is now

It’s sad to see it go, it was my first domain name after all :(. So why then would I decide to get rid of it? I was approached by an individual with an offer to purchase my domain and I accepted. What can came out of it was an interesting little experience worth blogging about and an easy $1000 to help fund my spring break in Disney World a few weeks ago. Funny thing was I brushed off the first offer thinking it was a scam/spam and almost completely missed out on the opportunity.

The exchange basically started with this email sent to my WhoIs information. Now I did some research on how these kinds of approaches should occur from the buyer’s perspective and it was oddly reminiscent of the suggestions in this post. “Robert” communicated with me on a first name basis with what seems to be a throwaway Gmail account stripped of identification information. I’ve even read that intentionally putting grammatical errors in the email is another tactic for reducing your perceived buying power. Further, I checked out the raw email source and found that a tracking service “Contact Monkey” was being employed to implant tracking pixels and redirect URLs to see when I interacted with the email. Luckily most email clients nowadays block external images now because of tricks like these. I can tell that I was obviously dealing with someone that knew more or less what they were doing, but probably isn’t from big corporate.

My next goal was to figure out exactly what my domain was worth when I didn’t even know it had worth to begin with. A domain’s value basically comes down to the human element of typing it into the address bar. Is it easy to remember and spell? Is the TLD .com or .info? Is it an english word and what meaning can people derive from it? How long is it? What is its current page rank? It’s questions like these that make up a domain’s value and it seems like only someone with knowledge of the market can really put numbers to it all. For me, I found a plethora of free appraisal bots online such as estibot but found that their appraisals quoted from $0-15,000. Their utility was more in highlighting basic features that can add to the value of the domain, but not so much how much value. What was most helpful for me was searching through namebio’s database. It let me do some market research on good clean data for similar domain sales. Through this I was able to self appraise it at $600-900. Robert’s initial offer was $800 which was very reasonable given the data I was looking at, but I countered by doubling it to see what would happen. He offered $1000 which I accepted which seemed to be on the higher end of the domain market I fell in.

After this initial back and forth to settle on a price, we went straight into the transaction phase. To carry this out he suggested for an Escrow service. Their job is to act as a trusted third party which handles the transaction to make it impossible to scam each other. It’s pretty much what allows us to trust drug dealers on darknet markets (if one happens to have a need to). For me, it was just a matter of waiting for their payment to post and performing what’s known as a domain push to transfer ownership from my account to another that the buyer registered with my registrar. At that point he had complete ownership and I just had to wait for the check to come in the mail. Escrow takes a nice fee out for servicing the transaction, but as far as I was concerned I got an easy $900 to pay for my Disney World trip.

Finally, the last step was to migrate over to my new homepage It was relatively painless in that all the technical stuff like updating DNS was as simple as the protocol designed it to be. Word Press updated all the dynamic links to the new site URL, the only broken links came from content I generated. Sadly, this means all my image links are now broken but I don’t think I’m going to bother going back and fixing it all. Creating new email addresses was just a click of a button. The most painful part by far was seeing the Google results for my name “Gerardo Ravago” go from number 1 to non-existent. There’s no magic button I could press to tell Google that the website that existed in one place now exists somewhere else (Which I feel would be incredibly useful). It’s just it took awhile for to climb to the top, but that was with just a naive/intuitive approach to SEO. This time I paid more attention to it and read some literature. In a week, I managed to climb to page 2 pretty quickly by updating my small network of links and telling Google that I exist. Shouldn’t be too much longer before I’m back on top as long as I continue to produce new content and acquire page rank 🙂