You daily open and browse various different websites on your computer and mobile by typing their names in the browser. These names are the domain names of the websites. Do you know that you can earn money just by flipping such domain names? It is called as domain flipping.
What is a domain?
Domain is the address of a website, which people type in their browsers to get to the website or access the website. Without domain, people would have to type the IP address of the website where it is hosted. You can compare website to the home and domain to its address, which people use to get to the home. Domain is also referred to as domain name or domain address.
What is domain extension?
The part after the domain name is called as domain extension or TLD i.e. top-level domain. For e.g. in the domain example.com, .com is the extension or TLD and example is the domain name. Domain name part is also called as SLD or second-level domain so in the domain example.com, .com is the TLD and example is the SLD. The first domain extensions or TLD’s created were .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov. in the 1980’s. Since then many new domain extensions have been created.
What is domain flipping?
Domain flipping means buying and selling domain names for profit. Domain flipping is also called as domaining. Person doing domain flipping is called as a domain flipper, domainer, or domain investor. Domain flippers buy domain names, which they feel, are valuable and try to sell them to interested parties at a higher price to make profit.
Why domain flipping?
You should consider domain flipping for the following reasons:-
(1) It provides passive income. Once you purchase a domain, you just need to find the right buyer to sell it. You do not need to do any work such as creating a website and writing content on it.
(2) Process of buying and selling domain names is easy. You do not need any programming, technical, or special knowledge for that.
(3) More and more people and companies are starting blogs and websites. They want good domain names for their blogs and websites and are willing to pay extra money to get the domain name, which they want.
(4) You can start with a very small investment of 10$ to 20$ or even less to buy one domain name and then increase it slowly by buying more domain names as you gain experience and make some money.
How you can earn money with domain flipping:-
You earn money by buying a good valuable domain name at a lower price and selling it at a higher price. Difference between the buying price of the domain and its selling price is the profit earned by you on that domain. Like this, you can buy and sell many domain names to earn profit. So finding and buying valuable domain names and selling them to the interested people and companies at a higher price is the process of making money with domain flipping.
Two approaches to domain flipping:-
There are two approaches to domain flipping which you can adopt:-
(1) Buying and holding the domains and waiting for the buyers to contact you. Not selling the domains until you get your expected price. You can list them on domain marketplaces so the buyers can find your domain names and purchase them. It is a long-term passive approach. It is more suitable for highly valuable domains, which you think may fetch a big amount. You may have to keep renewing the domains year after year until you get the buyer who is willing to pay the price expected by you. You may call this approach as investing in domain names.
(2) Buying and trying to sell the domains fast by approaching the buyers yourself by contacting the potential buyers and listing the domains in auctions. You can also list them on the domain marketplaces additionally. It is a short-term active approach. It is more suitable to less valuable domains, which you want to sell quickly and get money. You can even sell highly valuable domains by using this approach if you are in need of money and can settle for less price. You try to sell the domains in less than one year from their purchase date and avoid the renewal cost. You may call this approach trading in domain names.
Types of domain names:-
There is no official classification or types of domains but they can be divided into following types from the domain flipping perspective:-
Dictionary:- These domain names are generic dictionary words such as excellent.com, city.com, etc.
Keywords:- These domain names are commercial keywords such as mobiles.com, printers.com, dentist.com, etc. Many of the commercial keywords are also dictionary words.
Numeric:- These domain names are numbers such as 123.com, 2424.com, 560145.com, etc.
Letter:- These domain names are any random combination of letters such as atkt.com, dbc.com, cf.com, etc.
Alphanumeric:- These domain names are combination of numbers and letters such as a2z.com, 24hours.com, etc.
Acronyms and abbreviations:- These domain names are acronyms and abbreviations such as faq.com, otc.com, approx.com, temp.com, etc. Acronyms domains are like letter domains but instead of just random letters, they are short forms of some word or words.
Brandable:- These domain names are catchy, unique, easy to remember and sound good such as stockhero.com, lulu.com, etc.
