Domain Sales

Why I’m Not a Domain Broker

In the last week, I’ve received three requests to broker domain names, but each time I respond that I’m not a broker, and I refer the person to a couple of people who are successful domain brokers. Although I do allow domain names to be listed for sale on my blog, I am not a domain broker, and there are a few reasons for this.

When a person agrees to broker a domain name for someone, especially if that person is the “exclusive broker,” there is the expectation that the broker will contact likely end user buyers. These people are generally the group that can afford to pay the most for a particular domain name. There are two problems with this.

First, an end user is far more likely to pay top dollar for a domain name when he needs the name, rather than when he is approached out of the blue. Many end users still don’t understand the value of a domain name, and even if they do, many still won’t pay these great prices because they might shake their head like they understand, but when it boils down to it, they don’t always want to write a check for $50,000 for a domain name when they have employees to pay and other obligations.

The second problem is that it can be difficult getting in touch with the right person within a company, and it can be just as difficult to get a deal approved. If you haven’t made a sales call before, they can be very difficult – especially when it’s a cold call. Once you finally get through to a decision maker, you then need to convince him about the value of domain names, which can be an equally difficult task, even if you’ve convinced the marketing team that it’s the right move.

Another issue I have with acting as a domain broker is that it can take a lot of my time, but there is still a good chance nothing will come of it. I do enough work on my websites where compensation isn’t guaranteed for my efforts, that it’s difficult to justify working for someone else without any guarantee of pay.   🙂

Even with an exclusive agreement, it can be difficult to get a seller to pay a commission if he is marketing the domain name elsewhere at the same time and a lead goes directly to the domain owner with the hope of cutting out the middle man. I live by the fact that this is a small industry, and if you burn someone once, it can be the end of your reputation, so I wouldn’t do that. However, there are people that don’t seem to have issues with this. Sure, even under an exclusive deal you might have the legal rights to the 10%, but what busy domain broker is going to file a lawsuit over a few hundred dollars of lost commission?

I would rather spend money buying a name on my own in the aftermarket and selling it on my own, where I keep all the profit, than to sell someone else’s name to only make 10% of the sales price. I can sell the domain name on my own time, and I can target whoever I want. I take on all of the financial risk, but as a person who knows the market fairly well, this isn’t a problem.

Sure, it’s much easier to broker a 15 year old domain name for a guy who won’t sell for anything less than a premium price, but see the first two reasons I listed above as to why that isn’t always the best idea. There are several great domain brokers in the industry, but I am not one of them!

4 Number .com Domain Names for Sale

I haven’t been a big fan of numeric domain names, but I just acquired 5 – 4 number .com domain names, and I know they have been selling fairly well. I would like to sell them individually or in bulk if a buyer would prefer. Please submit offers for individual names (or in bulk) via comment or email.

I know the bare minimum wholesale values, so please refrain from lowball offers (ie under $2k for all), as I don’t need to sell them. I will keep offers private, and will update when/if I sell individually or in bulk. Names are registered at Moniker.

2750.com
3235.com
4022.com
6850.com
7150.com

Important Factor When Selling to Domainers

When you are selling a domain name to other domain investors, I believe the most important thing to consider is the price. I frequently see good names come up for sale, but price expectations are far too high for the audience. Perhaps a domain name would sell for that price to a company who plans to rebrand and use it for their company, but realistically, end user prices will not fly with other domain investors.

Most domain investors want to buy domain names that will either generate revenue that can bring them a quick ROI, or they want to be able to re-sell the domain name at a profit sometime in the future. If the domain name isn’t generating revenue from parking or an affiliate deal, and the price is higher than the potential buyers think they can sell it for, they won’t want to take the risk, and the name will stay on the market.

Of course there is a risk that you will price the name too low, but this shouldn’t really be a consideration when a domain owner wants to raise capital by selling to another domain investor. Sure, you could be leaving some money on the table when you price a name lower than you might ideally like, but you should price it based on what you paid. I would personally rather have a quick sale at a slimmer profit margin than a sale that takes a long time to make at a heftier margin. Oftentimes when a domain name doesn’t sell quickly, other domain investors will avoid it, knowing a price ceiling has essentially been set.

