In this final segment of the basics of domain investing series, I look at inbound and outbound selling, domain promotion, UDRP, parking and other ways to earn income from domains, and how to set up your own domain investing portfolio website. The article ends with links to additional resources. If you have not already read the two previous articles in this series, here are the links: Part 1 Domain Investing Basics – domain terms, extensions, research, registration, buying, renewing, where to list, and developing a plan. Part 2 Domain Investing Basics – characterizing domain names, landers, pricing, payment plans, DNS records and verification, fast-transfer networks, and domain transfer. Important Fine Print ICANN set certain responsibilities when you register, transfer or renew a domain name. Note in particular that (a) includes the requirement for accurate and complete contact information. Registrars, and sometimes others, interpret requests to take action on domain names based on the above criteria, so make sure you are in full compliance. Inbound, Outbound and Promotion You may sell a domain name inbound, which means that someone with interest in the name contacts you, either directly or through an inquiry or purchase at a marketplace where it is listed. They may discover your domain name in various ways. Another option, outbound is that you contact people with a potential legitimate interest in the domain name. The contact may be via email, phone, mail or direct contact. Generally speaking, it is suggested that domain names probably sell for higher prices with inbound, since the person has decided they might want the name and is coming to you. However, your sell-through rate can be higher with professionally conducted outbound. Certain types of names, like geo-specific, may require outbound to have much probability of sale. There is a third option, which I will call promotion. You promote awareness of the availability of the domain name, without making direct contact with any specific business. The promotion can take many forms: For example, the brandable marketplaces purchase online advertisements for certain domain names in their inventory. Others use social media, such as Twitter, to highlight a domain name. A bit less direct, an article on a site such as LinkedIn might be mainly on a broader topic, but also mention particular domain names that you hold. If you have your own blog related to corporate naming and branding, that can be a way to occasionally promote your names. Something as simple as listing a featured name in your email signature, or social media profile, may occasionally result in a lead. Outbound and Legislation There are multiple heated discussions on NamePros on the topic of outbound, and the dividing line with spam. Many domain investors are strictly inbound, while others use outbound extensively. If you do outbound, make sure you are professional and follow all laws and regulations. If you are not convinced that the business could clearly significantly benefit from this particular domain name, don’t even consider contacting them. In the United States the governing legislation is the CAN-SPAM Act. Other countries will have different legislation, which may be more confining. Note that the CAN-SPAM Act set specific requirements for contents of a commercial email, including that you provide a complete functional mailing address, a subject line that is not misleading, and a clear way for people to opt-out of any future contact. By the legislation, you must act on unsubscribe requests within 10 days. The penalties for not following all requirements of the act can be severe, up to just over $40,000 per offending email. Using a service such as MailChimp can assist you in compliance with opt-out provisions. TIP – Double Check CAN-SPAM Requirements Make sure you have checked all CAN-SPAM requirements, or the equivalent legislation for your country, if you do any outbound emails. For example, it is not enough to simply give your city and email address, your email must have a working postal address in the signature. Outbound Practical Advice If you do decide to do outbound, there are various discussions on NamePros that provide practical advice. The series that James Iles conducted with Mike Robertson has good pointers. Part 1 – Basics covers the type of email address to use, your signature, tracking if your email was read, and use of CRM, customer relationship management, software. Part 2 – Performing Outbound provides advice on topics such as checks to make prior to contact, how to find potential buyers, and who to contact in the business. Part 3 – Making Contact concentrates on the actual content of the message, what information should be included, and whether you should give a price in the initial contact. Part 4 – Negotiation covers how to respond to offers, negotiation, and closing the deal. There are many other threads on NamePros with helpful information on outbound, such as this one on Outbound Email Format by @rohitgoyal. He helpfully includes specific examples of types of messages he uses. Yogi Solanki has written a well-received book Domain Outbound Marketing. Tracking Interest If you do promotion, say mention a name on social media, or purchase online advertisements, it is important to see if the campaign had an impact. An easy way to get some idea is to note how many visits the lander had after the campaign, compared to the usual monthly rate. TIP – Tracking Interest on Alter With the Alter dashboard, use the pull-down menu to select the domain name you have recently promoted. Then use the custom date feature to look at the month prior to your intervention, and the period after the promotion. See if you have had more direct views, or favourites, since you promoted the name. With any platform that shows visits, you can accomplish the same manually, as long as you remember to check stats just before you start the promotion. If you use Google analytics, it is possible to do more sophisticated tracking, such as according to region and time spent on the lander. UDRP While this article is not legal advice, it is important for all domain investors to understand the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) process. If a business, or organization, feels that someone is holding a domain name in contravention of the requirements, they can file a UDRP claim as the complainant. The registrar will confirm registration information on the domain name when notified of the UDRP action, and within a tight time window the person holding the domain name, the respondent, or their legal representative, will file a response. Wikipedia have a well-written article on the UDRP policy and process. The ICANN section on UDRP provides the full legal framework for the mechanism. For a UDRP claim to be successful, it must according to the UDRP policy satisfy all three of the following criteria: the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. If you approach a business about buying a domain name which is similar to one of their trademark terms, the panels have generally considered that evidence of bad faith. TIP – Use-Based Rights Even if a company has not registered their trademark, their name can still have similar rights through business use. It is always a good idea to do a Google search as well as an OpenCorporates search on distinctive names you are considering acquiring. You can search past decisions by domain name, or complainant or respondent name, in this WIPO Cases database. If the complainant is successful, the panel will order that the domain name be moved from the respondent to the complainant. Note that in addition to UDRP additional legal remedies are potentially open to each party. There is a Legal Discussion section of NamePros. Also, see the discussion on Consequences of Registering Trademark Domain Names. TIP – Be Careful about Public Posting Particularly when asking about potential trademark or other legal issues, be very careful in posting to parts of NamePros that are publicly searchable. At the very least, make it so the domain name is not searchable. A number of lawyers specialize in issues related to domain names and UDRPs, and if facing a UDRP on a valuable domain name you should consult legal advice, and not rely on non-specialist opinions. Parking There are various services that provide revenue sharing according to income from clicks on a page for the domain name, this is called domain parking. The cost per click (CPC) can range from a penny or less, to $25 or more. Certain sectors traditionally have higher CPC, although it also depends on the exact term. TIP – Estibot Shows Search Volume Trends Even if you are not interested in the automated domain valuation, the Estibot report will show broad and exact search volume, as well as cost per click. For the search volume they show how it has varied over the past year. The fraction of those visiting who actually click on a link, the click-through-rate (CTR) will generally be low, so you may have many visits for every click. The click rate is highly variable with domain name. As Google search has moved to intentional algorithms, including completion of what the user starts typing, parking has become less lucrative for certain domain names. Clearly, though, some still make significant money from parking. Only a small fraction of registered names account for almost all of the overall parking revenue. Some suggest a trial period on a newly acquired name to get a handle on what it would generate in parking. Among the businesses offering monetized parking services to domain investors are: Afternic Bodis ParkLogic (strictly speaking a parking optimization service) ParkingCrew Sedo most registrars (via parking services) One of the NamePros members most experienced and successful in parking, is @biggie, who recently reminded us That comment is taken from one of the more active recent discussions on domain name parking, Making A Living From Domain Name Parking. Parking can provide an ongoing source of income in between domain name sales. However, one reason not to use parking, is it may take the emphasis away from your domain name being for sale. To partly alleviate this concern, Dan has partnered with Bodis for hybrid landers that provide a balance of advertising links with a for-sale lander. Some of the parking companies have their own landers that stress the name is for sale along with the parking links. If there is any chance a specific domain name might be disputed, that is a good reason not to use parking, as UDRP panels have cited paid advertising with links, either to the complainant or competitors of the complainant, in judgements. Essentially, they see you profiting from the complainant’s business and trademark. Parking is a big topic, the details of which are beyond this basic introduction. See the NamePros section on Domain Parking and Traffic Monetization. Other