Do you own a stable of domain names? I do. I feel that it is important to own a number of domains. Whenever you have any kind of new website to put up, a new business that you want to do on the net, or whatever, your first step should be to obtain a domain name for the site. Getting domain names is important if you want to earn a living on the net!
I guess that I have about 40 domain names that I own, which is actually a relatively small number. Other people who earn a living on the net own hundreds, even thousands of domains! One thing that I have done successfully to reduce the number of domains that I purchase is through using sub-domains in many instances. For example, I own WowPhilippines.com, where I have an e-commerce store. However, I don’t limit my use of the domain to that one site! No, sir! I have created sub-domains where I can also earn money. For instance, I have a blog for each province on the Island of Luzon, and they are all housed on Luzon.WowPhilippines.com. My Visayas blogs are on Visayas.WowPhilippines.com and so on. Honestly, I make money from a lot of different sources, all through that one domain name – WowPhilippines.com. It keeps my overhead down (not buying hundreds of domains for those sites), but it is also a premium domain that serves me well.
Sometimes, I buy a domain, make some good money from it, and then it sort of becomes obsolete for me. What do I do then? Sell the name? Let it expire? No, in most cases, I keep the domain for some years, just to see if another money making opportunity arises with the name. For example, I have a site where I used to sell shampoo and conditioner. I did very well with the business, but after about 5 years my source of the product went away. I could no longer get the merchandise, so I had no more to sell. I guess it’s been a year or two since I’ve had anything to sell on the site, so it hasn’t been making me money. In other words, it cost me about $20 to keep the name for 2 years while I made no money. However, I have now found that another company has a supply of the shampoo in question, and they are advertising it through an Internet Advertising company. I won’t name the Advertising company, but I’ll say it is not AdSense. It is probably a name that you’d recognize if you have been into Internet marketing, though. Anyway, I simply slapped one of these advertisements on the home page of the site – just a single ad, and I am making on average about $15 per day from the ad! So, if this continues, I will make an average of about $450 per month from this domain name that costs me $10 per year to maintain. Nice thing is, I am making that money and I don’t have to do any work for it! I have my own web server, so hosting doesn’t cost me anything other than what I am already paying.
So, the lesson here is that if you have dormant domain names or sites that are just sitting there doing nothing for you, it pays to periodically search to see if there is a new way to make a little extra money from the site! It works for me, and it can for you too!
Dave Starr --- ROI Guy
Hi Bob … glad to see you worked this blog back into the schedule, I always learn something here.
Too many folks, I think, get the idea that making money on line requires some “one-time” gigantic idea, venture capital and a management team to make it work.
The beauty of “domaining” and other passive or semi-passive activities is, the investment is close to zero, the “hassle factor” is very small and it’s almost impossible not to make some money. Notice I said “some”. You won’t become a Kevin Ham or a Frank Schilling (Google is your friend, folks) but the trick is you don’t _have_ to be. If you want to build cars in your backyard you can’t, because of the cost to build up a business to compete against the GM’s and Toyota’s of the world. But domain income scales all the way down to a onesy-twosy operation. Even with these big guys who make the news when they do million dollar deals … the bulk of their income comes from thousands of domains that just earn a few bucks a month.
I have a domain I bought over a year ago for a blog idea I had. I’m probably never going to follow through on that idea. I “parked” the domain on a free parking service and it currently averages over $3 a month in my share of the clicks it gets. No hosting, no “site is down” messages, no email spam … just $8.95 (or less) per year to renew the name and $36 plus per year cash in my PayPal account. Small potatoes? You bet … if you consider a ~400% rate of return ‘small potatoes’. If there were slot machines that paid out $4 for every $1 I put in, you can bet I’d live in Las Vegas 😉
Hi Dave Starr – Yep, you don’t have to make a million on every business you do, that’s the beauty of marketing to a niche. Just a few dollars here and a few there, and pretty soon you are making some nice dough! Many people don’t believe or don’t understand the beauty of niche marketing, but it is indeed a fantastic way of doing business these days!
Do you have suppliers you can recommend that can ship direct when you sell one of their items (i.e. you are the “middle man” and don’t actually need to hold any inventory)? I see this idea touted many times, but I havn’t seen any examples in my searches. I’m sure this is what many eBay sellers and other internet sellers do to have an “inventory” or product line without actually having the hassle of the physical goods or shipping. My goal is to do as you have and make a living off the web (multiple sites = diversification; small $$ from many sites = one regular monthly income and no real hit when one site fails/stops) and eventually retire to the PI as well. I was referred to your site by my pinoy co-worker, who knows my wife is from Mindanou. I love your Tagalog lessons. I’ll be checking it every day to learn new words. My co-worker is slowly teaching me to speak the basics. Thanks.
