Having Liquidity Problems? There Are Plenty Of Buyers – Here’s Why You Might Be Missing Them!

Let me just be up-front here and say that I am not an expert when it comes to buying and selling domains. I am though, like a sponge, trying to learn as much as I can about the re-sale market since I want to make it a bigger component of my business. I feel like a broken record saying this but with so many new readers I just want to make sure everyone knows who I am and what I do! If you haven’t yet read my “About” page make sure to do so when you have a few minutes!

Okay – now for the subject of my post, Liquidity Problems. I get a number of emails (probably 10-20) each week from blog readers telling me they are having a really hard time selling their domains. Sometimes they provide the names other times I have to ask but either way I’ve really seen it comes down to one of three things (in order of importance):

  1. Crappy names (Pigeon Sh** as Rick would say) – I see a lot of terrible names owned by people that have fallen in love with them. It’s easy to get attached to your domains but don’t let that sway your understanding of their value. If you have a great premium domain name you’ll know, people will be contacting you asking if it’s for sale.
  2. Unrealistic Pricing – this is probably tied for first place with crappy names and is a continual problem. All of us want to sell our names for the maximum amount possible…however it’s those who are realistic with their pricing that make the sales. If you think your domain is worth four or five figures you should have the data to back it up. Things like search volume, CPC, and previous sales are all elements of a domain’s value. If you passed test one and you have some good names, most likely the reason you aren’t selling them is because your pricing is not realistic. Domain Magnate just did a great post talking about the use of the word “Premium” when describing domains, definitely worth reading – “Premium” is the Most Misused and Abused Word by Domainers.
  3. Not Actively Selling Your Domains – if your domains aren’t crappy, and your pricing is realistic, then you probably aren’t actively selling your domains. Listing your name on Sedo isn’t actively selling your domains. You should be contacting brokers, trying to find end-users, submitting the names for auctions, etc. Here’s one tip – if your names are never accepted into auctions you’ve failed step one. Auctions are always looking for good names and they’ll help you find realistic pricing since they want your names to sell as badly as you do!

Please don’t take this post as being mean or negative in any way. Back in 2007 I bought a lot of REALLY crappy names. I dropped over 600 names and I’m sure I’ll drop more in the future. I stuck with domains that made me money and domains that were in niches with stats (search volume, cpc, etc.) that has worked well for me with past sites. When I started to sell domains I was hoping to get thousands of dollars for domains I spent $10-$20 on. It was when I brought my prices down that the liquidity really started to open up.

You should always be going through your portfolio and thinking, is that a name I’m going to develop? If not then is it valuable, would someone else want to buy it and develop it? Things like high search volume or a high CPC can help you answer this question. So if you saw the title of this post and thought, “hey, I’m having trouble selling my domains!” and started reading this post, now take yourself through the list and be brutally honest with yourself. The solution to your problems could be right in front of you!

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Leonard Britt September 20, 2010, 5:12 pm

    I have found that being more realistic on pricing has resulted in much higher sales volume the last year than in previous years. However, one thing I have noted of late by following up on some of my sales is that a considerable portion of my SEDO domain sales are not to end users. Rather, my high $xxx sales tend to be to domain investors who just relist the domain at a multiple of where they bought it while the lower $xxx sales often result in monetization via a minisite or EPIK portal and probably awaiting a buyer at some point in the future. Emails to end users end up getting ignored or result in $50 offers even for your best domains. IMO Corporate America is often clueless when it comes to domains.

  • Simon Johnson September 21, 2010, 4:41 am

    Morgan,

    It’s good to see some open and honest disclosure. More domaining bloggers should follow your example.

    Simon

  • Steroids UK September 21, 2010, 6:35 am

    how about letting readers see teh list of the domains u let drop ?

    • Morgan September 21, 2010, 9:05 am

      @Steroids – I’d be happy to let you know when I’m dropping names. The 600 were dropped back in 2008 and I don’t remember all 600!! Some were names like IWantASegway.com and HappySticks.com – not sure why those sounded so good at the time buy hey, we all have to start somewhere!!

  • Chris September 21, 2010, 7:32 am

    Another great article! I have tried to purchase a few domain names that were already registered. I offered a very fair price for a site that I wanted to develop – however the owner of the domain thought he had a gold mine and wanted XX,XXX when I was thinking somewhere along the lines of X,XXX. We werent even in the same ballpark. Maybe this article will also get sellers to lower their prices.

