My thoughts on setting BIN prices on your domain names

BIN Prices Domain Names

One of my favorite ongoing debates in the Domaining world surrounds a topic that might sound simple but ends up being surprisingly complex, should you price your domains or leave them open to offers? It’s a topic that I personally have gone back and forth on for years but over time I’ve landed in the BIN camp.

Of course this answer is different for different people so take anything I say here with a grain of salt but here’s the advantage I see to putting a BIN price on your names. When someone is looking for a domain name, and they don’t have one specific name in mind, they’re often driven by a name that they can easily find is available for sale, and is in their budget.

In most cases I think it’s pretty darn likely that when you sell a name at its BIN price, you probably did leave some money on the table. Just because someone bought your name for $3,500 doesn’t mean they didn’t have a $4,500 or even $7,500 budget. What it does mean is that the combination of domain and price made them pull the trigger right then and there.

If the same name was listed as “Make Offer” you could sell it for more but that same buyer could also easily overlook it. The question you have to ask yourself is how much profit are you happy with? Years ago I set my goal at 10x and told myself, if I can sell a domain for 10x what I’ve paid for it, I should be happy. This doesn’t mean that I price every domain at 10x my buy price, I have names at 20x, 30x or more in some cases, but I’m never going to be upset about a good return.

Let’s be honest – it’s easy to be obsessed with dollar values, you see a similar two-word .COM to one that you bought for $500 sell for $25,000 and suddenly that becomes your new price expectation. Sure you can turn down that $10,000 offer, but if you stop to think about making 20x what you paid and re-investing that money, it’s not hard to understand why making that $10k sale sooner could be a better long-term move.

So like most rules, there are exceptions. Let’s suppose you got a killer one-word .COM for $10,000 – you did your researched, negotiated like crazy, and landed yourself a solid six-figure domain. I’m definitely not saying that you should price your domain at $100,000 and be happy if you get it. Maybe you want a $500,000, maybe it’s a million or a bust. You’re willing to wait 5 – 10 years (or longer) for the right buyer to come by who will pay top dollar.

This exception is important because if you do have some (or many) truly premium domains then you probably will benefit from having a longer time horizon and waiting for that perfect buyer. I’ll tell you that Rick Schwartz probably wouldn’t have sold Porno.com for over $8M if he wasn’t willing to turn down plenty of amazing offers and take the time to wait for that perfect buyer that would pay what he knew it was worth.

That being said, businesses need liquidity and if you’re holding out for the perfect buyer for that $10 two-word .COM hand reg, think a bit more about what a $1,500 or $2,500 sale would actually mean when it comes to ROI. I’m not telling you not to be greedy, but I am saying to balance that with practicality and put yourself in the mind of the buyer and make it easy to buy a domain from you.

Of course, if you have a portfolio full of junk you can set BINs all you want and nobody’s going to buy. Too often I’ve seen people with garbage hand registrations complaining that they keep lowering their BINs but nobody’s buying. If you do have domains that could actually spark the interest of someone other than you, then setting a BIN is, in my opinion the best way to improve your liquidity.

What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Michael January 16, 2018, 11:38 pm

    I think you should leave the top 10% (or less) of your portfolio as “Make Offer”; the really good names that have high potential upside and could pop for a surprising amount. Then BIN price the rest to improve STR and keep the cash flow steady.

    If you BIN price a name at $2.5k and you could have maybe negotiated up to $3k it isn’t that big of a deal, and the extra liquidity is worth it. Plus you might get someone who had a $2k budget that stretches to grab it before someone else does, but might have held firm at $2k in a negotiation. And you’ll definitely move more inventory overall by pricing names, Sedo has proven this time and again. So on balance you’re better off.

    But if you price a great domain at $250k the swings are too risky. Maybe CNN comes along and you miss out on a $750k iReport.com type of sale. Maybe someone would have paid $150k but the $250k price scared them away, and you picked it up for $15k and would have been thrilled either way. It just isn’t worth the risk of pricing at the higher end, the lack of a BIN isn’t going to deter someone willing to pay deep five or even six figures for a name. But it will make a lower-end buyer, who may even be considering hand-reg alternatives, keep looking.

