2/28/13

Q & A: Email Address for Domaining?

Welcome to Q & A with the Rookie Domainer.  I hope to make this a recurring blog segment based on questions I receive here, Facebook, and Twitter.  Typically, I'll answer what I can then but if it requires a bit deeper explanation - well, those are the things we'll discuss here. Without further ado, the first Q & A question is:

When you solicit a potential customer, what email do you use? Personal? Something domain-related?

I know it's rude to answer a question with a question, but I'm going to. If you were the owner of a business and you received an email from someone trying to sell you something, what would your first impressions be of these email addresses:
  • GuitarFan236@hotmail.com - Hell no!  Stay away from using personal addresses that include your hobbies, random numbers, acronyms or anything else that's out of the ordinary.  If the email address might be inappropriate for your resume, don't use it for domaining.
  • JSmith@aol.com - Eh. I might read the email, but considering that what little I know about the Internet I do know a legit looking email address is pretty easy to do.  Your potential buyers might not take this email address too serious and think the same about you or your offer.  Stay away from personal.
  • DomainMarketer@gmail.com - Eh, but feels slightly better, very slightly.  Not as personal-email-feeling as one with your name in it, so it feels just a little more legit. If you wanted to stick your toes in the domain water and weren't sure if you were jumping in, I might suggest you come up with a domain business name and see if you can pick it up at Gmail or Yahoo, maybe AOL.
  • Info@BSFDomains.com - I might actually open the email, read it, and become a buyer.  This is the ultimate way to go and there's numerous ways to do it.  Basically, you come up with your domain business name, make sure the domain name is available, and register it at GoDaddy.  Then you can add their personal email plan for $1-2/month and voila - legit looking email address.  There's other ways this can be done if you look into hosting with someone like HostGator, but let's save that for a beginner-intermediate discussion later on.
I solicited for my first domain name with a GoDaddy email account - info@BSFDomains.com.  I've since switched to HostGator because of web design needs (still using the same email address obiviously, but just hosting it elsewhere). If you plan on following through on domaining a bit, then do the GoDaddy legit looking email address (assuming you pick a pretty solid sounding business name and available domain).

Hope this helps.  Keep the questions coming!

2/26/13

A "Chance" Domain Flip Attempt

We'll see how this goes... I just hand reged a domain for $1.67 at GoDaddy (<-AMAZING coupon codes right now, check them out @RookieDomainer) and I'm trying to get $395 out of one specific  buyer I've targeted.  The name I registered only gets 73 exacts a month and valuates at $270, but the buyer owns the same exact name except foolishly added co at the end of the phrase to represent company.  Well, guess what?  keywordphraseco.com gets zero exact searches and valuates the same, zilch! If I was advising this person, I would have recommended they buy it without co.  Now their false move is my possible gain.  Here's the email I sent:
---
My company recently acquired keywordphrase.com and I was starting to solicit buyers for the name, when I happened upon your site.  As a professional courtesy, I'll reserve the domain name for you considering the relation it has with your company name and current site, albeit probably more appropriate without the co, and also more exact Google searches. I was asking $495, but would consider $395.  Let me know if you have interest.
Kind Regards!
---
I might have over-killed with  the "albeit..." part.  That was the milder version as I toyed with including a veiled threat that if I don't hear back, I'd continue soliciting buyers which would ultimately result in their competitor stealing their company name out from underneath them.  Obviously, I opted to not go that sinister.  I wanted to make the approach seem fair (which I think it is) and honest (pretty darn close!).  If I don't hear back from this company, there are some other buyers out there for the name - just not as many as I'd like.  If it wasn't for this buyer, I might not have taken the chance.  Well, that and what's taking a chance when it cost you a buck sixty-seven?!?!?
We'll keep you posted!

