5 Reasons Why I Keep My Sales Private

The vast majority of my domain name sales are private, both the names and sales prices. I don’t share most of them on my corporate website, and I don’t blog about them. I don’t even really discuss them with friends and colleagues either.

I understand that people have different motivations for reporting sale prices. Some people want to share their sales publicly so that others can see that domain names are selling for “real” money. Some people have similar domain names in their portfolios, so a reported sale helps boost the value (and purchase interest) in their other domain names. Other people may simply wish to show that they are moving inventory and closing deals.

There are several reasons why I keep my sales private, and I thought I would share some of the reasons. Ultimately, if it hurts my business or otherwise does not help my business, I am not going to share private information.  Listed below are 5 reasons why I don’t share my domain name sales publicly:

A sale price only tells part of the story. If I hypothetically reported that I sold DomainInvesting.com for $250,000, some people would probably congratulate me on the big sale and high five me on the success. However, if I paid $500,000 for the domain name, that wouldn’t be a good sale. Without this missing information, the full story isn’t known.

May be harmful to my business. I keep a relatively trim portfolio of fewer than 500 domain names. I am constantly on the lookout for acquisitions, and I am a frequent buyer. If I announce a sale, I  would then give people valuable private data they can use to sell their domain names or compete with me on acquisitions such as auction purchases. Again as a hypothetical example, if I report the sale of DomainInvesting.com, I might want to sell the buyer additional domain names or I might want to buy similar domain names. If the sale is publicly reported, other people can pitch their names to my buyers or buy other names I might want.

It is tacky to discuss income. I don’t know about you, but I have never ever discussed salary or bonuses with my friends who work “normal” jobs. I think it is tacky to discuss my income. It would be embarrassing to have friends “like” Facebook posts about sales. I wouldn’t expect to see them announcing their annual bonus or their salary information, and I don’t have interest in doing that either.

Non-Disclosure Agreements. Almost all of my private sales have non-disclosure agreements in place. In fact, in the sales agreement I prefer to use (when I have a choice), there is a confidentiality clause. I don’t want the counterparty discussing the sale/purchase, and I keep things quiet as well. Unless there is a reason for reporting the sale price (ie publicly traded company may need to report it or the publicity is requested by the buyer), I generally won’t mention any private details.

People don’t believe what they read. There is enough BS out there as is. Even if I hypothetically reported that I sold DomainInvesting.com for $250,000, half the people wouldn’t believe it even with Escrow.com screenshots! I’ve seen people discussing reported sales on forums and heard people discussing sales privately, and it seems that many people are highly skeptical of reported sales. Frankly, I don’t blame them.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I’m sure you use comps when selling or assigning a value to a domain. If everyone did what you do, there would be no comps. Not knocking how you run your business. Just giving props to the people that help to set prices.

  2. What’s “tacky” to some is “fully transparent” to others.

    “Some companies and experts believe it’s better to be transparent when it comes to how much people make, although the strategy does have its drawbacks.” –http://www.workforce.com/articles/21190-pay-transparency-paid-in-full-disclosure

    Especially in the startup world, it’s not tacky for entrepreneurs to share their company income goals, milestones and hurdles so that others can learn from them. It’s called giving back, and they get karma points.

    It’s not for everyone. Just wanted to present the other side of the coin to your view.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • “What’s “tacky” to some is “fully transparent” to others.”

      What privately owned companies (without investors) share their sales information publicly, especially in a way that would reveal their clients to competitors?

      “it’s not tacky for entrepreneurs to share their company income goals, milestones and hurdles”

      There’s a difference between goals/hurdles/milestones and actual sales numbers, especially when the data would reveal private information.

  3. We LOVE to see the sales list. Namebio, DNJournal etc. Its what drives us to buy and sell. We use the charts often to point out comps as part of why we are asking for so much. YET if everyone keeps it private we live in a vacuum. To not participate hurts the overall system and it is not giving back to the data that helps us make money. I’m not saying it all has to be public but we all need to contribute something.

    Elliot. You are certainly doing more than almost anyone as far as giving back to the domain community. Just making a point.

  4. When I am feeling disappointed or Constipated,I always look at the invoices of the 4L domains I bought 4 yrs ago.
    That what always make me feel better. Domains like gxnx.com,zmmr.com, zlby.com,zvlo.com,zvkv.com,zkwi.com and 50+ more LLLL domains at dirt cheap, I mean like $10 per domain and bulk purchases 5 domains for $20
    Yes Sir, those previous owners I bought from claimed to be domain professionals, domain investors blah blah who brag that they know the industry very well..oh well, who is laughing all the way to the bank now…
    Yea, I know it hurts to sell them to “BullS”

    Love this domain industry-

    Now I feel so much better with all these big offers coming in very day!!

