Clients have come in with website issues varying from content creation to technical difficulties to general design. In some cases, clients have accumulated so much web “property,” it’s hard to figure out how everything fits together. Web domains for example, can pile up over the years if you are constantly grabbing URL’s that catch your attention or fit a new direction for your business. So, what do you do with all those web names?
The cost of maintaining domain names is relatively low so, it’s easy to justify hanging on to them for, “just one more year” until you get around to using them for their intended purpose. Over time, however, a long list of domain names can add up, come renewal time. Most people just switch on the auto renewal or let the domain names expire without giving them a second thought but, there are more productive ways to manage your list of URLs.
Once you decide which URL’s are just too valuable and relevant to your online strategies, you should indeed, turn on auto renewal. Then, you should make sure each URL is pointed to a functioning website. Most hosting companies allow you to do this at no charge. By doing this, if someone inputs one of your URLs to their web browser, they will be directed to a website instead of getting a generic “not found” or “under construction” message from the host. You can point as many URL’s to a website as you like.
The URL’s you decide are not worthy of maintaining beyond their expiration date should be assessed for possible sale. Many hosting companies offer the service of listing your URL for sale so if someone comes along looking for it, they will list it with a price for purchase. If your host doesn’t offer this service, there are brokers and sites that offer auction solutions to sell your URL. Flippa.com is an example of this type of auction site.
Some URL’s are more valuable than others obviously. Short, common phrases or brand names are more valuable than long, nondescript phrases that don’t reach a specific audience. URL’s that have been registered for a long time or, are being sold in conjunction with a high traffic website, will also command higher bids. As an example, the domain name technicaljobs.com was originally purchased for $75 by the original owner. Upon retirement, that same URL was sold for $75,000 after it had already earned the owner a decent living on her website.
Another criteria that affects value is the extension. Since .com is still the most popular extension, phrases without it are just not as valuable. A recent sale of jobs.ca (Canada) brought in $450,000. According to an article in the Business Journal archives, the broker for the sale, Dave Evanson of Sedo, said if the domain had been jobs.com, it could have sold for 20x that price.
Now, you may not be sitting on a goldmine of URLs but, before you assume there is no value, you might do some research and see if a sale is more sensible than an expiration. Brokers and auction/sales services will take a commission but compared to simply allowing the domain to expire and receiving nothing, it is a good way to bring in a few extra dollars.
If you pull off a successful sale of a URL, let us know!