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Valuing a domain: common phrase in large financial market

sell or build traffic/value?

4:17 pm on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Sharing the domain name is verboten, right? I'll describe it instead, assuming that the reasons for prohibition are to prevent spidered link spam.

Three words, eleven letters total, no hyphens, call to action describing what you need to do on or before April 15th, in the US.. Common-usage but not excessively colloquial phrase, e.g. "Hey, it's April 14th already, you really need to [domainname]". Dot-com.

I registered the domain almost 15 years ago because I was going to build an app. I wasn't that young, but I was obviously naive -- not least about my free time in future years.

I've done nothing to promote it (very much the opposite), but it gets thousands of hits every year, 90% of them in the four months of January through April.

These are mostly direct requests, not search engine results clicks, and not referrals (again, zero promo in 15 years, and no content for referrers).

If I wanted to do something worthwhile with the domain, how would you rate the possibilities of:

a) selling it to one of the 3 national or dozens of regional tax preparation companies that [domainname] as their core business.

b) putting up a dozen (more?) original content pages that relate directly to the topic, and selling ad links to the business(es) described above and/or AdSense.

c) making the effort to set up a phpBB style app and build a community, and sell AdSense or whatever.

d) something else?

My thoughts:

(a) is plausible, the direct traffic could be valuable ($X per very highly qualified lead, multiplied by Y years?). It's not a trademarkable phrase (it's ubiquitous), but it could certainly be used with the dot-com attached, "everywhere". OTOH, the big tax prep companies differentiate themselves with branding and they won't want to dilute that so they might only see the value in new customer acquisition. Smaller/regionals might see value in it though.

(b) is possible, not a huge amount of work, and would provide a low level (how low?) of recurring income for a long time.

(c) is a fair bit of work, not something I'm passionate about, and not obviously more valuable than (b).


I get inquiries for the domain occasionally. I've never followed up, so I don't know if the interest is from people who would add it to their portfolio and make a few extra $/year, or if it's from people who see larger value.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and comments on this. I'm fairly clueless in this world.
9:20 pm on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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When you have a domain name that gets type-in traffic, another possibility to consider would be to find a relevant merchant with an affiliate program and redirect the type-ins to your affiliate link.
1:02 am on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Affiliate programs are a great idea, I hadn't even thought of that. Thanks!

I also meant to add "relevant software product vendors" to the list of possible buyers in (a).
2:20 am on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'd pitch it to some big tax firms. You might get an offer you can't refuse. Make them start the offer process. Don't be discouraged if they low ball you. Just tell them you are not interested and let them come back.

Good luck!

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