Tough Domains

Toughdomains

Tim Koutroubas is the founder of ToughDomains.com.  Tim and I have been exchanging emails for a couple of months as we’ve discussed the ToughDomains platform.  ToughDomains.com offers Domain Parking, Sales Pages, Portfolio Management and more.  Tim and I talked a little bit about the site and what it offers.

 

Mike:  What inspired you to launch ToughDomains.com?

ToughDomains:  We saw a need in the industry to consolidate the “Domain Cycle”.

The “Domain Cycle” is Discovering / Buying, Managing the Portfolio, Earning Revenue, and eventually Selling the domain.

Domain Cycle

There are many services that address each part of the domain cycle individually.  Some services are easy to use while others require a high level of technical expertise and /or  cost.  We wanted to create an affordable Free to Premium based platform that addresses each portion of the domain cycle with an easy to use hosted execution.

 

Mike:  How many domains would you say are currently supported by the platform?   Roughly how many members?

ToughDomains:  The platform currently supports thousands of domains and hundreds of users in an open beta.  Currently, we are releasing major updates that are addressing our users wishes and requests.

 

Mike:  You have a tiered pricing plan, but your first tier is free up to 20 domains.  This is great for people who want to test it out before committing to a monthly payment.  What benefit does your platform have over parking services or other competitors in this space?

ToughDomains:  Feature flexibility is a key differentiator for us.  We allow you to use our software by itself or in conjunction with your current solutions.  Some of our differentiators include:

• Instant Domain Development- Allows you to connect premium multipage content to hundreds of domains in minutes.

• Ad Network Integration- We currently integrate with two ad networks (with more to come) including AdSense.  Simply inter your publisher ID and start earning revenue.

• Domain Analytics- We provide domain level traffic data that includes hits, referring URLs, and country of origin.  Must have information before selling the domain.

• Multiple Public Portfolios-  Create a portfolio of all your domains or a custom curated list of only the domains requested by a buyer.

• Domain Insights and Portfolio Management- Free Registrar, Expiration Date & Admin Email are currently available. Later this month, full portfolio management such as entering buy and sell info, net profit, domain valuation & various ranking metrics will be available in dashboard.

• Free Bulk Name Server Redirect- Redirect hundreds of names to a single domain or your own offer form.

• Commission Free Sales Pages- Unlike many other services we offer a Zero commission sales page.

 

Mike:  The live demos on your site showed me three options.  A sales page that was clean and simple.  A news page that looked like it might have some configurable content.  Finally a portfolio page which was a simple list of names for sale.  Are any of these more successful than the others?  Do you find the news pages get indexed by Google?

ToughDomains:  Our Instant Domain Development, Sales Pages, and name server Redirects are by far our most popular domain tools.  Our founding members have existing SEO expertise and we are leveraging this knowledge to increase traffic to the domains.  We are indeed seeing SEO benefits to domains using our instant domain development tool.

 

Mike:  Is there any PayPal integration or is the sale just through email correspondence and the buyer and seller work out the details.

ToughDomains:  Currently, we offer email correspondence.  However, integration to the most popular escrow services is currently under development and to be released soon.  We believe a non-direct payment option within an escrow environment is the safest solution for both buyers and sellers.  We are not sure the ecosystem is ready for a direct to purchase model.

 

Mike:  The site states “Keep 100% of the Domain Sell Price -Zero Commission Paid on any of the domains you sell! ”  My question is… how do you make any money to support the site?

ToughDomains:  We are domainers and like many domainers we do not believe in collecting a commission for a non-brokered direct inquiry of your domain.

We have 3 revenue models:

• As needed premium subscription revenue.

• Ad Supported model for content hosted for our free users.

• We are currently developing a third revenue model that we will be releasing in Q1 2017.

Domain Sales Theme – Genius Idea

Wouldn’t it be great to be in control of your domain sales?  I mean, wouldn’t you like to skip all the commissions and BS that goes along with listing your domain with a 3rd party seller?  What if all of your domains could have their own landing page / sales page?  What if you could point your domains to your own server, choose to receive offers on your domains or list them as “Buy it Now”  and handle the transactions through Escrow.com or Paypal?

