How I “Discover” Domain Names at Auction

There’s a thread on NamePros asking people how to get people to view specific private domain auctions. I am an active bidder at NameJet, GoDaddy Auctions, and to a lesser degree, I thought I would share how I find domain names to bid on just about every day. I don’t know if it will be helpful to people trying to sell via auction, but perhaps someone will find it interesting.

I have a paid subscription at, and I receive multiple emails every day that each has a long list of domain names that match certain criteria. Without giving away the specific attributes that are appealing to me, some of the general categories I consider are:

  • Extension
  • Domain Age
  • Estibot Value
  • Keyword Searches
  • Language
  • Other interesting attributes

There can be anywhere from dozens to hundreds of domain names within each list from I go through the emails and look for domain names that sound good to me. I do a bit of Google, USPTO, and Whois searching on some of the domain names that catch my attention to determine what I think it could be worth at wholesale and retail levels.

At NameJet and GoDaddy, I have some saved searches based on various keywords I have had success owning or see selling. I receive emails from the auction platforms each morning with the upcoming auctions for domain names that match my search criteria. If a name is being re-auctioned on NameJet, I receive those notification emails in the evening.

On GoDaddy, I have several saved searches I look at every morning and in the early afternoon to try and hone in on domain names that would be appealing to me. The saved searches are very specific and very broad so I can really find names that match certain criteria and then look at some more broadly in case my specificity has eliminated names that might be of interest.

Finally, each day I look at all of the auctions with bids to see if I missed something that caught someone else’s attention. I typically do this towards the end of the auctions, and it depends on the time zone where I am bidding.

Notably, the most important factor to me is my gut feel. Essentially, I ask myself if I could see a business paying a premium of the auction fee to buy the domain name from me. I also try and determine if I will be able to monetize the domain name based on the available metrics. If I can’t justify a purchase or a bid price, I pass. Ultimately, a domain name could seemingly have good metrics, but if I can not envision a company paying a premium to buy it and use it, I probably won’t bid unless I think I can monetize it.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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


    • Obviously, but It’s an effective tool to weed out the garbage and make it easier to look at a smaller list.

      It’s more likely I will find gems in names that are 10 years old than names that were registered a year ago and dropped.

    • I am happy to bid on good pending delete names that will have an age of 1 day when the auctions start. I bought,, and several other names I think have value despite being essentially unaged domain names.

  1. Just lost the text of my comment, so here’s the Cliff Notes:


    You’ve already made your position clear on how you think you can use Estibot, Elliot. Beware of when a good value may be assigned to a worthless domain. Two edged sword. Broken clock metaphor.

    Estibot – one of the most harmful things to the industry ever besides Google itself imho.

    • Estibot is another tool I use as a signal of value. I don’t give the actual numbers much merit, but eliminating names that Estibot values at $50, for example, can help me reduce the volume of names I need to look at.

      • Right, okay, you’ve made that clear before, but they can provide you with all of that yet without all the harm they cause, if they were to change the form and format of how they do it so the world does not receive the message that it’s an “appraisal” and the de facto “official” industry “appraisal” service. This is not even my own original idea but was first expressed by one or more others in the blogs, and I have mentioned it a time or two myself since. They could do something like substitute relative index numbers and change the terminology so that people don’t think of it as an “appraisal” and you don’t wind up in negotiations and discussion venues with the real end user market where people pull out the “Estibot appraisal” like some kind of trump card.

        Furthermore, having it appear with auction and sale listings is practically even criminal.

        But I wouldn’t hold my breath of course.

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