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Are you looking for a great domain name for your business but can't find one?

It's a common experience due to the volume of domain names that have already been registered, especially .coms.

But this does not mean that a suitable name isn't out there. Many domains are available for sale by their owners.

Depending on your needs and budget, purchasing a domain name from its current owner may be a worthwhile expense.

Fortunately, there are a number of online marketplaces where owners of domain names offer their domain names for sale:

  • Afternic
    One of the most popular domain name marketplaces, Afternic has more than 2mn domain name listings.
  • Sedo
    Another popular domain name marketplace, Sedo is especially well-suited for European buyers looking for .co.uk and .de domain names.
  • DNForum
    While DNForum is technically a message board, it's also a hotbed of sales activity. Note that you'll need to purchase a membership to participate.
  • Pool.com
    In addition to operating its own marketplace, Pool.com also operates a backordering service that lets you bid for domains that it attempts to acquire when they are not renewed.
  • Moniker
    Moniker is well-known for the prominent live domain name auctions it holds but it also runs a 24-7 online marketplace.

Here are some tips if you decide to try to purchase an already-registered domain name through an aftermarket:

  • Set and stick to a budget. It's easy to fall in love with a domain name but in my opinion, it's not worth making an emotional decision and spending more than you initially believed you should.
  • Be prepared for ridiculous asking prices. Obviously a generic domain name like Phones.co.uk can command a high price (which it did when it sold for over $300,000) but keep in mind that the vast majority of domains that are sold on the aftermarket change hands for less than $1,000.

    So if you're dealing with less generic domains or domains that appeal to more niche markets, don't be afraid to negotiate or walk away when somebody gives you an asking price that seems unrealistic. You might be surprised how fast asking prices get lowered.

  • Remember that you'll need to market no matter what your domain name. While many claim that a great domain can eliminate marketing costs, I believe that for all but a few of the most generic domain names this is total baloney because most domain names don't receive enough organic traffic to drive a business. As such, don't be fooled by sellers who try to justify a higher sales price based on the "brandability" of a domain name.

With a little luck, a little patience and a lot of negotiating, domain name aftermarkets can be a great place to find an affordable domain name for your business.

In a future post, I'll discuss my recent experience helping a client make a decision about a six-figure domain name purchase he was contemplating.


Published 18 August, 2008 by Patrick Oak

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