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Say you have a great idea for your new website’s domain name. You do a quick search and realize it’s taken. You could try to pick a different one, but you really want that exact name. In this situation, you need a domain broker–someone who can track down the owner of the domain name and make an offer to buy it on your behalf.
To help you determine the best domain brokers, we researched more than 30 of the best to narrow down a list of the top five. The best domain broker for most is VPN.com. It is a major player in the domain space, and it has a clear-cut process for buying and selling.
The Best Domain Broker for Most
When it comes to domain brokerage services, VPN.com stands out regardless of whether you’re in search of a domain that isn’t currently listed for sale or eagerly anticipating a lucrative offer for a domain you own. What sets VPN.com apart is that there are no upfront costs for buyers or sellers. VPN.com also boasts an impressive track record, having collectively brokered more than 1,000 deals totaling over $65 million in transactions.
VPN.com specializes in six, seven, and eight-figure deals. Some of its deals have included ETH.com for $2 million, Meet.com for $1 million, and Asset.com for $440,000. VPN.com has a network of high net-worth individuals, brands, and high-profile investors it can connect you with. Plus, it never charges more than 15% in commissions. It’s the top choice for most people.
The Best Domain Broker Options to Consider
- VPN.com – Best for Most
- GoDaddy – Best for Finding Qualified Buyers and Sellers
- Grit Brokerage – Best for Acquiring Your Dream Domain
- Namecheap – Best for Low Commission Fees
- Sedo – Best for Global Domains
- Brannans – Best for Selling Premium Domains
When It Makes Sense to Invest In a Domain Broker
There’s an easy answer for this one: when you want to buy a domain that’s taken or sell a domain you own, a domain broker can help you.
More specifically, here are a few scenarios where investing in a domain broker rather than trying to manage the transaction yourself will be helpful:
- If you can’t locate the owner of the domain name you want on your own
- If you’re on a budget and/or want to make sure you can negotiate your offer
- If you want to maximize the value you get from selling your domain and/or want help finding the best buyer
- If you don’t have the time, knowledge, or technical background to handle the transaction by yourself
- If you really want to work with a person rather than the faceless internet
For those of you who just want to register a new domain name that’s currently available, you don’t need a broker. Simply use a domain registrar and follow our step-by-step guide on how to register a domain.
#1 – VPN.com — The Best for Most
VPN.com offers exceptional domain brokerage services for buyers and sellers alike. Whether you’re trying to purchase a domain that isn’t listed for sale or you’re holding out for a million-dollar offer on a domain name you own, VPN.com has you covered.
Interestingly enough, VPN.com’s own domain name is an example of how this broker operates.
The company’s founder and CEO purchased the domain for more than $1 million in 2019—which was the seventh-largest domain transaction of that year. The domain wasn’t even for sale when they first expressed their interest. After a relentless pursuit, the acquisition was finalized.
The team at VPN.com has cumulatively brokered more than 1,000 deals totaling over $65 million in transactions.
Online domain marketplaces might be fine if you’re looking for a $100 or even a $1,000 domain name. But, for those of you trying to buy or sell a domain for six to eight figures, you need a broker that can go the extra mile and dig into an extensive network to get the job done.
There are $0 in upfront costs for buyers and sellers alike, and the brokerage service includes escrow, transfers, and payment protection.
VPN.com provides 100% anonymity to buyers who express interest in domains. Sellers only have to commit to three months of exclusivity—meaning the team at VPN.com is confident that they can sell your domain for the highest possible price within that timespan.
We also love the fact that VPN.com offers escrow services. This is a must-have feature, especially for high-value transactions.
It helps protect buyers and sellers alike—ensuring that ownership isn’t passed and money doesn’t change hands until both parties hold up to their end of the bargain. With escrow services available for transactions up to $100 million, you can rest easy knowing that you’re in good hands with VPN.com.
Commissions start at 15% for domains, and you only pay when a deal gets made. Get top dollar for your domain or acquire some prime real estate on the internet by contacting the pros at VPN.com.
#2 – GoDaddy — The Best for Finding Qualified Buyers and Sellers
When attempting to purchase a domain, it can sometimes be difficult to contact a potential seller and get his or her attention. If you try to do this individually or with a service provider no one has heard of, you run the risk of being ignored.
GoDaddy is a well-known brand with social proof and credibility. If a potential seller sees that GoDaddy is attempting to contact them, they are more likely to take notice. When buyers use this service to contact a seller, their identities are kept private.
GoDaddy’s process starts with buyers entering the domain name they want. Next, they will receive an email asking about their budget range. The broker will then ask the current domain owner if he or she would like to sell.
If so, the broker will negotiate to find the best price possible. If the current owner tells the broker he or she doesn’t want to sell, or 30 days pass without the broker successfully contacting the owner, the buyer’s claim ends.
Another cool part of using GoDaddy as your domain broker is that they keep your information private. They won’t disclose your identity to the seller during the negotiation process, which is nice if you’re trying to discreetly acquire a domain.
