Browse The History Of The Internet With Archive.org

If you are ever looking for something entertaining to do, one thing I recommend doing is to spend some time digging around Archive.org.  This site is widely known as the internet archive.  They store all sorts of information about websites, so you can have a great trip down memory lane, whether it is combing through the history of your own site or visiting other sites you enjoy.

As an active domainer, Archive.org is a great website for checking out the history of a domain before purchasing it.  What was this domain used for previously?   You wouldn’t want to purchase a domain that used to have explicit content or that has been banned by search engines.

I also sometimes like to look at how sites that I’ve recently discovered used to look before I started reading them.  I’ve been a big fan of CyberNet News for close to a year and a half now, but I know Ryan had the site up before that.  I wanted to check out some of the original themes his site used to see how far he has come with his site.  One interesting thing I noticed is that the domain was owned previously:

CyberNet Archive

Looks like someone used CyberNet News previously for some sort of index.

CyberNet 2001

What interesting things have you found out on Archive.org?

January 2008 in Review

Every month I try to write a ‘month in review’ post that attempts to sum up what was going on here. This was kind of a strange month for me and will be difficult to truly measure due to the re-branding of this site under the new brand, Slickmania. With the change comes a period of adjustment for myself, my readership, and for the search engines. Hopefully at the end of February I’ll have a better idea of how everything is going to work out. Not surprisingly, many of my popular posts for January 2008 were also some of my most commented posts. Here they are, in case you are new here or just missed it:

Last, but definitely not least, I want to thank my January advertiser! Here is a site that I recommend you check out:

  • Romow Blogs – Romow blogs is a human-edited web directory that serves not only as a useful reference for best and cool websites, but also as a highly effective marketing venue for online marketers and business entrepreneurs. To serve such dual roles, Romow.com maintains high editorial integrity for quality assurance, constantly updates fresh contents, and organizes directory listings in an easy-to-browse topical structure.

If you are interested in advertising with this site, you should be able to find everything you need on my advertise page, then contact us.

Why Dot Com Domains Are The Gold Standard

In the past two weeks we’ve devoted a little time to studying domaining and what is all involved with being a domainer.  It can be very time consuming, requires a lot of research, and does require a little risk, but the payout can be and usually is huge. 

One thing people often ask is why dot com is such a big deal?  Why can’t someone succeed with a country code domain (.us, .in, .cn, etc.) or maybe a dot net?  The truth is, of course, that any business can succeed with just about any domain name.  If you are getting inbound links and your content is relevant, search engines will find you.  If your business is country based, it may even be appropriate to have one, but dot com will always be the gold standard. 

Brian Krassenstein has written a post on a message board explaining why he feels dot com domains will always be the gold standard.   If you have pronouncable or keyword-rich domains, investing in dot coms is about the safest investment you can make.  Here is what Brian had to say:

Every month or two it seems as though new domain extensions are released by ICANN. They have one for almost every country now, and are now doing continents, such as .eu and .asia. We have .us, .biz, .org, .net, .mobi, etc, etc, etc. You would think that as new extentions are released it would deflate the values of the already existing domains out there. This is not the case though. .com domain names will always actually gain value as ICANN releases new top level domain extensions. Why?

When most people think about the internet and a website, they think .com. Even if they hear a domain name on the radio, see it on tv, or in a magazine, or are told about it by a friend, they will always think it ends in .com, even if it doesn’t. The large corporations and the most popular sites out there all end in .com. Only approximately 1/6th of the worlds population has access to the internet today. Even then, only about half of them are able to get online at their convenience. Having said this, things are changing, and changing fast. China and India who account for over 1/3rd of the worlds population are growing rapidly. More and more people in these countries will gain internet access very soon. It is predicted that the internet population of China and India will be 5 times what it is today by the year 2011. Now imagine if only a small fraction of these people decide to create their own websites. The demand for good keyword rich domains will explode. Most of them will not be able to hand register the .com versions so they will go for the cheaper versions such as .in, and .cn. When they do this, they are actually making money for whoever owns the .com verion of their domain since a good portion of their type in traffic will type “.com” instead of “.in” or “.cn”.

