Keep Your Job and Earn an Extra $100K Through Domaining – with Morgan Linton

In 2010, Morgan Linton earned revenue in the five figures from domain name investing – which he does after his normal workday. This year, Morgan is on track to earn more than $100,000.

In this interview, Morgan describes how he generated a six-figure income outside of his day job. And he shares some of the secrets from his new book, Domain Investing Handbook, that will help you learn from his experience and mistakes – when to drop bad domain names, what to buy with the registration fee savings, guidelines to find great domains, and much more.

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About Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton, Domain Investing Handbook

Morgan Linton is a domain investor who started building websites in 1994. In 2007, Morgan took his savings – which had had planned to invest in real estate – and instead invested in Internet domain names. Today, his investment has yielded a continuous passive income that is in the five- to six-figure range, and includes major online brands like Kayaking.org.

Morgan is also the author of three books, including DN Flipping and most recently Domain Investing Handbook.

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Sponsors of This Interview

DomainTools is the recognized leader in domain name intelligence, providing a powerful set of research and monitoring tools built on the industry’s freshest data. DomainTools offers the most comprehensive collection of domain name ownership records in the world. Over 1 million members rely on DomainTools to protect and grow the value of their web sites, their domain names and their intellectual property on a daily basis.

David E. Weslow, Attorney at Law – provides legal representation for clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies in relation to domain name transactions and disputes, trademark and copyright claims, and web hosting and content liability issues. A former software and web developer, he regularly assists clients with cutting-edge issues involving law and technology.

Page2Sucks.com provides the SEO advice you need to take your developed domain name from page 2 (or worse) to the first page of organic search results on Google or Bing. Ask questions and receive answers within 24 hours. Build long-term value – and generate monthly EFT paychecks from Google – by search engine optimizing your domain name websites.

Morgan Linton Interview Key Take-Aways

  • Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to determine if a domain name has enough search volume to be valuable. Search volume threshold: 500 to 1,000 exact match searches. (Andrew Rosener confirmed.)
  • Beware of highly competitive searches: If you get much above 10,000 exact match searches you will likely need to spend over a thousand dollars a month in search engine optimization to rank well (e.g., laptops.com or televisions.com).
  • Google AdWords cost per click threshold: $2.00.
  • Two things that you should pay attention to when buying from another person: the registration date, and the number of domain names the owner has.
  • Look for domain names that expired and are in auction with the following qualities: .com TLD, greater than 3 years old, previously developed with backlinks.
  • .us domain names tend to be trusted more by consumers for topics that are government related, like taxes or stimulus checks.
  • The key to monetizing a domain name is to understand what a potential visitor would be looking for if they were to visit your site.
  • If you drop 20 bad domain names in a month, you’re saving $200 in registration fees which can then be invested into buying one good domain name. Plus, your renewal fees will be lower every year.

Morgan Linton Interview Raw Transcript

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Watch the full video at:
http://www.domainsherpa.com/morgan-linton-domaininvestinghandbook-interview

Today’s DomainSherpa interview is sponsored by the following companies:

First, where do you go to research domain name availability, look-up current and historical WHOIS information, and find domain name sales history? Ever wonder which other websites use the same hosting resources you do? DomainTools.com provides a complete picture of a domain name – from research to monitoring – and is trusted by more than 1 million members around the world. Did I mention they’ll monitor domain names for you for free? Check ‘em out: DomainTools.com.

Finally, you knows that being on page 1 — the first page of results — of a major search engine like Google or Bing can drive exponentially more traffic than being on page 2 (or worse). if you’re a domain developer and in need of immediate, free advice to get your website to the top of the organic search results, will you go check out Page2Sucks.com? You heard me right: Page 2 Sucks.com.

Here’s your program.

Michael: Hey everyone, my name is Michael Cyger and I’m the publisher of DomainSherpa.com, the domain name authority and the place where successful domain investors come to tell their stories, tell how they built their portfolio, motivate you and give you ideas so you can become a more successful domain investor.

Today’s interviewee began investing in domains only in 2007 but since then has done a pretty phenomenal job banking up for lost time. Hearing five figures in 2010 and is on pace to make six figures in 2011. And he’s doing this while holding down a full time job. We’re going to find out exactly how he does it and you’re in luck, he’s written an eBook on the topic entitled, Domain Investing Handbook. And we’re going to go into the details of this book and share some of those with you. The author of the book is Morgan Linton. Morgan, welcome to the show.

Morgan: Michael, thank you so much for having me, really an honor to be here.

Michael: You bet and I don’t want to butcher your name right from the start, it’s Morgan Linton for the transcriber.

Morgan: You got it. You got it.

Michael: For the, for the transcriber. Alright, I like to start of every interview by asking domain investors, how many domain names they own and how they break it up by TLD and category. Can you share your stats?

Morgan: Yes, absolutely, it’s a really good question. So, I have about a thousand domain names and it’s interesting because it’s really changed how the TLD split has really evolved over the years. It started out at boy probably about 60% .us because that’s the TLD I had most successful with from monetization standpoint and my goal is that by the end of 2011, I will be close to 90% .com.

Michael: Wow, okay, that’s quite a big switch.

Morgan: It is.

Michael: So you wrote in your book that you bought 1200 domains—

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: In your first year.

Morgan: I did.

Michael: But then in your next year, you only renewed 600 domains—

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: Leaving 50% of your portfolio.
Morgan: Yes.

Michael: And it comes in play here the .us to the .com switch—

Morgan: Sure.

Michael: Can you talk about that a little bit?

Morgan: Yes, and that was, to be honest with you boy I mean that was a really great learning experience. I think every domainer goes through that and I call it the domain buying spree. You know I think what happens is a lot of people when they see this industry, they read a blog like mine or yours, somebody else’s, they get really excited but rather reading multiple post from us, they’ll read one post and they’ll go, “Oh my God, this is great,” and will go on to GoDaddy or Moniker or somewhere and they’ll just start registering names that sound great to them. And I’m someone that did that myself and you know, the hardest thing to do is look back at that portfolio once you learn more and go, “Wait a second, you know, do all these makes sense?” and for me of those 1200 domains, I looked at them and said, “Whoa, alright, hey, 600 of these actually do makes sense and I was making money with somewhere like, wow, okay, that’s great and the ones that are similar to that make a lot of sense.” And then there was another 600, where I went, “I’m never going to sell these. I’m never going to make money with these,” and it’s one of the smartest things you can do which is to drop them, not turn your wheels, you know, a lot of people can go, “Well, I’m just going to try to sell those.” You can but the best thing to do is just drop them on DN forum if you can sell them for 10 or 20 bucks, great. Otherwise, don’t worry about dropping them because you just really put your efforts on where you can actually make your money.

Michael: Now, that takes some guts to drop 600 domain names especially only a year into domaining. You know, I know you’ve spent a little bit time before that but only a year in, how do you know whether they’re the ones that you should drop or maybe you keep them because they’re brandable but nobody’s ever gone to the site.

Morgan: I mean what I did is I did reach out for help pretty quickly and because I found I was monetizing names but there’s no else that monetize, everyone is into this whole buy sell thing.

Michael: Right.

Morgan: I found that I couldn’t really sell many of my names because nobody really wants to buy .us names but I was making money with them, there was I was making really over a 1000 bucks a month pretty quickly and I was like, “Wow, this is great. I’m talking people. There going I don’t understand how are you even making that, those with .us names, “what are you going to do with those?” and I had some .nets and .orgs and very few .coms and it was really through the advice. And you know, I think some of the best advice I got was to use the Google AdWord keyword tool and start to look at, “Hey, how many people are actually searching for what it is that you have and one of the first names I registered was a .com and it’s iwantasegue.com, which happens to be a trademark domain and happens to be something that nobody is searching for. And that was the learning experience where I had a couple of people that said, “Well, you know, if you can’t see yourself helping yet and if you look and no one is searching for it, what’s the value in keeping it?”

Michael: Right, okay, well that’s a good example. Iwantasegway.com, that’s one that you dropped.

Morgan: Yes, I did drop that.

Michael: Okay, and we mentioned on the pre-interview that you’re on track to earn six figures in 2011, so that’s revenue of over $100,000 from your domains.