Name:- These domain names are names of people. They may be first names, last names or full names such as rajesh.com, sharma.com, katemiller.com, etc.
Geographic:- These domain names are the names of countries, states and cities such as latvia.com, alaska.com, mumbai.com etc.
Typos:- These domain names are typos and misspelled words such as jungal.com, bunglow.com, beauti.com etc. Most of the typo and misspelled domains sound like the original correct words. These domains are the typos of generic and commercial keyword domains.
Temporary:- These domain names have a temporary use and are related to some major event or happening. They are relevant only before or during that event and for sometime after that such as footballworldcup2022.com, indianelections2024.com, coronavirus19.com, etc. After the event or happening, their importance reduces significantly.
Which domain name types are more valuable?
Dictionary and keyword domain names have more value and are more profitable than others.
Numeric, letter and alphanumeric domain names can be valuable if they have less numbers, letters and characters respectively i.e. if they are short. Letter domains are valuable only if they contain up to 4 random letters. Numeric and alphanumeric domains have value if they have some meaning such as 247365.com, 2bhk.com, etc.
Acronym and abbreviation domain names are also valuable if they are acronyms and abbreviations of popular words.
Brandable domain names can be valuable if they are catchy and sound good. Different people have different opinions about what is catchy and what sounds good. It depends on the person. Some people may find a name brandable while others may not find the same name brandable. So they are a bit tricky.
Name domain names are valuable if the name, surname or full name is common and popular. Do not register the full name of a celebrity or famous person as a domain. You may get in legal trouble for that.
Geographic domain names are valuable but as they pertain to certain geographic areas only, your potential end user buyers are limited. You can also combine geographic domains with commercial keywords for e.g. floridalawyer.com, mumbaidentist.com, etc. Combined domain names like these are also valuable.
Typo and misspelled domain names have some value if the correctly spelled domain names are not available or available at high price and the misspelled domain names are as close to the original correct words and sounds the same. Do not register typos of famous companies and businesses. You may get in legal trouble for that. In general, typo and misspelled domains names are not that valuable and can be avoided.
The life of temporary domains is short. They have some value before and during the event or happening but become nearly useless after the event or happening. They can be avoided too.
.com extension is the most valuable extension of any domain type and then the .net extension and lastly .org extension. So always, give first preference to .com version.
Other extensions of domain names:-
There are many other domain extensions such as .info, .biz, .guru, .xyz, .club, .web, etc. in addition to the three main extensions .com, .net and .org. They are called as new TLD’s. Many new extensions are being added from time to time. Some of these extensions can be valuable. See if any of these other domain extensions are getting popular. Keep a watch on them but stick to the .com, .net and .org domain extensions for most part. If you want to get into other domain extensions then look for some creative combinations such as yoga.guru, healthy.life, etc.
There are also country code extensions of domains such as .in, .co.uk, .us, .ca, etc. You can buy country code domain extensions but your end user customers would be mostly limited to the people living in those countries. You can also come up with some creative domain names with country code extensions such as love.ly, follow.me, etc.
Estimating the value of domains:-
There are many sites, which give the estimated value of domains i.e. how much the domains are worth approximately. It is called as domain appraisal. Among those sites estibot , domainindex and godaddy’s domain name value and appraisal tool are considered the most reliable. You can use all three of them to get an approximate value of any domain. Do not take the estimate value given by them too seriously. They are automated tools and not manual appraisal and may give inaccurate valuation. Use it just as a guideline to help you decide whether to buy the domain or not. The three tools may give vastly different estimated values for the same domain. Even the same tool would give a different value if you check after some days. Estibot only allows two free domain value checks in a day and domainindex only allows three in a day. If you want more domain value checks in a day, you need to purchase one of their premium plans. You should get the estimated value of a domain before purchasing it so that you would know whether it is worth purchasing or not. You can also request people to appraise your domain in the namepros forum’s appraisal section.