Some other tlds that I recommend buying and holding onto in addition to “.com” are:

.es – These are being used for spanish language domains. Should grow significantly
.cn – China is large, very large, and .cn domains seem to be what most chinese recognize as the authoritive tld extension
.de – This is the German extension. For some reason Germans, unlike many people elsewhere in the world tend to love their country code top level domains

All in all, if you are thinking about investing in good generic or abbreviation domain names, go after the .coms. Over the long haul the risks to .coms are significantly less then that of other extensions.

Now, keep in mind, that you aren’t necessarily going to get rich by investing in just any dot com domain, but they are appreciating at a rate much faster than the cost of renewing the domain every year.   There are currently 14.5 billion dot coms taken and they are continuing to disappear at a rate of roughly 30,000 a day.   If you are looking for a safe investment, buy a few dot com domains that you like and just sit on them for a couple years.  If you decide not to develop them, you can always resell them!

On a quick side note, I got an e-mail from another Kyle Eslick yesterday who found me via my personal domain name.   Have you registered your families personal domain names yet?   Even if you aren’t using them now, you’re going to want them some day and you can use them as an e-mail address in the meantime! 

Garry Conn Releases Digg Theme

Whether you have little to no HTML knowledge, or whether you consider yourself a web designer, one of the best things you can do is to create a WordPress theme and release it to the WordPress community.   I’ve seen simple themes getting as much use as premium or advanced themes, and this is often because it allows for easier customization.

Yesterday I noticed that Garry Conn has released a new WordPress theme called Digs’em, which was obviously inspired by popular social news site Digg.   He lists it as being search engine friendly as well.   Here is a screenshot:

Digsem Theme

If you are interested in giving it a try, you can download it here.

Introducing the Slickmania Tumblelog!

This is a really minor addition in the overall scheme of things, but I’m happy to say that I finally got around to adding a tumblelog to Slickmania. It is something I’ve seen other bloggers do on their websites and I’ve always really liked the concept of it. What is a tumblelog you say? Lets consult Wikipedia for a definition:

A tumblelog (also known as a tumblog or tlog) is a variation of a blog that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging. Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes, dialogues, and video. Unlike blogs, tumblelogs are frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences while providing little or no commentary.

If you are familiar with Tumblr, then you probably have the general idea of how a tumblelog works, but it is basically just quick posts where the author doesn’t take the time to do more than post an interesting video, link to an interesting post, etc. I may also borrow an idea from Garry and use my tumblelog to post answers to reader questions there.

As mentioned above, I’ve always loved the idea of a tumblelog, and think it is great that by placing it in a directory, I am able to keep it under the Slickmania umbrella and continue to improve the website. These posts will be indexed by search engines and could bring in additional traffic, but due to the lack of length in the posts I will not be placing advertisements within the posts. People who have purchased a banner on this site will benefit, however, because this potential traffic will in fact see their banners on these pages.

So, what do you think? This is a relatively minor change and I don’t expect it to take off to much, but I think it will be fun. I’ve considered making a separate feed for it. Would you be interested in subscribing if I set up a feed?

Finding Keyword-Rich Domains That Have Traffic

Earlier in this series I mentioned how domains that have natural traffic are worth a lot more money and also open up the opportunity for cash parking. Finding a domain that receives natural traffic in 2008 may seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. There are still a few out there and with the free online tools we have at our disposal, there are still methods you can take to find these domains.

If you’d like to learn more about finding natural traffic domains, here is a video I found on YouTube from 45n5 that does a good job explaining how to find keyword-rich domains that have natural traffic.

(Feed Readers May Have to Click Through to View)

This video is designed to teach people how to find keyword-rich domains for starting up in a new niche, but I’m mentioning it here because domainers use similar methods to go out and find domains that are going to have a good resale value and more importantly, will probably receive natural traffic. The combination of natural traffic and good keywords is about as solid of a domain investment as you can probably get.

List of GoDaddy Coupon Codes Good for 2008

I’ve mentioned before that I prefer to register most of my domains with GoDaddy. They are the biggest and most popular domain registrar and I’ve found that most people have an account with them, so it makes flipping domains much easier than if they are with another registrar.

