Successful domain investing might be simplified as
  • Acquire domain names that people will want.
  • Price them correctly.
  • Get the names noticed by potential purchasers.
  • Effectively negotiate sales.
In this article, intended mainly for those relatively new to the field, I look at the multiple ways that a domain name may be found by a potential purchaser.

The Lander

Many domain names are found through the lander. Someone enters a name they want into a browser, including the desired extension(s), to see if the name is in use or available.

A variety of lander types can be set up at the main marketplaces, or through subscription services, or you can create and host your own. In a future post we will look at issues related to the design of effective landers.

After the lander is created, the DNS settings must be adjusted to direct users to the lander. That is done at the registrar where your domain name is registered.

If your lander also has monetized parking links, make sure that ad blockers are not making the lander appear blank.


Traditionally, many would query the WHOIS record in order to get contact information for the domain name owner. At one time this was a primary way for contacting domain name owners.

Since GDPR, and as a response to harvesting and spamming of WHOIS data, many choose to make their information private. Views seem split among domain investors on whether that cuts off a significant number of domain queries. A NamePros Blog article looked at the issue of the impact of privacy and WHOIS display.

Although ICANN rules require that accurate contact information be included in the WHOIS record, the various fields allow freedom to include some sort of message that the domain name is for sale, and that is done by some domain sellers.

One tip I learned in researching this article, is that at one registrar, at least, you can use partial privacy. As Stub explains, you can set that to show the contact email for purchase, without it being in a field that is harvested by spammers.

Major Marketplaces

Some users will search for domains by going to one or more of the major marketplaces such as Afternic, Dan, Sedo and Uniregistry. Therefore, it is important to get your names listed on at least one of the marketplaces, or ideally at multiple places.

Since the marketplaces usually have agents or brokers, this will also bring your domain name potentially into view by those using an agent to secure a domain name.

Dofo now consolidates names listed at any of the major marketplaces, as well as many of the smaller registrar marketplaces. In the future, more end users may search for domain names via Dofo, that conveniently includes links to the for-sale listings.

Registration Stream

The two largest marketplaces, Afternic and Sedo, each have their own set of registrar partners in a premium network. Read the requirements to see if your names qualify. It depends on both the extension. and where the name is registered. This registration stream will significantly increase the number of eyeballs that see your name. You will need to set a buy-it-now price, and opt-in to fast transfer, to get this enhanced network coverage.

The registration stream is important because many end users start their domain search at a registrar. Also, some registrars will suggest similar available names during searches, so you may reach those who do not exactly guess your name.

Brandable Marketplaces

The brandable marketplaces, such as BrandBucket, BrandDo, Brandaisy, BrandPa, BrandRoot, Catchy, Namerific, SquadHelp and others, are searched by potential clients already motivated to buy a business name. They also present names in a more visually engaging manner.

In general, the brandable places require listing exclusivity, so you can not use them in conjunction with many of the other methods. Some domain investors do not use them for this reason.


Of course the most obvious way to get your name noticed is to tell people about it in outbound! There have been a number of NamePros Blog articles on the topic of effective outbound, such as the series that James Iles did with Mike Robertson: Part 1 – Basics | Part 2 – Finding Buyers | Part 3 – Making Contact | Part 4 – Negotiation.

Social Media

While some would consider it a form of outbound, making the availability of your domain name known on social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter is a bit different.

It is important to not overdo this. Your social media presence should not look like an advertising channel. Social media promotion works best if you interact with people in the sectors represented by your domain names. Some find that answering domain name and branding related questions on Quora helps build connections.

Another way to have impact on social media is to have such an engaging media presence or presentation for a specific name that it will get shared as interesting content.

Your Site and Contacts

Whether maintaining your own domain name sales website is worth the expense and effort is a topic unto itself. Your own website does provide another way that your domain names may get noticed, and without the competition from other domain names. It probably is most worthwhile for those with large portfolios and regular sales, particularly if specialized in a few sectors.

If your site can become highly ranked for searches involving naming and branding, even if only for certain topics, it can make a significant difference in the visibility of your domain names.

Through Brokers and Naming Experts

A number of high-value domain names are purchased with the assistance of buyer brokers, and that represents another way that your domain name may be found. It is important to be selective and positive in your interactions with brokers.

