Buying and Selling Domains January 4, 2012UncategorizedBuilding a better world one domain at a time, domain clearinghouse, domain registration, memorable names, picking a name, picking the right name for your businessMike Mann One of my companies, DomainMarket.com, operates under a set of principles that has proven successful again and again. My team buys domains that are very keyword heavy, intuitive, and easy to spell. Some of those domains are simply sold to other customers later. With others, we actually start a company with that domain name and then sell the whole company once it starts operating profitably and smoothly. How do we indentify these names that we buy and sell? Well, that comes with experience. We look for highly brandable names that people will search for in the future. There are literally millions of niches in the marketplace, and we have only scratched at the surface of the possibilities for good quality domain names that fit our criteria. If you look at DomainMarket.com, you can see countless examples of what we’re talking about. Suppose you want to go into the religious travel business. You can purchase the domain SacredJourneys.com from us, which is perhaps the most intuitive name out there for this type of business. The vast majority of our domains are similar—they are already optimized for a given market because their names are based on keywords in that market. How to Buy a Domain The easy part of buying a domain is finding one to buy. With some domains, finding the owner is easy (particularly if it’s owned by BuyDomains.com or DomainMarket.com); with others, finding the owner can be challenging. After locating the owner, you simply negotiate a price and sign the paperwork that reregisters the domain name to you. You want to complete the purchase quickly. Also, be aware that oral contracts are usually binding, so you need to be able to back up whatever you offer. Upon gaining the domain, you do not want to just sit on it. Obviously, you have no intention to if you’re buying the domain for yourself. If you are buying it to sell it to others, you want to make money with it in the meantime. A cheap way to do this is to use it for lead generation, perhaps by linking it to other domains you own. Our preferred method is to start a small skeleton company with the domain and nurture it until the company is successful enough to add tangible value to the domain. How to Sell a Domain The best price to sell a domain at is completely contextual. It often depends on the domain itself, how well known the buyer is, and how strong the financial industry is. A domain purchase price is based more on willingness to pay than on supply and demand. The seller will guess the buyer’s maximum willingness to pay and try to secure that price. If you want to make your domains easy to sell, they need to be easy to find. The best way to make them easy to find is to have a central sales domain and use lead generation to link all your other domains to that sales domain. This way, your domain list can be found more easily, and if a potential buyer happens to land on the domain they wish to buy, they can easily link to that domain list and make a purchase right away. Why Buy a Domain At this point, buyers may be wondering why they should buy an intuitive domain from a domain market rather than simply using an unclaimed but less intuitive site. The answer lies in how easy it is to optimize the domain. It can be much harder to get a less intuitive domain to the top of search engine rankings than a more commonly searched domain. Suppose someone is looking to travel to a small island resort for their vacation. They don’t want to go to a big tourist trap with huge hotels right on the beach. They might search for “private island vacation spots.” If your domain is PrivateVacationIslands.com, it will probably show up before IntimateIslands.com in the search results purely because it matches their search terminology more closely, all other things being equal. (Of course, search engine optimization will factor in here as well.) And both domains are likely to appear much higher in rankings than WannaPrivateIlesVac.com, which is neither intuitive nor easy to spell. In fact, it’s not even easy to read since capital-i looks identical to lowercase-l in most fonts! Furthermore, “vac” is often considered short for vacuum instead of vacation. Not only do search engines find a keyword-heavy and intuitive domain name more easily, but so do people. If you want a website that truly generates money, you need it to be easily found and easily remembered. Then customers will come back to it again and again. Don’t forget that many customers happen upon your site while researching options with no intention of buying yet. If you stand out from your competitors due to a memorable domain name, they are much more likely to return to you once they are ready to make a purchase. Domains names are critical. Making millions and encouraging change can only happen when you get your message in front of lots of eyes. A good domain name can do that—not just once, but repeatedly.