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The Two Types of Domain Buyers

Domain name investors sell their domain names to two different types of buyers.

The first, so-called “end-users,” are people who have a use for the domain name. This might be an entrepreneur starting a business or a large company launching a new product line. An end-user might also buy a domain name for competitive reasons, such as to keep a category-defining keyword domain name out of the hands of competitors or to buy a domain name that is similar to one it already uses.

A domain investor is another person who buys domains with the hopes of selling them for a profit. 

Domain investors sell domains to both end-users and other domain investors, and the sales tactics and how you reach each type of buyer are different.

Selling to End-Users

Some end-users are savvy Internet users, while others have never registered a domain name before. They check if domain names are available for purchase in a variety of ways.

One way end-users find domain names is to type a domain name into their browser to see how it’s being used. For this reason, it’s important to have a “for sale” lander on your domain name if it’s available. 

Services such as Efty.com and DAN.com make it easy to create and host these landing pages. Both services allow end-users to submit an inquiry about buying the domain name. As the seller, you can set a “buy now” price or just collect leads of interested buyers and negotiate with them to close the sale.

Another way end-users find out if a domain is available is by searching for it at a domain name registrar such as Namecheap. If a domain investor lists a domain for sale on Afternic or Sedo, and chooses the extended marketing options, the domain name will show as available to purchase at a premium price at domain registrars.

End-users can buy these domains through the registrar and get the domain in their account almost instantaneously, just like they were registering an available domain name.

Some end-users will search domain marketplaces like Afternic and Sedo to find domains, but it’s less common than finding a domain for sale through a sales landing page or registrar.

The savviest end-users will look up the owner of a domain on Whois. Depending on where the domain is registered and whether or not the owner uses Whois privacy, the end-user might be able to find the phone number or email address for the domain owner and use this to contact the owner.

Selling to Domain Investors

Domain investors buy domain names differently. 

Dollar sign and question mark

They often buy domains in auctions, such as online auctions on NameJet or live domain auctions. They also buy and sell domain names on NamePros, a forum for domain name investors. 

Sometimes, a domain investor will inquire about a domain name through a for-sale landing page but it’s more common for the investor to use Whois to find out the contact details of the owner and send an email. 

Domain investors will also scour marketplaces like Afternic and Sedo for buying opportunities.

Two Different Animals

When it comes to buyers for your domains, end-users and other domain investors are two different animals.

End users usually pay more for a domain. Domain investors pay less money because they need to be able to make a profit when they sell the domain to an end-user down the road. So unless you are trying to sell a domain quickly at a lower price, it usually makes sense to wait for an end-user to inquire about buying a domain name.

You can still make money selling domains to other domain investors, though. Some successful domain investors make their living by buying domains that they quickly turn around and sell to other domain investors. The profit margin on these sales is smaller but can be made up in volume. It’s a trade-off of selling a domain quickly vs. selling it for the highest price. 

Domain investors should consider strategies to sell to both end-users and other domain investors. At a minimum, all domains should be listed on domain marketplaces and have clear for-sale landing pages.

Both end-users and other domain investors have a role in bringing liquidity to the domain name aftermarket. Understanding the differences is key to a successful sales strategy.

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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