Why I Built SlipperyElm.com | DomainInvesting.com

Why I Built SlipperyElm.com

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I want to take a second to thank you for voting in the poll where I asked you to give your valuation for SlipperyElm.com. There were 217 total votes, and about 46% of those who cast a vote think the name is worth $1,000 or less, while about 54% of voters think it’s worth above $1,000.

If I was going to vote in this poll, I would have selected between $3,000 – $6,000 for the domain name. I personally think it could be sold for somewhere around $4,000, which is why I paid $1,000 for it at Sedo in private. I don’t think it would have necessarily been an easy sale, but I think it could have been sold for that amount, especially given the comments by a couple of people familiar with herbal remedies.

That being said, I felt that I bought the name for a good price and I have the opportunity to add even more value by building a website that has traffic. I felt that I could spend around $75 on custom articles and a few hours of my time putting the site together using a free web template. At worse, I drove my cost up to $1,100 (approximately) for a name I think is worth around $4,000 before development.

While I am growing the traffic that comes to the site to learn about slippery elm, I am also able to monetize it. IMO, I will earn far more from Adsense than I would if I had $1,000 in the bank.  At .4% interest, I would only earn about $4/year on that cash in the bank. However, I will bet this name makes around $20/month within 6 months (maybe more). There have been a few paid clicks already, ranging from $.25 to $2.00/each, so depending on where things shake out, it could be significantly more than my prediction.

I am fortunate to be able to take $1,000 out of the bank for this type of investment, and I understand that many people couldn’t. It was just a few years ago that I paid for my first domain name that was $1,000 and it made me nervous. Had this been a $20,000 or greater investment, I probably wouldn’t have gone this route, since I could probably make more flipping names with the $20k in principal rather than letting it sit and build traffic on it.

For me, the bottom line is that I believe I bought an under priced domain asset (I bought it after a couple rounds of negotiations), and instead of trying for a quick flip, I am going to do my best to increase the value of the asset and earn more income than I would have had in the bank. I am going to hope to sell the name for greater than $10,000 once traffic and or revenue justify the value.


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 (33)

    David J Castello

    I like SlipperyElm.com, but it will never achieve the historical significance of TropicalBirds.com.

    December 17th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Fred Mercaldo

    I agree with you. When I buy a generic site, or even a geo site for that matter….all I care about is:purchase price PLUS development EQUALS total investment. What, after one year, can I expect to earn monthly/yearly, and what does that equate to in ROI? I have sites that return 20-100% per year, and also have sites that are zero to 10%….more winners than losers though.
    With SlipperyElm.com, once traffic is established along with a modest income stream, I for sure see the upside of $15,000 to $20,000 for a sale price.

    December 17th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Gordon

    @David – they will be teaching the “TropicalBirds.com” story in college textbooks for years to come.

    December 17th, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Leonard Britt

    You have done a phenomenal job monetizing domains such as TropicalBirds & DogWalker which I would have never even tried to develop (fitness & local geos are of greater interest). However, I would never acquire a domain with the comparison being to money in a savings account. Domains are much riskier assets and monetizing them via development entails even greater risk (additional investment) as most search traffic goes to page one sites. Until the site ranks on page one, the development effort yields negative returns. Personally I believe there are better opportunities available in the current economic environment unless you find slippery elm of particular interest. However, given your track record with projects you’ll probably still find a way to make it work. Best of luck & enjoy some time off over the holidays.

    December 17th, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Uzoma

    Elliot,

    We must not lose sight of what is going on here.

    When you try to use this venue to educate new domainers, you have to keep everything scientific. If any Newbie tries to duplicate what you are doing with Slipperyelmwhenwet.com, they can never achieve your results, because you own this popular blog, and if you keep whining and whining, Google will simply put you in the from front slot of search engines, or place your article in prominent blogs. The fact of the matter is that Slipperyelm costs a few dollars to host monthly, at least for the Newbie. I don’t see how this particular domain is not ‘pigeonshit’. Heck, nobody even knows what the heck is a slipperyelm! How can they type it in organically?

