Who is Your Domain Broker?

Who’s Your Domain Broker

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Subscribe to Elliot's BlogIt seems that everyone in the domain business is becoming a domain broker. I suppose being a domain broker sounds good – you get to sell other people’s domain names without having to take on any of the risk of buying the domain names. You make a commission if the name sells, but don’t lose a dime if it doesn’t. Brokers also aren’t generally exposed to the legal risk of domain ownership. I know several top domain brokers in the business who I wouldn’t hesitate to use, and I think you should ask some important questions before you commit to a broker:

  • How long have you been a domain broker?
  • What other premium names are you brokering?
  • Where do you plan to sell the domain name and by what means – (phone, email, letter)?
  • Do you have Fortune 500 contacts?
  • What are some of your past large domain sales?
  • Will you be contacting end users and/or do you know potential end users?
  • Do you require exclusivity, and if so, for how long?
  • What commission rate do you charge?

I’ve seen a number of people mass emailing domain names they are “brokering.” The funny thing is that on one occasion, the domain owner didn’t even know his name was being brokered. The person inquired about a domain name, received the price, and then attempted to “broker” that name for the price + profit. If he found a buyer, he would have purchased the domain name. If not, well, he has little risk. The owner found out about it, but was more or less blase because it was someone that was trying to sell his name. Personally, I would never allow someone to claim to represent me without my prior knowledge and approval.

An issue you need to be cognizant of is that brokers don’t usually have any legal risk with the actual domain name. If they contact potential end users who decide that the name infringes on their brand, the broker could be the cause of a lawsuit or UDRP. They have no risk if they try to pitch McDonald.com to McDonalds (for example), so why not try to get the most money from the wealthiest potential buyer.

You should also discuss where the broker will be selling your domain name. Anyone can put a domain name for sale on a forum or a blog. However, if your broker has an active domain website or a well-subscribed to newsletter, that would be more beneficial. Whatever the case, you and your domain broker should devise a strategy specifically for selling your domain name.

There are a lot of people who claim to be domain brokers, but only a few who I would personally use. Before you commit to a domain broker, make sure you check his credentials to make sure he is legit. You will want to use a professional domain broker and not just a person who can’t afford good domain names on his own and just wants a cut of your domain sale. There are some great domain brokers out there, and it pays to use their services.


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 (18)

    David J Castello

    To publicize a domain without the owner’s permission goes way beyond the pale. For the owner to have shown so little concern only means one thing – it was an insignificant name. I can assure you that if someone did that to us they would be hearing from our attorneys.

    November 15th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    John Bomhardt

    @David: Not to mention it hurts the value of that name being offered for sale if it is a full blown site with no intention of being for sale with unnecessary speculations…

    John
    http://unplain.com

    November 15th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Johnny

    Good advice Elliot…..I had not thought of some of those things.

    November 15th, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Jamie Parks

    Care to list the brokers that you would use?

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    Top of my head in no particular order, Rick Latona, Kevin Leto, Alan Hack, and Rob Sequin.

    November 15th, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Duane

    I have the same impression, it’s like all these newbie sellers are crawling from under a Rock and think they can profit off peoples good names at no risk.

    If you got a good name or site you want to sell, there are buyers. I find the brokers should be paying a on hold commition if they want exclusive rights for selling the name. If they sell in the timeframe they want, give them the on hold commition back + sales commition. If they don’t sell, there problem. After all, there the broker and if there good they will sell.

    I personally see Latona doing a pretty good job. There are many domainers which wouldn’t see him as a buddy, but it’s business. You don’t have to go fishing with everybody you do business with.

    Elliot brought another good subject with perfect timing to his blog. Good job on the be aware points listed.

    November 15th, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Mike @ WannaDevelop.com

    Using individual brokers is good but probably the best option is getting somebody to personally work with you within Sedo, BuyDomains, etc.. They have more contacts than anybody else and do it as a day job.

    Best,
    Mike

    http://www.wannadevelop.com

    November 15th, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Chef Patrick - DNKitchen.com

    Great read and oh so true. I get a ton of emails every day from so called brokers trying to offer their services. My first thought, if they are a good broker then they do not need to solicit for business.

    I too am curious who you would recommend Elliot, could you please share your very short list?

    I appreciate you pointing this out. I used the term brokering in one of my recent newsletters. What I meant to say is and should have said is I will MARKET your domain names through my newsletter and blog. Saying BROKER makes you think that someone will contact and users and so forth. Big difference between marketing and brokering.

    November 15th, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Rob Sequin

    Elliot,

    Another good post. If you don’t mind, I’d like to leave some comments from a broker’s point of view (and thanks for the mention in #4 above.)

    1. I was contacted by a person who asked me to broker a name that was not his. The owner was contacted and he followed up with the “broker”. I think the “broker” was just trying to pre-sell the domain but did not have the owner’s permission. That is obviously very bad and rare exception in this industry.

    2. Domain owners do need to ask a lot of questions to brokers since every domain, owner, broker and potential buyer are different. First, yes, qualify the broker. It’s pretty easy to research anybody so do some homework, talk to the broker on the phone and find out about the domains they prefer to broker. For example, I have my share of industry contacts and have brokered high value domains but the other three brokers you mention are better than me on the high value domain level. I prefer to focus on selling to end users, geodomains, traffic and revenue domains and acting as a domain buyer broker.

    3. To domain owners: be prepared for the broker to ask you questions like how long have you owned the domain?, what’s your high and low sales price range?, any other owners involved? have you marketed it for sale before, where and when? stuff like that.

    4. To Chef Patrick above: Right. There is a difference between marketing and brokering. Marketing is more passive while brokering is proactive. Ask your potential broker how proactive they will be with your domain.

