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Domain Buying and Selling

  

Determining The Value of Your Domain Names

You’ll find many companies that are happy to assess the value of your domain name. Some offer this service free through an automated "valuation wizard" type approach, others charge a fee for a more customized, personal valuation. Fundamentally, all these appraisal services suffer from the same flaw: domain names are UNIQUE!

So while there is certainly some merit in looking at the current domain name market and trying to find "parallels" with recent sales, it’s impossible to base the valuation of one domain name on the valuation placed on another, no matter how much some domain name valuation services would have you believe otherwise.

At the end of the day, a domain name is worth exactly what a buyer is willing to pay for it, no more and no less. You could have what you consider to be the most attractive domain name in the world in your portfolio of names, yet if you don’t succeed in tracking down a potential buyer, and no such buyer presents themselves unbidden, then any discussion on the value of that particular domain is idle, since any value is latent until it is unlocked by a purchaser.

If you are still keen to have your domain name appraised, it is best if you avail yourself of a free service, since paid appraisal services (which cost from $10 upwards, with many around the $30-50 mark) may frankly cost you more than the domain name itself is worth. Also, remember that no paid appraisal service is going to tell you point-blank that your domain name is worthless, since that would guarantee that they would lose the chance of any repeat business from you!

To revisit a theme that has been brought up several times on this site already, please bear in mind that 90% of domain names are essentially worthless.

Example: Cars.com may be worth enough to retire on. SportsCars.com may be worth enough to buy a second-hand car on. PerformanceSportsCars.com may be worth a few hundred dollars. ePerformanceSportsCars.com is worth NOTHING!

This is what no appraisal system, free or for-fee will tell you: your domain name may (often) be worth LESS than you paid for it: it may be worth $ZERO.

This is especially true if you’ve had to substitute numbers for letters, like go4broke.com or if your domain name relies on multiple hyphens, like a-long-domain-name.com

You need only visit a large domain auction site such as Afternic to realize that supply FAR exceeds demand.

Of course, you can always generate value in a domain name by developing it into a website (no matter how "bad" the original domain name was). A domain name with a track history as an established site, with incoming links and steady traffic, will usually be worth more than the same site left undeveloped.

Enough of the doom and gloom – the fact remains that some domain names do have value, and some have significant value. Here are a few guidelines to help you understand the potential value of your domain name…

A) Do you receive unsolicited offers to buy the name?

If you get emailed offers to buy the domain name without it being listed for sale anywhere, that clearly shows it has SOME value to somebody. Essentially, you have a new base price when trying to establish a valuation: the amount of the unsolicited offer.

B) Is the domain name a ".com" name?

.com is still king of the domain name hill. Generally, a .com domain name will have 5-10x or more the value of the same name with any other extension. Cars.com may be worth millions – but nobody’s going to pay millions for Cars.net!

C) How long is the domain name?

Generally, the shorter the better when it comes to domain names – as long as this shortness doesn’t come through throwing away words or letters, or substituting numbers for letters. GoForIt.com is a nice little domain name, with some value. Go4It.com is worth less than that. GoFrIt.com is essentially worthless.

D) Is the domain name hyphenated?

Sometimes, hyphens help to preserve clarity, but generally they reduce the value of a domain name. Sports-Cars.com will most likely sell for less, even much less than SportsCars.com…

E) Is the domain name spelled correctly?

If there are any misspellings in the domain name, you can knock 99% or more off the price of most domain names. SportsCars.com (to wear this example a little thinner) is a nice domain name. SpertsCars.com most likely wouldn’t fetch $50. If in doubt, always consult Dictionary.com

F) Is the "thing" the domain name refers to generally a singular or a plural "thing"?

This is one of the hardest value factors to consider, given how subjective it is. Still, the effort can be rewarding. BuyTicket.com is most likely worth less than BuyTickets.com, but Chat.com is most likely worth more than Chats.com.

G) Does the domain name resort to prefixes or suffixes?

