I’m often asked what peoples domain names are worth, and whether they should sell them and how to go about it. I thought I’d take a moment to shed some light on this subject.
I’ll start by giving a personal example of a domain name which I sold last year. I had previously purchased a generic “.co.uk” domain name (i’ll explain the “generic” relevance later) for use with a web project that I never got around to finishing. The domain name was sitting unused, with a basic splash page, and had been like that for a number of years. I wasn’t really looking to sell it, but was open to any offers. After a few negotiations, I ended up agreeing to sell the domain name for a healthy four-figure amount. The name wasn’t worth anything to me anymore, but was worth a lot to the person who wanted it.
On the flip-side of this, when purchasing new domain names for clients I frequently see similar unused domains that are up for sale with massive five-figure values, sometimes even more! I’ve tried to negotiate with some of these owners but without success. Even though these names are attractive for me or for my clients, over-valuing them ensures that they are likely never to be sold. An object is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. It doesn’t matter how much it cost or how long you have had it. So many people forget this basic rule of marketing. If you want to sell an item, start by finding the person who needs it.
What makes an attractive domain name?
Generally speaking, good domain names are short, easy to remember, and are frequently paired (you own both the .com address and the .co.uk address). The reason that shorter is better is really quite obvious, it saves users time whilst typing in your website address or email address and is less confusing.
Generic domain names are usually more valuable than others. Generic names are those not tied to any particular business or contain parts of business names. For example www.plumber.com is more likely to sell than www.kjonesplumbing.com, unless of course you are selling it to Mr K Jones who is a plumber.
“Exact-Match” domain names are an excellent thing to own. If you consider what it is your customers are likely to search for using Google to find you, then a domain name that is an exact-match for that search query is extremely likely to achieve a very high ranking with Google for minimal effort. Following my plumbing example, www.brentwoodplumber.co.uk or www.plumber-in-brentwood.com would be very useful domain names to own if you were a plumber based in the Brentwood area.
Using a hyphen to seperate the words in your domain name is an interesting topic. This allows Google to better understand the words in your domain and their context, however domains with hyphens are much more difficult to remember and do not pass the “radio test”. The radio test is this: if you had to say your domain name on the radio, would people know how to spell it, or would you need to spell it out? So, names like “wherehouse.com” or “civil-litigation-firm.com” have a problem because every time you give out the URL in person or over the phone you will have to spell it out. That means it’s harder for people to remember and communicate to others!
Another important factor when purchasing any domain name is its age and its current “authority” and status. A name which has been active for a number of years is more valuable than a newly registered name. A domain that has a high page rank is much more valuable and one with a low or non-existent rank (see http://eseyocouk.wpengine.com/page-rank-an-attempt-to-explain-what-it-is-how-it-is-calculated-and-why-it-is-important/).
How do I sell my name?
Dont just sit on an unused domain name and do nothing with it. At the very least it should have a one-page website stating that it is up for sale if anyone is interested. The main reason behind this is obvious – it lets people know that it is available and will allow potential buyers to get in touch with their offers. Doing this will also allow your name to properly “age”, and done in the right way can also stand to attract links and page-rank.
If you think that you own a valuable name then there are professional services available to appraise the domain and estimate its worth. These is a cost for this service buy if you are interested please get in touch and I can arrange this for you.
There are also professional services such as www.sedo.com who assist with selling your domain name, but who charge a percentage of the domains value as their fee.
Take a look at the domain names you own and ask yourself:
- Am I ever going to use these names for any of my businesses
- Is this name of any potential value to anyone else
If you’d like to sell your domain names then please get in touch and we will happily assist with either marketing the name for sale and/or the actual sale process.