A bit of a slog

It’s been a while since I posted, it feels like I’ve achieved nothing in the last few weeks, I really expected to have a few sites bought by now.

Been searching through hundreds of sites sending emails to site owners but getting very little response, I have agreed one site purchase but the owner seems wary and I get the feeling he feels I am scamming him trying to get his bank details to send him money to buy his site (he is in the US), been working on that deal for 2 weeks now and if it comes off it will take a few more weeks I reckon with really slow comms. I suck at waiting, if this one comes off I will post about it as I am buying it blind so will be interesting to see the stats/traffic and possible income so hopefully one I can revisit, I have a fair idea of what it should/could do from guesswork.

I raised some cash from my house equity (I bought my house 7 years ago before prices went way up and down again) so I have funds for buying sites but finding any quality one’s is giving me rsi, I am going to persevere though – I plan to physically look at around 50,000 sites over the next couple of months and target sites that look promising/neglected, really looking to try and find sites in the $5-$15k region. It seems harder than looking for good domain names, if a website owner has had a site for 10 years they can be even more attached to it even if it’s been neglected for years and ultimately many seem like they would only sell for funny money. Still I’m no quitter and I don’t mind putting in long hours to turn up gems, I’ve done it with domains so I really hope I can put in the hours and do it with a few good sites.

Talking of which had no offers or enquiries for quite a few months on anything I own from what I can remember and then all of a sudden a fist full on budget day with domain enquiries and leasing enquiries, as things stand I have 2 .net domains I bought for £2500 in Escrow to a buyer for £4000. I also agreed to sell a couple of uk domains. Each one just into 5 figures GBP with a contract agreed and signed, that will net a profit of around £15,000 which will also bolster the buying fund and has been quite exciting really, strangely for me it will mean money in the bank with nothing to spend it on. That’s just not my style :) .. back to work on Monday then looking for sites to buy.

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. Hi Scott
    Are the UK sites ones you’ve bought & added content/seo effort to or good domains resold?

    S

  2. I have been looking for domains and sites in my geo niche but no-one seems to have a clue what they are worth – everything is at least 4 figures – even total garbage domain names with no keyword search!
    People will not be told and don’t seem to want to know if you offer them its real value – quite frustrating.

    I already have a few domains that I haven’t had time to build up so I suppose I should make sure they are up and running before I go buying more but would still like to pick up a few small income generating domains – just so I have got one!

    How is that fastbox ad over on the left performing for you Scott?
    Have you tried that with many domains?
    I stuck it on one of mine and the initial results look promising for the very low amount of traffic.

    Did you get around to switching that site over to WordPress?

    • Quicklinks ain’t been doing so well lately for me Andy. I tried image2ads which they also do and have good & bad results so still testing. The site I need to convert to wordpress/cms is the one mentioned in this post agreed the purchase but he won;t give me his bank details and slow comms so dragging on.

      • Can you or Al do a post about your experiences with monetisation?
        Whats quick to make cash on a site you buy?
        Whats most effective over the long term?

        I use Quicklinks and adsense but would rather try some affiliate options I think – just difficult finding them when your in small niches sometimes.

  3. I have so many domains I bought with ‘big ideas’ that I forgot about, that I’ve decided to go through and put them on Whypark, not for revenue but simply as an easy way for me to list all the domains I have with no website on them.

  4. Scott,

    I own treadmill.co.uk and think it’d be a good lease out.

    Any tips. What would you ask for that domain per month?

    • Nice, I would probably pitch it around £120-£150 per month if you are contacting people, if they come to you then slightly higher.

      • Thanks for the info Scott. It’s currently sitting at around 15 for the term in google. Should I try to push it in the top 10 first?

  5. I can understand why waiting can be a challenge Scott, but don’t you have enough sites that you could be working on and expanding while you wait? Improving ranking and traffic ought to put the sites in even stronger positions once deal flow starts going up again.

    Mikael Rieck’s last blog post..Making Money with Adsense and Ugly Web Design

    • I am doing a bit of everything, but in my mind, no, I could do with a few more old established sites that get 1000+ visitors per day.

      • So just to make sure I get what you’re saying you don’t feel that your time is well spent expanding your existing portfolio compared to the effort you’re putting into buying new established sites?

