10 Tips To Get A Better Price From A Domain Seller
- Check to see if the domain is already priced.GoDaddy, Afternic, Sedo, and the seller’s website are good places to start. This may help you determine a good offer price and at the very least, it will keep you from offering more than the seller is asking. Regardless of any prices you find, be aware that they may be outdated or from the previous owner who could have forgotten to take down the listing(s).
- Take the commission off the top.When a domain is listed for sale at a domain marketplace, the owner typically gets charged a fee of between 10-30% on a sale. If the owner was going to net 7k on a 10k sale, they may have accepted the same price for a direct purchase, saving you 3k. Not all marketplaces can be circumvented due to exclusive listing agreements and some shouldn’t be (if you heard about the domain because of them). Also, don’t forget that the seller will spend more time dealing with a direct purchase. Take that into consideration when you make your offer.
- Start with a strong offer but not your best.Don’t insult the seller with a lowball offer but also understand that you can always increase your offer as long as the domain remains for sale. If the seller has a set minimum offer, start there but don’t automatically expect that you will be able to acquire the domain at that price. Minimum offers help both the buyer and the seller avoid wasting time and are more of a starting point to begin a negotiation. They are commonly used as there are still many people who believe they can purchase just about any domain for nearly the same price as an unregistered domain.
- Research any previous prices. If you are able to find it, knowing what was paid for a domain in the past can help you come up with an appropriate offer amount. Some publicly reported sales prices can be found at DNJournal.com or NameBio.com. You may be able to close a sale by offering an amount which would give the seller a small profit. Maybe they’ve had the domain for a long time or they decided not to use it and they’re willing to take a loss. You won’t know unless you ask.
- Don’t mask who you are and be courteous. Trying to remain anonymous behind a free email account or by providing false information will only hurt your chances of getting a response. It’s not uncommon for large domain portfolio holders to get hundreds of emails per day. Lead off with the right foot by being honest, professional, and polite in your correspondence. If you are worried that the seller will increase their price if they find out who you are, use a domain buying service to help negotiate the deal.
- Offer a quick and hassle free transaction. Have you purchased domains in the aftermarket before? Mention that you will expedite the payment and the transfer of the domain on your end.
- Notify the seller of your intended use if it’s fairly small in scale. It will help you stand out from the crowd and it will also help the seller realize that you are a real person with a real budget. This can be especially beneficial when a domain will be used for something that can appeal to the sellers interests or goodwill. While the “I want to use the domain for a charity” email is a common approach, if that really is your intended use and you can back that up (already using the .org?), it just may help you get a better price.
- Don’t be 100% set on one domain. Have one or two other domain options in mind and be prepared to move on if necessary. If your second choice domain has a published price that is much lower, let the seller know. If they want to get a deal closed they may match or beat it.
- Give your highest and best offer. If you are truly not willing to go any higher, let them know. As politely as possible, explain that your offer will stand for a set number of days should they change their mind and then move on to the next domain.
- Use a broker. If you don’t feel comfortable enough with the ins and outs of the domain industry, hire a broker. A good broker knows the methods that will help you get a better price and can help you determine an appropriate offer amount.
Bonus 1. Research the seller. Does the seller have a history of only selling for prices that far exceed your budget? Do they own 50 domains or 50,000? The more you know, the better.
Bonus 2. Research prior use of the domain using the Internet Archive.A ‘For Sale’ page may have existed at one point which may help you determine an approximate price that was paid or any previous asking prices for the domain.
* Not all domain prices are negotiable. Domain sellers can be unrealistic and/or irrational, or they can be completely professional and fair. These tips may help with reasonable sellers.
Someone Is Selling Your Ideal Domain. Here Is Why You SHOULDN’T Buy It
Unsure about whether you should try to acquire an aftermarket domain name that could cost thousands or more? Here are 10 reasons why you probably won’t want to pull the trigger.
- You don’t really want it that bad:
The typical aftermarket domain price for an average .com is around $2,000. Most sales occur in the $500-$20,000 price range. Great domains can be much more. If those figures sound out of reach for your intended use, or you deem them excessive given the quality of the domain, then maybe you should pass.
- You don’t mind HavingAReallyLongDomainName.com:
The longer the domain, the more likely it is freely available to register. Besides, someone probably makes business cards that roll up like Fruit Roll-Ups so you can fit your whole domain on there.
In all seriousness, there are quite a few 3 or 4+ word domains that have sold for a good amount of money.
