This thread is about how to go about the business of marketing your domain names, listed in order of relative ease.
Here's how domain marketing works.
1. DOMAINS FOR WHICH NO SALES PITCH NECESSARY: The domain sells itself because it's just a really good one: Many, many interested parties: End users, traffic merchants, speculators, people hoping you are stupid or naive. These people will regularly email you, using the email address in the WhoIs record. You don't have to do a darned thing to attract buyers. The domain does all the marketing work itself.
2. A HINT IS SUFFICIENT: It's a large world. Though no one has approached you about buying your domain in the last 3 months there's a chance there might be a few interested parties. The way many/most prospective buyers find their way to you is via the WhoIs record for the domain. Therefore, you place a line in the WhoIs record for the domain, on a secondary address line such as the organizational record or technical contact sections, that says "Domain For Sale". That way, even the slightly curious but not very interested might find their way to you.
3. A HINT PLUS AN ANTI-ANXIETY MEASURE: If you have already placed your "for sale hint" in the WhoIs record THEN you might also do well to reference a URL - in the WhoIs, preferably in the TechContact section - of an address where prices for your domain(s) can be found. Make a simple webpage listing the domains and their prices.
Why add prices to the mix? Because many people won't even bother to ask for a price, convinced that most domain speculators are thieves or have unreasonable expectations. Others potentially interested parties are simply too busy and prefer to not waste time on fruitless inquiries. The lack of info suggests either an amateur at work or someone who just doesn't care if the domain sells. SO, IF YOU WANT TO SELL then suck up your guts (it's scary to state a price) and state a reasonable price. (Setting prices is a topic for another thread. This thread is focused simply on the idea of "how to sell, how to find buyers".
4. PARK THAT DOMAIN! Why? Because most people interested in a specific domain - exactly the type of person you want to attract - will type the domain into a browser. Domain PPC parking sends at least an ambiguous message "this domain might be available for development". Even better, most domain parking services incorporate a link, at least as an option, that says "Inquire about this domain" or "Domain for Sale".
There are incidental benefits to domain parking: a) You might make some money from clicks on the domain landers; b) you will develop domain traffic stats, which is one variable in the pricing models for domains; and, c) a sudden surge in traffic might be a signal to raise your pricing expectations.
5. MAKE A MINISITE: If you don't want to park the domain you might build a mini-site and place a notice on the site that the domain is for sale. If it's the right type of website you might even qualify for Adsense, so you'll have a revenue stream. PLUS there are domain buyers who look for domains with "aged" websites. You might want to keep traffic stats for your minisite, especially stats with referrers (not just a hit counter).
6. LISTING DOMAINS FOR SALE IN DOMAIN FORUMS. List the domain at each and every domain name forum (there's a growing number of them) that allow you to list domains for sale. I'm not going to promote the other forums here, as they're easy enough to find, so don't you mention either, please. :) There's all levels of quality of dialogue and content, but that doesn't matter much if all you wish to do is to expose your domains to the greatest number of potential interested paries. Just Google "domain forum" or "domain name forum".
The downside of domain forum reselling IS that you invariably are reselling to other speculators. Therefore, chances are they won't be suckers for your junk domains. Likewise, they won't be impressed by your sales pitch either. Forget pitching the domain for its brandability, catchiness, etc. They will pay, at most, 1/10 of an reasonably expected enduser value. They might buy based upon traffic stats, but that assumes you already parked the domain. IF they buy based upon proven/reliable traffic stats they will offer anywhere from 18months to 9+ years of the proven domain revenue, supported by evidence of the domain's longevity.
7. LISTING DOMAINS AT DOMAIN RESALE COMPANIES: I'm taking about the Afternics, Sedos, GreatDomains of the world.
Does listing a domain for sale at such an agency do you any better than any of the above approaches? IMHO, the answer is no. Why? Because, once again, a domain sells itself: All you have to do is to communicate that it IS, in fact, available for sale. You can use any of the above processes to send that message.
What's the advantage of such firms? These include
a) You can bulk upload your domains into a system that is specifically designe for domain reselling, so if you want a highly managed environment - go for it. You will have to share in the profits but that's the price you pay for your lack of initiative OR for the convenience, if you view it that way. I say, since you have to address offers no matter where they come from, that domain firms don't really ease the work. Also, such entities can be magnets for marginal minds: People bottom feeding, etc., so you may end up wasting more time.
b) These firms are now employing PPC systems that allow you to make some money and track traffic. I don't read about how happy people are with the significant revenue, but at least it's something.
c) Such systems lend an air of legitimacy to your domain sales: They attempt to use their brand to build confidence in potential buyers. They offer escrow services. They offer appraisals.
Having been involved in this process since late 1998 it's my humble opinion that all the effort in the world will not turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. If your domain is junk it will remain junk.
If your domain has some slight appeal you might encounter a buyer once or twice a year. In that case, just make an entry in your WhoIs record and keep paying your renewals.
If your domain has greater appeal, as evidence by more routine inquiries and type-in traffic, then by all means park it, make some revenue and await inquiries. They will come.
IF you have a rock-the-world domain then you really don't have to do a darned thing: the world will beat a path to your door. Just be certain you have a decent idea about value, which is a subject for another thread.
The most important step involved in domain marketing is choosing the right domain in the first place. IF you choose wisely the rest of the process can be quite rewarding. IF you choose unwisely, there is still a chance that you might recover something for your effort. Hopefully this little thread will show you the way.
Any other ideas about how to go about marketing domain names?
<Note to new members and first time posters in this section of WebmasterWorld: Please, this is not a thread for promoting specific marketing services or websites, nor do we allow the posting of your domain names for sale or appraisal. Please take a moment to read this forum's Charter [webmasterworld.com] if you're a new member. Thank you.>