Blogs about how you can best sell your domains or stories about how you may have sold or bought a domain in the past.

Buying and Selling a Traffic Portfolio - Part 5

Like any industry where buying and selling is involved there is a potential arbitrage gap between what the seller is generating and what the buyer can potentially earn once a transaction is complete. This can dramatically change the return on the investment.

A simple example would be if a seller has all of their domains parked at Company A and they received a 75% payout. As the buyer, you know that at the same company you receive 85%. That’s a 13.3% greater payout. This means that if you paid 24 months revenue for a portfolio you should get the payback within 20.8 months.

Escrow.com

If a seller has all of the domains at a single parking solution then there are a considerable number of additional ways that you can increase the revenue. Over the years at my company ParkLogic I’ve found that the maximum any parking company typically wins in a portfolio is 20% of the traffic.

This means that if you are acquiring a portfolio that has been parked at a single parking company then you can at least improve it 80% of the time. That’s a great outcome! At ParkLogic we also have a real-time bidding system in front of the traffic that sends the traffic direct to advertisers to provide additional revenue uplift (enough of the sales pitch!).

The reverse of the above is when you find a portfolio that is parked all over the place or where there may have been some special deals in place that underpinned the revenue line. For example, let’s imagine the portfolio had a group of domains that were all going to a particular affiliate company? Will the deal also migrate with the domains or will the deal suddenly vanish once you parted with your hard cold cash?

Likewise, for domains that have “slept around” they are likely to be fully optimised. Be careful of buying these portfolios as there is unlikely to be much of a “free” revenue uplift from optimisation. What I would recommend is to ensure that you can establish an account with the optimisation company prior to the acquisition. We have a number of ParkLogic clients buying and selling domains between them to more secure their ROI.

I’d also be careful of fad domains. These are domains that are popular for a time and then the traffic just dies off. So do your due diligence on the traffic by requesting stats across six months and then view the traffic data on a domains by domain basis to see if there are any trends that you don’t like. Spikes in traffic and downward trendlines tend to be the bad ones to look out for.

Particularly look out for what I would call the “lucky click” domains. These are domains that may be sold in amongst all the others that have a tiny amount of traffic but got a $30 click. You’ll probably never see that click again but if you buy these domains you’ll be paying a lot for them. To find them calculate the RPM for each domain (revenue / view * 1000). Sort the domain list from highest to lowest and you will discover that these domains are typically sitting right at the top…..get rid of them from the deal.

The wise purchaser will take the time to thoroughly go through a list of domains and indicate which ones they are prepared to pay for and which ones they aren’t. The seller will try and keep the portfolio together as an aggregate to stop this type of cherry picking. In the end it will become a negotiation. The strength of your position in the negotiation will be determined by how much homework you have done at the analysis stage.

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.
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Video - Domain Sales

This is the third video in the 10th Anniversary of Whizzbangsblog. In this video explore the topic of domain sales and how you can increase your own domain sales.

Escrow.com

I've sold a lot of domains over the years and in this video I discuss a number of techniques I've found that greatly assist in selling. I also begin to open up my thoughts on the future of domain sales and more importantly how to better price domains.

I hope you enjoy this video and I would encourage you to leave any comments and questions for me to answer.

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Guest — Andrew Hyde
Insightful post Michael, I agree with your points on selling domain names, and especially in the approval process that's involve ... Read More
30 April 2017
mgilmour
Creating an artificial purchase point doesn't really work with really big deals where a lot of people are involved in the final pu... Read More
01 May 2017
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A Simple Way To Sell More Domains

Domain marketplaces are rewarded on a commission basis for bringing buyers and sellers together and doing whatever they can to ensure a transaction occurs. What domain investors need to appreciate is that a marketplace gets paid a commission on a sale transaction, whether it’s the individual investor’s domains or not.

Escrow.com

What am I getting at here. One of the most valuable assets that a domain has is traffic. In fact, there is a whole business model of monetization that is based upon the fact that advertisers love the traffic so much they are willing to pay a lot for it.

