Turn Your Parked Domains into Profit MachinesBy Doug Dillard
It kills me when I type in a domain name to see what’s on the site, only to find myself at the registrar’s "Parking Page" (which advertises the company where the domain was registered). It’s an absolute waste of a good domain. I’m sure that if I’ve typed the domain in, other people have as well. Unfortunately, there’s no way to track your actual visitor statistics, as the domain resides on the registrar’s server.
I’m going to show you how to take your parked domain names, utilize two of today’s coolest online tools, and make money with them. First, let’s talk a little about both tools, and how they can help you generate some cash.
Show Me The Money!
The first tool is affiliate programs. Most of you probably know all there is to know about affiliate programs, but for those who don’t, here’s the basic idea behind them. An affiliate program is when a person or company agrees to pay another person or company a fee for referring potential, or actual customers to their Website. Commissions are usually calculated in one of three ways: pay-per-click, pay-per-sale, or pay-per-lead.
I don’t have the time here to go over how all three work, but you can find a lot of information in the Affiliate Programs category on SitePoint. The main point I want you to understand is there are literally thousands of different affiliate programs out there, and they sell just about everything imaginable. You can join most of them for free, as well. Your job will be to find the one (or more!) that’s right for you.
A Little Bit Of Magic (Smoke and Mirrors)
The second tool we need in order to put our "Profit Machine" into action, is a domain redirection service. What domain redirection does is let you take your domain name and "redirect" it to any page on any existing Website. When someone types in your domain, they’re instantly redirected to the page you specify.
Domain redirection (a.k.a. "forwarding") is now offered by most domain registration companies as part of the cost of registration or as an added service with additional charges. There are also companies that offer this service for free, even if you didn’t register your domains with them (they make there money through the other services they offer). The company that I have the most experience with is DomainRedirect.com. I’ve had approximately 1,100 domains redirected by them, and they’ve been great. MyDomain.com is another company that offers this service and has a good reputation.
Now, instead of having your domain sit there and sell domains for the place at which you registered it, you can have it point to the page that was created for you by the affiliate program you joined.
See It In Action
For an example of how you can use your domains, affiliate programs and domain redirection to make money, let’s imagine that you visited my URL www.CyberAffiliates.com. As soon as you typed in the URL and clicked enter, you’d be redirected to one of my affiliate links that sells Affiliate Program Software at http://www.groundbreak.com/cgi-bin/affiliate/clickthru.cgi?id=mrdomains. But if you looked in the address bar, it would still tell you that you were at CyberAffiliates.com.
Can you imagine how hard it would be to try to get someone to remember that long URL? I can’t even remember it without looking it up. Another problem this process helps avoid is that of users removing the affiliate code from the URL, who thereby thwart you of your affiliate earnings.
Many buyers don’t like to be "tracked", so they often remove the affiliate code from the URL before they click on it. When this happens, they go to the main purchase site for the service or product — which means that if they buy something, you get zero credit for directing them to the site in the first place. Through this redirection process, there’s a good chance they will never know that they’re being tracked, and the chances that they’ll use your affiliate program are much greater!
The first day I actually used this method, I posted a response to a message on a popular discussion board from someone who wanted an affiliate software solution for their business. I wrote a blurb on some of the features of the software program I was affiliated with, and explained how I use it on one of my sites. Then I simply used CyberAffiliates.com as the link to the site. About 2 hours later I received an email that notified me of my first commission – $40 (USD). Not bad for a domain that cost me $15 and about 5 minutes of my time!
Since then I’ve set up the same thing with many of my domain names. If you go to MrCreditCards.com, you’re automatically redirected to a merchant account reseller. If you go to FamilyTreeKit.com, the URL takes you to a site that sells genealogy software. The list goes on and on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
I try to only sign up for affiliate programs with companies whose services I’d feel good about using, or I’ve used before with success. This way, I can feel good about recommending the services, and I can justify taking the commissions. Now, if anyone asks me about affiliate software, merchant accounts, etc., I can easily send them to my affiliate sites through one of my easy-to-remember domain addresses.
How To Start Your Own Profit Machine
The first thing you need to do is match up your domain(s) with what you want to sell. Obviously, it’s not nearly as advantageous to use MrCreditCards.com to sell light bulbs, as it would to sell merchant accounts or to take credit card applications online. There are many sites that list affiliate programs, but a few of the larger ones are CommissionJunction.com, Refer-It.com, AssociatePrograms.com and Associate-It.com. If you do a quick search on the Internet for "Affiliate Programs", you will of course find many more.
After you match up the product you want to sell through your domain name, go ahead and sign up for the program. Once you’re signed up, you’ll be given a special URL with your tracking code built in. Keep that in a handy place, because you’ll need it shortly.
Next, you’ll need to have your domain redirected. If the company you registered your domain with offers free redirection (or forwarding) with your registration, you should probably take advantage of that. If they don’t, you’ll need to find a company that offers what you need. After you’ve located one, you’ll need to sign up for the service. During this process, you’ll need to provide the URL with the tracking code that you were given by the affiliate company. Enter that URL when you’re asked for the URL to which you want your domain redirected (a.k.a. the "Destination Address").
Unless you’re using a redirection service provided by your registrar and your domain’s already pointing to the correct destination, you will need to modify the domain’s DNS information. The redirection company you decide to use will give you the DNS details you need. Take that information and go into the "Domain Manager" provided by your registrar. You’ll need to select the domain you want to modify, and then select the "Modify DNS" (or its equivalent) link.
Once you’re there, you’ll need to delete your old DNS info and input your new details. What this does is point your domain name to the servers of the redirection company. That way, they’ll be able to redirect your domain to your specified location. It should look something like this, but with the DNS info you were given:
Then click Submit to finish the update.
That should do it. It usually takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hours for the DNS information to update. Once it’s updated, your domain name will point to your affiliate link and you will be poised to make some cash!
Now that your money making domain is ready to go, let everyone know about it. The more people you get your domain in front of, the better chance you have of making money. There are tons of articles and sites that are dedicated to increasing traffic. Read everything you can get your hands on and then put what you’ve learned into action. The money is sure to follow!
What Are You Waiting For?
I know there are thousands (if not millions) of you out there, who own domain names that sit around collecting dust. Why not put them to use and start to make money with them? Your profits are only four steps away!