Why I Don't Generally Share Domain Sales
101 Domain

Why I Don’t Generally Share Domain Sales

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You’ve probably noticed that I hardly ever post about domain sales. I frequently write about domain names that I bought as well as domain names that I am looking to sell, and there are a number of reasons. Someone asked me if I would be willing to write a post and share some of my recent sales, and I wanted to let you know why I tend to keep that information private.

Here are several reasons why I don’t usually report sales, and why I almost never report sale prices:

1) I don’t want people harassing buyers of my domain names (some people don’t seem to understand the difference between a name like EventPlanner.com and Planner-Events.com and if it annoys me to receive emails, it must annoy others who don’t regularly buy domain names).

2) If a company or a person is in the market to buy great domain names, I’d rather sell them my domain names than have someone else sell them their domain names. I’ve been told that I am a nice guy, but I am not nice enough to give someone else a $10,000 sale when I could have had it.

3) This market intelligence is private and takes away an advantage for my company. I am all for sharing tips and ideas, but I am not going to risk losing out on deals in order to let others get those deals.

4) If someone sees that I am having luck selling a particular type of name, others will try and buy similar names, ultimately driving up the price for me or taking similar names off the market. It’s not always easy selling domain names and this business can be risky, so why add more risk.

5) A majority buyers want their purchase kept private and away from their competitors. I want to protect them, especially because posting boastful articles about what I’ve sold doesn’t serve me or them any good (unless they want that information disseminated). I think I’ve shared enough that people can understand I am pretty experienced when it comes to investing in domain names, and there’s no need for me to show off or boast about sales.

6) Much like any private business owner (and private person for that matter), I have no interest in sharing my income with anyone. I wouldn’t ask a friend how much he or she earns at their job, and I believe it’s tacky to discuss how much I make.

I understand that many large companies post sales reports all the time. Guys like Frank Schilling and Mike Berkens have huge inventories of domain names, and releasing sale prices will only serve to increase the value of their holdings. Likewise, companies like Sedo and Afternic report their sales to boost values and interest in names on their platform.

My company is always buying and maintains a trim inventory, so I don’t want to inflate prices while I am in buy mode. Just look at what happened to 4 letter .com names when the perception was that they are all being bought and are valuable. It serves me no good to announce sales or prices (aside from people offering platitudes and congratulations), and it can only harm my business in the long run.

As much as I try to share information and insight on my blog, I am not going to share when it will harm my business. Being able to make deals in private is one of the advantages of having a private company.


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 (34)

    Poor Uncle

    I hear you brother. Are those buyers part of your LinkedIn network connections? 😉

    March 22nd, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Ron

      Did you not read his article, he has one off generic type sales, he does not want you going, and spamming his LinkedIn contacts.

      March 22nd, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Elliot Silver

      I think that would probably be the least effective way of closing a sale.

      March 22nd, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Makes Sense

    I agree with Elliot. Last year I got a few cheap shots by few domainers. Since then done my own thing.

    I will say this though. If you are newer in the domain industry, have a documented sale can help.

    1. If you ever attend a domainer conference it could help and no bullshit. A pure documented sale.

    2. Helps build your name when its in Dnjournal. Gets your foot in the door with prospects and use as references. Helps gain respect with your peers, you done a few things and can announce them. What annoys me is people who are newer in the field and talk too much shit. Oh I sold a name but under NDA. Yeah-ok.

    3. I think Elliot could have announced some sales before Elliotsblog was formed and I also think it has helped him. He has also attended domainer conferences and was in Ricks old board.

    Its the catch 22 but I agree in what Elliot is saying. Climbing up the mountain slowly. Fuck the noise and doing my own thing now.

    Just my 2 cents

    March 22nd, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Elliot Silver

      You posted under a different name, so it’s not automatically approved. When you post with the same name and matching email address as a previous comment, it goes unmoderated 😉

      March 22nd, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Morgan Linton

    All great points Elliot, I’m in a very similar situation. I still share about 10% of my sales but like you keep most private for the reasons you listed above.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Steve F.

      Morgan, what criteria, if any, do you use for deciding to disclose the 10%? Also, do you get buyers’ permissions before disclosing?

      March 22nd, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    BullS

    When comes to disclosing sales, Elliot is taking his “fifth amendment” .

    Case closed.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Makes Sense

    Guess I need to be a blogger for my comment to be approved, LOL.

    Just kidding

    March 22nd, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Donny

    Yep I agree. Esp if have a buyer that comes to you for repeat buys every other year. No reason to give that info out. It would just lose you money in the end.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Logan Flatt

    If a domain transaction is reported with price by Afternic, Sedo, DNJournal, etc., then the notion of privacy is already out the window because the transaction is now publicized. One can easily use (paid) tools like DomainTools.com WHOIS history to back into the transaction and its parties. So, through triangulation, at least some persons already know who your clients / customers are and how much they paid you for the domain name, post-transaction. This is true whether or not you talk about it on your blog.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Theoretically, but when I use a platform like Sedo or Afternic, I make sure to let them know the transaction needs to go unreported, and they honor that by not reporting it to DNJ. In 2012, I only had one public sale (Newburyport.com) because it helped the buyer locally.

      If I buy a name and put it under privacy, nobody will know I bought it. When I sell it and keep the sale price private, nobody knows I sold it. This is the same for everyone else, too. It’s why people often say that reported sales are the tip of the iceberg.

      One consideration for me as a blogger though is that I need to sort of reveal a bit about my investments so people reading advice I give can get an idea of where I am in the business.

