Tuesday

You Wanna Be A Domain Name Millionaire? Walk this Way.

Make Money Online from Domain Names - So you want to be a Domain Name Millionaire ? Walk this Way.


Paul Sloan at Business Week bumped into Kevin Ham a “dotcom mogul” with a $300 milion empire,

At an auction in Las Vegas Kevin Ham recently bought weddingcatering.com, christianrock.com and greeting.com.

How much would you pay for these domain names ?

Personally I would have poneyed up $500 for the lot and I would have considered that risky. Well that just shows how much I know. For the first, Mr Ham paid $10,000, for the second $31,000 and for the third $350,000 ! Although he thought the plural 'greetings.com' would have been better, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

If you think Mr Ham might be slightly cracked in the head, then think again, he is a multi-millionaire who gave up a career in medicine when he saw he could make money online faster from domain names and with less risk than online stock trading.

Until recently domain name buying was a secretive affair which people generally did in the comfort and privacy of their own homes, in the dead of night, using nothing but their computer and a few brain cells, but now live domain name auctions are starting to appear in the 'real world'. The next one is being organized by moniker.com in New York on June 19th – 22nd . They are starting to attract the attention of bankers (spit), venture-backed start-ups, and a variety of other 'investors', all keen to get their hands on some prime real estate before it is too late. Well, don't let them, you get there first! For good names that are already registered you may need deep pockets, but you can still find the odd gem by a bit of lateral thnking. You may also consider getting into .mobi or .tv names as they are still fairly new and so not all of the good names have been registered already.

The big money is being made from names that draw a steady stream of cash from Google and Yahoo ads, some sites get thousands of visitors a day. What people see on the sites are ads for products which they can click on, they do this in sufficient numbers to bring in hundreds or thousands of dollars a day for a good site. This explains why people are willing to pay what may appear to be inflated amounts of money for them. The smart guys were buying up names during the dotcom crash and they now own what has become highly valuable Internet real estate.

Kevin Ham is one of the most successful domainers in the world. He has been buying domains since 2000 and now has a portfolio of over 300,000 domains. In addition to spending hours each day buying up names that were expiring, he also came up with a “cunning plan” all his own. He contacted the Cameroon government and together they agreed to divert traffic from unregistered .cm names to one of Mr Ham’s site, .cm is the country code for Cameroon but it also a typo for .com. Thousands of people each day type .cm instead of .com and end up on Mr Ham’s site where they can generate revenue for him and the Cameroon government by clicking on ads. Very clever and all totally legal. Type in money.cm and see where you end up.
He is also looking to set up similar deals with Colombia (.co), Oman (.om), Niger (.ne), and Ethiopia (.et).

Ham's sites receive 30 million unique visitors a month but he is still something of an enigma who shuns publicity. So much so that he used to use a PO Box in Vancouver for his domain communications.

One of his sites is weddingshoes.com, a site with links from dozens of retailers. According to Mr Ham the site brings in around $750 a month, which may not seem much but if you have 10 such sites then you are making $7,500 a month. Mr Ham has around 300,000 so, if my maths is correct, a possible $225,000 a month ! The name cost him $8 and a similar amount to renew it every year no doubt.

The other way to make money is to own a name someone else wants to buy. In 2002 Amy Schrier bought blue.com for $65,000, not cheap and so she must have known what she was doing. She was recently offered $200,000 for it, which she refused, eventually selling it for $500,000 -

You can also try domain names without spending any money. You buy a domain name for a 5 day trial period, then if you don’t like it you cancel it and get your money back. Each domain registrar has slightly different rules so you need to check them out first. Mr Ham of course did this on an industrial scale ! Buying thousands at a time and keeping maybe only a couple of hundred.

With everything becoming more open and transparent it is apparently becoming harder to find great deals, i.e. domain names that you can pick up cheap. To get a cheap domain name you need to find a domain name owner who doesn’t know the value of what he/she has got.
Amazingly Mr Ham still buys 30 to 100 names a day, but he can no longer buy them cheap. He also expects changes in the way domain names are monetized and so is taking the longer term view, he has recently created a company called Reinvent Technology and intends turning his most valuable names into mini media companies. His plan is to become an “Internet Titan” and he believes small players will sell out to venture capitalists and the best names will eventually be owned by just a handful of companies.




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