Not All Comps Are Real

Although they aren’t entirely accurate, I rely on comparable sales (comps) to help establish the market value for domain names I own and want to buy. I use sources like NameBio, DNJournal, personal sales, and private sales I’ve heard about for my comps.

When you are reviewing comps, you should take them with a grain of salt. Not only are domain names unique assets, but some comps aren’t real.

I received an email from a friend about a domain sale he saw that was reported publicly. I checked out the Whois history tool, and I saw that the domain name is currently registered to the same person who owned it before. Without doing research, I am not sure if the sale was reported in error, if the sale was falsely reported, or if the Whois information didn’t publicly change, but I can’t tell if the sale actually happened. There are a number of ways for this to happen, but the point is that it can happen.

Another example was based on a personal experience I had today. I was inquiring about a domain name and given the asking price. The seller shared a public comp as one way of justifying the asking price. Ironically, many months ago, I had looked into acquiring the domain name that was mentioned, and it had been owned by BuyDomains before and after the reported sale, so there was something erroneous about it. My rep at BuyDomains confirmed that the sale never happened at that price, and he wasn’t sure why it was reported. I had a conversation about that name a while back and heard the same thing. Despite this fact, the reported sale remains.

There are many ways an erroneous or false sale can be reported, by accident or intentionally. Domain investors who are looking at comps should know that not all comps are “real.”

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


  1. An additional possibility…

    The buyer let the domain expire and the seller picked it up again.

    I sold a .org for $15k a while back and now it’s a spammy paid directory owned by someone else.

    I don’t know how I missed it. I just couldn’t imagine they would let it expire after paying so much.

    Now, I put every domain I sell on backorder.

    Another example…

    I sold a different .org on Sedo for $3k. It’s a year later, they haven’t changed the whois from and it still points to my name servers.

  2. There are many ways an erroneous or false sale can be reported, by accident or intentionally—

    I believe 99.9999% are FALSE SALE AKA INTENTIONALLY.

    do you believe sales from flippa?

    show me what money changing hands!!

  3. Some of typical “sales” when the whois info doesn’t change are ones reported for expired domains that are eventually renewed by the original owner. Howerver, as the auction winner actually has to pay for the name before it gets reported, I admit those reports may still add to the picture in terms of wholesale price at least.

  4. Do you this strictly for generic domains like doggroomer? what about generic term + state names such as Have you had much success with comparables? It seems the general gist of your article is not to trust comparables?

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