Funny thing about forums

About eighteen months ago, I tried to purchase a forum related to one of my ecommerce sites. I had contacted the forum owner, but he was not really interested in selling, since he had created the forum for a hobby he loved. So I made a mental note to check back in a year, since you never know. I wished him well and let him know that if he ever wanted to sell, to let me know. Well a year had past and I decided to try again, only this time to find out that he had sold the site. He had lost his job about 6 months after I had contacted him, and he had been desperate to sell the site. The only problem was he had forgotten about my offer, and sold it to someone else. Chalking that lose up to bad timing; I made a mental note to check back in 6 months from then on.

In researching the new owner, I discovered that he was a web entrepreneur, who ran websites for a living. So I thought no problem; I would just contact him and make him an offer. Turned out to be tougher then I thought, since no matter how much I offered he was not interested. I finally gave up after offering him about two and half times what he paid for the forum, but it got me thinking. Why would he want to hang on to the forum? Why would he not be interested in turning a quick profit? He had owned the forum for less then a month, and was turning down a quick profit. After some research I quickly realized that forums could be monetized and while might not be a passive stream of income, since they require some TLC, they could provide an increasing stream of income over time.

Online Forums

Now that the directory site is live, I thought I would move onto my next project. For the next project, I thought we should tackle a larger project and building a community fits that bill. Well before we can have a community, we will have to start with a forum. The great part about a community is that they can take on a life of their own in ways the original designers had not even thought of. For the next couple of posts I would like to talk about things that mostly relate to forums. From software, posting services and ways to monetize them, so if you have any areas you would like me to touch on, please leave me a comment.

Directory Startup Costs

So after reading my last post your ready to create your own directory, but are wondering about the costs.  Well I will tell you.  There are really two types of costs to a directory site.  The upfront costs and the ongoing costs.  The upfront cost includes things like the cost of the script and inital domain purchase.  While the ongoing costs would be things like the yearly domain registration fee, hosting fees and the like.

If you wanted to create a similar directory site, your only upfront cost is the $49.99 for the directory script.  There was no domain purchase price since I did not purchase the domain on the secondary market, I hand registered it. Buying a domain off the seconday market can be expensive, but might be worth it if the domain already has traffic especially if it is Type-in traffic.  I choose to use one of the domians I had on hand for the project.  I had hand registered it a couple months back, and had just had it parked since.  For being a new domain, it was still getting about 20 type-ins a month.  Not a great deal of traffic, but worth the registration fee.  Back to the costs.  My ongoing costs with be the year domain renewal fee and hosting which would be about $28.00/yr or less.  To break even in your first year, the site needs to bring in about $78.00 or 6.50 a month.  Of course once the upfront costs are covered, the site will only need to bring in $2.35/month to break even. Which should be doable, but only time will tell.

First Directory

It is really amazing how fast time flies. It has already been over a month since I set my goal of creating a least a one site a month for the next twelve months, and I am happy to say that the first site is live. While I was planning on creating a car related site for one of the domains I owned, I decided that it would be better to setup a directory site instead.

The site is a directory of related sites for a niche I am already involved in and is closely related to one of my e-commerce stores. As I mentioned before, I was seem to have accumulated quite a few hobby related domains, and I thought this would be a good way to monetize one of them. While I am not expecting it to take off right away, I think that as time goes on it Will get more and more sites listed and the revenue it generates from advertising will grow. For the first couple of month, the site will show mostly Adsense since it will be hard to attract advertisers to the site while it is still stuck in the Google’s sandbox. Once it is listed in the search engines, I should better be able to monetize the site.

I looked at a couple of different directory scripts, before I decided to go with a directory script programmed by Simon over at eSyndiCat.com. The more I looked over the script the more I liked it. It had all the features I was looking for, and at $49.99 for a single site, the price was right. Even better was the fact that they offer an unlimited version for an extra hundred bucks. There is even a free version that is worth checking out if you want to try before you buy. So if you are planning on building a lot of directory sites, this script is worth checking out.

