Why I’m Focusing On .COM In 2011

First let me quell any fears that I am suddenly denouncing the ccTLD community or ending my love for .us names. I am still as big a ccTLD fan as ever and .us is a TLD that I’ve made a major focus of mine and think has real value over the next few years. However after my experiences in the 2nd half of 2010 I am excited to announce – I’m going .com baby!

That’s right. In August of last year my portfolio consisted of almost no .com’s and plenty of .us names along with 20+ other TLDs. It was in August that I looked at my portfolio and decided I was happy with the ccTLDs that I bought and think they represent an incredible investment in the long-term. My .us names I see as very valuable passive income vehicles when developed…but I was missing something important – domains that I could sell now.

Of course you I can sell any of my domains with traffic and revenue anytime…but that’s my passive income and I’m not very interested in selling off the exact vehicles I’ve been creating for the last three years. I see all my revenue names as my future and an nice reliable income source that comes in whether I’m sitting at the beach or skiing in Whistler.

Over the last three years I’ve found it difficult to sell undeveloped domains and I could never really realize what I was doing wrong. I had domains with amazing keywords with strong search volume and CPC, in many cases their corresponding .com’s sold for tens of thousands of dollars…why wasn’t I able to get any interest in the .net, .us, etc?

I started talking to some of my friends in the industry who have no problems selling their names and started asking them for some advice. This was around the time that I wrote my post titled, I suck at selling domains

Everyone that I spoke to had the exact same consensus – if I wanted to reliably sell domains I’d have to focus on .com’s. The more I thought about it the more it made sense. Suppose a business wants to rank well in the search engines for a specific keyword or brand around it. I’d say maybe one in every 100 businesses might want to buy a .com domain from you and once you stray to even .net or .org it goes to one in every 1,000 or more.

Now I’m not saying that .net, .org or other TLDs suck, I’m just saying that .com is king and it is also by far the TLD that end-users are the most comfortable paying big bucks for. In essence having .com domains just increases your available market of buyers, it’s that simple. So August was when I made the switch and since then I’ve purchased about 30 new .com domains, all from drops.

Before when I would send an email to a targeted group of buyers for a .us name or a .net name I would never hear anything back from anyone. This all changed when I started focusing on .com’s. With every email I sent-out I would get a few responses and about 50% of the time that would translate to a sale!

Now I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. So many people love to say they make a fortune flipping domains when they really don’t. I’m not saying there aren’t people making money flipping names…it’s just not as many people as you might think. I’m not making enough to retire with my flips over the last six months but I can say it’s added a nice additional revenue stream to my business. In total I’ve made about $10,000 profit on my flips with one $5,000 flip (from an $100) purchase responsible for 50% of my success.

I know I still have a lot to learn but the big lesson here was that after three years of holding-out I’ve decided to go .com! Am I late to the game…looking at the drop market I’d say “No” there are lots of good .com’s available, you just have to know where to look and be patient. Snapnames and Go Daddy Auctions have been two of my best friends as of late.

So let me be clear here. I still love .us, .net, .org, .co and a number of other TLDs and will continue to develop these and turn them into real online companies. That’s my long-term strategy and I’m proud of the passive income and brands I’ve built over the years – that’s still my focus. However, when it comes to selling domains I’ve been missing the boat, playing in a smaller market. What I learned about selling domains in 2010 is what most people learned much quicker than me, if you want to be able to reliably sell domains and have the biggest potential market .com is the way to go!

Okay, I know your next question…you want me to share some of the drops I’ve picked-up with you. Well it wouldn’t be fun to give it all away but I’m happy to share a few I’ve picked-up lately, no TLD listed because they are all .com’s:

TrackCredit
PreventDUI
InsuranceExplained
0APRCreditCard (8,100 global monthly searches and a CPC of $21.68 – developing this one)

Like I said in total I’ve purchased about 30 .com’s all from drops. Right now I’m pretty laser focused  on credit, debt, and insurance but am always on the lookout for domains with existing backlinks or the highly coveted DMOZ listing.

That’s it – I’ve put it all on the table! So just to re-iterate since I can already see the comments coming. I still love ccTLDs, I think I’ve made some great investments in the space. I’m still building-out .us names, they continue to do well for me. I’ve never put much time into selling domains because I love passive income, but I can only hear about great flips so many times until I have to get some skin in the game. With my skin now in the game I feel a bit like I’ve walked into the matrix…except rather than seeing a bunch of code I see the same thing repeated over and over again – .COM.

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • shopway.com January 26, 2011, 12:13 pm

    Thanks for the share. Com is the king especially in the eyes of business end users.