        • At this point in time yes, mainly due to the fact I feel I done the domain thing, have a few startup sites so it’s more beefing out the portfolio to cover all angles.

  6. Scott – Interesting how you are taking equity out of your house. General move in the UK really is to stick equity IN your house to get any “loan to values” down. I hope it works out for you. I myself would be cautious borrowing money to acquire anything at the moment.

    I see hyper-inflation in the UK in a few years (up near the 10% mark), then debt will be good! Thoughts?

    • Older websites can give a yield of around 20-40% on the investment, I bought my house about 7 years ago and did it up with my wife to add a lot of value over quite a few years, so even now borrowing money we are luckily to be 60%LTV keeping borrowing costs down, cheap borrowing versus high yields is my reasoning.

      • Borrowing on a mortgage is generally always the cheapest way to get money. If you can get a yeild of even 20% on your investment, versus say 6-7% on your mortgage its a no brainer – but there is some risk of course!

  7. I already have a few domains that I haven’t had time to build up so I suppose I should make sure they are up and running before I go buying more but would still like to pick up a few small income generating domains – just so I have got one!

  8. Good luck with domain hunting. I hate it when I email people and no one replies – to be honest, it’s just rude, especially if you’re offering them money! I hope you get a few in the near future

  9. I’ve often thought about the opposite of leasing – more of a site management contract with site owners of old sites.

    If the owner is obviously neglecting a site (as you said – possibly their pride and joy), but they don’t have the time to look after it or modernise it, then there may be opportunities.

    If you have the skills and the know-how, it might be quite easy to add content, do some seo and increase the traffic,for a monthly fee or share of profits.

    That was the owner keeps the site, but you do some initial and on-going work that could reap the rewards.

    Have you ever played with this angle Scott?

    • Sounds a good angle if they wouldn’t sell, I’d rather own a site I was improving as a first option but it could certainly be better than walking away.

      • Yeah..that’s what I was thinking. I guess I was looking at the networking angle on it as well (not cables etc lol) and if someone has had a great business idea..done a lot of the ground work, but has just hit a bit of a stumbling blog or had to concentrate on their bricks and mortar business, then a web partner could be very useful.

        I just seem to come accross this a lot at the moment.

        Hmm…food for thought.

  10. I’ve had similar problems when investing in existing sites in the past. It may help to be more critical as to stats and revenue, so that the seller doe not get suspicious, thinking it’s a scam. Also it may help to keep track of the domains of the sites that people don’t want to sell. I’ve bought some nice ones that way. Even when they don’t want to negociate a price, they may later drop the project anyway. I hope this helps.

  11. Now I’m a bit curious. Would you take sites such as… http://allaboutfrogs.org/ and scrap the current content to put this in a different feel and more to the point?
    I’ve seen some really crazy old sites that still have midi files embedded and playing achy breaky heart to the sways of gif cowboys. Of the sites you’ve purchased, have you restructured them to be more “modernized” in the sense of a website?
    I know a few guys that bought a bead/jewelry website and just went off of what was already there with just a few changes in spelling and whatnot. Previous owner was a mother and daughter team that sold the beads.

    • Those old sites offer the best return, you can really increase the adsense ctr if you wanted on a site like that and get paid back quickly. Yes I’d buy it, modernise the design a bit and look for affiliate sales/product sales and increase Adsense CTR.

  12. Where do you find the sites you want to buy? Do you look for people that are selling or try and seek out people that aren’t looking to sell?

    Perhaps pick a niche and do a google search and do it that way as well?

    Chris Guthrie’s last blog post..Aweber increases referral from 20% to 30%

    • I try and seek out from people who aren’t looking to sell most of the time but from a broad range – no specific genre. When I approach there is less chance of getting screwed, I usually approach sites not best monetised and look to try and buy older content sites with good stable stats. So far 2 bought recently, one more agreed which is dragging and in negotiations over a 4th. The nice thing is quite a few responses go along the lines of “I have never thought of selling the site…”

  13. Internet real estate seems to be more lucrative and less risky than the real deal at present! Typical response of…”I haven’t really thought of selling the site” is one that could lead to interesting insights as to what value people attach to things. Sometimes the results must be quite startling indeed 😉

  14. There is no doubt that Internet real estate is valuable and I am sure that it is only going to become even more valuable when the majority realizes the potential there is. Even though the Internet is know by most there are still millions (if not billions) that don’t have a website yet.

