Ask yourself one question and be completely honest with your answer.
Are you in this business to make money or fall in love?
There will come a time when your “favorite” domain name gets an offer that is fair (or maybe just a little less than fair) and leaves you hesitant on making the sale. I have been there myself and still to this day think about a couple domains names I have sold for less than I have wanted to (or even less than they were “worth”). Yet I am still very happy that I sold them and made a profit doing so.
Let’s say you own a nice English keyword .COM with some good search volume and age. In your mind this domain name is worth $20,000 and is the ultimate brandable for any company! You picked the name up about 2 years ago for only $1,250. You haven’t received many inquiries and have come to the point that you are ready to list it on Flippa. From here you have to become very realistic about the price, but how?
Say bidding gets up to $5,000 and plateaus. Now it’s time to weigh the pro’s and con’s about selling the domain name at a lower price than you had dreamed:
• I bought the domain 2 years ago and have been sitting on it for awhile with no inquiries
• I only paid $1,250 for the name, so $5,000 is a fairly good ROI on my investment
• I can use the $5,000 to buy more domain names
• It is a legitimate buyer and I can have the money in my hands quickly
• It will add to my Flippa transaction ledger and provide me positive marketplace feedback, getting me closer to becoming a Super Seller (which will increase my visibility)
Now lets look at the con’s of selling it for $5,000 instead of the $20,000 you had eagerly hoped for.
• There is a minor chance I may sell it for more in a few years but it’s unlikely since I haven’t had many inquiries
That’s the only “con” if you are not attached to the domain name. Don’t put the name on top of a pedestal — it is just a commodity meant to be traded and profited on.
Think of it this way, you could sell the name for $5,000, buy 4 more similar names at $1,250 each and flip them the same way. Now you have your $20,000 anyway! Guess what? You can now repeat that same cycle and before you know it, you will be sitting on top of a pile of money! Let go of the attachment, sell the domains, make a profit. Rinse & repeat.
photo credit: welshwitch36 via photopin cc
Flippa 101 is a series of articles on how to get the most out of Flippa. Check out the previous article on pre-sale preparation.
Conducting an auction properly gives you the opportunity to improve the final auction price and set up a smooth transition of the business to the buyer.
Buyers are more likely to bid and bid higher if they trust the seller.
- Be honest and transparent. Provide clear, factual answers to questions.
- Monitor messages and comments closely so that you can answer as quickly as possible. If you provide fast responses during the auction buyers will trust you to be timely and helpful after the auction.
- Be completely professional. Always respond graciously even when questions are repeated, uninformed or rude.
- Responding to private messages is an opportunity to build relationship with potential buyers. This personal messaging can increase a buyer’s desire to do business with you.
- Keep all communication on Flippa. While users may ask to talk on email or services like Skype, this means Flippa’s support team won’t be able to monitor communication or check back if something happens during the auction or the transfer of ownership.
The first time a person makes a bid, you will have an opportunity to approve the bidder. It is a good idea to look at the profile of each bidder before you accept or reject them. Their profile reveals their history on Flippa.
Note, you will not be able to see the amount of a new bidder’s bid until you’ve accepted them. After you accept them, they can make future bids on the auction without any action on your part.
You may send a private message to anyone who has bid on your auction. It is good practice to send an initial message thanking them for the bid and offering to answer any specific questions they may have.
Keeping Buyers Engaged
Sellers that stay active during the auction attract more bidders and come away with a higher price.
Tips for engaging in the auction:
- Add attachments showing updated sales and traffic information.
- Comment on the auction providing additional information or clarification.
- Via private message, ask the more serious buyers what they are concerned about and what they like about the website you are selling. Respond to their concerns and address the potential objections in public comments if appropriate.
- Purchase a promotion like a homepage listing or twitter blast to attract more bidders.
- Contact bidders who have not been actively communicating.
