When you have the perfect idea for a domain name for your website only to find that someone already owns it, all hope is not lost. Instead, you can turn to a domain name auction to try to bid to win that perfect for sale website domain or another great address that is up for sale.
Alternatively, if you have a clever site name that you no longer need, you can put it up for auction on a marketplace website to try to sell it.
This article will focus on many things regarding domain sales: what domain auction sites actually are; how domain auction sites work; how do you find a reputable domain auction website; and how to estimate the value of your domain.
There's a lot to unwrap, but let's start at the beginning. If you wish to buy or sell a domain, you need to find a domain marketplace.
There are a number of reputable domain auction sites you can visit, such as:
- GoDaddy - Reliable and affordable hosting in addition to a domain registrar
- eBay - An auction site with a dedicated 'Domain Name' category
- Sedo - One of the market leaders in domain listing, parking, and registration
- SnapNames - A domain auction place for previously registered domain names
- Flippa - A marketplace for selling businesses with a dedicated 'Domains' category
- NameJet - A marketplace for expired domain names
If you’ve never bought or sold a website address on a domain marketplace before, it can be a tad overwhelming. So allow me to break it down, and talk about each topic separately.
What are Domain Name Auctions?
Domain name auctions are website marketplaces that bring together people who want to sell domains, to people who want to buy names that are already taken.
Typically, these sites make money by charging the seller a fee for listing their name on the site, and by charging the buyer a fee or commission when they purchase a domain name.
What do the buyer and seller get in return? For starters, the auction site is a central location where buyers know to go looking for domains and sellers know to list their addresses. That makes finding either the exact site name you’re looking for or something close, significantly easier than if you had to go emailing individual people on the Internet looking for a domain for sale.
Another important advantage of using a domain marketplace is that it protects both the buyer and seller. Most trustworthy domain auction sites act as an escrow once a transaction is initiated. That means they hold money from the buyer in a protected account after purchase - and release it only after they successfully receive the domain name from the seller.
How do Domain Name Auctions Work?
When you go to a domain name auction site, the first thing you’re likely to see is a list of the most sought-after names currently up for sale through the marketplace. If you don’t have a domain name or keyword already in mind, these lists can make for good browsing and you may find a website name you’re interested in buying outright or bidding on.
Most sites offer filters to categorize names by price, ending (such as .com or .org), and the number of characters in the address. However, if you have a keyword or exact domain in mind, you can search for it and see any close matches currently up for sale.
While they are generically known as auction sites, these marketplaces typically offer multiple ways to buy or sell website domain names.
For example, you may find web addresses that have a definite price listed, addresses that require you to make an offer to the seller, and addresses that are up for auction and require you to win the bid.
Definite prices are simple. You agree to pay the listed price and receive the domain name. Offers are a bit more involved, as you must decide what a specific web address is worth to you and then negotiate with the seller until you settle on a mutually agreeable price, or walk away from the deal entirely.
Domain auctions are similar to other online auctions, where you only pay your bid and receive the name up for sale if you are the highest bidder.
Most names up for auction list a reserve, which is the minimum price that a seller will accept, as well as the time that the auction will end. Note that there may also be a minimum increment, which is the amount that you must bid above the previous highest bid.
How Do You Find a Domain Name Auction?
A given domain may be listed on all of these sites or only one depending on the seller, so if you are looking for a specific domain name then it is worth checking multiple domain marketplaces. Some sites are also specialized in the types of web addresses they offer. For example, DomainLore primarily offers '.uk' addresses while FreshDrop primarily offers expired website addresses.
For sellers, these sites can also differ drastically in the types of selling services they offer and the fees charged for listing your website name. In addition, it’s a good idea to check the degree of protection that each site offers for buyers and sellers, especially if the name you want is listed on multiple marketplaces.
How Do You Estimate the Value of a Domain?
While you might be willing to pay an unlimited for the perfect domain, it’s a smart idea to head into any negotiation or auction with an idea of what a domain name is objectively worth.
One way to do this is by using appraisal websites, such as GoDaddy, Estibot, and Free Valuator. These sites allow you to enter any domain name and instantly put a number on its worth based on the name itself, the number of years the address has been active, how highly it ranks in search engines, and the traffic the current website with that web address receives.
In addition, when looking into buying a domain and evaluating its worth, it’s a good idea to do your research into why the address is being put up for sale. If the address is on the marketplace because it is not driving traffic to the current website, it should be low in value both to you and the current owner.
On the other hand, if the site address expired because the previous owner wasn’t getting emails about the address’s expiration, it could be a high-value name that is on sale for a bargain. Watch out for domains that have been banned by Google or other search engines, as they have very little value.
Final Thoughts on Domain Auction Sites
Domain name auctions are a great place to find website addresses that will rank highly in search engines, be easy to remember, and drive traffic to your website.
In addition, domain auction sites are a central location to sell a domain name that you no longer need. While these marketplaces are known as auctions, most sites offer multiple ways to buy and sell domain names, including the option to buy an address at a preset price.
Whenever you are buying a website name, it’s a good idea to check its nominal value and ensure that there are no hidden reasons behind why it is up for sale that could affect its worth.
Did this guide help you buy or sell a domain on an auction site? Let me know in the comments below!