Alright, that’s a lot of questions and clearly I am getting to something here.  Meet Ed de Jong, owner of Pixor Media.  I met Ed years ago through DomainBoardRoom.com and have worked with him on many projects.   He’s designed and redesigned many sites for me over the years.  Ed is a talented WordPress developer and one of his recent creations is the Domain Sales Theme. It’s impressive!

Here’s the low down in a nut shell.  The Domain Sales Theme allows you to setup your domain portfolio on a master domain where users can search your inventory.  It also allows you to provide a sales landing page that allows you to take offers or use instant “buy it now” transactions.  If you want, you can even require users to pay a small fee to submit an offer, cutting down on all the non-serious inquiries.  The ability to complete the transactions through Escrow is built into the theme!

I’m in the process of setting this up, but to provide an example, here is a parent domain that’s using the theme.

domaintheme1

The page can be customized to suit your needs.   From here, users can view your domain categories by selecting the “Categories” link.

domaintheme2

Select a category and view all the names in that category.  Then select the name that interests you.   You’ll be directed to that domain with it’s sales page where you can make an offer.

domaintheme3

 

The beauty of this is that every domain you own can quickly be setup with a stand alone landing page, just by adding it through the main site.  You can get your entire inventory of domain names setup with their own sales pages in no time.  Then you are in complete control.  No brokers or third party platforms to work through.

There are some server requirements you have to work within (VPS or Dedicated hosting with cpanel), but there are several hosting companies that have very affordable hosting plans, such as HostGator.

If you decide to pick up the theme, let me know what you think in the comments or shoot me an email.

Improve your Domain Sales E-mails with AI

I’ve been a fan of Boomerang for Gmail since I first learned of it back in 2010.  It’s one of those tools that I rooted for along the way in hopes that it would make a permeant presence, and it has.  I primarily use the tool to schedule emails to send at future times and dates.   Over the past couple of weeks, I noticed a new feature within my Gmail when composing new emails.  A small meter in the lower right corner labeled “Boomerang Respondable.”

BoomerangRespondable

Boomerang Respondable is a free tool include as a part of Boomerang’s free service.  The Boomerang site states the following copy:

“Add an assistant that uses artificial intelligence to help you write better, more actionable emails in real time. Based on data from millions of messages, Respondable makes every email you send more effective.”

The meter adjusts as you continue to type and make changes.  Clicking on the meter reveals four areas being rated:

  1. Subject Length
  2. Word Count
  3. Question Count
  4. Reading Level

BoomerangFullView

Each area has it’s own score as well.  Upgrading will unlock some additional areas to further improve your email’s respondability.  Clicking on the help symbol next to each area will provide more information on what is specifically being rated in that area.

BoomerangHelp

 

Does it work?  I don’t really know how effective it is yet.  I haven’t sent enough emails using it to get a good feel.  But I will continue eyeballing the meter as I type and see if I notice any major improvements in responses to my domain sales emails.

Busy? – 5 Podcasts You Need to Follow

domainpodcastsLife is busy.  You don’t have to remind me.  We’ve all got our own story about why there aren’t enough hours in the day, and I’m not denying that those stories are legit.  The day job is really interfering with your side gig…   Wait, you still need to find time to eat, sleep and spend quality time with the family?  Should you hit the gym today or use that hour to catch up on something else?  Do you have time left to hit Domaining.com and read up on the latest in the domain industry?

Aside from being a domainer, I’m also a productivity freak.  Always looking for ways to do things better, faster, more effectively.  When it comes to a busy schedule, there is one easy way to stay up to date on domaining.  Podcasts.

I’m not saying that podcasts can or should replace your daily news feed, but they are a great alternative on those days where you know you’ll be sitting in traffic, working out at the gym, or riding the train for an hour.  But where can you catch some domain love via podcast?  Here are my top five picks at the moment.

1.  DomainSherpa.com

Michael Cyger hit the domain scene up side the head when he launched DomainSherpa.com.   Since that time, he has produced some of the best and informative video interviews and discussions the industry has ever seen.  Michael is serious about delivering information and the program often runs over an hour long.  In all honesty, I don’t have the time or attention span to sit in front of my computer at home and make it through a full episode.  I do however spend a lot of time commuting.  It’s a great opportunity to get some of the industry’s best information facilitated by Cyger.

