Why Net Cost 0



Many moons ago I began collecting domain names. An idea for a business or service would pop into my head and I would follow it until the doors of the imagined business were open.

Like a butterfly flitting across the yard, over the fence and into the field behind the house, my mind wandered. The wind blew, doors opened, possibilities expanded and if the idea survived the initial flight of fancy, I would begin thinking of domain names fit for the now-fledgling business.

Without fail, I would find myself in my GoDaddy Reseller account, typing in dot com domains to find the right one. I had to find the right domain name for that idea. If I could find the right one, I could start working on this new idea immediately.

Domain Investing, Domainer or Just Kidding Myself

Domain Investing is a type of internet business where the product is a domain name. Domainers buys domain names and sell domain names. What happens inbetween matters. If you buy a domain name, hold on to it and sell it for less than the purchase cost plus the holding cost, you’re doing it wrong.

So, if you’ve got this domain name, and spent a ton of money on a website, or hiring content writers, designers and such and you don’t have enough revenue to cover your costs, you’re upside down. You may not recover your costs when you sell the domain. In fact, you may not even try to sell the domain; some people cut their losses and do not renew.

That’s not the way to do this.

I had a full time job. And, at that time, I was trying to turn another hobby into a career while working full time and raising a family. I was just kidding myself thinking I was buying domain names to start another business.

I was in love with ideas. I am still in love with ideas. But I’ve come to realize that what I have is another hobby.

I have a hobby of turning ideas into domain names.

That first hobby I had, while working full time: I turned it into a business. Then I sold it. And now I’ve returned, like a homesick angel, to the heaven of ideas and Domaining.

Hobbyists Buy and Hold

I wonder how many people just buy domain names and hoard them away, thinking one day they’re going to build websites on those domains. I ask this as a salve for both my conscience and my wallet.

My collection of domain names is relatively small; I have just over 300 domains just under 400 domains. And I love almost every one of them. I can look at each name and imagine the website, service or app built upon that foundation.

But each one of these domains costs me money; and they continue to cost me money. And my hobby, though it satisfies me, is now competing with another part of me that increasingly demands that I either bring my ideas to life and make these domains pay for themselves or sell them all.

From the Past and Into the Future

NetCost0 (“Net Cost Zero”) is a hat tip to the past and a step into the future. It is a new start to an old hobby with constraints designed to turn the hobby into a business.

NetCost0.com is a Domain Name Monetization Blog.

The prime directive is that each domain must pay for itself.

I’ll allow leeway when any one domain earns more than its costs and then spread the balance across the entire portfolio until the cost of ownership is met. But the prime directive must be met.

How Can a Domain Cover its Own Costs

Way back in The Before Times, when I started working as a Web Developer, there was no such thing as Google Ads. The first domain I purchased I used to build a website for my Web Development business. That was a hard sell in 1997. That site sold a service: website development.

The next website I developed went on a Client’s domain. They sold products for aviation. Each order the website generated meant producing and shipping the ordered goods.

The third and fourth sites I developed for myself to sell products manufactured by two companies on the East Coast of the USA. I received the orders and forwarded the orders to the manufacturers. The products were drop shipped to the Customers and I followed up and took reorders primarily over the telephone.

Then I discovered Google Ads. I ran Google Ads on two other domains I purchased; the websites on these domains sold local services. When the sites generated $100 in ad revenue, I was ecstatic. It took about 3 months. And then I stopped to pursue other goals.

How Do You Monetize a Domain Name

  • I’ve heard now, Google Ads “is dead.” I’m not sure I believe that.
  • For sites with tons of traffic, there are PPC (Pay-per-Click) Networks and Display Ad Networks.
  • Apparently Affiliate Programs have blossomed and matured. People are building “niche” websites and selling goods and services they do not have to manufacture themselves. This is Affiliate Marketing.
  • Podcasts and paid Newsletters are also a thing.
  • Building Software as a Service.
  • Creting a Lead Generation website.

Clearly, there are ways to cover the overhead of owning a domain name.

Moving Forward with NetCost0

I’m going to turn my hobby into a business. The business is domaining and the prime directive is, the domains must pay for themselves. #MakeThemPay is my new mantra. How I will do that is what this website is about. I’m bulding in public with a twist.

I’ve moved myself back to the fork in the road where, over twenty years ago, I took the other path.

I expect things are not the same. I expect I will learn. I expect I will have to identify endpoints, specify milestones and test, test, test. There is a discipline here that I did not have when I began oh-so-long ago and that I must now develop. I am speaking of both a financial discipline and a measurement discipline.

I am also referring to a discipline of action that is necessary to build a skill. Practice is a consistency of action. Practice writing. Practice calling on potential advertisers. Practice writing code to automate repetitive tasks. Practice researching information. Practice producing.

And make them pay.

I have become a Student again – a student of free enterprise, of scripting and programming, of customer service, sales and marketing and networking. I’m pushing up against the wall of the unknown to find a path to the other side. I’ve become a Founder more focused on value and the bottomline than ever before. And I’m listening to and learning from those who have been where I have not.