How to Sell a Domain Name

Posted on 06 February 2008 by Lord Brar

Please Note – This Post is Work in Progress and We Will Keep Adding More Tips and Ideas. Click Here to Get Regular Updates.

One of the joys of being a moderator at one of the most popular domaining forum — DNForum — is that you get swamped with private messages from people. One of the question which I get asked the most is How to Sell a Domain Name.

In this post I am going to talk about the strategies I use to sell a domain name or website. Let’s get started, shall we?

Two Important Things

There are a few things that I must tell you before we get started.

1. DO NOT buy any eBook — I have read most of the eBooks currently available in the market and they are mostly useless and provide obsolete information.

2. Subscribe to DomainingTips.com Newsletter — As the moderator of one of the biggest and most influential domaining forum (DNForum), I have access to some of the biggest players in the industry.

Subscription to the newsletter is absolutely free and you also get a free copy of my guide “8 Things You Must Know About Making Money From Domain Name”. Click here to subscribe. You will be glad that you did.

Selling a Domain Name – Know Your Market!

There are two kind of people who buy domain names — 1. Resellers and 2. End Users.

Resellers are the people who buy domains and sites with the sole purpose of reselling them. They are not interested in keeping their inventory forever and are, usually, not interested in developing the domain name.

End Users are the people who are interested in developing and running the domain. Unlike resellers, they plan to use the domain for development or promotion purposes and don’t plan to sell it as soon as they find a buyer. An end user can be an individual or a company.

Selling a Domain Name – What Actually Sells

A lot of times people will list a domain for sale and get discouraged when no one makes an offer or buys what they are selling. Most of the times it turns out that they were trying to sell to wrong people.

Let’s see what actually sells and who buys it.

1. Generic Domains. These are domains like hotels.com, cars.com, search.com, poker.com, loan.com, coupons.com etc.

The reason why these domains are valuable is because a lot of people will never use a search engine to find things but instead just type [keyword].com — which translates into highly targeted traffic.

End-Users pay big bucks for these type of names. Resellers are also willing to offer big bucks for them in hope of selling them for even bigger bucks.

2. Revenue Domains. These are the names which make revenue from parking traffic. If you have this kind of domain then resellers would totally jump at it and offer you 12-15 months of revenue for it.

3. Brandable Domains. These are the brandable names like NewYorkHotels.com or MiamiRealtors.com. The target for these types of domains is usually end users. Resellers don’t shell much money for them usually.

4. Developed Sites – There is yet another category which is domains with websites. They are much easier to sell as they usually have traffic and revenue attached to them by the virtue of their search engine rankings.

Resellers buy sites which don’t take much effort to run or promote. End users look for sites with long-term potential — which may even mean putting effort into running the site or promoting it.

Selling a Domain Name – Top 5 Ways to Sell Domains

Now you know the kind of domains which sell and who buys them, however, the bigger question is where to sell them. Let’s talk about various ways —

1. Domain Forums. Domain forums are the most popular way to sell domains. Places like DNForum (one of the biggest and most influential), SitePoint, WickedFire and NamePros (mostly newbies hangout here) are popular to sell domains. However, the people who hangout on these sites are mostly resellers and only a small proportion are end-users.

2. Online Auctions. There are lot of online auction sites like sedo.com where you can sell domains and you can even auction domains on forums like DNForum.com.

eBay also has a domain auction section, however, it is usually the newbies which make up the bulk of audience there and it is turnkey sites and cheap domains which sell best there. There have been a lot of reports of scams on eBay — therefore, I don’t recommend selling on eBay.

3. Domain Brokers. These are the people and companies who take a percentage cut — usually 15-20% of the final value — for selling your domain.

If you have a good domain which you hope to sell for bigger bucks and are ready to pay to brokerage, it is usually a good idea to involve brokers. They usually have lot of contacts and experience in selling domains. Think of them like real-estate agents except they focus on virtual real-estate.

4. Live Auctions. This is a newer trend where companies like Moniker.com are conducting live auctions for domains at various industry events. This is where a lot of end users and big guys hang out and where the big-buck deals take place.

Obviously, these companies are choosy about the domains that they include in the auction. However, you should never hesitate to submit your names for auction — you never know it may sell. Newsletter Subscribers will get regular updates about upcoming auctions and submission deadlines.

5. Everyone You Know. Tell everyone you already know — including your old customers and your friends — that you have a domain for sale. There is a chance that they themselves or someone they know may be interested in your domain. I have sold a whole lot of domains this way.

This was something which I never used to tell earlier, however, when I told it to some of my friends who had the same clients as me, I found that it didn’t make much of difference to my success rate. I found that success rate with this tactic depended on lot of factors which I regularly talk in the newsletter.

Selling a Domain Name – Final Word

I hope you found this guide useful. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to contact me by email (lord [at] lordbrar.com), AIM (lordbrar) or MSN (lord [at] lordbrar.com). You can also check some more tips on How to Sell a Domain Name.

44 Comments For This Post

  1. Francois Says:

    Hello,

    Strangely you forgot domain marketplaces:
    SEDO.com, Afternic.com, BuyDomains.com, Pool.com, TDNAM.com, PremiumDomains.com, MostWantedDomains.com, FabulousDomains.com …

    This is where most of aftermarket domains are sold according sold names history.

