When done right, the domain trade is an enterprise that lends itself to particularly lucrative deals. The tactic is simple: domain names are purchased with the prospect of reselling them for a wide profit margin. But the trick of this trade lies in securing domains that may later be valuable to well-endowed buyers, such as a large company. We have laid out all the important facts and terms on the topic, including some of the highest sale prices on record for a publicly traded .com domain.
Domain grabbing and cybersquatting are often used as synonyms, but there is a slight difference between the two. The former is a term for perfectly legitimate domain trading, whereas cybersquatting damages name rights and trademark laws and usually leads to disputes in court. We explain the difference and what trademark infringement can mean for you.
If you are looking to sell a domain name that is no longer of use to you, a possibility would be to lease it through a third-party company such as Godaddy, which lists tens of thousands of names. If the name is a quality one, there are also premium agents such as MediaOptions, which deals with more selective domain names. An alternative option would be to lease it out on platforms such as Nameforest.com. Doing so will save you the time of having to find potential buyers, and will guarantee a higher success rate than attempting to look for a purchaser on your own.
A rule of thumb that I follow is when I purchase a domain name I have to believe that I can flip it for a 100% profit. So if I spend $500 on a domain I need to feel like I can sell it for no less than $1,000. This way, even if I’m wrong in my estimation I still have some room to still turn a profit. And if worse case comes to worse case I’ve sold domains before for a $0 profit (it happens even to the best of us).
Domain name expert Bill Sweetman has provided strategic domain name advice to major companies around the world for over 20 years. Bill is the President & Lead Ninja of Name Ninja, a boutique domain name consulting firm that helps companies acquire, manage, protect, and profit from their domain names. A self-confessed domain name fanatic, Bill registered his very first domain in 1994 (which he later sold for five figures) and has been perfecting his “Domain Karate” moves ever since.
Buying and selling domain names is an exciting adventure that for some seems to conjure up images of finding hidden pirate treasure or guessing the winning combination on the next Powerball. Stories abound of domains that were purchased for $8 dollars 15 years ago being sold today for millions. Of course, that leads the more adventurous of us to wonder, “How can I do that?”
Buying a trademarked domain name could get you into a lot of hot water. Best case scenario is for the trademark holder to force you into handing the domain over and call it a day. Worst case scenario is you get into a legal battle and end up spending an arm and a leg. This is why it might be a good idea to use the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website to check for trademarks if you’re unsure about a domain name.
So how do you develop that instinct? NameBio maintains a database of over 500,000 historical domain sales (as of writing this post). They have interesting filtering features by which you can narrow down domains by price range, date sold, keywords and more. Simply sifting through the listings on NameBio long enough will quickly develop your domain appraisal “instinct”.