How long does a domain take to sell?

Although the amount of time an individual domain takes to sell can vary enormously, these are some general guidelines on what to expect.

Understanding sell-through-rates

The sell-through-rate (STR) is the percentage of domains that sell within one year.

In the domaining industry, most sellers quote personal sell-through-rates of 1 – 3%. This means if they list 100 domains for sale on the same day, within a year they would expect to have sold 1 to 3 of them.

Brandpa has an overall STR of about 6.6%, which we believe is the highest of any premium websites that sell domains. Different domains are more or less likely to sell, with 4-letter domains generally having the highest STR on Brandpa (15.3%). The most expensive domains ($50k+) usually attract lots of demand but can take more time to sell because there are fewer potential buyers.

It is important to note that these figures are averages. There’s no way to know how likely an individual domain name is to sell, but you can use 6.6% as a rough guideline when planning your strategy.

Planning for profit

If your domains are “average” for Brandpa, they would have a 6.6% STR, and you should expect to list 15 domains on Brandpa for a year to sell one (100/6.6 = 15). In theory if you listed them all for 15 years, you would sell every one of those domains. In practice some domains will simply never sell, or won’t sell soon enough for you to wait that long (15 years is a lot of renewal fees).

Experienced domainers therefore tend to develop a portfolio of many domains, and plan their costs and expected returns accordingly. For example, if you committed to listing 30 domains for 2 years, you might have costs like:

  • Domain renewals for 2 years = 30 domains x 2 years x $10 each domain = $600
  • Brandpa one-off listing fees = 30 domains x $5 = $150
  • Total costs: $750

Now if each of your domains sold for an average of $3,000 (our most recent average is $2,966), you might expect to earn:

  • Number of domains sold over 2 years = 30 domains x 2 years x 0.066 STR = 4
  • Value of sales = $3,000 x 4 = $12,000
  • Earnings after Brandpa commission = $9,000
  • Total profit = $9,000 – $750 = $8,250

This is somewhat simplified. In reality, as you sell domains you won’t have to keep paying to renew them. And you may choose not to renew domains that have very low levels of interest, or sell them at cost, saving money. If you’re willing to play a longer game, you can wait for the best possible price for a really good domain, but this can take years. For 6-7 figure domains, a long hold strategy is nearly always the best plan.

The importance of long term thinking

All of the above won’t work if you list too few domains, or if you don’t list them long enough. For example, consider what would happen if you listed the same 30 domains on Brandpa for only 3 months:

  • Domain renewals for 1 year = 30 domains x $10 each domain = $300
  • Brandpa one-off listing fees = 30 domains x $5 = $150
  • Total costs: $450

On average, your expected earnings would be zero in this time:

  • Number of domains sold over 2 years = 30 domains x 0.25 years x 0.066 STR = 0
  • Total profit = -$450

This is with the exact same domains as the previous scenario, only not enough time. You shouldn’t expect domains to sell in weeks or even a few months. Plan for 6.6% to sell each year and hold accordingly.

Tips for maximising your profit

  • Aim to list a portfolio in rough multiples of 15, and expect to sell one of those 15 each year. The more domains you have, the more predictable this ratio becomes.
  • Aim to hold most of your Brandpa domains for 2 years.
  • Keep an eye on the relative stats of your domains. If a domain is performing very poorly, you might consider dropping it after a year.
  • If you’ve decided to drop a domain, consider selling it to another Brandpa seller, or unlist it from Brandpa (you need 30 days to do this) and auction it off elsewhere. Generally brandable names do not auction well, so you’ll receive a fraction of what you would on Brandpa, but it can help to recover any costs.

There are many places you can sell a domain name. Generally auction sites will give you a higher chance of a quick sale, but a very low price. Brandpa gives you chance of a much better price, but at the expense of time. If you’re willing to plan accordingly, and can afford to wait, our approach can be very rewarding indeed.