Traversing the Domain Name Aftermarket

Traversing the Domain Name Aftermarket

Domain names are an important part of developing a website. They are part of a network address and need to be memorable and on-brand for visitors to remember them. But how do you find domain names that are available and ready to use? The domain name aftermarket is an online marketplace specifically for finding, registering, and purchasing domain names. When used properly, the domain name aftermarket can greatly simplify the process of gaining the domain name you’re after.

So – how exactly does the domain name aftermarket work? In this article, we will guide you in understanding the aftermarket and how to use it.

What is the domain name aftermarket?

These days, there are thousands of Internet users all vying for unique domain names. In fact, more than 100,000 domain names are registered each day! However, once a domain name is registered, it is no longer immediately accessible to you. This can quickly become frustrating when you are trying to secure a domain name for yourself. You may find yourself unable to uncover a single variation of the name you want that is still available. Enter the domain name aftermarket – an online and secondary marketplace for users to bid on and purchase already registered domain names.

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group revealed that approximately 1.25 million domain names were exchanged via the aftermarket in the past year alone. Additionally, domain investors – the people selling the names through the aftermarket – are estimated to own roughly 27.7 million domain names. With this many domain names at the ready, the domain name aftermarket is often your best bet for finding the name that suits your needs and purpose.

Why Use the domain name aftermarket?

On the surface, the domain name aftermarket can seem a little suspicious – why purchase a domain secondhand from someone when you can just come up with a different variation of the name you want? Well, two reasons: 1) Finding a viable domain name variation is difficult with so many already owned by investors. 2) When choosing a domain name, it needs to be as simple and close to your branding as possible.

Coming up with a variation of the name you want can quickly make your web address hard to remember and confusing for your visitors. Luckily, bidding and obtaining names through the aftermarket is not overly complex when you know how to use it.

How Does the domain name aftermarket Work?

In the simplest terms, the domain name aftermarket works similarly to a traditional auction house, putting domain names up to be bid on by buyers. A third-party facilitator connects buyers and sellers, and even makes the option to remain anonymous available to those who desire it. There are many of these facilitators and registrars to use to find domain names, such as GoDaddy Auctions, Afternic, or SedoMLS. Once you have decided on a marketplace, you need to ensure the domain you are after is legally viable as well.

Some domain names will have trademark or other legal issues. The best way to get around these hurdles is to work with a legal expert, such as a lawyer. From here, you need to decide on what type of domain name you will be purchasing – bringing us to the different types of domain names.

The Different Types of Domain Names on the Aftermarket

Understanding the different types of domain names available to you is key to finding one that is memorable and gives your website credibility. While there are many different types, there are three kinds we will focus on in this article: descriptive domain names, brandable domain names, and premium domain names.

Descriptive Domain Names

Descriptive domain names are the names that contain important keywords and phrases that help a web user identify what a website is through its web address. For instance, if you own a pet store in Palm Springs, a descriptive domain name for this business’ website would be something similar to “” In this name, both the location and type of business are included, alerting visitors to what type of website they are visiting.

Being self-explanatory is a major benefit to descriptive domain names, as it can help bring in high-intent web visitors who are searching for the products or services you offer. However, there are also limitations to descriptive domain names – a major of which is that getting too specific with your domain name can cause problems down the road if you choose to expand what your website or business offers. Another issue with descriptive domain names is that there is a high likelihood of these already being registered and no longer available to you. We will discuss this more under premium domain names.

Brandable Domain Names

A brandable domain name is a name that does not rely on keywords but instead uses the actual name of your brand as the web address (think Google or YouTube). Brandable domain names are often more available, especially if the name is completely made up. These names are highly unique and can help visitors who know of your brand offline to find your website more easily. The issue with brandable domain names is how recognizable your brand already is.

For companies like Google, almost everyone already knows about them and they don’t have to worry as much about marketing their name. For lesser-known brands, however, web visitors may not be aware of what your brand name is or what you offer. Despite this, having a brandable domain name can be highly beneficial in the long run – and you have a higher likelihood of finding these domain names before they are bought and put up for auction on the domain name aftermarket.

Premium Domain Names

Premium domain names are the names that are considered to be high-value and are already registered. When domain investors search for domain names to add to their portfolios, they often will look for names that are short, catchy, and memorable.

“These names have a variety of qualities that allow them to outperform others in the key function of a domain, helping users find the website they're looking for.”

Premium domain names are the names you will likely be searching for on the domain name aftermarket. Because of their perceived value, they are often sold or auctioned for high ticket prices. Some can even go for upwards of 6 to 7 figures!

How to Use the domain name aftermarket

Now that we have covered what the domain name aftermarket is, how it works, and a few of the different types of domain names, let’s discuss how to actually use the domain name aftermarket. As we mentioned before, you will need to find a third-party facilitator or marketplace that sells or auctions these domain names. Once you have chosen where to purchase your domain name from, there are three main ways to purchase the domains from marketplaces.

1) For Sale by Owner
Domain names that are for sale by owner are the ones where you are most likely to encounter premium names being sold by investors. When you go this route, it is crucial to use a marketplace that is trustworthy, as you will be exchanging potentially a high price point for a valuable domain name.

2) Expired Names
Expired domain names are domains that are not renewed by their owners. When domains become expired, the owner is given a grace period to renew the name before it is released to the general public. You can purchase these names, but you may face higher fees to renew the name within the grace period.

3) Dropped Names
Dropped names are domains that have not been renewed by their owners and have fallen out of the grace period. Domains require renewal in order to stay registered. If the domain is dropped by its owner, the registrar will make it available for purchase to the public. You can easily find dropped domains by using the WHOIS Domain Lookup by GoDaddy.

Investing in Domain Names

If all of this domain name aftermarket talk has sparked an idea for investment in your mind, you may want to consider building your own portfolio of domain names. The first step to building this type of portfolio is to choose a niche that is underrepresented by highly valuable in the domain name aftermarket. By doing so, you can find many available names or names for sale on the marketplace that fit within your chosen niche.

Top-Level Domain (TLD)
Domain names with more traditional web address endings, such as .com or .net, are inherently more valuable than lesser-known endings.

Age of Domain
Older domains are generally considered to be more valuable, as they have been registered for longer periods.

Price Range
When you are purchasing domain names, considering their potential price range and how much you can increase their value is key.

Final Thoughts

Traversing the domain name aftermarket may seem intimidating at first, but it is the best way to find highly valuable domain names to bid on, register, or purchase. If you have been struggling to find a domain name for your website, then turning to the domain name aftermarket would likely be a good option for you. My private portfolio of brandable and premium domain names are available for purchase or lease and can be browsed at Have a look and let me know if you see something you like or reach out if you have any questions about navigating the wild, wild, west; that is, WWW.