You or the buyer may want to use a sales contract to make sure all of the conditions of the transaction are clearly communicated and enforceable. Flippa provides a sample contract of sale or you may use your own. If you use Flippa’s document, make sure and read it first, and add any specific items that are included in your website. This may be inventory, post-sale assistance, documentation, or anything else you have agreed to provide to the buyer or the buyer has agreed to provide to you.
Content supplied by Jeff Hunt.
Before Super Seller “Frontline” sold Sponsored.com in August 2014, he pitched Matt.net to a myriad of end-users, en route to his first successful domain sale on Flippa. These winning tactics included reaching out to sales leads (interested buyers he met over the years), as well as contacting other extension holders (Matt.com, Matt.org, etc). Finally, he used a combination of best-practices that other successful Flippa domain sellers routinely deploy: a $1 start price, a 30 day duration and a URL redirect to the auction itself and the domain ultimately sold for $11,501!
Can you give us a brief glimpse into how you started domaining?
I actually got involved with domaining around 15 years ago when I purposely let my website’s domain expire. At the time domain renewals cost around $75 a year and since I lost interest and wasn’t actively updating my site I decided not to renew the domain. A couple months later I was pretty surprised when I typed in my website’s url and noticed that someone else had registered the domain. Using the whois records I contacted the new owner inquiring whether the domain was for sale and was quickly quoted what I considered an outragous price. Even though I was a little angry that someone had re-registered what I considered to be “my” domain, I did more research and found out that the new owner held thousands of domains names. This led me to the domaining community where I quickly saw the business opportunity and value of investing in domain names.
What were your original intentions with Matt.net? Investment, product-build, flip, etc…?
Matt.net was acquired specifically as an investment. Because of the popularity of “Matt” as a first name, I knew there would always be a pool of potential buyers who would want to acquire the domain for their online presence. Personally, I knew the value of first name domains because I had tried to acquire my name in multiple TLDs over the years. Most popular names are held by owners of big companies who simply aren’t interested in selling their domain name, much like the popular jeans company that owns mine.
What influenced you to sell the domain, and why did you choose Flippa?
After holding onto it for around six years I decided it was time to let it go. While I received many offers over the years none of them were quite what I was looking for and I believed there was more value in the name. I decided to put the name on Flippa because I believed that a public auction format would encourage competitive bidding and a sense of urgency. Once people saw that the domain was actually going to sell and that the bidding was transparent, I was pretty sure I would get my desired price. I believe a lot of people inquire whether domains are for sale but don’t fully expect it to be available — or they expect to be quoted with an unrealistic asking price. When it’s on public auction, buyers can see that the market is determining the sale price and that other people see value in the domain as well. This sense of urgency lets them know that they better get a bid in now or someone else is going to snap it up.
What were your listing tactics? (i.e. can you discuss your decision for opening bid amount, auction duration, reserve/no reserve, buy it now, anything else you did…)
The auction was listed with what I considered to be a low reserve and a $1 opening bid to attract attention. While I was confident the domain would sell, the low reserve was simply there to protect me from taking a significant loss. Once the auction broke the reserve the bidding quickly took off as bidders saw that the domain was going to sell. The auction was listed for 30 days so I had time to contact potential buyers and allow others to stumble upon the listing. You also need to remember the season that you’re listing your auction during; this was the beginning of summer and I knew that people would be vacationing so I thought the longer duration would help give people an opportunity to bid.
You mentioned that you led a couple of outside sales leads to your Flippa auction. Can you share some of the tactics that you used to reach-out to end users?
Matt.net was sort of a different beast as it had so many potential buyers due to the popularity of the first name. I received so many inquiries on the domain over the years that I had a fairly large lead list of potential buyers to contact and inform of the public auction. I think it’s important to hold onto all inquiries even if you think the offers are too low or you’re not interested in selling the domain at the time. Circumstances can change for both buyers and sellers over the years, so when you do decide to sell your domain, you have a list of potential buyers even if you thought their past offers were too low. Using the WhoIs records I also contacted the owners of the domain in other TLD extensions as I knew many of them would be interested in upgrading. The winning bidder of the Matt.net auction actually owned the domain in other extensions and was one of the people I contacted to make aware of the auction. In addition to contacting potential buyers, I forwarded the domain to the Flippa listing page so people who typed in “Matt.net” would stumble upon the auction.