Klickerz Parking Service

It has been a while since I posted, so I thought I would post about a new domain parking service that I am trying out. A couple of weeks ago, I began the process of moving my parked domains to Klickerz . With a revenue split of 85/15, I should see an increase in my pay per click clicks. I also figured I would give them a try since some domains do better with different parking services and after all isn’t the idea to squeeze the most money out of each parked domains. So since the start of May I have been watching to see how the domains have done, and I have to say that I am impressed so far. Their payout per click is better than Sedo’s for 90% of my domains, but the click thru rate has increased for about 2/3 of the domains I parked with them. My revenue over all has increased, with one domain generating 20 times what it has in the past alone.

Not all domains increased thou. I had a couple of decent revenue domains when parked at Sedo dropped once they were moved, but for the most part, Klickerz is bringing in more revenue then any other parking service I have tried to date.

Klickerz.com has an affiliate program, which pays the referrer a commission equal to 5% of the referred client’s earnings for a period of one year. It is a win win situation since the commission comes out of Klickerz revenue, not the referred client’s earnings. Which means it will not reduce the amount of revenue you receive. So if you are interested in creating a free account and everyone should so they could at least try them out for themselves. All I ask is that you use this link (or any Klickerz link in this article) so they will know I referred you. It costs you nothing, and the affiliate revenue will help me to maintain this web site. If you sign up under me, I will be more then happy to help you out with any questions you have about Klickerz , to the best of my ability.

[tags] Klickerz, monitizing domains, domain parking [/tags]

Simple Niche Websites

So now that I have set a goal of building at least a site every second month, I figure I would start off slow.  I acquired a domain for a car prototype that I would like to build into an information site.   The car was never mass produced, and the only the prototypes, were ever built.  There were a total of 6 prototypes built before the project was cancelled and the rest cut up for scrap.   While I would prefer to develop a forum or ecommerce site, I figure it would be easier to start with a simple site which will give me more time to plan the development of the next site.  The type of site I am planning on creating is better known as a “niche site” since it will focus on one specific topic.

…niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers. You can think of a niche market as a narrowly defined group of potential customers.
http://sbinfocanada.about.com/cs/marketing/g/nichemarket.htm

I will do my best to document all the associated costs and present it against any future revenue.

Domainer?

My blog seems to have turned into one about domaining since I have removed the posts about my websites and other ventures. So I thought I should set the record straight about my collection of domains and how I got started in domaining. It was not my original intend to buy domains to monetize. I never had a goal of becoming a domainer. I started looking for ways to monetize my domains due to the sheer number of domains I was buying. I am a collector by nature, and did not want to stop collecting domains. If I thought of a good domain for a website, I would buy the domain and related domains. If I thought of a domain that I liked, but it was taken, I would add it to my list of backordered domains. If the current owner was not using the domain, I would email the owner and offer to buy it. After a while the cost of my habit was starting to pile up, and I needed a way to pay for the new registrations not to mention the yearly renewals for the domains that were coming due.

When you are registering between five and twenty domains a month, developing them all is not an option, at least not in the short term, especially if you have a full-time day job. Hence the reason I started using my undeveloped domains for PPC to try to recoup some of the costs.

The bad news was that while my domains were brandable they were not great for PPC. I had bought the domains with the thought of building a site, not the amount of traffic it was getting. Worst yet, most of my domains related to my hobbies or pets which are not high paying keywords to start with. A couple of the domains I owned did produce some PPC revenue, which was a big help at the start. Reading thru the numerous forums I started to understand what to look for when buying a domain for PPC revenue. The more links to the site in search engines or from other sites the better. Type-in traffic (type-in traffic is where a surfer types what they are looking for in the URL bar), is harder to come by now a days, but great if you can find domains with type-in traffic. I also tried to make sure that there were no trade mark issues with the domains. I did not want to end up in court because I had violated someone’s trade mark, but that is a person preference. Some domainers whole portfolio of domains are domains that are typo’s or TM issues, but that is not my style. If at all possible, I looked for domains that could be used for a website so that if I can not monetize it, I could add it to my list for future development or sell it. After a couple of months, I was able to use the revenue generated from a dozen or so domains to pay for my whole domain portfolio. Which only goes to prove that using domains for Pay-per-click can generate a passive stream of income! So I guess that while it is not my main focus, by definition, I am a domainer.