    I hate to re-hash our last debate, but you started it! Since you wasted $1000 on this pigeonsh*t, I purchased BUSTYBOOPS.COM, WAGONWEISE.COM, PIZZADIETS.COM, ANTELOG.COM, and developed WEBSITEFORELECTRONICS.COM, and making thousands of dollars on FTA satellite sales on it.

    All for less than your $1000 to slipperystuff site. :-)

    December 17th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

      Elliot

      ” Heck, nobody even knows what the heck is a slipperyelm!”

      @ Uzoma

      Maybe YOU don’t know what slippery elm is, but thousands of people a month know exactly what it is and search for it on Google. That one comment out of everything else you said should discredit anything further you can say. This is a well searched term, especially when you also consider the longer tail searches like slippery elm tea, slippery elm lozenges…etc.

      I agree though that some newbies might not be able to replicate what I am doing, especially since I am using a VPS so hosting doesn’t cost me any more than I already pay. However, I think people can get ideas from what I am doing and do something that works for them within their budget.

      ***Update from Elliot***
      I edited some of my original comments

      December 17th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Fred Mercaldo

    @Leonard….here is one area where I disagree as to “risk”. Years ago, I was a Warhol art dealer. If one purchased a Warhol print for $10,000….and hated it after a year, they could sell it or take it to auction for sale…much like domain names. If one buys an unknown and non-auctionable painting from a local art gallery….and after a year they hate it….they are stuck….there is no market for it. Much like opening a new business in a retail center….if you fail, what can you sell? If you buy a domain name at the proper price, and if you are not successful in your monetization strategy, you can sell the domain after a year and hopefully get your money back or more. These are truly assets. Especially geo related and natural type in domains.
    There may be an argument as to which domains are “auctionable” and which ones are worthless….true. I personally am very selective….my entire portfolio is less than 500 domains.

    December 17th, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Elliot

    @ Leonard

    A few points to make. My first $1,000 domain acquisition several years ago was very nervewracking for me. At the time, it was money I couldn’t afford to lose. These days, I can afford to let $1k sit as an investment for the long term if needed. I know I can flip this for $2-3k if absolutely needed, but I’d rather build traffic and increase the value of the investment.

    If this was a $25k+ purchase, it could certainly be argued that I could use that $25k+ for other purchases and flips that would yield a higher return.

    With this domain name, it has good value developed or undeveloped. Your points would be more relevant if I developed something like iSlipperyElm.com or something else that had significantly less value as a standalone domain name.

    December 17th, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Uzoma

    Elliot,

    You said “Maybe YOU don’t know what slippery elm is, but thousands of people a month know exactly what it is and search for it on Google. That one comment out of everything else you said should discredit anything further you can say.”

    I already told you that I own similar domains as slipperyelm, one of them being SWEETFLAG.COM, so I know the potential of such names.

    You then said “I think those names you mentioned are pigeon shit. If you are making any money on them, it’s not because of the quality of the domain names. This is a domain investment blog, and I only really care about GOOD domain names, not garbage that nobody else would hand register.”

    I have already conceded that my names are not for PPC or Google exclusively, my names are for a well articulated business, with a business plan, and products to sell; Within the last couple of hours, we have processed over $32,000 in FTA sales on WEBSITEFORELECTRONICS.COM alone. So, compare that to Slipperyelm. I hope nobody hand registers my type of domains, I want them all.

    Then you conceded, “I agree though that some newbies might not be able to replicate what I am doing, especially since I am using a VPS so hosting doesn’t cost me any more than I already”

    Quod erat demonstrandum! Why are you arguing then? You should be debating.

    You concluded with “BTW, if you’re making so much money, you should spend your time enjoying life and not troll on my blog – especially since you seem to disagree with what I write.

    Finally, I am not getting into a dumb pissing contest with you again. It’s a waste of time, especially on the weekend.”

    I was simply debating certain issues with you. If you rather I don’t visit your blog, or take issues where and when I disagree, say so, and I’ll oblige.

    December 17th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

      Elliot

      @ Uzoma

      I try to share what I can with others who want to learn.

      You are more than welcome to not come back here since you aren’t being helpful to anyone. Perhaps instead of criticism you can offer some advice based on your own personal track record.

