Domain Name Transactions in the Era of the GDPR

In a perfect world, domain name acquisitions are enabled by communicating such interest to the domain's registrant.

Ownership is verified through the public WHOIS database, which can be queried for contact information. This, at least, was its intended function before changes swept the domain industry a year ago.

The European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016, and it was entered into force on May 25, 2018. A similar consumer privacy law has gone into effect in Cayman.

This far-reaching legislation affectsamong other thingsthe way domain data is shared and displayed via the WHOIS protocol. ICANN is already pushing for the WHOIS replacement, working on the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP.)

But is this all about privacy concerns?

Domain privacy has been made feasible for 15+ years, via the availability of mostly paid proxy services, provided by domain Registrars. Currently, domain registrars such as Uniregistry, offer improved WHOIS privacy for free to their customers.

The problem with GDPR and its WHOIS data provisions is that it creates a layer that can be impenetrable when a domain's contact information is queried for the sake of acquiring it.

Simply put, when third parties wish to contact the domain's registrant, the task is herculean: the email can be hidden completely at the Registrar level, requiring to fill out a form that the Registrar relays to the registrant instead.

Just how much is the GDPR complicating the acquisition of domain names?

Some domains can be in active use for years, providing minimal contact information on a web site's pages, or none at all. Usually, that information was still available when querying the WHOIS.

Now, the GDPR gives the registrant the option to tweak the amount of contact information disclosed. The email, a quintessential communication tool, can be completely hidden, along with names and addresses.

Other domains are inactive, running on a pair of DNS servers that do nothing to resolve them to a web page. Some are set up in a way that MX records are the only active service, enabling email communication even when no web site comes up. To find out that information, one would have to query specific functions of a domain.

Domain investors that want to sell their domains can no longer rely on WHOIS use as a method of contact. What used to be a quick lookup of contact information, no longer works as expected.

What can be done to overcome this obstacle in communication?

Uniregistry.com allows its domain registrants the option of expressly authorizing the publication of their contact information if they want that information to be public.  The underlyingly principle of GDPR is that personal information belongs to the person whose information it is. So, while the default option is not to publish registrant contact data, Uniregistry.com provides the ability for users to publish it if that is what they choose.

Another option is the development of domains into active web sites, with a contact form that enables direct contact. This approach is easy when a domain portfolio is relatively small, and the process is more difficult to scale up into the thousands.

Domain parking at PPC providers that offer the option to incorporate a contact form is the next best option.

At the Uni Market, domain portfolio holders can enable or disable PPC ads and can display various formats of a contact form with the option to solicit offers for the domain. They can also set a "Buy Now" price and thus send the domain through the checkout process.

On the flip side, when inquiring to acquire a domain name, the story can be completely different. Private domain registrants might choose to remain anonymous under the provisions of the GDPR, and they can even remain silent to inquiries sent via the Registrar contact form.

To overcome this dead-end, additional sleuthing and due diligence is necessary when seeking to acquire domains.

Aside from using search engines such as Google, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, along with professional networks such as LinkedIn, retain a trail of the domain's activities, even when the domain is inactive.

By searching through these resources, one can locate a domain's owner, managers, or officers, and establish contact in order to communicate their intentions further.

If a domain is inactive, it's still possible that it has email enabled. By using a tool such as gWhois, one can look up the MX records for clues.

Despite the sweeping effects of the GDPR, paid WHOIS data services such as DomainTools retain a plethora of domain information. Running a reverse IP check on a domain can reveal others that might be sharing that IP address. A reverse email check can achieve the same.

Privacy is not the only thing at stake.

Verifying domain ownership is now more complex than ever, and it complicates the ability of buyers to confirm that a domain is indeed in the hands of its legitimate owner. The obvious solution is to perform extensive due diligence on the domain's past history, locate its owner, and communicate directlyvia phone, if possibleevery aspect of the transaction.

Domain sales platforms such as the Uni Market, offer additional processes that verify a domain seller and can handle the transaction on behalf of both parties efficiently and transparently.

Conclusion: Buying and selling domain names has become more complex since the introduction of the GDPR.

WHOIS data privacy is a double-edged sword that can hinder domain acquisitions and sales. A smart approach is necessary to achieve successful growth under this new, demanding reality for the domain industry.

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Secure That Domain Name, Even If You Never Use It

Domain name investing is not ruled by a single "school of thought" but the opposite is true for domain registrations and acquisitions for personal or business purposes.

