2 more domains leased

For those of you keeping up with my domain leasing attempts I have 2 more leased out in the last couple of weeks, both @ £50 per month, one on a 2 year lease, the other on a 3 year lease, one domain was caught for £5 the other cost me £700. That takes the total to 5 domains leased out @ a total of £775 coming in per month.

Overall thoughts on buying domains to lease recently are pretty much unchanged:

1. Make sure the domain encompasses a whole or substantial part of a business, it has to be attractive to an end user to build a second store front on, don’t try to get into too small a niche.

2. Make sure the niche you choose has a lot of players or potential end users, your going to need a big audience to find the right person with vision, I sent out around 30 emails last week and in one reply where I was asking for £75 per month the reply stated he would buy it for £75! When speaking on the phone to another potential end user he was shocked the domain I was trying to lease cost me over £1000, those are hurdles that still need to be tackled.

3. Again if there is a fee paid for the domain which is usually the case with good domains I try and get that back or most of it back within 12 months and therefore look to lease out for 2 or 3 years.

4. The domain needs to be ranked for it’s name, of the 5 leased out, only one was not ranking top 10 for it’s name, it’s that added value that helps make a deal just now.

That’s probably all the progress I’ll make with that side of my business this year, next year I need to crank it up and I have a lot in the pot that I have been working on all year quietly so I really want to aim to take it above £1k a month and towards £2k a month. it’s certainly not get rich quick but once the time & effort is invested if I have 10-20 valuable domains leased out in the future making an income of 4 figures a month it would make that side of my business pretty valuable considering the investment would have paid itself back within 12 months, that business would be valued on a multiple of it’s income and the fact that the capital assets appreciate in value each year. It may be an option to sell the busines as a going concern one day or just live of the income.

Recap/timeline on the last year for domain leasing.

  • It was August last year I made my first post where I considered the idea: Become an internet landlord
  • 2 months later in October I had my first domain leased out
  • In January 2008 I put in my to do list for the year “I would like to progress with leasing a bit more so would look to have at least 2 domains or sites leased out on long leases to expand on what I have started there and prove to myself it can grow.” 
  • I knew ranking and buidling some value into the domains would take time and hamper progress in 2008 so it was nice in May to lease out my second domain.
  • After leasing out the second one it really opened my eyes to the added value this gives a good domain.
  • It would be November before my 3rd, 4th & 5th lease would come, no surprise, I expected a year of buying and working on them before I could get down to realising them as assets.

All in all from a standing start around a year ago to get to £775 per month is fair enough, the first year is certainly the hardest and next year should offer more opportunities with more money being spent advertising online. Almost all my domain buying has been done in the last 12 months – it’s been a big shift for me but I think the fact that I have detailed a great deal of it on this blog shows it’s certainly not too late for anyone, there is opportunity if you have motivation.

PC Games purchased for £3500

Completed the purchase of PCGames.co.uk yesterday for £3500. No small amount but overall I am very happy with the deal and the purchase, it was done through sedo as the seller for some reason wouldn’t talk directly, still if they want to pay 10% to sedo fair enough. It obviously sits well with PC’s. Gaming is massive, I had looked at videogames as a domain but quite rightly the seller of that wanted £50k – there was a possibility of talking about a joint venture or lease to buy but it was always going to be a very expensive domain that I didn’t own outright.

PC games is a much smaller market than videogames but with that the price comes down a lot as well and as I said it ties in with PCs beautifully. Why pc games? Well for me I view the gaming industry as one (from a consumer level) that won’t suffer as much through the recession and will fare well in the coming months and years. I don’t know the numbers but while Woolworths & MFI go into administration I am pretty sure that Call of Duty 5 still broke records and sold very very well. It’s not that people don’t buy music, games and household goods, it’s just that they don’t go to Woolies anymore to do it.

Games are outselling music for the first time and with broadband uptake at around 60% it offers for the first time a solution to pc piracy that had long since plagued developers, anyone with a machine that’s good enough to play the latest games will have an internet connection and that means the copy of the game could be validated against a central server cutting out the ease of piracy that has hampered the pc gaming industry. Gaming will always be bigger on consoles but the pc market is a big enough to make this a great investment if I can execute it’s development properly, which I’ll get round to as soon as I can complete COD World at War 😉

Personal Supercomputers

250 times the processing power of a traditional dektop pc the personal supercomputer may not be the work of fiction. With 4Tflops of floating-point maths these are designed for research and science more than gamers at present and at a snip under $10k you won’t be playing Crysis on one anytime soon.

Typically when I read articles or press releases like this is checking the whois and finding the obvious domains were register years and years ago.

