My First 150x Domain Flip and How I Did It

Back in March I talked about My First 50x Domain Flip and I am now excited to share more good news – I have just completed my first 150x flip a little over one month later! This flip really illustrates the value of a developed domain and the importance of reaching-out to end-users when selling a domain name.

The buyer has asked for me to keep the domain name confidential but as usual I am happy to cover as many details as I can with all of you. I think you’ll find that when you’re flipping to end-users they aren’t too keen on having the price they paid revealed to the world. I hope as I continue to flip and make bigger and bigger sales I will eventually be able to share the exact domain names with all of you.

So, first things first, the domain name was a .COM. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise as I’ve found that end-users don’t seem to get very excited about .net, or .org names and they really haven’t heard of any other TLDs!

The domain was a geo-targeted medical domain name not targeting a city itself but instead a specific area within a city. The format of the domain was with the geographical location first followed by the specific medical profession.

I registered the name in Q3 of last year and quickly put a website on it and very quickly had the domain ranked #1 in both Google and Bing for the terms within the domain. It took a very short time to build the site and rank well because the niche is not nearly as competitive as ranking for the state or city, this is a nice thing about geo-domains that target a specific area within a city.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, when we lived in Boston we lived in a part of the city called Back Bay. I noticed when I searched for local businesses I often didn’t search for the business in Boston, I search for the business in Back Bay. Let’s say for example I wanted to find a gym, I would much rather find a gym in Back Bay a short walk from my house than the North End which could easily take 30 minutes or more to get to by train. This is an interesting distinction to make when looking at Geo domains that I hadn’t given much though to until then.

Now for the good stuff – how I reached the end-users. I typed in the exact keywords in my domain and reached out to the specific companies advertising on Google for the term. If there is nobody advertising for the keywords in your domain you might not have many end-users to reach-out to so you may want to check this before you buy and develop the name.

I contacted a total of eight end-users and received three offers. In the end I sold the domain for $1,200 – a domain that I paid $8 for less than a year before. Sure, $1,200 is a lot less than the $5,000 I made with my 50x flip however it’s still a multiple I am absolutely more than happy with.While the domain name was important to them it was the fact that it was #1 in Google and Bing that gave it the most value to them. Had I just tried to sell the domain itself parked with no rankings I don’t think I would have been able to sell the name. Since all of these businesses were paying good money to advertise the buyer is immediately saving a nice chunk of change every month and getting a better ad spot than they could ever buy.

This year rather than trying to sell a million names at once I’m focusing on one at a time. Now that this flip is complete I’m onto the next one. While this still doesn’t come close to what I’m making passively from my developed domains it is a nice boost to my revenue and I have to say it’s a lot more fun than I thought it would be!

Well that’s it, another month, another flip. Right now my goal is to flip one domain every month so I still have a good 12 days to make another flip an exceed my goals for the month. When you’re setting goals it’s important to be realistic. Sure, I’d love to flip five or ten domain a month, but I’ve never done that before so I’d like to start with something I know I can do. I’ve set my threshold at $500 because I’m just not that excited about sales below this amount. It feels good to hit my goals and even better to know that my domain is actually helping a business save money and reach more customers!

{ 27 comments… add one }

  • Will April 19, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Congratulations, Morgan. Is your goal to develop/put content on all of the domains in your portfolio (for ranking purposes)?

    Reply
  • Leonard Britt April 19, 2011, 3:51 pm

    Congrats on a phenom flip 🙂 It sounds like a tight, non-competitive niche so perhaps the development aspect of ranking high in Google/Bing wasn’t too involved? Care to elaborate on the development aspect?

    Reply
  • Poor uncle April 19, 2011, 3:53 pm

    So it is not exactly 150x flip since u sold the time and expertise on ranking the search term. It makes a nice story though. I assume the content/design on your site was not part of the deal? If end users were interested in taking over your as-is w/ content, domain name, etc…how much more would u have asked for?

    Reply
  • Ross April 19, 2011, 4:00 pm

    Morgan,
    Not a true “domain flip”. Blog Post should be titled, “how to flip websites to end users”
    – 150x flip, your not including the actual investment of articles, design and seo.

    Reply
    • Morgan April 19, 2011, 4:36 pm

      I should have been more clear about the site. Total design and development time took 30 minutes and was all done by myself. Not a complicated site, basic SEO and simple design.

      As for anyone saying this is a website flip there is not a chance in heck that the buyer would have been interested in this unless it was this SPECIFIC domain name. When you combine a great .com with great rankings you have a powerful asset to sell. I probably could have sold the domain alone for a couple hundred bucks but the site + rankings was worth the 30 mins of time.

      Thus if I had just sold the domain the post probably would have been titled, “A 25x flip” adding a VERY simple site turned it into a 150x flip but it wouldn’t have happened at all without the domain. End-users are interested in Domains but when you match it with a #1 ranking in Google and Bing rather than a parked page full of links you offer a much more valuable asset.

      Reply
  • Kevin M. April 19, 2011, 4:29 pm

    Ha Ha Morgan, but you already pulled this one on April Fools Day. Just bored today?? 😉

    Oh.., you really did flip a name this time. Well in that case, Congrats to you. 🙂

    Reply
  • Chillking April 19, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Congrats mate

    Reply
  • D.Ray April 19, 2011, 4:52 pm

    Congrats Morgan!:) Did you contact these end users via email or cold call?
    If you contacted them via email could you share your initial email you sent them. I am sure your email was very good, for them to reply back to you, and not consider your email ….simply Spam.

    Reply
  • David J Castello April 19, 2011, 5:18 pm

    “I typed in the exact keywords in my domain and reached out to the specific companies advertising on Google for the term.”

    Congrats, Morgan.
    BTW, this is exactly how we procured some of or largest advertisers.

    Reply
    • Morgan April 19, 2011, 9:09 pm

      Thanks @David – very cool to hear this is how you get large advertisers as well!!

      Reply
  • Troy April 19, 2011, 5:30 pm

    Morgan,

    Would you mind sharing the email that you sent out to contact possible purchasers? Absent any information that you do not want public of course.

    Thanks. And congrats! I love flipping domains and sites.

    Reply
  • John April 19, 2011, 6:44 pm

    To say end users don’t buy .net and .org along with other tlds is really laughable.

    Congrats on the sale.

    Reply
    • Morgan April 19, 2011, 9:11 pm

      @John I didn’t say that, end users absolutely buy .net’s and .org’s – I said that they don’t know anything except .com, .net, and .org in many cases but that is changing more and more. Still you can’t argue that .com is king and you have a much greater chance of selling a .com to an end-user than any other TLD.

      Reply
  • Louise April 19, 2011, 7:23 pm

    Congrats, Morgan! That’s what I am trying to do: register popular search domains, develop, achieve respectable SERPs, add value, in other words. Not just a domain name, but a business to build on – we’ll see how it goes! 🙂

    Reply
    • Morgan April 19, 2011, 9:11 pm

      Great to hear @Louise – keep me updated, I’d be happy to hear of your future flips!!

      Reply
  • Poor uncle April 19, 2011, 9:27 pm

    Morgan what is the search volume on this domain keywords?

    Reply
  • Organizationer April 20, 2011, 3:36 am

    Nice flip. Mind to share your email? If not complete, roughly what did you say in the email? 🙂

    Thanks.

    Reply
  • John Marks April 20, 2011, 6:49 am

    This is why I am so hot about .tel domains for directories.
    There is no better and cheaper way to build a specific geo-targeted directory than .tel
    Take a look for example at http://www.vegasdentists.tel
    You got all the information anybody needs, doctor name, his telephone number, address with a map. You can phone the doctor just by clicking on the telephone number .
    Simple, fast and you don’t have to know a thing about web developing

    Reply
  • George April 20, 2011, 9:22 am

    Hi Morgan,
    Congratulations you’re doing just great. And your info is very good.
    Some times, I’ve the feeling that people is trying to “find a hair on an egg’s shell”. 😉
    Questio: The simple site you build yourself. What kind is it?
    Joomla, Wordpress ? I’m asking you beacause I would like to build them myself.
    No outsourcing problems, deadlines, understanding, prices, etc, etc.
    Cheers,
    George
    PS. Did you noticed my one word sounding like two in my email address?

    Reply
  • David Cox April 20, 2011, 10:26 am

    This is the clearest actionable plan I have seen for a way to make some money with domain names. Especially since these types of domains are still around in the .com’s. I just bought your latest book which I like but this is the shortest version to a domain monetization idea i have see. I have done some small (page count) site for local SEO using Joomla and they do rank easily with some good content. So the plan should work well in an industry I know where I can do it get results rinse and repeat. Thank you for sharing the idea!

    Reply
  • Logan Flatt April 20, 2011, 6:36 pm

    Morgan,

    Congrats on the nice flip. I agree that to truly determine the ROI appropriately, you gotta add in your labor costs for that 1/2 hour — that’s opportunity cost. Also, hosting costs for the one or two pages of the site for the number of months you have the domain name on the market.

    Hosting and building a site is dirt cheap — you can host an infinite number of sites at HostGator.com for $10 per month. You just install WordPress on each site, which HostGator.com automates for you, and go to town with a one or two page website. I usually do one page with an About Us and a Privacy Policy. Oh, and maybe one post with lots of good keywords for SEO purposes. See one of my examples here: http://thermometric.com/. I did this with http://tirestar.com/ which I just sold on Sedo.com for $800 yesterday (paid $80 for it at a GoDaddy auction in March 2010). That’s a 900% return on my investment, absent site build-out and hosting costs. I’m slower than Morgan so I probably took an hour on each site. But, clearly, it does work well as a marketing tactic for your domains. You gotta market and merchandise ’em if you want to sell ’em — especially the non-premium domain names like my examples above. It’s best to assume that you have non-premium domain names too, just to be realistic. If you had premium domain names, you wouldn’t need to be worrying about selling your domain names — people would be coming to you automatically because of the quality of the domain name. If they are not coming to you automatically today, you gotta work a little harder to get a live one on the line and reel ’em in.

    Logan.

    PS – Don’t forget transaction costs too. Sedo took 10% out of my $800 leaving me with $720 cash. So, I actually only received an 800% ROI absent build-out and hosting costs.

    Reply
    • Morgan April 20, 2011, 11:08 pm

      @Logan – great comment and thanks for sharing your insights and details on your own experience here!

      Reply
  • Organizationer April 20, 2011, 11:24 pm

    @Morgan You are selling a guide ebook? Where can i get it?

    @Logan How did you market your tirestar.com? Is it an aged domain or high PR domain? Did you sell the tirestar.com by submitting it to sedo as featured or premium auction? Or did you cold call the advertisors that bid with your keyword “tire star”?

    Reply
  • Logan Flatt April 21, 2011, 9:46 am

    @Organizationer – um, I pretty much just explained how I marketed tirestar.com. I did nothing but build a simple website at the domain name and let SEO do the rest.

    Reply
  • Mars Davis April 21, 2011, 10:17 am

    Morgan, congrats!

    Thanks for sharing your experience! Did you use WP for the website that you flipped?

    Also, when you sent your “prospecting” email, did you include a price range? Or did you wait to hear from your prospects first?

    Cheers, Mars

    Reply
  • Rob Docherty April 23, 2011, 4:23 am

    Interested in your largest flip Morgan. Which domain or site was sold the quickest, and which was sold for the highest ROI. I’m curious. If you don’t mind answering.

    Reply
  • Aladdin Domains February 25, 2012, 2:10 am

    This is a fantastic insight Morgan. And I still can’t believe how generous you  are to share it all with us. This is extremely useful information to a newbie. Paul (was Elite Domains, now Aladdin Domains).

    Reply

Leave a Comment