2. DomainNameWire.com

Led by Andrew Allemann, DNW is the longest running blog covering the business of domain names.  Allemann talks about the latest news in the domain industry and interviews relevant guests as well.  I have been a long time fan of the blog but only recently began listening to the podcasts which go back to October of 2014, so I have some catching up to do.

3. Domain Masters

Domain Masters is actually the first domain podcast I ever listed to.  They help you become “The Master of Your Domain” (feel free to insert your own Seinfeld reference here).  It’s also the longest running podcast in the industry.  However, there hasn’t been a new episode on itunes this year.  I’m not sure what the fate of the program is, but there is an extensive backlog of episodes to help educate you.

4. OZDomainer.com

Ed Keay-Smith is the founder of OzDomainer.com.  The domainer from down under has a catalog of past podcasts running back to 2010.  There seems to be a gap in audio between 2013 and 2016, but the blog and podcasts are worth checking out.

 

5. InternetBusinessMastery.com

I stumbled across this podcast a couple of years back.  While it’s not domain specific, it’s all about online business and making money online.  I actually interviewed Jeremy and Jason, the guys behind the podcast, a couple of years ago but some technical difficulties in the the recording prevented me from posting it.  Maybe I’ll clean up what I can and post it soon.  There websiste is pretty “salesy” but there is some excellent content these guys share in their podcasts.

 

Let me know your thoughts on these podcasts and what your favorites are that I haven’t mentioned.  I haven’t done a ton of exploring here so I’m hoping to here of some additional domaining podcasts from you in the comments that I can add to my library.

Looking for Domain Coupons and Discounts?

deals_and_Coupons_version_2

Steve Baik has been working in the SEO and Internet marketing industries since 2000. Although Steve has registered and developed domain names since 2004, it wasn’t until 2012 that he took up domaining as a real hobby. Today, he runs DNPromos.com and DNSelect.com, two sites dedicated to sharing resources and increasing awareness about the domain industry.

Mike: DNPromos.com seems like a solid idea, to collect domain discounts all in one place. Can you provide some additional details around what the site provides and how it works?

Steve:  What you see is what you get. It’s a site that collects and publishes domain coupons codes for various registrars. The coupon codes are manually added and not automatically aggregated like many other sites.

 

Mike:  What drove you to launch the site?

Steve:There are 4 main reasons why I started the site:
1. As someone that does business on the Internet, I have registered hundreds of domain names over the years. Since I use these coupon codes myself, I wanted to create a database that I can refer to at any time.
2. There is no shortage of coupon codes online, but I noticed that many of them didn’t work or were expired. So that is why I created my own site.
3. To help people save money.
4. To make a little money on the side.

 

Mike: The site allows users to add coupon codes as well. Are you seeing much activity there, or do you add most of the codes on your own? Also, how reliable are the codes?

Steve:  Most of the codes are added by me. I have no problem with user-submitted coupons, but most of them get deleted because they are not relevant to domain names. I want this site to be dedicated to domain promo codes only. It is called DNPromos for a reason. The codes are reliable for the most part, but it’s hard to keep it at 100% because we’re dealing with hundreds of codes. Whenever a coupon code has an expiration date, the coupon code deactivates when it hits the date.

 

Mike: I’m curious about monetization. I see you have some banner ads on the site which would rely heavily on traffic. The site appears to be fairly new. Are you achieving your traffic goals? Are you an affiliate of the registrars that are listed?

Steve: Honestly, the site does not make a lot of money. Like I said, my main motivation for creating this site wasn’t to make money, and I knew making a small percentage from a $1 domain sale wasn’t going to make me rich. I’m currently running some affiliate programs and have a couple of Adsense banners on the site.

As for traffic goals, I don’t really have one because again, the site isn’t motivated by money. Most of the traffic is from organic search rankings, so whatever it brings, is what I get. Of course I want to increase traffic, but I don’t spend too much time on SEO or marketing it.

 

Mike:  What is your ultimate vision for DNPromos.com?

Steve:  I hope DNPromos eventually becomes the go-to site for domain coupons and promo codes. It’s only about 2 years old, so it is far from having reached its potential. Hopefully, the site will grow through word-of-mouth, social media, and some link love.