With consumers, traditional business practices apply along with the use of common sense when it comes down to brand protection and other reasoning behind domain registrations.

In other words, domain investors⁠—also known as "domainers"⁠—and domain users represent two opposing poles that rarely intersect in their logic.

A domain consumer treats domain names as a digital vehicle that carries the brand to a wide audience. Small business owners and companies alike utilize domain names as a direct point of contact that can be as passive as an email address or as interactive as a blog and customer care chatroom.

There are several reasons to secure a domain name, even if your use of it is minimal.

Putting your domain name to use establishes your intentions for having registered the name and can reduce the risk of being challenged in a potential UDRP case. Whether you set up a one-page lander, a contact form page, or offer full-fledged content about your family's love of fine dining and international travel, one thing is certain: locking down a domain by registering and using it gives you an advantage over anyone else who might want it.

Pro tip: Register all your domain brands under the same secure registrar roof, such as at Uniregistry. This way you will be able to monitor, renew, and update the settings for all your domain assets, without chasing them around across different registrars.

Personal names are quite often neglected, and in some cases, even senior officers of companies forget to get that matching .com. LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook accounts are great to have, but a .com is much better, and a .com site can also provide links to social or professional networking sites.

Should a company employee, middle manager, or CEO roll out their full name .com as a live web site?

The answer to that is "maybe," but owning the domain is a resounding "yes." There is no doubt that some first name / last name combinations are common, but there is no excuse to simply ignore the opportunity to secure that domain, regardless.

Brands under development need to secure their .com, and perhaps additional TLDs, to lock down their future footprint. Once you have decided on an upcoming project, you need to get the domain that best represents the brand's functions, services, and targeted market.

Corporate mottos and trademarks are also as important as the brands they outline.

A long-tail domain that acts as the corporate emblem, is one such domain waiting to be snatched by the competition. Even stock market symbols are great to own if the company can afford them. Just take a look at DNKN.com by Dunkin Donuts, which forwards to a portal describing the company's brands.

And now for a seeming paradox: Individuals and companies acquire domains on the secondary market, even paying top dollar for the purchase, and then do nothing else with the domain name.

It's not rare to not see anything developed on these domain names, for months and even years later. The reason: domain consumers aren't in a rush to display the domain's availability, unlike investors that rely on PPC monetization and availability as a sales promotion. End-user buyers consider these assets to be safely tucked away, just like stock certificates.

And that's a logic that domain investors and everyone else should be aware of and utilize.

Conclusion: Domain name registrations represent a secure "lockdown" of your name, brands, and other activities, even for projects that are not yet on the horizon. By securing these domains you are ahead of the game, outsmarting your potential competitors, and you can sleep better at night.

Domain Negotiations: The Art of Being Nice

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, an old saying goes. Any negotiation that involves interaction between two individuals is governed by this very "law" that defines the benefits of being cordial to the other person.

The Internet might have brought millions of people closer, but it has also created a protective layer for those that really need to polish their communication skills.

Typing from behind a screen and a keyboard takes away certain benefits of conversing via the phone, or in person. Most of the time, the written word does not convey well the intended tone, particularly when business inquiries are involved.

Domain names can be made available for sale or lease, just like real estate. The fact is, that the general public lacks understanding that very similarity, and quite often tension builds up.

Seasoned domain investors grow a layer of thicker skin as time goes by, but not everyone has the stomach to deal with insensitive queries. We're human after all, and might slip up when replying to a domain name inquiry, in a way that is misunderstood, or in a brash and rude manner.

Being reactive has no room in domain sales, and the Uniregistry Brokerage team receive extensive training about how they respond to prospective buyers that get out of line.

Experienced domain brokers and domain investors are able to utilize a positive attitude towards inquiries and responses that lack it. After all, the idea is to achieve a sale, not to blow up all chances for a deal. Imagine if real estate professionals, such as Realtors, addressed insufficient offers or queries in a manner that defied dignity and lacked professionalism ⁠— they would quickly lose their pool of clients, and even their license.

In domain negotiations, the art of being nice is the ability to deflect incoming negativity, instill a positive attitude, and clear the atmosphere even when it becomes very toxic.

So what type of responses should someone use to deal with domain buyers who might not be nice themselves?

The first and most important part of dealing with a communication that was out of line is to give yourself space and time away from it.

