How to Sell or Get a Domain Name in the Aftermarket

The right domain is an invaluable asset for small business owners everywhere. An ideal domain is engaging, memorable, and helps to establish your brand and online presence. But what happens when you discover someone else currently has your dream domain? Or when you want to sell your domain to another party?

Here's a guide to getting and selling domain names in the aftermarket.


How to get a domain registered by another entity

1. Do a background check

First, make sure that the domain you want won't damage your reputation or brand. Search the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine to see what kind of content has been published under your potential new domain. Will it hurt or help you?

Also use a penalty checker tool to make sure that Google doesn't have any penalties against the domain that would impede future traffic.


2. Find and contact the current registrant

Because of increasingly stringent data privacy regulations, old school WHOIS lookup is no longer a viable way to find the current registrant of a domain.

However, if the domain has a website up, you may be in luck—simply look for the contact information listed on the site and try to get in touch.
When you type in the URL for your desired domain, you may also see a notice that the domain is for sale. In that case, there's usually contact information listed on the site.

Finally, domain auction sites like Sedo provide a marketplace for buying and selling domains.


3. Budget sufficient time

It may take quite a while to find and contact the current registrant (if you can), negotiate a price, and complete the domain transfer.

Keep in mind too that getting a domain from another small business owner will be vastly different from trying to get a domain from an investor or a large company.


4. Start negotiations

Try not to be the first one to make an offer. When you reach the registrant, contact them with your interest and see if they respond with a figure.

If you don't get a response, try putting out a number that is serious enough to merit their attention. While some people acquire domain names and then forget about them, it's likely that the current registrant has invested time and money into the domain — especially if it hosts a live site — and might not be eager to transfer the registration. A low-ball offer — say $100 — will tell registrants you're not serious.

Know what you can afford and submit a realistic offer.


5. Make a safe payment and transfer

When the time comes to transfer the domain, a third-party site or escrow service is your best option.



How to sell a domain

1. Estimate its worth

How memorable is your domain name? Is it short? Is it easy to spell? Is it hampered by hyphens? All of these elements will influence its value.

An online estimation tool can be helpful to get a rough idea of your domain's price.


2. Put your domain up for sale

You want to make it as simple as possible for potential interested parties to find and contact you.

List your current contact information on your site, and list it on aftermarket domain name auction sites. Allow for people to contact you directly with offers.


3. Highlight your domain's value

If you have data that highlights your domain's value, mention it. Potential buyers may want to know:

  • How much traffic your domain currently receives
  • If it's seen as a an authority in your industry
  • Other reasons that make it an attractive domain name

4. Allow for safe payment and transfer

Whether you're trying to sell your current domain or get a new one, the same guideline applies: Use a third-party site or escrow service to confidently and securely exchange payment and transfer the domain.


The takeaway

A good domain name is valuable. Give yourself enough time, do the necessary research, and be honest in assessing your budget and potential value of your domain.

You may also want to consider other domain extensions, and register a .pro, .info, or .bz domain, for example — in addition to or as an alternative to your original idea.

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Posted on Date:
Wednesday, February 12, 2020