Domain Preference: Net or Org?

It is inevitable that every week at some point the question appears on every domain-related message boards.   That question is which is better: dot net or dot org?  

I find this to be a very good question, as it is widely accepted that dot com is king across most of the world, and certainly in any relevant country.   If dot com isn’t the standard in your area, you probably use a ccTLD.  Either way, it still leaves domain investors with a question that needs answered.  Should I invest my money into dot net or dot org domains?

In the long run, this really comes down to a matter of opinion.   You’ll even find some that argue for dot info as the second best TLD you can get.   In my opinion, dot org is the 2nd best, but here are some positive and negative things to think about for each:

Dot Net

  • Seems to have the highest resale value on the market. 
  • Gives the feeling to users that you couldn’t find the dot com.

Dot Org

  • Can  be a first choice extension for many organizations or websites that that are informative by nature.
  • Most orgs were registered by endusers that wanted them.   Investors have a tough time reselling them due to lack of demand.

Dot Info

  • Many feel this is second best for geo domains.
  • Four digit TLD
  • Not commonly known among the non-power users of the internet.

In my opinion, if you are investing to flip/resell the domains, dot net will probably get you the best results.   If you are planning to develop or hold for an end-user, dot org is the best way to go and the way I go more often than not.  It just sounds good and is easy to remember.  If it wasn’t for the dollar promotion on info domains I probably wouldn’t own more than just a few.  It is probably just personal preference, but I really dislike four letter TLDs. 

So, as you can see, dot org is my preference.  It also helps that domainers have largely ignored dot org, leaving a bunch of very high quality domains available on the registry.  Just yesterday I picked up GeoDirectory.org which I hope to develop sometime in the next few months.  

Which do you prefer?  Dot net or dot org?

How to: Easily Build an eBay Niche Store

In one of my posts last week I mentioned that I would be writing about affiliate marketing more often on this site, and I figured where better to start than with something that I have come to rely heavily on to generate a significant portion of my online income over the past few months.

First, a little background. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve had some success with keyword sniping, which is basically locating a small niche to target and create a blog with about 10-15 posts. Then place some advertising and affiliate links on the site and forget about it. If you’ve done your homework, over time you can then create a large amount of income for no additional work.

One of the things that appealed to me about making money online with keyword sniping is the ability to “finish” the site, removing any real need for ongoing upkeep. The problem with this method is that it can sometimes take 10-15 hours initially to get the site setup and ready to roll. Why is that? Well, in order to successfully snipe a keyword, you’ll first need to do your research and locate the keywords you are going to target. After that, you’ve got to build your website, create a theme, then research and write about 10-15 posts. Add in the time it takes to locate affiliate programs that match up well with your site and you’re putting a lot of time into each individual niche site that you’ve created.

I knew there had to be an easier way, so I decided to go out and find it. One consistent thing I noticed while reading a couple of the affiliate marketing forums that I frequent is a website software that allows you to completely generate a website in under 2 hours. Yes, you read that right. I can do EVERYTHING in under 2 hours from registering a domain to completed website.

After reading at least 15 success stories from forum posters (these were not situations where the poster had anything to gain so I felt their recommendations had considerable value), I decided to give this magic product a try. The first day I set up 3 “niche stores” using domains I had registered in the past but hadn’t found a use for yet. The first store took about the full 2 hours, but after that it was less than an hour per website to set them up. Then I basically left them alone for a week to see what happened.

After a week I hadn’t made any money, but I had sent a lot of traffic over to eBay, which I viewed as a success. If you are an affiliate marketer, conversions are great, but getting clicks in the first place is extremely important. I knew it was only a matter of time. About 4 days later I checked again and I had already made about $10.00 from these 3 sites. Based upon this success, I decided to launch a few more sites, bringing me to a total of about 8 niche stores.

Fast forward a couple months and these sites are pulling in anywhere from $2.00-$5.00 a day (individually), which as you can imagine, adds up very quickly over time. The domains are easily paying for themselves, and the income is both comparable and in many cases better than using Google AdSense. I’m now in the process of researching and locating some optimal niches to target and continue to grow my business.