Were you pleased with the outcome? Did it meet your expectations?
Overall I was very pleased with the outcome. This was actually my first time using Flippa and the entire process was very straightforward and simple. My price expectations were met and the sale went smoothly.
The .IO extension has become one of the most sought-after domain extensions on Flippa. In this profile, you’ll hear from Tim Mayeur, one of Flippa’s most successful .IO domain name sellers.
How did you start acquiring .IO domains?
I missed the .COM investment rush. Last year I entered into a position where I could invest, while at the same time branch-out & do a few start-ups. Like many others, I was searching for names I liked for my start-ups and all seemed taken in the popular extensions. The market had changed greatly and I looked at where the trend was going: .IO was it! It was an easy 2-letter extension where the letters are right next to each other on a keyboard (I & O). Simple brandable names were readily available in abundance. There had already been some great new Start-ups & Apps leveraging .IO. I quickly gobbled up over 100, learned about Domaining and never looked back.
Are you willing to disclose where / how you acquired them?
My focus was simple: I Google’d up 3 letter words, 4 letter words, 5 letter words etc — mainly scraping them from crossword websites. Looked at 2 character (letter & number) combinations and 3 & 4 number combinations. I would then run a 500 domain name search at a time and broke the list down to what I thought had highly practical and/or brand applications out of what was available to register. I also ran some basic appraisals to ensure they had good initial value.
What influenced you to sell, and why did you choose Flippa?
I had started to receive some offers through the service where I had them parked; though, that platform didn’t recognize .IO as [a generic domain extension] and it wasn’t the right audience for .IO selling. I noticed some .IO listings on Flippa and realized Flippa’s auctions tend to be more informative. So a place where there are many Domainers, interested in growing markets, was quite appealing to me. Instead of a no-name in an auction, Flippa really is a community — and actions that one user does, can positively impact others in the marketplace.
What were your listing tactics?
I tend to start at $1 opening bid and 30 days to give people time to research, as well as gather extra eyes. I like to use Flippa’s easy promotion to Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon etc. If I know I have a great domain, I’ll pay to upgrade the service to gain exposure because the increasing price will cover the costs. I do like to play around with the “Buy It Now” by setting it a bit early on, then dropping it down. But dragging the auction out and setting it last second is fine too. Great tactics will create a little extra sense of urgency needed to encourage bidder participation.
Describe the due-diligence process you provided your buyers
The majority of what I’ve listed so far are domains with little analytics. Screen shot appraisals are important to show the value when bids are coming in lower than a higher appraisal. Detailed descriptions are important in order to show similar sales for what you’re offering and also showcasing what similar domains are currently listed for sale & at what price range. That way you show interested parties that the value has been established by the industry already. This is where Flippa’s marketplace comes in very handy. You can find great due diligence already available on listings, where it’s public information that can also be leveraged.
Were you pleased with the outcome? Did it meet your expectations?
Just sold my first 8 .IOs through Flippa with success! The one’s I considered of higher value than what I paid, the Flippa marketplace seemed to agree and those domains went for up to $905 each. I believe the market value continues to appreciate with .IO and I’m looking forward to many more sales!
How many times have you been interested in an auction, whether by “watching” its progress or becoming an active bidder, only to have it slip through your fingers due to circumstances beyond your control? I’m not just talking about the price exceeding your budget, or another bidder winning the auction outright. I’m more referring to those times when you place a bid, and then completely forget about the ending of an auction — or even worse, when you set a reminder to keep-track of an auction’s end, only to be unavailable during those final moments.
Whether due to work, play or sleep, missing the end of an auction is quite commonplace and is an unfortunate situation in what would otherwise be an unstoppable transaction!
