💰 A Million Dollar Domain Hobby

Buying over 300 domain names, key questions for website investors, domain offers and asset value, high-ticket affiliate programs, and much more below.

Welcome to Website Investing Weekly, bringing you up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of website investing and alternative related asset classes.

🤑 A Million Dollar Domain Hobby

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We're willing to bet that you've never heard of Adam Doppelt.


Adam recently wrote an article for Medium entitled, "My Million Dollar Domain Hobby."

That got our attention. We went on to read the 3,248 words he wrote about how he began buying domain names and his experiences in the world of domain investing.

Doppelt creates websites and mobile apps, and is one of the founders of Fresh Chalk.

Two years ago, he began buying domains, focusing on .io and .ai extensions.

He says:

The chummy world of domaining is filled with colorful characters. It’s hard to understand what’s happening, and the opacity of domaining is intimidating for newcomers.

He quickly realised that there had to be a better way to purchase domains than via auction so he figured out how to buy expired .ai domains directly from Anguilla.

That move resulted in the acquisition of around 200 .ai domain names.

When that avenue came to an end, Adam began contacting owners just before their domain expired.

Of this he said:

It was a tricky business, tracking down owners and convincing them to part with their neglected domains. I targeted domains that had almost expired and required fees to retrieve, pulled from the ghostly gray mist that looms before final expiration. I actually had good luck with this approach, but it was time consuming.

At the point when Fresh Chalk was just getting off the ground, Adam suspended his domaining activities and sat on his portfolio of just over 300 domains.

Then what?

Doppelt started selling domains from his portfolio. He outlines the "rules of thumb" he uses when offering domains for sale and how he typically uses canned responses to communicate with buyers:

I don’t get drawn into discussions about leases or equity. I don’t accept crypto. I don’t get excited when someone is eager to buy ten domains. I don’t do trades. Complexity kills transactions.

There is a plethora of great advice in this article - for newbies and seasoned investors alike. Although you may not possess Doppelt's tech skills, you'll appreciate the ingenuity he used to devise solutions for the issues he faced when starting out.

As for the million dollar valuation, Doppelt states:

I reckon the portfolio is worth roughly $1M. That number is extrapolated from existing sales and assumes that I sell every domain. It probably won’t work out that way, of course.

Not bad for a hobby.

🖥️ The Digital Entrepreneur Is Back

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In our November 23rd newsletter we featured Part 1 in a series of website investing tips from Eric Porat. That article discussed niche targeting, how SEO is key, and having the grit to hold on.

This time, Porat goes into the processes he uses to build and grow profitable online businesses. One major reason for the effectiveness of these methods is that they've been tested over time and are repeatable. 

It's no surprise that he suggests investing in sites that have multiple ways to generate income.

After that, Porat outlines a few key questions to ask before investing in a website.

Included in the list are:

  • How old is the site?

  • Is the content important? 

And our favorite,

  • Does the site have diverse and steady traffic?

Of this, Porat says:

If your site is already leaking visitors, you’ll be so focused on patching up holes in the sinking ship that you won’t have time to row forward.

If you'd like to know more about how Porat acquires and grows successful sites, then you'll find the complete article here.

🦄 SEOs with Skin in the Game

Smash Digital - a growth agency, filled to the brim with unicorn images and SEO memes.

A team of SEOs with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients.

An agency with so much link juice you’ll need a mop and bucket to clean it all up.

Check. Them. Out.

💲 Offers Show Value but Not THE Value

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Last week, Elliot Silver discussed how the top domain names he owns always receive the most purchase enquiries and offers.

The number of offers received demonstrate that the domain name is valuable, but the offers don't usually reflect the actual value of the asset.

And, just because a domain hasn't sold, that doesn't mean it can be purchased cheaply.

As Silver says:

I regularly explain to people that it’s not for a lack of interest the domain name hasn’t sold, but rather a lack of buyers who can afford to spend what I know the domain name is worth.

You'll find more on the topic in this article.

📈 Higher Affiliate Commissions

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Most website investors aim to make money while they sleep. 

That's why we build and grow content sites, and then monetize these sites using a variety of methods like ads, digital products, and affiliate links.

A few days ago, Niall Roche from AuthorityHacker asked this great question:

How would it feel to make $1,250 in affiliate commissions per referral…instead of the $1.25 you’re making right now?

If you're going to promote other people's ish, surely it's smart to get the best possible return?

You may have considered high-ticket affiliate programs, but were sceptical about their legitimacy or simply couldn't find one that met your requirements.

If that's that case, then Roche has you covered. He's put together a list of 20 of the highest paying affiliate programs and what they offer.

We guarantee there's at least one company on this list you hadn't considered; STD Check maybe?

⚽ Reinvent Your Career

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Josh Mitchell talks to Branden Schmidt about how he reinvented his career from footballer to full-blown online business portfolio owner. 

Josh explains how he rapidly scaled his businesses in a few short years and overcame some common challenges in the content space.

Josh has doubled one of his acquisitions and scaled the other to a seven-figure valuation from a $90K initial investment. He lays out a roadmap for how he’s done it and what others can learn from his experience.

Listen to his insights in this 40 minute podcast episode.

🍿 Investing Snacks 🍿

↣↣ Naughty Big Tech

Google and Amazon have both been hit with substantial fines from the French data-protection regulator, CNIL, for invading users' privacy. The watchdog fined Google €100 million and Amazon €35 million. Crucially, it has also ordered them to start clearly telling users why they track them.

These tech giants now have three months to get in line with the regulator's demands, otherwise they will face daily fines of €100,000.

We wonder how much of a deterrent those fines will be…

↣↣ Facebook Joins In

Enforcers in the USA accused Facebook of illegally hurting competition by buying smaller rivals and engaging in other harmful behavior in a pair of antitrust lawsuits filed last week.

The FTC and a coalition of States are in on this action.

The state coalition says Facebook's actions stifle competition and deny Americans access to alternative social networks that would better protect their privacy.

Read more.

↣↣ More Changes in Chrome

In yet another slew of changes, Google announced a change to how extensions access data and how extension permissions work. 

From January 2021, Google has stated that every extension must publicly display its privacy practices and will limit what developers can do with the data they collect.

These privacy changes will impact not only users and developers but also businesses. If you  rely on extensions for internal and external use, the rest of this article may be of interest to you.

↣↣ Lazy Domain Investing

Apparently, most people are lazy.

That’s what Elliot Silver believes.

A domain name is more appealing to me if it was never available for sale prior to my buying it – or if it was nearly impossible to contact the registrant to work out a deal.

See what really makes a domain name attractive to a full-time investor in this article from Domain Investing.

↣↣ December .Ai Auctions

Auctions closed last Monday at Whois.ai. There were 22 names that closed at $1,000 or more. Genius.ai was the high close by a wide margin at $16,025.

See the full list here.

That’s all for this Monday.

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