Meet a Domain InvestorMike Sullivan
If you’re a domainer and feel you have an interesting story or strategy to share, contact me. I’ll be happy to feature you if your story will contribute to the domain community or provides helpful information to others.
Andy LaPointe is a domainer with over 200 domains in his portfolio, including a good number of generic names. He owns bartendertraining.com, tartcherryrecipes.com, startafoodbusiness.com, and others. He uses his domains in several different ways. He has followed this strategy over the past 12 years. Andy started purchasing generic domains in 1998 and has sold some generic names over the years, too.
Mike: Tell me a little bit about what you do as a domainer?
Andy: I look at myself as a marketer and I just happen to market my products both online and offline. I started my internet business in 1998 while I was working in the corporate world as a mutual fund wholesaler and in 2005 I officially resigned from the corporate world to work full time on my internet business. I am basically in three main niches with sub-niches within the main niches. Because of my background and training I am in the following niches: finance, technology and health and wellness. I am a firm believer in joint ventures and partnering with others when building businesses.
In addition to developing domains, over the years I also have sold a number of domains from my portfolio including debtfreemillionaire.com, shopinyourpajamas.com, exerciseforlife.com and others. The lowest price I sold a domain from my portfolio was $27 and the highest was several thousand dollars.
I currently have three employees on my payroll, I also work with several freelancers on a per project basis ranging from website design, graphics, etc. My sites have been online since 1998 and depending on the niche I want to enter I purchase an additional 2 – 15 domains per year.
Mike: You own several names such as own bartendertraining.com, tartcherryrecipes.com, startafoodbusiness.com and others. It looks like you’re monetizing each of them and it different ways. For example, bartendertraining.com looks to be using a combination of Google Adsense and an e-book that is for sale, startafoodbusiness.com looks to use a different technique. Tell me about some of the strategies you are using on these sites.
Andy: You’re exactly right, depending on the niche I am in, I use a combination of several different techniques and strategies. I believe in having diversified streams of income from my business. These income streams include affiliate income, Adsense, sale of a digital products, selling banner ads on my sites, sale of physical products, etc. Following this strategy keeps my income well diversified.
For example, the strategy behind www.bartendertraining.com is a direct navigation, so I use Google Adsense and the sale of an e-book as monetization strategies for this site.
The domain www.tartcherryrecipes.com is a site with the sole purpose of capturing emails and building a list for my food related domains. I have several domains in the food niche all collecting emails and building a list for my most recent venture www.startafoodbusiness.com.
As the name implies, www.startafoodbusiness.com teaches people how to start a food business. This is a membership sites that provides step-by-step strategies on taking a food recipe from idea to market. At first glance this may seem like just another niche I entered, but the reason I entered this niche is in addition to my online ventures I also have several offline ventures including a food business. Since 2001, my partners and I have created several food brands, so we have a lot of experience and credibility in the food niche.
In fact, one of my food brands, www.traversebayfarms.com has won 14 national food awards, so not only do we know about great recipes but also how to start and run a food business. We also have a number of testimonials from Hollywood celebrities and a number of celebrities using our food products. I make sure to use domains as a way to communicate these awards and testimonials to enhance my offline business.
Mike: Can you share the volume of traffic that your sites receive?
Andy: Like many internet marketers and domain investors, the traffic volume of my domains vary widely. I have some that are rank over 1,000,000 on Alexa and many that rank under 100,000. For example, I own an article directory site. This was a site my partners and I purchased a few years ago when it had an Alexa of approximately 250,000 and since then we increased the ranking to approximately 14,000. This site falls under the niche of technology in the three niches we are in.
Mike: How are you marketing the sites?
Andy: We use a combination of both online and offline strategies. Due to the rising cost of Adwords, we are focusing on organic ranking for many of our sites by using linking building and organic SEO strategies. I am also a firm believer in cross promotion and cross marketing.
Mike: What are some other domains you own?
Andy: We have over 200 domains in our portfolio spread across the three niches I mentioned before. In fact, just recently we just picked up three domains that we think are really good and are in the process of developing them. These domains are: www.socialblending.com, www.socialmediablending.com and www.yourinternetconsultant.com These domains are a play on the increasing interest of offline businesses beginning to market online and the blending of social media into internet marketing.
Mike: Any advice for start ups, small business, or business of any size for that matter on choosing the right domain name?
Andy: In addition to purchasing your company name, one of the best strategies to follow is to use descriptive, generic domains. This will not only prevent you from getting involved in a trademark lawsuit but if you pick the right generic domain it can explode your business.
Before we enter a niche we conduct detailed searches online and offline about up-and-coming phrases for the niche we are in or want to enter and we try to grab these up-and-coming phrases. For example, several years ago when affiliate marketing started to get popular the generic phrases were “affiliate marketing”, “associate marketing”, “affiliate advertising”, ”associate advertising”, etc.. If you could, you would have wanted to grab those type of domains and build a business around them. That is why we grabbed the social domains I mentioned before, because social marketing is only going to grow in the future.
Mike: What is your overall goal for your domains?
Andy: The main goal of our portfolio is to provide cash flow for my business, while the secondary goal is to sell them for the right price. The majority of the domains in our portfolio are currently developed or are in the process of being developed. We follow the strategy of collecting ongoing cash flow from our domain properties. When we purchase a domain, we have a plan on developing that specific domain to produce a cash flow for our business.
People can contact me at www.andylapointe.com