The Long Tail of Vanity Urls - Buying and Selling | Philip Campbell | Skillshare

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The Long Tail of Vanity Urls - Buying and Selling

teacher avatar Philip Campbell, web3, OBS Open Broadcaster, Screenflow

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (17m)
    • 1. 1.1 - introduction

    • 2. 1.2 - vanity urls? huh?

    • 3. 1.3 - look for the domain name base price

    • 4. 1.4 - searching and validating

    • 5. 1.5 - custom and unique will always have a value

    • 6. 1.6 - realworld .ee estonia network example

    • 7. 1.7 - round up of things discussed

    • 8. 1.8 - sharing is caring, comment and tweet!

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About This Class


over the coming years, I'll be building out a WordPress network of sites (I've already started) with custom vanity URLs for a country I believe will start to make real waves in the global sense when it comes to technology, startups and digital id - Estonia.

I've already invested a small amount in a batch of vanity URLs from the country and intend to build a concept network to bring awareness, network reach, Adsense and auto-broadcasting to my many twitter accounts.

in this course, we will discuss the following topic and areas.

  • what are vanity URLs (think personalised number plates)
  • how to search and buy us from the correct register
  • be careful of gazumping when it comes to purchasing a URL
  • being in it for the long term (long tail mindset)
  • flipping your domain after a few years

I had some success in 2011 selling a domain name that I had owned for six years. I had over two thousand blog articles and my domain keyword was pretty high up in google. I was approached by Evan Williams (@ev on twitter) via email to see if I would be interested in selling the domain name.

after a nerve wrecking kind of week where my current world would change for the better if it went through or just stay the same. we agreed on a figure and we made the escrow. for one year it changed my life briefly in that, I could move forward again after being in a dark place with depression. the net kinda saved me from vanishing.

I had the domain name for six years. I had never considered selling it. the four character domain ( was worth five figures to twitter because they were launching a new product called medium (which I use today ironically) - I was lucky that they wanted to release a product with the same name. 

in san Francisco law if a company goes for IPO then i would have as much legal rights as the name conventions are similar (I was led to believe anyway after i sold it) - I could have probably sold my domain for twice as much but I was not greedy and I worked out how much that six years of me using that as my brand meant to me. 

I felt I would rather have the 'story' of selling it to evan, one of the three founders of twitter instead of focusing on the money figure. don't get me wrong, money is nice and you can do things with it. I bought new equipment which I'm still working on today.

I'm in a position again now where I need to move that needle again to make the next steps in my life and for the life of others so a cash injection or more positive monthly income will enable those things to happen. my skillshare courses are part of that journey (please support me via premium courses if you can)

Meet Your Teacher

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Philip Campbell

web3, OBS Open Broadcaster, Screenflow


brand new for 2022 | let's decentralize our content into web 3

i'm an internet strategist teaching anyone that wants to efficiently learn digital skills and tools often with free software based in the cloud - twenty-five plus years of expertise with all things digital and covering the latest trends today (and weekly in our podcast!)

I make courses as often as i can (in between blogging daily that is) my courses are about things I've learned or already done online -- i never make a course about skills I don't have yet!



hitting the road, working mobile, exploring across the uk and america! remote working 