One drawback of GoDaddy’s domain broker service is that it’s somewhat expensive. Buyers must pay $69.99 upfront and commission fees are 20% per sale. If the domain isn’t sold, you’re still out of pocket for the initial charge.
The non-refundable deposit is justifiable when you consider the fact that you’re getting a dedicated domain broker to walk you through the process. Your dedicated broker will help you strategize and formulate a reasonable budget for the domain that you’re trying to acquire.
Working with a broker like GoDaddy also ensures that your identity remains confidential, which is important if you value your privacy or if you think the seller would back out of the deal if they knew you were the buyer.
For those of you who don’t want to pay those high commission fees, you can always browse through GoDaddy’s domain actions page to look for deals on domain names in the secondary market. We have an in-depth GoDaddy review that covers additional services beyond its domain brokerage.
#3 – Grit Brokerage — The Best for Acquiring Your Dream Domain
Best for Buying Premium Domains
Trust the personalized service and experienced brokers at Grit Brokerage for your premium TLD acquisition. The firm has years of experience in negotiating and securing high-quality domains and can help you get the perfect digital real estate for your brand.
When you’re searching for a domain these days, it’s common to have to settle for less than you’d hoped. Much of the prime real estate has already been snapped up and .com TLDs are scarce.
But what if you don’t want to settle? That’s where Grit Brokerage comes in.
It’s one thing to try to secure your perfect .com via a standard domain seller functioning as a broker. The level of service and effort you’ll get from them can vary, but it’s still from a distance.
Grit Brokerage is a more accessible company, featuring real, human brokers with whom you can build a relationship and express your needs to secure (or sell) one domain or many.
Just look at their contact page. The three partners all have their email addresses, cell phone numbers, and LinkedIn profiles plainly listed so there’s no mystery on how to contact them.
And their reputation precedes them. This is the firm behind some big domain acquisitions over the last several years. Grit Brokerage delivers top-notch service and capability so you can secure a premium domain that fits your organization and keywords like a glove.
If you have your eyes on a premium TLD that is essential to your strategy for getting found or elevating visibility, the folks at Grit Brokerage can do exceptional work for you. They’ll handle all the nitty-gritty work of finding and negotiating.
And there are some incredible domains currently in their portfolio. As of this writing, a few notable examples are branded.com, artist.com, and investing.org.
But they’re also adept at the other side of domain brokerage, too. If you’re sitting on a valuable TLD that is more valuable for you to sell than use as a home for your website, they’ll work to get you top-dollar value for it—just like they did for the holders of ice.com in 2018, when they sold it for $3.5 million.
No matter what you need in the world of premium domains, opt for the personalized service and best-in-class brokerage capability that Grit Brokerage delivers. They’ll get you the perfect digital home for your brand with minimal to no stress on your end.
#4 – Namecheap — The Best for Low Commission Fees
If you’re on a budget, low commission fees are something to look out for when choosing a domain broker. Namecheap has a simple domain auction platform that lets buyers and sellers negotiate on domains. It is affordable, charging no upfront cost, and has a flat 10% commission fee to sellers.
Like GoDaddy, Namecheap is a recognizable brand, drawing in more users and making it more likely you will find the domain you want. When you use its platform, you’re guaranteed a safe and secure transaction that may have not been the case if reaching out individually.
It lets buyers search domain names by category, content, maximum length, and seller name. If the buyer is looking for a specific price range, he or she can specify it during the search. These options let buyers narrow down their options so they can find exactly what they’re looking for.
There are also specific categories for:
- ccTLD Favorites
- SEO Friendly
- Buy Now
Buyers will bid for the most desired domain names and once the bid closes, the domain is sold. After a purchase, transactions must undergo an approval process which takes up to 48 hours. Once the domain is approved, the new owner is free to begin managing it.
Head over to Namecheap and get acquainted with their marketplace.
#5 – Sedo — The Best for Global Domains
Sedo is the global market leader in domain exchanges. It currently has 19 million domain offerings, 4 million parked domains, and 3,500 domain sales each month. It has been in business for almost 20 years and was built to help people buy, sell, and park their domains.
For people who want to exchange domains with a global audience, Sedo is the right broker. Its customer base is over 2 million people in over 150 countries. Its main employee base is in the U.S. and Germany with partnerships all over the world. Sedo handles every second global domain transaction and has made over 700,000 domain sales.
If you don’t speak the language of a seller, there’s no need to worry. Sedo’s employees collectively speak over 25 languages, and they will negotiate a deal for you. Sedo has safe transactions that can be made via bank transfer, credit card, or PayPal.
Fair warning, Sedo’s pricing structure is on the complex side. While some features are inexpensive, other services have fees that start to add up. It’s important to determine exactly what you need before purchasing from Sedo.
Registering with Sedo, transferring domains, parking domains, and buying domains are all free. When purchasing a domain with an express payment option that allows same-day transfer, a 3% fee is added. This is waived for transactions below $500.