Sometimes, this means physically walking away from the medium that delivered that message ⁠— your phone, your laptop, your office computer. The idea is to let these words lose their immediate effect, whether that was intentional or accidental. By stepping away from the fire, you let it consume its own oxygen, and not yours.

The second step involves responding to the inquiry, and this is your time to shine. Plan out your thoughts, and write the response as if the initial communication carried no toxic undertones.

Is it an email demanding a cheap price for the domain, or a counter-offer that went sour because the other party gawked at the price? Focus on the facts, and deliver a factual response without any emotion or reference to the heat you received.

Remember, that heatwave has already dissipated, as long as you gave yourself time and space away from it. In fact, you can reverse that heat with your own "cool" wave of nice words: Thank the other party for contacting you, or for pointing out their frustration. Turn the mirror on them in a way that they lose the intensity of their argument, and help them understand that the channel of communication is open.

Pro tip: Open your statement with a thank you phrase, and acknowledge their argument by saying that this is a very good question. Proceed with explaining the facts and rationale of your quoted price, or the use of your domain name. Seek their feedback, thus passing the ball back to them.

A few months ago I was taunted by a potential buyer who did not like the plain fact the domain is already registered. It was one of these cases that a person or company believe that their idea is unique, that their chosen brand should not exist already, and question the motives of me owning the domain in the first place.

Instead of antagonizing my prospective buyer, my response was to indicate how great their idea is, and how it'd grow better under their management. I also shared my motives of domain investing in a manner that was not imposing on their pure lack of understanding how the secondary domain market works. Instead of being pedantic, I was sympathetic to their "agony" and demonstrated my willingness to listen to their plans about the brand.

What did I gain with this approach?

The prospective buyer became much less defensive with their responses. I gave them time to rethink the quoted price under a fresh light: their brand choice is great, and it needs the matching .com domain in order to shine. My use of the domain was different, and by acknowledging that their idea was better, I complimented them enough to move the sale forward. End result, a good sale that would not have occurred if I had told them to go away, or if I had returned the amount of heat I received.

Conclusion: Being nice does not mean you become a mat for others to step on. It's a strategic, effective technique to help you reshape bad communication that will head nowhere, into a breath of fresh air that disarms the other party, redefines the rules of engagement, and hopefully leads to a successful domain name sale.

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Domain Traffic Spikes? Time to Set Up Alerts

By parking your domain name portfolio at a venue such as the Uni Market, you benefit from two things at the same time:

  • You receive offers for the domain names that are for sale, and
  • You get pay per click (PPC) revenue through the platform's ad supporting system

Let's face it: PPC revenue is not close to what it used to be a decade ago, and the reason is how Google and other search engines treat traffic these days.

Natural traffic is great to have, and typo-traffic can still arrive in large volumes, but do they pay your bills?

Unless you have some miracle domain, most likely no. With traffic arbitration thrown out the window, it's no longer feasible to redirect that traffic to higher paying sources. That fountain has been sucked dry, and with Google as the biggest ad provider it's not an acceptable practice.

In a nutshell: Money from ad clicks might generate revenue, but it will be considerably less over time.

Revenue isn't the only reason, however, that you should be keeping track of your active domain traffic. In other words, look at the big picture of your domain metrics, and don't sort your data based on how much money your domains generate.

Some domains create a steady amount of money, and receive the same amount of visitors and clicks daily. These "unicorns" are nice to have, but what about domains that spike in visitors, and yet produce little or no revenue?

This is the reason why you should be checking on your domain stats daily, and it's easy to do at the Uni Market. First, log into your account, go to the Market tab, and select the Market > Reporting option from the drop down menu.

From there, you can see the charts that quickly show the performance of your domain portfolio. Choose the Advanced Reports to switch to detailed view, and enter a list of domains you want to see more details on. Generate a report for a period of time, such as the last 30 days, and view the spreadsheet by the individual domain, or the period of time you're interested in.

Then zero in on spikes in traffic that should be explored more carefully, to produce additional data.

Domain traffic does not spike with no reason, it's a typical indication that parameters that change the traffic flow have changed. We're looking for upwards spikes, obviously, because a drop in traffic is not good news at all!

Such traffic spikes mean that a source of traffic has increased its contribution, or that a new source of traffic has been added. But the most important thing to consider is whether a new brand is using your exact domain keyword on a different TLD, ccTLD or gTLD.

