Selling a Domain At Auction? Here is a Good Checklist

Feb 12 2014

Several hours a day I go through the names up for auction and check through the results.  Over the years I’ve built myself a little checklist that I am 100% positive leads to higher results.  It only takes adding one more bidder to your auction to raise the final price.  Many of you already know what you’re doing (or at least think you do), but everyone can always use a little reminder.

1. Pick the auction house that has seen the best results for your type of domain.  ie a dot info does much better at Flippa, one premium, one word dot coms do well at Namejet.  Numerics do best at Godaddy or Namejet.

2.  Forward the domain name to the auction:  I am surprised how many experienced domain investors still don’t do this for each auction.  Frank Schilling said in a talk that 60% of typins are people looking to see if a domain is taken.  If you have it for sale that is exactly who you want to come to your auction.

3.  Take off or adjust your Buy It Now prices off at Afternic, Godaddy and any other places that you may have them.  People love to find BIN that are lower than the present auction price to put you in a spot.

4.  Start your beginning bid as low as you can if you have a reserve on the name.  More bids equals more eyeballs.  It’s human nature to be attracted to the names that have more bids.  It’s the same reason why we get inquisitive when we see a line formed.  We want to know why everyone is participating.  People often sort names by number of bids and the lower your opening bid the more bids you’ll have when it reaches the final days. Remember the opening bid in no way reflects the quality of the domain.  It’s merely an opening bid

5.  If you can give a description, list facts, not opinions.  No need to tell everyone it would be great for this, great for that unless there are similar names that are being used in a certain business that isn’t obvious to the potential buyer.  More importantly, list it’s age, perhaps what it may have been used for in the past, or other comparable name sale

6. Give solid comparables without reaching.  We’ve all seen type names withe sale listed as a comparable.  Give your potential buyers REAL comps if you get a description section

7.  End your auction on Monday through Thursday at any time besides US drive times if you have a choice.  That’s early morning and 4 to 8 central that you want to avoid.  Monday’s seem to be the best in my opinion as everyone is fresh from the weekend and ready to get back to work.  There are some that say end it on weekends because others follow my rule above and it leaves you with the spotlight.  Some will have other opinions about start time so officially there is no right or wrong other than don’t end it as people are sleeping in the US, your biggest market.

8.  Get as many eyeballs to your auction as you can.  It’s pretty obvious that the auction houses aren’t going to reach out to help you sell your domain.  Some will sell you some add ons that they say add extra views.  I have yet to test to see if it’s true but regardless, you have to figure out the best value to extra return that you can find marketing wise.  I am biased and self promoting here but I think I do a pretty good job drawing attention to auctions for what users spend on the daily list and book of 10.  Purchasing a spot at the top of has shown to have a good return if you have a domain with a value over $XXXX.   Flippa and Godaddy also offer upgrades that make your listing stand out.  Use your Facebook and twitter accounts to promote as well. DnForum and Namepros have “at Auction” sections so you should take advantage of those as well. Just make sure not to constantly spam your friends.  If someone rings a bell you’ll hear it and be curious of the sound.  If someone rings the bell constantly you’ll be annoyed.

9. Make sure you can transfer the domain and the email is correct on the domain you are selling.  If you have to correct it, it could lock your domain for 60 days.  If you can only push make sure you state it in your description or that is a choice you have at the auction house you’ve chosen.  Many of us have discovered we forgot to change the info to the correct email or address.  It’s easy to do if you have hundreds of domains.  I’ve even known someone that put it up for auction and they didn’t even own the domain any more. They had forgotten to renew it.  Check you whois and whatnots before you proceed to auction

10.  If you have a page of other domains you have for sale, put that url in your Whois description.  You are most likely going to be having a lot of people looking at the whois of your domain.  You might as well get them to peruse your other names since you’ve got their attention (be careful changing contact info, some registrars use the change to lock down the domain for another 60 days)


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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Mark

    Thanks Shane, great post. I have a question about item 3
    I can put a domain in more than one market place with BIN prices but wouldn’t that create a situation [at least potentially] for this domain to be sold in more than place at the same time?
    When I list a domain in more than one place I normally have it as BIN in only one place with “Submit offers” in all others. Not sure if I’m right with this approach.
    Always wanted to know what’s the best practice for this. Thanks.

    1. Post author

      Yes, but if you put the same price then it generally won’t be a problem. The chances of two different people buying within minutes is rare. Your approach probably works better and avoids that situation.

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