Go Daddy recently announced that it has bought Afternic, a specialist in aftermarket domain sales. Aftermarket domains sales or the reselling of domain names that are already owned can be bewildering and intimidating to those seeking domain names that are already taken but can be bought for a price from others. The domain aftermarket is sizeable, a large number of generic domains names that offer ‘marketing benefits’ and ‘desirability’ are registered by domain warehouses, or resellers. So what should you to if the domain name you want for your business is taken? Who owns all of these names, and should you ever buy one for a premium?
With over150 million names already in use, there is a fair chance that someone else may have already have registered your favorite. First you have to find the current owner, using Domain Tools or other lookup functions available on the net. Ask if the domain name is for sale, but in order to maintain leverage don’t make any offers.
Domain valuation is not an exact science. Most things are worth whatever someone is willing to pay. Many factors go into the intrinsic value of a domain, including length of the URL, industry and branding considerations, search history, and potential buyer competition. Think about the potential value of the name to you, and the price they are asking. Then decide whether you want to negotiate by yourself, or whether you should consider an intermediary, a domain broker.
A broker can give you an informed opinion about the likely range of values and tell you a realistic price. You should do the same homework on choosing a broker as you would with any prospective provider. Expect to pay a fee and ask what it might be. A broker might be the best way to go for those who are too emotionally involved or need a true sense of what the URL is worth. (If the price is too high, you can try to work with the domain name owner to agree on a lease or “lease-to-own” deal for the domain name. )
Once you have a deal, you need to be sure your money is safe until the domain you bought is securely moved to your hosting account. There are many escrow payment services that won’t release funds until you confirm that you got what you paid for, but an expert broker will know the best way to handle the transaction, including the critical technical aspects of being sure the domain is transferred properly and is really all yours, irrevocably, before the money changes hands.
The faster you fund the account the better chance you have of the seller not being able to back out. Remember that many domain moguls are often not reputable – so you should be careful.
Every business needs a good domain name. If the one you want is not available — don’t fret. It might be for a price.