When your .com spikes in traffic, perhaps a .net or .org were registered, or the second part of the keyword as a gTLD. For example if you have ExampleTech.com and someone registered Example.Tech, there will be traffic leakage to your two word domain. It's just the way things work on the Internet.

This is the time to set up Google alerts to your domain's keyword, to try to identify the source of traffic. Google alerts are free, you can specify their time range, and control the maximum volume of email reports you can receive. So if our fictional "Example Tech" company just released a seed funding press release, Google will find that for you.

If you want to get more serious, you can try two additional paid services that are available.

DomainTools offers a powerful set of tools that once set up can provide you with daily reports on the "brand" or domain name you want to monitor. Another option is to use ZFBot, a great tool that can search millions of domain zone files, for the string matching your domain that is spiking in traffic. You can search for the exact match across most TLDs, gTLDs, and some ccTLDs, or as part of a longer string, with numbers and dashes either turned on or off. Lastly, Estibot offers another such option to monitor domains added to your portfolio for related domain registrations; it's a paid service.

Once you confirm that someone else's domain name is now leaking traffic over to your domain name, it's time to consider your action options. If you want to sell your domain to this new potential buyer, you must first determine your asking price, knowing who the other party is, and what their finances look like.

Pro tip: check the USPTO, Google or other databases for existing or pending marks, and make sure the PPC keywords on your domain are related to the primary meaning of the domain keywords and unrelated to the goods or services associated with the mark to avoid potential problems, if the keywords start to drift toward the trademark usage.

Conclusion: Domain metrics are important to peruse and analyze, even when the PPC revenue these domains generate is insignificant. By setting up Google alerts, and by monitoring the registration of domain names related to yours, you can possibly identify the source and prepare yourself for a potential sale. Being proactive is part of the domain name game!

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Get Inspired: How to Get Ideas for Domain Names

Domain investors and brand developers need inspiration daily in order to come up with the perfect domain name.

Whether you search for available domains in the secondary market or make a brave attempt at registering something unique "from scratch," inspiration arrives through a variety of paths. The goal is to build and expand a quality domain portfolio.

In the "good old days," domain entrepreneurs like Frank Schilling would look up every possible keyword combination or phrase under the sun. Yes, most of them are now registered, but even today's latecomers can use their imagination, along with existing research tools as idea generators for domain names.

The first source of such a domain-spawning idea is rather obvious: the daily news.

Pro tip: write the words "Register Domains" on a yellow sticker attached to your monitor this way you'll never forget to keep an eye out for such inspirations.

By following today's news closely, you can use the approach that anything news-worthy is probably registrable as a domain, as long as you avoid stepping into trademark-infringing territory.

To follow the news closely, you can sign up for a news mashing source such as Flipboard. It allows you to distill the type of news that you may want to target, such as technology, finance, food, travel or even politics. Good luck with the latter though, as it's very rarely rewarding.

You can do the same with other online sources, such as Reddit news, which is a news stream generated by readers.

Remember though, that what you are looking for here, is ideas. In other words, by perusing news summaries, you are inclined to think of a matching keyword or phrase that could be registered as a domain name if you are a domain name investor looking for available domains.

If you are a brand developer, you might need to expand your search into domain databases of venues that list domains for sale, such as the Uniregistry Market. Depending on your budget, you would have to look up different options or negotiate a domain acquisition with the assistance of the Uniregistry Brokers.

And now, for the "lazy" among you, try a domain name generator the best thing since sliced bread, according to a British saying.

There are several available, and NameBoy is probably the oldest such tool that helps you come up with a creative domain name by entering a couple of keywords.

If NameBoy generates domains too simplistic for your taste, I have great news for you: FlameDomain is a domain name and brand generator that provides a category-specific tool to generate available domain names. The quality of domains is exceptional, but to perform searches in volume you need to pay a nominal fee for an account.

Still not able to get to your ideal domain brand? Collaborate with others.

By using the brainpower of other domain investors or brand developers you will become more aware of their unique angles in domain name generation. Some could be proficient at combining words to form new brands, while others might be great at coming up with creative domains. Join a community such as DNForum or NamePros, and exchange ideas in the forums, or follow similar groups on LinkedIn and even on Facebook.

Conclusion: The path to getting ideas for domain names is as wide as your imagination. Use these tools and options consistently, to grow your domain name portfolio with quality domain names that you register "by hand," or acquire via the secondary domain market.

Stubborn Sellers: Why is the Uniregistry Brokerage Worth the 15% Commission?

