How I turned ~$100 into $15k
I’m guessing you’re here because you saw my Twitter post about turning ~$100 in domains into $15k and wanted to know how I did it and if you could do the same. (I don’t actually own 4 million by the way I was being dramatic, I don’t even know if that’s possible, but I do own a good number of them.) Twitter.com/247px
Domain flipping isn’t a secret, but it’s also not very well known and can be confusing to get into, especially to those who aren’t tech-savvy.. First things first, what’s a domain? Simply put, it’s the name of the website, like 247px.com.
The idea of domain name flipping is simple: you buy a domain for a low price and try to sell it at a higher price, but the process isn’t always as simple.
When buying a domain name, you’re betting it is worth (or will be worth) more than what you paid for it. If you’re right, you sell it, make some money and move on or repeat.
Domain Flipping Won’t Make You Rich Overnight.
Yes, some people make a living out of buying and selling domains. I’m sure everyone would love to be one of the lucky few that have made millions out of selling a domain name, but in reality, this does not happen often. There are very few domain names out that can be sold in exchange for tens of thousands each. So your chances of becoming a millionaire overnight are very slim.
Your expectations and mindset are everything. Sometimes it may seem like a lot of domains are selling for crazy amounts of money but in reality, how many domains are actually being sold every year? Millions. So obviously those high-priced domains are the exception to the rule.
Here are the 10 most expensive domain names publicly reported.
CarInsurance.com — $49.7 million
Insurance.com — $35.6 million
VacationRentals.com — $35 million
PrivateJet.com — $30.18 million
Voice.com — $30 million
Internet.com — $18 million
360.com — $17 million
Insure.com — $16 million
Fund.com — $9.99 million
Sex.com — $14 million*
This is why it’s crucial to have the right mindset when starting. Don’t go in with the “I will buy this domain and sell it for thousands overnight” mindset. The “get rich quick scheme” mindset is very destructive not just in the domain flipping but in pretty much any business venture you choose to pursue. Instead, focus on buying cheap, domains with a lot of potential and selling them at a reasonable price to get your feet wet. Get the momentum going and build up some experience before you dive deep into the world of domain flipping.
There are many steps to be successful in domain flipping. You have to understand what types of domains are most profitable and what makes them that way. You will need to know how to research new domains to buy or find expired or existing domains to be ready to purchase. More importantly need to know how to find buyers willing to pay the right price for your domains so you can make a good profit, otherwise what would this all be for? In writing this, I hope by the end of it you will have a good idea of how to do all of that.
You’ve probably heard of people who flip houses as a side hustle. Well, domain flipping is basically the real estate game of the internet. Unlike house flipping, there is not really anything that you need to do to increase the value of the domain. Domain flipping is really just being in the right place at the right time to buy a good domain name before it is given a higher price or sold to the next potential owner.
A lot of guides say that domain flipping is a quick game, but this isn’t necessarily true. Some domains can remain for sale for a number of months/years before the owner makes a profit, whereas some flips happen very quick.
Also, like the real estate market, domain names can carry a big price tag. I personally have never paid a huge price for any of the many domains that I own. The most I’ve ever paid was $130; once, most were under $20, a few were more. The most wanted and popular available domains have “premium” price tags and the annual renewal fee can often be just as expensive. But generally “normal” domains can be bought at low price.
I think it is important to note that there is a difference between domain flipping and website flipping. Website flipping is buying and selling full websites that already have content and usually have traffic and revenue coming in. When buying and selling these, the domain name matters a lot less because the main value is in the content, traffic, and revenue. With domain flipping you’re just selling “the name” so that’s all that really matters. This post is solely about domain flipping.
How does the process work and how do you get started?
The four very basic steps are:
1. Search/Find an available domain name
2. Register a domain name
4. Find a buyer
4. Sell the domain name
I use GoDaddy for most of my domain purchases. I usually have a random name that pops into my head, and I want to see if it’s available. Other times I spend hours just searching various domain name ideas I have. Sometimes as I start more ideas pop into my head, and before I know it, I have ten or more domains in my cart ready to be purchased.
You have to know how to judge the quality of a domain and ensure it matches the “criteria” of a good domain. Of course, you can always still purchase any domain name of your choice and be able to resell them. But if you remember the specific qualities of a good domain, it will be much easier for you to make a sale with a higher profit.
What makes a good domain a GREAT domain?
Make It Easy to Remember
People buy domains that are easy to remember. If it’s remember is easy to market, especially as a business. Also, try to keep the names as short as possible and avoid buying domains that contain hyphens and numbers. 3-4 letter domain names are usually always more valuable because it’s almost impossible to find and register them.
Find Domains with Important Keywords
A “keyword rich” domain name is one that contains the words matching the type of business. Consider a businessman who wants to build a travel related website, he/she would love to find domains that contain the word travel, or they would at least buy a domain that contains words related to it.
