Buying domains direct, the death of auction sites?

Having made quite a few domain name purchases over the last few months I have become less and less interested in what’s on offer at the large auction sites and have focused more and more on either using independent sites such as and or simply contacting domain name owners directly via email or social networks such as Twitter. So with the industry becoming ever smaller by the day in terms of how domain name owners can communicate with each other could buying domains direct be the death of auction sites?

Actual Twitter example (23 x 2 character .org.uks):

  • 2nd October: Domain name owner puts a tweet on Twitter
  • I message him back asking for details and giving him my email address
  • We exchange 3-4 emails and agree a price
  • 4 days, 23 domains, one BACS payment  and a nominet transfer fee later…

Actual example (geo-domain

  • Domain I want posted on
  • Auction runs for 2 days
  • I win at a price I’m happy with
  • No crappy negotiations like on the big auction sites – backward and forwarding on offers and pushing to auction etc, no % cut for the seller, easy back end complete direct with the seller, not through a lengthy admin system.

Actual Email example: (ongoing as we speak, geo-domain

  • 26th September: I contact the domain name owner directly, by email and voicemail from the WHOIS information
  • 28th September: Owner emails me back expressing interest in further discussions
  • 30th September: I email domain name owner back to arrange a telephone call on Tuesday 5th October
  • 5 October: We talk business and agree to explore a number of options
  • TODAY: I have email the options over to the owner for him to come back to and arrange a face to face meeting

I am undergoing a very similar email contact discussion with the owners of a further 13 geo-domains and, all being well, will hopefully complete before the end of the month.

Now that’s a lot of business without having to go anywhere near the likes of Sedo, Afternic or Snap Names etc.

So why do domain name owners list their domain names for sale on any sites that charge them a commission for the sale, have a really lengthy back end sale completion process and don’t let you communicate with the domain name owner?

Tell me, please…

Would love to hear your thoughts / preferences on where or how to buy domain names.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)


Gary has been an online marketer since 2002. An SEO/Analytics specialist he is Digital Director at TMW. As an affiliate, Gary owns and operates a number of UK and South African websites. He is also an industry speaker at events like SMX, SAScon, Think Visibility, On The Edge Live and won the Midlands Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2008. You can find him on Twitter, Linked In and Google+

Subscribe to

Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

One Response to “Buying domains direct, the death of auction sites?”

  1. October 9, 2010 at 7:38 am #

    Well, there a few reasons. Sites like Sedo are perceived to have more visitors so there is a better chance of finding a buyer. The auction facility encourages sellers to think they can get an even better price for their domain. Secondly, sites like Sedo do the transfer for you which many people find helpful. But you are right because there is very little in it for the buyer, who wants a quick process and wants to pay as little as possible. Ray

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Reply