      ***Update from Elliot***
      I edited some of my original comments

      December 17th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Mac M

    Elliot,
    Most of your readers are aware that Uzoma and Anunt mean the same thing in some unknown language. Keep up the good work.
    Mac

    December 17th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Uzoma

    Elliot,

    You keep boasting, while I’m doing my thing.
    Since my last post, I have registered or purchased over a dozen names, one of them being RAVISHES.ME

    To, you it may not be as good as slipperyelm that will pay many cents from adsense, but that is your opinion, pal :-)

    I know you’ve done well in the past, when everybody was doing well, now is when the rubber hits the road: times, they are changing. Diversify! Stop knocking different strategies. I have a lot of domain names; they may hit you in the face, and you will not appraise them well. You think product names or Geodomains are the only way to go. Good for you, I simply disagree. I like some of your names, but I am trying to challenge you, and others like you that have hijacked this business, and let the big guys eat our lunch. So, don’t take it personally. If you allow me to use this platform of yours to do something worthwhile, I will, if you keep pissing me off, then….. I will stop coming here, and you’ll have yourself to blame.

    December 17th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Olney

    You shouldn’t have to justify your develop of domains. I’ve followed your lead & started to write about traffic from my developed IDNs. Advertisers would feel so much better being on a site that’s developed promoted & has actual stats.
    Each developed domain helps your personal network.

    December 17th, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    adinfinite

    Elliot, why do you waste your time? I took one look @ Uzoma’s site that he claims makes 32k in 3 hiurs and I knew immediately that he/she was a troll. Anyway, that being said, I think you are absolutely correct in that a successful strategy will come down to adding value to descriptive/generic through development to get traffic and the monetizing the traffic. Good look with slipperyelm

    December 17th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Uzoma

    Elliot,

    You keep asking for examples of my domains, and I keep giving you bits and pieces. I have a vast collection of domains. I can only provide domains comparable to what you are known to have. I know for instance that you inherited or purchased Bahamas.co , which is fine if .CO succeeds, but if that happens, then a sample of my .CO will be the following, just a sample:

    blocker.co

    lahotel.co

    sorethroat.co

    plasmatelevision.co

    marinade.co

    itraffic.co

    diameter.co

    phosphate.co

    aktiengesellschaft.co

    eliminate.co

    nectarine.co

    verteiler.co

    thigh.co

    depreciation.co

    cornbread.co

    chrom.co

    tamarindo.co

    onlinebrokerage.co

    divider.co

    roastbeef.co

    vxr.co

    rechtsberater.co

    wanton.co

    marxism.co

    kri.co

    antidepressant.co

    kedo.co

    triplicate.co

    conundrum.co

    vdf.co

    lascivious.co

    solarauto.co

    urkunde.co

    469.co

    dictate.co

    veal.co

    pepperoni.co

    rxn.co

    penchant.co

    daiquiri.co

    secureservices.co

    salami.co

    xxv.co

    operatingsystem.co

    letterman.co

    hersteller.co

    feta.co

    hemingway.co

    colby.co

    anzahl.co

    businessprogram.co

    cupola.co

    cheddar.co

    satellitetelevision.co

    lewd.co

    pastrami.co

    businessprograms.co

    raiz.co

    petroleumoil.co

    December 17th, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Elliot

    @ Leonard

    BTW, didn’t mean to be harsh… was at the gym working out when I replied :)

    December 17th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    TomekL

    Just quick question ? Wouldn’t it be smart (if investing $1000 ) to secure other “popular” extentions ? Let’s say SlipperyElm.us ($3.99 reg. fee) ? Or You think it won’t rank high (at least in USA) to create competition ?

    Best Regards

    December 17th, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Elliot

    @ TomekL

    Nah… Too much time to do that and not enough reward. If I add more content, it will be to the main site.

    December 17th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    TomekL

    no no no ! I meant to register other extentions to NOT let anybody ADD competition with exact same domain name ?

    December 17th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Elliot

    IMO, if you have the .com, you don’t need other extensions. It would be great i someone wants to build something on another extension so I can capitalize on the typo traffic, or they’ll want to buy mine to upgrade.

