5 Tips on Selling Domain Names for Maximum Profit

By on September 24, 2009
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I would like to present some tips on being a frugal domainer and keeping 100% of sales profits for yourself. By not paying sales commissions and doing some of the work on your own you can earn maximum return on your domain investments.  Every bit helps especially if you are working with a portfolio of lower to mid-range value domain names.

Mainstream domain marketplaces charge you, the domain owner, a  hefty percentage of the final sales price as their commission. The rates look something like this: Sedo (10% commission), Afternic (10%-20% commission), SnapNames (20% commission), Bido (8% commission), etc. on every single transaction.

These marketplaces may be right for you if you have valuable domain names and want to opt for the seller protection and escrow services they provide.  However, in many cases the final sales price on large marketplaces could end up being much less than you could earn if you found a buyer yourself!

5 Tips on Selling Domains for Max Profit

So, you’re looking to make some domain sales? These tips and tricks should help you become a more savvy domainer.

1. Choose names that have selling potential. If there is no market for your type of domain name then you simply won’t make sales.  Do the keyword research before you go on a GoDaddy shopping spree. You may want to check your domain’s keywords against Google search data using the AdWords keyword tool.

Some things to ask yourself before purchasing or registering a domain…

  • Are the domain name’s keywords getting searched for?
  • Are there paying advertisers appearing for the exact match search?
  • Are there websites or products related to my domain’s keywords?
  • Would someone want to build a website using the domain?
  • Are similar names being used as fully developed websites?
  • Do the words make sense, look and sound good spoken?
  • Is there a better option available for this type of name?

If you find your name stands up to these questions then you are likely the new owner of a valuable piece of internet real estate.

2. Invest some time in marketing and promoting your own domains. With the explosion of social media, there is no excuse not to dive in and start spreading the good word about the value of domain names.

Domainers are currently tapping into the huge audience of users on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin. More consumers, business owners and potential domain buyers can be found on these networks than all of the major domain name marketplaces combined.

Here are some ideas for making the most out of your time on social networks.

  • Connect with fellow domainers and follow their lead. Check out the WeFollow #Domains tag or this Twitter list on DotSauce.
  • Share resources, news, links that you found helpful with your friends and followers. Simply talking about yourself or promoting your products won’t get you anywhere.
  • Follow lots and lots of interesting people on Twitter.  Use Twitter’s search feature and find as many real and relevant people as you can to follow. They will likely follow you back if you tweet about similar things. If you don’t have time to follow hundreds of people, Hummingbird software can help.
  • Join the Facebook Domain Name Marketplace and other groups of interest, engage with them and befriend new people. Every connection you make essentially lasts forever and opportunities may arise at any time.
  • Create a separate profile for your business or domain sales updates as a service to your customers. For example, I have setup @AQDN on Twitter to alert followers when new domains sales are added.
  • Use Twitter live search to research potential domain buyers.  People are talking about anything and everything and it’s not far fetched that you find a person who would love to own your domain.

3. List your domains for sale on free marketplaces and forums. This is a great way to get free exposure to your domain sales. Be sure to price your domains very reasonably to get sales. Be cautioned as a large part of the buyers here will be domain resellers, but really, who do you think is hanging out at Sedo.com and other big marketplaces? Resellers also.

Here is an older but still relevant article from DotSauce that has a large list of forums, 33 Great Marketplaces for Selling Your Domain Names (and Websites).

4. Set up your own web presence to display your domains for sale. A unique domain portfolio website is a valuable asset to any domain investor. Your domain portfolio website should be professional, user friendly and informative. You can send customers new and old to browse your inventory here, include a link to your site in your email signature, set up RSS feeds and alerts for customers, accept payments directly on site and more.

Here are some options for developing your own domain portfolio website.

  • Get WordPress up and running and use blog posts and pages to highlight each domain name. Alternatively, you can customize themes and install plugins to enhance user experience. Check out this nice article which highlights 14 Domain Portfolio Examples and other resources.
  • DomainPortfolio.us is a free PHP script for creating and managing your domain portfolio.
  • A newer alternative is Domain Portfolio Manager which is similar to DomainPortfolio.us in that it is PHP / MySQL based with many of the same features and styling. MediaWizard informs us that with Domain Portfolio Manager your domain WHOIS data is updated on-the-fly, so you’ll never have to update expiration dates or name servers again, very cool!

5. Go after the end users. Depending on the quality and reach of a given domain name this can be either an easy or difficult task.  Your first step is to simply research websites of the same category as your keywords.  See what the industry or niche is up to and what businesses and individuals are appearing on the top search results pages for the exact and similar keywords.  You may even want to do a Google blog search for fresh results.  Contact anyone you feel would benefit from owning your domain.

Here’s a quick tip from DNW; Do a WHOIS search to see if your domain has been taken in any other extensions (.net, .org) and contact those registrants.

Further reading on selling domains to end users.

I wish you the best with all your domaining ventures.  I hope these tips are able to help you out in some way. If you have any comments or suggestions please leave one below!

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About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA. Visit MarkFulton.com for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.