5 Great Places to Buy an Existing Domain Online

Quite often I’ve gone searching for a domain name on GoDaddy or NameCheap (my 2 most frequently used domain registrars) only to find that the domain name is already taken. When this happens, I most frequently just change my domain name search and look for another alternative. Even then I frequently can’t find a domain name that strikes my fancy.

In these cases, I typically start exploring my geek hangouts on the Internet to see if I can find a domain name that piques my interest. The following are 5 places I like to go search to see if I can find a domain name, or existing website, that meets what I am looking for.

  1. Digital Point Forums – Sometimes this forum has great domains and websites for sale in their “Buy, Sell and Trade” forum. You can often find great domains for awesome prices. If you are looking to buy an existing site though, you need to be very diligent. I find so many of the existing sites offered for sale on DP are sites put up quickly and cheaply to flip. In these cases, the domains are often less than a month old and there are no revenues to speak of. This is fine if you are looking primarily at the domain name, but not so if you are looking for a live website.
  2. Sedo – In my opinion Sedo’s reputation is that of a domain parking company. After using their service some, I’d say that is a terribly narrow definition of what they have to offer. They are a nice domain registrar and they also have a great domain market. You can find awesome domains daily on their site in auction form or just in plain old make an offer form. I’ve used them primarily as a parking company, but also regularly check out their domain auctions.
  3. Flippa – This is/was a spin-off of SitePoint’s marketplace. Back in the day, I used to scour SitePoint looking for great websites. When they first moved it to Flippa, I was less than pleased with the selection and the general usefulness of the site. Of late though, I have started to use it again to find sites and domains. It is overloaded with cheap, quick-flip sites, but mixed in are quite a few gems. The site is pretty active, as in 2010 there were over 150,000 bids placed on their site.
  4. Moniker – I first used Moniker when selling a domain to a buyer who privately contacted me. Since then I have also purchased a domain from someone else via Moniker’s escrow service. They are widely known as a registrar for domainers, but they also have regular domain auctions (offered through snapnames).  They have some really high-end domains mixed in their auctions as well if that is your target.
  5. EBay – I have not actively bought sites on EBay for quite a while. The main thing that turned me off was the constant pumping of what a site could make versus any sense of reality. There are great deals to be found on EBay, but you need to scan the listings regularly and do your own research in to what a site might make. My oldest site was purchased on EBay in 2002 and continues to operate at a profit today.

As I always preface my thoughts on buying things online, please be careful, be smart, and if the purchase price is high, use an escrow service. If you are buying for an existing site, make sure the revenues are real and not a projection of what the seller thinks the site can make. If you are looking specifically for a domain, then toss the current earnings out of your equation of what you are willing to pay… they mean nothing if you are going to re-launch the site.

Credit for the featured image used on this article goes to ivanpw.

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