Truth is, sometimes your venture dictates the use of a domain that is a bit longer, but it has to make sense. Here’s an example of a six word domain that gets a lot of inquiries: HowBadDoYouWantIt.com (here are some reasons why)
- You’re not bothered by A-Few-Measly-Hyphens-Either.com:
One may be ok in certain instances but, be careful as the unhyphenated version of your domain may be owned by someone who would love it if your venture is successful. Be prepared for the possibility that you will increase the value of the better domain, and in turn, the purchase price. You’ll see why in reason #8.
Remember, if a domain name looks sketchy, visitors will avoid it.
- The # in your domain makes you FeelPrettyCre8ive.com:
Chances are, you spent a long time convincing yourself that you like it. There are exceptions, but we encourage everyone to imagine telling someone (yes, out loud) what your website or email address is. One of the quickest ways to find a domain that is available to register for $10 is to add a digit or hyphen to it. Most of the time, there is a reason that a domain is unregistered.
There are plenty of cases were a number does make sense though. Here is an example: Top10.com. As is the case with this domain, it’s a good idea, whenever possible, to own the non numbered version of the domain (TopTen.com) and redirect it.
*Short numeric only domains can hold tremendous value due to their memorability as well as scarcity.
- How your domain looks on advertising, business cards, or in search engines may not matter to you:
Maybe establishing an image of a credible business isn’t the end goal of your website. Are you aiming for Wall Street, Main Street or Sesame Street? Who is your target audience? Not all websites are for profit.
Also, watch out for those domains that are unintentionally inappropriate.
- You are stubborn. Own it:
Some schmuck purchased your ideal domain for the registration fee before you did and you will never pay more than that for it, regardless of how much the domain could benefit you. NEVER!!
- Being found online isn’t a priority:
Whether you have a good domain already or no domain at all, it’s possible that a truly great domain may not be worth the investment for you. For instance, you have a small family-owned business that does well in a great location and isn’t interested in expansion. Ultimately, if you are happy with how your business is going, then keep doing what you are doing.
Although we wouldn’t recommend it, there are also those that rely solely on social media, directory listings, etc., for their internet presence. Just be careful about giving all of the control to someone who could delete your account, change their business model, or go the way of MySpace.
- Losing some of your traffic doesn’t matter much to you:
You may not be looking to profit from your site or you could be perfectly comfortable with your current domain.
However, if you are following the principles of #2,3, or 4 above, be aware that some of your visitors will end up at a different domain. Hint: It’s the one your customers feel like you should own. It likely ends in .com, and doesn’t have hyphens, numbers, or extra words in it.
Remember, your visitors want you to own the more fitting domain and they will often visit it – even if by accident. If there are ads on that page, you may even be helping the owner make quite a bit of money.
- You aren’t going to use your domain for email purposes:
You may not need a professional email like: You @ YourCompany.com or you may feel comfortable with a free email address (Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc.). However, if you do decide to go ahead and use a poor domain for email don’t be surprised at the low open rate.
Nothing says spam, phishing attempt, black money scam, Fifo’s Fraud, Spanish Prisoner Scam, or the infamous Detroit-Buffalo scam, like a domain that looks like #2,3, 4, and sometimes our next reason…
- You don’t care about the extension. You can get a new .whatever for next to nothing:
Not necessarily. The most popular domains are often reserved by the registry or registered with early access fees that can be upwards of $10,000. The renewal fees can be up to $1,600 per year. Due your due diligence as it’s more confusing than you probably imagine. No one knows if or when any of the new domain extensions will gain mass acceptance by the general public.
If you want something that is generally accepted now, stick with a .com whenever possible. It is the most popular extension for a reason. People know it, people trust it, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
10 Reasons Why Your Domain Offer Won’t Be Accepted
Does someone else own your ideal domain name? Purchasing a domain that is already owned is not always a simple process. There are many things that can get in the way of a potential deal. Here are some of the most common:
- Your offer is too low:
Although an offer of $5,000 or even $50,000 may seem generous for a domain, the owner may have had offers that are much greater.
Great domains often have many potential buyers. Do a Google search for a domain’s keyword(s) to get a quick idea of its value. Are there other businesses that are using inferior versions of the domain with: extensions other than .com, an added hyphen, word, number, etc., who could upgrade their domain by purchasing the one you’re interested in?
