Things I Learned About Renewals | DomainInvesting.com
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Things I Learned About Renewals

17

In the past month, I’ve been going through the first round of dog walker advertising renewals on DogWalker.com, and I want to share a few things I’ve learned that might be helpful to you if you have web directories.

Paypal is great, and Paypal subscriptions are fantastic. Every day, I am getting payments from dog walkers whose listings are expiring but automatically renew via Paypal. These renewals take the trouble out of collecting payments after the first year, saving me significant time and effort re-contacting dog walkers and re-billing.

I am thankfully getting FAR fewer cancelations and/or refund requests than I anticipated.  I would say it’s probably less than 10% including subscriptions where the payment failed (may be due to expired credit card or cancelled Paypal account).  There have been over 50 renewals so far.

If you do use Paypal, here’s a tip for you.  If your Paypal account is used for multiple websites, you will want to realize that the receipt people receive will have your company name. In my case, it’s Top Notch Domains, LLC, which has confused a couple of businesses who didn’t remember the DogWalker.com website.

Since I am billing for a few pet websites, I should probably change the receipt to “Pet Website.” Actually, a better solution would be to open separate Paypal accounts for each website. That’s probably the next step, although it could prove to be a hassle, but it’s something for you to consider if you accept Paypal.

I’ve found that some people (like myself with many subscriptions) cancel their subscription prior to billing so they have the option to pay the next year if they want and not automatically. One thing that works for me is emailing these people a week in advance to remind them of their pending expiration date and giving them a link to pay using Paypal.

If they still don’t respond or aren’t amenable to renewing, I let them know exactly how much traffic their listing has seen as well as the traffic to the city searches. I then compare it to the cost of Internet advertising to show the deal they get on the site.

Finally, if the company says advertising hasn’t worked for them, I ask them how they are tracking results. Since most don’t, I ask them if they mention the Yellow Pages when they call a local business, and they typically say “no.” I tell them that similarly, most dog owners wouldn’t mention their DogWalker.com listing unless they had a special DogWalker.com offer where they had to mention the listing. I recommend that they try it out for another year with a special offer to track all business from the listing.

Finally, I’ve been taking checks from some people who don’t want to use Paypal.  Checks are a pain in the neck because they can take a week to receive and a week to clear. One bad check fee can cost 50% of the actual listing!  I don’t like taking checks, but if it’s a check or nothing, I’ve accepted checks.

Hopefully some of these lessons are helpful to you as you build out your websites and take advertising.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (17)

    Leonard Britt

    Again hats off for what you have done with DogWalker.com. It just emphasizes the importance of having an interest in the topic. Since I don’t own or walk a dog, the idea of developing such a domain would have never even have occurred to me. And yet you have recurring subscriptions! I have read of geo site owners selling ad space and comparing the cost of newspaper, Yellow Page or TV advertising to the cost of reaching X number of people via their site but at a lower cost.

    Regarding tracking, perhaps you could include a code in the listing where anyone who finds a dog walker via your site would receive a X% discount if they mention DogWalker.com. The dog walkers might not want to offer the discount but how else can they track the effectiveness of the ad? Besides, it would seem dog walkers get occasional repeat business so a small one-time discount would be worth it.

    January 22nd, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Anthony Hanner

    “Since most don’t, I ask them if they mention the Yellow Pages when they call a local business, and they typically say “no.” I tell them that similarly, most dog owners wouldn’t mention their DogWalker.com listing…”

    That’s a real nugget to read again and again for anyone interested in selling direct advertising, not just directories.

    Great post, Elliot.

    January 22nd, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Troy

    Elliot,

    Do you know why this post was taken off of Domaining.com?

    Frank has been removing a lot of posts after they are published recently and I want to know if I should switch back to Namebee.com.

    Sorry to hijack these comments but I don’t have a blog so I don’t have a way to get an answer on my own.

    Troy

    January 22nd, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Elliot

    @ Troy

    It’s up for me even when I’m not logged in to my account.

    January 22nd, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    John

    The post are not really coming off domaining.com – it’s hidden from you after you’ve clicked through. If you use another computer and go back to domaining.com , you’ll see the post again. It’s meant as a helpful feature.

    January 22nd, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    RH

    Great post, a lot of good points that should help anyone selling advertising.

    January 22nd, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    mike

    Love reading your blog…

    BTW: Your “Add to Cart” links are broken on your product pages.

    January 22nd, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    josh

    One strategy to reduce charge backs when using one paypal account for multiple businesses is to use a domain name as the text that appears on their statement.
    So rather than the customer seeing Top Notch Domains, LLC on their statement, you could specify TND-charge.com or something similar. then use that domain to list the services you use your paypal account on and explain charges, etc.

    January 23rd, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Trickytobeat

    nasty mike , hey kennedy,

    wahsup

    January 23rd, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Joey Starkey

    I have read where you have mentioned your dogwalker site in other posts before, but Ihave never visited the site.
    I am quite impressed. I really need to get my game on.

    I have been developing mini-sites for quite awhile more as an avenue to put some of my domains work then anything else. Maybe it its time to think of developing to make some real money. Thus driving up the price of the domain and creating a real business.

    Eyes Wide Open!

    January 23rd, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Stephen Hall

    Thanks for the info. I don’t think I want to start a directory, I am happy just trying to sell my domain names.
    Thanks for the info tho anyway! -Steve

    January 23rd, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Matt Leonard

    Thanks for the post. I struggle with advertising sales on my sites more than anything else. I love the Paypal subscription idea!

    January 23rd, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Mike

    the trouble with trying to open a separate paypal account for each site is that as far as i know you can only link one paypal account to a single bank account. so getting your money out would mean you then have to send paypal transfers from all the various accounts into the one paypal account that is linked to your bank account (unless you have multiple bank accounts). either way a hassle

    January 23rd, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Elliot

    @ Mike

    Yep… that’s why I haven’t done it.

    January 23rd, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Steve Stankiewicz

    I also had the same issue on trying to use Paypal for multiple properties and my Biz Name for Paypal is used to collect which does confuse some buyers.

    January 23rd, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    DNabc

    Hello Elliot,

    Before opening multiple accounts be sure to use different companies. You are allowed to have on personal and one premier/business account. I haven’t checked their policies lately.

    January 23rd, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    glaxxon

    I wanted to confirm though, i don’t think so multiple paypal accounts are allowed for each website unless each is registered as a separate company.
    So probably a solution can be to have a parent company domain and do billing from their, as was suggested by others too.

    January 23rd, 2011 at 11:42 pm

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