Morgan: Correct, Yes.

Michael: Fantastic.

Morgan: It’s a good feeling, Yes.

Michael: So Morgan, you’re mainly a domain developer rather than a flipper, is that correct?

Morgan: I think of myself as a monetizer rather than a developer because I don’t spend much of my time developing, my time is more spent in monetizing and you know there’s I think an intricacy between the two that people miss and I’ve talked about this a lot in my presentations and I try not to give it all away of my blog because I do like to have something kind of fresh when I give these presentations. I talked about this a lot at domain round table in the blogs recently. You know this concept that the people have of, “Oh, well if I develop my names then they’re going to make money, kind of like that whole field of dreams analogy, you know like build and it come.

Michael: Right, right.

Morgan: And that’s not really true, it really depends on what domain it is and depends on how you monetize it. And so for me, the development part is a pretty quick easy part, the hard part is one it’s develop in getting traffic. How can I make sure I’m getting the most revenue from that traffic and that’s the hard part, is looking at, “Hey, where are the visitors coming from, what are they clicking on, how are they clicking on it, are they clicking on a search box, are they clicking on a text link, and for that I use things like hit maps to be able to figure out the where are people’s mouse is going and what link are they actually clicking on and then trying to find out which programs convert the most. Probably a bulk of my time goes into actually optimizing the monetization once the development is done.

Michael: Got it. Okay, I’m going to come back to monetization rather than developing. because when I, before we started this interview, I thought monetization is developing unless you’re perking it and so it sounds like—

Morgan: A lot of people do.

Michael: You’re saying, it’s different and so I want to come back to that.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: So, the $100,000 of revenue that you’re on pace to earn this year and the, you know, the five figures that you made last year, that’s from monetization, it’s not from flipping. So, you’re not buying $80,000 in domain names and flipping it for $100,000 to make $20,000, right?

Morgan: No, no, no, Yes…

Michael: Now, so if you don’t count your hours working, your expenses are probably less than 20% of revenue or?

Morgan: Yes, oh yes, yes I mean I have to try to find, my accountant said this year in a very strange statement and I was like you don’t mean this as accounting but he said you have to spend more money. You have to find more ways to spend—

Michael: It’s true, it’s going to be a red flag if you don’t.

Morgan: Yes, you’re not spending enough and I mean that’s one of the hardest things to do but now I’m doing a better job of it. But yes, about 90% of my revenue comes from monetization. I do flip names at times if I see something that’s, that I think has really good flip potential but for me I personally really don’t like active income. Because I think, well, when I’m like 50 or 60 or 70 I don’t want that income to go away if I’m not out there making phone calls and sending emails. I’d like to be able to kick back and have that revenue come in and just be able to work on projects that are fun and generate revenue as a by product.

Michael: Alright, this is an inspiring story and I want, I know a lot of domain investors would love to be in your shoes. My goal for this interview is to go back in time to figure out what you did when you first launched your domain investing business back in 2007 and what you did to get to today?

Morgan: Cool.

Michael: And from what I can tell, your new book, Domain Investing Handbook is your personal roadmap for success, is that correct?

Morgan: It is. It’s probably the most time I’ve even put into writing anything in my entire life. My girlfriend is doing her PhD said to me just a month ago, alright, this is starting to be more like a dissertation than a book. You’ve gone overboard at this because I expected to release the book in December of last year, the goal is to get out before Christmas and then I thought, “Okay, well, I’ll get it out before domain fest, okay I’ll get it out before domain round table and then I said, okay hard stop, I have to get this out before I turn 30,” and I missed it by 1 day, actually released the book on my 30th birthday but it absolutely is, you know, when I thought about it and what made this book so hard to write was that I thought, “What would I like to read or what would I like to have read when I started so that I could have learned from other people’s mistakes rather than making mistakes myself.”

Michael: Yes, that’s a great point. So, we talked about your, you’ve got a fulltime job, you’ve got a day job.

Morgan: Yup.

Michael: You’re making good income.

Morgan: Good job.

Michael: You’re not like myself tied down with kids and, you know, you got to buy diapers and all that sort of stuff.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: You’re living the good life, you’ve got disposable income. You’re looking how to invest it. You found domain names.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: You bought 1200 domain names in 2007.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: You’re registering three a day, four a day, probably taken some breaks registering a bulk of them when they’re dropping.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: Dropped a bunch. So, you’ve been in for four years.

Morgan: Yup.

Michael: You’re starting your 5th year in domaining and, you know, fulltime domaining—

Morgan: In July, my 5th, Yes.

Michael: What was your learning curve over those four years and how did you strategies and tactics change overtime would you say?

Morgan: Great, great question and some dramatic changes. You know, when I started in the industry, I honestly didn’t get it because I was interested, first off, one really interesting thing, if you go back and look at the records Linton Investments is a Delaware corporation started in July of 2007. And if you look at the actual formation document, it’s a real estate investment company. And I was really looking because I had, you know, made pretty good amount of money for my agent like some of my other friends that had some high disposable income, looking different places to put it. I invested a lot on stock market, which was okay, but pretty unpredictable and you know with all, all my friends had a talk, “Okay, put 10,000 in there, so go” and then it’s like, “I will, now it’s $5,000 and there’s nothing I could do about it. Oh now, it’s $12,000 and I don’t know how it got there.” And so really what I was looking at is well, how can I make a little better, more reliable return and some friends said, “Hey, invest in real estate. My family has done some real estate stuff,” I thought, “Great.” So I was going to buy a real estate in Maine and actually my girlfriend and I were going up pretty much every weekend to Maine and looking at buying land and building like some condos on that land. And I thought that’s a great way to have passive income, put some money upfront but really build something meaningful, there’s some beautiful land in Maine, really great place.

Michael: Yes.

Morgan: Well, actually my real estate agent said me, “Look, I’m not going to make any money telling you this and this maybe the stupidest thing I could do from a sales standpoint but this is not the time to buy, it’s going to go down. You’ll going to lose a lot of money. I wouldn’t recommend you do this.” I thought, “Ah, what am I going to do? I don’t want to put this money in the stock.” My dad said, “Oh, mutual funds” and then I go oh that is so boring, you know, I don’t know, but you know, 7% a year, it’s growing. I don’t like 7% a year, I want more money than that, come on. And so I found domaining, actually there was through a post blog conceptuals.com and I thought, “Wow, this is so wild,” because I have been such a computer geek, because going back, if you really want to go back in time, in 1995, I started building websites and that was when if you could build a website, I mean you were like one of a kind.

Michael: Yes.

Morgan: Actually at that time, there was somebody that was older than me that saw the potential in building websites but they weren’t tech savvy but they has some nice suits and a nice BMW and they could close deals. And so, they would close deals, I would actually build the sites and we actually build some of the first websites for Coldwell Banker, Grubb & Ellis. And so, I already knew that space. I never bought any domains then unfortunately but I knew that space and so when I saw that people are making money with domain names, I thought, “This is so cool.” And so I did that initial buy where I go, “Wow, cool.” I’ve got a chunk of money and I was planning on putting this in. I’m going to put all this money in the domain names and I did that. And that’s where the learning curve first starts because, you know the initial assumption is that when you buy all those names, that they will all be able to be sold for something.

Michael: Right.

Morgan: And that’s the biggest lie you could ever tell yourself and that’s the biggest mistake I see a lot of investors make is. I get emails from people everyday that say, “Hey, I’ve read you blog. I’ve bought all these names. Hey, I know a lot of these aren’t worth much but I’m just going to sell this 50 for 5,000 bucks and then move on from there.” And I go, “You’re not going to sell those for anything.” And that’s the hardest reality to come to.

Michael: Right.

Morgan: And for me, I looked at it and I went, “Wait a second, I know how to develop this. There’s got to be money in here.” And I saw Google AdSense and so really the first name that I really developed and made money with that really inspired me was stimuluscheck.us, which is still up and running now. It still makes hundreds of dollars a month, even though there is no stimulus check. It still, still blows my mind. That was a name that I developed. I had about 20,000 unique visitors the first month. It was outranking the irs.gov information site about stimulus checks. In my first month, I was the authority in the United States on the government stimulus check that Bush was issuing and that was making thousands of dollars a month and after about month three, I thought, “Wow,” I’ve made like, I think it was like 3600 dollars or something in the last three months, off of a name that I had hand registered for 5 bucks.

