Joining the side hustle ideas series is this breakdown of how to make money buying and selling domain names and tools and resources required to succeed.
The practice of buying and selling domain names is also popularly known as flipping domains.
If you’ve never heard of domain flipping or you’ve always wondered what it was and how anyone can make money from it, grab a cup of coffee and sit back. This article is definitely worth a read.
What is Domain Flipping?
Domain flipping is the practice of identifying, registering or acquiring domain names at cheap prices with the intention of selling them later on for a profit.
Domain flipping is similar to real estate except it’s less risky and online. The most awesome thing about domain flipping is you don’t have to pack up or ship any products.
Can You Make Money Buying and Selling Domain Names?
You sure can make good money from buying and selling domain names.
With a little bit of strategizing, research, and affinity for picking winners, you could start earning a substantial amount of money from buying and selling domain names.
However, you should be aware domain flipping isn’t an exact science and you could very well end up buying something that will never sell or sell for less than you expect.
This article will highlight all the risks you should be aware of plus the rinse and repeat formula to follow to ensure you don’t lose any money/minimal amount of money.
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How Much Can You Make from Buying and Selling Domains?
What if I told you as much as millions? Examples of domain names that were eventually sold for millions include but not limited to:
- Insure.com — $16 million
- Business.com — $7.5 million
- Toys.com — $5.1 million
- Clothes.com — $4.9 million
- Shop.com — $3.5 million
- Candy.com — $3 million
- Wine.com — $3 million
- Pizza.com — $2.6 million
- Investing.com — $2.45 million
- Coupons.com — $2.2 million
Before the dollar signs start lighting up in your eyes though, this isn’t the typical experience. However, there is still a fair amount of money to be made domain flipping if you go about it the right way.
The more realistic sales figures begin from $100 upwards to as high as $100,000 plus. It all depends on what kind of value the domain name has.
More realistic prices for domain names include the following:-
- hotdog.com – $150,000
- damn.com – $65,000
- organ.com – $41,000
- onlinegifts.com – $13,000
- domainnames.io – $1,550
This is not a get-rich-quick scheme but rather a slow and steady way to start stacking up your extra income.
So how do you know which domain names to buy and how do you flip them when the time is right?
How Do I Buy and Sell Domains?
The best domain names are generic words and phrases linked to news reports and current events, which could become popular in the future such as insurance, travel, loans, cars, etc.
For instance, whoever bought blueivy.com or blueivycarter.com (if it wasn’t the family) is sitting on a nice piece of digital real estate.
Step 1 – Decide How Much You Want to Invest
As with all things that will generate money for you, you need to make a small investment upfront. Decide how much you want to spend exploring this money-making venture before you start.
Domain names aren’t that expensive so start small. $100 is more than enough to test out your theories and decide if you’d like to pursue this long term.
Step 2 – Conduct Research
You need to conduct some research to find out what is trending before you buy any domain names. You can do this via:-
- Keeping track of current news and events
- Setting up Google Alerts for certain keywords
- Looking on Google Trends, and creating alerts for interesting things that you think will become popular over time
Step 3 – Choose the Right Domain Name
Choose a domain name that includes your target keywords and revolves around subjects people are looking for online.
Names that are location or event-specific offer a quick turnaround. For instance, a name related to “baby massage in Idaho” or “pizza parlors in Marietta” or “see Serena at Wimbledon 2018” offer convenience and speed.
Before you buy any domain name, ensure there are no copyright or trademark-related issues. This can become a hassle and expensive later on.
Step 4 – Buy the Domain Name
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you can purchase one for a few dollars.
Domains ending in .com are the best although you could buy the extensions of the same domain i.e. .net, .org, .info, etc. if it’s a great domain name.
Do not include numbers and special characters in your domain names. They are unlikely to sell in that format.
You can buy more than one variation of the same domain name. For instance, babymassgeinidaho.com, babymassageidaho.com, idahobabymassage.com, etc.
Try to keep this under 5 domain name variations though.
