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.

 

3 Responses to “Finding and Buying Aged and Neglected Websites. Part IV – The Manual Review (Bonus: My 2,110 Target Domain List!)”

  1. Rendell says:

    Hey,

    Thanks for sharing the process on how you get those cool websites that you are selling. It’s hard to find generous business owners who are willing to share their “pie”. Anyway, look forward to reading more about your adventure.

    Rendell

  2. Joe says:

    Sifting is the most fun job ever!

  3. Salva says:

    Hi Tom,

    I came across your blog in Flippa a couple of weeks ago. I read all your posts on how to buy domain name and I got inspired. I followed your instructions with some modifications and I came across the site all-natural.com that is also in your target-domains list. I contacted the owner and he sold it!

    I look forward to reading your upcoming posts and hopefully you will hsare some of your techniques to monitize the websites.

    thank you very much for sharing your learnings with us!

    S

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