Should I Auction My Domain Name?

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There are many ways to sell a domain name and one of those is to publicly auction it. Is selling a domain name at auction the best choice for a domain seller though?

No, I personally don't think so. Let me explain.

Most public auctions do not maximize the sale that I see for domain names and most of the buyers are wholesale domain name investors. This has been proven many times over with poor general results of the auctions at domain conferences. At times, a few domains might get a nice sale but most of the time it doesn’t happen overall. Better for buyers, but not for sellers. Lackluster overall with years of data to prove it.

Private seller auctions at several domain auction services greatly lack trust with past bidding behaviors, such as shill bidding, employee bidding, and similar related tactics. Non-paying bidders and more really make me cringe at domain auctions of this nature when private seller domains are involved.

For an unknown reason, the best performing domain auctions are those for expired domain names. I say "unknown" mainly because there are several factors that do come into play, such as no reserve, low starting bid price, and the closing price is likely to be higher than when a “seller” auctions off the domain name.

Based on experience, I would always advise the “sit and wait” process to be the best option for domain sellers. Setting up your domain to be accessible and actionable by using Uniregistry Brokerage and the sales page landers that are offered for free is a great choice. This provides a place to capture the lead when visitors land on your domain and a dedicated sales team jumps into action promptly when the lead comes in.

Getting lost in the crowd is not a good thing when you are selling anything, and little promotion is done for specific domains in an auction. Auction commission fees can reach 25% on top of that, so it is costing a premium to be included and I rarely see the value in it.

If you really feel the need to sell, speak with your Uniregistry Broker and see what they can do for you. They often have a pool of buyers for specific types of domains or use other means to help promote the domain for a quick sale, if that is something you are looking for. The overall best option is to wait and be ready to accept an incoming lead and put your best effort forward to complete the sale.

In most cases, trusting a professional sales team is the best option because they are highly experienced, work very well on the phone and have a team to resource from. They also provide peace of mind to the buyer as the entire transaction takes place at Uniregistry.

Here are a few interesting tidbits that I have observed over the years. These are not numbers hard set in stone or backed up with a pile of data, but I have seen a fair number of domains sell in the 3-5-year range of ownership. If a domain doesn’t sell right away (often called a flip), some time will likely pass if the domain does sell. Again, I’m not sure why but I often see the 3-5-year window. It’s certainly one of the things that makes domain investing a challenge. It’s also not uncommon to see the domain name sell around its expiration date or shortly after it was up for renewal. Domain expiration is confusing to most, so it may be that the buyer is either worried the domain will expire and they will lose the chance or they wait and when the expire date is past and nothing changed other than another year added to the expiration date, they take action.

I do not want you to think that each domain name takes 3-5-years to sell. Most never sell, so keep that in mind. Domains do sell every day though, many of those have been owned by the current owner for years but some for only days. Skip the domain auction process and prepare your domain names as best as you can, so the proper action takes place when it’s time to shine.


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