FAQ – Domain Names & Domain Brokers

Domain Brokers

What does a domain broker do?

Domain brokers offer a range of services that pertain to domain names. They can assist their clients with domain name valuation, buying or selling a domain, or managing a portfolio of domains. Some domain brokers also offer legal services to their clients.

The VPN.com team of brokers is capable to meet the needs of nearly any client, from small businesses to enterprise corporations and career investors. Additionally, our in house legal team are comprised of the industry’s top IP and trademark experts.

Learn more about what a domain broker does in this article.

How much do domain brokers charge?

Domain brokers typically charge a commission fee of 10-20%, sometimes with an upfront fee to secure their service. Regardless of the pricing structure your domain broker uses, ensure that it’s transparent. Never trust a broker that won’t reveal exactly how they are going to bill you.

For reference, VPN.com brokers don’t require any upfront costs and never charge more than 15% commission. That means you won’t pay anything until your transaction is completed successfully.

Should I use a domain broker?

Yes. The advantages of using domain broker generally outweigh any financial costs or perceived disadvantages. The only costs of using most reputable brokers is a modest commission fee that’s only charged once the domain transaction is completed successfully. Typically the financial gain/savings exceeds any commission paid. 

You can read more about whether or not you should use a domain broker here.

Is a domain broker worth it?

Whether you’re buying or selling, working with a domain broker is usually worth it. There are rare situations where you may have ample market knowledge and the skills to negotiate a deal on your own, but the average individual will benefit from a broker for any domain that requires negotiating. Similar to a real estate agent negotiating the sale or purchase of a home, a domain broker can often get you a much better deal than you could have on your own.

Who is the best domain broker?

The best broker for you will have extensive knowledge of your market, a widespread network of buyers and sellers, and an aptitude for swift negotiation. These are a few of the best domain brokers to consider:

  • GoDaddy is the best broker for inexpensive, readily available domain names.
  • VPN.com is the best broker for premium, six to eight figure domain names.
  • Buckley Media is the best broker for new businesses in assistance of brand building.
How does GoDaddy domain broker service work?

The GoDaddy domain broker service works by attempting to buy a domain name on your behalf. This starts from the initial process of finding the domain name and evaluating its price, and concludes with negotiations and a successful sale. However, the GoDaddy domain broker service includes a hefty up-front fee and many people have complained that the process lacks transparency. When it comes to domain brokers, a dedicated brokerage such as VPN.com will often produce better results

Domain Names

What is the best place to get a domain name?

The best place to get a domain name is from a reputable, trustworthy registrar (a business that sells the lease rights to domain names). If this is an option, then you’ll be able to get your domain name and a variety of value-added features for a very low cost. However, this isn’t an option if someone already has the lease rights to the domain name that you’re looking for. In this case, you’ll need to go hunting for the current owner or hire a domain broker to find the domain name for you.

How do I find the value of my domain?

One of the quirks of the domain name industry is the fact that there’s no final authority on the value of domain names. As a result, there’s no singular place you can go to that will tell you the permanent, unchanging value of your domain.

However, experienced brokers can valuate your domain name based on current market factors, the domain’s intrinsic value, the state of your website, and more. Remember that while broker’s valuation is typically reliable, it doesn’t signify the exact amount a domain will be bought or sold for. For instance, a house valued at $200,000 will often sell for more or less after negotiations between the buying and selling parties. The same is true of domain names. 

The purpose of a valuation is to give you an idea of the current market value of a domain. If you’re interested in finding out how much a domain is worth, reach out to one of our VPN.com brokers for a free domain appraisal.

How much should a domain name cost?

Depending on factors like how short and versatile a domain name is, it’s possible to justify an extremely broad range of costs. VPN.com, for instance, is a million-dollar domain name on account of the quality of the acronym and how memorable it is. Not only is it easy to remember, but it also has incredible generic value thanks to the overlap with the VPN (virtual private network) industry.