So what is this magical product? What I’m talking about is Build a Niche Store (although commonly refered to as BANS). When I first signed up, I was cautious about investing the price of $97.00 for this software. Now that I have experience with using BANS, I would gladly pay more for it. It paid for itself in only two months, and I think I could have generated additional income if I had invested some more time into making more stores before today.

So, how does BANS work? In order to use it, you simply need hosting account and a domain name (or multiple names for multiple stores). The creators of BANS recommend HostGator for your web hosting because it makes a few things easier than other web hosts, but their instructions are very specific and walk you through settings up your store no matter who you are hosting with. You upload it and run the install script, then you’re all set.

Everything else you can do from the Admin panel (a walkthrough is provided while you get used to it). You just enter your eBay Affiliate Network ID (they explain how to get an account with them if you don’t have one) and set your own meta tags, titles, and descriptions. You also have full control over how things are displayed on the site. BANS will then create a complete eBay affiliate niche store on the domain for you. That is really all you have to do, but you are also able to create posts in the same manner that you would if you were keyword sniping. The idea is that you can get more pages indexed and bring more traffic to your site, which in turn will hopefully convert to more affiliate commissions.

Because I know sometimes it is easier to see the final product in action, I decided to create sort of a demo. If you’d like to see a BANS niche store in action, I took one of my spare domains and set one up for you to see how the store looks and works. This is not one of my niche stores that I mentioned above, but simply is a niche store that I set up specifically for demonstration.  You can see the niche store over at DiamondInvestment.net.  Now imagine that site with a custom made banner at the top and some stylesheet changes to give it the colors you want!

As far as site functionality goes, obviously if I was going to put some work into generating income with this site, your target audience would be people buying diamonds and jewelry on eBay. You can see from the categories in the sidebar that it covers a wide variety of diamond jewelry areas based upon the specifications I gave it. You also get to choose between a variety of 2-column, 3-column layouts, and advertisement styles so the store can look the way you want it to. You can also add a header if you want to complete the look of a full fledge store.

As you can probably tell from the above, this is not a paid post or anything of that sort. I’m very passionate about this product and would recommend it to anyone that has webhosting that supports addon Domains. With only a little effort it will pay for itself and over time I think you can make a considerable amount of passive income. I feel that for each site I’ve put an hour or two into building, I will get returns of $200.00+ over the course of the year. My hope is after a few more months to have 20+ stores making me passive income and that will hopefully be for years to come!

For my next post, I’m going to work on creating some strategies and tips to maximize your income with BANS including what niches to avoid and what settings are best. In the meantime, go ahead and check out Build a Niche Store. Probably the best investment I’ve made online to date.

Killer Domains eBook Now Available

If you’re new to the world of domaining, there is a new eBook I recommend you check out called Killer Domains.

In this eBook you’ll find everything you need, including the following chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. The 7 Characteristics of Good Domain Names
  3. The Process of Researching Domain Names
  4. Keyword Research
  5. Prefixes and Suffixes
  6. Tools and Resources
  7. Registering and Managing Domain Names

And its available at the affordable price of only $17.00!  Check out Killer Domains for more information.

The Evolution of Slick Affiliate

Yesterday while setting up a new online store I’ve been working on for a little while now, for whatever reason, I started reflecting back on this blog, and my evolution as a blogger.  Just like the domain name here has changed (the first year and a half this site was Kyle’s Cove), so has the focus of this website over the last two years.  

In looking back, in July of 2006 this blog was created as sort of a personal weblog.   At the time, I didn’t have any blogging experience and wasn’t even sure what I wanted to talk about.  Hence the very general name Kyle’s Cove.   Over time, this blog’s original focus ended up being mostly on technology and related content.   I’ve always been a person that was very in tune with the latest gadgets and have been playing online since the early 1990’s, so I had a lot to talk about.   While I wrote about pretty much anything in that niche that was interesting, I loved nothing more than talking about next generation web browers, so I placed a lot of focus there. 