Michael: Yes, that’s pretty phenomenal.

Morgan: This is much more fun than buying and selling and it was really that experience. But then the learning came from well, not all my names are going to make money and, you know, not all my names are worth developing and monetizing. Like, the best example I have is people that own food domain names, like if you own, you know, turkeysandwich.com. You know, maybe an okay domain name and if you’re a company that makes turkey sandwiches, that maybe something you want to own for your own business because it’s great in ad, but unless you can actually sell that online and you have a way to do that, you’re in trouble. And I find out people that own like the alcohol domains and things like that. It’s like well, can you really deliver that and are your customer is really going to want to buy vodka or beer from your site or they going to want to go to the store that’s closest to them, pick it up and take it home.

Michael: Right.

Morgan: And that’s the challenges, the difference between a name that maybe a good domain and a good domain to make money with.

Michael: And there’s probably not a lot of advertisers paying over a few cents a click for turkeysandwich.com, you know related clicks, yes. Alright, so how do you find a good domain and what is a good domain?

Morgan: Sure, well, a good domain is something that you yourself are interested in, first off. And I mean…

Michael: Uh-huh, what if I love turkey sandwiches?

Morgan: Well, there you go.

Michael: That is not a good domain.

Morgan: Yes, well, that, well, it is, it depends. If you yourself made great turkey sandwiches you could brand around it sure, but it’s something that you yourself are interested in and there is a good path to revenue. And so, you know, the examples that I use a lot of times are like, for me a lot of it started with stimulus check and tax stuff because I just found it really interesting, the US government was giving people money. Now, this is awesome, I’m getting free money from the government. When does the government ever pay you? And I was so interested in learning all about that, I kind of became an expert and ensure that with other people. But you know, that’s kind of grown from that, it went to domaining.

I got really into domaining and I started my blog and I started some other domain related sites that did pretty well. And, you know, then I since run a kayaking site that I run now. And I have a travel blog. And I have a blog about wine. And you know, if you can find something that you enjoy, there’s always ways to monetize around it. It’s like a good example wine, I mean, I love wine. I’ve gone wine tasting all over the world. Grew up in Berkeley, California which is about 45 minutes away from Napa. Did cheese tasting until I was old enough to at least pass for 21 and then switch to wine tasting. And yes, I mean there’s a lot of ways to monetize that. Wineries want to sell their wines. Online wine stores want to have connections there. And so when you look at one of your passions, the first thing you want to do is go, “Okay, is there a way I can make money with it? If so, who can I make money with?”

And start engaging them even before you start building your site and make sure it’s something that people are searching for, you know, if it’s something really, really obscure, it may not be something that people are searching for, maybe your own interest, but if it’s something that’s broad enough like wine, like cars, then absolutely, you can make money with those, as long as you pair with a good keyword.

And that’s kind of the other piece to this, which is that, you know, the only advantage you get with a domain name is having keywords that match a popular search phrase, because that gives you a little boost in search and well, a lot of people down play but don’t realize is it does improve your click through rate. Because if I am searching for a blog about wine and I run blogaboutwine.com, and you search in to Google and you search for blog about wine and you find, you know, the ABC’s of wine and you see blog about wine. When you see that whether it is going to be a preferential thing for me or not, when you see that, you’d go, “Oh, this is got to be about my topic,” just like if you are searching for turkey sandwiches online and you find, you know, ABCdelimeats.com and you find turkeysandwiches.com, you will click on that more because it more relevant. And that’s why the keywords in the domain are so important.

Michael: Okay, so, something you’re passionate about and a path to making money.

Morgan: Exactly.

Michael: Alright.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: And last night you relaunched morganlinton.tv, which was a fantastic episode by the way.

Morgan: Yes, thank you, thank you.

Michael: I especially enjoyed the speed round where viewers submitted domain names to you in a manner similar to Jim Cramer’s show on CNBC called Mad Money.

Morgan: Mad Money, exactly.

Michael: You told them if they should buy, buy, buy, hold, hold, hold, or sell, sell, sell. You didn’t quite have his same sound effects but—

Morgan: I need one of those, I need one of those sound effect parts and that’s not.

Michael: You were very good. And in domain investing terms, you told them if they should build—

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: Flip to another owner or just let it expire.

Morgan: That’s the no, no, no, which became pretty popular right away when someone has something that’s not good, I go, “No, no, no, do not develop, do not sell, just drop that puppy and,” it’s the hardest thing to hear but it’s the right thing sometimes.

Michael: Yes, so how do you make that decision?

Morgan: So I use the Google AdWord keyword tool, that is my, I mean, I honestly, I’ve told people this before and if anyone comes to my house, you’ll see it. I have a computer that just runs the Google AdWord keyword tool, that’s it, that’s the only thing I use a—

Michael: It’s got like 24 hours a day.

Morgan: It’s the only thing I use a PC for because it didn’t make as good of a paper weight. Otherwise I’m a big Math guy but it can run a web browser okay. And I got that running with the Google AdWord keyword tool because what you have to do is you have to look at all are other people searching for what you think they are. And that’s the biggest thing that the lightning round reveals to people is, you know, people will give me a domain name, they go, “Oh, this is really popular, people must be searching for it,” and I’d give them the reality if they are or not. Because when you plug it into the Google AdWord keyword tool, if you see that there are 50 people a month searching for that. Hey, if you’re number one on Google and you get 40 visitors, you know, you’re not going to make much money with 40 visitors.

Michael: Right.

Morgan: Where as if you have 4,000 people searching for it a month, that’s fine. And then actually, you can go into a danger zone, where you know, like generics. Like some people say, “I own this oneword.com, so I’m going to make a fortune with it,” and then I go, “It’s hard.” You know, if there are a hundred thousand people searching for it, well, guess what, there’s going to be a lot of advertisers in this page, a lot of competition, people with six figure SEO budgets, which a lot of people don’t even realize they exist. But there are plenty of people with 6 figure SEO budgets. And so, if you’re not willing to throw down, you know, 10 or $20,000 a month in the SEO, probably not going to rank that well for that generic. And so, that’s why you want to find that sweet spot and then you look at CPC and figure out how much an advertiser is going to pay.

And the CPC isn’t much of an indicator of anything except for how much an acquisition is worth. If I see that the CPC is $5, I know that, hey, if on average, this is the kind of number I use, one of every a hundred people that clicks on your ad becomes a paying customer then I go okay. If you’re paying 5 bucks a click, you’re willing to pay $500 to acquire a single client, there’s money in that. If it’s $0.5 a click, then you’re willing to spend 5 bucks for every one that becomes a client, not very valuable clients.

Michael: Right, you’re right, those are good, that’s a good way to judge how much a industry is worth.

Morgan: I’m a data guy.

Michael: Yes.

Morgan: And it comes down to a data, Yes.

Michael: And you’re an engineer by background, so.

Morgan: I am, yes, my undergraduate’s in engineering and I did graduate work in computer engineering, yes.

Michael: So, you love your data.

Morgan: Oh, I love data.

Michael: So, you’ve talked about the Google AdWords keywords tool which is an entire section in your new book. So, I want to turn my attention now to your new book, Domain Investing Handbook.

Morgan: Yes, that is.

Michael: Here’s a copy of it, it’s an eBook. You can buy and download it immediately. And this is what I did and I downloaded it. You can see my notes all over it because it’s a fantastic resource.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: So, who did you write this book for and why did you write it?

Morgan: So, you know, my previous books, I’ve written two books on domain flipping and those have written for purely the beginning domain investor. And those book sold really well but a lot of the comments I got was from either beginning investors saying, “Awesome, just what I needed,” and then intermediate and advanced investor saying, “Yes, too basic for me. I want more.” And so, the Domain Investing Handbook was really written for everybody. And it has something both for the new investor because it is really a roadmap of, “Hey, here is where you start and here is where you go,” but also for the intermediate and the advanced investor because I get in the things like Flippa and well, how do you structure a website sale and how do value your websites and things like really going through your portfolio and using tools like the Google AdWord keyword tool where a lot of intermediate investors may not do. You know, the intermediate investor I think has, you know, you could say the guy that’s making, you know, $10,000 to $30,000 a year with domaining. They are the ones that need to look at their portfolio and go, how much money am I spending to renew and because if my profits are zero, it’s not much of an investment strategy.