Prefixes or suffixes can REALLY hurt the value of a domain name. For example, add an "e" or "i" or "my" in front of the domain, or a "site" behind it and you’ve just destroyed most of its value. (Exceptions exist of course, such as EBay.com which is worth millions of times Bay.com, but that is because of the tens of millions of dollars poured into branding the domain name. Seen totally independently of the site/service it relates to, eBay.com is worth much less than Bay.com)

H) How many words are there in the domain? How common are these words?

Generally, the more words in the domain name, the less it is worth. But common two-word expressions are worth more (sometimes MUCH more) than rare one-word expressions. And common three-word expressions can be worth more than rare one-word expressions. Example: SportsCars.com is worth more than Semantics.com. FreeEmailAddress.com is worth more than Superiority.com.

When comparing domains with the same number of words, think of the likely audience and the commercial applicability of the domain name. Example: Cars.com is a very obviously commercial one-word domain name. Semantics.com, while having some value, doesn’t have a very clearly defined audience or potential use, and is much less commercial. Cars.com might ultimately be worth more than a thousand times the value of Semantics.com, yet they’re both one-word domain names.

Just because a domain name is in the dictionary, it doesn’t automatically make it valuable! It’s a frequent myth on many domain name discussion and auction sites that any one-word domain name must be worth thousands – WRONG!

If the domain name has no COMMERCIAL value, it generally has little or no value, period.

Example: "Gerontocracy" is in the dictionary, but you’re not going to get rich off Gerontocracy.com

Armed with the answers to the above questions, you can at least get some idea of the value of your domain name.

At one end of the scale, if you receive frequent unsolicited offers to purchase your correctly-spelled one-word commercially valuable .com domain, then you may be sitting on a real winner.

FAR off to the other end of the value scale (at the $0 point), if your domain name has 4 words in it, one of which is misspelled, you’re out of luck.

You may be feeling frustrated at this point with the whole concept of trying to establish a value for your domain name…; It’s worth persevering, since without even a ballpark idea of value, you’re going to find it much harder to locate a buyer for the name and close a deal. And if, after taking a long, hard, as-objective-as-possible look at your domain name, you come to realize that it’s not worth anything, then either:-

A) Develop a website using the domain name (this adds value to it)

B) Sigh, make a mental note that the domain name is not worth RENEWING (!) and move on to considering other domain names.



17 Responses to Determining The Value of Your Domain Names

  1. Jack A. Sunseri
    12/07/2011 at 00:15

    What value does my domain name; pornporn.xxx have in your opinion.Where the best one or two best places to list domain names for sale by auction?
    Thank you,
    Jack A. Sunseri
    Phone-916-652-0649
    Granite Bay, Ca.


    • Hi Jack, thanks for the comment!

      Here are some services that we recommend:
      Domain Appraisers: http://www.igoldrush.com/domain-resources/domain-appraisers
      Domain Auctions: http://www.igoldrush.com/domain-resources/domain-auctions


    • It’s not worth anything. But I would like to add something that was not covered here, Jack. Some of the most valuable URLS are simply good search terms. For example, if I lived in NYC and were selling Hot Dog stands I would first want to secure the URL, http://www..HotDogStandsForSale.com and then maybe …ForSaleInNYC.com- not because it’s a good name for my business (which it obviously isn’t) but because this is what future clients will be typing in their search. Instead of day trading I may sit around at home and buy up a dozen such URLS unique to one particular industry and sell them a week or two later for 100 to 1,000% profit -usually to affiliate marketers. This is unusual, though. I’m a tid poet and a bit prophet but you don’t necessarily need to be a linguist and/or futurist to make money with domains. A little bit of research can go a long way. So why are these long, generic… Obvious URL’s valuable? If the name of your Hot Dog stand company were the same as the website and you called it, “Bronx Dog Carts and Concessions” it’s unlikely that anyone will find you online if they are looking for Hot Dog stands. But if you also owned hotdogstandsforsale. com you could it up so that BronxDogsCarts. com would show up at the top of the list whenever someone plugged in the more natural search term. Also, finding weird or clever ways to put popular trends to language isn’t nearly as important as identifying future trends and putting them to simple language. Just imagine what you would type into Google if you were looking for whatever it is your website is about and by that if it’s available. The more popular or common the less likely a URL of this sort will be available. One last thing, never forget…. the internet is global. The USA has 250mil internet users with a population of 315mil giving it a penetration rate of roughly 80% compared to 40% in 2000. CHINA has 515mil internet users with a pop. of 1.5 Billion giving it a penetration rate of 37% compared to 1.8% in 2000. India….121mil internet users, population 1.2 Billion, penetration rate is 10% compared to .2% in 2000. The US will not see much if any growth in the volume of internet users but these two countries alone, China and India, will have a combined number of internet users 6 times that of the entire US population by 2015. $…if you’re smart.


