Where to sell domain names..
This is another popular post from the “Way Back Machine” – written by this site’s previous owner.
Due to its popularity, I have decided to leave it up (for the time being).
PS- Old post in quotes below:
I’ve been buying and selling domain names for a few years now and I’m constantly trying to find a good place to sell my names. I have a strategy whereby I try to hold my best names (the real gems) for the long term in the hope of a big sale and try flip lesser (but still good quality) names to raise cash to reinvest.
Previously I’ve used Sedo.com pretty much exclusively to list domains but recently they have upped their commission rate to 20% making me wonder whether it’s time to find some alternatives. I’ll try to list some of the venues that I’ve used below along with some pros and cons to each:
Sedo.com is probably the leading domain marketplace and can’t afford to be overlooked, listing your domain here will give it exposure to a wide variety of potential end-users and other domainers. I’ve sold many names with them in the past and although I’ve had problems (e.g. non payment from buyers) generally I’ve had a pretty positive experience with them. In the past Sedo charged a 10% commission rate (with a $50 minimum commission) but recently this has jumped up to 15 or 20% depending on whether the sale was referred through Sedo’s MLS platform. It seems however that the tracking system that they use to determine how the sale was generated is either flawed or non-existent as I recently reported at NamePros.
One of the nice things about Sedo is that should you receive and offer on one of your domains, you can opt to send it to a 7 day auction with the buyers offer acting as the opening bid on the domain. If no further bids are received within this time period then the initial offer wins the domain, however any other interested party can also place a bid during this time and the highest bidder at the end of the auction period will win the domain. This is usually a win-win for the seller as although it takes a week for the auction to end (and therefore you wont get paid as quickly) you can only really gain by sending something to auction as long as you would be happy selling at the price offered. This worked to my advantage recently when I accepted a 2000 Euro offer on a domain but sent it to auction where it ended up selling for 3100 Euro.
Tip: When linking to your Sedo sales make sure that you use your affiliate (partner) ID in the link. This way you will receive 25% of the commission you pay Sedo on the sale back upon completion of the transaction.
Pros: Huge user-base, well established company, offers can be sent to auction in the hope of a better sale
Cons: High commission rate 15-20%
Cost: Free to join
I can’t say much about Afternic really. I’ve had several hundred names listed there and can list the number of sales generated on one hand. I think that part of the problem was that I find their interface clunky and not particularly well suited to listing and categorizing hundreds of domains. For that reason (through laziness on my part) all of my domains ended up in the “uncategorized” section and probably never got seen by anyone looking for specific names. I would however recommend spending the time to list your domains here – one of the handful of sales I made through Afternic was gadgets.tv which went for $7500. If I hadn’t have listed it then I probably would still own that name and wouldn’t have made the sale. I guess the moral of the story is to list your names everywhere as it increases the chance of a sale.
Pros: It’s free now (I think that there used to be a membership fee), reasonably large userbase
Cons: High commission rate 15-20%
Cost: Free to join
I’ve been selling on Snapnames for a few years now. Generally I use it as a way to offload some of my more average names at a reasonable price. Again they take a large chunk of commission (20%) but again it puts your name in the view of thousands of domainers. I’ve only used their auction format listings but have now sold over $32,000 worth of domains (at an average price of around $180) which has netted me around $27,000 after commission over the years. I think that Snapnames require that domains auctioned with them are registered at Moniker.com (owned by the same company as Snapnames). This makes transfer between accounts etc very straightforward (it’s all done for you) but does mean that you will need to transfer the domains you want to sell to your Moniker account. In addition the domain you are selling should have over 90 days left on the registration so you will have to renew domains that don’t meet this criteria before you can list them.
Pros: Easy to list, good exposure, payment/transfer is all automatic, free to join and list (just pay the commission)
Cons: Again they take 20% of your sales price for doing not very much..
