Domains and development

I think after 12 months I am pretty much done with buying domains, not in a negative way, just that I mainly sought a couple of niche areas to target and I’m about completed on my quest I think, I’ll dabble no doubt but it was always about getting assets to develop and build on while opportunity was there and not about greed or amassing them or trophies, I’m more than pleased with what I have secured in the last 12 months.

One niche was to buy to lease and I wanted to concentrate on furniture for that, the other niche was to buy to develop. My development domains are computer & electricals so TVs, PCs, PC Games and more recently notebooks.co.uk and netbooks.co.uk

Netbooks are a growing market, a big enough market for 2009 for me to be very interested in, the domain had some age and thankfully my first offer was immediately accepted and the domain transferred all within a few hours so no heroic tale of toil and determination, just a nice simple deal with two happy parties, I get the domain and the seller gets a wad of cash in time to buy some Xmas presents. I put amazon up there for now and actually sold 3 of them in the last week, shame Amazon cap electricals at £7 but it’s still £21 earned and better than a few Adsense clicks.

Only another £1979 still to earn back from that domain and I’m quits 🙂 In a stroke of luck (which is always gratefully received) I received an email and entered dialogue with a company one week after buying it,  they were willing to pay £5000 plus VAT  – tempting though it is to make £3k that quick and in time for Christmas (and my bank could be doing with it right now) I have to play the long game and refuse, damn it!

Notebooks.co.uk is the other recent purchase however I had to be more creative and offer added value to secure it. I love those types of deals, the response went along the lines of

We would be willing to sell this domain for the right amount of money, I am not sure £2000 is the right kind of money for us to relinquish it though.

That’s a fair comment and you have to start somewhere, 2 emails and one telephone call later it was sold without me having to increase my offer, I gave some advertising on my sites so again both parties are happy. If 2008 was all about my land grab and about spending money to aquire some great foundations then 2009 really has to be about development of these and turning dormant domains well on their way towards micro businesses. I feel pretty happy to have bought the domains I have, while computers.co.uk or laptops.co.uk would be very nice they are well outside my budget so I’ll settle for their poorer cousins PCs.co.uk & Notebooks.co.uk and rest in the knowledge that I was relentless in 2008 to build a very small portfolio of domains at a time when some still protested all the best deals had been done.

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.

Comments

  1. I completely understand where your coming from, it’ll be full-time job developing and tending to those names you already own, I just hope it doesn’t diminish the quality of your posts to SMM 🙂

  2. You see netbooks every where in magazine’s/blogs. At least you do not have to buy expensive windows with it.

    It makes sense not to buy domains next couple of yrs unless you get bargains, as they are or going to drop in value.

    Development is to be ready, when the market comes back in couple of yrs, if it does at all.

    sample letters’s last blog post..Sample Medical aid appeal letter

  3. Haha,

    Yesterday I was thinking to create a netbook site, today I bought http://www.comparenetbooks.org/ (not up yet). Then I read your post. 😉

  4. It sounds like you have it all planned Scot. Do you think you’ll have time to create one or two posts on how you actually develop the domains? I keep wondering how you’re able to get your sites ranked that quickly and I’m sure I’m not the only one that would like to learn how to do that 😉

    Mikael’s last blog post..Nye linkmuligheder med Google Friend Connect, GFC

  5. Scott, I have been following this blog for the past year and have been really impressed by the deals you have managed to make.

    I have no doubt you have spent significant time and effort to secure these deals. esp as any time I have submitted a bid for a name I invariably have got a reply that the domain is in the high £xx,xxx ballpark and I personally think the names I was after were poorer than either pcs or pcgames.

  6. Something that I’ve learnt with domain development this year, is to make sure you have an idea what you want to develop the domain into. Don’t buy a domain for the sake of it, just in case you think it has value.

    Fortunately, I didn’t lose too much money learning from this mistake.

  7. You’ve got some great domains to build on there Scott… just hope you get time to do some posts on how you approach the development of them. Cheers!