If you’ve ever been the High Bidder of an auction that didn’t meet its Reserve Price, you may have received a counter-offer from the seller.
But what about everyone else involved in the auction? What about the second- or even fourth-highest bidders? What about…every bidder?!
We have recently made some improvements to what we call Post-Auction Negotiation and are proud to announce that ALL bidders now have access to post-auction negotiations with the Seller.
Here’s how it works from a bidder’s perspective:
Let’s say you bid on a domain name recently, but didn’t hit the reserve price. The seller may still be interested in accepting a best offer, and in the past was only able to transact with the highest bidder. It was all or nothing with that potential buyer, and very few parties were successful in coming to an agreement.
But by opening it up to everyone who was involved in the auction, there is more involvement and engagement from a larger number of bidders, and more offers for the seller to consider.
At the closing of each unsold auction, each bidder gets an email like this (using the auction for Printer.ly as an example — your results will vary!)
As one of the bidders in this auction, you would have 72 hours to clickthrough this email and drop an offer to the seller. Maybe you only want to pay only the amount you lodged as your high-bid, or maybe you’re willing to go a bit over that in order to secure the sale. Regardless, the choice is yours — and again, this is open to all bidders of any Flippa auction!
The seller then has 72 hours from when offers are fielded to either “Accept” or “Counter Offer” to each buyer he or she decides to deal with.
In the event no bidder makes the first move, Sellers have the ability to steer this by sending-out an initial Post-Auction offer to all bidders! Same terms and time-tables apply.
Have you used our new Post Auction Negotiation System yet? Questions, comments, feedback or thoughts? Drop them in the comments below — we’d love to hear from buyers and sellers alike!
The name and domain name of your company are often the first impression potential customers have of you.
Ideally, you want your company name to catch their attention – for all the right reasons – and make people want to find out more about what you do.
As a self-confessed naming fanatic, I am often surprised how little thought some entrepreneurs give to their business name and domain name. Not only do you risk losing potential customers because you chose a bad name or domain name, but you could even end up in legal hot water due to unintentional trademark infringement.
Whether you are hoping to create your new company name and domain name from scratch or intend to buy a “ready-made” brand name with matching domain, there are a number of things you should consider to ensure that your precious time and money is well spent.
Should you go with .com or another TLD?
For starters, consider the domain extension. Are you building a country specific business and want to highlight this fact through your choice of domain name? If so, then going with a ccTLD (country code top level domain) is probably your best bet.
For instance, if your business will only be focused on the Canadian market, and you want to proudly promote your business’s Canadian-ness, then picking a .ca domain name would be prudent.
If, on the other hand, you have global aspirations and want to subtly (or not so subtly) give the impression of being an “international” business, then choosing a TLD such as .com (or perhaps one of the new domain extensions such as .web or .store) is a smarter move.
What is the length of your name?
Size does matter, but in the case of domain names the smaller (the shorter) the better.
With a shorter domain name, the fewer keys people will have to type, which means the chance of them mistyping and making an error are reduced. Also, a shorter domain name is easier to use in marketing material where space is limited, such as in tweets, radio ads, etc.
If possible, keep your domain to 10 characters or less in length (measured from the left of the dot), and shorter if possible. I am particularly keen on seven-character names because in North America seven characters is also the length of a phone number.
If you plan things well you can not only get a seven character name but also a matching phone number, e.g., 1-800- DARTELO to go with your dartelo.com domain.
Shorter means less stuff for people to remember, which will make name recall easier.
Do you need a keyword-based name?
If it’s important for you to have a name that describes your business, then you may want to consider going with a keyword-based domain name.
For instance, if you plan to specialize in vegan brownies, then a domain name like veganbrownies.com or – to a lesser degree –healthybrownies.com would be a good fit. Not only will it make it crystal clear what your company is all about, but it
will also help your website rank better for the keywords in the domain name.
If SEO and being found via search is a primary consideration for you, or perhaps the only marketing method you have at your disposal, then a descriptive keyword domain should be considered.