Things were going good, but eventually as I became more passionate about blogging and started making money online, my focus shifted a little and I used this blog to explore my ideas in these areas.   This was a lot of fun, but there were so many “blogging” blogs out there, that many of the ideas and input in had in these areas seemed to get drowned out. 

In the 6 months since that time, I’ve grown a lot as a blogger, webmaster, domainer, and online entreprenuer, and this blog continued to evolve with me.   We’ve been tackling all sorts of subjects, ranging from my experiences as a domainer to keyword sniping, and lately even talking about niche affiliate marketing.   These three areas are where at lot of my focus has been, so it sort of made sense for me to talk about them.

Unfortunately, managing all of the projects I’m working on has really taxed my time and kept me from being as active in the blogosphere as I would like (linking to others, leaving comments on other blogs, answering comments on this blog, etc.).   I’m hoping that will change as I continue to setup my online presence and get everything in place where I want it to be.

I’ve got some exciting stuff planned for this site that I will be writing about, beginning with a post later this week.  I think a lot of this stuff will be affiliate marketing related, so hopefully there is some interest from readers in that area.   Hopefully many of you are not relying on Google AdSense to make money online, but if you are, I mean to change that! 

I will also try to make some “classic” posts from time to time, as I still enjoy and have thoughts about SEO tactics, making money online, blogging, and more.  If there are certain areas you want me to focus on, please let me know. 

In the meantime, if you’d like to do something fun today, do yourself a favor and spend some time digging through your archives and study how you’ve grown as a blogger.  Read some of your early posts.   This is a good way to see progress and stay motivated for the future.   

Tips On Moving Your Website

As most of you probably remember, I moved this site to a new domain back in January of 2008. Prior to that time, this blog was known as Kyle’s Cove. It has been about 3 months now since the move and everything has settled nicely, with traffic continuing to grow from where it was prior to the move, and I am much happier with this domain name.

For anyone that is considering moving their site to a new domain name, you’ll want to first really think it through and make sure that is what you want to do. Your site will take a hit for a couple months and it can cause some frustration for readers, but it can be worth it in the long run if you do it for the right reasons.

If you’re wanting to move your website, I ran across some great tips from Google to follow when moving your website:

  • Test your processes by moving only one directory or subdomain first. Check to see whether those pages are appearing in Google’s search results before moving your entire site.
  • Don’t just redirect all pages from your old site to the home page of your new site. Try to redirect all pages on your old site to a relevant page on your new site.
  • If you’re thinking about changing your domain and redesigning your site at the same time, consider doing these things separately to minimize the risk of error.
  • Check both external and internal links to pages on your site (which can be done using Google Webmaster Tools) and try asking webmasters to change any links pointing to your site to use the new domain.
  • Don’t allow your old domain to expire until at least 180 days have passed.
  • Add your new site to Google Webmaster Tools, verify you own it and submit an XML sitemap containing all the URLs. Keep your old site too so that you can keep an eye out for any errors.

The bold option above was done by me to emphasize that one, as I felt that was the most important part of the transition.   It helps keep backlinks valid and helps Google’s spiders properly index and replace your posts.

Alexa Updates How They Determine Rankings

Over the past couple years, Alexa has received a lot of critiscism for their method of determining website rankings.   I know this because this blog has probably been one of its harshest critics. 

With that said, you’ll notice that I’ve chosen to continue displaying the Alexa widget in the sidebar to help have a positive impact on my rankings.   This is because, worthless or not, your Alexa ranking is still a factor that readers and advertisers use when trying to determine the value of a website.

Today I noticed that one of my blogs in the Alexa top 50,000 had dropped all the way to 183,000ish.  Of course I clicked over to see what was going on and here is the message I got about their updated ranking system:

When Alexa began displaying rankings in 1998 it was with the goal of showing Alexa Toolbar users how popular any given site was within the Alexa community. We generated the rankings through an analysis of Internet usage by people who use the Alexa Toolbar. Since that time we’ve been delighted to see that the Alexa Rankings have become a yardstick by which website popularity is measured. We are grateful to the thousands of people who come to Alexa.com each day to check the Alexa Rankings.

