99_failure_successI blogged about some of my successful site and domain purchases and sales before, but this time I’m going to tell you about a rather different story. As is known failures are a part of any business and if you don’t fail you simply don’t try hard enough. However I try to see failures as merely temporary setbacks and don’t let them stop me, but rather try to learn the lessons and make the necessary  adjustments to prevent them further along the way.

One of the first domains I purchased with the sole purpose of reselling it for more about 4 years ago was a 2 word .com generic. It had many good results in Google, quite a few advertisers in adwords. Was a solid 2 word generic and registered since 1998. Many potential end users and even the previous owner was an end user, however I got lucky (or so I thought..) as he didn’t have any further need in the domain since he was retiring from his business.

I was researching keywords manually and emailing .com domain owners to see if they might sell the domain cheap, a long and tedious job, but it is how most domainers who didn’t have the privilege of registering the top generics back in the late 90’s make their money. So I emailed this domain owner and he replied that he’s retiring from his business and willing to part with the domain. I offered $5k and he rather quickly accepted. The deal went through escrow and a few days later I was a proud owner of a 2 word .com generic domain.

There was a lot of excitement at first. I collected a large list of potential end users from Google results and ads and similar domains in other tlds and emailed them all. Several replied asking for price, but none seemed to be much interested after receiving my overly optimistic price tag of around $30k. I also tried selling it on the forums and auctions with no results. Then I decided to put it on ebay. The auction ended at only around $500. That’s when it hit me – I seriously overpaid for the domain!

So what went wrong? The domain was indeed a 2 word .com registered since 1998 and with a decent amount of google results, but it had a negative connotation – which is a very bad sign for a domain. There weren’t many searches on the main keyword and all the end users couldn’t afford to pay much for it. The advertisers on google were either low budget local companies, or even non profit organizations. I was totally wrong in my initial evaluation.

I tried to sell the domain several times after that but never got any significant offers to at least get back half the costs I paid for it. I still own the domain and it serves as a good reminder to be careful and do more and extra research and all the proper due diligence when buying. It’s a constant reminder not to be overly excited about any new domain purchase  and keep a healthy dose of realism in my evaluations.

Do I still see it as a failure? Not at all, I’ve learned many lessons on this one and they have paid off many times over since I applied them to my other purchases. I did lose quite a bit of money on that first one – especially considering that I didn’t have much cash to invest in domains back when I was just starting with it – but it taught  me some invaluable lessons which has proven to be a good trade off! Don’t get discouraged from your mistakes, but rather absorb the lessons and move on!

8 Responses

  1. I really appreciate your blog and think you have a lot of good experience to share. But every time I read your blog I left with wanting more detail. In this story, I am not sure what the down side is by letting us know the domain name. Without that piece of data, the post doesn’t provide much value to me I am sorry to say.

  2. Agree, not knowing the domain name kinda kills the story. We liked your other stuff not because you have good stories only, but because you actually gave the examples.

    Without the domain it is like you post could summarized with “One time I overpaid for a domain, it really sucked.”=)

  3. Thanks for this post, it’s one of the best I have ever read, and I read many including Rick Swartz and Frank Schilling.

    While I agree that it would be nice to know what the domain is, the fact that you have not posted it as part of this story tells me that your main interest is 100% to share your experience and not in hopes of finding someone to adopt that dog of a domain.

    Thank you, because so many posts are tainted with self-importance or self-interest. You just wanted to share a lesson you learned so others won’t repeat the same bone-headed, idiot, newbie screwup that you did. 🙂

    I have a story like this that I DON’T tell people, but the domain cost much less and situation was much different. Still, the same cautions apply. If people can learn from our mistakes, that would be a good thing except for those that want to sell domains to them.

    Of course, the early tip-off was that the domain owner quickly accepted your first offer. While that could have indicated his lack of knowledge, you learned it was something else.

    I hope you have developed the domain. If not, that would something to consider. The first expired domain I ever bought was truly one of the worst, Bizprolink-Internet.com which I bought I think because it had a few backlinks. I decided to put a site on it that had nothing to do with the keywords, and that site today is one of my top revenue generators.

  4. i think u’r just making things up ( a domain u bought for $5K) just to have some attention-getting post here…it works this time, but hey, i won’t drop by next time …sayonara amigo 🙂

  5. I have to agree with others. I believe this post doesn’t have any substance without mentioning the domain. If you want to help other domains, quantitive data would be very informative if you refrain from mentioning the domain.

    Maybe mention: the keywords receives x amount of searches. Advertisers are an average of x.xx for searches. The domain is within xxxx industry.

    A bit more of the statistics of the domain would go a long way as to what you’ve just posted.

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