That said, our domain name isn’t even the most valuable one that exists. Many domain names have sold for much more, such as when Facebook purchased fb.com for more than eight million dollars. On the other hand, most premium domain names have a much more modest value in the thousands or tens of thousands. Not to mention that subpremium domain names tend to have little value, and most domain names in general aren’t worth the annual renewal fee.

How much is too much for a domain?

Domain names have a remarkably wide valuation range, with most being effectively worthless and some commanding million-dollar price tags. In general, there is no such thing as a price ceiling that a domain name cannot potentially justify crossing. When it comes to deciding whether a domain name’s price is too much, you need to evaluate what it means to you and to the success of your website. While it’s essential that you keep a maximum price in mind when shopping for a domain name, you’ll need to set this price on a case-by-case basis. A domain brokerage can help in this function, thanks to their professional domain valuation services.

What is the most expensive website?

The answer to the question of “what’s the most expensive website” varies by interpretation; the most expensive website deal in history was VacationRentals, which sold for $35 million in 2007. However, Gannet Co. Inc reported the value of their website, cars.com at $872 million for tax purposes. Likewise, the most valuable domain name ever sold was privatejet.com, which sold for more than $30 million in 2012.

How do I see who owns a domain?

In general, it’s easy to see who owns a domain name by using a WHOIS registry. All domain name registrars upload the key identifying information of a person in these registries, including their contact information. The WHOIS registry is a valuable resource if you’re trying to buy a domain name that someone already owns.

However, some domain name owners will opt to pay to hide their information from the public. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to be contacted, but it does make finding the domain owner more complicated. If you can’t find the owner of a domain you’re interested in, reaching out to a broker is typically your best option.

How do I get a domain name?

The way you get a domain name depends on the current status of a domain. If no one possesses the lease rights to it, it’s as simple as paying a registrar for the right to lease the domain name. If someone is already leasing the domain name, it’s much more complicated. You’ll need to purchase the leasing rights to the domain name from the current holder. Finding the holder, determining their attachment to the domain, assessing its value, and negotiating with them can be a difficult, expensive, and time-consuming process. For the best results, you should almost always reach out to domain experts such as the brokerage team at VPN.com.

How do I buy a domain name that is taken?

Buying a domain name that someone has already taken might be simple, or it might be impossible. If the current registrant is using the domain name and has no interest in selling, you’re out of options. Otherwise, you can use the Whois registry or explore the major domain sale websites in an attempt to contact the current owner. The surest way to buy a domain that’s taken is to reach out to a domain brokerage with the connections and industry knowledge to contact and negotiate with the domain owner.

What if a domain name is taken but not used?

If a domain name is taken but no one is using it, that means that the current holder is parking the domain. Typically, there are two reasons for someone to park a domain. First, because they intend to use it for a website, but haven’t started yet. Second, because they’re only holding onto the domain name as an investment and intend to resell it for a profit.

In either case, you have good chances of being able to buy it at a fair price. That said, the buying process can be quite complex and it’s almost always advisable to hire a domain broker to buy it for you. They’ll be able to find the owner, create a buying strategy, and negotiate from an advantageous position thanks to anonymity and years of industry experience.

Find out more about what to do if a domain name you’re interested in is taken in this article.

Does GoDaddy own my domain name?

While you might lease your domain name through GoDaddy, they don’t actually own the domain name. However, you don’t own your domain name either. As the registrant, you own the right to use your domain name for the duration of your lease. GoDaddy is one of many organizations called registrars, which manage domains from a commercial perspective. These registrars handle marketing, relations with the public, and added-value services such as web hosting, but they do not own your domain name. Rather, ICANN and a worldwide network of registries own and maintain all domain names.

Who owns a domain?

