How I Would Choose a Domain Broker | DomainInvesting.com
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How I Would Choose a Domain Broker

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Domain brokers can be very helpful. Some of the best domain name brokers sell millions of dollars worth of domain names each year. Brokers can be an essential part of the process of selling domain names, and there are quite a few domain brokers I respect and would use.

It is very easy to become a domain broker. There are no qualifications required, there are no certifications needed, and literally anyone can call themselves a domain broker without any industry background or experience (do a Google or LinkedIn search to see how many there are!). As far as I know, there are no requirements for people to identify themselves as professional domain name brokers. It is because of this that due diligence is required before choosing a domain broker.

I am fortunate to know quite a few exceptional domain brokers, but I thought I would share some thoughts on how I would go about choosing a domain broker if I did not have these contacts.

For the purpose of this article, I am going to assume that a domain broker made the first contact with me to ask about selling one of my domain names or I did a Google/forum/blog search to find the names of domain brokers. Essentially, the assumption is I know the name of a broker but know nothing about that broker.

The first thing I would do would when contacting a broker to sell a domain name is to ask for a list of domain names they sold. For privacy reasons, many can’t or won’t share sale prices. Most people in the business can distinguish a good name from a bad one, so knowing what was sold can give you an idea of the quality of names that broker sells.

I would then ask the broker for the contact information of buyers and sellers for the domain names mentioned as sold. I would also ask both of those parties about their experience with the broker. It would be good to know how well the broker communicated, the types of marketing the broker did to sell the domain name, and ultimately, the level of satisfaction they have with the broker. Importantly, I would use the Whois database to make sure the references given match the buyer and seller email addresses so that the broker can’t give bogus information.

I personally would not trust a domain broker who is unwilling to share domain names that he or she successfully brokered or references from satisfied customers. I understand the need for privacy, but in this case, it is important to know that the broker is legitimate and not simply using discretion as a means of not having to share this important information.

I think a Google search of the broker’s name or company name can help reveal information about brokers. It can potentially lead to articles about the broker’s sales and perhaps some issues the broker had. Google would also likely show domain forum results that could help uncover information about the brokers, as shared by people in the domain investment community.

I might call trusted companies in the industry as well as domain name lawyers to ask about individual brokers. Knowing how small the business of domain name investing is, I would imagine an industry lawyer or company representative can share whether a broker is trustworthy and good at brokering.

Just because a domain broker is good does not mean they would be good for me or my domain name. Some brokers have great industry contacts and can sell well priced domain names very quickly. This might be good for someone looking to sell a domain name quickly, but it is not as helpful for someone with a high value domain name and no urgency to sell for the maximum value.

Once I narrowed down my list of brokers to 2 or 3, I would ask for their expert valuations and likelihood of them selling the domain name and how long they think it might take to sell. Just because one broker shares a much higher valuation, it doesn’t mean that they will be able to sell the domain name. I would want to know their marketing plan for my domain name. Perhaps I would request a domain sale RFP to see how they will sell the domain name.

I would ask to review their brokerage contract and make sure exclusivity period and commission structure is clear. I would also ensure that they use a third party escrow service like Escrow.com, Escrow.Domains, or Payoneer Escrow to close. I would not allow a broker to handle funds under any circumstance.

Ultimately, I want to ensure several things when choosing a domain broker:

  • The broker is trustworthy and a good communicator.
  • The broker values the domain name as much as I value it.
  • The broker has the ability to sell my domain name for my desired price.
  • The broker is easy to work with.
  • The broker is respectful and respected.
  • The broker’s commission and exclusivity periods are clear and fair.
  • The broker will not put my domain name at risk of legal issues.

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 (7)

    James Booth

    Great article Elliot. It’s always good to do as much due diligence and digging as possible when it comes to handling someone else’s assets.

    January 9th, 2017 at 12:39 am

    Mark Thorpe

    Everyone seems to be a domain name broker these days.
    There is a big difference between a good domain broker and a bad or new domain broker.

    If you are a domainer, you know who the good domain brokers are.
    There are also a lot more domain brokers now than domain Investors!

    January 9th, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Jen Marchese

    Excellent advice, Elliot!

    Domains all seem to have the story straight on the best brokers, but end users often don’t know where to start. Interviewing brokers to find out who best matches your business style and who you feel you can most trust is essential, but this helps a lot in narrowing that field down and knowing what questions to ask.

    January 9th, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Joseph Peterson

    @Mark Thorpe,

    “Everyone seems to be a domain name broker these days.”

    That makes it sound like we have too many brokers … or that people acting as brokers are merely play acting – that somehow they’re not legit.

    In fact, there’s a dearth of brokers in the domain industry. Thousands upon thousands of sellable domains sitting around gathering dust. No attempt by the owners to match them with buyers. In many cases, the market value is below the threshold for brokers who depend on 15% commissions. But in the developing world, where the cost of living are lower, a smaller commission that “elite” brokers might sneer at would cover a whole month’s bills.

    Any smart, industrious person with good communication skills could be IMMENSELY helpful in shifting this stagnant inventory. And this is the vast majority of domainers’ domains we’re talking about here. As the largest English-speaking nation, India – I predict – will begin to take on this role. Web designers and SEOs will add domain brokerage to their list of services. And many of them will get good at it, training others to follow in their footsteps.

    This isn’t something to scoff at. It’s something to celebrate. We all benefit with more brokers. Personally, I’ll know this industry has reached saturation point once LinkedIn strangers stop asking me to sell their domains for them. Until I’m bombarded by offers from brokers who want to sell MY stuff, we don’t have too many brokers.

    January 9th, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Mark Thorpe

      @Sir Joseph Peterson

      You are entitled to your opinion, as am I.

      Cheers

      In reply to Joseph Peterson | January 10th, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      Joseph Peterson

      @Mark Thorpe

      Conversations are boring where 1 person’s viewpoint is a redundant echo. If 2 people can’t differ, why talk?

      In reply to Mark Thorpe | January 10th, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      Jonathan

      So right. There is is a world of domains bur sadly Americans with a wealth of foresight become nationalist Nellie the elephants.Look at the Chinese domain timeline:
      Baidu has released the latest (April)(2016) numbers on how Internet users come to a website

      Visit Method Percentage
      Direct 42.40%
      Referral 30.22%
      Search 24.27%
      Directory 2.34%
      Social media 0.77%

      This shows direct (type-in) traffic is the No. 1 source of visitors to a website, and this traffic is trending up as well, increasing from 41.68% in March to 42.40% in April. This means more and more Chinese users are using domain names directly to come to visit a website.

      On the contrary, source of visitors from search has dropped from 26.22% in March to 24.27% in April, showing the decreasing importance of search engines in China. Surprisingly, social media are practically insignificant in playing any role in this respect.

      Much to play for IMO

      In reply to Joseph Peterson | January 11th, 2017 at 1:23 pm

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