If you want to sell a domain name, and your target is the domain investor audience, you should price your domain name accordingly.

Researching Source of Offer

It’s important that you do as much research on the source of your domain offers for a variety of reasons to see why the person wants to buy your domain name.   I think most of the reasons are obvious, but as ccTLDs continue to increase in popularity, there is one more thing to check before replying to the offer or inquiry.

If your .com domain name ends in a popular ccTLD extension, you should look to see if the ccTLD is developed, as many domain owners realize the importance of owning the corresponding .com domain name. Bit.ly is a very popular URL shortening service. Not only do they own the Liberian ccTLD (.LY), but they also own Bitly.com for protective purposes.

While many entrepreneurs on a shoestring budget will be happy to launch on a ccTLD that is more vanity than anything to do with the ccTLD, most will realize that they are losing traffic. In Bit.ly’s case, people continued to refer to the company as “Bitly” so visitors who think in .com as a default simply visited Bitly.com, which they are fortunate to own.

If your company owns a name like XXXXXXXXin.com or something like that, and you receive an inquiry, don’t just check USPTO, Google and other common places. You should also check the Whois for XXXXXXXX.in as well.

Classic Response to a Domain Inquiry

I get random legit email inquiries for some of my domain names, but many of my friends get a whole lot more of them than I do. They get annoying after a while, and instead of politely responding to a $500 offer for a domain name that is worth six figures, people are tempted to respond rudely, In my opinion, this does nothing effective. If a guy is offering $500 for a six figure domain name, he either thinks you are an idiot or he doesn’t have a clue about domain values.

I do have a response that I like to give to random legitimate inquiries, and I would like to share it. I think it may be a bit passive aggressive , but it helps educate, as people are far more knowledgeable about real estate than domain names. This response took a bit of time to construct, but it’s now easy to cut and paste (with the exception of the link that might be difficult to include in some email systems.

My response is built for an email that went something like this:

“I see you are the owner of XXXXX.com, and it isn’t developed yet. My company is in the process of developing a website which would be perfect for the domain name. I would like to offer you $x,xxx, which I believe is a fair price for XXXXX.com.”

My response:

Dear XXXXXX,

Thank you for your interest in XXXXXX.com. This is a domain name I bought for a specific purpose, but I haven’t yet had the opportunity to develop it as I am working on a number of projects. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t sell it anywhere near that price either because it’s worth much more.

When I visit Palm Beach, I always travel on South Ocean Drive. In between Mar a Lago and Sloan’s Curve, there is a beautiful undeveloped plot of land right on the Intercoastal Waterway, and it sits next to twenty and thirty million dollar houses (check it on Google Street View. Unfortunately, the owner hasn’t developed it. I, too, have plans to build a beautiful house (further inland) and it would be perfect for that plot of land because I can dock my boat right in the backyard.

If I approached the owner of that plot of land, and I said, “I looked at the MLS and your plot of land is worth about $4,000,000 – I would like to offer you what I believe is market value” – do you think he would sell it after years of not selling it (and by the looks of the trimmed lawn, it is well maintained)? I am sure he has been approached by many and has turned them all down as he presumably doesn’t need the cash and the land is a better investment than money in the bank earning less than the rate of inflation.

If I really want that plot of land, I will need to offer much more than its worth, in order to convince the owner to sell. Likewise, my domain name will be as difficult to acquire, especially because your initial valuation is so low. If you still wish to purchase my domain name, you are going to have to knock me down with an offer. Until that time, I wish you well in all of your endeavors online.

Bargain Domain Names

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I just created a new page on my blog called “Name Deals.” All names listed on that page are priced at under $50, and the list will be rotated and changed daily. I love researching and buying domain names, but I don’t have the time to develop everything I buy.

As with all of my domain sales, the first person to email me letting me know they want a particular name will get it. Payment should be made within 24 hours.

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