  5. “”People don’t believe what they read. There is enough BS out there as is.””

    You got that right, go read “BullS”

    I paid someone $5 to redo “BullS” ,and will be doing more “BullS” videos soon

  6. There are valid reasons for both publicly announcing a sale as well as maintaining privacy. Sometimes you want to keep quiet about a sale because you aim to quickly turn around and purchase a similar domain at a lower price. In this case, if you announce your sale, you can bet sellers of similar domains will raise their prices – so it pays to be discreet.

  7. Elliot

    Until a few years ago I felt the same way you did.

    I didn’t report domain sales however I changed my mind after a lot of discussions with Mr. Schwartz who told me he turned down sales that were under NDA, he thought it was so important to report sales he actually turned down sales he could not report.

    I wouldn’t go that far to lose a sale if the buyer insisted on on a NDA but I do think its important for the market to have reported sales especially since Afternic stopped reporting its sales and Godaddy does not report it’s auction activity.

    I don’t report my sales to boost or to show off or for any such reason I do it because as others have said I use sales information all the time to judge the value of domains including what I quote to sell a domain. It’s also vital in finding trends in what is a very fluid market.

    Also not all of my sales are all home runs and like everyone else (well other than Mr. Schwartz) I have left money on the table.

  8. Domainers like Berkens, Mann, Chernoff, Schilling, Schwartz seem to do ok reporting their sales. There are probably net benefits from reporting sales over time that offset any negatives from hiding sales. Every reported sale helps show the public the value of domains. A lot of education is still needed in that area…

  9. Domain prices partly go up because sellers report good domain name sales.
    Later other people are more confident and motivated to ask more for their names – it shapes the market value.
    What you write on the blog is helping market very little. If you start reporting good sales it helps 10 more.

    • I would rather help my business than help the market.

      Looking at this realistically, the volume of my sales is not going to have much impact on the market. I imagine I have a higher % of turnover of my portfolio compared to others, but the volume is likely much lower.

  10. I think if someone is reporting a domain is sold he should also write the price it’s sold for. Secondly, must give that data to the NameBio or DNJ so that it enters the domain sale database.

  11. Just to have that sale enter the domain sales database so that it’s useful when doing comparisons for that particular keyword. If you sort Namebio sales by venue (pvt sale) it shows not much data. This will grow if more sales are reported.

  12. I can appreciate all the arguments for and against. One of my reasons for no longer disclosing sales is that I don’t want my clients to be inundated with mails from fellow domainers looking to sell similar names. If I bought a domain from someone and they went and made that information public which resulted with a steady flow of other domainers contacting me to buy their domains, I’d be annoyed in their shoes. Remember 1st time customers can often be repeat customers and it’s bad business to annoy your customers. imho.

  13. If people really want to see what domain names I am selling that I don’t write about, there are a couple of options:

    1) Keep an eye on my corporate investments page, and when a name comes off the page, it was likely sold: http://www.topnotchdomains.com/investments.html

    2) Keep an eye on my corporate sales page. I haven’t updated this regularly and don’t add most of my sales, but occasionally I update it: http://www.topnotchdomains.com/sales.html

    3) Use DomainTools to monitor my email address to see what new names are archived and what new names go. This won’t work on names I have privately registered of course.

    None of these options will give you a full look at the names I sell, but it’s more than I will share on my blog.

  14. Using an analogy from the real estate market, outsiders aren’t interested in how much House A or House B sold, unless they plan to buy or sell a house in the same area.

    Unless a house sold for a crazy amount of money, most outsiders don’t care about house sales otherwise.

    Industry insiders, on the other hand, keep stats on house sales to gauge peer performance, to track trends and to achieve sales.

    Reporting or not domain sales is one’s personal choice. Some sales can be discovered or confirmed, other’s are not. Rest assured, the domain industry’s performance is shaped like an iceberg; the reported sales form the tip only.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts

NameJet Announces Platform Enhancements

Last Summer, NameJet made some "big changes" to its platform. In essence, NameJet appears to have become a clone of Snapnames, its sister auction...

Rationale Behind CoFounders.com Acquisition

It's not often that we hear from the founders of a company to discuss why they spent what they did to acquire a specific...

.Bet Domain Name Acquired for 5 Figures, Reportedly Resold for $600k

According to a tweet from Identity Digital (formerly Donuts), the Bet.bet domain name reportedly sold for $600,000. I have not verified or researched the...

Finalize a Deal by Connecting on LinkedIn

When I agree to a negotiated deal on a platform like Dan or Sedo, I have always held the expectation that the payment will...

Google Ads Selects Squadhelp for Case Study

If you have visited a Squadhelp landing page, chances are good that you have seen their advertising when you visit other websites that have...