    • Morgan September 21, 2010, 9:03 am

      Thanks for the positive feedback @Chris!

  • Rob Sequin September 21, 2010, 9:18 am

    GREAT post!

    1. I get emails and phones calls many times a week from people asking me to broker their crappy names. I can tell in one minute whether I can help them or not.

    The phone calls start out like “I’ve registered a couple hundred domains…” or something like that. I tell people if you’ve hand regged a domain in the past three years, it’s probably not worth anything. Either wait five years, develop it or drop it.

    So, that addresses the crappy names part. You’re right, take a hard look at your portfolio.

    2. If the domains are not crappy, which most are, then I ask about pricing. $100k for this $50k for that. I tell people speculation is out of the market and domain investors are either developing what they have or are selling their domains. VERY few domain investors are looking to buy domains.

    So, then there are end users… it’s a long shot selling to end users to start but if your domain is priced over $5k, it’s a REAL long shot that you’re going to sell to end users.

    3. Price your domains. For years I played hard to get by not putting prices on my domains. That works occasionally but this tactic puts off more buyers than it attracts. Also, no one wants to price their domain too low.

    However, since my Sedo rep told me to price as many domains as I could with buy it now prices, I’ve sold about $8k in domains over a few months.

    If you’re not going to develop your domains or don’t want to sell for whatever reasons, don’t price them. However, if you think you might let a domain expire within one year, price it at $1995, $1295, $995, $495 or $295.

    Works for me.

    • Morgan September 21, 2010, 9:23 am

      Thanks @Rob – I really appreciate the positive feedback!!

      Great to hear your feedback and thanks for sharing!! Do you mind if I re-post this as a post of its own? I think this would be very interested to all my visitors who might miss this!

  • Rob Sequin September 21, 2010, 9:31 am

    Sure, glad you liked it. Edit as you wish.

    Feel free to mention my http://SellingToEndUsers.com page that has my process for harvesting, qualifying and contacting end users.

    As far as sales, it’s good to have a retail sales site and link out to your sales page at sedo or afternic or the like.

    Then, you can always put this domain may be for sale in your whois information if you want to be a bit more proactive.

    One more thing, if you have domains at sedo and want to link to ALL your domains listed at sedo, go to my sedo/my account/account settings and you can pick up the URL for all your domains for sale. I think Afternic might offer this too.

  • LS Morgan (Not The Operator Of This Blog) September 25, 2010, 12:26 am

    If you’re not going to develop your domains or don’t want to sell for whatever reasons, don’t price them. However, if you think you might let a domain expire within one year, price it at $1995, $1295, $995, $495 or $295.
    —————————————–

    This one always slays me and is great advice… They’d rather dream huge and totally fail than price realistically and profit.

    Very rarely, there’s a mediocre name I want that’s a recent registration by a domainer. This happens very, very infrequently, but sometimes, sun shines on a dogs ass and a newbie domainer stumbles into a name I want, for whatever reason. I never cold call on these names, simply because even one single cold inquiry infuses them with hope about an infinitely brighter tomorrow and causes them to renew forever, or, at least for a couple years when they email back saying they’re now willing to sell for 1/2 their totally unrealistic price point.

    To exploit this, I’d advise that one simply ignore the name as if it doesn’t exist and grab it when it drops next year, because it always does. It’s been my strategy for quite some time and it works. The sad thing is, if they just listed it for a reasonable price on SEDO, I’d buy it and they’d make a few bucks, but instead, I wait and give less money to namejet to get it for me as a prerelease, or, desktop snap it for registry fee.

    The inability of most domainers to differentiate a huge name from a great name, a great name form a good name, a good name from a mediocre name and a mediocre name from a crap name- and then price it in accord with reality- is a giant millstone around the neck of domainer profitability…. Greed is the death-knell of 99% of domainers. Excluded from that 99% are guys like Scott Day, etc, who own the types of colossal, mile-wide names that negotiate from a much stronger position and can afford a bit of greed.

  • Soud September 28, 2010, 7:12 am

    Really great article. Thanx Linton again for your great posts.

  • arnold January 22, 2011, 11:52 am

    Thanks for the very nice article, i think i am one of the many people who thinks that he has nice domains.
    I am convinced that my domains will bring a nice price , but i am asking myself when does the time come that the country domains from me , get popular, and do they get popular ?
    What do you think of the domains cargo.pe, shipping.pe, logistics.pe and cargo.pe
    i think it takes a few years but they will get popular , or ?