3 Reasons Why Your Domains Aren’t Selling

selling domain names
(Updated March 7, 2018)

Many people enter the domain industry thinking they can accumulate hand registered domains and turn them into quick cash.  Hell, I was one of those people.  Maybe you have had some luck with a few of your names but now you hit a dry spell.  No bites in weeks, or maybe months.  If you could just land another buyer, you’d be back on track to that fortune you’re hoping to make.  So let’s take a step back and see why your domain names aren’t selling.  Let me preface by stating this is all coming from my own, hands-on, personal experience.

Reason 1 – Your Domains Suck!

Alright, that’s a little harsh, and I’m typically a “sugar coat the difficult messages” kind of guy.  But we’re trying to be honest here, right?  Let me ask you this.  Did you do your homework on each of the domains you registered?  Did you look at the global monthly search volume to see if there are a decent amount of exact match searches?  Did you check Estibot for a value estimate to get a “feel” for the value of the name?  Did you do a Google search for the exact term to see if others are investing advertising dollars on these key terms?  Did you find websites based on the key terms that lead you to believe there is a market for this name?  While none of these in part or in whole is a conclusive formula, these are the basics.

If you haven’t done this, why not go back and do it now.  See which of your names score higher and put your effort in them.  Put your focus on where you will get the best bang for your buck.  Don’t hesitate to cut your loses.  Even if you don’t have ANY quality domains.  Start over if you need to, but don’t waste your time trying to sell names that no one wants to buy.

Reason 2 – You’re Not Trying Hard Enough!

Let’s assume your names are decent enough that you get past reason 1.  The next reason your domains aren’t selling is because you’re not trying hard enough.  This isn’t like Apple selling iPhones, people aren’t lining up to buy your domains.  If they are, I doubt you’d be reading a post with this title.  Unless you have incredible names, more than likely you are going to have to pursue the buyer as opposed to the buyer pursuing you.  Sure, it happens, but not as often as we’d all like.  You have to put some effort into it.  Get them on all the right venues, contact businesses in the market related to the name, find non-domain related forums on the term and build up some rapport, reach out to others who have experience selling similar names.  There are many ways, but you need to work to get your product out there.

Keep in mind, if you are suffering from Reason 1, even if you try hard, no amount of effort is going to pay off.  Especially in the long haul and you’ll be muddying the waters for when it comes time to sell quality names.

Reason 3 – You’re Not Good At Reason 2!

If your names are decent and you’re working hard to sell them, but you still can’t, then you’re not very good at selling domain names.   But fear not, as with anything, the more you try and fail the better you get.  You can shorten the learning curve by studying sales, reading books, following forums and blogs, and asking questions of more experienced forum members.

In my experience, these are the reasons I have found that domains don’t sell.  The good news is that you can act upon each one of these to make improvements and work smarter toward your ultimate goal.

15 Comments 3 Reasons Why Your Domains Aren’t Selling

  1. FloName

    …and the truth shall set you free! I couldn’t agree more with you on this one.

    Anyone starting out or struggling with the learning curve should read this post. You have to be willing to put in what you hope to take out from every domain name.

    Great post Sully!

    Reply
  2. Wallace

    Just wondering whether it’s harder to sell a brandable domain comparing with keyword domain which have real searches in Adword keyword tools?

    Reply
    1. Sully

      @Wallace – I would say “yes”, hands down. Although I have never tried to sell a brandable name. I just don’t know what info you would have to support the name. Why not use a name that would benefit you in key word searches? To be fair, I have some upcoming interviews with brandable end users that may help answer that question.

      Reply
  3. domains

    Good post and agree

    Take a look at all the successful domainers today and what they had shared.

    I think every domainer needs to put there ego inn check and realize how failing can lead to many successes. It opens your eyes and realize ok I have shit names. Took me close to 2 years to be a profitable domainer and reflecting my first year I was chasing this trend that trend and this name sounded cool.