However personalsupercomputers.co.uk was free to reg today and just in case anyone else is interested in such domains/technology there are some possibly decent domains with potential still available.

personalsupercomputers.org
personalsupercomputers.net
personalsupercomputer.net

Couple of photo domains for sale

I have a couple of domains for sale.

DigitalPictureFrame.co.uk £2500
PhotoFrame.co.uk £4000

Both product based with tens of thousands of exact search traffic, they are not high on my development list so perhaps a project for someone else.

Eeeawww!

Just so it doesn’t look like I’m painting a one sided picture of my endevours ….. posting yesterday about how I saved £1000 – today I get to post about the complete opposite, sometimes I can be a complete donkey 🙂

Watching tv there was a bit about how more people are staying in the UK for holidays and caravanning is on the increase, these are the types of analysis that get me heading for the keyword tool!

It’s heading off season now but I typed in ‘caravan’ and as expected the top results coming back were

1/ caravan 368,000 exact searches per month on average -sheesh!
2/ caravans 165,000 exact searched

Now both of these are very expensive domains so moving down the list in 3rd place

3/ touring caravan – 135,000 exact searched per month – ouch! that’s quite a lot still

Check with my wife ‘ what’s a touring caravan?’ she confirmed it’s just a normal caravan that goes on the back of your car, ie not a static caravan, okey dokey that looks interesting!

Checked the domain and it’s parked, email the seller – I email an offer of £750, very respectable I think, turns out a domainer owned it and recognised my email address and sent my a private message saying I could have it for £1000 plus VAT. Hmm, fair enough, chunk of change but I like it and I ain’t going to be buying caravan.co.uk or caravans.co.uk so 3rd best in a growing market at an acceptable price.

Deal was done and I was happy, that was until I was doing so more reasearch on the domain to see if it had been used before, I googled the url and found this post from March this year on a domain forum that went like this………..

Donkey! if only I had found that earlier I could have bought the domain for £50! I paid a price I was happy to pay for a domain I wanted but I felt pretty stupid when I found that post, so after yesterday’s post i’ll just call it evens 😉 More due diligence required when thinking of making offers!

Good things sometimes do come to those who wait

When I was looking to buy some furniture domains late last year one on my wanted list was diningroomfurniture.co.uk, the .net was for sale for around £1500 but I prefer the .co.uk so emailed the owner to offer a pretty respectable £1000 for it.

9th November last year I received a reply:

Scott, £1000-£1500 is not really of interest to us at this point.

It went on, suffice to say what I felt was a reasonable offer did not make selling it of interest to the owner. Fast forward a year almost to the day and on the 6th November the domain drops, freely available and I hand register it for £5.

New domain leased out with option to buy

The credit crunch may be hitting hard but it can have a positive effect in that businesses work harder to secure their dominance of a niche and are open to new ideas.

I have talked before about domain leasing and having some good domains ranked being my preference and for some of those I have been using aeiou.com which at $250 for a mini site isn’t cheap, I have 3 sites done now by aeiou.com and 2 more in production, all 3 rank which raises their profile and makes them more desirable.

Just agreed a deal on a domain to lease it out for 3 years at £100 per month with an option to buy it written in for £30,000, even with spending $250 on the minisite it means that after 2 months I’ll be paid back completely and at the end of the lease agreement I’ll be £3400 up with the possibility of an end sale of £30,000 or the lease could get renewed. As per my last lease I added to option to raise the rent a maximum of 50% and first refusal to renew to protect the lessee.

It’s a great deal for both parties and again shows that there is a demand for this if it’s done right, it’s slow progress though, this is my 3rd lease and again it took me sending out quite a few emails to make contact, it’s not easy and not for those that lose interest quickly.

2 of my lease deals have options to buy in them so at present the state of play is:
£675 per month in lease income (with £37,000 in options to buy written in)

Talking of leasing I decided yesterday to get my head down and start working on lease cars, it’s my second voyage into using WordPress and I think this site is looking good, it was a very productive Sunday but entering the 600 car models is proving really boring which I’m meant to be doing today and tomorrow, kind of looking for any excuse to take a break 🙂  .. still better get back to it……. “I’m a one man band”

Dissolved companies and domain opportunities

Just to pick up from John’s comment at the end of in my last post and Dan’s post pertaining to struggling companies and possible assets/domains going cheap, this is certainly the time to be investing wisely if you have funds and/or the time commitment to uncover valuable assets.

Domain names are not always seen as assets of a company by the liquidators, sometimes they are spotted, valued and sold but quite often they are forgotten about.