In recent months we’ve heard from our Alexa users that understanding Internet usage beyond Alexa Toolbar users was increasingly of interest. Ask and you shall receive!

We listened to your suggestions, and we believe that our new rankings system is much closer to what you asked for. We now aggregate data from multiple sources to give you a better indication of website popularity among the entire population of Internet users.

You gave us many other suggestions as well, and we are working hard to implement them. We won’t tell any secrets just yet, but you can expect to see new features rolled out over the coming weeks and months.

To me, it sounds like a nice apology for still living in 1998, but at least they are doing something to avoid slipping into further irrelevance. 

Now it looks like I just need to figure out if I can remove the Alexa “eyesore” in my sidebar or not.  It sounds like it is still a factor, but there is a good chance it will get removed sometime in the next week. 

How do you like your new Alexa score?  

Guide to Backordering Domain Names

If you are new to domaining, you will probably start out where most of us started, and that is the public registry.   Even today you can still find some good domains available for registration and you can often make some quick money flipping these domains to resellers on eBay or message boards.   With that said, eventually all domainers come to the realization that the money is minimal and you will be forced to either quit domaining or enter the world of backordering domains.  

I know when I started it was pretty intimidating.   Not only does the money involved go up significantly, but you will often find that you are going head-to-head with other domainers who have a lot deeper pockets for premium domain names.   With that said, you can often find great domain bargains on good domains that aren’t worth the attention of high-end domainers.  When you first enter the world of backordering, this is going to be your bread and butter and will determine if you are successful or not.

So, where do you start?   You’ll first need to setup some accounts.   You’ll need an account with the following companies:  Pool, SnapNames, and Namejet.   You’ll probably also want a TDNAM account, but that will be the same as your GoDaddy login information.   If you don’t already have a GoDaddy account, I recommend you create a GoDaddy account (even if you don’t plan to register domains there). 

Now you need to work on developing a list of keywords you are looking to target.  If you don’t go this route, you will spend a good part of your day mindlessly digging through lists of expiring domains which is inefficient and mindnumbing.   Once you’ve picked the names you want to go for, I recommend setting up email alerts each day for domains containing your keywords.  Most services will offer this and it will make your life much easier. 

Each day you will want to dig through the lists of domains coming available and pick which ones you’d like to backorder.  For SnapNames, Pool, and NameJet, you just add them to your backorder list and if there are multiple bidders, you are entered into an auction.   Only the winning bidder pays, so you are out nothing if a great domain goes to auction.  If noone else bids, you get the domain!  Keep in mind that the minimum bid on with each of these services ranges from $29.00-$59.00.

For TDNAM, backordering works a little differently.   You’ll want to search their expiring domains lists and “Watch” the domains that you are interested in until the last half hour if possible and then place your bid (2 minutes before it ends is the most ideal).   Bids here usually start at $10.00.  You will need to add $9.95 to any winning bid to cover a year renewal, so keep that in mind when you are bidding.

Sometimes you may have an interest in a domain and the Whois shows that it has or is going to expire soon.   If this is the case, you’re probably better off just waiting and going after it through backorder.  This is especially true when the domain is not one that is going grab a lot of attention.

You’ll want to look on the WhoIs to see where it is registered and determine where you need to go to backorder the domain.  Most registrars have deals with backorder companies, which gives these companies first crack at any expiring domain names that they have.  This can be confusing at times trying to figure out where you need to go, so I’ve thrown together this list of the top backorder companies and the registrars they have relationships with:

  • TDNAM – GoDaddy, WildWestDomains
  • NameJet – Network Solutions, eNom, BulkRegister, ClubDrop
  • Pool – NameScout, DotAsia
  • SnapNames – Register.com, Moniker.com, Answerable.com, MyDomain.com, Dotster.com, DotRegister.com

Have any other questions about backordering domains?   Let me know in the comments below!

