Set a Price for Your Premium Domain Name

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I’ve purchased quite a few domain names in the past ten years and I’m always on the lookout for new ones. I come up with ideas all the time, and even if I know I won’t get to the idea for awhile, I’ll still pick up a good domain for it. As soon as they extend the day from twenty four to about sixty hours, I’m going to have a lot more time to catch up on some projects I’ve been neglecting. 🙂

I usually begin my search at a registrar, hoping to find a decent name that hasn’t been uncovered yet, and fits for the niche site I’m interested in developing. That works sometimes but I often end up at sites like Sedo or BuyDomains sifting through results based on keywords and price. The most frustrating part is that the majority of listings seem to be marked “Make Offer” or “Request Price”.

I know the old adage is the person who mentions money first loses, but I don’t agree with this in the domain sales arena. In other areas of negotiation, the value of the product or service is more widely known or accepted, but not with domains. I really believe when you don’t choose a value for your domain yourself, you could be missing the opportunity to sell. With a field so open to interpretations of value, you really need to make your expectations known.

I often wonder why people choose to field offers instead of setting a price on a domain, and there’s only a few possibilities that come to mind. Here is what I came up with…

  1. You don’t know the value. There is no Kelly Blue Book for domain names so it’s very hard to appraise what your domain is worth. It’s easier to see what others value it at and accept or reject their speculative estimate.
  2. You’re a greedy SOB. You’re afraid to set a price because you fear you’ll be losing out on someone willing to offer more. Meanwhile many people shopping for a domain pass it by because they are thinking the same thing.
  3. You don’t really want to sell. Similar to setting an exorbitant price on it that you’re quite certain nobody would pay, you can also not put any price on it and bock at the offers you receive.
  4. You’re delusional on its worth. Comparable to #3 above. The only difference is you’d only sell it for a ridiculous amount of money and you might be a little shy about putting that number out in public.

I’d much prefer to see all domains with set prices even if they’re all on the inflated side. At least with a price, any price, we know where we stand with you. You never know who might want your domain and is willing to pay your asking price. Without a listed price, I can search thousands of other domain opportunities in the time it takes you to get back to me with a price or an answer on a blind offer. I’d rather pass by your “Make Offer” link and just keep looking.

What do you think about “Make Offer” domain listings? Does that sum it up or do you think I have it all wrong?

Buying a Premium Domain

Does it make sense to spend the money on a premium domain name to better your chances of coming up in the search engines for specific keywords? I think so. Often times when you search for certain keywords or phrases, the first few domain names returned are very close to the requested keywords. This isn’t always the case, but I think if you can get something that is obviously related to a popular keyword, it’s usually better than not. If you’d like a prime example of a “Not”, look no further than the top of this page. I have a very popular phrase (open source) in my domain name, but my poor choice of a third word (hack) has made this site into a fly strip for those seeking information on hacking open source applications. Hey, what can I say? What’s done is done. You live, you learn. I’m three months into this now so I’m not turning back.

I usually go for one or two word domain names, so when I saw a dotcom name for sale that exactly matched the second word of a domain I own, AND the first word was somewhat related, I decided to snatch it up. I’ve always casually browsed sites like Sedo, SitePoint, and BuyDomains, but I never thought I would ever purchase a premium domain. I could never justify some of these exorbitant prices that people wanted. I found out that this is partially the fault of the marketplace creators (Sedo in this case) that charge a percentage or a minimum of $50 to sell your domain. Seems a bit high for something that costs in the ballpark of around $10 a year, doesn’t it?

Imagine if you approached a realtor to sell your home. You paid $200,000 for it and would like to sell it at a profit for $300,000, but the realtor says his cut will be a million. You might have to jack your price up extraordinarily high just to make a profit. Yes, I realize this is a bad example, but I think you get what I’m trying to say. There would be plenty of times I would have been willing to sell a few of my fairly decent two word domain names for $100 or so (even that might be considered premium), but if I’ve owned them for three years, and I’m going to pay $50 to Sedo, I’d rather hang on to them (or overprice them at Sedo, so that’s what I did). If they sell, great. If not, I would have hung on to them anyway.

What this means is that it’s not just the marketplace creators fault., but also the sellers. When you can’t earn enough to rationalize parting with a domain, you either hold it or sell it for fifty times the actual value. I should actually correct myself though. After all, the buying and selling of domain names IS a market place regardless of its brokers, so a domain name is only over priced based on the individuals desire. I could definitely understand if someone thought I overpaid for this recent acquisition, but I’m happy with the price and happy to add it to my portfolio. So If I sell my domain names at their current prices, then I can be sure someone really got what they wanted.

It was when I was creating my Sedo account and putting up a half dozen domain names for sale that I stumbled on to this one I wanted and decided to buy it. I waited a few days, did some domain stalking, and then came back to finally buy it. The whole process was new to me, and I have to say it wasn’t very easy. I was patient as I heard it can take days and/or weeks for the entire transfer to complete, so time was not the problem. My issue was that during the whole process I was unsure of what my next step was, and I felt there was not ample information along the way. I’m still not sure I did everything in the best way, but at least I got it done. I manage my domains with GoDaddy, so I decided to add to the Help category here at OpenSourceHack and document the process I followed for buying a domain name from Sedo.

I hope it helps. If anyone has any pointers or tips to streamline the process, by all means leave a comment and help us out. I’ll add the Sedo Transfer Process link here as soon as I get it posted.