Hi John – Thanks for visiting my site! I am glad to know that you enjoy it.
Yes, there are drop shippers around, and I am aware of many of them. However, I do not recommend them. I strongly suggest that you should not use them. Remember, when people give you their money, it is YOUR reputation on the line. If you feel that going to the Post Office to ship the item to the customer is too much hassle, then I say that you should not go into the business. You have no control over how reliable these drop shippers are. You have no control over whether they will actually ship the merchandise. You have no control over whether they will ship in a timely manner. For me, I don’t put my reputation into the hands of others. I want to control how my customer’s shopping experience is, and not let some drop shipping company control my reputation like that.
Consider all of this and make your decision. For me, it’s a no brainer.
1. Yep. Domains are cheap. I own about as many as you do. Will I end up using them all. Probably not and that’s okay. Because it is getting harder to get decent domains, you should buy it as soon as you think of it.
2. I get your point on drop shipping. I do have a company that acts as a middleman and prints one of my books. The one reason I go with them is that they provide the book to Amazon and I don’t have to. However, I am quite comfortable with a business-to-business relationship that does this. I still ship to individual customers, though. It’s much cheaper and I want to control the customer service.
Hi Tom – it sounds like we are copying each other! I really agree with each point you made!
Dave Starr --- ROI Guy
This is a good discussion. I have to lean very strongly towards Bob’s advice. If you have a product Amazon will handle your are the owner of a valuable property. The profit on books, though, is low per unit. A company who drop ships has to make money too, and they are taking a substantial cut.
Secondly, the real key to a business is not to sell one book to many customers who happen along. The better model is to sell a book that attracted their interest and in doing so forge a relationship with that customer and sell more “follow-on” items to that customer who is now “yours”. A second book, an audio/video instructional course, materials the customer now wants because he learned from your book and so on. When you have a third-party involved the customer may become the third-party’s customer and not yours.
Before I moved to the Philippines I was selling a “black box” electronic product. the manufacturer would “drop ship” very conveniently for a flat rate … no hassle for me. However the manufacturer would then sell follow-on products direct to the customer, cutting me out of the deal completely. I had them ship all product to me and I re-shipped to the end users (at a small profit, by the way, marking up the UPS or USPS costs). I then became the customer’s “go to” guy and made many follow-on sales that I never would have even known about if I went for the “convenience” of drop shipping.
In the US the hassle level is very small … UPS or the USPS will come right to your door and pick up the outbound packages … with UPS you fill out a shipping form online with a couple clicks, print the label on regular paper, slip it in the plastic envelope that UPS provides for free and schedule the pickup … and if you add the customer’s email address when you fill up the form UPS takes care of sending the customer a tracking number and, of course, providing world-class tracking service. And of course, UPS keeps a comprehensive record of all your shipments in your business account for tax time, all your ship to addresses for follow-on shipments, etc.
You sit back and work on the next sale.
I plan to retire next year. I have thought about trying a little blogging then. It will never be huge and I may lose interest after a while and it will fade away.
If I find a domain name that I like, for example, xyz.com. Would it be wiser to get xyz.com and xyz.net and xyz.us and xyz.org?
I wouldn’t do this but if I got mindanao.us couldn’t that potentially lead to confusion for you web? That is why I asked if it would be better to get .com, .net, .us, .org, etc.
Hi Dan – In almost every case possible, I believe that the best thing to do is to get the “.com” domain. People instinctively type in .com at the end of a name. It’s kind of ingrained in people that names end in “.com”
Don’t worry about “mindanao.anything” every one of the major suffixes for “Mindanao” is already in use (including the .us name). Luckily for me, I have the “king” of the mindanao domains, though! 😉
Hi Dave Starr – I agree about Amazon. If you can get a product onto their “shelves” you can almost afford to sit back and start counting the money!
Well I just got into the blogging “biz” and I’m off to a slow start. It takes awhile to get started and 1 site isn’t going to make the money needed to live. Honestly though, if I have to keep track of 1000 sites I might just go gaga in short order.
Hi Louis – One site will not usually make the money needed to live, but the right site can make plenty of money. I know plenty of sites that make enough money to live, and well beyond that amount. I have single sites that make a larger income than the salary I made when I lived in the States. So, I have no question that it can be done. It doesn’t start happening in a few weeks or months, though, it takes years to build up to that level.