This weeks DNJournal mentions the sale of ULY.com on eBay for $1,699, which reminds me of a common question for domain name buyers: should you bother looking for domains on eBay?
First, let’s look at the positives. You can occasionally find a good deal on domains at eBay. ULY.com at $1,699 is a fairly good deal, and other domains have sold below market value. Another advantage is…well, I can’t think of any.
Now for the negatives. The first big drawback to buying domains on eBay is sorting through all of the crap. People post some aweful domains at crazy prices. Here are some listed right now:
Portfolio of Hurrican Rita domains $5,000,000
Why are people even paying the listing fees for these domains? Probably to get traffic to the domains. And what a pain to sort through all of this nonsense. Some of these names are decent, but not worth a fraction of the opening bid. The domains category on eBay is just a hodgepodge of domains with no categories. The good news is that at least you can sort by price 🙂
Another drawback to eBay is lack of an integrated escrow service. Afternic and Sedo have streamline escrow systems that make it easy to transfer domains without losing your money. A number of domain sales on eBay are never completed.
You also need to look out for tricks in eBay listings. I saw a decent domain today with a problem in the fine print: A $15 transfer charge. Registrant transfer fees all but disappeared when it became cheap and easy to transfer domains between registrars. If a registrar is charging a registrant change fee, transfer your domains NOW. If the seller is charging a transfer fee for his own pocket, report him to eBay for tacking on additional charges and circumventing eBay’s fee structure. Another trick is to have one name in the title for the listing, but add on “additional words” or hyphens in the actual listing. This just wastes your time. For example, today there’s a listing with a title “Torrent.com” for only $.99. When you click on the listing you see that the domain is actually “TorrentPassword.com”.
Today I came across an auction for eRegulator.com. Not only did it have a $15 transfer charge, but the domain was available for registration! The person didn’t even own it.
Clearly it’s a lot of work to find good domains for sale on eBay. If you want to take advantage of the occasional good domain that sells for a fair price, here’s my method: Check eBay’s domains once a week and sort by “Ending Soonest”. Scroll through the list to find domains that actually have bids and then consider those domains. After all, no domain at a fair price will go through auction without a bid. You can count on other bidders to “screen” the good domains for you.
If you have an eBay domain success story or horror story, please comment.
The banner below will take you to the domain name category, and shows two of the most watched domain name auctions on eBay (so they might be good domains).