“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.”   William Blake

Via SEOBook, I was introduced to Frank Schilling’s domain-focused blog. Discovering the world of domaining from Frank and other domain experts like Jay Westerdahl has been an extremely eye-opening experience because until recently, I had viewed domain names solely as a component of the equation for attaining high search engine rankings. I intuitively knew that domain names had their own intrinsic value apart from the SEO process but I had never considered that I could make money from them just through mere possession.

Frank and Jay taught me that a domain name can be very valuable on its own without even taking into consideration any monetization I might do to it. By picking and holding onto domain names wisely, I can generate wealth while mostly ignoring the prevailing search engine algorithms. I could get targeted visitors to my website from people who type the name of my website into their web browser and I could earn money from these visitors either by placing ads on the parked pages or creating my own web pages that sell products relevant to the name. Furthermore, my ability to monetize the sites would only play a small part in determining the worth of my domains to a prospective buyer.

If I could register a generic, descriptive commonly searched word/phrase as a dot com domain, I have potentially acquired an asset that will be worth far more than what I paid for it.

I had made a few recent domain pickups but lacked a cohesive strategy for purchase. I was floundering around looking for some guidance that would allow me to make a bigger splash into this new (for me) internet marketing realm. Then, I had my Kubla Khan Moment…

Instead of giving you a set of boilerplate domain name acquisition rules to follow, I think it would be more useful for me to provide you a “diary” of my initial foray into domaining. I encourage you to follow along with my story with your take-away being:

•  That you can go apply this process to a subject area of knowledge that interests you and participate in this exciting way of making money online.
•  That you go through my process in my specialty niche and if you see any good domains that I missed, you can grab them for yourself.

My First Time

Since becoming an internet marketer, I have kept current with the latest news involving “lifestyle pharmaceuticals” with the aim of selling them as an affiliate. I learned very quickly that I wasn’t going to break into the Viagra / Phentermine marketplace as a major player…instead, I focused on identifying drugs early in their research / testing phase that had potential to be big and formulated strategies to earn income from them well before they became available to consumers. One drug that caught my attention was Intrinsa, a testosterone patch used to treat female sexual dysfunction. Though approved in much of Europe, Intrinsa was not approved in the U.S. and as we speak, pharmaceutical companies are attempting to develop Intrinsa alternatives that will hopefully satisfy the FDA.

I stumbled across the following web page that discussed one such alternative and as I read this page, I had my domainer epiphany. I encourage you to read the content on the linked page so you can better follow my thoughts.

First, I looked at the headline that referred to MDTS (Metered Dose Transdermal Spray), a method of drug delivery that was unknown to me. I thought this product/process might have the potential to be quite important in the realm of drug delivery, which meant that perhaps I could conjure up a worthy new domain name from the presented information. If I could figure out what people would commonly call this device in a way that avoids its trademark, I could purchase a valuable domain name. “MDTS” was trademarked (and likely taken anyway as a domain) and the non-trademarked “Metered Dose Transdermal Spray” would be too long for many to type or remember. How about “Transdermal Spray”? I perceived that most folks searching for information on this device would call it a “Transdermal Spray” and since transdermalspray.com was available, I grabbed it.

Then, I focused my attention to the pharmaceutical itself. In generic terms, the product was a “testosterone spray” but testosteronespray.com was taken (and not likely my best choice anyway). Femaletestosteronespray.com was available but I thought that phrase sounded too clinical to be commonly used. Summoning all my perceptive abilities, I concluded that if this product were to hit big in the marketplace, no matter what its trademarked name would be, and considering the prurient nature of most people, it would likely be thought of as the “Female Sex Spray”. Since femalesexspray.com was available, I purchased it. If this product makes it to market successfully and become an effective treatment for female sexual dysfunction, my domain name could become much more valuable than the seven dollars I spent to register it.

Suddenly, I felt that I figured out a methodology from which I could smartly pick “lifestyle pharmaceutical” domain names. I then created two lists. The first list consisted of the top “lifestyle conditions” that would lead people to seek out a pharmaceutical. The second list would consist of “pharmaceutical delivery agents”: i.e. the form in which the pharmaceutical would be delivered to the patient. I would match terms from list 1 and list 2, and check to see what domains were available for purchase.

List 1: Lifestyle Conditions
Chosen: Male & Female Sexuality, Male & Female Hormones, Hair Loss, Weight Loss, Smoking Cessation, and Acne.
Not Chosen: Anti-Aging (due to diverse keywording).

List 2: Pharmaceutical Delivery Agents
Chosen: Pill, Patch, Ointment, Gel, Cream, Lotion, and even (yuck) Suppository
Not Chosen: Balm, Unguent, Salve, Oil, Liniment

Once I started combining phrases from List 1 and List 2, I was amazed at how many domains remained available that were common generic phrases that mapped well either to drugs in development that I knew about, drugs that should/could be in development that I didn´t know about, or non-pharmaceutical formulations that could be sold in a high-end affiliate program. I then grabbed a whole bunch of domains and placed relevant advertising on these pages. Earlier, I had made up my mind to purchase 100 domains…in my enthusiasm, I probably selected some domain names that I should have left on the table.

It might be years before I know how successful my first domaining venture was. However, just by the fact that many of these domain names map well to potential blockbuster drugs in development, I feel comfortable that I had a profitable day. I know that if just one of these domains succeeds, I will have a huge ROI from my purchase. Most importantly, I have trained myself to view any marketplace through the prism of a domainer and translate real world opportunities into potentially valuable generic keyword domain name purchases.

Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide. He is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon’s Search Engine Marketing Association.

Todd Mintz
Todd Mintz knows PPC...knows Social Media...knows SEO...knows Blogging...knows Domaining...and knows them all real well. He is the SEM Consigliere for 3Q Digital and is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association, and he can be found here on Twitter and Facebook.
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