Ways To Earn Beyond selling domain names, or using domain parking, there are other possibilities for earning ongoing revenue from your digital investments, such as: Redirection of a domain name. Particularly if you have an exact match type name, a business might pay you to redirect that name to their site for a particular period of time. Affiliate revenue Many companies have affiliate programs in which you are compensated for every person who starts from your page and then uses your affiliate link to go on to purchase a product or service. In some cases it is a one-time compensation, and sometime even annual renewals will be compensated. Development You can develop the domain name, and earn in various ways including monetized advertisements, affiliate revenue, digital services, or product sales. The emergence of no-code platforms has made this easier than was once the case. Your Own Marketplace Do you need your own domain name marketplace website? This question has been discussed multiple times on NamePros. As long as your domain names are listed on one or more of the domain marketplaces, and have effective landers, I don’t think it is essential that you have your own website. That said, some prefer to have their own website for a variety of reasons. It may help your names get noticed, provide a platform that you have complete control over presentation and lead follow-up, or simply save on commissions. Your own marketplace listings may help names get listed in Google search. Web Hosting One approach to having your own website is to purchase a web hosting plan, and develop your website, either using direct web development or via a content management system (CMS). TIP – Web Hosting Note that many of the main web hosting services offer better deals on the initial contract than renewals. Therefore, it makes sense to sign up for as long a term as possible (3 or 4 years). Also, think carefully about your future needs, and read reviews, in choosing a hosting provider. TIP – HTTPS Increasingly, it is a requirement to have security certificates for web pages. At some hosting providers this can entail extra costs. While free certificates, such as Let’s Encrypt, are available, ease of installation and updating varies with hosting provider. This document show the hosting companies that support Let’s Encrypt. There are alternatives to hosting your own site that can get your domain name marketplace up faster and with less work. Efty Efty combines domain management with customizable landers and your own marketplace. You handle negotiations, although can partner with Dan to have them handle the transaction. You save commission costs, but Efty itself has a subscription cost. See the Efty subscription options here They do offer a 7 day trial if you want to check out their service. DNHat There are other platforms that provide an easy way to get your own marketplace operational without the coding. One of them is DNHat. Along with your domain marketplace, DNHat provides, depending on the plan you choose, mailing management, FAQ handling and blogging options. It also has the possibility to run monetized ads. You can see DNHat pricing and feature list here. Marketplace Portfolio Link If you list most or all of your names on one marketplace, say all on DAN, Sedo, Alter or Afternic, it is possible at most marketplaces to set one link that shows all of your names at that site. This provides a zero-cost solution that you could link in your email or NamePros signature, or share in an email. For example, at Alter - you just specify a word, say example, in your Alter portfolio setting, and then your portfolio link is https://alter.com/portfolios/example. SquadHelp White Label Another zero-cost option, at least until names sell then you pay commission, is the SquadHelp white label platform. It is easy to get started – you set one of your domain names to be the domain name for your marketplace. After setting a few things, like style and welcome message, your standard listings will be operational on your SquadHelp white label marketplace. SquadHelp handle the sales and transaction process, with a much lower commission (7.5%) than for premium listings at SquadHelp. In your white label site the process for assigning descriptions, categories, big ideas, style and visual images are the same as for premium SquadHelp names, and people can search your white label site by these traits. You set your own prices, as well as payment plan options. If you want, you can opt-in to SquadHelp setting different names on discount each week, according to parameters that you set. TIP – SquadHelp Clear Cache If you made changes, but they don’t seem to show up on your SquadHelp white label site, odds are it is because you did not clear cache. Just go to your standard listing settings and click that button. Learning More Here are some additional sources for learning more in the early stages of domain name investing. NamePros Popular Beginner Resources NamePros Services and Resources Starting Out In Domain Investing – Check Out These Articles The Domaining Dictionary Simple Ideas to Guide Domain Name Investing Free Tools For for Quick Domain Research The Many Ways People Might Discover Your Domain Name Hand Registering Domain Names Six Lessons for Domaining Beginners 12 Common Domainer Mistakes I hope readers will add their own advice and links to resources on NamePros that they found particularly helpful when they were starting out.