were flipped on a 10x basis as well.

    This year I’ve started to peek into .DE and other TLD’s only to find many reg-fee domains having <1000 local search and nice CPC.

    Reply
  • Johan March 8, 2011, 12:01 pm

    It should be >1000 local search in my previous comment. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Michael March 8, 2011, 12:12 pm

    great job Morgan, I wouldn’t mind having such broker myself πŸ™‚

    also, would be interesting to know what kind of email they send out, with price? how detailed?

    thanks!

    Reply
  • Leonard Britt March 8, 2011, 12:33 pm

    P.S. Congrats on a great flip and thanks for sharing your technique…

    Reply
  • Oscar March 8, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Well done, Morgan!

    Reply
  • Jason Thompson March 8, 2011, 2:26 pm

    Superbowl πŸ™‚ Looking forward to drinks at the Laker Game ha!

    Reply
  • Mark March 8, 2011, 2:32 pm

    Hey Morgan:

    Congrats!

    Could you provide the exact numbers as far as cpc and exact match search volume? Was the domain a two word domain, three word domain? Just curious.

    Thanks much.

    Reply
  • Logan March 8, 2011, 3:01 pm

    Since you asked, I’ll share an example:

    ExercisesToLoseWeight.com
    Paid: $300 in 02/2010 on SnapNames drop auction.
    Sold: $2,500 in 01/2011 on Sedo.
    ROI: 733%, before transaction fees.

    Reply
  • Ron Wells March 8, 2011, 4:49 pm

    Morgan,

    Congrats … nice sale!

    Reply
  • TeenDomainer March 8, 2011, 7:15 pm

    Nice flip, Its been really interesting to watch your shift over time from .us and other domains to .com’s πŸ™‚

    I have been loving the drops too and recently flipped a name I won for less than 100 for almost $4,000

    Reply
  • Korey Martin March 8, 2011, 8:56 pm

    Really Good Morgan. What a Great ROI.

    Reply
  • Attila March 9, 2011, 3:27 am

    Congrats Morgan. You Da MAN!

    So…is this the right time to say you’re buying next rounds of sushi?

    Heheheh

    Reply
  • iinstigate.com March 9, 2011, 6:35 am

    Well done Morgan, happy for you but this is the domain iinstigate.com that I will flip for over 50k one day, mean it seriously πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Domain 6 Star Ltd March 9, 2011, 6:43 am

    Congratulations Morgan! You are lucky and good broker – you can make me contact him? πŸ™‚

    Martha

    Reply
  • Joey Starkey March 9, 2011, 6:48 am

    Nice Flip Morgan.

    It always amazes me the number of good .coms that are available for a song that you can flip and do quite well with.

    I bought a lot of 24 names on Namepros and have sold several of them in the $500 to $1000 zone. Not bad for a $22 investment.

    One name was a .net that I had planned to drop….but I just received an unsolicited $950 offer for it.

    I love all domains…..but .com is still King.

    Reply
  • IrishDomainer March 9, 2011, 7:22 am

    Nice out Morgan. Ive had a few sales like that recently and are nice when they come about but would love them to be more frequent. I would love an introduction to your broker as have a few hundred names im looking to shift. Cheers.

    Reply
  • bob March 9, 2011, 9:13 am

    You should really FOCUS on better names.
    $100 names are nice, but why not buy monsters and instead of having them brokered, just wait for buyers to contact you.
    like LLL.coms bought for $6,500 and sold for $100,000
    or LLLL.coms bought at $90,000 and sold for $750,000
    keep that 10% or more broker commission for yourself.

    Reply
    • Morgan March 9, 2011, 10:47 am

      Thanks for all the positive feedback everyone!

      Reply
  • Joe March 9, 2011, 11:00 am

    @bob

    an LLLL.com bought at $90K? Well, in that case it’s a premium keyword domain that, despite being a 4-letter, has nothing to do with the LLLL.com market πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • iinstigate.com March 9, 2011, 1:41 pm

    @bob

    With $90,000 capital I can earn 5k a day and that’s not doing what Madoff did πŸ™‚ still you did ok though as some would say.

    Reply
  • Steve March 9, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Great to hear about the 50X flip. I have had 30X+ flips with both .net and .me in the past. Moving .info, .us & .biz are a little harder from my past results.

    Reply
  • Christopher March 9, 2011, 3:33 pm

    Excellent bud! I use to flip domains all the time. I never made out with enough to make me happy. I would net between $500-$3,000 per domain. I decided just to stick with one and build it myself. So I’ve been building this domain for about 3 months and am happy to say my tree is blossoming. I make a minimum of $150.00 per day straight to my pocket. I’m increasingly thankful I made that choice. Good Luck with your endeavors! Click my name to see my site.

    Reply
  • IrishDomainer March 10, 2011, 8:14 am

    Christopher: How are you generating 150+ per day with a Pr0 site? How are your driving traffic to it? Its an affiliate site right? Whats your commission per CPA? Sorry im not convinced but would love to be proven wrong!

    Reply
  • IrishDomainer March 10, 2011, 8:16 am

    ehhh am i missing something or is iinstigate.com worth a few 100 $ IF you find an end user? Where do you get the idea you will sell it for 50k??

    Reply
  • iinstigate.com March 10, 2011, 8:59 am

    @IrishDomainer

    I have a plan for this site and if I can make it work it will be even worth more than 50k – this is a classy name and deserves classy developments done to it.

    About your comments about Christopher’s site, I would have to agree with you!

    Reply
  • Chris March 10, 2011, 11:09 am

    Congrats!

    Care to share the email used? Was is a long pitch or short? Or am I asking too much..haha. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Jack March 10, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Great news, Morgan.
    I know that you don’t want to tell us domain name but can you tell us what type of niche is it?
    Also when you looking through snapname and Godaddy, do you concentrate on certain niches or just search volume and cpc ?

    Thanks

    Reply
  • PPC Ian March 10, 2011, 6:22 pm

    Congrats, Morgan! This is awesome stuff and well deserved success!

    Reply
  • Mars Davis March 10, 2011, 7:54 pm

    Fantastic Morgan! Thanks for sharing the story. Its inspiring!
    Cheers, Mars

    Reply
  • Fabio March 15, 2011, 1:22 pm

    Thanks for the advice Morgan. Definately .com is the way to go. I have several .ca’s that are hard to move considering the .com version sold for $60k and $25k respectively recently. I’m only looking for a 2-3% flip of the original .com price. More so, I have a .ca with a 40k search ‘Exact” and no takers yet. Bottomline, .com’s are way more liquid than .ca’s. Frustrating, yet true. Keep it up!

    Reply
  • nithis October 28, 2016, 5:30 am

    Hi I need a good broker for sell my domain.can u tell me your broker?

    Reply

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