I've built up a portfolio of "investment" domain names I've "banked". OK, it isn't much of an investment, because all I'm doing is sitting on them & paying renewal fees. The idea was to turn them into real sites, and do a little business, maybe use them for information and make a little of advertising, in a couple of cases it was just for support of a cause. Some I'm getting serious about turning into domains, as for the rest I've though about my exit strategy.
The idea I've come up with is rather than just abandoning them, or trying to sell a raw name, is to to make them into real "mini-domains". Useful content, a bit of traffic. Then sell them on.
So I've experimented with finding some hosting. Now that was a job and a half. There's thousands of little resellers out there all trying to make themselves look like real hosting companies. Complicating the issue I needed to host multiple domains.
After a few nights of staring at hosting offers until I went crosseyed I gave up. I found an interesting site at forums.devshed.com I placed a description of the type of hosting I needed. The little resellers clustered around and placed answers to my queries. This whittled it down to about 20 replies. I then checked each of them against my stated requirements. Most of them were dreamers. They had non-functioning sites, didn't offer all the features I said I needed, or their terms and conditions disallowed what I said I wanted the hosting for. This got it down to a very few sites; then I used "feelings" this got be down to two I felt comfortable about. Eventually I made my decision.
I'm not associated with devshed, just a happy customer of their free service.
I've started shifting the domains. It's slow work, but each time I do one, it gets easier.
Some little funnies have popped up
- I got a google hit on my main domain for the search term "Albanian Musak." Totally blank look from me, how on earth does my little domain about pacific rats get a hit like that. Google cache to the rescue. I had a random quote dongle on the page, turns out that when the google spider came through, the quote it got served contained exactly that phrase. Won't happen again, I've put rat related quotes in the file it uses. There's a small irony there, "Kiore" is also the name of a town in Albania.
- I also found a 404 on 168.net.nz. When I went to look at the referring page it was Google ('natch), but in Chinese. I asked a Chinese co-worker. He said the search was about AUT, and so was the page in the google cache. He said the page was unusual. It was written using simplified chinese characters, but the wording suggested that the person writing was more at home with traditional Chinese. We then had a conversation about how it's just a transliteration (or to coin a word, transpictoration) and how a simple search/replace could do someting like this. Programmers, huh?