Elliot Silver has been blogging since June 2007 and has not stopped since. I really applaud him for this, it is extremely difficult to take a blog and continue writing month after month supplying new information. I am not the only one to notice, he has been awarded blog of the year 2008 by DomainTools.com, DomainerChoiceAwards.com and if memory serves me correct he won something at TRAFFIC.
Beyond his blogging Elliot is becoming a big player in the Geo domain name scene. He owns domains like Lowell.com and Burbank.com which are 2 of the top 250 populated US cities. I know what Elliot paid for Lowell.com, it was no joke. Elliot is a serious full time domainer, making waves and here to stay.
Q. I read the bio on your blogs, says you are a graduate of NYU, do you think your education has helped in anyway with your domaining business?
A. I attended grad school at NYU and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing. One of the hallmarks of direct marketing is that you should test everything – creative, price point, call to action…etc. – all of which can be done by using a variety of domain names in a campaign. In grad school, I also learned about the importance of being able to calculate your return on investment for any marketing effort. By using a call to action domain name for different campaigns, you can see where visitors learned about your product/service and track your ROI.
Q. How old are you Elliot?
A. I turned 29 a couple of months ago.
Q. When did you start domaining and why?
A. I started buying and selling domain names when I was in grad school in 2003. I lived in Manhattan and didn’t have a source of income, so I wanted to find something that could passively earn money while in school. I saw people buying and selling domain names on eBay, and I thought I could do the same, so I slowly ventured in to the industry and continued to reinvest my profits into more valuable domains.
Q. What did you do before domaining?
A. Before I started buying domain names, I was a student. While passively domain investing, I worked as a Project Manager at a large direct marketing agency in Manhattan (Wunderman), and then I moved on as a Marketing Manager at AIG for 2 and a half years. I left AIG a year ago this month to focus entirely on domain investments, and most recently domain development.
Q. What does your average day look like?
A. I wake up at 730ish and check my emails and follow-up with all the news alerts I’ve received over night related to the domain industry and my websites. If there isn’t anything major, I check out a couple of domain forums and blogs to see what others are up to and discussing. I pour myself a coffee and either begin working on a website or my blog for a few hours. Early afternoon I take my dog for a walk and then give her a chew toy to keep her busy for a couple hours while I do more of the same stuff. I also spend time researching domain names, sending inquiries and responding to emails. I don’t like to go to bed late, so I’m asleep by midnight most days.
Q. Do you spend any time in the domainer forums or reading blogs?
A. I don’t spend a whole lot of time on the forums although I keep a couple of windows opened for much of the day and refresh every once in a while. I also keep Domaining.com on my screen since all of the domain-related blogs are listed there and I can see some of the news headlines. There are some great sources of information, but they can be a distraction when I am trying to work.
Q. How many domain names do you own? Want to share any of your favorites?
A. At any given time, I have between 150-300 domains. Many of the names are protective or supportive of my brands – like LowellLawyers.net or ElliottsBlog.com spelled incorrectly. My favorites are probably Burbank.com, TropicalBirds.com, Lowell.com, and Torah.com. These are my developed websites (or projects underway) which I am slowly but surely building revenue generating businesses around.
Q. Other than GEO domain names what else are you buying?
A. When I buy to develop, I look for domain names that are strongly searched keywords that could be built into informational websites. Torah.com was an important buy for me because it will be an informational website with Torah commentary, but it also has the potential to grow into an e-commerce venue as well. I don’t really have a specific niche, so I buy what I feel is priced right. If I decide I can’t develop an appropriate website on a particular domain name, I will usually try to sell it.
Q. Do you hand register any domain names and if so how many would you say per month?
A. Maybe 5 a month, but on average, 3 of those 5 will be for protective purposes or to enhance a network of related names.
Q. Do you use any tools to register your domain names or search for new ones?
A. The only tool other than the DomainTools.com Whois search and History Archive is Aaron Wall’s Keyword tool. Aside from that, I search for names based on a gut feel.
Q. How would you recommend an average domainer sell their domain names?
A. I think good domain names can be sold either to the end users (using Google/Yahoo to find them), through domain broker newsletters/websites, or domain conference auctions. For less valuable domain names, I would think the domain forums are good places to sell domain names to other domain investors who are willing to sit and wait for an end-user inquiry, which would seem to be the whole point in registering names in the first place if the goal wasn’t development.
Q. How much do you make every year, six figures, seven figures?
A. I do well enough to be comfortable.
Q. How much are you making on your mini-sites?
A. My best performing mini-site is FuelAssistance.com. Traffic and revenue continue to grow and I am generating a few dollars per day, while the SE traffic grows.
Q. Congratulations on multiple blog awards. When did you start ElliotsBlog.com and why?
A. Thank you! I started my blog in June of 2007 (at TRAFFIC New York) and I became serious about blogging a few months later. I started my blog because I hated posting in domain forums. When I thought of something interesting to write, I felt that it was silly to post in a forum where if it didn’t get noticed quickly, it would be completely lost in space and my time/effort would be wasted. I figured if I started a blog, I could say what I wanted to say, and if people wanted to read more, they could. Blogging daily also makes me pay very close attention to everything that is impacting the domain industry. I’ve learned a lot about the industry in the past few years, and I am happy to share what I know. I am also lucky to be able to test various things – like mini sites, and I am happy to talk about the process and be candid about the results.
Q. I read one of your last blog posts and it mentioned something about playing blackjack, hmmm are you a card counter? Do you play in any card tournaments?
A. Most definitely not a card counter – I have a bad memory. I like to gamble and enjoy playing blackjack – although I hate playing with people who stand on a 16 with the dealer showing a face card. You have to play the odds to have a chance of winning and can’t go on “hunches.”
Q. Is there anything else you want to share or words of advice?
A. Domain investing can be lucrative, but you need to do your research before buying. Read as much as you can from the people who have a track record for successful domain investing. There are plenty of people out there who have been doing great things for a long time, and most are happy to share with newcomers. You just have to know who to ask.
Well said, thank you for allowing me to interview you Elliot. Everyone make sure to check out ElliotsBlog.com, there is a lot of great information on his blog.