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10 Common Questions on Auctioning Domain Names
Marina Slemender
Mar 30, 2023 • 6 min read

The process of domain auction benefits both parties: a seller makes profit and a buyer gets a name that can elevate their business or add value to their portfolio. But, auctioning a domain can seem daunting to many, especially beginners, in the domain world. You may wonder how to even get started, where to search for domain auctions or how profitable domain selling is in general.

In this article, we are going to answer 10 commonly asked questions around the topic of domain auctions. Also, you will get some tips to help you jump start your domain purchasing. Let’s dive into it!


1. What are domain auctions?

A domain auction is an event where a domain name is bidded on and sold to the highest bidder once the auction period ends. It allows users to discover and acquire domains that are out of reach through traditional ‘search and register’ acquisition methods, ultimately to help them get domains perfect for their needs. 

The domain auction process wouldn’t exist without domain auction sites and platforms. Their role is to provide an online hub that allows users to either list domains for auction or to participate in various domain auctions themselves.

Domain marketplace/aftermarket sites offer several types of domain auctions that differ in how they work so that everyone can find domains tailored to their needs. Here are just some of them:

  • Bidding auctions - where interested buyers bid for the domain and the highest bidder wins the auction.
  • Expired auctions - allow users to place a bid or purchase a recently expired domain name.
  • User domain auctions - where a user of a registrar, such as Dynadot, can place a domain name up for auction themselves or bid on other user auctions.
  • Backorder auctions - users participate in auctions for domains that are soon to be re-released for public registration.


Heading of Domain Backorders Dynadot website


2. How to auction a domain name

Here are the simple steps to successfully auction your domain name:

1. Set a price  

Make sure you put a realistic price on your domain. Often, people set a higher price than the domain is actually worth, which can be off putting for users. An easy way to decide on your domain’s worth is to compare it to the domains of similar quality and estimate their average price.

2. Simplify communication

Expose your contact information on WHOIS lookups by disabling domain privacy. This allows users to find and contact you directly for specific domain names. Since the information is made public, it also helps your listing appear more credible.

3. Notify people with a “For Sale” page

Let people know your domain name is for sale. A simple way is to set up a For Sale Landing Page - the page registrars use to help users promote sales. It basically states that your domain is available for purchasing and allows buyers to submit offers via the page or directly buy the domain. A For Sale Landing Page focuses the buyers’ attention on the important information like the price and the domain’s benefits, while providing them with the feeling of security as the page is connected with a registrar. To reach a wider audience, you should also publish the listing on some marketplaces.

4. Decide where to list your domain

Finding the right marketplace to list your domain is crucial. It is important to choose the one with a vast audience to reach as many potential buyers as possible. Also, you should pay attention to their commission fees as they differ among platforms. 


3. What happens if the domain is not sold in auction?

This depends on whether the domain for sale has already expired or not. 

If the domain is expired and not sold at the auction, proceed through the remainder of the expiration process. After that, it will be rereleased for general registration. If the domain is not expired and listed by the registrant (owner), they can decide what to do with it when not sold. The registrant can continue to use it, hold it, try selling it again, or wait until the domain expires.


4. How do I list a domain for auction?

The process of selling a domain name varies between domain aftermarkets. But, at Dynadot auctioning your domain name is simple.

Just follow this short guide for selling domains:

  • Sign in to your Dynadot account.
  • Unlock your account prior to listing a domain.
  • Go to "My Domains" from the left-side menu bar and choose "Manage Domains" in the drop-down.
  • Choose the domain name you want to list for sale by checking the box next to it.
  • Go to "Sell Domain" in the "Bulk Action" drop-down menu.
  • Select “Auction” from the drop-down menu.
  • Set a “Starting Price” for your domain.
  • Check the “Auction Landing Page” if you’d like to use one of our templates as the auction landing page. This action will override any DNS or name server settings currently used, but the current settings will be saved in your Dynadot account.
  • Click the “Auction Domain” to list your domain.

Dynadot doesn’t charge you for listing a domain, but there is a commission fee, which is 10% of the sold price. You can read more about the User Auctions process here.


Heading of Marketplace site on Dynadot


5. Who sells domain names?

Domain names are typically sold by private users either themselves or through domain brokers.

Private users sell domain names mostly for two reasons. The first one is that users or business owners no longer need it. The domain name is either not relevant to them or their business anymore, they found a more popular option, or their business failed. The second reason for selling a domain name is for domain investors to make profit. One strategy they use is to buy a cheap domain name that seems to have a potential to grow. Then, they wait until it reaches a higher value and sell it to an interested party for more than originally paid.