The estimated value of a domain is important from a domain flipper’s perspective. An end user who wants to purchase your domain is not interested in its value. He wants to use that domain name for his own website. So even if a domain’s estimated value is 500$ or 600$, he may pay you 1000$ or even more if he really wants that domain name. On the other hand, a domain flipper who buys a domain from you would look at the estimated value of the domain and would offer you 40$ or 50$ or less for the same domain if he feels it is good enough to be bought. Therefore, the real value of a domain is the amount, which the buyer is willing to pay for it.
Two ways you can buy a domain name:-
(1) You can buy domain names from domain registrar sites such as namecheap, uniregistry, etc. Buying domains from domain registrar sites is also called as hand registering domains in the domain flipping industry. You buy domains, which are available to be registered. The domain you buy from registrar may have never been registered before or someone else may have registered it before but it is now available because the previous owner did not renew it. It is like the primary market of domains.
When buying domain names from registrar, you would see some domains with a very high price than the normal price range of 10-20$, such domains are called as premium domains. These domains are put for sale on domain marketplace sites by other domain flippers like you hoping to sell it at high price. Some of the premium domains do not have a price because the domain flipper wants the buyers to give their offer for that domain name so he does not set a fixed price for it. When you buy a premium domain from the registrar, you buy a secondary market domain through the registrar.
(2) You can buy domain names from other domain flippers like you or domain owners whether at the price fixed by them, giving them offer, participating in their domain auctions, contacting them directly or by using broker service. It is like the secondary market of domains.
Initially when you are new to domain flipping, you should look to buy domain names from registrar at the normal price (not premium domains) and try to sell them at a higher price for small profits. You should avoid buying domains from other domain flippers at higher price unless you think it is a very good domain, which is worth much more than the buy price.
Best registrar companies to buy domains:-
There are many domain registrar companies but following are some of the best ones especially for domain flipping purposes:-
Things to consider before buying domains:-
You should consider the following things before buying any domain for flipping:-
Length of the domain:-
Domain name should be as short as possible up to 15 characters at the most unless it is easy to remember or has words which itself are long. Shorter the domain, the better.
Estimated value of the domain:-
You should find out the estimated value of domain as per godaddy, estibot and domainindex. Preferably the estimated value of domain should be more than 1000$ according to all the three godaddy, estibot and domainindex. If not, at least two of them should value it more than 1000$.
Search volume of the domain:-
The search volume of domain name in case of dictionary and especially keyword domain names should be at least 1000 searches per month. You should also consider the CPC i.e. cost per click of the keywords. CPC is the amount that advertisers are paying to Google for those keywords for each click of their ad by the people. Higher the CPC, better it is. It means advertisers are willing to spend more money on ads related to those keywords. You can use any keyword research tool you want for seeing the search volume and CPC.
History of domain name:-
You should check the history of the domain name before buying to see things such as if the domain name has been used before for any website and if yes for what type of website, if the domain was banned or penalized by google for any illegal content or violation of policies, age of domain, etc. You can use archive.org website to check some of these things. With archive.org site, you can even see how the website looked at different dates if the domain was used for website.
Other main extensions:-
You should see if the other main extensions of the same domain name are taken or not for e.g. .com and .org if you are buying .net extension, if they are listed for sale and at what price if they are listed for sale, etc. You should check if any of the other extensions of the same domain name were sold before and at what price if they were sold, if the same domain name with same extension, which you are considering to buy, was sold before and at what price if it was sold.
Usability of the domain name:-
You should see the use of domain name from the end user’s viewpoint. Can someone actually use the domain name by setting up a website on it? You should ask yourself who may use the domain and how it can be used i.e. for what purpose. You can check if the other extensions of the same domain have a website. If someone has developed a website using the domain name, it indicates the usability of the domain name, which means the domain name, can be actually used for a website. You should see what kind of website is created using the domain name.