    5. Expect a two week to one month exclusivity. Ask to see the contract. If your broker can’t sell your domain within 30 days, look around for another broker. When you do, ask your current broker who he contacted about the domain and be sure to tell the next broker about that. No one wants to shop around “sloppy seconds”. :-)

    November 16th, 2008 at 10:12 am

    george

    I had a very bed experience with Rick Latona and would never hire him again. Rick doesn’t sell as much as he pretends to. Also when I do business with someone I expect them to treat me with the same respect that I treat them. The name will sell itself if it is good. All he does is list the name on his blog. Also as far as his auction go, not near as good as Moniker’s.

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    I’ve had only good experiences with Rick and I disagree about the number of names he’s sold. What domain name were you trying to sell? I’ve found his prices to be reasonable, and if the names are good and the prices are fair, they will sell. Rick probably has every single domain investor who buys on his newsletter mailing list. If I ask a broker to list xyzsuckysuckysucky.com and have a $10,000 asking price, whose fault is it if it doesn’t sell?

    November 16th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    shahram shokrian

    i agree. brokers need to have a standard code of ethics.

    November 16th, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Adam

    It may be impossible for some brokers to answer questions about what domains they have brokered or are currently brokering because of their business practices. I think many of the best sales that are brokered are handled behind the scenes outside of these email “lists” and auctions that are mainly domainer to domainer sales. I’ve brokered a fair share of deals, none of which I can discuss. The most important part I think in picking a broker is trust and reputation. Ask around.

    November 16th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    dncartoons.com

    Everyone needs multiple ways to sell domains. Complaining that Rick Latona didn’t sell your domain is not fair. Newsletters like mine and rick’s are just one avenue of many ways to sell domains. The best features of newsletters is very little commitment from the seller. You can give it a shot and if it sells great, if not go try other avenues. I’d estimate that about 15-20% of domains in newsletter sell. So yes you are going to have a lot of domains not sell.

    I am sure if we started a post about Moniker auctions we would get a huge number of folks that had not been able to get domains into the auction and further many domains that do not sell even when in. HOWEVER, I STILL THINK MONIKER AUCTIONS AND OTHER AUCTIONS ARE A GREAT PLACE TO SELL DOMAINS also.

    Even the best domains need the seller to focus on a wide range of ways to sell that domain.

    Further bad domains simply WILL NOT SELL, no matter where you market them.

    Regards,

    Eric
    DNCartoons.com

    November 17th, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Stephen Douglas

    I think DNCartoons.com as run by Eric Rice is the best email domain broker newsletter. Simple, plus totally trustworthy with Eric behind it. Eric will treat you right, except he has dog slobber all over him, so if you can get past that, then you’re good. 😉

    Rick Latona, he’s big in this industry. However, I have domains I sell regularly for good prices that he’s turned me down on. He’s never accepted one of my premium domains for sale, including a domain that beat one of his domains “lumbermills.com” he posted for $12,000, and i offered him “LumberBusiness.com” (siginificantly more popular and hierarchally ahead of lumbermills.com”. Surprisingly, he turned down sellling LumberBusiness.com. I think it’s just a personal thing… he doesn’t like Vikings.

    😉

    I am also a domain broker, and I sell more domains under the radar than most of the names you listed. However, I usually sell those domains by using Eric Rice’s dncartoons.com. lol

    I find that listing domains with Sedo, Afternic, and Snapnames private auction system continually create domain sales for me. But I agree with Eric when he says “bad domains simply “WILL NOT SELL”. This doesn’t mean that if your domain doesn’t sell, that it’s bad, it means your price is too high, or the right buyers just didn’t get the sales info on the domain on that day. I’ve had the same domains offered one week with no response, then offered again at the same price a month later and they sold.

    Quality of domain, pricing, timing, and marketing reach. (QPTM)

    Also remember there are many unique marketing plans for selling domains, one of the best being “gee, I have 1000 domains, many of them worth $1000 each, but how valuable will they be for me if I sell all of them for $100 in a month — making $100,000?”

    If you’re OOTB registered domains are sitting around, you need quick cash, a mass bulk sale promotion for domains at $100 each with a minimum of three domains purchased, can make you a lot of money quick. It’s been done many times before, and even I am thinking of doing it so I can set aside some outdoor activity upgrades to my day Ranch i’m getting ready to buy. (Like a go cart track, pool, recording studio, walking trail with exotic flower gazebo, outdoor fire pit, tennis court, etc). What do I want more? 1000 domains I can wait a few years to sell for $500k as cherrypicks, or $100k right now that I can enjoy using to build up my ranch property to invite special domainers and their families over for a weekend of fun?

    I advise my clients to look at their domains closely, separate the domains that have extreme premium value, then premium value, then medium generic value… and think about those longtails… do you want to really try to renew and promote, renew and promote?

    If so, then contact WhyPark and do it right.

    November 18th, 2008 at 8:10 am

    oluchi aroeze

    can you or sell this domains;
    qx20.com
    deioniser.com
    deionised.com
    11men.com
    cv50.com
    deionised.net
    15mega.com.thanks

    July 29th, 2009 at 11:51 am

      Elliot

      @ Oluchi

      No.

      July 29th, 2009 at 11:52 am

    john andrews

    Nice post and thread, but gotta love the comedic ending to the thread!

    September 1st, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Manasa M

    Hello,

    I have some good premium old aged domains which I want to sell. Please advise me how to sell my domains. Please let me know if there is any good vendor or broker who can help me selling my premium domains.

    Thanks

    November 14th, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Gyan KJ

    Hello, I have some 200 old aged domains, which i want to sell. I am looking for a domain broker or a buyer for my domains. Please let me know if anyone can help. gyankj@gmail.com

    March 13th, 2013 at 10:27 am

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