Buy Domains That are Brandable
For this, try to be creative when finding the best brandable domain names. There are domains that are sold for thousands of dollars everyday, it’s not for the keywords in them or because they are made of actual words, but because they sound like they could become brands. A simple domain name can also be made to look like a brand. qzbw.com or some random four-letter combination isn’t the easiest domain to transform into a brand, but USAA.com and AAA.com are good examples of what are. Think of all the companies that have names that weren’t “real” words until they became a household name, like Yahoo and Google.
Buy .COM Domain Extensions
You should only buy .com domains when first starting until you know more as they are ideal for most businesses. For online businesses, most of the time, the customers will assume that you are using a .com domain, not any other extensions. So most businesses would love to buy .com domains. I will say, .io domains are very popular among tech startups, but they also cost more upfront and don’t nearly resell as often.
Judge the Right Value of the Domain
When buying expired domains, you should be great at this. Aged domains typically have greater domain authority (domain authority is SEO metric meant to estimate how well a website will rank on search engines), due to their age and the potential they’ve had for gaining backlinks (backlinks are the links directing visitors to your domain from other websites.)
There are two main domain flipping strategies: topic based domain buying, and exclusivity based domain buying. Which basically means the domains are either considered valuable if they are relevant names for a topic/niche/business or because they are rare and likely will be impossible to register again (like 3-4 letter combos).
GoDaddy is one of the cheapest and largest domain registrar companies in the world of domain flipping. But they are not the only option when it comes to the domain registration. There are many other great places for buying domains like Namecheap, Domain.com, Name.com, etc.
I personally use GoDaddy the most as it does everything I need in one site and all the sites I’ve bought have been from them with no issue, and you also can usually find good deals and promo codes on new purchases with a simple Google search.
Domain Flipping Takes Time to Learn.
Just like any other field of business, gaining experience will only make you better. In the beginning, you will probably lose money over useless domain names that don’t resell, but you just continue to learn. It can be such a small investment buying a new domain that the loss won’t really seem like much and if nothing else you can use it for your own site and potentially make a more profitable business from it.
It Is an Active Process.
Domain flipping is never a passive process. You will have to put in the time and energy in each part of the process. You won’t make good profits if you do not put the work in.
The size of the internet alone has made the domain marketplace extremely saturated and overwhelmed so it has become nearly impossible to register 3-4 letter combos, single word, or even popular double word domain names. So, if you want to go the route of flipping rare domain names that will have greater value from the start you usually have to buy expired domain names.
There are a number of places where you can get expired domain names. Unlike the man who bought Google.com for one minute, expired domain names rarely just fall into your lap.
Expired domains start out as domains that are not going to be renewed. This happens more often when people forget to renew their domain names. When this happens, the domain registrar gives them a 30 day grace period, and during that time, the owner can still renew their domain. When the 30 days are over, the domain name becomes ‘expired’ and is then entered into auction by the domain registrar.
Just Dropped is a personal favorite of mine as you can sign up to be emailed a list of expired domains ready to be purchased and once you pay they are transferred to you quickly and the registrar is very responsive.
Where can I sell my domain names?
There are lots of different domain name marketplaces you can use likely more than I could ever list but I recommend GoDaddy and Flippa because they are two of the top website and domain brokers in the world. Each is visited by thousands of sellers and buyers daily.
These sites match sellers and buyers and they handle transferring money and/or domains between them. A typical auction lasts anywhere between 14 to 30 days, but it is up to you how long you choose.
When you register a domain personal information, like your name, address, phone number, and email address, are required and anyone can the information using a WHOIS lookup. You can buy WHOIS privacy for your domains to block the information from the public. But when you’re flipping domain names, I disable the feature. This helps those who are interested in potentially buying your domain contact you.
You can use tools like GoDaddy’s domain value appraiser or Estibot to get an idea of what your domain might be worth. Estibot does limit the number of searches you can do without an account and there is a monthly fee as a member. Remember this is an appraisal, not a guaranteed price. You can set your price or reserve price as this or around this value, but there still needs to be someone willing to buy it for you to make money.
If you plan to hold on to a domain for a while, or if you have some domains that aren’t selling, you can park your domains. Parking a domain is a way to monetize your domain by serving ads through a landing page. This is another way you can make money from your domains in between the time you buy and sell them. Currently, all my other domains are being parked with GoDaddy until I decide what to do with them.
The internet is an incredible place, and every day, thousands of domain names are bought and sold in the digital real estate world. It’s amazing all the ways you can make money online if you think about it. This is just one way, and I have plenty of other ways I’d be happy to share in the future.
I will continue to update this post as needed but if you found it useful, please be sure to share and if you have any questions or suggestions (I know this is a lot of information to take in). comment them down below.