Domain name investors (domainers) buy and sell domains. They register new domain names and buy existing ones that might be undervalued and can be resold for a higher price. Thousands of existing domain names are sold each week for anything ranging from $10 to over $1,000,000.
Before you stake your claim as a domainer, you need to have something to sell! Below let’s look at three main ways you can get started in domaining and build your domain inventory.
Get Creative with Unregistered Domain Names
You’ll sometimes hear domainers say they are “hand registering” domain names. This means they are registering domain names that no one else has registered and are currently available.
It might be surprising that you can register available domain names and make a profit. With nearly 130 million .com domains registered, it can be a challenge to find a good domain name that isn’t already registered.
Still, great domain names are registered every day. However, the trick is that they aren’t always worth lots of money right away. Hand registering domain names is a long-term investment strategy.
Tip: follow trends to look for emerging opportunities. Since new registrations cost very little, you can spread your investment across lots of new ideas and see which ones play out.
Here’s an example of a successful hand registration. The day after the Brexit vote, when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, someone registered Brexit24.com. They just sold it in October for $1,500. That’s a 150x return in just a few months!
It’s unusual to sell a hand registered domain name this quickly. Let’s consider two other types of domain name inventory boosters.
Pick Up Expired Domain Names
Tens of thousands of domain names expire every day and become available for registration by someone else. The good ones never make it to the point that you can hand register them. Instead, expired domain services snap them up.
Some of the more popular expired domain catchers are NameJet, SnapNames and DropCatch.com. Each of these services lets you place an order for an expiring domain name and then they will try to capture the name the moment it becomes available.
Pricing varies. Expect to pay at least $59 to buy an expired domain through one of these services. Sometimes more than one person places an order for the same domain name. If that happens, you’ll have to battle it out in an auction.
Compared to hand registering domain names, it’s more expensive to buy expired domain names. However, expired domains may result in faster resales. Some of the expired domain names you buy have already been registered for 20+ years, so they are usually higher quality.
Head to the Aftermarket
The final way to build your inventory of domain names is to buy a domain in what domainers call the aftermarket. This just refers to buying domain names that are already registered.
It’s usually the most expensive way to build your domain name collection, but it can also give you the greatest returns.
The easiest way to buy domain names in the aftermarket is to find domain names that have been listed for sale on sites like Afternic and Sedo. Many of these domain names have a fixed price. Other domain names will require you to submit an offer and negotiate a price.
You can also contact owners of domain names that aren’t listed for sale and see if you can convince them to sell the domain name. This takes more elbow grease, but it can be the best opportunity to quickly flip a domain name for profit. Many people don’t bother trying to buy domains that aren’t already listed for sale.
You need to be savvy when it comes to the aftermarket. Look for domain names that may be underpriced. It’s best to focus on niches that you know a lot about, so you can spot domains that have the potential to sell for a lot more money than the current seller is seeking.
Get started now
Most domainers get their start by hand registering domain names. It’s cheap and easy. Then they move up to expired domain names. Once they have some success with domaining, they add aftermarket domain names to their portfolio.
Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.