Domain brokers help users sell or buy a domain. They are professionals, equipped with negotiation skills and legal knowledge. A domain broker helps you get maximum value for your domain while there’s a minimum amount of work expected from you. But, these benefits are not free of charge. Domain brokers take a percentage of the sold price, so make sure you do your research before hiring one.


6. Where to sell domain names?

The most secure way to sell your domain name is to use a domain registrar or through verified domain marketplaces.

Domain registrars manage the reservation of domain names, but provide additional services like domain auctions to help you sell your domain name. They are facilitators for selling and buying domain names. Registrars, like Dynadot, can help you sell your domain faster and at a higher price with their considerable amount of traffic. They are also safe and easy to use mediators between you and potential buyers. There is a commission fee that varies between registrars so it’s best to do your research before committing.

Another great way to sell domain names is through marketplaces. Platforms like Sedo and Afternic help you reach millions of people looking to buy a domain name by listing your domain for sale in their marketplaces. The more exposure your domain gets, the faster it will sell!


7. Can I sell my domain name myself?

Yes, you can sell a domain name by yourself. There are two ways to do that: by setting up a sales page for your domain or by using a platform that enables you to sell or auction your domain through it.

The good news when selling a domain name is that people may already be searching for yours if it's a strong domain - you just need to help them find you. The most straightforward way is to build a landing page on your website announcing it for sale. A For-Sale Landing Page can give buyers the information they need about the domain itself and the listed price. It’s also a good idea to connect the page to a registrar. This helps your page appear more secure and the potential buyers will be more willing to put in an offer as the risk of fraud is low.

Some registrars, like Dynadot, provide User Auctions or Marketplaces, where users can list their domains for auction or for sale. The process of putting your domain for sale is very simple: you log in to your Dynadot account, unlock the domain and click on the “Auction Domain" button. Some may prefer this method as there’s no worry about security and money transfers.


Landing page for User Auctions on Dynadot


8. How much do you make selling domains?

Selling domains can be very profitable and a great side hustle or even the primary source of income if you’re dedicated and skilled at the craft. Some domain flippers and sellers reported to have made from $300 to $1500 a month. But, the figure can go as high up as $100,000 per year.

You’ll need to be not only skillful to auction domains that reach such value, but also you’ll need great timing, a lot of experience and a keen eye for domains. This industry requires a lot of knowledge and work, so consistency and persistence is required if you want to reach your goals.


9. Is selling domains hard?

Domain selling and investing is a competitive field. It isn’t necessarily hard to master, but there are some things you should pay attention to as it can have a steep learning curve.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Make sure your domain has a real value. Think of how brandable your domain name is. You should check how simple it is to be used in marketing, how memorable it is, if there are any spelling errors, etc.
  • Have realistic goals. You should have a target selling price, but make sure it is set according to the current state of the marketplace. The best way to check this is to search for the prices of the domain names of similar quality as yours and compare.
  • Choose a domain registrar carefully. Registrars charge a commission fee, a percentage of the sold price. This percentage can vary from one registrar to the other, so do the research before committing accordingly.
  • Promote the domain for sale. You should try to put your for sale domain in front of people to reach a wide audience and get more offers. Some of the ways to achieve that is by using ads, participating in domain forums, or going to domain related conferences and events.


10. What is the highest selling domain name?

The most expensive domain name sold until 2023 was sold for $872 million as reported by SEC filing.

Not all domain prices are publicly stated, but generally the majority agrees on those at the top of the list. Some of them are:

  • — $49.7 million
  • — $35.6 million
  • — $30 million
  • — $18 million
  • — $16 million


Domain Auctions in Summary

Auctioning a domain name is a complex process. In this article, we covered the basic information you’ll need to sell or buy your domain in an auction. But, you probably have a thousand more questions, and rightfully so, as there are so many things left to learn. 

If you’re someone who wants to get involved in domain investing, make sure to read our domain investing guide to find a lot of helpful information on this process. If you’re a beginner domain buyer and need more guidance and support, check out our article with the facts you must know as a first-time buyer.

Whether you are new to the domain world, a domain investor, an amateur seller or a professional domain flipper, our blog is here to guide you from beginning to the end of the process with tools to help you succeed. So, make sure to check it out.


Marina Slemender
Marketing Associate

Comments (1)
Apr 5, 2023 9:10am
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