Want to sell a domain name? Keep your WHOIS public

A number of startup founders I know own domain names, some are for their business, others they bought years ago for ideas they had that never left the ground. I was recently talking with a founder in SF who said she wished someone would buy some of her domains since many of them aren’t being used and have no relevance to her brand.

The first question I asked was, “Is your WHOIS info public or private?” It turned-out that the WHOIS was private and the domains she wanted to sell weren’t listed on any marketplaces.

It’s a common mistake I see amongst people that don’t spend much time in the domain world and bought names years ago and have kept the WHOIS information private. While it might make sense to keep your WHOIS information private if you’re planning on using the domain for a business idea that you might not want people to know about.

The problem is, if you move on and years later want to sell the domain, you need to remember to turn off WHOIS privacy. When a potential buyer sees private WHOIS the assumption usually is – this domain is not for sale. Couple this with the domain not being listed on any of the popular marketplaces and you shouldn’t be surprised that potential buyers don’t come knocking.

So if you bought a bunch of domains years ago and you want to have the best chance of selling some that are just sitting around there’s an easy way to accelerate the process.

There is no cost to list domains for sale on marketplaces like these and you don’t even have to come up with a price, they’ll just send inbound offers to you. If you want to go the distance you can even update the DNS settings to forward to a “For Sale” page that companies like Uniregistry will generate for free.

Sounds too easy? Well taking these steps are easy. The challenge and reality is, there’s a good chance your domains are junk. Sorry, I’m not trying to be mean but I am trying to be honest. Most people who randomly buy domains don’t end up buying domains with a ton of re-sale value.

That being said, there’s no way to know until you actually make it easy for a buyer to know the domain is for sale. If a year goes by and you don’t get a single bite, the domain might not have a ton of resale value.

So dust off those domains sitting in your registrar account and let the world know you actually are open to selling them, and you might just find yourself selling one or two of them.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton