Selling and Transferring Domains

Domains for sale, make an offer?

Over the years I have collected several domain names.  Most of them were purchased for websites related to several businesses I manage.  Others were registered for potential clients who either decided they no longer wanted them or for some other reason which sounded good at the time.

A lot of them are names or variations of names.  Some of them were registered because of a typo and I held on to them.  At some point I decided that it was time to sell some of them which brings me to the post I’m writing today.

I’ve purchased stuff.  I’ve read stuff.  I’ve learned a few lessons the hard way and now I want to help visitors to my site, who may also be new to the whole domain buy and sell thing,  understand a little more about the process.  It certainly can’t hurt since I have a few domains for sell on the site as well.

Where to Buy or Sell?

There are lots of places on the web to buy and sell domains.  I’ve looked at a few and had several of my domains parked at Afternic.  There are a couple there now but I have moved most of them here.  I didn’t have any success there but you may.  Click here to see a list of domains for sale here. I found it easier to setup my own website for domain sales.  I’ll continue to randomly list some elsewhere just to see what turns.

One program I bought talked about selling domains on eBay.  That was some time ago and the author (I don’t recall the name) talked about setting up a separate account for your domain business.  I setup it up but didn’t actually use it until today.  That is when I found that the rules had changed.  Apparently, you get hit with stringent limits on the dollar amount you can sell.  I was limited to $500!  The domain I wanted to sell was significantly more so I had to request a limit increase based on my other seller account.  If I hadn’t had another active seller account with good feedback I would have only been able to sell inexpensive domains and I don’t have a lot of those in my inventory.

Now, one domain is all I am able to list until I can have the cap raised again.

Transferring Domains

Once you sell a domain, you have to transfer ownership to the buyer.  As a seller, you have to be very careful about making changes to your Whois information if you plan to sell a domain within 60 days.  A new domain can’t be transferred for 60 days nor can it be transferred again to another registrar for 60 days.

NOTE: A 60-day transfer restriction period applies when you register or transfer a domain name, update the registrant contact’s organization, or update the registrant contact’s first or last name and an organization is not listed. For more information, see ICANN’s Policy on Transfer of Registrations Between Registrars and our Domain Name Change of Registrant Agreement.

I have been bitten by this particular set of rules when trying to transfer one of my own domains to another registrar.  My information was current but I had updated the name on the account (because the registrar said I had to change from a first initial to a name.) When the time was up I moved 20+ domains to another registrar.

It’s very important to keep your contact information current, especially your email address.  The registrant/administrative contact email address on the WhoIs record is used to communicate with the domain owner.  Our domains with Dreamhost have private registration which is okay since we are the ones initiating the transfer when a sale occurs.

A lot of domain sellers use GoDaddy.  I’m not sure why except that I understand it’s easy to move a domain from one GoDaddy account to another and they don’t require an additional year registration.  Most registrars will require you to pay a one year registration when the domain is transferred.  The year is added to whatever time remains on the current registration.

 Private Registration and Locking/Unlocking Domains

If you’ve ever registered a domain and don’t have private registration, your information is public.  Even though it is illegal to use this information for marketing purposes, nobody seems to care because the snail mail, email and possibly phone calls will flow like syrup.

Private registration is a money maker for most registrars because they can charge a fee to put their information on the WhoIs record rather than show yours.  It can range from a few dollars a year to $12.00 or more, per year, per domain.  That’s more than you pay for the domain in a lot of cases. Currently Dreamhost and Epik don’t charge for private registration.

It’s a good idea to “lock” your domains so they can’t be transferred without being “unlocked”.  You also need a code which is used to verify that you want to transfer the domain to another registrar/owner.  All of this takes place via the email address on the WhoIs record.  The procedure varies by registrar but they are all similar.  Once you open an account, you can get instructions from them about transferring domains in and out of your account.

You’re buying a domain name, not a website, not hosting space, not email or any other extras.

We are selling domain names.  We are not selling a website, hosting space or email even though we may provide those services on request for an additional fee after the domain name is purchased and transferred to your account.  If we are for whatever reason, including an existing website, the fee will be disclosed and a backup of the WordPress site would be sent to you.  You would then have to have Backup Buddy to restore the site and setup new databases, etc. for use with the site.  Even though most of our domain names have been assigned to a website at one time or another, most have been taken down and the domains listed for sale.

This post isn’t intended to give step by step instructions to transfer a domain name, just general information to get you thinking about what’s involved if your considering buying a domain and haven’t done it before.  The people who know what they’re doing didn’t read this far…….

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