Starting to really have fun this year

Starting to really have fun this year, doing tests, trials and punts and really enjoying dabbling in all sorts.

Pretty much all the proceeds from the sale of tvs.co.uk have been re-invested in my businesses. Looking up travel names using the Google keyword tool for inspiration ‘turkey holidays’ stood out as a good name, this seems to be compounded by recent news that UK folks are seeking different destinations like Turkey & Egypt instead of the normal Spanish breaks. turkeyholidays.co.uk was owned by a couple but the email on their one page website bounced, I love it when that happens! seriously I do, it’s like a challenge and while I have no skills when it comes to design or coding the one thing I am good at is research and I am persistent.

Snail mail failed, email failed, the same address was used by a glass company who’s email failed, I did manage to find a planning application by the couple in Nov ’09 which used a different home address so used it and was successful in getting an email back from them, managed to buy the domain for £3k. It also came with the old hosting account and email account which had 5 attempts to buy it from the different people before the old email address filled up and started bouncing. The perseverance paid off in the end.

Picked up Yacht.co.uk for £1750 which would strike me as being worth 10x that, nice name.

Bought a few websites, some on a multiple like Optillusions.com which is an older site showing optical illusions – bought for £12k, it earned £740 in July, this one freaked out my son (and me) a bit :)

Also bought a small site which ranks no.1 in Google for tropical fish, the tropical fish centre was an older lead, it can often pay to leave money on the table. I offered the previous owner £1500 a couple of years ago and moved up to £3500 but the actual amount didn’t seem to be the stumbling point, more the fact it was a decade’s work and sentimental value so I left the offer on the table and a year or so later he finally came back to me and was ready to sell for £4000. Seemed like an ok sort of number, not overly a bargain but I was sure I could get my money back within 2 to 3 years so bought it blind as there was no income. It’s earning around £7 per day so looks like under 2 years it’ll be paid back and is making amazon sales which could help further.

LifeInsuranceQuotes.co.uk is in development along with quite a few other insurance names in a joint venture, it was sitting on page 2 and not in use as the company primarily worked offline, a real bargain waiting to be picked up.

There are a lot of other things I am doing which I can’t go into unfortunately but just from the above over the last month or so it’s clear there are still a lot of bargains & good deals for domain names and established websites, although it should be noted none of the above were listed for sale anywhere so you really have to do the research and send emails & letters which can be boring but the pay off is fun!

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. Scott, you can at times be an inspiration and at others make me despair! As always you seem to have picked up some great deals but at the same time some of this just makes my head spin!

    How do you go about identifying sites – holidays in turkey, tropical fish and life insurance don’t, on the surface, seem to have any relation to one another, so how do you go about finding these? I wouldn’t even know where to start with such a broad search criteria.

  2. Lot’s of research, for turkey holidays just using the keyword tool for a large search like ‘holidays’ or ‘insurance’ will throw up inspiration, then it’s check & email time if they are not overly developed, throw enough mud and some sticks

    http://img340.imageshack.us/img340/4634/holidaysz.jpg

    For sites then you can get lists of the top 10,000 uk sites or the top 50,000/100,000 US traffic sites, I click through them a few hundred at a time, it’s not glamorous but it’s structured & focused.

  3. Hi Scott, I notice in your screenshot of the keyword tool that you have Exact match checked, presumably as you are interested in and aiming to rank specifically for this term?

    Do you have a cut off point for search volume, by which I mean not high enough to bother with regardless of market sector or niche?

    • Hi Andy, no cut-off per say, depends on the niche I guess but generally anything over 10k has legs and gets my attention, less than 10k and more research would be needed to see if traffic would be valuable.

  4. What is the story behind the Optical Illusions site? How did you find it? Seems like a good buy.

    • It was on my list of 100,000 traffic sites to browse through.

      • Interesting. Where did you get the list of top traffic sites from?

        Did you see it was getting good traffic and then just approach the owner?

        • I’m not giving away my lists as yet Steve but anything on my list should get 1000+ visitors a day so yes just sent an email asking if he would consider selling it, I send quite a few emails, it’s a numbers game – send enough and you’ll find people who value a quick cash out.

  5. Damn that thing scared me. WTF was that?

    In any case great to see the proceeds from the sale have been put to good use.

    lol… freaky!