building out creative m... See full profile

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1. 1.1 - introduction: this course is around 20 minutes. Okay, welcome to this course. This short course will help you find custom domain names, vanity URL, domain names. We're gonna investigate the correct pricing structure for the domain extension. I found that they varied greatly. We're also gonna be exploring tools you can use to find those custom domain names. What? We're gonna be talking about the long tail off website, blogging and demain flipping in a few years time using Flipper on, I'll be walking you through a live project of how I'm gonna be using that to bring in revenue from applause at sense on other ways off bringing in revenue from your blogging. 2. 1.2 - vanity urls? huh?: so vanity URLs Custom murals are often super short or made up words made up you RL's that will potentially be worth something later on. It like number plates. If you think about number plates on cars, there are literally hundreds, probably thousands of much sure hundreds of domain name extensions out there in the world more than just dot com ones for different countries. You've also got custom ones that somebody is settled. I believe you can. Once you become a mayor of an island, you are officially able to set up a za registrar, So there's hundreds of different dot extension your L's. I was really super looking in 2011 to sell my domain, which is four characters me dot d m m e dot d. M. To Evan Williams, one of the three founders off Twitter for five figures. So I've been through this process of having a vanity URL and flipping. It's kind of thing. I got incredibly lucky, though, because medium the product was being launched. A media tm sounds like medium. I was bought to go away. Unique vanity euros can potentially, I say, potentially make you money in the long term it's a bit like a license plate on a car. Funnily enough, I've also just sold my license plate on my car, which was about half the price of what I paid for the car about four years ago. So this is not a small short term play. This is a long term play. Also, I'm going to show you in the next slide. This isn't that when you're registering your l's don't go for the first register that you come across because I have noticed something which I'm not sure if other people know, but I'm going to go into why you shouldn't just go with the first site that you find to register a domain. 3. 1.3 - look for the domain name base price: So do not go with the first host. You find in search results. Shop around, You can see here. I did a search for registered dot e domain. And it was with this Makary a dot com and they came first remained on e e. Demonstration in Estonia. Available UK residents awarded customer service, free email housed in Freedia mismanagement They've really done that s CEO here, too. Kind of really be at the top of that chain. And you think yourself? Yeah, you know, not bad. They look really good there on the first page of Google. They must be good, right? So I did this. I actually registered with this company thinking that they would sort out my daughter e domain and everything will be good. I use a great service, which I'm gonna talk about in the next life called demeanor. It appears their affiliates and non affiliated providers off the red straw that work with the road strong when you have a domain extension, consent their own price. So on domain er gives you some purchasing options of domain agents on Drummond domains. McAra, lots of all the different companies I should mention here by the way. There's a mention here of internet dot ee, which is the top level domain who is server, which I started looking around for the top level registrar because it turns out that the pricing for you are else the pricing for these vanity euros or at least domain specific country specific you are else convey vary across the board. I had prices that went from this price of £26.2 prices of up to 150 $179. This is three times X, the actual base price of the dot e d Maine, and I'm just going to get into that. So I found a document from the Estonia Internet Foundation told me that the base fee for a doctor e domain with Sony seven euros and they do that on registrations of one year, two years, three years. So seven years for 1 14 to 21 for three. It's a baron in mind. In the last slide that was £26 which was three times the price. Affiliated companies or even non affiliated providers can determine the final cost that domain and a lot of these providers are increasing the overheads of like 23 sometimes even more than that. So it could be the difference from buying bulk domain names or not. I would have never bought my tender ee domains if they were going to cost me $159 each. So find the source base price for that extension of what they've set. And then I was super lucky after doing my homework. After doing a lot of digging around, I actually found ah, host a domain registrar of dot E E. De Maynes in Estonia That only charged me two euros higher than the base price. So I saved myself a hell of a lot of money by just spending the hour of research. And I wanted to share that with you because I've pretty much bought my next network. I'm not gonna be buying any more vanity. You are else. He says. Onda and I wanted to share this with you. I think this is, ah, a bit of a play out there. But if a scam out there that a lot of these companies are making serious markup on the baseline costs off your URLs. So I found a great service. I've registered 10 year olds with him. So basically it cost me 90 euros for the whole network, which is incredibly cheap on is the difference between getting started, and I think 4. 