A lander is a web page where someone who enters your domain name in a browser is directed. A good discussion has been taking place recently on NamePros with respect to whether you should use your own hosted landers or those of a domain marketplace such as Undeveloped.
The Arguments Pro and Con
I would suggest, based partly on ideas presented in the thread and my own views, that arguments in favour of using your own hosted landing pages include the following.
- Cost. Once you have paid for your hosting plan, there is no additional cost except for your time. The normal commission at a service such as Undeveloped is 9% (less if you bring your own lead).
- Flexibility. When you host your own landers you choose the graphic design and information presented. This flexibility is important if you want an extensive description, perhaps with links to additional resources. You set your own standards for the resolution of logo or other graphical materials.
- Revenue. While most domain investors will not place advertisements on their landers, there is an option for advertisements to generate revenue to cover ongoing costs.
While considering the above, there are also strong arguments in favour of using landers from a marketplace such as Undeveloped. Here are the ones that stand out for me.
- Ease. There is no doubt that it is easier to use a service such as Undeveloped. You enter prices (if you want buy it now pricing) and some text for a description – voila, the lander is done. This is an important consideration, as even for those with considerable skills in web design it will require significant time to customize landers for a portfolio of several hundred domain names.
- Trust. Not surprisingly many potential buyers have concerns with trust in a domain name purchase if they don’t know the seller, which is normally the case. A company such as Undeveloped that acts as a third party, accepting payment and handling the transfer of the domain name, definitely helps. With their record of successful transfers, positive reviews and buyer protection plan, the trust is front and centre for your potential buyers.
- Professional Landers. Let’s face it we all have our individual views and quirks. The landers at a service such as Undeveloped have been professionally designed with an eye on what the research says is more effective.
- Transaction Simplicity. When you do sell a domain name, there are definite benefits to the people at Undeveloped (or Afternic which offer a fast transfer option) handing the transfer. It will go faster, smoother and with less time commitment on your part.
- Payment Options. If you handle high value domain names, some customers may want to purchase the domain name through a series of payments. You can readily set this up using Undeveloped. While it would be possible to set it up with your own direct sales, it definitely would not be as easy.
Of course Undeveloped is not the only, or the largest, domain marketplace. Sedo and Afternic offer huge networks with large numbers of domains. I concentrated on Undeveloped in this post because they have more modest commissions, and in my opinion (and that of many other domain investors) the best marketplace landers in the business. There are many other possibilities, including the brandable marketplaces (places like Brand Bucket and Brandpa) that I will review separately. Also there are many other marketplace options, such as NamePros or Tough Domains.
Undeveloped are still relatively new to the business, so it is not surprising that Afternic and Sedo with huge networks produce more visibility (although they also have far more domains so more competition). I think Undeveloped are doing the right things and more and more views will come from end users browsing their marketplace.
Many of the registrars have their own marketplaces. I think that registrar marketeplaces (like Namecheap, Epik, Dynadot, Namesilo, to list some that I have used, although there are many others) can be excellent options for selling domain names. Although most of them offer fairly modest descriptive pages, and you will have to set redirect options at your registrar to have the for sale page act as a lander, nevertheless it can be a good choice. One huge advantage of the registrar marketplaces is that they directly handle the transfer. I think registrar marketplaces will play an increasingly important role in domain sales (although you definitely have to do your own promotion to get people to notice the names there).
Efty Another Option
Particularly those with a significant number of domains will want to consider Efty as an option. I plan a full review of Efty in the future, but you pay an annual (or monthly) cost, but there is no commission when domains sell since the sale is still directly managed by you. Efty offer more alternatives in lander design, although with tighter limits on how long your description can be.
Don’t Forget to Set Your DNS
I am planning a ‘how to’ guide on listing a domain name on Undeveloped in the future that will lead you step by step through the simple procedure and options. Once you have a domain name listed on Undeveloped, simply changing your DNS settings at your registrar to dn1.undeveloped.com and dn2.undeveloped.com will make your lander live.
Factors To Help You Decide
So how to decide whether to use a registrar marketplace, a marketplace such as Undeveloped (or Afternic or Sedo), Efty or your own landing pages? Asking yourself the following questions may help you decide.
- Do I have good web skills and like making my own landers? If the answer is no or maybe, you definitely should go the marketplace lander (or Efty) route.
- Do I want to include information not allowed by marketplace landers?
- Do I have the time to design and implement my own landers? Or would that time be better spent on other aspects of domain investing?
- How many domain names do I have to manage? Tools like Efty offer powerful domain management tools as well as landers. If you only plan to ever have a handful of domain names it makes sense to simply use landers from a marketplace like Undeveloped.
- Do I already have a website with significant traffic? If so, adding landers may involve relatively minor additional effort, and it will be easy to make the entire experience integrated for end users.
- Do I operate mainly via inbound or outbound? For those reaching out to potential buyers it may make more sense to use their own landers (not always) since you will be establishing some sort of relationship anyway.
- What is the typical price my domain names sell for? The 9% charged by Undeveloped is a much more significant amount if you are selling $20,000 domain names than if you are selling mainly $150 domain names.
- Are my names within the 60 day ICANN lock period? Some list on general marketplaces like Sedo or Undeveloped immediately, but I prefer to use registrar marketplaces during this period if I have buy it now implemented, since the sale can still proceed as a registrar push.
- Do I want to sell using payment plans? If so, I find the arguments in favour of services such as Undeveloped compelling.
- How much traffic is likely to come from people typing in the domain name? If not much, then the argument to a marketplace that will bring traffic through search browsing is strong. If you have a strong generic domain name that will bring a lot of its own traffic, the argument for hosting it yourself is stronger.
If you have a big enough operation and already have a high quality website, particularly if you operate mainly via outbound, the arguments for your own landers are stronger. For many in domain investing, I think the commissions charged by sites like Undeveloped are well worth it for the trust, visibility, ease of transfer, professional landers, savings in time, etc. that they offer.
Of course you don’t need to do only one or the other, and may well want to try out both options to see which works better for you. That is what I do personally, hosting a few domains myself, but using Undeveloped and registrar marketplaces for the majority of my portfolio.
Thank you Bob, very smartly summarized up!