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A Beginner's Guide to Working With a Domain Broker

Updated on December 16, 2019
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CEO at VPN. We help countless entrepreneurs and brands acquire and broker exact-match, premium domain names.


The buying and selling of domain names is a serious business. 2019 saw the biggest cash domain sale of all time, with a blockchain company buying for $30 million. Most premium domain deals are handled by brokers, who help to insure a smooth process for all parties.

But if you've never purchased or sold a domain valued above $10,000, you might not be familiar with what a domain broker does. In this article I will explain their role, where to find a broker, and share tips about working with one for the first time.

What Does A Domain Broker Do?

Domain brokers work with both sellers looking to make a profit, and buyers hoping to purchase domain names as close to fair market value as possible. The right domain name can increase brand equity, while reducing marketing spend.

Exact-match domain names are generally what brokers represent. These are sites that end in .com, are in highly competitive search categories, and have short, easily recognizable names.

Think of a domain broker a bit like a real estate agent. They help you find what you're looking for, while also providing you distance in the negotiation process.

Finding A Domain Broker

Like many other industries, an online search will produce an up-to-date list of reputable brokers. Escrow publishes a list of the top 10 brokers of the year. Sites such as DN Journal keep track of the highest domain sales of the year, and where they were sold. Reverse engineer this to find the appropriate contact information.

If you're looking to sell, make sure your domain name is premium. Domain name brokers usually work on sites valued above five figures. If you want to price a domain, you might find this piece, in which I discuss my own formula, helpful.

What Makes A Good Broker?

There are two key factors: trust and network. Domain sales can reach into the millions, and your broker will be dealing with sensitive, private information. They will also be spending a lot of time representing you, and reaching out to others on your behalf. You need to be confident about their skills and trustworthiness.

Most premium domain sales are private, which means they rely on the broker's pre-existing network and connections. Every deal is different, but without having a core of potential buyers, or knowledge of where to purchase domains, you won't get the results you're looking for.

It's also a good idea to check the reputation of your future broker. Check to see if they are a certified member of a larger organization such as International Business Broker's Association, or search online to find previous deals they've closed.

Will They Take A Fee?

Most brokers work on commission based on the sale or purchase price of a domain. Their fee is usually between 10-20%. This is why many will only work with domain names that have a high market value, and that they believe they can sell.

What does a broker do to justify this commission? For one, you are receiving access to their network. They will also be sending emails, making phone calls, developing strategies, and actively searching for a way to reach an agreement that makes both sides happy. A good domain name broker will often get you a better price than you would have received on your own, making their commission pay for itself.

How Long Will It Take?

Closing a deal often takes time, so patience if key. There are many variables going into a negotiation, including the malware vulnerability of a website, and how long it will take for the domain to rank No.1 in search engines from the date of purchase.

Some deals close in weeks, many takes months to reach an agreement.

Are Domain Name Brokers Confidential?

Most domain name brokers are used to dealing with high-profile clients, and value privacy. In most cases, details are kept confidential until both sides are close to reaching an agreement. However it's still important to use an escrow service to make sure the deal is handled in a timely manner. This extra blanket of security and safety can help to give you an additional peace of mind.

As you can see, domain name brokers do a lot of the heavy lifting in the process of buying or selling a premium domain. Their preexisting network of contacts can be worth the commission alone. If you take the time to do your research, and exercise patience, you're likely to end up with results far beyond your expectations.


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