WebRef Update: Featured Article: Cashing in on Unused Domain Names | 2
Cashing in on Unused Domain Names
Promote or Die (cont.) c) List the name on GreatDomains.com
These are the biggest domain name brokers on the Net, with over a million names listed. But having so many names is a double-edged sword. The site attracts many potential buyers, but unless your name really stands out, you have very little chance of making a sale here. List anyway, as this is a very important site, and by listing your name, it will be picked up by meta-domain search engines (see Sedo.com).
d) List the name on Afternic.com
This is by far the biggest domain name auction site on the Net, and is particularly suited to small-cap names - i.e. those names which sell for under $5,000 (the vast majority). According to Afternic, by listing at their site you are reaching up to 20 million potential buyers through their partner network. You really must list your name here.
e) Submit your site to Sedo.com
http://Sedo.com is one of the new breed - a meta-search engine for domain offers. In other words, they have a huge database of domain names which are available for sale, across a large number of domain name listing sites. You can also add your name to their database directly, which is highly recommended if you find your name is not already there.
f) Submit your name to other domain name listing sites
If you have some spare time, go ahead and list with as many of the smaller domain listing sites as you can find. (Try using http://iDomainLinks.com to find them.) Most suffer from lack of liquidity, but the scattergun approach can sometimes pay dividends.
Step 3 - Make The Deal
You could get lucky, and receive an offer just days after listing your name. Typically, though, names are listed for months before any offers arrive. The key here is to be patient. Think about it - a party needs to come along who believes that the name is right, even essential, for their new Web site. Nobody else is going to make you a worthwhile offer.
Here are a few pointers that will help you negotiate a deal once the first offer comes in.
A) Private sale
- The buyer may reveal their identity. If it is a corporation, you should be able to negotiate a better deal.
- Likely to take much less time than other methods.
- There's no middleman to take a commission.
- You are free to negotiate deals other than straight cash. Leasing, profit-sharing, or stocks are all possibilities.
- You will have to arrange the transaction yourself - payment, escrow, domain transfer, registrar transfer.
- Don't say how much you want for the name - simply invite offers. If someone has a serious interest in a name, they won't back off because you refuse to name a price. Initially, they may only offer 25% or so of the amount that they are prepared to pay. After receiving their opening offer, use the professional valuation you received in step #2 as your counter- offer. This will set the boundaries of the negotiation.
- GreatDomains lead you through the whole process.
- Buyers normally open the negotiations.
- Sellers pay a hefty commission, especially on names with low dollar value.
- The process can take many weeks.
- List your name as "Make An Offer" - then you are forcing buyers to make the first offer.
- No commission for sellers.
- Three types of auction to choose from, including a new "Make An Offer" auction.
- An "overtime" feature where you can negotiation a fair price with bidders on an auction that didn't reach the reserve price.
- The process can take many weeks.
- Only straight cash offers are possible.
- Even if you get no offers for weeks or months, resist the temptation to keep lowering your opening bid. Buyers will latch onto this, because it is a sign that you are desperate to make a sale. If you are confident that your name has value, name your price and stick to it. Your patience will be rewarded.
- Set a high reserve price. If the auction doesn't reach the reserve price, you can always negotiate a fair price in overtime.
- If you only have one bidder, stay firm during overtime negotiations. Remember, if they didn't want the name, they wouldn't have bid on it. If you fail to agree terms, you can always re-hold the auction and accept a lower offer.
Wrapping Things up
Once you have agreed on a deal with the buyer, then you will have to complete the deal. They send you payment, and you transfer the name to them. It's best to use an escrow service here. It protects both parties, but can be quite expensive, so make sure you have agreed before-hand who will pay for it. Normally the buyer pays, but sometimes the cost is shared. Good luck!
About the author:
Lee Hodgson is a domain name consultant at DomainGuideBook.com, a firm dedicated to helping businesses choose the best domain names for their Web sites. You can contact Lee at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or at: http://DomainGuideBook.com. To subscribe to the weekly DomainGuideBook newsletter, send a blank email to: DomainGuideBookemail@example.com
Previous: Establish Your Domain's Value
Revised: August 4, 2000