From $8 to $3,500: My First Trend-Domain Flip

A few weeks ago I sold a domain name that I hand registered about a year ago for $3,500. I mentioned the sale on Facebook and got a lot of great questions about how I sold the domain. So I thought rather than just share this with my Facebook buddies, why not share it with all of you?

First things first, I am not writing this post to brag about $3,500 like I can retire and spend the rest of my life vacationing around the world. What I do want to highlight is how my domain sales strategy has changed over the course of 2011 and the results I’ve seen. Last year I wrote a post about how I suck at selling domains.

This year I’ve made some very targeted changes to my sales strategy and so far the results have far exceeded my expectations. Still about 80% of my time is focused on building online brands that generate passive income since that’s really the most fun for me. However last year I hit a point where I felt that I was missing-out on a  part of my business that could really grow.

To improve this part of my business I reached-out to a number of people I know and trust in the industry to get their advice. Across the board it was pretty clear, where I had fallen short on the sales side was the TLDs I focused on. I had domains with great keywords, high search volume and great CPCs, but in TLDs that were challenging to sell. So my first lesson was, focus on .COM.

I switched to my buying strategy to focus on .COM and it has paid off far more than I would have imagined this year. Before when I would send-out a sales letter to a group of end-users I’d rarely get a response. This year, thanks to my focus on .COM I’ve had end-users get-into bidding wars for several names which has been really fun.

What I’ve also learned is that there are some solid ways to make selling domain names much more passive. To this end I’ve made sure that all my names are listed at all the popular marketplaces. I still send sales letters to targeted end-users but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at the end-users that are now coming to me either directly or through one of the services I list my domains on.

Okay, so onto the title of this post, from $8 to $3,500. This was a flip that I spent no time on at all, it was a truly passive sale, and a domain name that I really didn’t expect to sell. At this point I know what your saying, “cut to the chase Morgan, what was the name and how did you sell it?”

The domain name is NearfieldCommunication.org – a domain that I hand-registered after reading some interesting articles about the technology. It’s a trend domain so I knew that it only had real value if the technology took-off. I listed the domain for sale through Go Daddy’s premium domain service that allows your domain to show-up when someone is searching for a similar name. Since Go Daddy takes a pretty good chunk of commission I’ve increased my sales price by about $1,000 for each name I list through this service. This more than makes-up for the commission so if a name does sell, it’s for more than I expected.

Well, Google announced Google Wallet (which uses Nearfield Communication) and two days later I received a notice that my domain had sold for $3,500. I wasn’t actively marketing the name, this wasn’t one of the many .COM’s I’ve bought this year with resale in mind, instead when the trend hit a buyer came.

Now I don’t want to make this sound like a repeatable strategy. This was pure luck and by no means does this sale make me a domain sales guru. What I did feel good about is getting a trend right and selling the name without doing any work. I really believed that Nearfield Communication would take-off, and it did. For an $8 investment and absolutely no time and energy spent selling the name this is a really nice return on my investment.

Every time I sell a domain I use it as an opportunity to trade-up. So in this case I’m not just turning $8 into $3,500, I’m using that money to buy one or two .COM names in the $x,xxx range that I can flip again. I’ve done this over ten times this year and it’s converted my domain sales profits into better names and stronger long-term investments.

Now please, don’t use this article as an excuse to buy a million crappy trend domains. The lesson here really isn’t about trend domains but about selling domains passively. Trend or no trend if there’s a buyer for your domain you only increase your chances of a sale by listing your name on multiple marketplaces. You may feel like your domain is a needle in a haystack but the more places you put your name the greater access you have to buyers. You can’t really control getting a trend right, that’s just luck, but you can control how many eyes are on your domains. The more places an end-user can find your domains the greater your chances are of selling, it’s just that simple.

{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Gene October 20, 2011, 9:06 am

    Congratulations, Morgan.

    Very nice to hear that a hand-registered, trend name sold to an end-user. And you really shouldn’t play down the fact that is was a trend name, which a lot of domainers seem to think is an area that’s analogous to playing PowerBall — which it’s not. So long as you stick (mostly) with dot-coms, and don’t go down a long-tail abyss, they’re a really decent play.

    Reply
  • Franck October 20, 2011, 9:20 am

    Congratulations 🙂 Nice ROI ^^

    Reply
  • Poor Uncle October 20, 2011, 9:31 am

    You listed for $3500 when it was only a trend…shouldn’t it worth more..a lot more now that it’s confirmed and used? Sorry for giving you a hard time….congrats, man.

    Reply
  • Ask For Name October 20, 2011, 10:18 am

    Great sale, congrats !
    and Yes – GD is the right place to find end users.

    Reply
  • steve October 20, 2011, 10:40 am

    But being a .org i think its a great sale myself.

    Reply
  • don October 20, 2011, 11:14 am

    Its interesting, I have tended to stay away from this type of market, but watching the afternic/sedo reports this year I find myself trying to register more names, the only difference being i am ok with getting dot org instead of just dot com, my latest try with this is studenttablets.org, we will see if I can have similar results to yours…thanks for sharing

    Reply
  • John October 20, 2011, 11:15 am

    Morgan
    I had a similar experience with some .co’s I registered on release.
    The sale of these more than paid for the remainder, but still kicking myself for not selling some others that I thought were worth more.

    What are your preferred locations for listing?
    I have had some with Sedo, but they want an exclusive listing.
    I presume you are talking Afternic, GoDaddy, any other notable ones?