Michael: Right.

Morgan: And for the new investor, I mean that’s where ever single piece of the book will be useful to them because it really starts with, “Hey, one of the things I say in the book is if you started buying domains, stop doing it immediately and don’t buy any domains until you finish the book.” And the book is really meant to be a handbook, so that you don’t just read it once and that’s the only benefit you get, you actually read it and you do what you do. You print it out and I have had so many emails from people since I launched the book saying, “This is amazing. I printed this out. I have it on my desk. I am using this everyday while I’m searching for domains.” And that’s the idea, it’s a handbook that you can use.

Michael: Great. Alright, so you’ve got an entire chapter of your book focused on the Google AdWords keyword tool, as you just mention.

Morgan: Yes, yes.

Michael: You provide some personal advice for success. You also provide some thresholds for which you recommend buying generic keyword domain names.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: What are those thresholds?

Morgan: Well, I think that the thresholds can be, now, you know, in my book, I try to provide a general guide, but in general I try to say that, “Hey, if you have, you know, over 500 or over a thousand exact match searches, that’s kind of the threshold you want to use.” It used to be a thousand, I brought it down to 500 because Google did change their keyword tool and has pulled out their partner search results. And then CPC should really be above 2 bucks. I personally like domains that are about 5 bucks but, you know, it really depends on what type of monetization goals you have. For me, I would like to make, you know over 20 bucks a month per domain that you really need to have CPC that’s above $2 to hit that. Some people are fine with just the domain paying for itself, which is okay too; it’s just not much of an investment unless you plan to sell it later on, in which gets you to go for a lower CPC. But I say, you know, somewhere over 500 exact match searches and over a $2 CPC is a pretty good place to start. And be careful if you want to develop and monetize, if you get much above 10,000 exact match searches then you start to go in a bad danger zone where it’s fine, you could still do well but be prepared to spend over a thousand dollars a month in SEO.

Michael: So, when you get above 10,000, it usually means there’s more competition involved in that keyword search, so then it’s going to take you a lot longer to rise to the top.

Morgan: Exactly.

Michael: Is that what you’re saying?

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: Okay.

Morgan: Oh Yes, I mean a good example is, you know, if you own like laptops.com or televisions.com, good for you, great domain name, you better be prepared to spend over a hundred thousand dollars on SEO and development, if you want to make money with it, because I’ll tell you this, if I’m buying a $2,000 laptop, I already know I can do it through Amazon. I’m Amazon prime member. I know I can get in two days. I pay 4 bucks more, I get it in one day. If your website doesn’t look as trustworthy as Amazon’s and has some edge over it, why will I buy from it?

Michael: Right. So, is that an example of a domain, laptops.com, is that an example of a domain where you would actually need to develop it? Actually provide articles and additional benefits versus because it has an enormous exact match search results, search queries per month as suppose to, you know, generic keyword domain that maybe only has 500 and is a lot easier to rank?

Morgan: Sure. And you know what? Even with that, it would sound like laptops, that space is so competitive. That you would need to not just have articles, because the articles wouldn’t even help it as much, you would need to have something so unique that techcrunch and gizmodo and endgadgets do stories about you, like Google’s going to want to see whoever the major authorities are around those keywords, writing articles about you. Otherwise, it’s going to be hard you know, you could have, you know, a few kind of ancillary bloggers doing stuff that says to-do articles or hub page articles and you still not going to get into those top slots.

Michael: Got it. Okay, alright, in, let’s flip to the domain buying chapter of your book.

Morgan: Sure, Yes.

Michael: You say that there two things that you should pay attention to when buying from another person, the registration date. And the number of domain names the owner has. Why is that?

Morgan: So, it’s really interesting. So the registration date, you know, it’s so crucial to look at before you buy a domain from somebody else because if you want to buy domain and that person registered that domain three months ago, that’s a pretty new purchase for them especially if they registered it, you shouldn’t be paying tens of thousands of dollars for that, I mean if they’re going to hold out for that, so be it, but they just registered it, it’s a little ridiculous. And you should also look at how many domains they own, because if it’s somebody that owns 5,000 domain names that’s an investor, they could hold that for quite a long time. Where if he only own five, well, then you have to go, “Okay, are they planning on doing something with this or do they just kind of randomly buy it?” But you know, when I see something that’s that was registered 10 years ago and that particular person owns 20,000 domain names, boy I know that’s going to be a much harder negotiation than with the guy that owns 10 names that just registered the name few weeks ago.

Michael: Okay, so when you’re looking for domain names, if you find out that it’s been registered for a while and the person only has a handful or a couple of handfuls of domain names, that’s going to be a much easier road than somebody who—

Morgan: As long as it’s not developed, I mean if it’s developed then you’re in this weird zone where the person may just not even care or they just wanted that name to develop it. But if it’s not developed and it’s probably some future idea or they just thought of it and then they probably willing to part with it for a lot less than say someone that’s had over long time that has a big portfolio.

Michael: Good advice. Alright, you’ve got a ton of other great advice in your book for buying domain names. We’re not going to over all of it because, you know, it would take way too long. But you also talked about the different ways to buy domain names. Hand registering, domain listing services, domain auction services and directly from owners.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: You’ve all of those, you’ve got some great resources in the book.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: Where do you, as a person who earns over a hundred thousand dollars by monetizing domain names, where do you find the best values?

Morgan: Expired domains, 100%. I have actually a whole chapter just on expired domains for that reason. Because right now, 99.9% of what I buy are .coms. I like to buy .coms that are more than three years old. I actually like to buy .coms that have already been developed and maybe have been businesses that have gone under, I mean this is a great time to buy a domain name that was a business, the guys went out of business and you can buy their domain and resurrect that. There is a bit of controversy around like, well, “What happens to those back links?” And people go, “Oh, well, Google stops valuing those back links” Sure, they may stop valuing those so it won’t count towards your page rank but the bank links don’t go away.

So, if I buy, you know, like I bought a domain name that’s about eight years old that used be a skin care magazine that went out of business and I now own that name, I have that developed. And I get say traffic from, it had about 300 back links. Now, yes, that’s not helping me with my page rank for my Google ranking but I’m getting traffic through those because people that go to those sites that are linking to me look at it and go, “Oh, I want to look at that magazine,” they go there, in the site that I have provided actually does provide a path to monetization to buy skin care products, which is what the people were looking for anyways.

Michael: Right. Now, why wouldn’t that help your page rank? You’re getting links in that are related to the topic of, that you’re promoting.

Morgan: Yes, it’s true. What Google does is when the domain expires it does devalue those back links pretty much completely. So, it’s not going to count, it’s not going to count those towards your page rank initially. Now, once you build up the site and start to get more traffic and start to get some more links coming in, then they’ll get you kind of back on the wagon. But they are pretty hip to the fact that Yes, people buy those and try to gain the system and they’ll knock your page rank down. You know, if you’re page rank eight domain name that’s expiring, which should just never happens, which would be great if it did happen more. But they’re not going to just let you set their page rank eight. They’re going to drop you down and you going to have to do that work to go back up again.

Michael: Alright, so, I want to turn my attention to monetization versus developing which is what we talked about. Now, you own a couple of, you own a bunch of sites. You own 600 domains, you own a bunch of sites, you have a bunch of monetized, let’s call them monetized sites. The sites that you have developed are sites like kayaking.org and bimmer.co. And for out transcriber Jeanne that’s bimmer.co.

Morgan: .co, Yes.

Michael: Bimmer.co, which is a blog about one of your personal favorite types of cars.

Morgan: Yup, yup.

Michael: Now, those are websites that you’re developing. They’re new content that you’re posting up, it’s either directory or it’s articles, things like that.