Ask yourself this question, “How much did a marketplace pay for your domains traffic?” Each day you are sending red hot leads into the marketplaces and yet most of those leads go to buying other people’s domains. My second question is, “What commission did you received on those sales?” Here’s the answer, zero.

The counter argument to this is the commission levels are set by taking into account the traffic. I don’t buy into this argument because if that was the case there would be differing commission levels based upon traffic and this does not happen.

So how do you get around this problem? The best solution would be to add all your domains to the various marketplaces so that they can receive offers via everyone else’s traffic. Then build a website that features your own domains.

On the individual domain pages have links that allows the buyer to purchase via each of the various marketplaces or via an Escrow buy link (then you'll be protected in the sales transaction).

All the sales links on your domain parked pages should then point to a page that features the domain inside your own website. This will then give the buyer the scope to easily view your other domains you have for sale that they may wish to purchase.

What you’re trying to do here is leverage your own traffic to help sell more of your own assets. If you don’t have any traffic then I wouldn’t bother with this strategy but if you do then you’d be crazy not to try it out.

I should state that I don’t have anything against the domain marketplaces…..in fact, I think that on the whole they do a good job. If they have created a large opportunity in their business models that can be exploited, then why wouldn’t you take it?

On the other hand, there is an opportunity for one of the marketplaces to break ranks and to pay a referral commission to the domain owner that originated the lead. Now that would shake things up a bit!

Battleframe

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Guest — Andrew Hyde
I've done exactly what you are referring to. I've created my own landing pages where I provide the domain registration date and s... Read More
28 March 2017
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Domain Sales - Bundled Pricing Strategy

How many of us have lamented the fact that we receive enquiries on individual domains while the great majority of our portfolio seems to just be a great big cost? Is there a way to swing this situation around? Yes, there is and it’s called bundled pricing.

Escrow.com

Bundled pricing is taking a desired product and making it for sale with something else which you may have had trouble selling.  The average sales value is increased at little to no additional effort in the sales process. This is a strategy that many corporations use to sell us things we really don’t need so they can continue to move products.

A classic example of this is the sale of the “Big Mac Meal”. Do you really want fries? You don’t actually but it’s just so easy to add a few cents more and get an entire “meal” rather than buying a Big Mac and coke separately. In the process, McDonald’s has dived into our wallets and pulled out some of the loose change.

I’ve always wondered why McDonald’s sells a Big Mac, Coke and Fries together. I’m sure they’ve done a lot of research on the topic but I would have thought that a Big Mac, Fries and Apple Pie would be a much better combination……after all, everyone will buy the drink anyway.

This brings up an interesting point. If you wish to extract additional value, then bundling products together is not as easy as it first seems. Sometimes the obvious bundle is actually not obvious at all.

Let’s imagine you were after bingonight.net (one of my domains) and offered $8K for it. I could say yes and the deal would be done. Or I could tell you that the domain is part of a bundle of five bingo related domains that I’m selling for $12K.

All you were originally after was bingonight.net but now I’ve just told you a number of things:

1.       I have more bingo related domains.
2.       You can’t get bingonight.net by itself.
3.       I’m getting these other domains for half price!
4.       I'm also telling you that I'm the place to come to for domains in the future.

Suddenly we are having a much larger conversation than just purchasing a single domain. From my perspective, while I’ve now turned a $8K sale into one for $12K. This works for the both of us.

I could have bundled bingonight.net with an aviation domain a couple of Indian domains and a Spanish domain. This would allow me to move unsold inventory but rather than enhance the sale it would potentially turn off the buyer. Like McDonald’s and their meal deals, picking and choosing your bundle is critical for a successful outcome.

At the price levels of stock items, every enquiry should be viewed as an opportunity to sell not just one domain but a bundle of domains. Even if you have to discount a little the overall revenue line has increased.

When you look at your portfolio it’s often the traffic domains that bring the sales enquiries and the domains with no traffic that are of higher value. So bundling both sets of domains together brings potentially brandable domains and traffic together…..which can often sweeten the deal for the buyer.

The challenge here is that many of the marketplaces don’t allow a bundling strategy and deal with domains on an individual basis. More on this in another article….