Domaining by the Numbers

In my last post about domaining I mentioned that it is possible to get a steady stream of income from owning domains. Since then I have had a couple of people ask me for more information, so I thought I would try to explain the concept a little better.

I know no better way to explain the concept then to dive right in and do it by the numbers. The yearly cost of registering or renewing a domain is about $7.20 on average after discounts. This equals $.60 a month or about 2 cents a day. Our goal is to monetize the domain thru Pay-per-Click (PPC) so that is brings in more then the $.60 a month. Everything else is gravy so to speak. If the domain brings in just a dollar a month, it would bring in a total of $12.00 a year. So our yearly profit would be the $12.00 minus the $7.20 for a grand total of $4.80. At this point you are saying to yourself “Great I can buy a Starbucks coffee with my profit”, but you are missing the point. Just like buying a stock, you would never want to buy just one.

Domain parking is a passive stream of income. Other then the initial outlay to purchase or find the domains, there is little work involved. Since there is no ongoing effort needed to keep the parking revenue rolling in, other then a tweak now and again, what is to stop you from owning 10, 100, or 1000 domains? If you owned 10 domains your profit would be $48.00, 100 would be $480.00, 1000 would be $4,800.00. For every $1.00/month increase in revenue your profit would increase by $12.00/yr. A domain that was making $2.00/month would bring in $16.80/yr and at $5.00/month your yearly income would increase to $52.80/yr.

Of course acquiring 1000 that can be used for domain parking is not a simple task, but it is possible. Companies like Name Administration or Great Domains own domains in the tens if not hundred of thousands and they all started out by buying one domain at a time. Unfortunately they started years ago, but there are still good domains out there.

Google Adsense – The Overview

Google AdSense is one of the easiest ways to generate a stream of income by cashing in on the Pay per Click market. How large a stream of income depends on your website?

The concept is relatively simple. Google sells advertising known as Adwords. Website owners allow Google to display the ads on their sites in the hopes that web surfers will click on the ads. Each time an ad is clicked on, Google pays the site a share of what Google receives from the advertiser.

Google has created its own proprietary technology in order to determine the content of each and every page of your website. This allows Google to deliver ads that are contextually relevant to your audience.

Because the ads are related to what your visitors are looking for on your site — or matched to the characteristics and interests of the visitors your content attracts — you’ll finally have a way to both monetize and enhance your content pages.

Simply put if your site is about hamsters, you are not going to see ads for Insurance. Which is great for the owner of the website since the more relevant the ads, the better your click rate will be.

But you ask. Can people make a living by just displaying ads on their site? YES, it is possible to make a living by displaying Google AdSense on your website. The question is how long will it last? I personally think that it is here to stay in one form or another. As long as people surf the web, there will be advertisers who want to advertise on those websites.

Domain Name Game

As I mentioned in my last post, there have been a number of articles written in the main stream press about domainers. The article in Business 2.0, “Masters of their Domains” shined a light on the domain market, and how people are using domains as a passive stream of income. Quotes like:

…it’s all about the income stream. A single good domain name–Candy.com, Cellphones.com, Athletesfoot.com–can bring in hundreds of dollars a day, in some cases while the owner hardly lifts a finger. Schwartz, for instance, directs his traffic to one of the many small companies that serve as go-betweens with Google and Yahoo, the two giants that make this all possible. The middlemen, known as aggregators, do all the heavy lifting, designing the sites and tapping into one or the other of the search engines’ advertising networks to add the best-paying links.

Sounds easy right? Wrong! While it might be nice to make some easy money, good domains are getting harder and harder to come by. I am not saying that they are impossible to find, it is just that the days of registering great keyword domains with a .com extension off the top of your head for the price of the registration fee seem to be a thing of the past. Most are now picked up on the drop, or thru private sales. Which means that each domain you are looking at picking up has to be evaluated are to its revenue potential before you make an offer or place a backorder. This can be very time consuming, and unless you have deep pockets there is a good chance that someone who is willing to pay more will grab the domains you are after, but don’t let that discourage you from learning more. Domaining can definitely create a stream of income.

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