  8. Looking forward to following your progress in 2009 Scott.

    @Javier – the consensus seems to be that if you’re targetting the UK, it’s best to host your .co.uk in the UK

    Cheers, Jon

    Jon’s last blog post..Salon Retail – Beauty Foods a growing market in 2009?

    • I think that location of hosting has become less relevant over time.

      When google first allowed you to select your target country in webmaster tools it was rightly slated for not working very well. However that was about 2/3 yrs ago now and people still seem to hold this as fact. I have read a few things since then that say it works well now. I guess with all these things the only way to know for sure is to test

  9. Congratulations Scott on your great acquisitions! Just wondering if there is VAT and tax payable on your website earnings?

    • Naturally on my income I pay tax, I have a few partnerships of micro businesses in various stages of development so most are not VAT registered, domain purchases for development I treat as capital assets and for the most part, notebooks.co.uk I had to buy plus VAT from a business, netbooks.co.uk was from a private buyer so not vat.

      • Do those domain purchases you treat as capital assets have less tax on them?

        btw, do you or Al have any other tax saving tips?

        • I used to be a trainee book-keeper in a past life so can keep my accounts fine but as far as tax matters you need an accountant to inform you of the current best strategies and practices.

        • In the Netherlands you can’t deduct the whole domain purchase of your income tax. You have to amortize it in 3 to 5 years I guess.

          I’d wish I registered the .nl TLD of netbooks 🙁

    • If you don’t want trouble from the tax man, it’s worth paying tax. For a small income, it’s not that difficult. When you earn as much as Scott, you need an accountant!

      Dan @ PowerDosh.com’s last blog post..What should I read your blog?

  10. Regarding Amazon Scott, I think they only cap Electrical items on the performance plan. If you switch to the classic plan you may find you earn more. You can switch backwards and forwards between the plans as many times as you like but whichever plan you’ve got selected on the last day of the month is the one they’ll use to pay you.

    PS3 Bundles’s last blog post..Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots only £24.99

    • Interesting Stephen, thanks for that – I couldn’t work out what the real difference is between them apart from the obvious, learning curve for me so I’ll have to play around once they are dispatched as I sold another netbook yesterday.

  11. Cool, looking forward to next year and seeing how you get on with developing those domains. Do you set yourself targets (e.g. to get a certain level of traffic) or do you just put in much effort as you can?

    John Essex’s last blog post..Permitted Development Regulations Update

  12. Just dropped in to catch up and I noticed this post. I own a netbook/MID related domain which is doing ‘ok’ (been a bit lazy!). I found the co.uk TLD’s are a real pain to get hold of (people want too much money for them 😉 ). I’ve been picking up some crackers using .uk.com and .gb.net suffixes – not what people think of in the first instance, but who cares once your’re ranking in the SE’s?

    James’s last blog post..Lego Star Wars Hailfire And Spider

  13. I have to say that I have another perspective on the netbooks offer. If that was their first offer, I’m sure you could have counter-offered at 6K. Honestly, that’s like selling 900 netbooks through the site, which I’m sure will take a few years!!

    Justin Cook’s last blog post..What is Google’s new SearchWiki?

    • True Justin but as has been pointed to me it’s only £7 capped on Amazon performance structure which I didn’t realise, I can switch to the flat rate & it’s 4% with no limit. A typical £300 netbook means £12 per deal. You also have to take into account me finding something else and re-investing time & effort and the fact that a well build informative site in this niche could help notebooks, pcgames or pcs.co.uk, and there are other methods of monetisation which for me means I’d need to be paid off for the next 5 years potential to sell and that’s unlikely to happen.

      • I suppose that’s true, I hadn’t thought of the cross-promotion side of things.

        On a related note, I’ve been trying something new: I’ve picked up a couple dropped domains with inbound links. One is 10+ years old and PR5 now that I’ve restored the site.

        I’m planning to use them purely for cross-promotion. Do you have any experience with this?

        Justin Cook’s last blog post..What is Google’s new SearchWiki?

        • It’s a huge plus when developing in one niche with a few sites, they help each other.. as they should. I haven’t done anything with expired domains really, most of what I’m working on are bought domains so clueless as to how effective they are today.

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