Selling domains outbound might provide better cashflow, but it likely means selling at lower prices


For some reason, a lot of the conversations I had at NamesCon are popping into my head this week. Maybe it just takes a few weeks after a conference for your brain to fully digest and process everything, or maybe I’m just weird…probably the latter but aren’t we all.

Okay, now onto the topic at hand here. Selling domain names inbound vs. outbound. 

I had a really interesting conversation with a Domainer who sells a LOT more domains than I do and they brought up a good point that I think most people know, but might not think through in detail. If you only sell domains through inbound offers you are likely going to have a better chance of getting top dollar for your domains…but it can be one heck of a waiting game.

On the flip side, selling domain names outbound (i.e. reaching out to people you think “might” want to buy your domain name) will likely increase sales velocity but you’re probably not going to see the same kind of prices.

It’s the difference between a push and a pull sale.

Whenever you have a prospective buyer that isn’t being sold to, i.e. they are coming to you out of the blue because they really want to buy something you have, there is a greater opportunity to value an asset at a higher value. When you are pushing a product onto someone, there are a million reasons they might not buy, in many cases they just aren’t in the market for a domain name, period. In order to get them to buy, you need to provide incentives and there’s really no better incentive than a price that feels very reasonable.

So what does this mean for the average Domainer?

It all depends on what you’re looking for. If you only want to sell all of your domains for the highest possible price – stick with inbound only. Rick Schwartz is a great example of a domain investor that has been able to truly maximize getting top dollar for his domains by waiting for the perfect buyer. I don’t think Rick would have been able to sell for $8.88M if he did outbound on it.

At the same time, for many Domainers, portfolios are much smaller and there really aren’t any six or seven figure names in them. To create liquidity, doing outbound is essential to generating cashflow. Just know that when you do outbound, while you can sell yours domains and can also certainly sell them for a great price and lock in a nice ROI, the absolute top dollar will probably only come from inbounds.

The suggestion that I heard during my conversation at NamesCon was a good one – investors can think of segmenting their portfolio. This means you can take some domains that you really prize and wouldn’t want to sell unless you got exactly the price you want for them and stick to inbound on those. Other domains, that you would rather see sell faster and would be okay taking a little price haircut, do outbound on those.

Last but not least, the final important factor to consider here is your time. Outbound is a massively time consuming process. So you’d also need to be able to carve out a reasonable amount of time to do the outbound, follow-up with potential buyers, and really work it to bring deals over the finish line.

Like most things in life, there really is no right answer, but thinking it through and being realistic with yourself is always a good thing. Sometimes I hear Domainers complain that they aren’t selling enough domains. When I ask what they are doing to sell them they say, “I have them listed on a ton of different marketplaces.” That’s not outbound, sorry, your domains are a needle in a haystack if they’re sitting out there on a marketplace.

If you’re not going to do outbound that is a-okay, I don’t do outbound because I definitely don’t have the time for it. Just know that you’re going to sell less domains than you would if you did.

Okay – enough from me, what do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Daniel M February 22, 2019, 10:28 am

    Great article here! I can definitely agree with you 100% on getting a lower price on an outbound name sale. One thing I can share having done many outbound sales that have closed is that some people take seeing a name for sale that can be close to their industry or brand very personal. I have had a few people write back saying I’m gonna sue you, I own the brand, good luck selling it to someone because I was first. These were nontrademarked and non squatted names. It can be very touchy, so be careful.

    • Mark February 22, 2019, 12:16 pm

      Totally agree.
      I have done some outbound with some success. However, the amount of written verbal abuse I have received is incredible. I have sent emails to some prospects, once, and closed some deals with great results for both the buyer and myself. I have also sent emails to some prospects, once, and received written lashings for simply offering a name that would greatly increase their business. Many business owners perceive their place in a niche industry as their own.

  • Snoopy February 22, 2019, 12:11 pm

    It is a bad business model and I think mostly used to sell low quality names. People should look at the hours it takes because the revenue is coming from the time emailing people, not the name which is likely worthless.

  • Anonymous February 22, 2019, 1:47 pm

    Many outbounders are from underdeveloped countries where they cannot afford good domain names and their average wage per hour in their local market is extremely low compared to developed countries. Put the two together and you’ve got lots of poorly written unwanted emails being spammed out to prospects with little to no interest in the name and/or in domain names in general. It all makes domain investing look very scammy and bad. I wish they would stop it but when they do sell a name for even $199 it’s profitable for them even adjusted for their time and puts food on the table for them and their families.

  • Domain Boss February 22, 2019, 3:21 pm

    Exactly what the Anonymous said above. But there are also some big domainers doing it with people from low cost counties.