The commercialization of the Internet in the 1990's introduced domain names to the masses. Early adopters registered domains with the intent to develop, build out brands, or simply because they sounded cool.

Eventually, it became evident that domain names can be valuable assets that can be resold, and the only thing that separates seller and buyer is the price.

Using a domain broker isn't the first thing that comes to mind, whether you are a domain investor intentionally or a private person that has been holding onto an asset that appreciated with time.

Domains are often compared, in analogy, to real estate, but unlike domain names, selling real estate almost certainly involves using a Realtor who acts as a selling agent. It's an expected middle person that allows the real estate industry to operate in a consistent fashion, leveraging billions of dollars annually.

Uniregistry has established a great reputation for training its brokers, using a custom-designed domain management platform and system. Before Domain Name Sales and the Uniregistry Market opened to the public, that system was tested and used internally. It's an extensive machine that leverages proven models of selling valuable domain assets, cross-referencing information on past sales, and valuates domains by crunching existing data.

No matter how confident I feel about a domain sale, I've used the professional services of the Uniregistry domain brokers since I first joined the DNS platform in 2012. I witnessed the consistency in their approach and even improved my own angle at responding to customers and dealing with potential buyers and leads. In other words, I learned a few tricks from the best!

Yes, there are times that attempting to sell a domain name on your own is simply an act of stubbornness. It's a feeling of being overly confident, ignoring the many benefits of using the services of a multi-lingual, assertive, and experienced domain brokerage team.

The Uniregistry Market platform is always improving. What makes data useful isn't a database of past sales, traffic or notes. It's the people that take the data and shape them into conversations that will lead to a sale and that's the key in every successful negotiation.

So are you a stubborn seller?

There's no need to waste time and effort chasing a domain lead that could easily be tackled by someone else, while you focus on other aspects of your business. Delegating tasks is a key element in any successful business and venture.

By paying the 15% commission for the services provided by Uniregistry Brokerage, I receive several benefits at once:

  • My time is spent constructively on something else. I could be at the beach drinking beer, but the truth is that I spend my time to research keyword trends, register domains, and perform many other aspects of my business.
  • The Uniregistry brokers are intelligently trained. They are men and women professionals with a passion for working for the seller; sometimes the buyer is also a Uniregistry customer, which can make them ideal for closing on a deal quickly.
  • Domain brokers at Uniregistry are very familiar with the buyer's psychology. Nobody wants to spend money on a domain, but they can be convinced to, when the sales pitch is great.
  • Uniregistry has established itself as one of the top domain marketplaces globally. Their proven track record of sales speaks for itself, and they do so by being persistent, consistent, and most importantly, polite. I know, because I tend to get out of line with some of the inquiries when I handle them personally.
  • Revisiting inquiries is one of the many tasks a Uniregistry broker is great at. The scheduling system, and personal ownership of domain inquiries can help unlock sales, weeks or months later. Can you be equally diligent in doing that?
  • Uniregistry employs intelligent people that speak many languages, and thus able to engage with domain buyers in their native language.

So is it worth to pay 15% of your domain's asking price to Uniregistry by utilizing its brokers?

Absolutely.

For starters, it's almost certain that the sale will occur at a higher price point than your intended asking price, when a Uniregistry broker is involved to negotiate on your behalf. It's all about analyzing the buyer's psychology and pricing domain names as valuable assets. You won't be leaving money on the table, in fact you will most likely be making 10% - 20% on top of your asking price, by allowing the brokers to handle the transaction. You can always lower a high asking price, but it's almost certain you can't increase a low one.

Don't have the stomach to deal with a buyer in person?

Even if your negotiation skills are great, to maximize your return on investment (ROI) these skills better be top-notch. Save your stomach from acid reflux and flush out all anxiety; the Uniregistry Brokerage team knows how to deal with buyers that can be cocky, rude, ignorant, or aggressive. They are experienced in deflecting negative statements and can reverse the buyer's sentiments. I've personally witnessed them turn a no-sale situation into a successful sale swiftly.

Conclusion: At the end of the day, you want to celebrate with a great domain sale, kick back, and replicate these results week after week. Don't just be a stubborn domain name seller, and give the Uniregistry Brokerage team a try you will be pleasantly surprised.

Keyword Researcher

Go Global: How Multilingual Brokers Have the Edge

English is the language of choice for international communication, and the top language globally in terms of the total number of speakers.

