Thanksgiving Guest Post: The domain market has changed. Have you?

braden

This Thanksgiving I am excited to share an excellent post by my friend Braden Pollock. If you don’t know Braden – you should. He is one of my main mentors in the lead generation space and a very successful entrepreneur. Enjoy the article and Happy Turkey Day!
The domain market has changed. Have you?
by Braden Pollock

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful to all of you…for dropping your high traffic domains.

I’ve been buying like crazy. I’ve picked up THOUSANDS of domains this year because YOU have let them drop. Yes. I’m talking to YOU.

So many great domains are dropping that I don’t even bid on many of them and just let them expire for the hand-reg (actually, the GoDaddy Bulk Reg Tool).

I get it. I know why you’re letting these go. You’ve been comfortably making PPC revenues from your easy-breezy parked domains. That’s so 2009! PPC is dead. You know it is. You’ve been reading about it. Your portfolio is screaming it. So you give up and dump your under performing domains. Tisk-tisk. You call yourself an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur rolls with the punches. The domain market has changed. It’s time for you to change along with it.

If direct navigation represents just 10-15% of online traffic, that’s your entire market. Your hope is to get a fraction of that number. And you’re happy with that? What about the 85-90% of the market that is searching your keywords? If you develop your domains, you’ll get a piece of both markets. (We often forget that direct nav, will always be there).

Yes, develop. I’m saying it too. Lot’s of domainers are talking about development, but how, you ask. I’ll tell you.

First determine if that domain you’re thinking about dropping (or you’re thinking about buying) has any traffic. The tools are out there and they range in price from free to a couple grand per month. For some quick and dirty research, plug your keyword into Google’s free Keyword Tool or type your domain into Estibot. Both will give you an estimate of the average monthly search volume.  Last week, I hand registered a domain with an average search volume of 220,000. The person that let that drop, obviously didn’t think about the value of the domain beyond PPC.

Now that you’ve determined that there are people looking for your keywords, here are some ideas of next steps.

If you have some core domains that deserve lots of attention, hire a developer or partner with someone that’s willing to put in the time. You could also try one of Epik’shigher end products if you want to be hands-off (and I know you do). Epik can build directories, product portals, lead-generation sites, etc. I have a few dozen product portals (e.g. 32InchMonitor.com, Flatscreen3DTVs.com, BeachBags.net, etc) and a directory (DUILawyers.co)

If you have long tails (the stuff you’ve been dropping), try DevRich. (DevRich merged with Epik earlier this year). Devrich, can build out simple, low cost sites and add content each month – en masse.  I have many thousands of domains built out on the DevRich platform which rank very well. (e.g. DCLawyer.net, FederalDrugLaws.net, MarylandConstructionLawyer.com, etc). Once my domains rank well, my plan is to cut them over to a lead-gen template. This is where the monetization comes in. With a little research, you’ll find a buyer for just about any lead category you have.

Another option is Root Orange. They redirect traffic by IP address. They do outbound telemarketing to lease your site by city or state to end users. This works best with generic names.

There are, of course, other companies that offer all of these services. These are just a few that I have used.

My company, Legal Brand Marketing, also does lots of in-house development as we have a team of programmers and designers working primarily in the DUI space (e.g. 1800DUILAWS.com, DUIattorneys.com, and many more).  We have developed ebooks as an add-on sale for these sites, which you can do as well.  We also have affiliate deals for all sorts of related products.

Affiliate programs are a no-brainer. Whatever your domain is, there are probably multiple affiliate products that are appropriate. Do a search on ClickBank or Share a Sale for offers.

I’ve merely scratched the surface here. There are plenty of ways to make money domaining that doesn’t have anything to do with parking or ppc. But it will require a bit more effort on your part.

Are you up for it?

Bio:
Braden Pollockis a domainer that owns several companies, both online and off. Among his businesses is Legal Brand Marketing, LLC which focuses on DUI and legal marketing, primarily through online lead generation. He also owns Smart Start, an ignition interlock provider, with service locations throughout the country. His domain portfolio numbers in the neighborhood of about 10,000 and is rapidly expanding.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • 3ddi3 November 26, 2010, 12:01 am

    Interesting post. I guess this article will build awareness to newbs that the market for domains is not like as it was a decade ago.

    Reply
  • mike November 26, 2010, 5:15 am

    I did a search for keywords that I know are registered in my zip code (my names) with at least 2 dozen of these names/keywords and RootOrgange reports zero. So, in my opinion, RootOrgange sucks.

    Bottom line, if I cant sell my own names to end-users only then I will just renew them year over year. I do not sell to other domainers and I verify ALL inquiries because I have been duped by a domainer who lied about being an end-user.

    Reply
  • James November 26, 2010, 7:53 am

    Very interesting post – i need to look into the lead generation side of things a bit more.
    Is there a site where people advertise their services or requirements – or somewhere i can find out more info on this?

    Reply
  • Braden November 26, 2010, 2:51 pm

    @3ddi3: Not just for newbs. This is for all the domainers dropping high traffic domains simply because the ppc dollars aren’t flowing.

    @Mike: Root Orange is a new company. I don’t know how big their portfolio is but you can check their site for a list of sample domains. Their program doesn’t work for everyone.
    Certainly, selling to end users is your best bet as there’s a better chance of getting your price. And yes, buyers always lie. Mike Berkens recently wrote a post about this subject. http://www.thedomains.com/2010/11/19/1st-rule-of-dealing-with-domain-offers-is-people-lie/

    @James: I’m not sure of a site that lists lead buyers. If you find one, let me know. Do a search of your subject matter and start with the national directories first. beyond that, contact the major advertisers in the various states and cities that are applicable.

    Reply
  • Vishal November 27, 2010, 1:43 am

    Braden,

    You have hit the bull’s eye. I have been following that strategy for just over 6 months and picked up domains for about $69 or through EPIK’s BO service. Its amazing what people let drop.

    An example: I recently picked up http://www.kitchencanisters.net/ – extremely high search and decent cpc too. Personally I am not a big believer in cpc.

    High Search always wins for me over CPC.

    Great Post and good luck.

    Reply
  • scott bender November 27, 2010, 9:08 am

    It appears that the links under the BIO are not working

    Reply
  • James November 27, 2010, 11:57 am

    Branden,

    Just so i can understand a little more – how is it you capture these leads – just a name and e-mail address or do these companies need more info. Or is this part of the deal making process with the company. Also do you have the leads automatically go to them – or do you vet them first?

    Can you recommend a resource to learn more about this side of the business?
    Thanks for any additional advice you can offer.

    Reply
  • Braden November 27, 2010, 2:53 pm

    James,
    You’ll need to post a Lead Capture Form on your sites. You can use a 3rd party (e.g Post Affiliate Pro, etc) or get a form directly from the lead buyer.

    The info you request is dependent on the industry and what the buyer(s) need.

    I’d suggest reviewing the domain and affiliate blogs for more info on the topic.

    Reply

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