Morgan: Yes, and Bimmer is one of my experiment to figure out how .co would index. And it’s indexed for over a thousand BMW related terms, pretty much every 2012 BMW model, it’s indexed for somewhere there. It’s not a site that gets a lot of traffic but like kayaking.org, debteliminationprograms.com, obviously stimuluscheck.us. I have a pretty big .us portfolio. I have 160 developed names right now.

Michael: Okay, now what’s the difference between monetizing a site and developing a site?

Morgan: Sure. It’s a really good question. It’s so important that you’ll understand. Like there are a zillion people out there that can develop sites like pretty much anyone can build a website. And you build a website or your domain, the biggest misconception with domainers is that, oh, well, before I was parking and so I’m not going to get indexed in the search engines. So, if I suddenly switch to a five and ten page mini site, boom, there we go. Really the difference is, developing should just be there to actually provide something of value, it gets you index and search, it gets you traffic.

But I know people that gets tens of thousands of visitors a month and they don’t make even a tenth of what I make on sites that get 2000 visitors a month. And so, it’s really about you monetize that traffic, so like a good example is with debt. With debt sites, I am finding that, well, people a lot of times they don’t want to be sold on these programs where your part of some kind of a debt counseling thing where they take a percentage of that. They want something where they have either an eBook or a guide that’s going to give them instant gratification. And that was kind of a same thing with stimulus check as well. Whereas with kayaking.org, people are actually looking for places to kayak, that’s, the number one reason the people go to kayaking.org is they live in some city and they go, “I want to go kayaking this weekend, where do I go?”

We have gone from being non existent to being the most comprehensive online kayaking directory on the internet and for that, that’s a directory model. That’s a great directory model because I can go to a kayaking store and go, “Hey, do you want to be found in our directory? We’ve got you on here for free but if you want some upgrades, we can charge you for that. If you want your own page and you could see that in kayaking.org, we have a few sponsors that we have on page on the left hand side, well, I can charge you more for that but you’ll get really great exposure.”

So, a good example is if you go to the kayaking.org and you look and you see San Diego Kayaking right up there and you click on that, that’s a sponsor that is giving really targeted result and people come to the page not only they see that but that also indexes as well. And around that model also is a really interesting concept that I actually learned from a friend of mine Braden Pollock, who runs Legal Brand Marketing, probably the biggest name in the lead generation in the domain space. And what he recommend I do is to buy .com domain names around the niches that I want to do well in, so that I can actually get some direct navigation traffic as well to my sites.

So, I have about 50 .com kayaking related names, you know it’s kayaking.org, I have about 50 kayaking related .coms like Austin Kayaking. I just bought ExtremeKayak.com. I have a few kayak fishing related names. I like the geo related kayak names. So, that yes, it’s not, I’m not getting, you know AustinKayaking.com doesn’t bring in 10,000 visitors a month but it brings in about 30 or 40 and of those I can forward them directly into kayaking.org where they’re looking for kayaking in Austin and I’ve got kayaking stores and trips in Austin.

Michael: Now, were those developed, ExtremeKayak.com, the AustinKayaking.com?

Morgan: No, just forwarded.

Michael: Just forwarded?

Morgan: Yes, exactly.

Michael: So, you’re just hoping that people are going to type in AustinKayaking.com?

Morgan: Oh, I know people are, Yes.

Michael: Wow.

Morgan: Not a lot of people. But, you know, it like, well of those 50, all together, that I think aggregates to maybe 500 visitors. But that’s a nice chunk and it’s super duper directed, I know exactly what they’re looking for. And yes, you know, for the guys that aren’t going to Google search, you know, just going to type in to the into the url bar, you know whatever it is their city kayaking on it.

Michael: Right.

Morgan: And I have like La Hoya Kayaking which is like a major city within or the major area within San Diego. And you know, that traffic is really, really directed.

Michael: Okay, so, I don’t quite get the monetization versus development. Kayaking.org is development, right?

Morgan: Well, it’s developed but it wouldn’t make any money unless I monetized it the right way. So like a good example is, like some people may look at that and go, “Oh, I know I’m going to do, I’m going to put like 100 articles about kayaking and throw AdSense all over it. That probably wouldn’t make any money because if you look at the audience and this is where monetization comes in. You have to understand who your target visitor is and the target visitor to kayaking, if you wanted to search on kayaking, it’s people that are pretty grass roots oriented. They really like sites that aren’t charging them money for things. Don’t have a lot of ads. If they see AdSense all over a site, that customer is going to leave. And that’s why I like .org more than .com for that actually, because a kayaker would rather go to a .org site just like a hiker would also rather go to .org site than a .com site because they don’t want to be sold something, they want information and they want it from someone else that has a similar passion or a similar interest.

Michael: Right.

Morgan: And so for that site, when you look at it, the development piece is yes, putting together a site about kayaking. The monetization piece is figuring out where is there money to be made. Well, the money to be made is not off of the people coming to the site clicking on links. The money be made is off the kayaking stores that want to reach those people, and that’s the monetization piece.

Michael: Okay, so what about StimulusCheck.us, that’s a site you developed and you probably don’t update it at all, do you?

Morgan: Very rarely, I do, I have to say, I probably add maybe a hundred words of content a year viewing that, yes.

Michael: So there’s a site, are you still making money off of that site?

Morgan: Yes, that makes about $250 a month.

Michael: Wow, still, $250 a month.

Morgan: If it’s a stimulus check, it makes over a thousand, yes. It’s crazy—

Michael: There hasn’t been a stimulus check.

Morgan: And people still, believe it or not and this just blows my mind and for any law enforcement agents watching, I do discard all these but people do send me their name address and social security number in my contact form.

Michael: Oh my God.

Morgan: On that site which just blows my mind. And that one has been as learning experience in the monetization site. That one does make a lot of its money through AdSense but that’s a different visitor, that visitor actually wants a either a payday loan or some way to get money for free because they’re hurting. And so I provide both AdSense has worked really well for that and Click Bank products, I sell some eBooks through that as well.

Michael: So you could sell eBooks, you could probably go to a pay day money tree or something like that, sign up for an affiliate program, get one of their widgets, put that on the site, need money now.

Morgan: Exactly.

Michael: Is that a better example of monetization, a site that you know has, you know, keywords? It’s got search volume. It’s a great generic keyword. It’s the .us, it’s not a .com but it’s a .us which indicates it’s in the United States stimulus check.

Morgan: Well, .us is actually better than .com in this case and here’s why. When you search for information about something government related, taxes, stimulus checks, any of those, what you get just like with any of the search result is a bunch of .coms. Well, in that sea of .coms you see a .us and let’s face like a US consumer has no idea that .us is a TLD, they think it’s a government site. So, they immediately lays to that and go, “That’s got to be the government site,” because US government kind of stopped using .gov. They’re actually using .us and so it seen as authority. And the thing that I like is that I’m not misleading them, I actually have fully factual information, it’s all there and it’s actually in a much easier to digest format than the irs.gov information site on it.

Michael: Right, sure, so is that a better example of monetization than say Kayaking.org?

Morgan: I don’t think it’s a better example, I think it’s a different example. I think a both examples of having to understand what that visitor is looking for, because you can build the site but I could easy and actually here’s a really great example. I haven’t have, this is the first I’ve ever talked about this and I’m happy to talk about it but in December, I ran a test on StimulusCheck.us. I pulled all of my AdSense off and just had affiliate ads. I have a revenue went down to about 50 bucks a month.

Michael: Really?

Morgan: So, I went, “Wait a second, that’s not the way to monetize it,” and so, that’s why like with Kayaking.org, I think if I plastered it with ads, I’d find my bounce rate go up also. Because kayakers would go, “This is a site full of advertising, I don’t want it,” whereas with the stimulus check, they love to see those AdSense ads. So, really they’re both good examples of monetization but it just has to do with really learning about what your customer is looking for.

Michael: Right. So on stimulus check, you pulled off the AdSense, your revenue went down because you’re making most of your revenue through AdSense.

Morgan: Well, interesting thing was the revenue on affiliate ads went down too.

Michael: Huh.

Morgan: You can go and add more affiliate ads.

Michael: Yes.

Morgan: And it just goes show that that particular type of customer looks at a site and if they just see a bunch of affiliate ads, it kind of scares them away.

Michael: Interesting. And did you find that your ranking changed at all when you pulled off the AdSense or no correlation?

