3 Reasons I Am Not a Domain Broker | DomainInvesting.com
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3 Reasons I Am Not a Domain Broker

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Being a domain name broker seems like it could be lucrative, and for the best domain brokers, it is a great job. Domain brokers represent domain name owners who are trying to sell their valuable domain names and they make a commission on successful sales. Aside from their time and marketing expenses, brokers rarely have a financial stake in the domain names they are selling, but the potential reward on a large sale may be considerable.

I am not a domain broker, and I want to share the three primary reasons why I am not interested in becoming a broker or working with other domain owners to sell their domain names.

Legal

There are many possible ways for a deal to go bad, and I have no interest in exposing my company to any additional legal risk. If a prospect takes legal action (UDRP or Lanham Act lawsuit) after the broker makes contact, the seller may sue the broker. If the seller decides against selling the domain name after a deal is consummated, the buyer may include the broker in a lawsuit.

There are many reasons someone can be sued, and I have no interest in exposing my company to this risk. Keep in mind that there are ways to mitigate this risk via contractual means, but there is always a risk of litigation.

Personal

When I left my corporate marketing job nearly 7 years ago, I was happy that I would not have to work for someone else. I am self-motivated, and I enjoy being able to make my own business decisions and plans. When brokering a domain name, the broker can be at someone else’s behest. Should the owner decide not to sell a domain name after the broker works on selling the asset, it can be difficult for the broker to force the seller to sell. I wouldn’t want to do a good job and potentially lose the listing because a domain owner decides not to sell.

A broker may be able to encourage someone to sell a domain name at a fair offer price, but the decision is someone else’s to make. I don’t want my income to be determined by someone else.

Many brokers give status reports to domain owners to let them know how the sale process is going. I don’t want to have to report to someone else or have someone checking in on me. It’s a luxury to be able to make my own schedule and basically do as I please, and I don’t want to change that.

Business

Although I don’t have a huge domain name portfolio, I have several hundred domain names at any given time. I have been doing less end user outreach this year due to some larger sales and the desire to await inbound inquiries. If I were to spend time trying to sell domain names, I should spend my time selling my own company’s domain names. It wouldn’t make sense for me to spend time selling someone else’s domain names when I have my own to sell.

In addition, selling domain names takes quite a bit of time. I have a blog to write and other websites that can use improvements and additions. Instead of spending my time working on brokering names, I should spend it on my own business.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (11)

    Leonard Britt

    A quick glance at Domain Holdings’ Q2 report shows how much work is involved to make a domain sale. They reported $10 million in sales with an adjusted average sale of ~$29k but made 84 thousand contacts to do so. So that means it took nearly 250 contacts to generate one sale. Then you only get a commission. When dealing with high-end names it can work out well but imagine doing that with $XXX names.

    July 30th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Good point.

      My close ratio is generally better than that, but I really have no idea what the average would be for all of my sales because that is something I don’t track at all.

      In reply to Leonard Britt | July 30th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    PPC.ca

    Working for yourself is important as an entrepreneur. If you spend all your time building up business for someone else, you will be left with nothing of your own at the end of the day. I agree with all of Elliot’s points.

    In Canada, there are new anti-spam laws in place as well, preventing companies/people from sending promotional or sales emails without them signing up to a list first. As you mentioned, there are lots of ways to get sued, especially when you’re selling internationally and every country has it’s own rules.

    July 30th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Eric Borgos

    I had never heard of this before:
    “If a prospect takes legal action (UDRP or Lanham Act lawsuit) after the broker makes contact, the seller may sue the broker. ”
    I wonder if that has ever actually happened?

    July 31st, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Vinod R

    I agree with most of your points, I too have doubt about this – “If a prospect takes legal action (UDRP or Lanham Act lawsuit) after the broker makes contact, the seller may sue the broker. ” What has the broker got to do in this process, It may be my ignorance but in my view the broker is a “link” between the seller and buyer that has no legal authority to what he is selling. Am I wrong?

    July 31st, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Scott Smith

    RE: “If a prospect takes legal action (UDRP or Lanham Act lawsuit) after the broker makes contact, the seller may sue the broker.”

    I’m also curious about such a serious statement. Is it based on actual examples, or an overall fear of being sued? Every business (and individual) faces the prospect of being sued for something they did, even if they did nothing wrong. For example, an irrational and paranoid domain broker may want to sue over this article claiming it harmed his business prospects.

    August 1st, 2014 at 12:06 am

      Elliot Silver

      I don’t have an example, but it would be a small risk, IMO.

      I assume it’s something that could be contractually mitigated.

      August 1st, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Eric Borgos

    Or an irrational blogger might sue an insightful commenter for putting the lawsuit idea into the head of a domain broker.

    August 1st, 2014 at 7:43 am
      In reply to Eric Borgos | August 1st, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Scott Smith

      Anything is possible of course. But I think it’s far more logical to believe that the article will encourage some domain buyers and sellers to sue domain brokers. Either way, the article brings up some good points, but these are legal issues a domain name lawyer or two should weigh in on (i.e. Carl Oppedahl). Otherwise it’s just non-lawyers speculating about a complicated area of law. :)

      In reply to Eric Borgos | August 1st, 2014 at 1:56 pm

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