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Why Don’t My Domains Sell? Why Won’t a Broker Sell My Domains? How Do I Sell My Domains FAST?

Why Don't My Domain Names Sell, and How to Sell Them

Why Don’t My Domains Sell? How Do I Sell My Domains FAST? Why Won’t a Broker Sell My Domains?

By Michael Cyger, Founder of DomainSherpa & Publisher of DNAcademy

Published: April 7, 2019

Why Don’t My Domains Sell?

How Do I Sell My Domains FAST?

Why Won’t a Broker Sell My Domains?

I answered these three questions on a DNAcademy social hour. Here’s that excerpt for you:

As a result of the economic conditions caused by the corona virus pandemic, I have been receiving a lot of emails recently from people who have domain names they don’t want to continue to renew. They want to sell them fast. Like we all do!

So today’s discussion starter topic is this: why don’t my domains sell and what can I do about it?

Let me run you through my thought process and then I’ll open the discussion up to feedback and additional tips.

Here’s the advice I usually provide to people by email, and what I educate about inside DNAcademy.

You can actively sell your domain names via outbound marketing (yourself or using a broker), or you can do everything possible to passively sell your domain names before their renewal dates.

Let’s talk about active sales.

While most domain names are worth between – say – $200 and $10,000 in the retail aftermarket, they cannot be successfully outbound sold for two reason:

Number 1. Existing, operating businesses don’t want to purchase your domain name if they don’t have significant search volume to build a separate website on, they don’t have significant type-in traffic which might replace PPC advertising campaigns they’re currently running, or they’re not a superior brandable domain name to their current domain name. Yes, there are slight variations to those three reasons, but those are the three biggest reasons.

And Number 2. You don’t know which startups are launching so you cannot actively reach out to them to offer your domain name for sale.

If your domain name DOES have exact match search volume, it DOES receive type-in traffic, or it’s a superior domain name to what a business is using, you can build a list of real buyers by following the instructions in the video at dnacademy.com/build-a-list-of-real-buyers. It’s a free video.

Then you have to do the hard work of personally and individually emailing, calling and following up over and over and over again. You have to have tough skin, because people are going to tell you to stop emailing, to stop calling, heck they might even tell you to stop harassing them. Doing outbound sales is hard, tiring, and you have to take 99 no’s for every one yes.

So what about hiring a broker to build the list and send the emails? That sounds easy enough, and you’re probably willing to make it worth their while.

Well-known and successful domain name brokers can often sell a valuable domain name in a few weeks to a few months, but generally won’t represent domain names with a retail value below $67,000 because at a 15% commission their compensation is $10,000.

If your domain name is worth $20,000, for example, 15% of $20,000 is $3,000. You might say, hey, $3,000 is a lot of money. And it is. But if brokers are sending emails and making phone calls to 300 people with 4 touch points per person, and each touch point takes 5 minutes on average, do you know what their hourly rate is? $30 per hour.

Any broker in that situation — who is effective and successful — will quickly recognize that they can go buy their own domain names in the wholesale market and make 100% of the money instead of a 15% commission.

And if your domain name doesn’t have 300 potential buyers, then the broker is wasting their time because they know that they’re playing a numbers game. 100 prospects to get a few interested to get one sale is how it typically works in outbound sales.

And brokers know that it’s roughly the same amount of work to sell a domain name valued at $5,000 as it is to sell a domain name valued at $67,000, and there is no shortage of valuable domain names.

So if you don’t have domain names that established companies will want, and you don’t know which startups might want your domain name, and you are likely not going to hire a broker to represent your domain name, what’s your other option? Passive sales.

If you want to sell your domain names passively, you need to do four things:

Number 1. Determine a realistic retail price for each of your domain names.

Number 2. List your domain names on third-party marketplaces with the buy-it-now price so when someone thinks of the domain name and goes looking for it they can find it and hopefully make an impulse purchase. The top two marketplaces are Afternic.com and Sedo.com, which offer multiple listing services to present your domain names in the registration paths at many registrars like GoDaddy.

Number 3. Test every domain name to make sure they’re listed in the registration paths of major registrars, like GoDaddy and NameCheap.

Number 4. Put up a for-sale landing page on each of your domain names with the buy-it-now price. You can use landing pages at a host of service providers, like Afternic, Sedo, Dan and Epik. All of these services offer a free for-sale landing page and then charge a commission by transacting your domain for sale. Efty.com is a flat fee per month.

Number 5. Make sure you have the DNS set properly by typing each domain name into a web browser and verifying that each domain resolves and displays the landing page with the buy-it-now price.

Passive sales is a chain of events. Each chain link has to work, or the chain fails and you won’t get a sale. It’s work to sell domains passively too.

Passive sales sound great, but what if your domain name is coming up for renewal and you simply don’t want to renew it another year? You need to look at the wholesale market.

If you want to liquidate your domain names this week, you have to target the wholesale market — which will give you 1% to 10% of the retail value.

Yes, I said 1% of the retail value of your domain name.

Domains are not a liquid asset, unfortunately, and you need to realize that the wholesale market is different than the retail market.

I recently ran an experiment on BrandBucket.com. I listed a hand registered domain name, it was accepted, and it was priced at $1,995. Aline helped me go to NamePros and list it for sale in an auction. It sold for $20. That’s 1%.

Maybe on a great day it could have sold for $100. That’s 5%.

You can try to liquidate domains on DNWE.com, which is a new liquidation market by Josh Reason and Josh Schoen, or on NameJet.com. These marketplaces won’t accept all domain names — you have to apply to have them accepted.

You can also list them for sale on NamePros and there’s no acceptance criteria, but then you have to fight for attention, it’s a pain to manage and promote, and it’s not really built for selling domain names.

And you can also liquidate them at NameLiquidate.com if your domains are at Epik. They make it easy to check a box to sell domains on NameLiquidate if you don’t renew them, and you keep 91% of the revenue they get, if it sells.

My final discussion point is about domain name valuations. Whether we want to sell our names actively, passively or in the wholesale market, you need to know the retail value range of your domain name so you can price it appropriately.

I’m not going to be able to teach you how to value your domain names in 30 seconds. Half of the DNAcademy course is understanding the six types of domain names, learning how to characterize each type, finding recent and relevant comparable sales, and then determining the wholesale range, retail range, and maximum retail range.

What can you do if you aren’t a DNAcademy student, don’t have funds to join, and don’t know how to value domains?

You can make friends with someone who knows how to value domain names, like a broker.

You can search NameBio for comparable sales that you think are similar in quality to yours.

Or you can simply just price your domain names fairly, based on a multiple of what you paid for the domain name. Stop trying to shoot the moon. If you need money, or you can’t afford to renew your domain names, price your domain names for reality.

That’s it. What feedback or input do you have about selling domain names actively, passively, or in the wholesale market?

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Comments 4

  1. Michael. Fabulous article and the most informative domain article I have ever read. This is what I was asking and you gave me a very informative and valuable chunk of information. What I have decided to do is you sell off my crappy domain names and then do a 301 redirect to my business website because many off my names were purchased to protect our cookware and brand. Thank you Michael and well done. 🤩

    1. Post
      Author

      It’s hard to make decisions like that, especially when we’ve owned domains for a long time. Kudos to you for taking action! And I’m so glad to hear that my video was beneficial to you. 😀

  2. Good structured info.
    You certainly have a grasp of the domain market
    Your emails are good value
    Thanks, gives me ammunition to pursue my domain liquidation

    Kind Regards

    1. Post
      Author

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