1.4 - searching and validating: So I also want to get into tall that I use for registering domain names. The 1st 1 I want to talk about his hover dot com call rate tall for registering domain names. They've got a fantastic search. You put a search into their platform that only does it give you the top picks, but you can get a generic, warned you get suggestions, which is really, really cool. And they go through different filters so you can really find tune into the niche that you're looking for. I heartily recommend hover their whole admin panel. Their support system is absolutely first class. The next tall I want to talk about is the one that's been controversial cause in the previous slide. I was kind of trying very you away from registering a domain name with those companies that this platform suggests. I would just use this tool to find the different sites with a possible extension so you can see here put in skill share, and if you've got a bit of money and somebody wants the register, it, you could probably up sell this the skill share or skill share going by its quickly. I'm sure somebody we're going. Bye bye Time of the watch this, But you can actually buy skill. Share the word dot Ari one word and you can buy that now. I'm not sure how much that is. A much sure if it's gonna be cheap or not, but somebody could get themselves a nice domain and Upsell that to skill share. And that's kind of what I'm talking about with this. This platform is that you can put in a word and it will go and find UAL the combinations from the U. R L extensions that it has. And you can kind of find that just one word using those dot extensions. So the way I do is I search for words ending wit. So, for instance, here I've just searched for words ending with E. D. So you can see all the words that listed bottom with nine letter words. What, you'll want something short. So for vanity, or are the shorter the better? Easier to remember easier to tighter. You might be looking for a six letter or a four letter word or even two letter, but the two letter vanity euros Like my me doctor, I am a lot of those go for about $100,000 now, so you'll be really lucky to get a 44 character that really difficult to get. So you want to be looking for one word. Domain names that are often used in the startup world, something like Word eo or word oId Sorry w o r D o i d dot com This is a great little website, but some of these air quite interesting because if you can see a trend in the startup world , if you see something over a crypto currency or artificial intelligence or a drive, you know, self driving car. If you can kind of predict where maybe a company may go in terms of the terminology that their wording, I kind of already had a feeling that medium would end up being some kind of platform at some point, I think it would be a blogging tool, but I kind of hedge my bets a little bit with the four characters, and it looked like after six years paid off once you found your domain name. Once you found it's seriously small vanity or else one of the places that I would suggest you look at his flipper on what's good with flippers, you can get a rough idea of the sale price of what things Sale form is a nice idea of getting your eye in for looking for demain so you can seal now. There's 10 days left for crying dot com for $1750 woodpeckers dot com, $3650 so you couldn't lip, which is the term flip a u R l or domain easily. If you come up with a decent set of ur else and you've got you've got money to invest, you could invest into Urals as part of a investment portfolio and flip them with the right kind of team behind you. You can sit on them, blogged them whatever way you want to go about it. It is a long tail game, and just like any investments, you know, you're not guaranteed to make money on it personally. Feel that websites are kind of a dying breed because we live in APS these days. But I still think we've got probably a year or two before APS are starting to really disappear. APS on websites have started disappear into the realms of VR 5. 1.5 - custom and unique will always have a value: So this is a slow game. You'll have the domain for a while, so I would suggest, given it work to do one of mean by that is turning into a block. Turn into something niche. Maybe it's just a concept site for you to promote some of the things that you're able to work out on as additional agency medium was bought off me for me to go away. I had over 2000 pages, blocked pages from 2005 to 2011. Medium was going to launch. And unbeknown to me on the San Francisco law, if u I pr company and you have content on the Web, which is similar to the company that's going for I Pipo, you have some level of legal rights in terms of the content you've got online. That sounds like the company go for I p o. So I was kind of bought to go away, and if I kind of knew that I would have probably put the price up to 75 instead of 15 I wasn't greedy. I know a lot of full character domain names now over $100,000 which is crazy so start Logging Analytics on understanding the growth of your domain vanity URLs that you've bought . Seeing steady growth on these is really useful because that's that information. When you come to flip that euro, any investors or people are building up a portfolio off your else and domain names for sale to future start ups or people looking for a vanity. You are out. They're going to need this data and they're going to need this data flipper so they could look through it and see if they can actually invest in buying that out, putting a team on it, ramping up the output on it and using it to maybe promote other things. Other things in that portfolio, which align with the sites, would be thinking also off the u. R L. It might be real estate. It might be a I've, er, whatever it may be, custom will always have a value. Customization is still huge. I remember when I was a teenager that I wanted to customize everything my computer, my roller skate, everything, even my footwear unique, always has a value to somebody factor in the cost of what happens when you sell that unique thing that object. How much revenue? How much traffic? How much was it worth you toe? Have that asset cost that in when you come to sell it unique always stands out, even if it's just the idea of what you're trying toe achieve rather than the actual bottom line sales figures. We see crazy acquisitions all the time. Remember Minecraft getting bought by Microsoft for billions of dollars? It's a game, but it's going to be useful to Marcus often the VR sense for kids playing in a virtual reality world off Minecraft Onda is the biggest game in the world, so they're gonna buy the biggest one to go on the platform to really push their platform home. 6. 