Morgan: No, I mean, the only things that have across with my site is they’ve blown up, it’s all on average a plus three ranks since the Panda update, purely because they’d cleared (Inaudible 42:01)

Michael: Okay. Alright, you have a chapter on selling revenue domains. In other words, domains that are built out in the full websites that produce revenue or maybe not even full websites. They just produce revenue and that’s in your book. You feature a snapshot of your account flippa.com, and for my wonderful transcriber, Jeanne, that’s F L I P P A.com, flippa.com. You list 7 sales totaling over $2,500.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: What types of sites did you develop out that you sold?

Morgan: That’s a whole mix of sites but they were all sites that did have some existing level of traffic. A lot of them did have existing page rank and some had revenue. You know, an example of one was, was a mini site in the tax area that was getting some rankings for a few tax related terms. It was generating really small amount of revenue and that one sold as really kind of a multiple of the revenue along with the value coming from those rankings.

Another one I sold was actually like a video course that I had created and I didn’t promote myself and it took like an afternoon to set the video course. I was going to go gang busters with it and sell it and I realized, I don’t really want to do this. I put it on Flippa and that one sold, I think for a thousand dollars or $800, something like that.

But a good niche, in general when you’re putting something on Flippa, you want to make sure that it does have some quality that makes it stand out. And this is where most of domainers here confuses. They think that, “Oh, well, I can just put something on Flippa that is a domain name that I own and I think is okay that has a website and poof it’ll sell”. People on Flippa want metrics. They want actually to know why they should buy it. So, it’s got to have something special about it. It’s kind of like, you know, and I don’t put this in my book but this is something that I think is really good. Now, kind of like putting together a resume, you know, if you just say like, “I worked at this job. I worked at that job. I worked here. I went to school here,” that doesn’t tell you much. But if you say, “I worked at this job and I did x, y and z.” Well, that gives a little more depth. And so with your site, you have to call what’s special about it. Hey, if it’s the domain great, say, “This is a great domain.” If it ranks for a few terms say, “Hey, this ranks in these terms”. If it has traffic or page rank, call those out. But if you just throw it up there, and go, “This is a developed domain, obviously you could rank well with it,” hey, you know what, we’re all passed that BS and you know, really and it’s amazing still the number of people in the domain space they’d go, “this would make fortune if developed,” and my response to anyone that ever says that is, “Well then why aren’t you doing that?”

Michael: Right.

Morgan: If it will make a fortune developed, you won’t be selling it.

Michael: Exactly. So, are metrics enough to make it special, like if I own a developed website that gets 50 visitors per day on a cost per Click keyword phrase that say is, you know $5, $10 but I’m not ranked in the top 10 on Google, is that special enough?

Morgan: That’s enough, that’s enough, yes, driving traffic, absolutely.

Michael: Alright. And so, metrics are key on Flippa?

Morgan: Absolutely. And I’m actually developing. I have now the provisional patent. My girlfriend and I are working on a project, we had it called xelot.com. That is going to be the de facto standard for evaluating the price of a website and that is also very metric based as well. And that’s from a lot of my own experience with, well, how do these metrics scale the price.

Michael: Right. Well, that’s great. And when is that coming out?

Morgan: It’s in beta right now. We’ve got our 20 beta testers pounding away on it. Looks like we’ll be releasing it this summer, Yes, we’re going to try to build it in—

Michael: I want a beta invitation Morgan.

Morgan: You’re in. You’ll have invitation to this.

Michael: Alright, because I, we published an article this morning by Jason Goodland who wrote on some valuation tools that are on the net and one of them was websiteoutlook.com, I believe. And I went in and plugged in some websites that I know how much they make, I know the exact traffic because I built them and it was a way off. And so, I think that the industry and developers could really use a better tool for evaluating them.

Morgan: Yes. Yes, absolutely.

Michael: So, I can’t wait to see that.

Morgan: Cool, looking forward to that.

Michael: So, how do you decide is you’re going to build a revenue producing website to sell on Flippa or to hold onto to continue to generate revenue for yourself?

Morgan: I always build them with the understand that I’d to hold on to them and keep them for myself. I only sell them on Flippa when either they’re not meeting my expectations or I know that there’s going to be more time and energy that has to be put into it to really make it shine. But I want to make sure I at least get it out there, so that I’m not one of those guys saying, “You can make fortune with this” instead I go, “Hey look, you know, it’s already getting this amount of traffic, here’s some of the things I think you would need to do to really turn it around or to really generate more meaningful revenue from it.” But all of them, anything I develop is something that I would hold to my portfolio forever and never sell and then at some point I hit a point where I go, “You know what, that’s not doing it for me. I would rather sell that off to someone else.” And it’s only if I think that there’s a lot of a benefit to getting that money upfront versus over a long period of time.

Michael: Let me understand this, so if you feel like you can’t take it any further or it’s going to require more work to make money, are these sites that are making money already?

Morgan: Some of them are, some of them aren’t.

Michael: Okay.

Morgan: It depends. Like a good example of one which I’ve sold is TweetCourse.com, that’s one that I sold on Flippa. That’s a course that I actually made about Twitter, selling about like 80 bucks a month or so in those courses. It was fine. It was cool to be selling it but I really thought that it have a little bit more potential than that. Now, I thought that, “You know, well, to really do better with it, you’d have to advertise it, there’s some look and feel changes you might do.” You know what, I don’t really want to be in the business of making a Twitter course that much.

And so that’s when it hits a point where I got and there is project I’d rather purchase to have that and I’d rather look and take out if I found a buyer really quick and then went, “Oh, cool.” I’d like to advertise this and that guy is making some good money.

Michael: Great. Well, and that’s a funny situation that you gave that example, I don’t know if you remember more. Again, before we actually met, I found TweetCourse on Flippa—

Morgan: Oh, that’s right. There you go.

Michael: And I emailed you because my, I can not get my mother in law to get on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been hounding her. I post pictures of the kids that I don’t send to her just to convince her to get on the Facebook. I’m a big fan of Twitter. I thought I’d run into Tweetcourse and I’m like, “I should buy this website just so I can give her a free course on how she can get on to Twitter. I loved it. And so, you know, I was one of those guys that’s like a tire kicker. I asked you a bunch of questions. Do you get that a lot? Do you get a lot of people that email you and they just want to know more information and more information on how they’re going to do this and that’s got to take a lot of time.

Morgan: It does, that’s why I don’t like selling stuff very much. I find selling things just takes up a ton of time, whether it’s selling just a flat domain name. Just the negotiation process can be long a lot of emails back and forth, like I just sold a dental related .com that I hand registered for whatever, $7.69. Flipped it 2 weeks ago for $1200. But that was like 30 emails back and forth to do it.

Michael: Right. So, you might have like taken a $10 hand reg and sold it for $1200 which is a fantastic return on your investment—

Morgan: Great return, Yes.

Michael: But then you invested like, you know five hours going back and forth with emails and—

Morgan: Super active.

Michael: Closing the deal and making sure you have the money and.

Morgan: Super active, yes.

Michael: Yes.

Morgan: It’s like right now, stimulus check is making me money. I have a ton of debt sites, tax sites, travel sites, blogs that are making me money right now, whether I’m doing anything with them or not. And so that’s why it’s so much attractive for me, I mean I have a lot of friends that are brokers and that sell good money in domain names but they are hustling it. And if they take a month off, they’d better have saved up enough money to afford to do that because the domains will not sell themselves.

Michael: Right. So, if it’s a website that you’ve developed that requires too much of your time or you just can’t get it off the ground to earn enough money, then you’ll sell it. You keep the ones that are good passive income that you enjoy working on.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: Okay.

Morgan: Or if there is some kind of investment I want to make, you know, that there’s a sizable investment I want to make. I may sell something off in order to be able to make that investment in some cases.

Michael: Okay. So, many people talk about websites about being passive income but in the book, you specifically mention that this isn’t a get rich quick scheme, this isn’t you go buy a couple of domains, you throw up a WordPress site and the money comes rolling in. You talked about it being hard work.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: You go on vacation, the checks keep rolling in, but is that really the case or does it require a lot of work to keep posting new content, to moderating comments, to answering emails from people who are sending you their Social Security Number.

