We’re seeing innovation in domain sales

There are now lots of good options for selling your domain names through landing pages.

I’m getting optimistic about upstarts shaking up the business of selling domains.

GoDaddy currently dominates the domain name aftermarket. That won’t change; it has the power of both buyers and sellers in the market. If you’re selling your domains, you need to use GoDaddy. There’s also Sedo in a distant second. It’s a good company, moves some good domains (especially outside the U.S.), but doesn’t have the distribution that GoDaddy has. Sedo plays a vital role in the industry as the #2 by keeping GoDaddy honest and on its toes.

Both of these companies have built a market. Building a market is hard to do. Don’t gripe when they take 20% off the top of your domain sales. They deserve it for bringing buyers. (It’s fair to gripe about them for other things, though. GoDaddy’s domain listing system is borked, Sedo’s UI still needs updating. We need to keep these companies on their toes.)

It will be very difficult for any other company to come in at this point and create a true market of buyers and sellers. But there are some upstarts that are innovating in ways that will help domain investors.

Right now, there are two main ways your domains sell. One is that someone buys them through a marketplace or their registrar distribution network. The other is that someone visits your domain and buys it through whatever service you connect your landers to.

Uniregistry was doing some cool things with landers. Specifically, you could negotiate your own sales or send a lead to Uniregistry’s brokers. You can still negotiate on your own, but I’m disappointed that you no longer have full visibility into what Uni’s brokers are doing when you send your leads to them. And I wouldn’t bet on free self-brokering being around forever now that GoDaddy owns it.

What makes me optimistic is what smaller companies are doing.

First up is DAN.com. It has innovated in domain financing and payments. I’ve talked to several large domain investors who are doing a bang-up business selling domains on payment plans. Most people who buy domains on plans end up making all of the payments. Those that don’t tie up the domains for a short while, but the domain seller gets to keep the cash and the domain. I also like how DAN.com makes payments so easy for buyers. This is very important.

The other is SquadHelp. More than any other company, I think it is using data to iterate. Its new white label marketplace option has two things that I believe can significantly help domain sellers: remarketing to landing page visitors and 24/7 chat/phone support on landers. A lot is going on under the hood, which CEO Darpan Munjal explains on this week’s podcast.

Other small companies are doing their share, too. Efty has a different business model (pay as a SaaS service, no commissions) and DomainAgents brings both distribution and paid inquiries.

The net-net is that there are now lots of innovative options for selling domains through your landers. These service providers will never replicate the reach of the major marketplaces, but they can help you seamlessly sell your domains.

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