Buying and Selling Domains – Advice from the Experts
One of the workshop sessions on Day 2 of Domainfest featured a panel of experts who talked about the best tips and strategies for buying and selling domains. The panel included Michael Berkens, Larry Fischer, Tessa Holcomb, Jason Miner, and Kathy Nielsen. Whether you’re a domain investor, buyer or domains are part of your job description, the session was very informative.
Predictions for the Domain Market in 2011
Among the panel, the first prediction for the domain market in 2011 was that it will continue to grow with new players looking at domains for acquisition, monitization or brand building purposes. The second prediction was that the largest domain sale will likely happen this year, perhaps in the $20-$30 million dollar range.
Here are highlights of some of the best advice they had to share about buying and selling domains:
- Keep your Whois information accurate! Buyers are leveraging Whois, and by keeping your contact information accurate, you’ll help maximize your sales (There was a nice shout out to DomainTools.com when the panel spoke about Whois information and the best way to find it!). When buying a domain from someone you may not know or trust, make sure you protect yourself by researching the domain’s history. There are many websites that offer basic Whois lookup information, but DomainTools.com offers extensive historical information including Whois, IP Address (web hosting), Name Server, Registrar and Thumbnail History to help provide a complete view of a domain’s life cycle. Be sure to leverage DomainTools’ Whois for basic DNS checks.
- Provide a Ballpark Selling Price. If you want to sell your domain, the experts recommend starting with a buy it now price or at least start with some type of price point. This is more attractive for small and medium businesses in particular who are looking for a negotiation starting point and it also gives them a stronger sense of trust. If you simply have a ‘make an offer’ option, it may be more intimidating for those smaller and medium sized businesses to take the first step and approach you.
- Get your Domain in Front of Multiple Outlets. It’s strategic to extend your distribution points (again, make sure your Whois information is updated).
- For Larger Domain Sales, Go with an Escrow Company and Draw Up a Contract. These services protect both the buyer and seller. Escrow.com is an escrow company to look into, and you might also seek the guidance of a domain lawyer.
- Negotiating a Sale? It’s All About Speed to Market. As a seller, be sure to name your price, provide a link at the top of your domain’s page, and be quick to respond to parties of interest since many buyers are simultaneously looking into other opportunities.
- Do your Research and Investigate What’s Going On with Keywords and Extensions. It’s a must – you need to nvestigate what is going on with other keywords and extensions to see if it might be worth your time and investment. Example: if you’re interested in purchasing a .co domain name, see how popular it is with a .net or .com extension to see what traffic it’s driving.
- To Buy or Not to Buy? Ultimately, choose a vertical or find domains you are interested in so you know facts and figures well. Also look at CPC (cost-per-click) trends and other domain sales numbers in your industry over the past year, and also trust your gut.
- There is a Strong International Buying Market. Kathy Nielsen of Sedo shared trending information: .de and .eu are some of the most popular ones to invest in.
- Diversify Your Portfolio. Like investing in stocks, it’s good to diversify your holdings. You can still register many good .co domains, and the buying market for .tv is also doing well (according to Sedo).
- Domain Brokerage Services: Good for Higher Priced Names. Constant feedback, goal to generate lots of interest among many parties bidding in name.
- Domain Investing Newbies Who are Looking to Get Started:Look at Name drops. Some registrars drop into certain places (example – some drop with snapnames.com so you’ll want to check there), others drop at certain times. If you want more guidance, work with an adviser or broker who can walk you through the process of name drops.
- Popular Categories for Buying and Selling Domains are in Health, Fitness, Finance and Gaming. Look at google traffic and SEO rankings.
- Heavily Consider the Brand Value of TLDs. Also, heavily consider the content (if it is built out) as this will impact the long term value.