When native speakers are taken into account, however, it ranks at number three, behind Chinese and Spanish.

The set of top ten languages completes with Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, and Pakistani Lahnda.

Understanding how the world treats communication in its native language, can help with global sales, and that includes domain name sales.

Bi-lingual and multi-lingual speakers can help bridge the world of commerce, and establish new relationships going beyond a single sale. Being able to respond to inquiries in a way that shows respect of the other person's origin, is a great glue for communications.

The extensive team of Uniregistry Brokers, takes pride in employing domain industry professionals that use and excel in many different languages:

"Uniregistry has 41 brokers that speak over 14 languages, including English, Spanish, Mandarin, Taiwanese, German, Russian, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Czech, and Punjabi."

How important is it to communicate with a potential domain buyer in their native language?

Consider the barriers that can exist when one party or both use an automatic translator to communicate. There is plenty of room for error, misunderstandings, and the occasional disastrous use of the wrong words, or the wrongful perception of a response.

First of all, when a native speaker is used to handle a domain name inquiry at Uni, their tone, use of words, and consistency of communication keep the conversation going.

Many times, the discussion leaves the digital written word behind, and moves to voice or video. That's precisely where Uniregistry Brokers deliver the most, and are able to demonstrate to the buyer why the asking price is justified.

I contacted several Uniregistry Brokers, to seek examples of how things improved once a native language was used.

Sebastian mentioned that his use of languages other than English accounts for about 1% of his brokered sales; talking to French buyers on the phone in their native language helps tremendously with closing the deal. Sebastien is multi-lingual, using French, Spanish, English and Arabic to close deals.

Buyers respond well to hearing their native language, by opening up with increased trust. That gives Uniregistry Brokers a strong advantage over competing services, that only engage buyers in English.

Culturally, Arabic-speaking buyers embrace the graciousness of the party who uses their language even if they speak good English themselves. It's part of the beauty of global public relationships, and a great asset to performing business with the large Arab market.

Some markets can be demanding, due to a much lower percentage of native speakers using English. In Spain and France, communicating in the local language yields more results than struggling with English.

Buyers that reached out and were dealt with in their native language often develop a more direct personal relationship with the broker. They become repeat buyers, and often contact brokers directly. This is a huge advantage for domain sellers, that are often contacted by Uniregistry Brokers on behalf of existing customers.

Mohammed, who speaks English, Urdu, and Hindi, told me that 99% of the people with financial resources who speak these languages also speak English. He added that using these languages to address accidental offers by getting on a short call, is a quick way to figure out if the buyer is confused, saving time on further communications.

Jenny mentioned that she is managing mostly leads from China. Because she speaks Chinese, she can achieve more than just negotiating on numbers back and forth. She is able to make them understand the value behind the domain names they inquire about, and bump them up on their offers.

Even English itself isn't a single dialect. Domain brokers that are from the UK  several, as in the case of the Uni Market often close deals with British buyers, with a success rate higher than their American counter-parts; a standard British English accent and use of Queen's English definitely helps.

Conclusion: Uniregistry Brokers can get you a great deal with buyers whose native language isn't English, and improve your success rate with English speakers as well. They are experienced in the particular nuances of 14 languages, and their cultural backgrounds, helping you sell your domain names faster, and at better prices.

Uniregistry Brokerage: The Domain Seller is Your Silent Business Partner

Companies are registering domain names all the time, seeking to baptize their brands and products.

Marketing departments worth their salary paycheck perform extensive analysis of data, such as search engine trends and numbers, before they zero in on a particular domain name.

By now, you know the most likely result: that domain of primary choice, is most likely already taken. With more than 140 million .com domains in existence, there is a strong likelihood that the domain is also up for sale.

Back at the corporate HQ, a few more meetings take place to ensure that funds are locked in to pursue the domain name's acquisition, and to create an approach and strategy.

Calls are placed and emails are sent out; perhaps by a third party proxy buyer whose task is to make first contact with the seller, providing a curtain of anonymity to their client. The response arrives, and the company has yet another meeting to discuss their options.

Perhaps the numbers came back much higher than expected. Quite often, the company assumes their product or service is unique, that no-one could have possibly come to the same idea, matching a virgin product or service with words that became a domain name. Or, the response was negative, due to a variety of disclosed or undisclosed reasons. So should the company seeking the domain move to negotiate further with the domain's seller?

That is the point when a great corporate strategy on domain acquisitions delivers successful results, as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction to the domain seller's initial response.