Copyright and trademark:-
You should be aware of the copyright and trademarks and do not register domains containing names of popular companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. and celebrities. You will land in legal trouble if you do that. Do not even register typos of popular companies for e.g. googal.com, mycrosoft.com, etc. The domain name should not have any copyrighted or trademarked word such as name of a company or celebrity.
Two buyers of domain names:-
There are two main buyers of your domain names:-
(1) End users who are actually going to use your domain name for their website. They are likely to pay you more money for the domain, as they want to actually use that domain for their website. End users may be individuals or companies who are in the niche or industry related to your domains. The companies would obviously pay you more than the individuals would. You should try to sell your domains to the end users to earn more profit.
(2) Other domain flippers like you who would buy the domain names from you to resell it at a higher price to end users or other domain flippers. They are likely to pay you less money, as they want to resell it and get the most profit margin i.e. difference between buy and sell price. You can sell to other domain flippers when you want to sell your domains fast and can settle for less profit.
Three ways you can sell domain names:-
You can sell your domain names by three ways:-
(1) You can decide and set a fixed price for your domain name. The buyers have to buy the domain at the price fixed by you.
(2) You can ask for offers from potential buyers. Here you do not set a fixed price for your domain. People who are interested in your domain will tell the price at which they are willing to buy the domain. It is up to you to accept their offer price or not. You can give a counter offer if you want. In this way, you can negotiate to find a price acceptable to both.
(3) You can list your domain name in auction where the interested people would bid on your domain. The highest bidder wins the auction and you sell the domain to him. The auction is for certain period decided by you or the marketplace where you start the auction. You can set the starting price from which the bidding should start, the reserve price or minimum price for selling the domain and the buy it now (BIN) price for buying the domain immediately without bidding.
Where to sell domain names:-
There are many places where you can list your domains for sale. Following are some of the popular sites and forums where you can list your domains for sale:-
You should list your domain names on as many places as possible to give them the maximum exposure. In addition, you can also create a site and list all your domain names on it. You can create a logo for each to make them look attractive. Creating a site for domain names makes sense if you are going to have a long-term approach and have high value domains to sell. The above sites charge certain percentage as commission for every domain sold through them. Flippa also charges listing fees to list your domains on their site. Dnforum is a paid forum. You have to purchase a membership plan before you can use it. You can only sell domains purchased through namecheap on namecheap marketplace.
Set a reasonable price for your domains according to their estimated values. Set a price, which is below the estimated value to attract buyers.
Look for the prices at which similar domains were sold as yours and the price at which other extensions of your domain were sold or the price of your own domain if it was sold earlier. Find out what price other extensions of your domain are listed for sale, if they are. For e.g. you have .net version of a domain then see at what price other extensions i.e. .com and .org are listed for sale. It will help you in deciding the price of your domain. For e.g. if the .com domain is listed at 500$, you can list the .net domain at a lower price than that as people would not pay more for a .net domain than .com. Similarly, you can charge more than the .org version.
Also consider other factors such as search volume and CPC of the domain, usability of the domain, length of the domain to decide the price at which you are going to list the domain for sale. Of course you can change the price as and when you want later.
Domain transfer and domain push:-
Domain transfer is transfer of domains between two different registrars. For e.g. from uniregistry to namecheap. Domain transfer takes up to five days. Domain push is transfer of domains within the same registrar. For e.g. within namecheap. It is almost instant. Whenever you sell a domain to someone, you would have to either transfer it or push it to his account at domain registrar. If he has account with the same domain registrar company as yours, you need to push the domain to his account. For e.g. If the domain you are selling is registered with namecheap and the person buying the domain has an account with namecheap, you can simply push the domain to his account. You just need his account name or email address. If the purchaser of your domain does not have an account with your domain registrar company, you need to transfer the domain to his registrar account from your registrar. You can find the process of transferring and pushing domains by searching on Google.
Instead of transferring the domain, you can ask the buyer to create an account at your registrar company so that you can just push the domain to his account. This will save your time and some hassle. Similarly, if you buy a domain from other domain flipper, you can create an account at his registrar if your registrar is different from his registrar. Another thing to note is that you cannot transfer a domain to a different registrar within the first 60 days of its registration. You can only push it to another account within the same registrar.
