Locked Down my Travel Plans through 2013!

The first thing I did was buy my last plane ticket, from the US to Medellin, Colombia.  I thought this would be the most expensive plane ticket I’d have to buy, but it turned out to be the cheapest.  $150 for a flight from Dallas to Medellin, Colombia.  Would have been $117 if I didn’t have any luggage (they charge for carry-on items as well).  Spirit Airlines somehow managed to offer this ticket for a third of the price of everyone else.  I don’t want to know how they’re doing it.

My month of bumming around starts October 15th and ends November 13th.  After 11/13, I’ll be in Medellin until the end of the year.  The month of bumming around is going to look like this: Portland -> Reno -> SF -> Miami -> Savannah -> Atlanta -> Nashville -> Birmingham -> New Orleans -> SF -> Austin -> Dallas -> Medellin, Colombia.  Whew.  It was exhausting even typing that up.  All plane tickets have been booked.  Now just a matter of filling in the remaining details like lodging, rental car, etc.  Any suggestions or tips on those destinations would be appreciated!

I’m excited to move forward with the adventure, but also saddened to leave Portland.  By the time I leave, I’ll have called it home for nearly a year here.  I’ve had some incredible experiences and met some amazing people here.

I also get to go through another iteration of minimizing.  I’ll be shedding a ton of possessions, selling my motorcycle/car, and moving my life back into a backpack.  It’s nice to have to go through the process of elimination and minimization every once in a while.

 

A perfect example of an “aged” site.

So you’ve narrowed down your target list to about 50k worthwhile domains.  We now have to create a rapid-fire method to actually view each site and determine if there is any point in contacting the owner.

I built a script for “Sifting”.

This was a fairly simple script.  Since all your target domains are in a database, I built a web-based application.  It was a framed page, with just a top bar that has some basic traffic stats (PR, age, alexa, etc), and the buttons “ACCEPT” and “REJECT” at the top.  The lower/main frame would load the actual website directly.  The “Sifter” would briefly look at the page, and click “accept” or “reject”.  Once the button was pressed, it would save the answer to the database and automatically load the next site for review.

This really simplifies the process.  The “Sifter” only has to click once per domain.  I actually hired my little brother to do this task at $10/hour.  I believe it took him about 300 total hours to sift 50k sites.  It was a very unique job, and he often times had difficulty explaining to friends exactly what he did.  I was the only one who could relate on the perils of this task.

The one downfall with my method is that my little brother could definitely skip some potentially profitable sites.  If you wanted to take this a step further, I’ve had some ideas:

  • Outsource overseas on a per-site-sifted rate.  You could hire MUCH cheaper labor than my little bro at $10/hour.
  • Hire multiple “Sifters” and require a majority-vote to fully accept or reject a site.  This could help ensure the accuracy of this very subjective process.
  • Create as many automated filters as possible before the sifting process.  Build scripts to automatically search the sites for phrases such as “add to cart” (probably a sign that you don’t want to buy) or “guestbook/webring” (cha-ching!)

This is a VERY subjective process.

Trying to determine the likelihood an owner will sell simply by looking at their webpage is a pretty impossible task.  While I’ve made hundreds of thousands of dollars buying and selling websites, I can’t call myself an expert at this.  I do know that there are some decent indicators though.

The bottom line is that you want to stay away from sites that appear to be active.  The whole point of going after neglected sites is that the owners will hopefully let them go for cheap.  Red flags that might indicate the owner will be reluctant to sell:

  • Sites that are continuously updated.
  • Sites with register/sign up buttons.
  • Add to Cart buttons or e-commerce sites.
  • Personal homepages, eg “BobsFamilyPhotos.com”.
  • Pages for real-life groups eg “SeattleRacingClub.com”.
  • Sites for showcasing art/photography/crafts/other stuff for sale.

Anyone who has been using the internet since pre-2000 can easily identify websites that are obviously antiquated.  This does not guarantee an owner that is eager to sell.  Also, the more neglected the site, the harder it may be to get in touch with the owner.

Bonus!  The 2,110 domains that made the cut!

I’m feeling generous today.  This is my final list of 2,110 domains that made it through all my filters, and that were “accepted” in the manual review process.  Some of these I have bought, others have rejected my offer, but most have owners that are MIA.  You may do whatever you like with this domain list.

target_domains.txt

Next up: contacting the owner and negotiating the sale/transfer.