When someone reaches out to a registrar such as GoDaddy to purchase a domain name, they don’t actually become the owner of that domain. Rather, they become the registrant – the person who holds the lease for use of the domain name. Technically, no individual can permanently own a domain name, and the ownership of all domain names goes back to the domain name registries and ICANN. This registry-registrar-registrant relationship is the foundation of the domain name ecosystem.

How do I sell a domain name?

The process of selling a domain name starts with an interested person contacting you and making an offer. They might do this by finding you through the WHOIS registry or through listings you’ve made on marketplace websites. Interest in domain names is higher than ever, and websites that operate with domain names typically offer marketplaces where you can list your domain name for sale.

After initial contact, you and the prospective buyer will typically enter a period of negotiations over the price. If you come to agreement, the final step is to find an escrow service that will guarantee the transaction.

For a hands off selling experience, you can use the service of a domain broker for promotion, negotiations, and escrow services.

How fast do domains sell?

The speed at which a domain name sells is hard to predict as it relies on market interest, the difficulty of the negotiation, and other factors. A domain name might sell in a few weeks, several months, or longer. It depends on the ability of your broker to find suitable buyers and how willing you are to wait on the right deal.

For reference, at VPN.com we are confident we can sell most domains in less than 90 days.

How can I sell my domain fast?

When you’re selling a domain name, the most important thing to be is patient. Waiting for the right buyer might take months, years, or decades, but the annual upkeep cost is low and ROI can be astronomical. However, it is possible to sell a domain name fast through premium pricing and auction-style selling. In this case, you’re not targeting the ideal customer who wants to use your domain name for themselves. Rather, you want to sell to an investor who collects domain names with the intent of flipping them at a high profit later. By running an online auction for your domain name, you can identify the price the market will bear right now and sell faster.

Where can I buy the cheapest domain?

Many registrars offer extraordinarily cheap domains that use unpopular top-level domains, such as .biz. Additionally, registrars such as GoDaddy frequently advertise promotions such as domains for 99 cents a year. NameCheap is another registrar that has readily available, inexpensive domains for sale.

Does a domain name expire?

Domain names do not expire in the sense that they cease to exist or become inaccessible. However, your right to use a domain name is always based on a temporary lease rather than permanent ownership. Once your current period expires, you need to pay to extend your lease or else you’ll lose the domain.

While some registrars offer extremely long leasing periods such as a decade or even a century, this isn’t actually how it works. Rather, you still have one-year leasing periods, but the registrar automatically pays the lease for you. If you take out an extended lease with a registrar and that registrar goes defunct, you’ll lose all but the current year’s leasing periods.

Find out more about how to register a domain for as long as possible in this article.

How do you negotiate a domain?

Succeeding in your domain name negotiations starts long before the actual negotiations begin. You need to go into the negotiations from a position of knowledge, with an accurate evaluation of the domain name’s price. Then, you need to be prepared for what the client is likely to ask for and consider whether they might try to upsell you. Finally, it’s necessary to have a maximum price threshold which you’re willing to reach but will not cross.

Once you have this strategy worked out, domain name negotiation isn’t fundamentally different from other types of negotiation. However, it can be difficult to negotiate if you’re not familiar with domain names and can’t defend what you believe the correct value is. This is why it’s almost always a smart move to outsource your domain negotiations to a domain broker.

Is domain flipping hard?

Domain flipping can be easy if you already have a valuable domain that people want, but it’s often difficult. This is because it can take a long time for the right buyer to find you. Even then, it’s necessary to agree to a price during negotiations. Flipping a single domain is essentially a matter of patience, but making a living by investing in domain names is highly difficult. If you have a few domain names you’re interested in selling, the easiest and best way to do so is generally to work with a premium domain brokerage such as VPN.com.

Premium Domain Names

What is a premium domain?

Premium domain names are short, brandable, and typically have a .com extension. Similar to a storefront on a crowded thoroughfare, premium domains allow businesses to get their website in front of as many Internet users as possible. Examples of premium domains are cars.com, hotels.com, insurance.com, and the domain this website is hosted on, VPN.com.

