Sometimes, a domain name simply sounds so good, a client has to snap it up even if they don’t have a current use for it. Good domain names have become more and more scarce since I started in this business back in 1998, and I confess I’ve contributed to the scarcity in a small way by encouraging clients to snap up a good domain name when they come up with one. If they don’t, I know the chances are good it will be gone soon. I was working with a client who wanted a place-holder site built for a potential magazine project, and while brainstorming for an appropriate domain name, we ran across “killerstereo.com.” Neither of us could believe it was still untouched. He snapped it up, but decided to go with another domain name for his project.
In order to make some use of the domain, he commissioned TrackItWeb to set up a hosting account for Killer Stereo and install an Amazon affiliate package for the site until the day he found another use for it.
Affiliate agreements differ among merchants that offer them; most pay a percentage of sales, many pay for traffic generated by an affiliate site. There are extensions for many open-source platforms that allow incorporation of affiliate content. There are also many free-standing open-source software packages like the one used for Killer Stereo that allow the quick set-up and configuration of affiliate sites. The actual content comes from the parent site, Amazon in the case of Killer Stereo, and users are taken to the parent site to make purchases so no user-related data is handled on the affiliate site. That means there is no need for a dedicated IP address or SSL certificate, which reduces the cost of setting up an affiliate site.
I have done plenty of affiliate marketing for clients, and it produces income proportional to site traffic, but this is the first free-standing affiliate site I’ve set up, so I can’t say how successful they are yet. It’s certainly an inexpensive way to to produce content–and hopefully income–from unused domains. Only time will tell if it’s worth the money for the client.
09/02/2012 – Update
My client is keeping mum on the amount of actual revenue he’s getting from Killer Stereo, but I have noticed one potential side benefit of creating an affiliate site as a place-holder for an otherwise unused domain. Today, there are 11,300 pages indexed on Google for Killer Stereo.