      • Adam,

        I couldn’t agree with you more. I own the following domain names, I was the first to register them and have owned them for many years.

        TheMostPopularWebsite.com
        TheMostVisitedWebsite.com
        TheMostValuableWebsite.com
        TheMostProfitableWebsite.com

        Are they long? Yes.
        Do they contain multiple words? Yes.
        Does this decrease there value? No.

        How often does someone search for these phrases? How many results are produced?

        Search for ‘the most popular website’ on google and as of today you get nearly 3 BILLION results. This domain name could easily be developed into a website which would appear at the top of that 3 BILLION result list.

        Imagine owning this domain and pointing it toward your SEO Company. How about owning all of them and pointing them toward your SEO Company.

        Given that you are in this business, can you give me a rough idea about what the collection of these long generic domain names may be worth? Individually or as a collection?


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  3. I found three domain names I was looking at the other day and are now gone. Each one has high quality. The first one is a one word real word, the second one is often used in news articles and I think will become a word and the last one pertains to cloud which is computing and our future thus; careers in it will be big and it says it all in one domain.

    How much are these worth if I put an offer up? They went so fast, I could not believe it before I had money to buy in checking.

    http://WWW.ECTOZOON.COM
    http://WWW.NEOCONIC.COM
    http://WWW.CAREERSINCLOUD.COM


    • Hi Mark, Check out the domain appraisers section of the iGoldrush resource directory for additional appraisal services. These will help give you a rough idea of what to offer.


  4. It is almost laughable to see the prices paid for domains that have no apparent commercial value.
    Exact search term domains, may be less trendy than other sectors, but have absolute value when it comes to search rank and visibility.
    These domains offer huge returns to local
    prod/serv businesses, and yet even now so few understand the mechanics of domains.
    Any one else agree?


  5. Having that perfect domain to sell and make great money at does require some research. I am actually the owner of a ecommerce website http://www.betterbargainz.com and have considered selling the domain as it is different than the actual business name. I have had the domain a little over a year and ranks fairly well on Alexa. The problem I have is all of our online customers go to the site so it would have to sell for a fairly decent amount. What do you think the domain itself is worth?


  6. I like the way you think…Please give me your snap judgement: I own both of these http://napetv.com and http://wownip.com
    napetv is a 1yr old nip is 10 days old.
    which would do better at an auction in your esteemed opinion?


  7. I wanted to create a web forum to share all my old vintage photos. So I thought up of pixpast.com
    i used the short pix for pictures and past for… past.
    so i got a short nice .com and also the x in the middle of the name looks good on logos.
    what do you guys think ?
    it it good to play with words like this ?
    thanks.
    ian


  8. Interesting article. As originally stated a domain name as anything else is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Cars.com is very generic whereas sportscasts.com or even musclecars.com are more niche and potentially have a higher value in my opinion. Same as loans4u.com is also worth loads despite the numbers and letter abbreviation. it really is not that clean cut.


  9. Hi, If I have a domain (s) that do not have an actual website but that are redirected to an online store on, for example, Etsy or Ebay, or that are redirected to a Facebook page, is it still considered to be “parked”? Or can I use it as proof that I am using that domain name even if not for an actual website?


  10. yes its not 100% true, that shorter is better, sometimes is not, I had luck with my new domain, BRUT.me, what do u think about it?


  11. Pingback: SEO Tip #19 Are you an Artist? – Clayton Kessler

  12. Thanks for the info, Also try http://dntoolz.com for domain auction,research,news update and sales records. Very good resource for domainers.


  13. I just register this domain name not quite long, i want to know if InvestingToWealth.com is a good domain name that will sell higher in the future? please i need your opinion. thanks


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