1.6 - realworld .ee estonia network example: so a little bit about quickly a live example off the dot e wordpress network I'm trying to build. The reason why I bought 10 websites is that I found that there was a lot of vanity Urals for the e e. They still is. So there's still like you could have a field day. They're all of them are vanity or else they all make up words. There are one word you are l So the actual dot ee makes up the word they're all gonna be custom layout websites. Some of them are gonna be blog's. Some of them are gonna be concepts. I can see myself giving the one of one or two of them away for startups. But the idea is, is that we're building a network for traffic generation and to bring in AdSense. So we're gonna plug in at plug, which is a great advertising network, AdSense, which is Google's AdSense convert kit. So we can capture emails from people and we're also gonna be taking the RSS output blawg off each one of these wordpress sites and putting that route twiddle, which will then feed all the twitter accounts that we have under our trouble account so you can start to see that this builds up kind of a network. A traffic generation network. Well, all we have to do when we're on the road is right. Block posts of Mitt Block posts each one of these blog's to generate some traffic to our existing other projects or courses. Like I just said, their plan for group of websites to bring in monthly revenue. I don't expect that this group of 10 sites will bring in a lot of money. Why do think it will do is it will cover all of that overheads when it comes to our digital software online to all of our cloud Web maps, everything that we use, you know, the cloud kits, the ad plug website hosting. I just wanted to be able to cover all of that if it covers all of that, and it's kind of like a zero cost stores to actually maintain it from day zero. From the moment I bought those you RL's, you know, they cost those 90 euros complete, so I'm not sure that is in pounds, maybe 60 £70 Day zero. I already put a figure on what I want that network to have achieved in two years or am I try and flip it in a year's time? I wanted to kind of go back down the route of why did with me dot gm when I sold that. But I've gone bigger this time, mainly gone bigger because I want to be. L've to 10 sites is not that many to put block post on each one. I've already connected in WordPress. I've already got everything ready to go in terms of my ipads and blogging on the go. And I've got a cost to me in terms of time. In terms of the amount of effort I've put in on the amount of blogging I will be doing. I can imagine that each site really needs around 1000 or 2000 posts, so that's a hell of a lot of content over the next 18 months to 24 months to fill out. So that's a lot of my time, time costing in my time. I also feel like this 10 site network is gonna be for digital portfolio. So from a artist creative perspective, I want to establish a creative agency in Estonia with the e residency card that I bought. I think this is the perfect way to do. It's the perfect way to make Estonia is startup culture realized that to promote itself, using custom, you RL's creating concepts of what they're trying to offer their. I do see a stony of being part of my future in terms of commuting. They're working their telecommuting, maybe, and I think this will be a really good platform for us to use to be elf to get some awareness and so really purely traffic generation. It's like a digital art piece. I'm looking forward to see our unfolds. 7. 1.7 - round up of things discussed: said around it then hopefully I explained the potential of buying your l's early on and cheap my point going and spending $159 on 10 euros, which cost you over £1000 on a whim on the hope that in two years you can convert the buying them cheap. It's less of a kind of damage limitation and probably spending more time setting things up and doing all the blogging. But I'm looking at the data at every point. This is a bit the slow game. You're not gonna make money on this in three months. Six months, nine months. Then maybe an opportunity to flip all the websites in 12 months as a network depended on the reach after 12 months, gonna take you six months just to get these established onto Google toe like any investment . Don't expect something like Vanity Euros to pay off time soon to make this work. You're looking at a window off Giunti off a few years for selling them. I can't stress this enough. The amount of work that I unconsciously put into medium taking six years before actually pays off was was huge, and it came out of the blue. I'm trying to recreate that by doing it properly, this time organized in the output in the expectation and tracking it as I go. So there's only gonna be a small window of opportunity for this to work. I think that websites are a dying breed and I think things like VR will kill off the need, the necessity to even think about ur else because everything will be on the hard the head up display inside your VR. And I think a lot of people will move on to VR headsets, especially when they're going to glasses. And they're not these big, cumbersome things that you have on your head. So you use the euro that you get go all in on that niche. If you bought specific vanity URL, which is for VR or artificial intelligence or for driverless cars, whatever is go all in on that niche. Find out specific things that happening in seen it maybe things that comments that you have of potential futures that you see, you know, do your s e o block to that site daily, even if it's only 300 words. 250 words, even if it's you after higher virtual pH to be able to do it, I guarantee you, after 12 months, that website is gonna be worth more than you originally paid for, including all your hosting, probably the time of the virtual p A. And you'll be able to flip it. I'm not saying you're going to get lots of money out of it, but that's the reason why I've done 10 domains instead of just the one get it connected up to Facebook and Twitter. You know, there's still massive audiences on. They're still gonna be massive audiences joining there in the next five or 10 years. As long this Facebook and the planet stays around in the next 5 10 years. So, yeah, I think I've covered what I wanted to cover today. Any questions? Send me a question. I'd love to see your project. That's it for this course. I will catch it. We soon take care. Bye. 8. 1.8 - sharing is caring, comment and tweet!: while I have you enjoyed the course, Please share and review the course. It really does. Help me out. Click on the triple dot button. Leave a review shared with Twitter and Facebook. I'll catch up with you.