  2. Lord Brar Says:

    Hi Francois,

    Thanks for your comment. I didn’t miss out on domain marketplaces but rather clubbed them into Online Auctions. In my opinion, if you look at it, they are auctions.

    Do you think this should be a separate category from online auctions?

  3. Patrick McDermott Says:

    “Do you think this should be a separate category from online auctions?”

    Yes, of course.

    They are Marketplaces.

    In most of them. you can make an offer and buy a domain without going to auction.

    Patrick

  4. Lord Brar Says:

    @Patrick – You are talking about BIN Price — the thing that was invented by eBay. Right?

  5. Francois Says:

    Domains sold through auction look likes having a great future but are still a minority, at least for domains under 5K.

    Some of these marketplaces offer the option for auction but most of the purchases are done after negotiations through their interfaces or simply accepting the sale price.

    Now don’t worry Lord Brar, Michael Gilmour did a similar post few months ago in whizzbangsblog.com and like you he forgot to speak about domain marketplaces.

    Friendly

  6. Amit Says:

    Nice article, I like the idea of developing the domains and then selling them.

  7. Patrick McDermott Says:

    “@Patrick – You are talking about BIN Price — the thing that was invented by eBay. Right?

    Hi,

    Yes and no.

    I meant what Francois said above.

    At domain marketplaces like Sedo, Afternic,
    Moniker Domain Aftermarket, TDNAM and so on
    you could list your domainand sell through BIN or
    through negotiation using Offer/Counter-Offer.

    Auctions could come into play but not necessarily so.

    You asked if domain marketplaces should be a separate category and I suggested yes.

    Of course, some of the venues like Sedo and afternic could be listed in both categories.

    Enjoyed your article (and the comments).

    I will be back for more. 🙂

    Thanks.
    Patrick

  8. Stephen Douglas Says:

    Good article, Lord B

    However, I think that there are actually THREE types of domain buyers instead of two:

    1. Resellers – (flip a domain for profit)
    2. Monetizers (buying up traffic domains for PPC rev)
    3. End users – (building out the domain for commerce)

    Even with these three types of buyers, there are sub-categories of buyers and their intentions for each domain. Fascinating to analyze.

    As far as the “domain marketplaces”, there are three main types domain marketplaces:

    1. Domain listers, such as the mighty DNforum.com and other domain forums, and websites like Premiumdomains.com, Buydomains.com, Domainrelevance.com (mine) and others,

    2. Domain auction sites, such as Snapnames, Namejet, Afternic, Sedo, TDNAM (a hideous domain name itself),

    3. Live Domain Auction companies, such as Moniker and Snapnames/Oversee, which have a “live auction” with a physical presence and location. Then, most of their unsold inventory goes into “silent auctions” which just mimic #2, the Domain Auction Sites.

    By the way, your domain “domainingtips.com” is hot. Can’t get much better for describing what you do in providing your great service. I’m subscribing now.

  9. Michael Says:

    Good post, Lord!

    Stephen, resellers and monetizers are pretty much the same, the main distinction is whether they are faimiliar with the market and buy the domain at a reseller price, or are highly motivated to acquire the name and pay a much higher end user price 🙂

  10. Vic Says:

    Nice article, Lord, and some useful comments too!

    I’m wondering what role the various types of domain appraisal services play in the whole scheme of things?

  11. Macy Says:

    Great article! What would you suggest for those who think they have a worthwhile domain that might be better served in the hands of a broker? How does one go about finding a legitimate one without posting the name all over the place?

  12. Unblock websites Says:

    great information. these information are wortt than 10ebooks abt domain selling.
    thanks

  13. Linda Says:

    Hi :

    I tried to download from your site

    but I recieved this message

    Notice:
    Sorry, the account “domainingtips” exists in our records but is currently not active. Please push the “back” button on your web browser and notify the website owner of this message.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you .

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  14. Linda Says:

    is the domain name buisiness down

    thease days ?

    are people buying domain names ?

  15. CuteLove Says:

    Great post,i am just beginning domain business and find this article very informative and interesting,but i still have a question.what are the best domain brokerage services? And also,the generic domains names as hotels com and etc are already bought by people,it is very hard to find such type of domain names,what type of domains names are being sold nowadays?

    thanks

  16. lenci Says:

    I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

  17. 2D 3D Animation India Says:

    i agree that domain forums are best way to sell domains and for domain trading.

  18. Damir Tankovic Says:

    Most of this so called 2nd party domain name “brokers” will sell ur domain names for small $$.

    I would advise U if U have good domain names to deal with the buyer yourself.

    I have knocked back many so called buyers because they offer small $$ for GREAT One word domain names (so they can resell the domain and make a profit from it – it did not go as per their plans – ha, ha).

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  23. Mike Says:

    Something like 3% of domains are sold via those aftermarket places. I am POSITIVE that they give preference to their own domains as well. Take for instance, Afternic – they have 2+ million domains that they are selling under their “BuyDomains” arm. Do you think they want to market your name before their name, if the names are similar? Nah – just do the research on the leads with some elbow grease, and you will sell your names. For a heck of a lot more money than Afternic less their escrow service will net you!

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  28. Karyn Casler Says:

    you have a good taste.

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