ENTREPRENEURSHIP / AUG. 28, 2014
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How to Trade in Domain Names

Domain name trading, also referred to as doamineering, is the art of buying and selling domain names. It is a very lucrative industry which has even become a full-time job for many businesses and individuals. If you get the right buyer, you can sell your domain name for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The key to success in this business is to speculate and buy the name before it becomes popular.

There are two main types of domain traders. First, there are those that purchase a domain, build a website and then sell the domain together with the site. Secondly, there are those who purchase and sell domain names without accompanying websites. Each of these options can be very profitable.

Finding a valuable domain name

You can derive a domain name from a wide range of sources. Here are some ideas:

  • Geographic areas e.g. mars.com, niagarafalls.com or maasaimara.com
  • Career names e.g. fashiondesign.com, plumbing.com or engineering.com
  • Currently trending terms e.g. twerk.com, icebucket.com and swag.com
  • Generic names e.g. bananas.com, shoes.com and television.com

Generic names have proven to be the most valuable. For instance, many companies selling shoes would want to have shoes.com as their domain name.

However, the sad reality is that most of these domains are not available. You could therefore consider buying already existing domains from auction sites such as ananova.com, domainlore.co.uk, dynadot.com and dynadot.com.   

Trademarks and legalities

You need to be wary of trademark and legal issues when selecting a domain name. Don’t make the mistake of buying a domain name such as Samsung.com thinking that you can make a fortune by getting the company to buy it from you. Using a trademarked company name is illegal and will only land you in court. Similarly, you should not buy a domain with the name of a well-known personality since this could also result in a lawsuit.    

Selling the domain name

Finding a domain name which you think is valuable is not too difficult. However, finding the right buyer can be a very daunting task. One of the best places to find people who would be interested in your domain is auction marketplaces such as sedo.com, auctions.godaddy.com, snapnames.com, bido.com, greatdomains.com and flippa.com. Alternatively, look for forums which are related to your domain’s niche and advertise on them. For instance, if your domain name is related to web hosting, you could consider advertising on forums such as webhostchat.co.uk, hostingdiscussion.com/web-hosting-forums, forum.siteground.com and tophosts.com/forum. However, don’t advertise in a blatant way since this might put off other members. It would be more advisable to share a helpful comment first, and then leave a link to your domain sales page.

Many sellers make the mistake of choosing just one domain name and trying to sell it quickly. However, it would be more advisable to aim at selling several domain names over a long period of time. Though this might mean a higher investment, it is more likely to be a more profitable strategy.

It might take a few weeks, months or years before you find a suitable buyer for your domain. This is especially the case for domains which don’t have an attached site. As a result, many people give up after waiting a long time for their domains to sell. However, you should not despair if your domain name is not bought as fast as you would wish. Be patient as the value of your domain name grows, and you will reap the fruit of your labour in the long run.    

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