2/25/13

< Insert Name > just paid for your invoice 0112

For those of you that know what the subject is referring to - you know this is one of the best subject lines a domain flipper wants to see in their inbox.  For the person that has yet to taste the sweet victory of completing a domain sale - this is the subject line you get from PayPal when your buyer pays the invoice you sent him.  The best part about domaining is this subject right here!!!  I hand reg'd a pair of names for $6.26 on January 28th.  I solicited buyers asking $649.  I got no bites.  Last week, someone came back and said if I still had the names they'd give me $300.  I jumped right on that offer!
Here's how the process goes for you noobs:
  1. You've negotiated with a buyer and agree on a price.
  2. You request the buyer's GoDaddy account number and the email address they have on their GoDaddy account info, which is not always the email you're communicating with them by.
  3. You ask them for an email address to send the invoice to.
  4. With the info from #2 and #3 you initiate the domain name transfer in GoDaddy and submit a PayPal invoice to them.
  5. You wait.
  6. Usually, you'll receive an email from GoDaddy confirming the recent charge of registrant.
  7. Not too soon after that (hopefully!), you'll receive the PayPal email with those golden words PAID YOU - And a gigantic smile erupts on your face.
For the record, this is not the only way to close a domain deal - it's just affordable and simple.  I've closed over forty deals in three years and only two deviated from this process.  One made me anxious because the buyer hadn't paid me yet and it appeared the transfer was already complete for some time.  What I came to learn is that GoDaddy sends multiple emails regarding transfers and until you get the cancellation notices stating those domains have been removed from your account - well the transfer isn't complete yet.  What happened is that the buyer didn't confirm the transfer within seven days so it expired.  He didn't pay me because he didn't have the name yet.  We redid the arrangements and the deal went through smoothly.  On the other deal, I worked with a buyer's IT/marketing firm representative and they dealt solely through Escrow.com.  I'll explain in more detail in another post, but Escrow.com provides for a safe, secure transaction by documenting all steps of the domain name transfer.  Basically, it serves as the middleman and only hands over the cash to the seller and the domains to the buyer when everyone is satisfied.  If everyone is not, then everything goes back where it came from.  You can negotiate who pays the Escrow.com fees or split it.  I believe you also have to pay for electronic funds receipt, so I waited for the paper check in the mail.  It's all these reasons I stick to PayPal, at least for now.
Let me share the second best email subject line: We're transferring money to your bank
This happens after you tell PayPal to direct the funds to your associated bank account.  In 3-4 business days, I'll have $291 (-$9 to PayPal fees) in my bank.  $291 from $6.26 is a 4649% return!!!  That's why I love this domaining game!

2/22/13

The Day after the Frustrating Day

Just a brief update here...
For the last few weeks, I've been in a slump.  I haven't sold a name in a while and the last few days had become very frustrating.  Although, I did what I said I'd do.  I stuck to my New Year's commitment of hand reging at least one domain a week and found a pair to pick up (single and plural of same keyword - I enjoy flipping pairs!).  I solicited buyers for the names last night.  Most of the folks for this particular niche are in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, so I expect a little lag time in response BUT someone replied today!  He offered $50 for the pair when I asking $749.  My reply to him, "Is that your best offer?" If it is his best offer, then I'll take it. I spent $5 for the pair because of some real good GoDaddy coupon codes and I'm not going to lose $45.  Can you see the shift in my strategy?
That's not even the uplifting part - the part that canceled my frustrations of the past few days.  A pair of names I solicited two weeks ago finally had a buyer circle back around.  I asked $649 for the pair, he offered $300.  I took it.  Deal closed today.  Frustrations gone for now!  This is how domaining ebbs and flows, highs and lows, happy and sad.  Be prepared for the emotional roller coaster if you dabble in domaining and make sure to persevere through the trouble times - you will make light at the end of the tunnel if stay persistent!

2/19/13

Flipping Domain Frustration

The nature of income derived from sales is that you'll have bountiful periods - where you're making sick money hand over fist AND you'll have less fruitful periods - in which you're wondering what you're doing, want to give up, or find convenient items to distract your focus.  Since having recommitted myself in December to the core game of flipping hand reg domains, I've flipped two for a little over $1k.  Not bad, considering I've bought about 12 domains at an average of $5 each.  $60 to make $1000? Not bad at all!  Sure, that's not considering the time I put in but if I wasn't domaining, I'd be playing Call of Duty - so I don't count it.   At any rate, I am frustrated that I've dug out some fairly decent hand reg domain names (At least I think so!) and I'm getting no responses.  Well, I say no response but on two names I did get initial replies although they've not yielded closed deals yet.  What I need to keep telling myself (and you) is that you generally have more lulls than high notes - at least where I've  been so far - and sticking to the routine will get me through this.  With that, I'll continue to dig for this week's hand reg which will hopefully yield a sale and get me out of this slump. Wish me luck!


2/12/13

The Legit List of Available Domain Names

Round #3.
I checked the first two rounds - somebody scored folicacidtablets.com (<-Would love to hear if that guy heard it from here!), but there's still 39 names out there that are available for hand reg. Plus I'm adding 20 more today.

Here's the newest list of names with a few pairs again:

Legitimate Available Domain Names
Name                                               Monthly Search               Est. Price                    Ask Price
BestHomeBrewingKit.com                      480                            $170                            $349
BestBeerBrewingKit.com                        210                            $150                            $295
CommercialClothesDryer.com                140                            $190                             $349
SuperSawPalmetto.com                            46                                0                               $249
CarParkLift.com                                       58                             $270                            $495
TankCover.net                                         390                             $40                              $249
TankCovers.net                                       590                             $40                              $249
3WheelMoped.com                                 390                           $870                             $1495
3WheelMopeds.com                                73                             $380                             $649
MidgeFlies.com                                      320                            $510                             $995
TurbidityMonitor.com                             36                               0                                 $249
TurbidityMonitors.com                           12                               0                                 $249
BoatLiftWheelKit.com                            91                           $600                               $995
BoatLiftWheelKits.com                           58                              0                                 $249
DesalinationPlants.net                           1,600                         $30                                $249
DesalinationSystem.net                          110                           $15                                $249
DesalinationSystems.net                        390                           $15                                $249
GableTruss.com                                     170                          $140                               $295
GableTrusses.com                                   36                              0                                  $249
AutoLiftInstallation.com                         36                           $540                              $995
Monthly Search: Google global monthly exact match keyword
Estimate Price: Provided by Estibot or Valuate
Ask Price: Rookie Domainer's recommended asking price

If you're ready to grab one of these names, hit up @RookieDomainer for the latest coupon codes and then register the name(s) at GoDaddy before somebody else does!
Don't let some of the exact matches or estimate values fool you - a domain is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.  Sometimes I find the names that I never thought I'd flip, I did with relative ease and the easy names I got stuck with.  If anyone decides to buy and flip these - I'd love to hear about it! Best of luck!!!