    Reply
    • Doron Vermaat January 17, 2018, 12:58 am

      Great comment Michael – I agree with all of it. I also price all of my domains except for the very best (around 10%).

      Reply
  • Tauseef January 17, 2018, 2:54 am

    it’s not a one-time exercise. You’re not done when you set Bin/Offer prices on your domains. With time the Bin prices need to be adjusted or left to make-an-offer option and sometimes enabling bin prices to ‘make-an-offer’ type of your domains. A good point is shared about BIN prices taking cryptoworld domain as a reference on dotweekly website.

    Reply
  • Jeff Schneider January 17, 2018, 3:29 am

    Hello Morgan,
    It is becoming more and more evident that ( .COM Equimoditty Platform Legacy Owners are the Really Smart Money. By the way here is a very recent Marketing Intelligence release = Massive Buyback Cash being used to prop up US markets, to no avail. The Cos. who continue to waste their Cash troves on propping their stocks up will suffer greatly. Stupid Strategic Blunders. JAS 1/17/18
    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Intelligence Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master ) http://www.UseBiz.com

    Reply
  • Anthony Mitchell January 17, 2018, 4:07 am

    Three advantages to not setting BIN prices, especially for domains that are expected to sell for more than $25k:

    1. It provides opportunities for educating buyers on prices and valuations, especially buyers who are unfamiliar with the market for premium domains. Buyer education is where the real work of domain selling arises, which argues in favor of funneling price inquiries through brokers who are experienced in buyer education.

    2. Eschewing BIN prices in favor of price inquiries has the advantage of providing feedback to sellers about the resources and price expectations of potential buyers, which can be incorporated into price adjustments that ultimately accelerate sales.

    3. Obtaining the contact information of prospective buyers (during the process of responding to price inquiries) allows for follow up, which could ultimately prompt a sale. Uniregistry has been criticized for lacking an opt-out option in emails sent to prospective buyers who previously submitted a price inquiry. These emails encourage prospective buyers to re-engage in discussions about acquiring a domain. This criticism is valid, but does not negate the value of follow-up emails generally.

    The domain king Mike Mann recently released the prices for each name in his portfolio. Below $25k, BIN prices are the norm, but not above.

    Reply
  • Kevin Brown January 17, 2018, 5:20 am

    I’ve have quite a number of domain names for years that just didn’t sell on ‘make an offer’ style sites so decided to start setting BIN prices and set up https://www.brandaisy.com to sell them. I’m managed to sell over $500k of domains so far with fixed prices and won’t be going back to any other way.

    Reply
  • Matt Holmes January 17, 2018, 12:48 pm

    This is good stuff Morgan, I took your advice on focusing on making it really easy for others to reach out (making a big BUY THIS DOMAIN NOW) banner. And regardless of if I put a BIN or a Make Offer, I’ve noticed 1-2 domain sales per month now, when before I was at 1 per 1-4 months.

    Reply
    • Morgan January 17, 2018, 4:57 pm

      Thanks @Matt and glad to hear it, that’s a really nice sales increase!

      Reply
  • Eric Lyon January 17, 2018, 5:38 pm

    I agree that a lot of people get stuck on the dollar value rather than the percentage of return. In many cases (Not all) it’s a sure fire way to shoot oneself in the foot and miss the last high offer they will ever get. Obviously, there is clear evidence that the right domain assets will keep increasing in value and more offers will come a few years later.

    One thing I’ve noticed over the years about leaving a domain open to offers without at least a minimum threshold mentioned is that it opens the door to a slew of low ball offers. If one was to choose the “Make Offer” format, it’s logical to include a minimum expected threshold to help keep offers in the ballpark you were expecting at least. Granted, mentioning a threshold could backfire and again, cap the maximum potential (As morgan outlined), however, If your minimum was based on a percentage of return, then it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal anyways.

    A profit is indeed a profit. No need to stress or get upset about the dollar value. Learn from each sale and make adjustments to the next one.

    Reply
  • Ben Humburg June 25, 2018, 8:02 pm

    This is good to know. Your knowledge is very helpful! Thanks a lot.

    Reply

Leave a Comment