Morgan: Sure, I mean, I wouldn’t suggest the people run a million blogs. You can make a bunch of money with that but that’s a little bit more active. Most of everything I have is passive, so when I do go on vacation, the money is coming in, I’m not answering emails or anything like that. The only blog that really, you know, produces a nice amount of income and takes, you know, an hour of my time a day is MorganLinton.com, my own blog, but that’s just a huge passion.

Some of my other blogs CivilizedTravel.net, BlogAboutWine.com, ccTLDinvestors.com are blogs that I don’t have to update them unless I really want to but a lot of times I do want to. Like CivilizedTravel.nets are really good one where I go on a trip and I have some experience with an airline or an airport or something and I’m like, “Oh, I got to talk about this,” and I talk about it and there’s people that I talk to through that Twitter account that are specifically travel related. It’s getting arranged now in the top 100 travel blogs online.

Michael: Wow.

Morgan: But I don’t have to do it. Only the cool thing is if I am traveling, I usually have those stories that I want to share it.

Michael: Right, Yes sure.

Morgan: But I don’t have to do anything except really my own blog. In my own blog, I update every single day, at least once a day. And that’s just because, that’s become such a huge thing for me to be able to I think help people. There’s an audience that looks for that every single day and I’d just love doing it. But otherwise, no, I make, I mean like 99% of everything does just run on its own. Anything that it wouldn’t need like a lot of significant input on my end is something that would be an example that I want to sell because I’d rather have somebody else put that time in.

But there is that time upfront and that’s why I say it’s not an easy industry to get into or make a bunch of money because you do have to learn your sweet spots, I mean I can’t tell everyone how to make money with stimulus checks sites or tax sites or credit sites or debt sites or travel sites, you have to know those niches and play around in them. Maybe you’ll go through a year where you don’t make any money with any of those and then one suddenly hits and you get it and go, “Oh, now I understand,” and you try to replicate that. Once you have some of these, you know, really I call this passive income machines, once you have them going, you shouldn’t really need much upkeep.

Michael: So, I just did some math real fast. You 160 domain names that are developed, you said.

Morgan: Developed, Yes.

Michael: You’re on track to make over 100K this year. Let’s just round number of 100K—

Morgan: Sure.

Michael: At 200 sites for 100K, that’s about $500 per year of revenue per website.

Morgan: Sure.

Michael: About $50 a month, just because I’m not that good at math.

Morgan: Yes, Yes.

Michael: 50 bucks a month per website, that’s doable for—

Morgan: That’s doable but you have to remember it’s the 80-20 rule. So, that’s not all those sites that are doing 50 bucks a month, that would great.

Michael: Okay.

Morgan: If I and somebody explained this to me the day, I do consultations also. And I was doing a consultations session with a client I’ve been working with for a while and he goes, “What’s the formula to make, you know, just a 100 bucks a month per site?” I go man, if you know that formula, you tell me. I’d like to know that formula, you know. A lot of times I develop something out and I hope it makes 50 bucks a month but it ends up making $2 a month or $3 a month. And then I develop something and makes $80 a month or develop something and it makes $200 a month. It’s those ones that make up for all the experimenting time.

Michael: Got you. So, what are your best sites? What can somebody look at and say, “Okay, I want to go develop a site. I want to see what Morgan is doing. Let me go look at some of his websites.” What are making most of your money?

Morgan: Yes, I mean the three best examples, I’m not going to give away all my big money makers because a lot of these get attacked like (Inaudible 55:10) but I will say that ones that I’m comfortable giving away are kayaking.org is a great site for me.

Michael: Yes, it is a great site.

Morgan: Debteleminationprograms.com is another, stimuluscheck.us is another one and then my blogs, BlogAboutWine.com, CivilizedTravel.net, ccTLDinvestors.com and of course my own blog MorganLinton.com.

Michael: Great. Alright, we’re going to wrap up Morgan because I know you’ve got a meeting that you need to get to. One question that I had earlier, you said you were picking up most of your domain names nowadays from the drop list you’re buying 99% of them are .coms nowadays. How many words do you look for or does that not matter?

Morgan: Oh, it matters absolutely. Because you know, now what I’m looking at is not just stuff that I would like to develop and monetize but something that I know that whether I develop or monetize it or not, I can also sell it.

Michael: Okay.

Morgan: So, I’m really looking for those two qualities. So, I really don’t go above three words.

Michael: Okay.

Morgan: In most cases we’re talking, I mean know 1 word domains because those are pretty out of my price range. I’m not into buying anything. I’d say that the names I buy are between $100 and $2,000. So, you know, if you’re buying a bunch of drops for $12 each, don’t expect to get gold. And if you’re buying $100 domain and you’re trying to sell it for $20,000, just not realistic. But yes, I mean of the stuff I’m buying off of drops are names that I think would fit in to all those categories and you know, I think that’s where the two word and three words come in. Because if you’re going to try to sell to an end user, which is always who I’d like to sell to rather than an investor. If it’s like five or six words long, it’s just hard. The two and three words have in a lot more value to them.

Michael: Yes. Okay, one last question.

Morgan: Yes.

Michael: You’ve been through a lot in the domain name industry and you’re four plus years, what would you say was the hardest lesson that you had to learn, something that you wish somebody else would have explain to you years prior?

Morgan: It’s a good question but to boil down to one, that’s hard.

Michael: Just to one.

Morgan: Just to on. I mean honestly the hardest lesson to learn is that you got to be comfortable dropping domain names. I mean, I still drop, I don’t know, 20 or 30 domains a month. And those are names that I may have just bought last year. So, I’m always learning. You’re always learning and you have to be comfortable dropping names even if you did spend $200 on it, if you can’t sell it and you’re not going to develop it and you’re going to be paying money every single year for it, you have to be okay dropping it. And one of the smartest moves that you can make is to do, and this is the math that I love doing. If I drop 20 names in one month, what I do is I go, okay, well, supposed that’s $200. Okay, I’m going to take a $200 investment and put that into one name and that’s the best feeling in the world. So, if you drop a thousand names and you buy one $10,000 or two $5,000 names, you’re much better off. And that’s really the way you have to think about it.

Michael: That is great advice. I think I’ve got probably a handful of domain names that fit that that I should be doing the same thing. And I’d invest them in a better domain name. So, again, this is Morgan’s new book, it’s an eBook that you can download, print off and start reading. It’s called Domain Investing Handbook. The URL is DomainInvestingHandbook.com. Morgan where—can people just go to the website directly and buy it?

Morgan: They can. For anybody that’s watching this though, I am happy to offer a discount only for DomainSherpa.com viewers and watchers. What you’ll have to do is just send me an email morgan@lintoninvestments.com that’s M O R G A N at Linton L I N T O N investments.com and I will give you 10% discount to anybody that has watched this show. Just mention that in the email and I’ll tell you how to redeem that discount.

Michael: That’s fantastic, very generous of you. And if people want to follow you on Twitter, how can they send you a Tweet or follow you?

Morgan: Twitter.com/morganlinton.

Michael: Alright, Morgan, thank you so much for doing the interview today. You are wealth of knowledge—

Morgan: Thank you. Thank you.

Michael: And I really enjoyed reading your new book.

Morgan: I really appreciate. It’s been an honor. Thank you so much for having me on.

Michael: Thank you all for watching. Bye.

Morgan: Bye.

Watch the full video at:
http://www.domainsherpa.com/morgan-linton-domaininvestinghandbook-interview

[Photo credits: Morgan Linton]

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39 Responses to “Keep Your Job and Earn an Extra $100K Through Domaining – with Morgan Linton”

  1. Eric Jenkins says:

    Michael……

    Another outstanding interview.

    Morgan……

    Thanks for all the great information.

    Thank You,

    Eric Jenkins

  2. domain flipping says:

    well the good thing is that the profit margin is so good in this business, you can make a lot of mistakes and still come out ahead. Not so in other industries…take real estate for example…they are happy to flip with a 20% profit….which doesn’t leave a lot of room for error…so a single mistake can really hurt them

  3. […] Keep Your Job and Earn an Extra $100K Through Domaining – with Morgan Linton […]

  4. […] When determining the viability of a generic domain name, look for domains that have greater than 1,000 exact match searches per month. (Morgan Linton confirmed.) […]

  5. Frank Michlick says:

    Great interview.