Battleframe

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Part 1 - How to Price Your Domains for any Market

As I’ve stated in a previous article, pricing domains can be a difficult task. Many domain owners firmly believe that the price completely depends upon the buyer. The problem with this position is that it runs contrary to the fact that priced domains are more likely to sell. In this article, I’m going to attempt to put some mathematics behind pricing domains in ANY market vertical.

Escrow.com

I made my first attempt at pricing domains in an article last year. At the end of the article I suggest that a lot more thinking needed to go into the model…..so here goes!

I’m a firm believer in economic theory and the rules of supply and demand. High prices are the result of a combination of high demand and low supply while low prices are a function of both large amount of supply and low demand. You can see the rules of supply and demand all over the business world; from oil and iron ore right through to dog food.

Supply and demand lead me to attempt to build a demand curve for a set of keywords in a market vertical. I entered mortgage, loans and finance into Google’s keyword tool and out popped 703 keywords with both the estimated volume of traffic, recommended price point and demand (ie. competition) for that keyword.

After a little bit of Excel magic I was able to produce the below demand chart for the financial category. I will be the first to indicate that you can actually get a more accurate curve with greater numbers of data points but the essence of the demand curve will remain intact. The interesting thing is you can also build the same sort of curve for any group of keywords.

Demand Curve

So what are we looking at? This is a pretty good picture of a marketers view of the keyword landscape for their particular market. Remember, this does not provide a picture of what they are spending but how much they value a particular keyword.

The only reason marketers will consistently pay more for certain keywords is because the traffic from that keyword provides a return on their investment. This is the why each keyword has a different price point. This means the demand curve is a mirror of the conversion rate for each keyword.

We do know that the average keyword domain sells for around $AU2000 ($US1,500). It could be then said that keywords around the “weighted mean” (ie. the point at which the areas to the left and right of the chart are equal) of $21 will attract the $2K price tag. Domains down the curve will sell for less than $2K and those above this point will sell for more than $2K.

For example, “second mortgage rates” has a bid price of $12.60 which slides it about 25% down the curve from the weighted mean which would suggest this domain is worth around $1,500. On the other hand “second mortgage loans” (a more targeted keyword) is selling for $21.33 and places it right about the mean and a price tag of $2,000. “Second mortgage” is a shorter keyword and has a price tag of $22.86 which pushes up the demand curve by 5% which suggests the domain is worth around $2200.

These prices are guesstimate and I will attempt to do a more accurate pricing later in the article. What’s interesting is keywords such as “refinance second mortgage” is 45% higher on the demand curve than the mean and are deemed more valuable than the shorter keyword versions. So why is this the case?

Remember the demand curve will only keep in place if the underpinning metrics of a sale are met. It’s not just about traffic volume or “brandability”. Ultimately, it’s all about sales! This suggests that people that click on the keyword “refinance second mortgage” are more likely to purchase a second mortgage compared to individuals that click on “second mortgage”.  In fact, we can calculate the number as being nearly 40% more often.

This flies-in-the-face of the assumption that a short domain is a good domain. Sometimes shorter keyword domains provide more traffic but they bring a lot of tire kickers who don’t purchase products or services. The simple act of typing in more letters can be one of the more interesting qualifiers of whether a consumer will purchase or not.

For instance, everyone would assume that “best loans” is a great domain….and yet, the marketers don’t like that keyword and push it down the demand curve. What they love is “home refinance” and are prepared to pay top dollar for traffic from that keyword.

Here’s the problem with this analysis. The amount of $2,000 for the weighted mean is an assumption for this market vertical. I believe that every market vertical will have an average value that domains are sold for…..the majority of this type of information is held by the incumbent marketplaces.

What I’m saying is that for the finance sector rather than $2,000 it could actually be $10,000 or even less for the weighted mean. In my next article I’ll continue to dig and pull out more on the mid-point number.

Battleframe

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Guest — Leonard Britt
I was recently approached by a finance company for a domain name. Their offer high $XXX. They currently have a website on the .C... Read More
15 March 2017
mgilmour
I think that I begin to answer these questions in the next article.
15 March 2017
Guest — Hugh
Michael...very good article...Hugh
16 March 2017
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