GoDaddy normally charges $9.95 for each domain, which isn’t exactly very competitive with the prices of other registrars. However, if you use something like PCNames to find your domains and click over through their referral link, you can register dot com domains for only $7.15 each. In addition to this option, there are also a number of GoDaddy Coupon Codes available that anyone can use to get discounts on their domain purchases. Here is a collection I’ve put together of coupons that you can use:

BLAUGH – 10% off
BTPS7 – 20% any order of $50 or more
BTPS4 – 10% off anything
CHILL1 – 10% off
CHILL2 – $5 off a $30 purchase
CHILL3 – $7.15 per .com registration
HASH1 – 10% off
HASH2 – $5 off a $30 purchase
HASH3 – $7.15 per .com registration
OYH1 – 10% off
OYH2 – $5 off a $30 purchase
OYH3 – $7.15 per .com registration (confirmed works on renewals also)

As you can see, there are some duplicate offers there, and some coupon codes are situational. If you are spending more than $30.00, you may use a different one than if you are just registering a couple domains.

Any coupon codes you know of that I missed? Sound off in the comments!

Domaining Resources and Glossary

Domaining Resources

If you are going to be domaining, you first need to spend some time bookmarking several websites.

Domaining Forums

Some of my best message board experiences have come from spending time on domaining message boards. The community is very close and (for the most part) everyone is helpful and treats others with respect.

Selling Your Domains

You can use any combination of the above 5 to shop your domains, then use Escrow.com to complete the transaction (they hold the money, then you send the domain, then they turn over the money).

Back Ordering Domains

These three services get first dibs on back ordered domains due to their contracts with registrars, so I recommend you use them over a GoDaddy or similar type of company for back ordering domains. If you really want the domain, it is best to backorder using all 3 companies so you don’t lose it to someone else back ordering it.

Domaining Glossary

I said above that one of the best communities you’ll find online is the domaining community. I’ve found that everyone is extremely helpful and there are some great discussions. If you are going to start reading domaining message boards, however, there are a few terms/abbreviations you will run across. Here are a few that immediately pop into my head (I will update this post as I think of more):

You’ll see letter/number abbreviations such as LLN.com or LLLLL.com. The “L” is for letter and the “N” is for number. an example of an LLLL.com domain is KXNO.com. It has four letters. An example of LLN.com would be like FF9.com. CCCC.com is a four character domain (includes letters, numbers, hyphens, etc.). You get the idea!

Reg = Register a domain

TLD (or uTLD) = Top Level Domain (such as .com, .net, .org, .info, .name, .biz, etc.). These do not place any restrictions on you.

sTLD = Domain name extensions that are sponsored by independent organization that impose restrictions on you. (Examples are .mobi and .asia)

Expiring Domains and Back Ordering Domains

Once you’ve learned how to determine the value of a domain name and begun searching for a good one to register, one of the first things you’ll notice is that there isn’t much left out there that hasn’t already been registered. Every day 30,000 domains are registered, but only 2,000+ domains are dropped/expired. This means you’ll have to start doing what most people already do, and that is either buying from people directly or stalk the expiring domain lists looking for gems that people either forget to or can’t afford to renew. The former is pretty self-explanatory, but if you decide you’d like to get into shopping for expiring domains, here are some tips to use as a guideline before back ordering a domain:

  1. Make sure you check the back links before going after an expiring domain. The easiest way to do this is to go to Google and search for “link:expiringdomain.com” with replacing the expiringdomain.com with the expiring domains URL. Google will then display backlinks. You’ll want to click on a few of them to see what people were saying about the domain and the content on the domain and also determine the value of the back links.
  2. Use Internet Archive to get some additional information about the domain.
  3. If the previous owner was using the domain as a website, make sure that you are going to use the domain for the same purpose as the previous user or else this could cause some PageRank/SEO problems.

What Does Back Ordering Mean?

Back ordering is the process of paying a company to go out and register a domain on your behalf once it expires. The best companies to use for back ordering are NameJet.com, Pool.com, and SnapNames.com, as they have contracts with the individual registrars giving them first dibs on expired domains. If you decide to attempt to backorder a domain, your best bet is to back order the domain with all 3 websites to almost guarantee you get the domain. If more than one party back orders a domain at these 3 different websites, an auction is then created and the domain goes to the highest bidder, which can cause the purchase price of some of these domains to become pretty expensive.