    TweetCourse.com is offline now though :(

  6. […] of the week after Monday! Ive been receiving lots of great emails, comments, etc. after doing an interview with DomainSherpas Michael Cyger. I have to say the response really has been incredible and I cant thank everyone […]

  7. Morgan says:

    Wow! Thanks for all the amazing comments and positive feedback everyone! I would also like to give a HUGE thanks to Michael for the opportunity to be on DomainSherpa and part of one of his fantastic interviews it has been an absolute honor.

    Okay, now let me try to answer some of the questions you’ve had – in order :)

    @Charles – the vast majority of my income comes from sites that I have turned-into businesses which are being run by managers now. I oftentimes come-up with the business model, write a business plan, marketing plan, etc. then hire a manager that will run the business that I pay out of the profits from the business. You are correct – I don’t sell much but am selling more and more lately as I’ve been focusing more on .COM. Oh and I don’t Kayak but am actually getting inspired thanks to my Kayaking business!

    @Tim – simple answer to this question. I love what I do in my day job more than Domaining. My day job is one of the coolest things I think anyone could ever do. I travel all over the world and structure deals for a very cool music company. I love music and I love travel so it has been a dream come true for me. At the end of the day I think I could see myself starting a number of creative online businesses in the future but Domaining will always just be a hobby for me as I’ve never been as interested in buying and selling names, much more fun to turn a domain name into a business!

    @Chris – thanks for pointing that out, I’ve been buying lots of Kayaking-related .COM’s lately so must have forgotten to forward these – I’m on it!

    Once again thank you Michael for the interview – it was an absolute blast! Thanks to all of your for the comments and feel free to ask me more questions either, here, on my blog, or you can always email me at morgan(at)lintoninvestments.com – TGIF!

  8. […] Learn More: Domain Sherpa video and post on Morgan Linton. var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname="Can You Really Keep Your Job & Earn $100K on the Side from Domains?"; a2a_config.linkurl="http://namebrandable.com/2011/05/keep-your-job-earn-100k-with-domains/"; Related Posts:No Related Posts […]

  9. Sharon Hayes says:

    Great interview Michael!

  10. Malcolm says:

    Great interview a LOT of that makes so much sense to me!
    Struggling to let some domains drop I have had for years, plan to develop every year but never do…

    Cheers,

    Malcolm

  11. M. Menius says:

    Another fun and informative interview. Have to disagree with Morgan on Laptops.com. His point is probably accurate in regard to high google search frequency putting you in heavy competition, such that basic SEO techniques won’t help you much in search rank.

    But the more important point with a Laptops.com is the consumer brand value of a first class generic like that. Milton’s suggestion that you’d have to spend 100k to make it successful ignores the greater context of what a quality generic represents in the marketplace for the acquiring company. I don’t know that he addressed the direct navigation advantage either.

    His enthusiasm is contagious though, and he’s acquired some in-depth knowledge.

  12. Francois says:

    Super!

  13. TeenDomainer says:

    Another amazing interview, I do not know how Morgan does it all! One day I will be like him hopefully!

  14. Chris says:

    Morgan, just wanted to point out that even though you say you forward ExtremeKayak.com and AustinKayaking.com to kayaking.org, they currently do not. ExtremeKayak.com has a domainate sales page on it and AustinKayaking.com has a godaddy page on it.

  15. MarsDavis says:

    Michael,

    Fantastic interview! Great questions and informative answers.

    I probably have a few domains that I should let expire, and then invest those combined fees into one domain name.

    Cheers,
    Mars

  16. Dan says:

    Hi,

    Great interview by both Michael & Morgan…the whole interview.

    I will just comment on beginning…

    I KNOW most all of us can relate to the registering of many domains, and then maybe as short as days/weeks later…looking at them, and asking ones self…what was I thinking?…lol

    As, a lot of times they look great the day you register them…and then later..not so much.

    I for one am very guilty of what Morgan describes with his registration of the 600 domains, that seem like a great idea(s) at the time…but in real world reality, turns out to be not maybe the best of moves.

    But,

    One of the hardest thing to do is to recognize this fact…and then just try and get $10 -$20 for them on a domain sales forum…or just let them GO.

    This is great advice from Morgan, as by renewing a not so good domain…just really ends up compounding your first mistake, which was registering the domain name in the first place.

    Took me a longer time than it should have…but it is a must, to understand this principle…for new ‘domainners’ as well as some of us that have been around for a while.

    It can be hard to let some or a lot of domains ‘drop’ sometimes..but it is a must.

    On another note:

    Great advice about: “Google AdWords Keyword Tool”

    I would like to suggest also, which a lot of people seem not to know about is: “Google Trends” this also can be very helpful when doing research. The link to it can be found by just typing ‘google trends’ into Google’s SE.

    Congrats Morgan on your e-book and all your success!

    Best,
    Dan

    • Thanks, Dan.

      Yes, I believe that this phenominon has happened to every domain investor: buy a domain or multiple domains, wait a day, look at what you bought and wonder why it looked so good the day prior. :)

      Regarding the Google Adwords Keyword Tool (GAKT), as an SEO guy I’ve known the value of it for a long time, but as I learn more about domaining I’m amazed at how critical it is for generic keyword domains. I have an interview scheduled for next Wednesday that’s going to knock your socks off and is almost 100% focused on the GAKT.

  17. Joe says:

    Hi Mike,

    as I wrote on Morgan’s blog, thanks for all the great interviews you’ve been providing to the community. Two perfect candidates for an interview would be Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com) and Shane Cultra (DomainShane.com).

  18. Chris in NYC says:

    Hello,
    I can say that Morgan is a great guy, thanks to his own blog I am learning much regarding monetization of a website and more things like how to deal with direct advertisers. Thank you for sharing this great interview with us, it is very useful to keep learning business things, regards,
    Chris

  19. Mike B says:

    I’ve read Morgans new book day or two after he released it and found a quite a few tasty morsels in there. I’ve been domaining for just under a year now and find this industry very fascinating and welcoming, with some many veterans willing to share their knowledge and lessons learned.

    Keep at it guys, and thanks.

  20. Gazzip says:

    Great interview guys, I thoroughly enjoyed every word of it – Thanks

    keep them coming Michael, any chance of an interview from some of the big geo tourism hotel web developers, like swiftrank, the castellos, otels.com or similar perhaps ?

    Cheers :)

  21. Tim Slater says:

    Very useful interview. And thanks fir offering the discount code, Morgan. I’ll be emailing you soon!

    Morgan: why not just do domain investing full time? It seems like you really enjoy it. Are you too risk averse tondo so? Willnyou consider doing it in the future?

    Michael: your interviews are tops. There’s notnanother blog I look forward tomas muchnas yours.

  22. Will says:

    Just when I thought I couldn’t learn anything else from Morgan, a statement from this interview encouraged me to write an ebook for one of my information sites! A couple of personal highlights from 2010 were Morgan’s discussions of my website and a domain name on his video show.

    Morgan and Michael, thanks for what you do!

  23. […] on May 11, 2011 by admin Tweet Watch this video interview live: http://www.domainsherpa.com/morgan-linton-domaininvestinghandbook-interview/ In 2010, Morgan Linton earned revenue in the five figures from domain name investing — […]

  24. Charles Top says:

    Morgan, great interview.

    It sounds like you’re focused on buying expired domains and building websites, as well as continuing to build-out the sites you own, like kayaking.org. Are you making a majority of your $100k from domaining mainly from advertising on the sites you own, or do selling sites through Flippa provide a majority of your income? (It doesn’t sound like you sell a bunch, is why I asked the question like that.)

    Also, do you kayak? :)

  25. Anonymous says:

    […] registration fee savings, guidelines to find great domains, and much more. Watch, listen or read: http://www.domainsherpa.com/morgan-l…ook-interview/ __________________ Follow DomainSherpa: Twitter: http://twitter.com/domainsherpa Facebook: […]

  26. Gnanes says:

    Another great interview. Keep em’ coming.

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