In addition, maintaining connections with individuals and businesses involved in providing naming consultation can yield benefits down the road. Those who hold domain names suitable for marketing campaigns should try to foster relationships with marketing professionals.

Through Auctions

High profile auctions, such as the NamesCon auction or Sedo theme auctions, clearly get your names in front of a much larger audience. The challenge is to get your domain names accepted.

Listing on GoDaddy auctions reaches a mix of domainer and end user potential buyers.

Flippa can be an effective place to sell some types of names, with or without an associated website.

Online Advertising and Other Promotion

I don’t think that many individual domain name sellers employ online advertising, but it may warrant consideration for some types of names.

As well as online advertising, it is possible to promote your names in other ways, such as through mail marketing, trade shows, etc. Domain names in a particular sector or geographic region are most likely to make this technique worthwhile.

Request Responses

The request thread here on NamePros regularly has requests for names, sometimes at retail prices. Replying to these requests is a way to get your matching names noticed.

Other Methods

I hope that many readers will respond in the comments section, indicating their own experience. What methods do your think are most important? What unique approach resulted in one of your names being noticed by the buyer? Share ideas that you plan to try in the future.

I do not have associations with any of the companies listed in this article, nor am I specifically endorsing or promoting them.
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.


Upgraded Member
Thanks Bob for another excellent article.

Like usual, you seem to be reading my mind about topics I'm working on. So my question to you is have you been tested recently for your mind reading abilities?

Or, it could simply be because we're both from Canada - ha probably not.

Btw, this isn't just for those "relatively new to the field" aka newbies.

You pointed out several areas that I've used previously way back in the old days of domaining but have since forgotten about and I'll need to do a refresher and try again.

For example, I sold quite a few domains on Afternic a long time ago before they shut down and did the restart. I'll need to get going again with them. My issue with them is that they deleted all my sales records and I've had a mental block about starting over since they can't recover it.

Another example is Flippa. Again I've sold several domains there but stopped when the prices became far too much.

Right now, I'm working on or more precisely developing a completely different way to promote my portfolio. I'm a huge fan of trying to always kill two birds with one stone.

BBQ Names

Established Member
When you list a domain with sedo, after nic or anyone that works on commission how do they get paid if your website has your phone # in the site and you are contacted directly from a buyer and sell the name directly to the buyer.

If your sale is through your own page, there is no commission due in my understanding. (Make sure you delete your listing with them after closing your sale, or letting a name expire)


Top Contributor
An excellent compilation and, explanation of the various methodologies employed in the pursuit of a domain name's sale.

We mostly relied on " type-in-traffic", that is, someone looking for the name and and typing 'er in and arriving at a sales lander.

And a few were likely the results of searching WHOIS data, back when we had domain names with data details public.

Excellent article Bob!
Sorry for being a bit late getting back to responding to a few things.
Like usual, you seem to be reading my mind about topics I'm working on. So my question to you is have you been tested recently for your mind reading abilities? Or, it could simply be because we're both from Canada - ha probably not.
I assure you my mind reading abilities are nonexistent, sometimes even for my own mind! :xf.grin: But maybe we Canadians instinctively think similarly! It is great that there are so many Canadians so actively engaged on NamePros!

Another example is Flippa. Again I've sold several domains there but stopped when the prices became far too much.
I have not tried Flippa personally, and wish their pricing was more competitive like it used to be. I wanted to include them, as I do see some names selling for good amounts there. Probably it is best for names or sites that work well for those into monetized development.

I'm working on or more precisely developing a completely different way to promote my portfolio.
Interesting, can't wait until the right time to tell us more!

If your sale is through your own page, there is no commission due in my understanding.
That is my understanding too. Thanks for answering @Elsupremo question. The one addition I would make, is to read carefully the ToS of everywhere one lists. For example, if I am recalling correctly names listed at the NamesCon Auction, if they do not sell at auction, do still have commissions due even if sold elsewhere for some extended period. Supposedly this is because the publicity of the auction may have helped them sell elsewhere.

do not forget Namepros signature...
Excellent suggestion I had overlooked including. Thank you. I think some also find promoting their names in their email signature, or social media profile, may help, as you never know who knows who. You must, of course, limit this to your best few names.

Thank you very much for all the suggestions and comments everyone, and best wishes for getting those great names noticed!