    I don’t regret one bit. You learn and move forward. A lot of people can keep trying and learn from others. Or take the easy way and quit. A lot of people took the easy way out.

    Baby steps folks.

    Many other factors as well. The economic picture and a double dip recession is more likely. These are scary times. Even the big guys are nervous with ppc and big renewals.

    I’m cutting back and I would rather have 10 nice .com names with some type inn traffic then a wonderful branding type name in a weak extension.

    Good luck everyone but going be crazy times IMO.

    Reply
  4. John Humphrey

    I’m so easily discouraged when it comes to end user pitches. One angry response can set me back weeks. There’s always something else to work on!
    As for sucky domains, a metric I got from Rob Monster’s Epik blog has become the bare minimum for buying a new keyword domain: Estibot score of at least 500 exact match searches a month and a minimal $1 per click. (Alternately, exact match monthly X cost per click = greater than 500)
    But I have to admit, I love brandables. When I find an available domain that exact matches a startup idea of mine, I’m on it.

    Reply
  5. brandx59

    brandx59

    January 11th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    this is great to hear about all the big money being thrown around on domains.
    i own 100 domains that are with godaddy, about 30 are in the featured listings and they are all on afternic and buy domains, i also made a sales page for my domains on facebook. funny thing is i can’t seem to sell any, i sold 6 but just for the price of the name, then after godaddy takes the 15%, i lost money.
    i have them all on cash parking with godaddy and they seem to get some good looks, but they tell me that january, febuary and march are the big months for them, so i hope my luck will change.
    i don’t just pull the names out of thin air, i do alot of research on the trends and on all the new technology, but it seems like they all want the domains for $10.
    the ones that do get high bids, keep revolving around in the featured section, they never get cashed out. if that was me , i would take the money, puts a red flag up for me, that the bidders can’t pay.
    godaddy has a most active section were they sell expired domains and i understand they own most all of them, funny how NOW they get bids and go for anywhere from $3000 to 7000 and the original owner never could sell them, im sure thats a reason why they are expired.
    im not saying all my domains are good ones, but alot are good quality domains and are worth what they are listed for.
    i never had luck with winning the lottery or in las vegas and i really don’t see much difference here, i just wish they would give me a drink voucher or atleast a hotel room discount at these gambling casino’s they are running

    Reply
  6. @domains

    It isn’t always so easy to say why domains don’t sell. Sometimes I look at domains that did sell and can’t figure out why they did! A lot of the big reported sales that Mann and others make are on domains they acquired 6, 7, 8+ years ago, so you also have to be willing to wait on some names for the right buyer to come along. I think it’s a skill to be able to tell a quality name that someone might want, so part of judging your name is also a gut feel. I’ve had domains sell for low and mid 4 figures out of the blue that hadn’t had offers in years. Another example, you wouldn’t have sold many coin, crypto and blockchain domains in 2005 for very much, but now their time has come. If you see other names selling similar to ones you own that’s a good sign. If you aren’t sure about the quality of your domains, get some second opinions. Other reasons your domains might not be selling is that their time hasn’t come, the right buyer still has to come along, or the subject of your domain needs more time to become more mainstream. If you are sure your domains are good you have to be willing to keep the faith.

    Reply
    1. Mike Sullivan

      Great examples and definitely factors. Crypto domains are a good example of that. In my portfolio I always have domains that I expect to flip fairly quickly. Those are the ones I actively market.

      Reply
  7. Satyadeep singh

    How can i know which domain is good or which one bad?
    Can i see the google keyword search, or cpc, DA or PA or backlinks or age?
    Can you please describe….

    Reply
    1. Mike Sullivan

      @Stayadeep, Estibot and other tools with show you the CPC of a term. Knowing what’s good and bad is an art, but you can use tools and experience to help guide you. Also, if you have built a network, you could ask a trusted advisor for some input on the name. Hope that helps.

      Reply

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