Cost: Free to join
In terms of volume of sales I’ve always done well on the big domain forums. I’ve sold hundreds of domains at both NamePros and DNForum. Most of these have been lower end names but I have had several four figure and a five figure sale on the forums. This should definitely be the place to offload domains that you no longer want to have to renew and I usually list one or two premium domains on the forums each year to see if there’s any interest before locking back in the box for the future.
Pros: Free to list, no commission to pay (unless you use an escrow service – recommended for high-value sales), great for offloading low end names that you no longer want, usually can generate fast sales if you need quick cash
Cons: Lots of lowball offers and generally a bit of a hassle dealing with deadbeat buyers. Harder to find buyers for premium names at reasonable prices
Cost: NamePros is free, DNForum charge a membership fee
I don’t really have any good news about selling at GoDaddy. I have had some small sales at GoDaddy auctions in the past. At the time (just after the service started) I ended up having a lot of problems with non-payment and when buying I’ve ended up paying Escrow fees as the buyer pulled out of the deal and I found that I was responsible for paying the costs. I pulled all my names from GoDaddy and their auctions a while back but have recently listed some of my names there again in the hope that someone might see them and make an offer. I’ll update this post if they do.. They also have the
Pros: Lower commission rate (10%) with a $5 minimum
Cons: I think that there is a small ($4.99?) registration fee, clunky interface, poor sales rate compared to other platforms (from my personal experience)
I regularly buy names at NameJet but have yet to sell anything here. They don’t generally allow users to sell their own names but there are exceptions to the rules. If you have some truly standout domains then it’s worth contacting them to ask if you can list them on their platform. If you do list with them then you will get exposure to some domainers with deep-pockets..
Pros: Excellent place to get your names seen
Cons: Only allow private listings for exceptional domains
Cost: Free to join
Domain email lists
There are several sites around that broker domains through email lists. Recently I’ve tried two such services and have had some pretty good results. The two sites that I’ve tried are MediaOptions.com and TobyClements.com. Of five names I sent to TobyClements.com only one was accepted (these lists are selective) and this did not sell. I had more success with MediaOptions.com who sold two of the 4 domains rejected by TobyClements.com. I’m not sure about the commissions charged – I have a feeling that it was between 10-15% with a minimum commission of at least $250 but I can’t seem to find the exact figures at the moment. Will update if/when I find them..
Pros: Little work and pretty good success rate from my experience
Cons: High minimum commission rate excludes selling low-end names. I always feel cheated paying someone a chunk of my earnings for sending out and email.
Cost: Free to listNote to self I should really start offering this kind of service..
Contacting potential end-users
So I wrote this blog post late last night with no preparation and completely forgot to add a very important method of generating sales. This is to put the work in and actually chase potential buyers. Go through your list of domains and spend some time googling for companies that might actually be able to put your domain to good use. As an example I noticed that I owned a four letter .com domain LFPR dot com and that a company owned a hyphenated version of the domain LF-PR dot com. I sent an email asking if they would be interested in buying the domain and within a week we’d struck a deal. I got a much better price on this domain than I would have selling to another domainer and the company got the domain they wanted – everyone was a winner..
A word of caution, never register trademarked names and try to sell them to companies that own the mark. This is a sure fire way to get into trouble. I’m talking about pitching generic domains to companies and individuals that might benefit from owning a premium domain related to their business. Try to keep emails well written and spell out exactly why you think that the domain is relevant to the potential buyer. Never just blindly spam people with your domains (I get many such emails and they get deleted instantly) also tailor your emails to fit the target audience.
This method is a really powerful way of getting a good price for your domains, you are selling directly to end-users who want the domain for their business rather than other domain speculators. It does involve a bit more work than just listing your domain for sale but the results can often be worth a little effort – I’ve generated some nice sales this way..
Pros: End-users often willing to pay more for a domain they need, no commission – you deal directly with the buyer
Cons: Takes some time to do the research and contact potential buyers
When dealing directly with buyers always use an Escrow service (e.g. Escrow.com) especially for high value sales. You can never be too careful in this game..
If you are interested in some of the domains I currently own please look at my domain portfolio