2/6/13

Domaining Tidbits... From Auctions to the Wayback Machine

I've got a motley mix of domaining events that occurred recently and I thought I'd share:

First, I purchased a name for $1.99 and emailed 17 potential buyers yesterday.  My asking price was $549 <- that's not outrageous, is it!?!? My only reply said they'd take it for $350. I countered them, "I'll let it go for $450, otherwise I'd like to table your offer as I have a few more buyers to solicit." I had some more stuff in the reply, but you get the gist.  They replied, "Thanks, but we'll pass for now." - and I'm not quite sure what to make of that.  Do they mean pass on the $450, but if I come back around later at $350 then we're good?  OR did they just tell me to shove it up my a$$? I'm concerned it's the latter and I've blown it, but I'll still hit them up in a week just in case the other 18 people I emailed today don't pan out.   I sometimes think I shouldn't be so greedy... I mean $350 for $1.99 is DAMN GOOD, but the counter tactic has worked for me 50% of the time and this is a pretty good name.  I'll keep you updated on this.

Second, in a recent post, I described how I troll thru the bargain section at GoDaddy Auctions and pick up a few names from time to time. Well, I recently picked up two decent .us names (at least I think so) and wanted to look around to see who I might solicit for them.  And in a another post, I mentioned how you can use Elliot Silver's Weekly Brokerage Listings to get some exposure for your names. While I was throwing another domain name on there today, I noted several people listing their names and how long they've been in existence.  Generally, the longer the name has been, the greater the value.  Just then it dawned on me that these names I pick up at GoDaddy Auctions are name drops, meaning someone registered them at some time and didn't renew.  That some time, could be a year ago or a decade ago.  I then recalled that the domain history, as far as creation of the domain name, should be associated with my whois record, so I checked it. One site was created 12/20/07 and the other, 12/22/11. I wanted to figure who owned them.

That's when I stumbled across the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.  This FREE tool lets you type in any website name and it's possible, if the archive has crawled the site, that they've logged several snapshots of the site throughout the years.  The domain that was created 12/22/11 according to the whois record, was in existence in 2004 and apparently owned by a domainer - interesting!  The other name was owned by a company that deals in a particular service and this domain name absolutely represents that service and their corporate name.  I googled them and found several listings which included links to the domain name I now own - eureka! I'll save the explanation of why backlinks are important for another post, but know this: that is good! I discovered a phone number for the company.  Curious to see if they were still in existence, I called it.  No answer, but the message states that company name - double eureka! Perhaps I can sell this name back to the folks that had it, have their corporate name based on it, and simply overlooked renewing it? I've heard this happens quite often, but I've never personally discovered one, but this might be it! Another topic I'll keep you updated on.

2/1/13

My Oddest Domain Sale Yet!

Back in April of 2012, I flipped a name related to race cars for $495.  The buy started out difficult because the buyer preferred not to use GoDaddy and since I had recently registered the name, I couldn't transfer it to her preferred registrar for two months, so I temporarily pointed the name to the name servers she provided. In June, I contacted her to let her know I unlocked the domain, provided her the transfer authorization info, and advised that she could now request the name through her registrar.  She uses Directnic.com so I even searched for transfer instructions and provided those to her.  Deal done... or so I thought!
In December, I was strolling through my account - recently re-energized to focus on domaining - and noticed the name.  A solid name that I wondered why I hadn't been able to sell it yet, until I realized I had sold it.  I contacted the buyer via email to let her know she never requested the transfer of the name from my account.  That was 12/4/12.  I hadn't received a response, so in early January I sent another email - "Hello?"  Finally, the buyer responded.  Apparently, she had been very busy the last month on the race circuit. I told her it might be easier if she just created a GoDaddy account then I could push the name to her.  She was going to make time to do that.
That brings us to yesterday and another email asking if she had created the account yet.  This time, I offered that if she hadn't, I would create an account for her based on the whois info of her current website.  Her response, "Thanks, as you know, I have done nothing with this... I appreciate your assistance!"
I just created the account, pushed the name to it, forwarded the domain to point to her current site, changed the email address on the account to hers, and sent all the info to her. 
Part of me wonders if I could've sat on the name or flipped it to another buyer and if she would've ever came back for it - but that's certainly not how I want to run my business.  Perhaps this will pan out into something else, as I noted she seems very busy with the day to day of the race circuit that I could be of some help for her online presence.  My persistence in ensuring she got what she paid for just might turn into a bigger business relationship - who knows?  What I can confirm is - Deal done... 294 days later!

 
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