Hey Lifehacker, So I've bought a few domains for ideas I've decided to build over the years, but these domains are auto-renewing and collecting dust. What's the most effective way to onsell them so I can recoup my costs and hopefully make a profit? Thanks, Seriously Regretting The .sexy TLD
Domain name picture from Shutterstock
Unfortunately, you've probably left this a bit too late. It has become increasingly rare for domain names to exchange hands for large sums of money — and we only have ourselves to blame.
In an era where Facebook is the most common Google search, people clearly aren't bothering to memorise URLs anymore. This has significantly decreased their perceived value, even among customer-facing companies that used to highly covet an exact .com brand name.
These days, instead of haggling for website rights in the secondary market, most businesses are happy to settle for the closest thing that's available. For example, the popular financial planning app Pocketbook uses "www.getpocketbook.com". Despite the imperfect match, this website is now the top Google search result for "pocketbook".
This is unfortunate for domain squatters but makes perfect sense from a business standpoint: after all, why pay extra for an exact domain name when most of your traffic comes via Google? Sure it might look "cleaner", but most customers aren't even going to notice. The benefits simply don't justify the cost.
Another barrier impeding the sale of domain names is that buyers usually don't know where to look. While there are several online marketplaces such as Flippa and Sedo where domain names are bought and sold, the average web user is oblivious to their existence. In fact, you're probably better off sticking to eBay; especially if you're trying to offload them in a hurry.
One solution is to put up a "For Sale" banner on your domain name's front page. That way, anyone checking for its availability will immediately know the score. Be sure to include your contact details and (preferably modest) pricing so as not to scare prospective customers off. When it comes to setting a realistic price, this Domain Name Apprasial Tool from Flippa can help to steer you in the right direction.
If any readers have personal experiences in this area, share your stories with SRTSTLD in the comments section below.
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