Where do I Buy Expiring Domain Names?

Here is a old post, but good write up of what is involved with buying expired domain names and is still fairly accurately details the whole process.

As you can see, there is a lot to learn when it comes to attempting to acquire an expiring domain name. If you don’t have a lot of patience, your best bet is to instead attempt to buy low and sell high directly from the domain owner. This can easily by done by researching domains of high value and negotiating with the owner directly to purchase the domain from them at what you feel is a low price, then turning around and selling it at a much higher price.

How Do You Find a Good Domain Name

In the world of real estate, all sorts of things factor into the value of a property. As you probably know if you’ve purchased a home before, one of the biggest factors in determining the value of a property (and resale value) is location. If you are a business that deals with walk-in customers such as restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations, you are wanting a good location with a lot of people that pass by. In the world of domains, in order to find success, you need to train yourself to look for many of the same things that people look for in real estate. Here are the five things that I take into account when I’m considering buying a domain:

  1. Domain Length – Domains with more than 13 letters can be difficult to sell in most cases, unless you have a domain that is the name of an established business.
  2. Memorable – This kind of goes along with #1. A domain needs to be easy to remember for a business, and it needs to be easy to remember for a domainer. If you are cash parking, you are counting on a large amount of traffic from people entering your domain into their web browser.
  3. Easily Spelled – If the word(s) in your domain are hard to spell or can be spelled in multiple ways, it probably is best to avoid it. This also applies for words that are spelled differently depending on the language they are spelled in.
  4. Includes Keywords – A potential buyer for the domain will probably come to you because all good domains with their keyword are taken, so they want to purchase an established domain. Generic domains can be good as well, but will require more marketing to sell, where you will often get direct offers for keyword-rich domains without any work.
  5. Avoid Plural – The name of this site used to have Kyle’s in it, but that was a mistake I made long ago and rarely did a day go by that I didn’t regret it. People would think my name is either Kyles Eslick or Kyle Scove. That is why I’m so adamant about avoiding plural when it comes to domain names.

The above five examples are intended to be used as a guideline. For example, I do purchase domains longer than 13 letters occasionally, but it isn’t ideal if I’m looking to resell it. I try to only do so if they are the EXACT keywords someone would use to do a search.

How do I buy Domain Names?

When I go to buy domain names, I always use a service called PCNames (full review here). You simply input a desired domain name or a keyword you want to use, then search. PCNames will then display a bunch of available names using that keyword, and I’ve found they often make some great suggestions. Once you’ve found one you want to purchase, click Select and pick your registrar of choice. Going through them you get help finding your domain and you get a discount (for example dot com domains are $7.15 at GoDaddy when referred by PCNames).

What registrar should I use to buy domain names?

I get this question a lot. Does it really matter? Yes and no. I usually recommend people use GoDaddy altogether, or at least to register domains that they intend to flip, because it is the most popular registrar. This makes it a lot easier to transfer a domain from one person to another because their are better odds that a potential buyer either uses GoDaddy, or at least has a GoDaddy account to house the domain. Transferring from one GoDaddy account to another is really easy, but transferring between registrars adds some extra hassle.

What is this domain worth?

If you follow the above steps 1-5 and find one that meets that criteria, you should have a fairly valuable domain name. As long as the name is short, brandable, and avoids hyphens and other things, it has a lot of potential. A domain is technically worth what someone will pay for it, so its hard to nail down an actual value of a dot com domain name. But once you’ve come up with your price on that, though, you can follow the 1/10/30 rule to determine the other TLD values. This means that a dot net version of the domain is worth about 10% of the dot com counterpart, and the dot info version is worth about one third of the dot net value (or 1/30th of the dot com domain value).

You’ll find that domainers will often closely monitor what similar domains are selling for to determine the value of their domains. Another thing that increases a domains value is natural traffic (traffic coming from users entering the URL into their web browser). These will sell a lot better than one that doesn’t have natural traffic because you can easily monetize them using cash parking techniques.