      March 22nd, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Mitch

      “If a domain transaction is reported with price by Afternic, Sedo, DNJournal, etc., then the notion of privacy is already out the window because the transaction is now publicized.”

      And you could add snapnames and domainnamesales, as I just saw one of El’s recent purchases.

      March 23rd, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Domain Investor

    “Showing off” or “boasting” is a poor way to judge people who post domain sales. I wish more people posted their five-figure and up domain sales as it would benefit all domain investors by serving as comparables to continue to get higher prices for their domains.

    If no one posted domain sales it would be very difficult to sell a domain for a great price.

    Also I think everyone (including Morgan and Elliot) looks forward to reading Dnjournal’s weekly domain name sales charts. The industry would suffer greatly without them.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Totally agree. It’s something that is a bit selfish, but it helps my business. On the other hand, if I didn’t have a blog it wouldn’t even be a consideration to report sales.

      March 22nd, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Steve F.

      I’m with you both on this. Seems like a balance can be always be struck between sharing comparables and protecting a buyer’s privacy along with one’s competitive advantage.

      March 22nd, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Makes Sense

    Ok understand Elliot.

    Enjoy the weekend.

    Bottom line we are all climbing up the mountain one way or the other. Different stages. I will remember one thing, I will always remember how I started out and thankful for many things.

    To good health and fortunes for everyone!

    March 22nd, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    David J Castello

    Loved the article, Elliot. Actually, Michael and I have had some killer sales recently that would’ve ranked near the top of DNJournal’s YTD tally.

    There are three reason we don’t list our sales any longer.
    1) Most buyers now insist on an NDA.
    2) Ex girlfriends start calling.
    3) Friends start asking for loans.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Larry

      #2 also helpful in case you ever go through a divorce.

      March 22nd, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Steve M

      And the 4th reason:

      Women claiming they’re ex girlfriends … start asking for loans. 😉

      March 22nd, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Michael

    I used to report sales when I first started in this industry, and wanted to be in as many DNJ reports as possible. Now I never report sales, not even on private forums. Totally agree with you there.

    Regarding benefiting from other people reporting their sales, they are doing it because they want to and it benefits them in some way (lifting prices, earning credibility, bravado, what have you). They aren’t doing it selflessly to help the community, and imo you aren’t being selfish for not returning the “favor”.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Domain Investor

    I agree with David J Castello’s reasons for not posting domain sales :-)

    All kidding aside, I truly hope some of the negative remarks in this thread doesn’t scare people off from reporting domain sales. More domain sales need to be reported for the good of us all.

    No reported domain sales = no domain aftermarket. It’s as simple as that.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Domain brokers and brokerages benefit from reporting sales, so we will continue to see many of those sales.

      March 22nd, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    @Domains

    I appreciate those well known people in the industry that do post their sales, not to brag but just to show what the domain market is like and what is possible. Without sales reports from DNJournal, Sedo, Afternic, Namejet, DNS and others, we’d have no benchmarks whatsoever.

    It’s a personal choice one way or the other, but like Morgan there must be some sales you could reveal from time to time that won’t hurt your business. Seeing the good sales gives inspiration to others in this business.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Raider

    Reason 5 is the biggest reason why I never post my domain sales, even when a fellow domainer asks, I don’t disclose.

    As a business person, we all have a obligation to respect the privacy of our customers.. Publishing a domain sale without the permission of the buyer is simply wrong as well as unethical.

    I agree it helps domainers gauge what similar domains are worth, and if you want to do that by helping others in our industry by advertising your sales, at least extend the buyer the courtesy of ASKING his/her permission first.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Harry Wilson

    I think your motives makes sense and I cannot disagree with you, it is a business transaction after all and businesses don’t give away their customers information or sales data.
    Let’s hope I can make my first sale soon, as you say it is a lot harder than maybe some people realise.

    March 23rd, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Linda Johansen

    Elliot, Thanks for responding to my request. well, yes I get your point.

    March 23rd, 2013 at 7:15 am

    David Gruttadaurio

    Great thread; some great insights. It’s funny though… everyone thinks sharing sales info is good for the industry but no one really wants to do it. But I get it. It’s a business. Why shoot yourself in the foot by revealing your client list?

    March 23rd, 2013 at 9:10 am

    jayjay

    All to true every LLL.com I’ve sold and the few I currently hang on to have been private sales and whois private protected.

    I could parade them on domain forum signatures for eye-candy but that would only devalue them when selling.

    There are times I’d like to show my premium inventory and sales but we’re here for business not to brag.

    Good post Elliot.

    March 23rd, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Domain Investor

      If people didn’t “brag” about their domain sales, there would be no “business”.

      Good luck trying to sell a domain name for a six-figure sum without multiple examples of similar sales.

      March 23rd, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      Elliot Silver

      There will always be people and companies that find reporting sales advantageous, so I am not concerned that there will be a dearth of sales reports. There are millions of domain sales reported already, giving plenty of examples. It’s not like I (or others) have been reporting sales all along and just decided to stop.

      March 23rd, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    chris

    I am a rookie, can you tell me what’s the deal with ‘keyword” domains. I own a few that represent 10-20 thousand exact search’s, have them parked at sedo and make maybe $1.00. If its a credit card domain and I have the page set to show “related” links why does it not show in google results when the term is searched.

    March 23rd, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Tony

      Chris, I own a few with 100,000+ EXACT monthly searches and they make less than some that have about 1,000+. Finding domains with parking revenue is a hit or miss proposition.

      March 23rd, 2013 at 10:48 pm

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