You can also buy domain names on auction sites. This is a site that sells expired domain names.
Domains expire for different reasons — people can’t be bothered with them anymore or they forgot to renew them.
The domain registrar then offers the expired domains for sale on auction sites. These domains are a bit more expensive than new domains so be sure you know what you’re doing before you purchase an expired domain name.
It will take several months to put together your domain name portfolio. This isn’t a speedy process but the rewards are there to be had.
What is the Best Place to Sell Domain Names?
1. Auction Sites for Domain Names
Once you have successfully purchased your domain name (s), you need to park it at a suitable auction site like:-
There are several ways you can list the domain name for sale on auction sites:-
- Set a price for the domain name known as the buy now price. This works if you don’t want to sell it right away.
- Put the domain name up for auction to the highest bidder. The auction site will handle this for you and it’s up to you to accept or reject the offer.
2. Direct Selling Domain Names
Actively seek out companies/individuals that you know would be interested in the domain name and offer it for sale.
Taking the baby massage in Idaho for example, you could approach people who are in this business in Idaho and ask if they would be interested in the domain name.
This strategy is quite good and gives a great turnaround on the domain name if your email is very persuasive.
You also don’t have to pay any commissions, which you would when using auction sites. This strategy is more work though.
3. Private Sales for Domain Names
You can list the domain name (s) privately for sale through a website showcasing your domain name portfolio and the sale price for each one.
You can set up a free website for this but you would have to engage in a lot of SEO strategies to get people over to your site to look through your portfolio.
If you’re a beginner, I would recommend avoiding this method altogether until you’re more familiar with the process.
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
Domain names are cheap and go for as little as $10/year or less if you buy multiple domain names at once.
However, start small and grow from there. Don’t dump $1,000 buying domain names in the beginning before you’re more knowledgeable of the system.
It’s easy to get addicted to domain name buying believe it or not.
Where to Buy Domain Names?
You can buy domain names on many domain websites. However, I recommend Namecheap.
Their domain names are priced competitively and the customer support is top notch.
Best Tips for Success at Flipping Domain Names
1. Be Comfortable with the Niche
Choose a niche that you know a lot about/are comfortable in.
You will have more success if you are an expert in the subject matter of the domain name that you are investigating for a potential flip.
2. Don’t Stop Learning
Keep learning. There are huge rewards if you are willing to work hard and put the time in for the necessary research.
3. Start Small With Domain Names
Don’t start buying up every domain name you can think of. It can get expensive. Start with 5 – 10 domain names and go on from there.
4. Wait on the Right Price
You don’t necessarily have to flip the domain right away. Sometimes, holding out on the sale will mean more money down the line especially if you know you have a winner.
5. Pay Attention
Domain buying and selling require active attention and monitoring.
You can’t just buy a domain name, list it and forget about it. It requires strategizing, marketing, research, and negotiation skills.
6. Use an Escrow Service for Flipping Domain Names
Use an escrow service when the time comes to sell your domain name. An escrow service monitors the process and ensures that nobody is scammed.
Buying & Selling Domain Names – Useful Resources
If you’re interested in domain buying and selling but don’t have the time to go researching and gathering info on hundreds of websites, I recommend the following e-books and resources:-
- How to Find and Buy Premium Domain Names
- Domain Marketing: Beginner’s Domain Flipping Blueprint
- Domain Name Flipping: Quick Flips & Fast Cash
- Domaining Guide: How to Profit from Domain Names
The next article will examine website flipping which is a step up from domain flipping, requires an entirely different mindset and strategy, and can be much more profitable than domain flipping.
Pin it for Later – The Starter Guide to Making Money Buying & Selling Domain Names
Anna gave up her 9 – 5 to implement her life plan after paying off over $40,000 in debt. She started The Writer Entrepreneur to share her journey and encourage other people to pay off debt and pursue their life plans. She has been featured on HuffPost, YouQueen & Fitnancials among others. Learn more about Anna HERE.
This post may contain affiliate links which means I will make a small commission if you purchase through those links. Read full disclosure HERE.