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How to sell a domain name

Domain names have proven to be very valuable investments for a number of people. If you have a name you would like to sell, there are a various different ways to go about this.

Please note that under current .au domain name policy it is NOT possible to sell any type of .au domain name - see auDA policy on prohibition of sale.

However, if you have a different type of domain, you may find this information helpful.

.com domains are by far the most valuable on the secondary (re-sale) domain name market. Most other domain name types can also be sold, including the other gTLD domains like .net, .org, .info and .biz. Some country codes are popular in the secondary domain market too - particularly .de (Germany) and .uk (United Kingdom) which are both very busy domain name spaces.

Using a domain name broker

One option is to pay a domain name broker to handle all aspects of marketing and selling your name, in return for a fee or commission you pay to them. This can be quite successful, although in many cases brokers will only seek very valuable names and also often have minimum fees (of around US$500) that may eat up a large part of the money you hope to make in selling your name.

A reputable domain name broker is recommended - and some, like Sedo, offer low or no commissions in some circumstances.

Do-it-yourself approaches

We sometimes recommend a more "do-it-yourself" approach to marketing your domain name. Depending on exactly how this is done, this can involve some more effort and time on your part, but may well yield a higher price.

Do nothing...

One technique that can work in some cases is for you to do nothing at all but hang onto the name. We are often approached by people who are looking to register a particular name only to find it is already registered to someone else. We are able to put the interested party in touch with the current owner, and in this way a number of domains end up being sold.

The downside with this approach is that someone has to be interested in your exact name in order to find you. They may also be put off by the difficulty of getting in touch with you, or they may assume you have registered the name for your own use and are not interested in selling. Some people also have a fear that the prices of domain names on the secondary market will be too high for them so they don't bother to ask.

The other problem with this approach is that the likelihood of someone stumbling onto your exact name out of the tens of millions registered are generally fairly low, unless you have a truly brilliant domain name on your hands.

A "for sale" web page

The next step up from here, and one which still requires essentially no effort on your part, is to put up a simple "for sale" web page. The benefits of this compared to the "do nothing" approach are:

  • People visiting your site will know that you have an interest in selling it and so may be more inclined to get in touch with you if they are interested in buying the domain.

  • A contact email address can be provided allowing people to immediately get in touch and initiate discussions about the domain name.
  • There is no need for the interested party to search for "whois" details (which can be difficult to come by for some domain name endings) in order to find your contact information.
  • The "for sale" page may make it into some search engines, so that people searching for a domain name for sale may find your site in this way. Although this is not likely to get you a good search engine listing, it is still better than having no content on your site at all, which obviously won't get you any sort of listing at all.

Customised "for sale" announcement page

If you require a higher degree of customisation for your "for sale" web page, we recommend setting up either a Web redirection service for your domain name or else a small amount of virtual web space. We can assist with arranging these services for you. Once you have these services active, you can set up whatever content you like at your domain name.

Some suggestions that go beyond our basic "for sale" page include things like:

  • Listing a target price and currency.
  • Providing additional information on the domain name, e.g. suggested uses, reasons why you believe it is a good name.
  • Giving additional contact information for interested parties to reach you, such as a phone number, fax number or postal address.
  • Offering links to a number of other web sites or business interests you may have. For example, if you have a portfolio of names for sale, it can be very beneficial to list all the names on each of the sites, particularly if the names are similar or related in some way to each other. People who are interested in one name may well be interested in others in your collection.

Build an empire

A final option to promote your domain name for sale is to build a thriving web site there. This option is one that requires considerably more effort than any of the alternatives listed above, but also is likely to earn you the best price if you succeed. Creating a popular web site is no easy task, so you need to be sure you can commit the resources required to build a site with compelling content and a reason for visitors to come to your site (and keep coming back).

Once you have such a site, a note that the domain name is for sale can be placed in a prominent place on the site itself. It will thus be seen by a lot of people. If your site is truly successful, chances are there will be considerable value in the ongoing traffic and revenue streams your site is generating and the business of the web site itself can be sold along with the domain name.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss any of the above strategies for selling your domain names.


Do you have any suggestions or comments on this FAQ?

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