information Liquidate Domain Names Or Not, That Is The Question

Spaceship Spaceship
Perhaps you have decided to reduce the size of your domain portfolio and retain only the better names. Or you are scaling down, as you have less interest or time to devote to domain investing. Possibly you simply have less confidence in certain sectors or niches, and want to get rid of names in those sectors.

A key question is whether to simply let domain names expire, or should you try to liquidate them to recover some or all of your invested funds.

Pro and Con

Much of the time it makes sense to at least try to recover the funds you have invested in the names. I mean some money is better than none, right? Maybe. But it will take time to try to liquidate names, and is it really worth the effort for the amount that you are likely to get? I look at some typical numbers in the following section.

TonyNames (@blogspotter), chooses not to liquidate names he plans to drop. He makes the point that sometimes names will sell retail during those last few weeks when you would be liquidating the name, and those occasional retail sales make up for what you would have made liquidating.

Here is an example I made up to investigate that point. Let’s say you have a name listed for $3500 retail and you estimate the annual retail sell-through rate (STR) at 1%. If the time that the name is off retail listings for wholesale liquidation is 30 days, that means that the lost retail opportunity is valued at $3500*0.01*(30/365), or $2.88.

Looking at the other side of the ledger, if we estimate that if the name sells wholesale it might fetch $40, and that the chance of that happening during the 30 day period is 10%. In this case it appears to be marginally worth selling wholesale, but that will evaporate if we consider the worth of our time, a topic covered in the next section.

Value For Your Time

Your time is worth money. Let’s say you are liquidating through an auction here at NamePros. There is time required to take the domain name down from retail marketplaces, preparing the auction listing to include the required and perhaps some optional information, managing the auction, and collecting payment, transferring the name, providing buyer feedback, etc.

I summarize this with some numbers in the following table. I estimated it would take 4 minutes total to go to several marketplaces and take down the retail listings, and about 8 minutes to start the auction thread. If you do a lot of auctions, and use a template, this can be less.

After a successful auction, you need to interact with the buyer, arrange for transfer of the name, close the auction thread, leave feedback, etc. I estimate this might require 10 minutes in total. Sure, it is sometimes less, but occasionally it takes longer if there is some issue with payment or transfer.

The typical line in the table suggests that it might add to 22 minutes total, and, if I value my time at $15/hr, that would be $5.50. I also included a minimum estimate, but it still would be $2.50 per name, and a maximum model, that comes in at $7.75.

But those figures are optimistic, as it is possible the name will not sell at all. While the time required will be less, it won’t be zero. At the same time, some of this time will need to be spent whether you liquidate or simply let the name expire.

Bottom line as I see it, if you only expect to make $5 to $10 from a sale, it is probably not worth the time to try to liquidate. However, if you have a quality name that is probably liquid and would sell for $50 to $200 or more, it is worth the effort.

Of course, if you don’t place a dollar figure on your time, and enjoy interacting with the community and prefer to see the name going to another investor, it makes total sense to liquidate, even if you only expect a few dollars per name.

It can also make sense if you are very efficient in your liquidation listing, for example listing many names at the same price and with the same conditions in a single listing.

Ways To Liquidate On NamePros

You might consider various options for liquidating names here on NamePros.
  • Bargain Bin: If willing to sell the name for $20 or less, an easy way to list is in the Bargain Bin. You can list multiple names together as a package, but keep in mind that package deals must also total $20 or less.
  • Fixed Price: If you are selling names above the bargain bin limit, or want to put a package of names together that will be higher than the limit, your best choice is Fixed Price.
  • Auction: Perhaps most visibility will be found through an auction. Even for names that will end up selling for more, generally you need to start low, often $1, to get the auction rolling. That means there is some risk that your name will sell for a very low price. Make sure you have included precise answers to the required elements such as payment method(s), starting bid, increment, and auction ending.
The NamePros Blog covered some time ago Optimizing NamePros Auctions. Things like effective titles will help your auction get traction, and using bumps or a link in your signature to help get your auctions noticed.

Note that while the majority of auctions are regular bid up for single names, you have considerable flexibility in NamePros auctions format. The NamePros Blog article Optimizing NamePros Auctions gives you some suggestions.

No matter the format you use to sell your names, make sure you have read the Rules of NamePros and are in compliance.

