Should You Use a Broker or a Brokerage House?


The most often asked question I get in recent years is: Where is the best place to sell my domains? It’s also the question I most hate to be asked because the answer is different for each person and each domain and each portfolio.

To give my best answer, I’d have to pretty much appraise the domain and/or portfolio and that’s a place I don’t want to go. In rare cases you could pay renewals and never make a dime or get any offers and I’ll say your asking price is a dream, not reality. Then along comes a big company and sees it as brandable and offers some folding money. Waiting for that, in my opinion, is still a dream not a reality.

I don’t carry a huge portfolio to flip anymore so my sales leads are generally inbound inquiries that I hand off to a private broker.  A broker or a brokerage house? Here’s my POV.

What I Expect From a Broker

If I am going to pay a brokers fee, I want control. I am the employer. I am the boss. I am the master of my own domain! I want to talk to the broker and make my expectations clear. I want communication about everything that happens along the way. Every incoming or outgoing phone call needs to be documented and reported to me. Any response or lack of a response to an email, either inbound or outbound needs to be reported to me. I don’t expect a broker to have a flat fee for every domain or client. I think they should be free to vary based on what I am asking of them. What I NEVER, EVER want is for a brokers first communication me to be “We have an inquiry, what is your bottom line?” or “We have an offer of $$$$ and I think this is as high as they’ll go” Both are red flags that they are working to make a sale, any sale, not working for my best price! And most of all, I want to know who an inquirer is. That’s MY info!

If you have hired a broker, with or without a contract, treat them with respect. If you get an offer directly on the domain don’t cut your broker out. Hand that offer to them. Always! It might be one of their outbound efforts trying to save brokers fees. At the very least discuss paying them a fee of some amount from the sale if you decide (tacky) to handle it yourself.

It’s only because I have a long history and established relationships with people that I choose to do business with, I don’t generally require a written contract. If you don’t have this luxury you certainly should have a contract in place! Sometimes they ask for a contract and I’m happy to comply but I will never give an exclusive for more than 30 days.

What I Expect From Brokerage House

I don’t expect anything more from a brokerage house than I would from an auction house where you can bulk list your portfolio.

The exception to this is if you own a stellar portfolio or domain and have talked with a high level rep before hand. Then you “might” get real effort.

Your mileage may differ but I feel that when you submit to list to a brokerage you then “might” get added to a list they draw from for their inbound leads. The general lack of communication makes it feel like a black hole to me. I have responded with a price and never got a word back more often than not. Did they get my answer? Was my pricing a problem? Did they forget? Did they offer my buyer a different name? Do they even still work there? Did the buyer disappear? Who was they buyer? Good luck getting any of those answers!

So how do I handle my own sales specifically?

For portfolio listings, I do a hybrid form of brokerage. I have a sales banner on my parking pages that clicks through to  Both and were willing to supply this for me. There are probably others, but those are the ones I use. If it’s not available at your parking provider, ask them for it!

There are many good brokers out there. I would be comfortable saying that you won’t be disappointed by Mike Robertson, Branden Wells or Drew Rosener. If Dave Evanson was a private broker he’d surely be on the list too! Keep in mind that even a good broker doesn’t always make the sale, so base your judgement on if you feel they did their best for you!


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