  6. Hi Scott,

    I ound a name that was own by a liquidated company it was suspended but not drop; using some of your tricks I track the owener down and eventually found him on linken. I called him up but he did not accept my calls sent him a email he did not respond.

    So I waited to catch it on the drop but someone beat me to it – well gutted.

    Found , which I am working on.

    • Sounds familiar, well done for trying Patrick, I tried the very same but and also lost out, it sucks, if the company is in liquidation you can buy it from the liquidator – if it’s dissolved it’s a lot harder.

  7. I think the key is to keep trying new ideas like you are, at least it works for me otherwise I’d just get bored, which means getting nowhere.

    I just last week set up a new venture with a school teacher friend where he buys domain names that I pick out, then I spend a couple of months building a bigish website on it and we share the profits 50/50.

    The profit sharing isn’t perfect, but it means I can make websites on better domains than I can afford at the moment – plus it’s just kind of fun getting someone else invloved.

    Anyway this week, while waiting for the latest domain transfer to go through, I’ve made a little recipe site on koreanrecipes.co.uk simply because I discovered no one had registered it. Obviously not going to be a big money maker, but you never know in the future Korean food might be the in thing. :)

    • Sound like a plan Jonathan, a couple of years ago when I was shorter on funds I started a new partnership with a good friend who basically helped me finance the purchases of smaller sites – he didn’t have to do anything, working out well for both of us.

  8. Care to share the style of the email you send out? I imagine a lot of people assume its spam the first time they get it? It must be hard to get the language right?

    • nothing special, for optillusions I used:

      Good afternoon,
      Could you please let me know if you would consider selling optillusions,com?

      I am looking to purchase an established image/illusion website for my son and I to work on, if you could let me know either way I would appreciate your time.

  9. John Parry says:

    Mate, you are not a human being, you are a MACHINE! All credit to you and thanks for the continuing inspiration and thanks for sharing.

  10. Looks to be another successful year for you Scott. Look forward to hearing about its progress in future posts. Keep us all updated!

    And that turkeyholidays.co.uk seems like a great buy, and it looks appealing already.

  11. I like the turkeyholidays domain – that could be massive. You could probably approach a tour operator like Thomsons or someone and they would set you up on a decent commission deal and provide loads of content for it. I think a lot of companies would be very interested in advertising on that – nice work!

  12. I would really want to stare on the blue bag but it’s nighttime here on my end of the world, working alone so decided to not do it. Maybe I’ll do it during the day haha

  13. Hey Scott, really great to hear that you are having a fun year, I guess in a way I’ve had a good year, but really it’s been on and off. It’s also great to hear that you’ve been able to get all these new domain names, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do, buy up some domain names that I see potential in, but for me the problem is lack of cash flow for me to comfortably do it.

    Till then,

    Jean

  14. Amiable fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you seeking your information.

  15. Only thing I dont get is with the insurance one how will you do the Quotes?

    Ie. will you have to just send each email to another company who will then look for best quote and contact customer direct, (potentially no return visit as they will be stolen) or would you get somebody to call the customer direct?

    enquiring mind needs to know…

  16. Buying Yacht.co.uk for less than £2000 – that’s just amazing! I’m also wondering, how oyu are identifying all these “diamonds”. Foe example: turkeyholidays.co.uk – do you find out that people now prefer going to Turkey rather than to Spain by accident or do you actively research this kind of information? Anyway, great stuff and my congrats for your success.

    • Turkey has been in the news along with Egypt as fast growing & preferred destinations for Brit holiday goers so I just keeping the whole family aware to let me know about anything significant when it comes to trends/new products.

  17. Congratulations Scott, always good to hear about what you are up to as it is inspirational. Got me with the Optical illusion, should have read the comments before watching it!

  18. Great post Scott, you portfolio must be getting incredibly diverse, everything from tropical fish to tatoos!

  19. Harvey @ PS3 says:

    Some good buys there, nice one.

    When you buy the site do you change anything or do you leave it as it is for a bit and see how it’s getting on?

    • Quite a few purchases are blind after me contacting website owners so yeah often need to leave them as is to get a clear picture of what it is doing & can do.

