The idea of domain flipping is a bit of a hot topic. For some, domain flipping seems like a fast track to a six-figure salary. For others, the idea of domain flipping is considered to be taking unfair advantage of internet users who are trying to find the perfect domain for their website (think cybersquatting).
Regardless of your thoughts on the subject, I’ll outline some useful information to help you on your way to making some money. On top of this, we will look specifically at the .BOND domain and use it to show how you can make some serious cash from the comfort of your home (or coffee shop if you’re like me and find working from home too distracting).
What is Domain Flipping?
If you’ve spent some time around cars, or you’re a big fan of HGTV like I am, then there’s a good chance that you know of or have even been someone who has bought a clunker with the hope of fixing it up to turn a profit; domain flipping is a lot like that. However, instead of buying a clunker or fixer-upper, you buy an old domain that hasn’t been registered with the hope of selling it to a future bidder.
If you think that this could be your fast track to quitting your day job, don’t get too ahead of yourself. You’ll find a lot of domain flipping guides online that taut domain flipping as a quick job, but in reality, those precious domain names could take months (even years) to sell. But, if you’re patient and do your research, then there is some serious money in this game.
For example, the domain “Cars.com” allegedly sold for almost $900 million, so you can see that people are ready to pay top dollar for their desired domains.
What’s in a Name?
If you do a little research on what kinds of domain names are valuable, you’ll quickly notice that the top-priced domain names are usually short and consist of one or two words. For example, Insurance.com sold for $35 million in 2010.
Here are some of the defining characteristics of a valuable domain name:
Length: The shorter, the better (most of the time). Domain names that are three to four letters long are naturally valuable because there aren’t many more three-letter names for .COM and .NET domains left. There are still a few options for three to four character domains with various extensions, but they move fast. This is why they tend to be so valuable.
(also think about how common three-character company names are. This adds value as well)
Authority/Age: Much like fine wine, old domain names tend to increase in value with age. A good domain that has been around for a decent amount of time has probably racked up a ton of backlinks, which makes it perform better in SEO.
Old age + backlinks + good name = $$$
Brandability: Look back at the first characteristic in this list and notice that I said “most of the time” when it came to three to four-character domain names. When it comes to domain name value, the ability to make the name brandable is imperative to the payout. A three-character domain like “lol.com” is brandable, while something like “[email protected]” probably won’t ever be branded. So, when you’re looking for domain names, no matter the character length, try to pick the ones with the best brand potential.
Extensions: .COM names are almost always the most valuable, but there are plenty of other extensions that can bring in some cash. We’ll come back to this point in just a minute.
Start Flipping Domains
The internet is a big place, and that means that the domain name market is heavily saturated. Because of this, it’s nearly impossible to register a brand-new, valuable name.
Since this is the case, then the best way to find a domain name is by looking for expired domain names or domain names with different extensions (i.e., .BOND).
An expired domain is a domain name that is not going to be renewed. This usually happens when someone forgets to renew their domain, doesn’t want to spend money to renew, or the business no longer exists, so its online presence is defunct.
Once a domain is on the verge of expiration, the previous owner has thirty days to renew, and, after this period, the domain goes up for auction by the registrar.
Bidding for an expired domain name usually lasts about a week. The highest bid wins.
If you don’t want to wait around for a domain to expire, then there is always the alternative route of registering domains with promising extensions.
Typically, the most valuable domains end with .COM. The other standard options are .NET or .ORG. However, there are a ton of other extensions out there. If you do your research, then these domains can also make you some money. When registering these domains, you should be thinking about the same criteria as when looking for expired domains.
What to Look For
I mentioned earlier that age and backlinks add a lot of value to your potential domain flip, and this is great for expired domains. When you are looking to take over an expired domain, then definitely do your research on the number and quality of backlinks and the website’s history.
However, this only works for expired domains because they are the only domains that carry this online history. The one metric that trumps all others is Domain Authority.
Domain Authority is an SEO metric that evaluates a domain on its potential of climbing the search engine ranks.
There are a ton of factors that are counted when looking at domain authority. Age, backlinks, social signals, and keywords are all viable options that contribute to the evaluation. In this way, you don’t necessarily need an old domain for it to be worthwhile.
For example, a domain with a .BOND extension may not be considered classically valuable, but because of the chance of some serious SEO magic, a .BOND extension may just be the fit for you.
Let’s take a look.
.BOND – An Experiment
Since .BOND isn’t one of the standard extensions, there may be a ton of options for registering a brand new domain that fits that short, one-word domain name. On top of this, let’s look at some of those short domains and their SEO potential.
To start, I ran some SEO keyword research on the word “bond.” The investigation came up with a list of hundreds of “bond” searches, so there is already good news for .BONDs success as a keyword. Next, I took “.BOND” and ran a similar search. From this, I came up with a list of the top 30 searches involving .BOND.
From this, you can see that “James.BOND” has the most volume (volume is the number of searches that occur monthly). However, there are plenty of other options that have some significant volume.
Side Note: You can thank smartphones for a lot of these .BOND searches. Since the period is right by the space bar in most keyboards, so there has been a massive uptick in the number of .Fill-In-The-Blank searches.
So, now I have my list. From here, I copied these into a bulk domain search through 101Domain to see if any were available.
It turns out that a majority of them are available for registration. Most importantly, the top .BOND searches are available, particularly “James.BOND.” Since this is the top search, then it definitely carries some Domain Authority and could be worth some cash.
You can do this type of search with a plethora of extensions. Definitely look for .COM, but don’t ignore other extensions that play on SEO factors.
When it comes to domain flipping, there’s a lot of risk, but also the potential for a lot of reward. Domains, especially potentially valuable domains, aren’t cheap. So, make sure that you don’t spend more than you can afford because there’s always the chance that you may sit on the domain for a long time before it sells (if it ever sells).
As with any other investment, make sure you do your research and think every move through. Look for things like age, length, brandability, and be especially careful to analyze Domain Authority and keywords. Don’t forget to look at alternative extensions like .BOND as well.
Domain flipping could be a great side-hustle or even replace your day job with the right amount of time and effort dedicated to it. For those who see domain flipping as cybersquatting, the main difference between domain flipping and cybersquatting is that a domain flipper is usually working with expired domains or unregistered domains and, as long as they are using a reputable registrar, they won’t ever deal with copyright laws. So, no need to worry about cybersquatting.
This is by no means a comprehensive guide to domain flipping but is meant to be an introduction to the subject. I’ve barely touched the true breadth of domain flipping, so take your time and do your homework. If you do, you could end up being an internet real estate mogul! I wish you the best of luck.