What is a domain? Despite this word being mentioned so frequently, it’s often unclear what the functions and structures of domains are. Knowing the hierarchical structure of the Domain Name System (DNS) is fundamental for anyone working in IT or in any online industry. We explain the difference between top-level, second-level, and third-level domains, and how you can benefit from subdomains that...
If you choose the right domain name, it can be worth a lot of money. It doesn’t matter what kind of website you have published at the web address. In principle, you don’t even need a website to start actively domain trading, since the address itself is the thing with value. If you own a domain that others are keen to claim, you could even make a fortune with it. But how? What do you need to do to sell a domain?
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Determining the value of a domain
If you want to be successful in domain trading, you must first find out what certain domains are worth. The first indication of domain value can be found in the URL. The well-known top-level domains like .com or .co.uk are much more in demand than new TLDs like .beauty. Short succinct domains are also better than longer, multi-word domains. Domains that consist of multiple parts and contain unusual words in particular are the least likely to be sold and fetch very low prices.
Domains are also traded as SEO aspects. If the domain name already contains an important search term, the web address will most likely get a higher price.
To get a better idea of the market, you can use online tools like Namebio, which show the sales price of similar domain names. It allows you to determine roughly what price you can charge for your domain. Of course, you want to get as much out of your web address as possible, but a price that is too high will surely deter buyers. It is important to find a good middle ground.
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If you really want to get into domain trading, i.e. you want to buy and sell domains regularly, you should always keep track of pricing. Observe how the market behaves over a longer period of time. This allows you to estimate where the trends are going and which domains are worth investing in.
Determining a sales path
There are different ways to sell a domain. For example, you can place a visible advertisement on the domain’s home page – a “for sale” sign. Interested parties can then contact you directly to discuss the sale. Other domain dealers find great success through eBay. The auction platform has a well-known, reputable infrastructure. If you choose to trade domains through eBay, you can access the same features you already know from other products.
There are also other sites that you can use specifically to buy and sell domains. Platforms like Sedo or Flippa provide marketplaces where you can advertise your domain. If you are also interested in the buying side of domain trading, perhaps to then resell them for a profit, these platforms are important.
In general, each domain owner must disclose contact information in the Whois register, which is generally open to the public. However, since visible Whois entries are not just questionable in terms of data protection law, but also regularly cause spam attacks, this information is often kept concealed. But not when it comes to domain trading: If you want to sell your domain for as big a profit as possible, you should make your contact details available. This allows interested buyers, e.g. professional dealers, to contact you easily.
You can also mention the domain is for sale in the Whois entry. If you add the “Domain for Sale” extension to your company name, interested parties will know that it is definitely worth contacting you.
Designing a domain listing
If you have chosen a platform where you want to advertise the available domain, create an entry there. Like with other sales, there are a few rules to keep in mind: If you state your domain name and price, you probably won’t attract too many customers. The platform entry might not be attractive enough. However, those who provide additional information are more likely to encourage prospective buyers to make a purchase.
While it might seem silly at first, you can also add a product description to a domain. For example, you can enter information about the domain’s previous ranking and provide information about what kind of areas the URL is appropriate for. Even adding a picture is possible: a graphic reworking of the domain name or a screenshot of the former website encourages marketplace visitors to consider your advertisement. If possible, you can also comment on the existing or expected future value of the domain, justifying a required price.
Not all marketplaces offer you the opportunity to store extensive information. However, in those cases, no-one can take advantage of this, so it doesn’t necessarily have to become a disadvantage for your listing. Instead, many platforms allow you to promote your domain for a fee. So, if you assume that your domain name will fetch a decent price, it can be worth investing in the additional advertising.
For many marketplaces, you can choose between two methods: You can set a fixed price, or hold an auction. Both have advantages: A fixed price is more appealing to many buyers, since they know exactly what kind of financial commitment they are making. Others actually prefer auctions, since they feel like they can get a bargain. As a seller, you will have the chance to achieve a high price at auction, since the interested parties could outbid each other for a sought-after domain.
In some cases, you will also find the option for interested parties in a marketplace to make you an offer. This allows you to enter into private negotiations.
You should also think about the specific payment process, since selling a domain works differently than buying food in the supermarket. An intermediate point between you and the buyer provides mutual protection. Many marketplaces therefore offer a fiduciary service as part of their offer. If you don’t sell your domain through a marketplace, you should definitely use an external trust service so that there is no legal dispute afterwards.
Once you have sold your domain, you then have to hand it over to the buyer. How this process takes place depends on which provider the domain was purchased from, because access rights are also managed there. At the end, the new holder is registered in the registry (issuer), completing the sale. If you have conducted domain trading through a specialised marketplace, it will usually assist you in transferring the domain.
While you are waiting for your domain to sell, you can make a little money with it. Domain parking allows you to display advertisements under your URL and generate revenue.