Over the summer I wrote how I fell in love with the Yachts.com domain name, even though I knew nothing about boats. I spent months building a site, setting up a boat brokerage business, getting in the luxury boat charter business, offering to buy boats for cash, offering boat insurance, offering peer-to-peer yacht rentals, and more.
Everything went fine, in the sense that there were no problems, it all ran smoothly. But nothing I did, including a lot of SEO work, increased the site traffic from the 30-40 visitors a day Yachts.com was getting before I even built a site on it. And any money I spent on ads (in Google) to increase traffic did not make a profit.
I was stuck. There were still many potential ways I could use Yachts.com, plus lots of people offered to joint venture with me, but nothing seemed optimal.
So I pivoted. I changed the site to offer NFT yachts (digital yacht ownership), like a virtual yacht metaverse. NFTs and metaverses are two of the hottest trends right now. But traffic still did not go up, and either way, NFTs seemed like a less than optimal use of the Yachts.com domain, as I could use any decent domain for that (CyberYachting.com is available right now to register for $10).
I was ready to give up, maybe sell the domain. Then one day I received an email from a guy who does yacht rentals in The Canary Islands. He had some ideas about working together. I decided it would be too limited to use Yachts.com only for boat charters in one small vacation spot like his, but talking with him gave me some new ideas, and more importantly reinvigorated my passion for developing the site.
And just like that…I was back in the yacht business. I spent the last 2 weeks completely redesigning the site from scratch (I switched from WordPress to PHP) to be much more about boating vacation destinations, and to make money from travel affiliate programs instead of me doing all the work. And I will soon also add yacht charters from the guy in the Canary Islands, but that is only one of the 400 vacation spots I now offer.
The new Yachts.com may still not be the best use of the domain, but at least it has focus. My previous versions were hard to promote because it was never clear exactly what the site offered. Next, I will work on trying to increase traffic and getting it to make money.
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Good job! Stay on it!
Wish you success.
Maybe you can ger some cheap targeted traffic online by targeting people of interest/related pages. Further target the pages with age and demographics. In my personal experience being confident of the strong domains performance against other advertisers i bid high to show google or fb my ads higher ctr. I then start lowering the bids slowly till my ppc cost is cut in half or more for the same traffic.
Your domain name is highly scalable but why start with 200 regions when you can focus on one then scale up.
Right now the trips I offer are just as an affiliate for a travel site, so it is not worth it for me to advertise. But I am working on offering direct deals, so once I do that, I will advertise on Google.
I mainly added 400 locations because that will help me get more traffic from the search engines. But yes, I will try to focus on promoting a few locations to get things started.
I always liked your openness so i will be honest.
Your choice of domains were always good but they did not match the quality of the website.
I think you are stuck in the thought that domains quality will overcome the weaknesses of the website but that was the case of the 2000s.
We have not met but i really feel you are a good guy and i will be honest. If you do not build a professional looking website Yachts.com will never prevail.
There is a difference between being good in real estate and being a good constructor.
I guess i could explain what i meant cause i am experiencing same problems.
Wish you a happy new year with all your loved ones! 🙂
Yes, I agree, a website on a domain such as Yachts.com needs to look amazing, and the current version does not. Right now I am just trying to get search engine traffic, by having pages for 400 boating locations, so how the site looks does not factor much into SEO.
I will work on make the site design look better. Thanks for the feedback. I would much rather hear what people really think about things than nothing at all.
Eric, if I were you I contact yacht builders and create partnerships. If you can refer a new yacht built gets you a cut. You shouldn’t partner with plenty of yacht builders. Stick to just two popular with great reputation and that are run profitable(so that they can afford to pay you). Lets say you only gets 1% of full sales sums. It still adds up depending on yacht sizes and how many you refer each year.
Yes, that would be a good fit for the domain. The hard part would be tracking sales. Somebody spending $10 million+ is not going to want to only see the info on my site, they are going to want to see all the details on the yacht builder’s site. But as yacht builders don’t have online affiliate programs that track cookies to credit the inquiry to me, it would be hard for me to get credit for it
Hmm.. I guess that’s problem. Maybe you can sell them just leads?
I had thought about that, and leads are a good business. But for an expensive yacht, the customer is going to want to deal directly with the yacht company, in terms of seeing their real site first. So I doubt they would fill out a lead form on my site where I only have a small sample of all the available info for it.
Thanks, I changed it now so all the pages on the site use internal links that don’t open into a new window.
Good pivot. However, I disagree with this part of your post: “…may still not be the best use of the domain…” If you make money by running business on it, as you are trying to do, then that is the best use of the domain for you. I love domains and did a little bit of domain sales for EMDs. But the “best use” of any name–or anything else– is more an academic than anything else.
Yes, but with a domain like Yachts.com, let’s hypothetically say instead of using it, I could sell it for $750,000. I could then invest that money and make $75,000/year. So if I run a business on it that only makes $12,000/year, I am somewhat wasting the domain. I need to do something big on it, or else I am better off selling it.
I understand your perspective as to the name and the comparison. But generally speaking, business are not created overnight, regardless of how valuable the domain is. I don’t know of any business that is a home run the first (or even the third) year.
Yes, that is true, but so far everything I have tried has made $0, so I need find something that at least has potential to make some decent money.