If you want domain marketing services from Sedo as a seller, you must meet some minimum requirements, including:
- Domain is no more than two descriptive words
- Domains can’t have any spelling or typographical errors
- You agree to an exclusive marketing arrangement
- You must notify Sedo of any correspondence or offers received
- Site traffic statistics for the past 12 months must be provided
There are no upfront fees for selling, but there are fees after a sale. There’s a 15% commission on the gross sales place, with minimum fees ranging from $20 to $220, depending on the TLD.
Finally, if you want to use Sedo’s brokerage services, there’s a $69 upfront fee to contract them. Sedo also charges a 15% commission on the purchase price for buyers.
Learn more about using Sedo by heading to their website.
#6 – Brannans — The Best for Selling Premium Domains
Brannans is a domain broker that specializes in helping businesses buy and sell premium domains. Premium domains can be identified by being easy to remember, typically only one or two words long, and being followed by “.com” rather than, say, “.us” or “.biz.” Premium domains have higher visibility and brand clarity, which makes them highly sought-after.
Brannans has delivered more than 10,000 premium domains and will help you obtain one even if it’s currently not for sale. Brannans brokers have an outcome success rate of over 95%. As of this writing, some examples of premium domains in Brannans’ arsenal are Meme.com, Bulldogs.com, and Batteries.com.
Sellers have two options when they are ready to list their domain. Their first option is to create a wholesale offer and receive payment between three hours and three business days. Their second option is to sell at a retail price that’s typically achieved within one to six months.
Brannans offers some other unique perks to sellers, including:
- Private and semi-private domain auctions
- Acronym branding analysis to help identify prospective buyers
- Detailed market research with reports, infographics, and more
- Active outreach to all potential buyers, including those not actively seeking domains
It’s important to note that if you want to sell, your domain must end in “.com” and have an estimated retail value of at least $25,000. Brannans’ price includes a $49.95 fee per domain and a 15% commission. This is a moderate price to pay for a domain broker service.
Brannans will also put qualifying domains in its domain name newsletter for free. So players in the domain industry will see that your domain is for sale with a notification sent straight to their inboxes.
If you’re interested in buying and flipping domains on a regular basis, you should definitely subscribe to this newsletter as well—as it will help keep you informed on the latest domains for sale.
Get great value from your domain broker by getting started with Brannans today.
Methodology for Choosing the Best Domain Broker
Before deciding which domain broker to go with, there are a few different things to consider.
Before selecting a broker to help you with buying or selling domains, make sure you understand its commission fees. Aside from upfront pricing, commission fees are the main way domain brokers charge their customers.
Typical commission fees range from 10% to 20% of the sale, and the burden can either be placed on the buyer or the seller. If you’re a buyer and discover a broker’s fees only apply to sellers, you’re in the clear. If you’re a seller in this situation, make sure the broker isn’t charging you more than 20%.
It’s also important to consider the amount of money being exchanged in the deal. If you’re selling a domain worth more than $100,000, you’ll probably want to use a broker like VPN.com that keeps commissions at 15% or lower. Failing to do so could result in you having to kiss $20,000 goodbye.
If you’re a seller, it’s hard to estimate the value of your domain. To ensure you’re asking for the right amount of money, hiring a domain broker with a valuation team is a huge benefit.
These analysts measure market forces and your domain’s worth to determine a suitable asking price. Failing to use valuation services can cause you to miss out on big money. There are domains that cost eight figures, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you could accidentally sell one of these gems for $50.
If you think your domain has potential, don’t make this mistake. Common indicators of high-priced domains are one word, easy to remember, and end in a “.com”. However, there are several factors that could make your domain more valuable. Make sure your domain broker is looking into this if you’re a seller with a hunch.
It’s critical to make sure you use a domain broker that protects payments. Using a secure payment system is especially important for buyers and sellers of high-ticket domains. It’s much better to use a broker that has a financial institution managing its transactions rather than simply sending money to a stranger.
Lots of brokers use words like “secure”, “protected”, and “safe.” But the best domain brokers offer escrow services to ensure everything goes smoothly.
By having the transaction go through escrow after an offer is accepted, the funds get deposited into a third-party account. The funds get released to the seller, and the domain gets handed over to the buyer only after each party fulfills the obligations set forth in the contract.
If the escrow service isn’t offered through your broker, then you’d likely need to go through a third party on your own. While this isn’t a deal-breaker, it’s not always ideal for high-ticket transactions.
The Best for Most
VPN.com specializes in six to eight-figure deals. Having done more than $65 million in transactions, it’s the best option for buyers and sellers alike. There are no fees to get started, and you can even use VPN.com to acquire domains that aren’t listed for sale.
Domain brokers are essential when selling and buying domain names that are already in use. They help sellers earn the money they deserve and help buyers secure their dream domain.
VPN.com is the best domain broker for most, while GoDaddy is best for finding qualified buyers and sellers. Grit Brokerage is great for high-value and premium domains. Brannans is the way to go if you’re looking to sell a premium domain you own for top dollar. Namecheap is budget-friendly with low fees, and Sedo is great for global businesses.