    Reply
  • Trico October 20, 2011, 12:24 pm

    “What I did feel good about is getting a trend right and selling the name without doing any work.”

    And you basically sold it close to the renewal date so you even saved that fee.

    Would you have renewed it if it hadn’t sold?

    “…I received a notice that my domain had sold for $3,500. ”

    “…you only increase your chances of a sale by listing your name on multiple marketplaces.”

    Morgan,

    You indicate you received notice that the domain sold which strongly implies it was a “Buy It Now” listing.

    You also indicate you list your domains at multiple marketplaces.

    Hopefully you only list a domain as “Buy It Now” at only one marketplace.

    You might think it’s rare but it’s happened to me twice that the same domain received simultaneous offers from two different Buyers on two different marketplaces at about the same exact time.

    This could especially happen with a future trend domain (or any other domain) whose keyword becomes newsworthy suddenly.

    Reply
  • Scott Bender October 20, 2011, 5:56 pm

    Hi Morgan:

    Congrats on the sale.

    A couple of questions:

    1- what sites do you list the names for sale?
    2- what is godaddy.com’s commission?
    3- do you have an example sales letter / email you send to end-users you would share?

    Thanks for your post and input. I look forward to hearing back.

    Thanks,

    Scott Bender
    InternetConceptsUSA

    Reply
  • FUTRS October 20, 2011, 9:24 pm

    Congrats Morgan – always good to see and hear 🙂

    i myself, only dabble in future trend domains – but i have had some very nice success regardless what all the naysayers say about it…. it took me two years, but my entire ft domains portfolio is now officially all paid for, pruned and preparing for a nice future

    I actually did something very similar to your story
    … last december, i registered three, 3d domain names:
    • 3d//wedding//photography//com
    • 3d//wedding//photographer//com
    • 3d//wedding//photographers//com

    in less than a year, i sold all three names in one sale to one end-user for a total of $2,800.
    Same thing as u mentioned – $2,800 is not going to change the world, but it feels good to be right – especially for $22 🙂

    Say what you will about ft domains, but i think if u r willing to research and wait, the potential is incredible.

    Best of luck to you

    Reply
  • MarsDavis October 21, 2011, 7:59 am

    Great Job Morgan!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Putting all the pieces together and getting a sale! Awesome!

    … and it wasn’t even a (dot)com. – Mars

    Reply
  • Hal October 21, 2011, 11:35 am

    Morgan, thanks for providing details of the sale. I was planning to ask for more details, specifically if it was a BIN sale or not, and then your latest blog post popped up in my feed reader.

    Reply
    • Morgan October 21, 2011, 3:47 pm

      Thanks for all the great comments everyone – sorry for not following-up on all the great questions/comments sooner. I’ve been in Vancouver this week and will be reviewing these over the weekend, make sure to check-back in the next 24-hours!

      Reply
  • Louise October 23, 2011, 9:42 pm

    Congrats, @ Morgan, and @ FUTRS!!! Great sales!

    My QRReader.org just starts to make $$ on Adsense . . . It doesn’t rank high in Google, so I knew traffic is coming from Bing, and – sure enough – it’s page 2 or 3 on Bing. It makes me feel hopeful of gaining value, though it’s dot org.

    Good insight, @ Morgan and @ FUTRS! This is the fun of future trend, and tech is advancing rapidly, it’s fun to study and pick entries. I quit hand-registering domains cold turkey for 43 days. Now I own MobileWalletMachine[s].com, but I am going for another 30 days with no hand regs.

    Reply
  • Louise October 24, 2011, 10:45 am

    So, what do you think of QRReader.org?

    Reply
  • MobileWalletDomains.com October 24, 2011, 12:38 pm

    Great sale, Ive been shouting for Mobile Wallets for a while now, the time will come!!

    Cheers

    Reply
  • FUTRS November 3, 2011, 6:18 pm

    Hey Morgan
    i just wanted to ask being as this is a relatively new post

    i see godaddy auctions has your sold name (NearfieldCommunication.org) back on auction..
    .. except the buy it now price is now just $2,677 and the low bid $1,740

    so..
    .. did you actually get lucky – list this name on GDA for $2,677 and the buyer was unaware of your original asking price and contacted you outside of GDA and overpaid?
    ..or
    .. were you unaware that this name was listed on GDA from a previous owner the whole time you had the name and was contacted personally by the buyer while the listing was still going?..(still getting very lucky !)
    ..or
    if none of the above, then why would the new owner list this name for sale at almost a thousand dollars less than what is being reported a month after buying it?

    just curious on your thoughts

    thanks

    Reply
  • Mark May 6, 2012, 11:01 pm

    Hi Morgan,
    Better to congratulate late than never.
    🙂
    Congrats!
    Just came across this post. Thanks a lot for it, a lot of useful info.
    Morgan, could you please answer on the few questions in the prev posts, would really appreciate that. Wanted to ask something similar but can not see any points for that, do not want to repeat the same questions, like:
    1- what sites do you list the names for sale?
    2- what is godaddy.com’s commission?
    3- do you have an example sales letter / email you send to end-users you would share?
    4 – You indicate you received notice that the domain sold which strongly implies it was a “Buy It Now” listing. You also indicate you list your domains at multiple marketplaces.
    Hopefully you only list a domain as “Buy It Now” at only one marketplace.

    Thanks a lot in advance,

    Regards,

    Mark

    Reply
    • Morgan May 7, 2012, 3:37 pm

      Thanks @Mark – much appreciated!

      Reply

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