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Domain Name Pricing is an Art

I took a Financial Accounting course my first semester of sophomore year in college. I don’t remember much from the class except for one thing the professor told us that I will paraphrase: “accounting is more of an art than a science.” I think the same thing can be said about the pricing of domain names on the aftermarket.

How to List a Domain Name for Sale

Over the years, I’ve been asked by a number of people how to sell a domain name. Most of the people who have asked are friends or friends of friends, and they are not involved in the business of domain investing. I also saw a tweet from someone this past week asking the same type of question, and I thought I would expand on this.

If I was not a domain investor but owned a domain name that has value and wanted to sell it, here are the steps I would take:

Maven Co-Founder Details Maven.com Acquisition

Gagan Biyani, a Co-Founder of Udemy, Advisor at Lyft, and former CEO of Sprig, announced the name of his newest startup: Maven. The thing that caught my attention is the domain name that the company is using – Maven.com. The domain name has been owned by General Motors, and in fact, Whois records show the domain name is still registered to GM.

With that in mind, I asked Gagan and his two Co-Founders (Wes Kao and Shreyans Bhansali) if they bought the Maven.com domain name from GM. Gagan replied with a link to a tweet thread he previously posted sharing the startup naming process his team undertook. He also shared insight into the process of securing the domain name. I think this is a great thread for investors to read for additional insight into the mind of a startup founder seeking a great brand and corresponding domain name.

Here’s the thread:

Use a Lawyer with Domain Name Expertise

There are many great Intellectual Property lawyers who are familiar with domain names and laws regarding domain names. I think there are few attorneys who I believe have domain name expertise. These domain name lawyers know the ins and outs of the law as it specifically pertains to domain names. They can be particularly helpful to domain name investors who might face legal challenges.

This morning, Nat Cohen posted a series of tweets about how attorneys with domain name expertise have helped his business over the years:

You Are Muted

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I don’t know what it is, whether it’s a domain investor thing or a Twitter thing, but I see far too many people responding to tweets about domain names to mention their own, usually less good, domain names. For instance, I could mention a high value one word .com domain name that sold, and inevitably, someone will reply mentioning their three word .biz domain name they hand registered a couple of weeks ago.

I am not really a confrontational person, so the remedy for me is to mute that person. I don’t do this to everyone, but if someone’s first interaction with me is a mention of their own crappy domain name, they’re muted.

Keep an Eye on Your Traffic

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For many years, domain name traffic was an important aspect of a domain name’s value. Domain names that had traffic could make serious amounts of revenue via parking, and that revenue gave additional value to a domain name beyond its intrinsic value. These days, traffic may be less critical to a domain name’s value, but I think it is a good idea to monitor it.

For almost a year, I have been forwarding 90% +/- of my domain portfolio to DAN.com landing pages. These domain names aren’t monetized with pay per click links as the goal is to sell the domain names. In essence, I am foregoing what I believe is a nominal amount of incremental revenue to make it clear that domain names are available for sale.

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