A company that treats the domain's seller as a silent business partner, stands way more chances of achieving a deal.

A silent partner is essentially an important pillar for the company's success, working for the goals set forth by all those branding meetings. And yet, many companies fail to realize that, treating instead the domain owner as a "pest" or an impediment to the product's success.

By communicating to the seller the importance of their domain, as opposed to negating, demeaning, and devaluing the domain asset they are selling, a company's officers can be in control of the negotiation's strategic balance and outcome.

Many domain sellers want to know what will their domain be used for. They understand the market's nuances and appreciate a business-like approach based on respectful communications.

They are willing to accept payment based on a number of valuation factors, that might be negotiable. The worst approach for a company is to talk down on the asset they are trying to acquire, or engage with the domain seller in a manner that is disrespectful, arrogant, and combative.

Domain sellers provide a product and service that was acquired via a combination of time and financial cost, sometimes quite substantial. These domains did not just happen to register themselves. Many domain investors treat domain names as unfinished projects, with a future date of delivery. Some, do have a more concrete project in mind, and often proceed with several stages of development.

At the Uni Market, buyers and sellers often interact directly, through the communication forms; other times, they utilize the services of the very skilled Uniregistry Brokerage team.

Uniregistry Brokers are experienced, and can serve both parties well, with the ultimate goal of closing a sale at a mutually acceptable price. What they do particularly well, is to ensure both parties are mutually respected, and in understanding that it's a business exchange, where a digital asset changes hands for - well - digital money.

Conclusion: Companies that treat their domain asset provider with a business mindset and as an important brand partner, can achieve a fair price for the domain, and engage in time-saving communications without unnecessary aggravation.

The role of the Uniregistry Brokerage team is to deliver a smooth, pleasant, and mutually acceptable business transaction, benefiting both the domain buyer and the domain seller.

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Domain Name Availability: How to Sort Through the Noise

In the mid to late 1990s I used to play the domain availability game, attempting to guess which domain name was taken or not. Looking up domains was done at the Internic WHOIS page, which has not changed since 2001.

In those early days, I was simply window-shopping; like most people in their right mind, I would not consider spending $100 dollars for two years of registration fees for a "domain name." It was far from mainstream, and definitely expensive.

Today, the domain registration numbers are staggering: more than 350 million domain names in existence across all TLDs, along with 141 million dot .com alone. Registering a domain name is an easy, quick, and affordable process, that completes in seconds - a far cry from the manual process existing in 1995.

Having the ability to register a domain name on the spur of the moment, with any justification and for any occasion, can also mean one thing: there are plenty of bad domain names out there.

Whether they are too long, not easy to spell and pronounce, or simply bad choices by any definition, such uninspiring domain registrations are a waste of money that can cause a long-standing damage to one's business and brand.

In two decades as a domain investor, I've seen some domain choices that could be seen as humorous, if only they didn't cost money:

  • Words stripped of all their vowels, to create an unpronounceable, yet "cool" brand
  • Alternate spellings that are obscure, and can be seen as typos
  • Impossibly long-winded, descriptive brands that could eliminate one or even two words
  • Domain "hacks" that fail the radio test completely
  • The use of "opportunity" ccTLDs that maintain an esoteric usage for their targeted registrants

Just because a domain name is available to register, does not mean it's a good idea to do so.

To avoid the pitfalls of bad domain name registrations, a savvy investor, brand developer, or product designer must follow a few rules that help sort through the noise of available domains.

First and foremost, double-check the domain for typographical errors. It doesn't matter how good a word looks if it's not the correct spelling it is a typo. Some words do have alternate, less popular spellings, so it's a good practice to avoid the ones with considerably fewer Google results.

While it's true that anything newsworthy can be turned into a domain name these days, consider the following side-effects of such viral domain registrations:

  • They are short-lived and tend to lose exposure quickly
  • There are too many variants based on the particular event or incident they address
  • They can be controversial or even insulting
  • If they involve politics they can become very polarized

Outside of dictionary domains that are almost always registered, even after they drop, descriptive, two- or three-word domains can help define a brand, product or service. They can be objective, such as BlueWhaleShipments.com, or abstract, such as GreenMonkeyMakeup.com.

As long as the coherence of the words is there, the brand is definable and memorable an important characteristic of a domain that only costs a basic registration fee.