    Reply
  • PPC Ian January 26, 2011, 1:24 pm

    Awesome post, Morgan. I’ll adamant, when I first saw the title I was concerned you had turned away from dot us and others. However, your strategy makes complete sense now that I’ve read the post. Nice names you recently picked up, by the way.
    All the best,
    Ian

    Reply
  • Leonard Britt January 26, 2011, 1:48 pm

    All one has to do is look at SEDO’s quarterly reports and DNJ reported sales to see the percentage of sales which go to .COM and the number of four-figure .COM sales which one would think have zero SEO value. But I have never had much luck promoting quality-keyword .Net or .TV domains to end users either. The challenge is finding commerically-valuable exact-match search-phrase .COM domains among the thousands of daily drops and acquiring them without getting in bidding wars at Namejet and Snapnames.

    Reply
  • Jeff Schneider January 26, 2011, 2:06 pm

    Hello Morgan,

    You are most perceptive, and I appreciate your ideas as usual. I also like your focus on Credit, debt, and Insurance. You just might want to check out my site there is a name for you.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    Reply
  • Clay Burt January 26, 2011, 2:37 pm

    I’ve had some success with contextual .org’s, but I agree with everything else – .com rules. Nice names you picked up there!

    Reply
  • Uzoma January 26, 2011, 2:55 pm

    SkinDeepWorld.com is a great name, especially because of it’s age, nearly 9 years.
    I looked at what they did with it before, for example here:

    http://www.domaintools.com/historic-thumbnails/skindeepworld.com

    However, only drawback might be the 3-word count in the name, but that is a small consideration given the nature of the “skin-” nomenclature. Great post.

    Reply
  • TeenDomainer January 26, 2011, 3:24 pm

    Great point, and I feel the same way its so much harder to sell non .com to end users. Congrats on the 100 to 5,000 sale, That right there is the reason I love domaining you never know when that is going to happen.

    Reply
  • David L.G January 27, 2011, 5:07 am

    I definitively appreciate your humility. We are all learning and we have all done mistakes. Some recognize them and it’s very helpful for the others. Dot com is still the most wanted. But I believe things will change soon, some new extensions will emerge and change the market.

    Reply
  • George January 27, 2011, 6:33 am

    Would be possible telling us were do you get dropped domains.
    Thank you!
    George
    Moviedeo. Two words: Movie & Video.

    Reply
    • Morgan January 27, 2011, 4:37 pm

      Hi @George, absolutely! I use Snapnames, Go Daddy Auctions, and Namejet!

      Reply
  • Richard St Cyr January 27, 2011, 6:33 am

    Hi Morgan,

    I noticed that SkinDeepWorld does not get any exact searches. What do you think of developing a name that does not get any searches at all.
    I have some 1 word generic names that gets 0 searches. But if you take capitaliq.com
    that has a value of $ 14,000 on valuate and a lot of exact searches, of course it took a lot of work to get there.
    I have some names like loansiq.com that doesn’t have much until they are developed.
    So what do you think of registering names that have 0 search, just like you are doing with SkinDeepWorld.com

    Have a Great Day,
    Dick St Cyr

    Reply
  • Leisure Activist January 27, 2011, 1:12 pm

    Great post! What template / theme did you use for SkinDeepWorld.com?

    Reply
    • Morgan January 27, 2011, 4:38 pm

      Thanks @LeisureActivist, no template or theme used, coded by hand in HTML, I’m old school 🙂

      Reply
  • George January 27, 2011, 5:44 pm

    Thank you for responding and giving me the solicited info.
    George

    Reply
  • Richard St Cyr January 28, 2011, 3:27 pm

    Hi Morgan,
    You must be busy, I left you a message about registering a name about that does not get any exact search like skindeepworld.com. I have some of these names and I am unsure weather to keep them, I have some names like loansiq.com and toolsiq.com
    Check out capitaliq.com ( I know it took a lot of work to get there) I guess the only reason to keep them is if I am going to develop them. I also have many geo names
    such as russiaiq.com and icelandiq.com. What do you think?

    Take care
    Richard St Cyr

    Reply
  • Guy Frankin January 31, 2011, 8:11 am

    Thanks for sharing such vibrant/honest details.

    cctlds are outsiders, personally I think they will count more and more. Example, according to Sedo dot-fr has one of the biggest average sale price on the second market, at end 2010:
    .fr 3829 Euros and .com only 1967 Euros.

    But that true dot-com is reputed as the king and the biggest volume of sale are now still there. It’s not safe to have too much of your eggs outside your current market or going to live in FRANCE 😉

    Just keep some cctlds as you did will save you the benefice of your past investments that could be an advance for later!

    Reply

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