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What is a Domain Auction?
A domain can be list at an auction because either the owner list it, or the domain is going to expire and the registrar lists the expired domain for sale because they believe the domain to be valuable.
Why buy at a Domain Auction?
A domain auction can be a great way to find good deals on premium domains that would have otherwise been unavailable. You can use them to find domains that already have got some traffic.
For someone who has time and is flexible with domain name options, auctions are a great way to potentially get better deals. Asking prices at auction can vary, so they represent a good alternative to what might be available elsewhere and to going through domain sale websites.
Since people previously owned these valuable domain names, it is likely that they are indexed and so could be currently getting traffic from search engines.
Benefits of Domain Auctions
Buying through an auction can be a great option, depending on who is selling. The domain buyer might get a unique deal if the seller does not know the value of their premium domain name.
Bidding auctions for simple, short and catchy names are always useful and will likely cost more, while random sets of characters go for lesser values. The latter is great for someone starting a new website and online brand. For instance, websites that contain non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are becoming increasingly popular. A few years ago, many considered them as a string of letters.
Big companies may have algorithms or experts to assess value, but buying at an auction can provide more flexibility for domain buyers. Shopping at an auction or getting a broker involved could produce better results in the future with organic traffic, associated links and search engine optimization (SEO), but they will also likely take more time to acquire, depending on one's flexibility.
Starting with a New Website Domain
If a developer has a website that already gets more traffic than an unregistered domain, the increased views can vastly increase the site's popularity, especially in the beginning.
This potential benefit is lost with a new website, and the owner would have to start with other ways of getting organic traffic to the site like paid advertising, investing in SEO, or redirecting through other links. They could save this effort by going through the domain auctions and finding a domain that already had traffic, domain authority and backlinks.
Selling at Domain Auctions
Domain auctions can be a place for individuals to list upcoming domains for potential profit, not just the big companies. The open nature of auctions can be good for someone whose site would have expired if a hosting platform did not renew it. Of course, one can easily flip a domain they just bought.
As with any auction, there is always the risk that potential buyers will not bid on a domain as the seller hoped, but they can be a great way to make money by selling domains that may soon expire anyway.
How to Pick a Domain?
Thankfully, there are many metrics one can look at to assess the best domains and approach bidding on them. Some of these factors will be more transparent, such as the time it has been up, the amount of traffic, its associated links and how it has fared in prior ads or through previous SEO.
Many large companies provide these services to analyze domains, making the process even simpler. However, for someone without much experience, it may be worthwhile to shop via a broker. Even businesses that list statistics on web domains may use complex metrics.
Moreover, lots of sites are dedicated as platforms for domain auctions that will help to sift through the useless spam names. Considering how many thousands of sites are up for auction, this can save lots of time and provide a sense of certainty.
Should I Use a Broker?
Buyers should always consider the benefits and costs of using a broker.
A brokerage firm will contact sellers directly and be able to negotiate a price. This may mean an agent will pick up the phone and work it out with the domain owner on behalf of the client.
Websites that offer premium domain names will use this method, often in addition to having many domains that developers hold in waiting and then sell through a middleman. This is also how sites dedicated to domain sales work.
Like brokerage fees for other types of sales, brokerage for a domain will usually take a cut of the profits that the brokers themselves determine. Each person has to assess whether the amount of potential savings, not to mention added expertise and amount of time saved, outweigh the expenses.
Still, they may come across unforeseen or downright impossible deals otherwise in some cases. Individuals who purchase sites through an auction find that they tend to perform better in SEO results. Plus, the domains have that quality from the minute the broker sells them, which a buyer can factor into the cost analysis. There are many perks to buying through a domain auction for a savvy buyer.
Some online services sell expired domains for a fixed price. The benefit here is that you don't have to deal with placing bids in a bidding war with the highest bidder, and worry about the reserve price (minimum price). You find the domain, see the price, whip out your credit card and are done! Remember to use an escrow service if you don't have a broker.
Find Amazing Domains
DomCop lists all domains currently under auction along with 90+ metrics for every domain. It makes sure not a single valuable domain auction slips you by.
I spend hours every week combing through thousands of domain names to acquire brandable domain names for my site Nameperfection.com. Domcop is an essential tool for anyone who regularly acquires domains and I unreservedly recommend it for anyone acquiring domains for resale or reuse.