Social Networking Sites and Their Impact on My Life

As you may remember, last week I wrote a post about Twitter, where I mentioned I am doing my best to send tweets more often.  So far, I’ve been pretty good at doing 1-2 a day, which more than enough in my opinion.  If I’m doing it more often than that, I’m probably giving to much information.   I’ve also had troubling keeping up with others in my Twitter account, so I’ve considered dropping a few people I follow that send 5+ a day.   It makes it hard to follow everyone.

Anyway, on a typical day after updating my Twitter account, accepting follower requests and using the Find and Follow feature to track down others on Twitter, I hop on over to Facebook to do the same.   Approve requests for friendship and application invites, then check my wall for new messages, then check the homepage.  Then, I’m off to check my StumbleUpon profile, sometimes my MyBlogLog profile (which sorely needs updated).  Once that is done, now its time to check my Google AdSense account, Parked domains account, then E-Junkie/Clickbank/Commission Junction accounts.  Once that is done, I’m off to my sites to check for comments that need moderated.   Now comb through domain backorder lists and check on some of my domain auctions.  Once that is done, now I head over to my feed reader and start flipping through the feeds I track.   One days worth usually isn’t to bad, but more than 1 day backlogged and I have to get selective on which ones I choose to read. Once that is done, now its finally time to write some posts!   But wait, my kids need put to bed.

So, as you can see, keeping up with social services can sometimes be difficult.  If I maintain them, along with my other responsibilities, it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to blog or do website maintenance, which is probably the most important part, right?  I mean, I probably enjoying blogging more than I do all this other stuff.  It is kind of the behind the scenes stuff that needs done but isn’t fun to do.

How do you guys do it?  It seems I’ve got to many accounts and I find that I’m neglecting several, rather than just committing to a few of them and making them actually useful.

Developing Your Domain Into An Online Brand or Identity

While doing my daily crawl through Namepros today, I noticed an interesting thread that really caught my eye.   The post is a poll inquiring about how many people own the domain of their message board name. 

Upon follow up a couple hours later, I was surprised to see how many people answered no.  In my opinion, they are missing a great opportunity.  Not all domainers maintain a weblog, but most have an established online identity in some form that they should want to promote. 

When I decided I wanted to start domaining as a hobby, the first thing I did was purchase this domain name to start establishing my “domainer identity.”  On all domaining forums that I visit, you can find me as “Slick Domains” or “SlickDomains”.   When I leave comments on other blogs, I use that name.  My hope was that it would become a trusted identity over time for people asking questions about domaining, or when decided whether to buy from me/sell to me.   If I registered at the forums with the name “Kyle” that would be pretty difficult to do.    

Out of curiousity, how many of you have taken steps to develop your identity?   Do you use different names at different boards?   Do you do anything to promote yourself? 

Protect Your Domain Investment by Knowing Domain Law

For all of you active domainers out there that try to keep an eye on the industry, you’ve probably been spammed with blog posts and even e-mails recently regarding the Snowe bill, which is a bill that could have very negative implications on domainers world-wide.   Basically this bill, if passed, would give businesses with trademarks more access to domains than they currently have, costing many domainers thousands if not millions of dollars in losses due to being forced to turn over their domains.

The Snowe bill is obviously the biggest threat to our industry, but there are several things that a domainer needs to be conscious of in general when determining whether to invest into a particular domain name.   Over the past decade, there has been a lot of presidence established that helps guide internet law and provides you with general guidelines to follow.  

If you are interested in doing what you can to protect your investment, you first need to understand how things work from a legal perspective.  Domain Bits has taken the time to collect a bunch of things you need to know when it comes to Domain Law.   Here are the subjects covered:

  1. The Contract Rules
  2. Your Domain Can Be Shut Down
  3. No Such Thing As Domain Ownership
  4. US Law Overreaches International Boundaries
  5. Generics Can Be Trademarks
  6. Registrars Will Park Your Domains
  7. Record Keeping
  8. Private Whois
  9. Accurate Whois
  10. Front Running
  11. Hijacking
  12. Most Registrars Aren’t Helpful
  13. Not Much Legal Protection

Click over to get full explanations of each option and make sure you are doing whatever you can to protect your investments!