These types of domains also help to make you look as if you own the entire business category, especially in the .com, since there can only be one veganbrownies.com, and if you owned that you would be planting a flag in the ground as “the” definitive vegan brownie company (no matter how large or small your business really was).
The downside of these sorts of domains is that they can be rather generic sounding, making it harder for you to distinguish yourself from the competition or convey the true essence of your brand character. Blazing Brownies, for instance, is arguably a more creative and memorable name, but somewhat less descriptive.
Purely generic names are also much harder to trademark precisely because they are so descriptive. So you will need to think about where you want to be in the spectrum of descriptive vs. memorable.
What about an invented name?
The exact opposite of descriptive, keyword-based domains is what I call the whimsical or invented names. These are names that are completely made up and would (and should) never appear in a dictionary in any language.
Since you’re creating these from scratch anyway, I recommend keeping them at seven characters or less. Kazeron, Dartium, Murgola, etc. (all of which I made up as I wrote this) are examples of these types of names. These names often sound a bit like an actual English word, but with an unusual spelling or other creative twist to them.
There are some real pros and cons to these invented names. What’s great about them is that you’ll probably be able to register the domain name at cost or pick it up for under $3,000, since whimsical names like this are relatively inexpensive on the domain name aftermarket because they are not as popular as the keyword domains.
These unique names will also help you quickly rank very high in the search engines for your name, so if someone already knows your company name they will be able to find your site easily. It will also be much easier for you to trademark and protect your new name, if that is important to you.
Unfortunately, these invented names will not help you rank in the search engines for your product or service since those keywords don’t appear in the name itself. And your potential customers may not have any idea what type of business you are based on your name alone, so that could be seen as a disadvantage.
If you get too clever with your invented name, people may have trouble spelling it correctly, so try to pick a “sounds like” name that people will intuitively know how to spell. Finally, don’t forget to double-check to make sure your invented name does not mean something offensive or inappropriate in another language. Chevy Nova anyone?
Maybe a conjunction name is for you?
Somewhere in the middle between keyword-based and invented names are the conjunction names, typically formed by pairing two real words
in new and exciting ways. Ad agencies and startups are particularly fond of this naming approach, which is why you’ll see names like Blink Frog or Pink Wrench or Zombie Muffin.
These names can be quite fun and memorable, but they are not suitable for everyone and risk being overly trendy. That being said, I am particularly fond of alliteration when coming up with these names, wherein both words start with the same letter: Purple Pagoda, Rubber Rose, or even my company name, Name Ninja.
What’s great about conjunction names is that for any one root word there are thousands of possible words to pair it with, which means that with any luck (and a bit of patience) you should be able to find a conjunction name that you like to hand register as a domain. And even if a domain investor already owns the conjunction domain that you really want, these types of domains are typically priced under $3,000 for the .com, which is a relatively modest amount to pay for your brand name.
Conjunction names are a great choice to make when you are on a tight budget as there often so many for you to choose from at all price points. They are also easier to trademark than purely descriptive ones, but they won’t be that helpful from an SEO perspective.
Another reason I like these names is that people will know how to spell them since they are real words.
Beware the naming gotchas! Here are some of the things to avoid when picking a domain for your new business.
- Don’t pick a domain with a dash. Most people will forget to type the dash and they will end up at the wrong place – perhaps even one of your competitors!
- Avoid numbers (either numerical or spelled out) because people may get that wrong as well.
- Abbreviations are also problematic for the same reason.
- Don’t fall prey to what I call the “Web 2.0 Disease” of dropping vowels from your name.It may seem cool and clever at the beginning, but trust me when I say that you will only come to regret this decision down the road when you end up being forced to pay a fortune to fix your mistake by purchasing the correctly spelled version of your domain name.
Over to you
What are your tips on finding a good domain name for your business? Please let us know in the comments.
PS. Did you know we currently have 50 % off domain listings? Start your auction right now.
Photo courtesy: Rasmus Andersson