Other Ways To Liquidate

There are options for domain name liquidation outside of NamePros. Here are some of them:
  • The Retail Marketplaces: One method that does not take much time is to simply reduce the price to liquidation level where you currently have the name listed. Dan have a minimum listing price of $99. Afternic do not have a specific minimum listing price, as far as I know, but there is a minimum commission of $15. I believe that Sedo still have their no minimum fee in place.
  • The Registrar: Many registrars have associated marketplaces, and this can be a handy way to try to liquidate names. Commissions are often around the 10% level, but check the details for your registrar. Namecheap allow listings as low as $5, and at Dynadot you can list for as little as $1. Sav limits fixed-price listings to $10 and up, although auctions always start at $1. Porkbun listings need to be at least $20. One advantage of selling at your registrar marketplace is that, for names registered there, it is easy when the name sells as it is automatically transferred to the buyer. Sav, and now Dynadot, allow you to list names registered elsewhere – the buyer will pay the transfer fee, in addition to the cost of the domain name. Sav, Dynadot, GoDaddy and NameSilo, among others, allow you to use auction format if you wish. Sav have by far the lowest commissions of the registrar marketplaces.
  • DNWE: The Domain Name Wholesale Exchange, DNWE, is intended for selling names wholesale to other investors. You need to be approved as a domain investor to access the marketplace. DNWE no longer uses a subscription model, and anyone can list up to 12 names per day, with listings staying active for 30 days, or until sold. Sales are closed through Dan, and the seller pays a 12% commission. There is no listing fee. The minimum price is $99. DNWE also offer a Dutch Auction format, where the price counts down, but with the same minimum. A very few names are selected as curated names, and those names get a lot more attention. Typically their marketplace recently has about 5000 names for sale at any time. Because it is a closed marketplace not visible to retail buyers, one can keep your names listed retail while they are liquidated on DNWE. It is easy to relist once the 30 day listing expires.
  • SquadHelp Wholesale: Those with SquadHelp accounts have access to the SquadHelp wholesale marketplace. Note that names sold there must stay as SquadHelp listings for a certain period. SquadHelp also recently opened the option to sell a portfolio of names via their wholesale marketplace. If you are selling names that are listed at a brandable marketplace make sure that you are allowed by the terms of service of that marketplace.
  • Your Own Website: You may find it effective to liquidate names directly from your own website, particularly if you have a social media presence within the domain community.
  • eBay: Some sell, and buy, domain names on eBay. You can have fixed price, if desired with best offer option, or sell them in auction format. The day I checked there were about 8000 domain names listed for sale.
Liquidation Pricing

The recent NamePros Blog article on Minimum Domain Pricing for Profitability is not relevant for names that you have decided to liquidate. That article was concerned with, on average, the minimum retail prices needed to assure portfolio-wide profitability under different assumptions.

In the case of liquidations, you are seeking to recover some funds, and the key question is how are similar names being priced in the wholesale markets.

If wanting to check prices, it is helpful to use NameBio with just the wholesale venues, like GoDaddy Auctions and NameJet, selected. Keep in mind that buyers typically pay more in expired auctions compared to similar names in user auctions or fixed price sales. If you have a NameBio membership, you can also access sales at prices less than $100.

When using NameBio for pricing comparators, keep in mind that you can set a pattern, such as LLLL for 4-letter .com, and also a Date Range.

Here at NamePros, it is helpful to monitor auctions or fixed price sections for a period prior to listing your own names, so you get an idea of typical wholesale pricing and probability of a successful sale.

Building a positive Feedback rating is important should you want to later sell more valuable names, and one way to start is with some successful liquidations.

Those with access to the Domain Academy, the GoDaddy GoValue tool provides, for a list of names, both the GoDaddy Valuation estimate plus a wholesale price estimate, along with sales probabilities for both retail and wholesale. I am not sure the factors they consider, but the wholesale value is not simply a constant fraction of the retail estimate.

While not directly on the topic of liquidation, the NamePros Blog article Sell Retail or Wholesale or Both? covers points relevant to this topic.

I hope that readers will comment below on what they find to be effective when liquidating domain names.

Update Nov 5, 2023
Mention of NameLiquidate removed, as it was pointed out (see below) that NameLiquidate no longer accepts new listings.
Last edited:
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
The problem with liquidation is you will generally only sell the better domains.

If the domains you are offering are not decent quality, there is not likely to be a buyer at any price.

So you basically sell your better domains well below retail and are stuck with the lesser ones.

Also, there are other factors like liquidity. Not every format can be judged based on STR.

The higher quality the format, the higher the liquid value.

Formats like single word .com, LLL, CVCV, NNN, NNNN, etc. have a very high floor vs random "brands".

What is CVCV?
What is CVCV?
It's a (4) letter .COM in the following format -

Consonant / Vowel / Consonant / Vowel.

They are often pronounceable and make good brands. Because of that, they have a relatively high floor value.

I understand the point about being paid for your time.

However, it is almost impossible to quantify that in a field like this.

If I work a normal job it is easy to quantify because I get a paycheck on a set time period that shows the hours worked x hourly wage. You don't get paid if you don't work.

When you run your own business nothing is really guaranteed. In fact, most businesses will fail.

However, with domain investing I am still making money from work I put in years ago.

I put in much more work in the past than in the current market, but those hours are still paying off and likely will for some time.

How do you quantify that?

Also, when it comes to running your own business it often gives you invaluable experience that can't be immediately quantified as money in your bank account.


Agree. Domain name invest works as a passive income (outbound is not taken into account), and it doesn't interfere with your main business or full-time job where you spend most of your time.

In my opinion, Liquidate in this industry only exists in an exit or partial exit scenario. High cash flow rates don't apply in Domain name as opposed to stock investing or real estate investing, which by its very nature is exploited rather than liquid, higher liquidity means higher capital threshold requirements for buyers.

And the real way to reduce the inventory rate is to control the size and SEO.
@Bob Hawkes
Thanks, This is one great contribution to platform. Good one on liquidation.
How auctions on NP can be improved?