This isn’t usually the place that I post stuff like this, we have another blog that we usually use to record and write about our online money making schemes, but that site rarely gets updated since we’re not making much money at the moment. Seeing as how I buy domains all the time and never get around to doing anything with most of them, when this opportunity presented itself I knew I had to jump on it.
Most of the money I make online comes from affiliate networks and the occasional Google Adsense click. I try to keep this blog free from too many ads as it’s just a place for me to write bullshit on and if people want to read it that’s cool. acslater.com was one of those domains I had laying around not doing anything. I actually had intentions of using it to promote Dustin Diamond aka Screech Powers’ Saved By The Bell tell all book, which I don’t think ever got published or maybe even written for that matter. I was surprised when acslater.com wasn’t taken so I snatched it up along with a bunch of other random domains that I never did anything with.
While I was in my random domain buying phase Twitter was just starting to come around, this was about April of 2007. Not too many people outside of the tech world were using the service yet and none of my friends had even heard about it. In fact one of my friends who I’m currently working on a web project with made fun of me when I told him we should do something with Twitter (as in some sort of project that utilized it’s information) and that it was going to be huge. Needless to say we never did anything with it, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t buy up a couple domains in anticipation. Now since I’m no longer the owner of the 2 domains I recently sold I’m not going to give out the urls, however they were related to celebrities and twitter.
At the time I bought them the only celebrity that I really knew that was on Twitter was Diablo Cody (at least she was the only one that posted constantly). I had no idea if more celebs would accept the new form of fan based communication or not, but for $7/year it’s better than a lottery ticket. So I purchased the 2 domains with the idea of making a sort of RSS aggregator to display the different celebrities Twitter posts. At the time I set up one of the domains I only had enough celebs to fill one screen (I think there were 5 people on there) and most of them weren’t even really Hollywood celebrities. So anyways, I now owned these 2 domains and just sat on them until more celebrities embraced the service and some other people with more coding skills got the same idea I had. Pretty soon there were a bunch of sites listing the different celebrities on Twitter in a much more appealing manner, so I dropped the idea all together and figured I’d just hold on to the domains for a while and maybe try to sell them on an auction site or something.
Jump forward to NBA Playoff time, I’m not good with dates and I only remember sitting at the bar watching the Bulls game when I got an email offering me a decent amount of money for one of the domains. At this point there were quite a few celebrities on Twitter and the news was starting to talk about it on a daily basis, everyone was flocking to it. I figured I may be able to get a little more for the domain than what I was offered and emailed a buddy of mine who I though might have some contacts of people that may be interested. I gave him a week to get back to me and let me know if there was any interest, there wasn’t. Ok no problem, I’ll just sell it to this guy for his original offer and make a pretty good profit on it. So I emailed the guy back and of course he had a change of heart and pulled the offer off the table… ouch. Oh well, at least I now knew that I had something here and that at least there was some interest out there.
I started looking into domain auction sites to try to sell the domains before they expired, but I never got around to actually listing them. Rather than let them go and have them instantly be snapped up by someone, I renewed both of them hoping to unload them before the next year was up. After a while I kind of forgot about them as things with my other sites started slowing down and I had stuff to do at my actual day job. Fast forward to last week, me and the girlfriend are wandering around the grocery store looking for something to make for dinner that night when my phone rings. It was an out of state area code and I usually don’t answer those, but for some reason I picked up the phone. It was a college kid looking to buy one of the domains…. nice. I told him that I had already received a little interest in the domain, but that I was just sitting on it doing nothing with it so I’d be more than willing to sell. Without thinking about it I made the kid an offer and the deal was done, he accepted and that was that.
There were a few tiny concerns with payment and the transferring of the domain (he was leery about sending me money first and I really didn’t feel like using an escrow service, mainly because I never have), but I told him I’d stay on the phone with him until the deal was completely done and he seemed to be more comfortable with that. So he immediately wired me the money and as soon as that was confirmed I started the domain transfer. I think he was starting to get a little worried when the transfer was taking a few minutes, but GoDaddy can be a little slow with certain actions so I wasn’t too worried. After about 5 minutes he received an email telling him that a domain was being transferred to him and instructions on how to accept, 2 minutes later the deal was done.
This was probably some of the easiest money I’ve ever made. The investment is low and the rewards can be pretty substantial if you get in on a trend when it’s hot. I may take this experience and turn towards selling a few more of the domains I have laying around or maybe buying up some more and turning them loose on the auction blocks to see what I can pull in, but I’ll definitely be looking into this a bit closer now that I see how easy it is to do and what the profit numbers look like.