What happens when they are forgotten about?
If the company is limited and goes into liquidation then the domain would likely not be renewed when it came up and go suspended and 99 days later drop to be caught by a dropcatcher (if it’s a good name) and re-registered within percentage of a second.

So does this mean there are no opportunities for ‘normal’ folk without the resources of a dropcatcher?
There are always opportunities! – the domain pcs.co.uk was owned by a company in liquidation and I managed to negotiate it that way before the company was wrapped up, however even if a company is dissolved all hope is not lost.

A couple of months ago I checked up on the domain finest.co.uk – thinking it would make a nice high end site for things like the finest hotels, cars, jewellery, furniture ect, possible high ticket items. At the time the domain was not used and checking the whois it was registered to a limited company.

Going to companies house you can check the limited company for free to see if it still exists, it’s status was DISSOLVED. In this case the company no longer exists so if you inform Nominet about the domain they would usually give you a response like:

Thank you for your secure message regarding the finest.co.uk domain name.

I can confirm that the finest.co.uk domain name is registered to xxxxxxx Ltd,  which is listed at Companies House as a dissolved company.

As a company that is dissolved no longer exists, our contract with the dissolved company is now terminated. This will be looked into and dealt with according to our terms and conditions. 

The terms and conditions of dissolved companies can be found here, basically Nominet inform the registrar and if they do not hear back within around 30 days they change the domain to suspended, in around another 30 days they drop the domain meaning anyone can register it.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you spotted this company & domain that your the only one in the know, I thought that when I informed Nominet about the domain huge.co.uk & ladders.co.uk but when trying to register them on the drop they were still caught by dropcatchers and I lost out, so basically as they become suspended they show up on the radar of domain predators 🙂

The fact is you know unlike anyone else the timeline, so you know roughly in 30 days the domain gets suspended, you can then go to the free no win no fee dropcatchers like dropsystem.co.uk & caught.co.uk and book it in there before anyone else knows about it, this could give you the chance of getting it without being a tag holder.

It’s not immoral, the domain would expire eventually as the company is no longer in existence, however it is time consuming with no guarantee of success, I managed to pick up ladder.co.uk & finest.co.uk using this method, for some domains the directors get in touch with Nominet and get the domain updated to avoid being suspended, for others you’ll still lose out but it can give you an advantage over the professionals.

Prime Generic Domains the case for and against

So what’s the deal with having a really good domain name, does it make any difference at the start of a new website and is it really worth spending more than £10?

I’d say yes and in no small part with the help from Edwin’s brochure I’ll go through the main reasons you should get a domain that is as near to nailing your genre as you can afford.

Memorable: Having a short memorable domain is good for branding, driving recognition and recall, of the last 10 url’s you saw in advertising how many can you remember? will anyone notice or remember your domain name after it being mentioned? Domains like mobiles.co.uk are easily remembered and unlikely to be mis-spelt, short domains without hyphens like PCs.co.uk are excellent for recall, word of mouth and the *radio test. You don’t always remember who an advert was for but your more than likely to remember what the advert was for.

*Radio Test: If a consumer heard your domain in a radio advert how likely would they be to remember it and spell it correctly.

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When you can’t afford an outright buy, improvise!

I finally managed to track down the owner of a domain that has had my eye for 2 years, it’s rather a high calibre domain and not one I can really afford to go out and buy, but that doesn’t stop me trying, asking, improvising and generally persevering.

I’ve emailed the owner before with no response, that’s not unusual seeing as owners of very good domains ‘not in use’ probably get cheeky offers all the time, can’t remember what I offered last time but it was probably not worth replying to if I was being honest, so yesterday I took a new tactic. I emailed and asked if he had a price in mind, or if he would entertain a swap. I included one of my better domains as a possible trade.

To make a fresh change I actually got a response this time, it was short and to the point but at least it was communication, it went like this

yourdomain.co.uk + £50,000 = mydomain.co.uk

Personally for what it’s worth my gut says this is a 6 figure domain, not that I have 6 figures in my bank but as I mentioned before it doesn’t stop me asking. The counter offer actually isn’t that bad and if I had £50,000 sitting around in my change jar I’d be very tempted. So where do we go from here?

Back and forth, I suggested I lease the domain with an option to buy but this made him increase his price to £75k plus my domain, that’s more like end user pricing now as my domain is valuable, I made a final offer:

Lease the domain for 12 months for £1000 with an option to buy for £75,000 at any point during the 12 months, he accepted, unfortunately he is in out of the country at the moment so it will be a few weeks before we can get the agreement signed but it’s been written up and approved by both of us.

Will I raise the funds to buy it? I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet £1000 that I might.