    Mikael Rieck’s last blog post..How to Improve Search Engine Ranking with a Plan

  15. I’m in a strange bit of a slog myself. Not in a revenue way, just that I haven’t had the time or energy for new developments. I haven’t blogged in months!

  16. The electronic real estate market will really take off after this recession, i think we wil enter a new era. the way your going your posied to make the most out of it. good luck to all of us :)

  17. Hi Scott,

    What ever happened to the site netbooks.co.uk that you owned?

    • Hi Marc, received a very good offer so is sold pending payment, however I still rank in the top 5 for ‘netbooks’ with another site I bought 😉

      • I see. I only asked as I have just entered the netbook market and noticed that your site wa sno longer appearing. I see the other site of yours now. Very nice.

  18. Recently being in a slog myself, I bought 3 .com domains for £300/each in 1991 and hosted them on my dedicated server but recently had a guy that wanted all three for £000000(six figures). Not sure how to value the price of my domains..But like you ,time is my greatest enemy for now.

  19. I’m in a strange bit of a slog myself. Not in a revenue way, just that I haven’t had the time or energy for new developments. I haven’t blogged in months!

  20. I don’t think I have ever visited a blog that received so many comments and requests for additional posts even though nothing much happened :)

    MIkael

    Mikael Rieck’s last blog post..Article Marketing Research – Marketing Online Articles Effectively

  21. Tis a popular blog, must be the lack of junk, gunk and affiliate rubbish that keeps us all coming back for more!

    More posts! more posts!!!

  22. It is a pity that there are people who do not know how to negotiate. Then again I understand why they are sometimes reluctant to provide info. If you are interested, I have some domains and blogs for sale. Please visit DomainDomus.com

  23. Is your preference always to buy up existing websites in their entirity then build them up or do you also look to buy up old, expiring domain names then build a new site onto them? I’ve recently made my first steps into the affiliate website arena and am still trying to find my feet. Ultimately (time willing) I’d like to setup a series of affiliate sites each targetting a different niche. I’ve been looking at buying expiring domain names but it’s proving difficult to find the right ones and I’m wondering if this approach is worth the effort.

    • Existing sites work better for me, you can then expand or change direction but it seems better not to have taken the sabbatical an expiring domain takes.

  24. @Andy

    I went through a similar phase myself, backordering domain names and always watching soon to expire domains, but ultimately I found that I spent so much time doing this, far too long in fact, that I may as well have just made a site in whatever niche on a domain I registered new myself and promoted it.

    The only reason I buy domain names now is if I think they’re a better fit for a website I already own. And even then I’m talking about buying domain names, not catching dropped domains.

    I haven’t spent anywhere near as much as Scott, but I have spent somewhere in the region of $50,000 on existing websites since early 2007. Some have been a waste of money where others have turned out really well, and obviously the waste of money sites have become less frequent with experience.

    • To date I’ve just been registering brand new domains and then building the site from scratch. I know exactly what you mean about spending all your time watching for expiring domains. The attraction with expired domains is that they already have age and an existing backlink history but getting the right one is proving tough. For the time being, until I find my feet, I’m going to focus on building the sites from scratch.

  25. Im new to this whole domain registration etc. Choosing the right name for both the company and seo can be difficult. Just started promoting our business site and there is a lot more work than id imagined. Some times i wish we had the money that the larger companies have to throw into adwords etc.. and save the hassle of link building etc..

  26. Well they wouldn’t stay large companies for very long if they simply threw money into Adwords. The whole point of Adwords is you get more money out than you put in so, as long as you get your campaign right, it usually doesn’t make any difference how large the company is.

  27. I too am in a strange bit of a slog myself. Not in a revenue way, just that I haven’t had the time or energy for new developments. I haven’t blogged in months!

  28. This is very interesting because I’ve got a domain name that I’ve been thinking about selling. My problem is that I don’t know the first thing about how to go about doing so. This might be just the thing I’ve been looking for.

    Worst part is that I get Website Magazine and I didn’t even pay attention to that ad. Go figure

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