  20. Scott – this is great. You are def in a new 2010 business and I love it! Its all about online and you are proving that Internet Marketing is still raw and there are many opportunities for one to make several bucks. However its not with persistence, hard work and a bit of luck. Turkey Holidays is a great idea… just need it optimised a bit more and your onto a winner winner chicken dinner! I guess your thinking recession, what recession! Its all about new ops and you are showing that where there is a will there is a way :) I love how you are doing something which you genuinely love doing. You’ve won the lottery several times over!

  21. Hi Scott, this might seem a bit of a newbie question. I’m looking into reinvesting some money into some older sites. Nothing like your level, but its a start. What do you do about hosting? Do you move the sites to your own host (if so, is it possible that you could lose pagerank?) or do you take over the existing hosting from the seller?

    Regards

    james

  22. One thing to consider with hosting is the website’s audience. If you want visitors in America for instance, you’ll get better search results in America if you host your site on a server in America… Or if you want more UK visitors, say if your site is about the Lake District, you’ll get better UK-based search results if you use UK-based hosting.

    • Yup can 100% confirm this works a treat recently did a french site and it was hosted on a cheap USA server, very little traffic to the site, maily a trickly of traffic coming from French speaking canadians in my analytics.

      Moved the site to French server and bingo traffic doubled within a month.

  23. Hi Scot..congrats on success..

    when you send emails to website owner, do you use your real name and address or do you represent as a ltd company owner?

    I found that if i send mails through my ltd company [presenting as a marketing consultant], i get 100% reply back but they usually hype the prise…

    and if i send mails as a individual [using gmail or yahoo mail] usually i dont get any reply..

    what your advice on this?

    • I tend to use my scott [at] westofscotland .co.uk because it is a business email address but a non-threatening one which looks quite nice & pure so wouldn’t use anything to do with domains, marketing.

  24. Congratulations on the purchase of TurkeyHolidays.co.uk – very nice buy and I’m sure it will do very well. I phoned the owners last year with my offer, kept meaning to chase it up but forgot – lesson learnt!

  25. Scott,

    As ever you seem to find nice websites. I have been trying myself over the past couple of months but the asking price for one I found was just way to much. Just have to keep plugging away I guess.

    Thanks for the update always love reading them.

  26. Giles Dawe says:

    Can I ask which UK hosting you use…I guess you subscribe to the google idea that if your site is country related then the hosting should be in that country?

  27. Not overly fussed today as regards geo hosting for targeting, using a cctld .co.uk for google.co.uk is much more effective than anything for me.

  28. I have just picked up a free Geo insurance domain. Done the research and there is a pretty healthy search volume for it – not massive, but worth putting the time in to take advantage of it.
    Wondering what the best way of monetising is though – adsense, affiliate or JV with a regulated insurance broker?

    • I’d imagine you really need to take some details and sell the leads on a CPA basis, on life insurance quotes the leads are coming in – finding the right partner can be rial and error but leads that complete can offer low £xxx in commission.

  29. Great job Scott. Staying persistant can really aid in finding little gems like the one you found. Congrats on your success

  30. Jake @ Cat Illnesses says:

    Wow Scott. You have quite the diversified profile of websites. I’m impressed, and a bit shocked that you would drop so much on some of these sites. I assume that most of your traffic is from the uk, so it really surprises me that you’re making that much from some of those sites. Either way, great job and I hope to see the upcoming developments.

  31. Reading your activity in buying domains by searching down good names that are not on the market is very interesting. I heard someone saying they search a keyword then start page 3 and deeper to find domain names they like then contact the owner. They said they get bargains this way when they find people who have lost interest in the site or are too busy with other things to keep it up to date.

  32. Terry@Shearling Boots says:

    Really nice detective work on tracking down those Turkey Holidays domain owners. I love to leverage Google to research contact information which usually pays off. It’s hard to hide from Google these days. In your casem persistence paid off and should serve as a lesson to all of us.

  33. serbestsizlik says:

    Scott, you can at times be an inspiration and at others make me despair! ;) )

  34. page 3 and deeper to find domain names they like then contact the owner. They said they get bargains this way when they find people who have lost interest in the site or are too busy with other thingsdwo

  35. شات الحب, do you mean page 3 of Google search results?

  36. the illusion on 1-51.htm does not want to load for me
    you should check the site for broken links

  37. That is great I have had a hard time getting into the groove therefor making time for fun. But I see an end to this dark tunnel of work.