Domain expiry and deletion:-
Every domain has an expiry date whether purchased from registrar or from domain flipper. You cannot purchase a domain permanently. You can purchase a domain from registrar for 1 to 10 years. Suppose you purchased a domain for 3 years. After that period, the domain expires and you have to renew it by paying renewal fees if you want to keep it. After expiry date you are given another 30 days (depending on the registrar) to renew the domain. It is called grace period. You can renew the domain at regular renewal price in this period. After grace period, you are given another 30 days (depending on the registrar) to renew the domain. It is called as redemption period. You can renew domain in this period but you have to pay much higher price, which is penalty for late renewal. After redemption period, the domain goes into pending delete phase for five days. You cannot renew the domain in these five days. After five days, the domain gets deleted or dropped and becomes available to the public for registration and anyone can register it.
So renew your domains well in advance of their expiry date. You will get emails from your registrar reminding you to renew your domains before their expiry.
Finding expiring and deleted domains:-
Every day thousands of domains get expired and deleted because of various reasons such as owner no longer interested in domain, owner forgets to renew the domain, owner being dead, owner out of money and many others. Many of the expiring and deleted domains are valuable. You can use below mentioned sites to see the list of expired and deleted domains on a date:-
You can use domain backorder service offered by the above sites. By using domain backorder service, you can keep a watch and place an order on the expiring domain, which you want to get. If the domain owner does not renew the domain, and the domain gets deleted or dropped, you get the domain name if only you placed the backorder on that domain. If there are more people who have placed backorder on that domain, then there is an auction on that domain which generally lasts for three days and the highest bidder gets the domain. You are generally charged fees for backorder service only if you get the domain name otherwise you do not need to pay anything. There are many sites, which provide domain backorder service in addition to above two. The two popular ones are:-
Sites to know domain name sales:-
There are some sites, which report domain name sales that take place in the world. They list the domain names along with the prices at which they were sold, the date when they were sold and the place where they were sold. You can visit these sites from time to time to see what kinds of domain names are being sold and at what prices. The two popular sites which report domain name sales are:-
After buying the domains, you can park them with domain parking sites until the time they are sold. When you park your domain names with a domain parking site, people will see a page with ads on them when they type your domain name in their browser address bar and try to access your site, which obviously does not exist. If they click on the ads on that parked page, you will earn some money. So domain parking is another method of earning money with domains until the time they are sold. Domain parking is particularly useful if you intend to hold the domains for long period. It may recover your cost of renewals and would even earn you some profit. For earning money with domain parking, your domains should get type-in traffic where people type the domain name directly in the address bar of their browsers instead of using search engine.
Even sedo and afternic allow you to park your domains and pay you for the ad clicks. They also have an option of showing domain sale notice with price on the parked page so whenever someone comes to your domain’s parked page, he can see that the domain is for sale and the price at which it is available. If he is interested in buying the domain, he can click on the link on the parked page, which will direct him to your domain sale page on sedo or afternic. He can buy the domain from there. This is the advantage of parking the domains with sedo and afternic instead of domain parking sites. You can park a domain with only one site. You cannot park the same domain with more than one site.
WHOIS and Domain privacy:-
If you are interested in a domain name, which is taken, you can see who is the current owner of that domain name and his details using whois search. There are many sites for looking up whois information of domains. Just search in google for the term whois and you would see many whois search sites. Open the whois search site, which you want and type the domain name whose details you want in the search bar and click on the search or lookup button. You would be presented with all the information about that domain such as name of the registrant i.e. owner, his country, city, address, phone number, email address, registrar, registration and expiry date of domain, etc. You can contact the domain owner using this information.