    • Mark Thorpe February 22, 2019, 3:59 pm

      Indeed they are doing it. I was contacted by some of those people on Linkedin.
      Then I looked them up to see who they work for and they are working for some big domainers and brokers.
      It’s almost as bad as getting students to do it for them and we all know how annoying that is to be be contacted by them.

  • Jose February 22, 2019, 7:10 pm

    I have read in these years of people to buy 200 bulk domain (.com) to $ 6, then add the same in domain parking that before gave a very good money every month, the net benefits of each month domain parking, buy again 300 domains (.com) do the same as the first time then they were 500 domains (.com) in domain parking and the monthly income was higher and also buy bulk domain (.com) some of these buyers sell 400 domains (.com) every four months at a price agreed with other Domainer.

    These bulk domain buyers have always been known by domain parking what were the domains to receive more click, these do not sell and within another 60 days or 365 days would sell each domain sold for $ 250 then sold at $ 1,500, this was learning We all get to learn from their pioneer domainer and not what we learn from others afterward in years to come.

    These buyers still exist but live with the years to reach portfolios plus 1,000 domains (.com) to 10 years of registration to earn money through landing pages, affiliated websites, monthly rent with an X semi-annual or annual percentage of Startups , several online businesses with trademark, and have one created a Digital Marketing Consulting and Adviser Investments …….., which is not in quotes in the domain market, but if they are in it.

    Do not sell these domains (.com) until you get a very good offer opportunity for sale then the sale is private and you never get to know by the official means of the domain market to have sold your domain (.com) in others if meet in official media and be among the elite of pioneer domainers (.com) to follow years until today.

    If I now sell 200 domains (.com) to $ 250 (Not for an economic need “How to describe in your post some important domainer”) Previous years to get me to this domain market “Domaining” do themselves. I save some (.com) is per because I learn based on sticks and few truths …….

    I have learned more as always from reading paper books, ebook and blog these have been my best teachers.

    Final conclusion there are many not considered as Domainer and others who open up to a domain market like Domainer that both have premium domain portfolios that give them to live for their whole lives and have left their name in events and conferences domains etc, for having worked equal to what never before have taught your new and future Domainer to sell to end users in the way you do from the beginning, only the teaching was to sell to end users of the newly purchased domains, flip expired domains @ Rick Schwartz according to him never flip with expired domains and you @Morgan sell me an ebook year 2010 of how to flip the domains expired, each one go in this domain market to his “Ball” and the lesson learned by you is that the next ones do not know any more of what you have learned before, they act in bad faith No!

    From those that you learn, have taken this decision themselves, much earlier.

    Happy Day. Jose.

  • JZ February 23, 2019, 5:58 am

    i think some domains outbound is almost a must but personally i have so many daily inbound offers i find it hard to make the time to do outbound research.

  • Tatiana February 23, 2019, 1:44 pm

    I am very glad that proactive approach to selling domains is being discussed and like you mention and can be seen on quite a few posts in namePros and other publications too, it seems to be a more and more popular topic.

    I have a branding, marketing and sales experience of over 14 years and only recently got involved in the domaining industry and this is what I found most fascinating – the lack of attention to presentation, outreach and general effort in selling. I have not seen that in any other industry and I have worked across quite a few. You rightly mention that if you have a million dollar name and the luxury of time to wait to sell it you can just sit and do nothing. But not many have those domains. Plus, honestly, is it really the best approach? Really? You say Rick wouldn’t have sold for more if he did outbound, I am not sure that can be proved. I see it more as those names are so good, they sell for that much with little effort, imagine what they’d sell for with some? And sure the negotiation skills of both the seller and buyer play a role and a bunch of circumstances on both sides. Even if you got an inbound offer for $X for a name and ran that « last chance to own domain » by all potential buyers, is there a guarantee you’d get a higher offer? No. Is there a chance? Surely a bigger one than if you did nothing.

    Spamming has existed before the internet (I bet you still get unwanted flyers and all sort of nonsense in your mailbox) and probably works at some scale for some but you don’t *have to* do it. And it’s not fair to equate low quality, low cost sending poorly written messages advertising bad domains to random people with professional outreach where there is time, effort and care put into researching prospects who will have actual benefit from owning your domain name. Sure it takes time and skill to do it right but you get what you pay for as with everything else in life. The most common argument – the « you’re not in a position of strength if you approach the buyer » is at best outdated, if you have something that can bring profit (stronger brand, better traffic list of benefits of owning a good domain goes here) to someone and you find that someone you both benefit from the exchange. You both win. And negotiating is a skill and part of any deal. Nobody is saying that just because you approach someone they dictate the price. You present an opportunity they may not even known existed, there is so little on the topic of domains that is said or done outside of the domainers’ circle (and let’s admit it, it’s not a big circle) that you can’t blame people for not realising the value and the importance of a good domain. It’s the seller’s job to put that information and knowledge across.


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