I’ve discussed at length methods I’ve used to sell domain names to end users. Sometimes my efforts are successful and pay off, and other times, they do not. Here are a few things I’ve learned which may help you the next time you try and sell a great domain name to an end user buyer:
Many competing companies: In industries where there is a lot of competition, having a good domain name can make a company stand out from its peers. Whether it’s because of the SEO or because the company wants to “own the brand,” there will always be at least one company that wants the category defining domain name, even if the category is somewhat small. As long as there are many competitors, at least one company will want your exact match keyword .com domain name.
Small and large companies within target: I have found that there should be a good mix of small and large companies in a vertical to best sell a non-ultra premium, but category defining, domain name. It’s difficult to get to the decision maker with a huge corporation, but it’s quicker with smaller companies – especially when it comes to decision making. Boiled down, it would be tough to sell a soda domain name when you are only pitching Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper…etc rather than an industry with a mix of companies.
Generic domain names are owned by companies: One thing I noticed when I made the successful end user sale I wrote about was that many of these companies didn’t use their brand names in their website urls. They used descriptive terms such as their area + their industry. When I saw that and had an industry keyword, I knew at least one company would want it, and I was right.
Companies selling that product or service: If you have the exact match domain name of a product or service, it’s likely one of the companies would want to buy it. Although a lot of companies aren’t completely knowledgeable about SEO and/or Internet marketing, many will recognize that this particular type of name would have value to them. It’s your job to convince them of this.
High profit margin on product or service: Similar to above, if that product or service is profitable, it’s more likely they will be interested in the domain name. If a company makes $1 profit per customer and they don’t sell many of these products (and it isn’t considered a loss leader) they probably won’t (or can’t afford to) spend a lot of money for the related domain name. If a new customer will net them big bucks, they can and will be able to justify a higher expenditure.
Own the same domain name in another extension: If a company owns the exact same domain name as you, just in a subpar extension (.net, .info maybe .org), it’s likely they would have wanted the .com if they could have bought it. Maybe the .com wasn’t for sale and the company didn’t know how to inquire about it or maybe they couldn’t afford the .com in the aftermarket when they bought the other extension. Whatever the case is, you know they like this term, and will probably want the .com. Just be cautious if the other extension is developed and there is a potential that the term isn’t generic enough. They may use your solicitation email as a sign of bad faith in a UDRP proceeding.
What else do you look for when selling domain names to end users?
I’ve found these end user posts very interesting, but there’s one thing I’m not sure you’ve addressed yet:
When you cold-email a potential buyer, how often do you get a nasty response? There’s plenty of people out there who confuse speculation with squatting.
Doesn’t happen to me much. Can’t remember the last time actually.
If you’ve got that perfect targeted domain,
don’t overlook finding some (get your foot in the door) email/phone contacts through affiliate advertisers at cj, etc.
You can’t find these on the websites, or whois contact info.
Very good suggestion. In fact, you can often find links to “affiliate program” or “partners” on websites, and that will lead you to the right person. Oftentimes affiliate program managers will understand the value better than others at the company.
You should also look for companies that have similar .COM domains but longer than yours. So if you have “catfish.com”, you might be able to sell to the owner of KentuckyCatfish.com.
You can find these kinds of domains on google with a search like:
This will give you a list of sites that have catfish in the URL (not necessarily the domain, but it’s a good start).
Does anyone know how to do a search similar to “inurl:catfish” but only for the keyword in the domain? That search will come up with stuff like http://blah.com/catfish-are-yummy.html which isn’t as useful. I’d like something similar to http://*catfish*.com with * being a wild card.
Also, wondering what you guys think about CC as opposed to separate emails. I always hear that you should send them individually, but I can’t help thinking if you send an email to email@example.com AND firstname.lastname@example.org, that it would spark their sense of urgency and competition knowing for a fact that their competitor is being given the same opportunity and whoever pounces first wins.
Love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.
@Michael – You can try out a tool we built for locating end-clients. It is called EndUserGenie.com. It is not a tool that we have announced but it works. It finds the targets, mails to them and tracks who has been mailed what in a portfolio.
FYI, this is actually how I sold MensJewelryRings.com for $6500 after drop-catching it. We sold it at our auction site — auctions.epik.com. In other words, I use EndUserGenie.com to send leads to visit the auction listing at auctions.epik.com.
Such a search operator doesn’t exist. I researched and asked several people but it seems that for now we don’t have any luck.
Some services can give a close result, but none has all tld’s.
@ Rob, that was exciting – I signed up for Auctions.epik.com and EndUserGenie.com, but I think I have to be approved or notified of the auction before I can send out a listing . . .
Playing the Drop Market panel at TRAFFIC Las Vegas was interesting, which I caught the tail end of so now I can place a face to your name. Good job on your web projects, including Epik auction, because the interface is uncluttered, simple, and fast! Hope it works out! 🙂
@Rob – That looks like an interesting tool. One little quirk on the site: when I tried to create an account, I had to check a box that said “Agree to terms?” – but I couldn’t find the terms anywhere. Maybe I’m overlooking something obvious.
(I understand that since this is an unannounced tool, it may not be polished; just wanted to point this out FYI.)
@randomo – Thanks for the feedback. The site is still beta. We use it internally so please pound on it and send feedback. My email is rob -at- epik.com . It works, but it is not ready for public launch. We have given a few power users and clients pre-launch access while we finish development and testing. I have been using it for weeks.
@Michael – A small tip a propos your original question: if you click on any of the suggested names that the EndUserGenie finds, it will go find all related names even if they are not live and developed.
@Rob – when I tried EndUserGenie.com, none of the emails would go through. They always said Failed or Banned or some such. I got this same response using the provided mail router and using my own SMTP mail server configuration. I find it odd that ALL would receive such a response.
@Michael, not exactly what you are asking for, but one thing you can do is to enter in a ‘*’ for the tld of any keyword you want to search for to see results for that keyword in every tld that is indexed. for example, to search all catfish.— sites, you would enter:
this is just a quick way to see all the extensions for sites of that keyword that are actually indexed, plus what titles and meta-descriptions they use, and who ranks highest/lowest. also can generally tell who is parked by the meta-description
I had the same issue when I tried a couple of tests. I tried sending end user emails using my own domain names as a test and they failed.
Also, I would recommend filtering sites like Yahoo, Bing, Wikipedia….etc, as it would be extremely unlikely that an email to the whois contact would result in a sale.
@Mike – That’s very close to what I’m looking for, but precisely what I want would be search results with:
Catfish.tld (you solved this one)
With Keyword being a wild card (*).
I tried doing “site:*catfish.*” and that gave me KeywordCatfish.— as you suggested, but I get no results when I try these:
Not sure why, but it is already closer to what I’m trying to get. Thanks for the help. If anyone stumbles across how to do it please let me know.
@Logan, @Elliot – The sending feature requires a paid membership. The sending cost is low but it is countermeasure to prevent people from using the system to spam. We’ll look into making this more clear. To date, we mostly have introduced it to a few clients who are wanting help with selling their domains.
@ Michael, Here you go:
Louise, thanks for doing that, but I was just using catfish as an example because that’s what Jorge used above me.