Guest Post by Kevin Frost
If you’re like many internet entrepreneurs, you probably have a few extra domain names lying around that you’re not actually using– domains from defunct websites, website ideas that never came to be, or tracking domains used in advertising campaigns. Like forgotten treasures uncovered in the attic, your unused domain names can be a great way to earn a little extra money online.
Selling your unused domain names can be one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make money online: there’s no expenditure required beyond a few bucks for registration fees, and the only work required is a bit of research and setting up a few accounts. Let me walk you through the process.
As they say, every mother finds her child beautiful, but in order to sell for a good price your domain names need to appeal to others as well. Here are some tricks to find out if your domain name is trash or treasure:
1. Estibot.com will give you a free automated appraisal based upon several common metrics. For example, Estibot’s report values the domain for my site MakingMoneyOnline.com at $30,000 – not too shabby!
2. Use Google’s Keyword Suggestion Tool to determine if people are searching for the keywords in your domain, and how much advertisers are willing to pay for a single visitor in that space. Anything over 1,000 exact match searches and at least $0.50 per visitor is starting to be interesting, though more is better. “Making money online” gets nearly 50,000 exact match searches a month, with each vistor worth $2.66 on average.
3. Check to see if similar domains are already taken. NameStation will let you check almost 40 popular domain extensions in a single query. If you own the .com and most other extensions are taken, your name is likely valuable. NameStation finds “Making Money Online” regisered in 22 extensions and available in 16 (mostly non-English speaking country extensions).
Even if the results from the above research isn’t looking good, you may still want to try putting the domain up for sale until your existing registration period runs out. You never know, someone may find a swan in your ugly duckling.
Avoid paying a listing fee to sell your domains – the most popular marketplaces will only charge you a commision if they are successful selling your domain name. I recommend creating an account and listing your domain for sale at three of the largest domain marketplaces:
1. Sedo.com – the largest domain name marketplace with over 10 million listings, Sedo sells thousands of domains each month, and charges a 10% commission if they sell your domain.
2. GoDaddy Auctions – GoDaddy is the most popular domain registrar in the world, so it makes sense to go where the buyers are. A standard listing costs $4.99/ yr. for membership plus a 5-7% commission fee.
3. The AfternicDLS will let you sell your domains at popular domain auction site Afternic.com, as well as several partner websites across the web. Membership costs $19.95 per year, plus a commission fee of 10-20%.
Everyone’s heard of blockbuster paydays like the $3 million sale of Vodka.com, or Fund.com for $10 million. Most domain names aren’t worth a fraction of that amount. The average domain sold on marketplaces like Sedo or Afternic goes for about $1,500 – $2,000. Unless you own a highly-searched one or two-word dot-com domain, you can probably expect to earn anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand for each of your domains. But hey– it’s easy money, and a heck of a lot better than the zero dollars you get if you let your valuable domains expire..
Kevin Frost is an experienced domain name investor and broker who writes regular articles on domain name investing at the site Making Money Online.