For some domains, you would not see the name, country, city, address, phone number and email address of the owner i.e. his personal information would not be shown or you would see some dummy information in its place related to the registrar. This is because the owner of the domain has chosen to keep his personal details private by purchasing privacy protection from the registrar. No one can see his real information. You too can use privacy protection for your domains if you want to keep your identity private. Privacy protection costs around 5$ yearly for each domain depending on the registrar. Namecheap now provides privacy protection free of cost to its customers. It is called as whoisguard protection. You can enable it or disable it anytime for the domains you purchase from them.
You can use domain broker service to sell your domains if your domains are of high value. Broker helps in selling your domains. Sedo also provides domain broker service but only accepts domains, which have an estimated value in at least five figures to assign a broker for them. Obviously, you have to pay commission to the broker as per their rate if the domain is sold. You can also use forums such as namepros to find broker for your domains.
Keep a record of all the domains you buy and sell in excel sheet. You can use the below format:-
|Domain Name||Registrar||Purchase Price||Purchase Date||Expiry Date||Sale Price||Sale Date|
You can increase the value of your domains by developing actual website on it. You can easily create a website using WordPress and post some articles on it. You can do SEO to get some traffic to the website. People would pay much more for a website than just the domain. There are people who only flip websites instead of just domains. It is called as website flipping. Obviously it would require some time and effort from your part but you would get much more price by selling the website along with the domain.
Some tips for domain flipping:-
Finally some useful tips if you want to get into domain flipping:-
Ideally, there should be no dashes i.e. hyphens between the words in the domain name. At the most one dash and only if the dash makes sense.
There should be no numbers in the domain name unless they are required or make sense or you are specifically registering numeric or alphanumeric domain name.
Domain names should be long lasting and evergreen and should not be related to a short-term or passing trend.
Look for new and future upcoming/emerging technologies and things and grab the domain names related to them in advance.
Consider domain names whose other extension(s) are already taken. For e.g. .com and .net are taken but .org is not taken yet. It shows that people are interested in that domain name. Generally, you will rarely see that .net or .org is taken but .com is available. It will mostly happen if .com extension of the domain name is premium.
Generally, singular domain names have more value than plural domain names. For e.g. purchase.com has more value than purchases.com. Of course, there are exceptions to this.
In case of letter domains, consider domains with a maximum of four letters. Any combination of random four letters has value in case of .com domains but in case of .net and .org domains, look for good sounding or pronounceable and memorable four letters instead of just four random letters. Four letter domains sell well on namepros.
Most of the great and good domain names have already been taken but there are still many decent domains, which have not yet taken. You can buy those decent domain names from domain registrar companies for 10$ to 20$ and expect to sell them for 50$, 70$, 100$, 150$, etc. Occasionally you may get lucky and grab a good domain name and sell it for something like 500$ or 1000$ or even more. However, for the most part, you would get small profits instead of big ones. If you want big profits, you must be willing to spend more money like 100’s or 1000’s of dollars on buying single good domain from the other domain flippers in the secondary market. These domains are much more valuable than the ones you would hand register and would fetch you much bigger profits than the domains purchased from registrar for 10$ to 20$.
Domains related to certain industries and niches get more price such as Real estate, finance especially loans and insurance, hosting, porn/sex, travel and tourism, health especially weight loss, jewellery, etc. This is because there is more money in those industries and niches so the people and companies in those industries and niches can afford to spend more money on domains. You can focus on the domains related to these industries and niches to get more profit on your domains.
Earning money from domain flipping is not that easy, as it seems. You need to have good knowledge about which domains are valuable and which are not. You need to learn a lot. You need to read this guide many times. In addition to reading this guide, you should go to namepros forum, browse the various threads in different topics, and read what people are saying there. You will get a lot of useful information. You will also know which types of domains sell and which do not. When you are a beginner, do not be in hurry to buy domains. First, learn everything you can about domain flipping. I have covered nearly everything you need to know but you need to understand it properly and do your own research on the things mentioned. After doing thorough research, buy two or three domains, which you feel, are valuable and try to sell them for profit first even for tiny profit. Do not buy large number of domains initially. You will lose a lot of money if they do not sell.