    December 17th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

      Elliot

      I have edited some of my comments here that were made defensively and weren’t nice. I took a couple of things personally, when I shouldn’t have done that, and as a result, I said some things that weren’t nice.

      I hope we can get back on track and discuss this particular post. Comments unrelated to the post/web development will not be approved.

      December 18th, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Ed Keay-Smith

    Nice job on DogWalker.com & DogGroomers.com they look great and I like how you have kept the “look & feel” the same across both websites.

    Seeing as you have built both websites using WordPress, I was wondering if you would mind sharing the plugins that you use.

    I have my standard list of WP Plugins that I use for my websites and I can see some of them are the same as you use looking at your sites source code.

    Would be cool if you could. :-)

    Thanks for all that you have shared on your blog over the past year. I look forward to reading it in 2011.

    I wish yourself & Karen a great Christmas / New Years.

    Cheers

    Ed Keay-Smith
    OzDomainer.com

    December 17th, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Rob Docherty

    Elliot,

    First, I’m a new reader, and fan, nice to meet you. Second, I would like to discuss developing out some of your sites, whether existing or new, I own over 450 domains myself and do everything from design/programming/marketing/etc., Third, don’t worry about taking things personally, it’s life, stuff happens :)

    Keep writing, I’ll keep reading, in the coming weeks I’ll try to be more active.

    If you want to reach out: 502-403-3504 or email is fine.

    DogGroomers is good, I always have a blank state of mind when approaching developing a domain out in hopes generating real revenue versus pennies.

    December 18th, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Elliot

    @ Ed

    It’s a highly modified version of the Classipress plugin, but we’ve done a number of custom ad ons and upgrades, in addition to the actual theme changes.

    December 18th, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Adi

    @Leonard

    Can you share some of your fitness domains?

    Thanks!

    December 18th, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Good Domain Names

    “I am going to hope to sell the name for greater than $10,000 once traffic and or revenue justify the value.”

    Elliot, how much traffic/revenue do you think this will take?

    December 18th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Elliot

    @ GDN

    Not sure…. maybe a 5,000 monthly visits and $1,500 a year in revs?

    December 18th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    The Big Cheese

    @Elliot,

    This won’t sell for $10K until you have a minimum of $2,500 a year in gross revenue. Not jumping on the “bash Elliot bandwagon”, but I don’t see you getting there with this one. Good luck with it, though.

    That being said, the term “Slippery Elm” absolutely IS brandable as a quirky, whimsical term that some company would pay far more than $10K for if it fit their business model. I see the value of this purchase as being in the name itself, which has nothing to do with the actual slippery-elm products people buy. Brandability is tricky, but you’ve hit a good one in this domain without even realizing it.

    – TBC

    December 18th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Elliot

    @ TBC

    You may be right… but to be honest, if it’s making over $1,000 a year in passive revenue, I probably wouldn’t consider selling it, although I would probably do my best to find names with similar stats and try to duplicate it :)

    December 18th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Jim

    Elliot, forgive my ignorance, what’s the story on TropicalBirds.com?

    December 18th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Elliot

    @ Jim

    It was the first site I developed… Spent a lot of time on it learning coding and whatnot… Ranks #1 in Google and gets a few hundred visits a day, but monetizing it has been a bear. It makes a few dollars a day… not really bringing a return based on the time I spent on it, but it was a good learning experience for me.

    It’s now more of an inside joke with David :)

    December 18th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Gazzip

    “but monetizing it has been a bear. It makes a few dollars a day”

    Probably the best chance to make more money off Tropical Birds would be to have a really good section/selection of Bird Cages for sale.

    I see you have 6 on there for sale but the titles, prices and more info affiliate link is so tiny I can hardly see or read it.

    Amazon have tons of Bird cages for sale, they might be a better affiliate to work with than petsmart ?

    amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&field-keywords=bird+cages&x=0&y=0

    Just a suggestion

    December 18th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Elliot

    @ Gazzip

    You are probably right, but I am very much over putting any more time into that site :)

    December 18th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

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