In general, it's good to avoid registering domains that simulate a letter's sounds by using an alternate letter. For example, Bananaz and Oreganoh might seem creative, but they can cause confusion with their stylized spellings, until they become household names - and that can take a long, long time.

Shorter tends to be better, and sometimes a dash can be incorporated into the mix to achieve that result. Dashes are the only symbols allowed, and some words or phrases are valid with a dash. Still, that's a last resort to a series of alternate domain names that should be avoided. Proceed with caution, unless you live in Germany where dashes are part of the local digital folklore.

Some domain names that are available can be outright trademark violations. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains an internal search tool that can perform a wide variety of phonetic searches.

While this is not available to the general public, one can use the asterisk (*) to mask out the beginning and end of a search string, or use the question mark (?) to substitute characters. This type of search can return existing registered trademarks very close to the keyword that is available to register as a domain name - and you want to make sure to avoid these.

The Radio Test, Failed Brands, and Conclusion

Don't forget to run the "radio test" by yourself, or with the help of others to decide if a domain name can be understood how it's written, without seeing it.

If you wonder why it's called the radio test, here's a tip: In the good old days of radio broadcasting, before television took over, there were no pictures to put emphasis on words, just audio. Everything had to be listened to tentatively, or risk the potential of being misunderstood.

In a similar fashion, when a domain name fails the radio test part, it has one more weakness for you to worry about, and thus avoid registering.

While negative terms can be used as brands creatively, they arrive with a risk of disassociation from the true meaning of the word, so be extra careful about making such choices for your domain names. Even positive words have their problems: let's not forget how Kim Kardashian's beautiful domain name Kimono.com became one of several failed brands when she attempted to associate a traditional Japanese garment with her commercial shapewear.

In a nutshell, spend as much time as possible examining the pros and cons of domain names to be used with your upcoming service or brand. Sorting through the noise means that you take the time to listen to the voice of reason, and hopefully, the sound of money from your future earnings.

Aftermarket Domain Names : Expectations When Buying on the Uni Market

Domain names available via the aftermarket are not like used articles of clothing⁠—consider them to be more like artwork.

Like fine works of art, domain names can both retain value and expand on it. Whether it's due to keyword maturity, technological innovations, or due to trending news, domain names can become active vessels of wealth. That's why domain investors register, acquire, and resell domain names, for the surprisingly simple element of profit.

Acquiring domain names in the various domain selling venues can be a mixed experience; confusing, dull, and stressful, or pleasant, straight-forward, and fun.

The latter group reflects the options available through the Uni Market, a mature domain selling platform where private sellers share their domain portfolios.

The underlying technology is secure and extensively automated. Payments are processed through gateways that ensure the validation of funds, confirmation of which is recorded while the parties involved are kept up to date. Where manual intervention is necessary, there are people taking care of the exchange behind the scenes.

It's a beauty of a transaction tracking system, custom built to sell everyone's domainsnot just Frank Schilling's.

Communicating on the Uni Market platform utilizes a friendly layout with email notifications, with options to interact in a "chatroom" fashion. When brokers are involved, their contact information can be used to provide further means of communication, and negotiations are thus more productive

The use of the Uni App accelerates the interaction and turns the exchange into a fully mobile experience. Sellers can share stories of closing sales, all while performing mundane daily tasks, or while on vacation. Have a beer, close a deal.

When buyers are looking for a domain name, their expectations are surprisingly simple:

  • Ease of pay. The Uni Market offers a variety of payment methods, including major credit cards, PayPal, and bank wires; the process is secure and automated.
  • Transparency. Every step of the exchange is recorded and updated in real time, and both buyer and seller know what is going on.
  • Quick exchange. When the buyer opens their wallet, they want quick gratification, and most domain exchanges on the Uni Market are swift.

Buying a domain in the aftermarket using the Uni Market provides the buyer⁠—and the seller⁠—with peace of mind. Many repeat customers, particularly corporate investors, use Uni as the platform to negotiate on and acquire valuable domain names.

The added bonus is the involvement of highly competent domain brokers, as the entire Uni team works in sync with one goal in mind: to make domain name acquisitions in the aftermarket a fun, smooth experience that benefits buyer and seller.

Overall, the Uni Market is a trusty domain aftermarket that resonates well with both corporate buyers, investors, and end-user buyers.

The platform evolves constantly, and its features are being improved proactively. It's a domain aftermarket worthy of your domain names as a seller, and a great repository to search for domains as a buyer.

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