There are a number of different ways you can sell your domain name. Just like the traditional real estate market, the online real estate market has a number of ways to connect buyers and sellers. The standard way of selling your names is through a listing service like Afternic, Sedo, or Snapnames. While these services do provide a great system to listing a large quantity of domains for sale, your domain names are easily lost in the mix. Paying for extras like "Featured Listing" or "Category Featured" will only decrease your net profit.
What is really comes down to is having a good name. A domain like math.com or web.com will sell anywhere you put it. These one-word dot com’s and recently one-word .mobi’s, .net’s and even some .us names always command attention. But guess what? Most domainers don’t have names like this. There are a select few that have these five to six figure names, instead the current race is for the four to five figure names.
Unfortunately, when you list your names on a major listing service like Afternic or Sedo, it is easy for your domains to get lost in the pack. Suppose you own skiadventures.com and list it with Sedo in the Sports category under Ski. Well there are 15,200 names in this category – how does your name stand-out?
What it comes down to is who looks at your listing. Is it a serious buyer? A domain investment company? Someone just interested in domains? With big listing services you may get 100 people to look at your listing, but of those only 2 were looking for something related to your domain. The problem is that you may get people to look at your name, but not the right people. Earlier I did a comparison of using the "Featured Listing" option with Sedo vs. Afternic. Sedo brought more traffic to my listing than Afternic by a longshot, however neither listing enticed a bid.
Domainers are constantly looking for an opportunity to get in front of the buyer that has a real need for their domain. Some domainers have been successful at emailing a buyer after a sale and offering names of similar category or theme. Other domainers list their names for sale on their own private listing page with a focus on a particular type of domain. By advertising this site, you know that anyone who clicks on your ad is someone looking for the type of domain you are selling. A great example of this is www.geneticsdomains.com.
So where do forums come into the picture? Another way to sell your domain is through a domain forum site like dnforum.com or namepros.com. These sites offer area’s to post names that meet a certain criteria such as "Priced Above $100" or "Domains with Traffic". This is a nice way to ensure that at least one quality of your domain is something that the buyer is looking for. If I am searching for a developed website already making money I can drill-down directly to a section displaying only domains with developed websites. This type of specificity allows for names to be seen by a more targeted buyer.
Domain Forums are a great way to get your name in front of a smaller yet more targeted audience. But beware, there are scams everywhere within these communities. Many times a seller will list a domain for sale, accept bids, maybe even auction off the name only for the final buyer to realize that the seller was not the domain owner! The same can happen to a seller who takes the time to list a name, reach a final price, get paid for the name only to find-out later that it was a stolen credit card or invalid paypal account.
What I’m saying here is that domain forums are a great way to promote your domains, but you have to be careful. This is like walking from Rodeo Drive down to South Central. On Rodeo Drive you can’t afford anything but there are a select few there willing to spend a fortune if they find what they want. In South Central everyone is looking for a good deal and you have to watch your step to make sure you aren’t robbed or cheated. It is unlikely that your domain will sell for more in a forum than through a listing service. Buyers on a domain forum are looking for a good deal and if they don’t think they’ll get it, they won’t buy. This means that many domains are underbid by hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. It is up to the seller to compare their name to other similar names sold to ensure they get a fair value for the name.
I always suggest a diversified approach to selling domains. List your names with multiple services. Post names for sale on Domain Forums and make custom websites for your names. To sell a domain name you have to be proactive. Too many people think they can just list their names with a domain listing service and their names will sell themselves. If you haven’t already, put on your sales hat, in the end it’s your money we’re talking about!