It’s important to note that premium domains are priced to reflect the value they bring to a website, and as a result are the most expensive domains available.

Learn more about what a premium domain is in this article.

How do you know if a domain is premium?

The best way to know if a domain is premium is by asking a domain name expert, such as a member of the VPN.com team. Assessing the value of a domain name requires a combination of experience-based skills that are hard for someone outside the industry to emulate. However, you can generally trust that a domain is premium if it has a .com extension and a very concise, memorable, brand-worthy name.

How do I sell a premium domain name?

There are many ways that you can sell a premium domain name. If your information is available to the public on the WHOIS registries, you might be able to simply wait until a customer searches you out on their own.

However, you’ll have greater success selling if you’re more proactive. Many domain name websites offer marketplaces where you can list your domain names for sale, and it’s possible to sell by auction as well. Consulting a domain brokerage can help you find the best way forward and increase your chances of making a successful sale at a fair price.

If you’re interested in selling your premium domain, fill out this form to get in touch with one of VPN.com’s world-class brokers.

Should you buy a premium domain?

If your budget allows, you should almost always buy a premium domain for your website. Premium domains are memorable, convey a sense of trustworthiness, and will help you gain more traffic and reach a wider audience. While there are exceptions, premium domains are almost always the best choice for a website.

How much should I pay for a premium domain name?

It can be very difficult to determine who much you should pay for a premium domain name. We typically define a premium domain as one valued at more than $10,000, but many domains sell for six or even eight figures. In fact, VPN.com was a million-dollar domain when it was purchased in 2018.

To get a premium domain for the best value, it’s recommended to use a reliable, experienced broker. They will make sure you don’t pay over market value and will handle the negotiations on your behalf.

Why are premium domains so expensive?

Premium domains are expensive for the simple reason that they work. “Premium domain” is not a formal designation, but the informal recognition that a domain name has the qualities that will help a website succeed. There are many evidence-based ways that a premium domain name makes a difference, such as the memorability and trustworthiness value of the .com top-level domain. Additionally, premium domains are catchy, concise, and highly brandable in a way that will make them an asset to your company.

Premium domains derive their value from the price that webmasters around the world are willing to pay for them.

Why are .com domains so expensive?

The reason that .com domains are so expensive is that they’re proven to get better results than all other domain suffixes. Widespread use has made them the most familiar top-level domain around the world, which makes .com domains more memorable and reliable.

People often misremember domain names while looking for a website they heard about or saw advertised, and using a non-.com domain increases this likelihood. Furthermore, the higher price of .com domain names drives away the scammers who pollute cheaper domains, such as .biz. While alternative top-level domains can be great choices in specific cases, .com is most worthwhile extension for the majority of websites.

Who owns premium domain names?

Only ICANN, the international body that governs domain names, actually owns domain names. Companies such as BlueHost and GoDaddy offer domain names to the public as middlemen, but they don’t own the domains; they simply act as registrars that manage the commercial side of the domain name system.

When you lease a domain name, you don’t own it; rather, you possess the right to use it as long as you operate it in good faith and make your annual payments. As for leasing, though, many people from all walks of life own premium domain names, from webmasters to investors.

How do I find my premium domain name?

The first step to finding your premium domain name is choosing a registrar and seeing if they offer it. If no one has claimed your domain name, then you can buy the right to use the domain name. However, premium domain names are a highly competitive field and investors hold many of them. When someone already owns your premium domain name, you’ll need to find them on your own.

First, you should check the WHOIS database. It contains information such as name and email address, and with luck you’ll find the owner. Otherwise, try going to the domain you want to buy and see if there are any instructions on buying it. If you still can’t find the owner, then reach out to a domain brokerage for more help. Domain brokers such as VPN.com have the connections to find aftermarket domain names that evade those who aren’t industry specialists.

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