- The domain is not for sale:
If there is a legitimate website hosted on the domain you probably won’t be able to purchase it. Even when there isn’t a website, it’s possible that a domain is being used for email purposes or the owner may have plans to develop it in the future. And yet, most everything is for sale for the right price. See #1.
- You offered something other than money for the domain:
Bartering for a domain name rarely works. We’ve had offers ranging from web development and hosting all the way to wine, steaks, or a good time. If you can’t afford a domain, ask if the seller has a lease option, if they offer payment plans, or for high value domains, if they would accept an equity position in your company in exchange for the domain.
- The domain may have cost much more than what you’re offering:
Are you offering $100 for a domain that cost its owner $25,000? There is a common misconception that all of the best domains were purchased many years ago by investors who only paid the registration fee for them.
Although that fact wouldn’t make a domain less valuable, it’s important to note that many of the best domains have changed hands since they were initially registered. Domains are often purchased by investors at auction, from their previous owners, or through portfolio acquisitions for prices that far exceed their registration costs.
Something else to consider: the registration fees for a domain that has been held since 1995 at Network Solutions until now, would total over $700 (in addition to the potential acquisition cost).
- The owner may be a long-term investor:
A great domain will appreciate in value over time. A domain owner may hold a domain for many years before they consider selling, especially if they don’t need the money right away.
- The domain may be earning a steady income for its owner:
Although it may look like the domain isn’t being used, there are several ways in which the owner may be monetizing the domain. Is the domain’s traffic being redirected? Is the owner selling personalized email addresses? Is the domain a parked page full of advertising? Some domains can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year simply from the ad revenue.
- Your email isn’t being received:
Don’t be surprised if a domain’s contact info hasn’t been updated by its owner in a while.
- The owner doesn’t like you:
If a buyer comes across as entitled, a know it all, or rude when communicating with the seller, they probably won’t reach an agreement. We have a very strict policy of not dealing with someone who makes threats, has a screw loose, or is just really unpleasant to deal with.
- The owner has unrealistic expectations:
Is the owner asking for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for the domain? Not many domains are of that caliber. When you’re dealing with an unrealistic seller you’ll probably realize it right away.
- The owner may have a loan on the domain:
Just as a pawn shop will give a loan against something of value, there are companies that advance money based on the value of a domain, website, patent, or trademark. If the owner is using a domain as collateral for a loan, it may be more difficult to reach an agreement at a fair price with the owner. If the owner is accruing interest against a large group of domains, the sale of one domain may not be worth their time.
Acquiring A Domain From Someone Who Is Unprofessional, Unmotivated, Or Nowhere To Be Found
WHEN THE DOMAIN OWNER WON’T RESPOND TO EMAILS:
- Make sure to use your actual contact information and a legitimate email address. At a minimum leave a full name and phone number in the signature line of your email. If you are a business owner, provide that info as well. Remember to check your spelling and grammar, include the domain in the subject line, and be professional and polite if you want a response to your email. It’s not a good idea to use a fake name or a recently established free email account (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) to contact domain owners just to remain anonymous. Spammers, people running a phishing scam, and those who aren’t serious buyers are also known for this. It’s estimated that more than 70% of an organization’s email is spam. If your email doesn’t look legitimate it may not get a reply. If you insist on remaining anonymous, contact a domain broker to reach out to the owner for you.
- Send several emails if necessary. Some domain investors own hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of domain names, which means they likely get a lot of inquiries. Your email may have gone into their spam / junk folder or could have been inadvertently overlooked or deleted. A phone call or mailing them a letter could get their attention if your emails aren’t being answered.
- Let them know that you are a serious buyer. Make the seller a fair offer right away but not necessarily your best. Why? Because you will almost always receive a counteroffer and if your offer is accepted immediately you may have been able to get a better deal. However, if the domain is priced and you want to make an offer within your budget that is under the asking price, it’s worth a try as you might be able to come to terms with the owner. Hundreds of millions of dollars of privately owned domain sales are made public each year. Even more deals are made but remain private. Look through some recent sales at DNJournal.com to get an idea on what kind of offer may be suitable for the domain you are inquiring about.
WHEN YOU CAN’T FIND THE DOMAIN OWNER:
- Visit the Whois for the domain. Domain owners are legally required to maintain accurate Whois contact info. Rule breakers exist, of course, but you should be able to ascertain a good amount of info on the owner if they aren’t using privacy protection. If the domain is under privacy protection, send an email to the email address in the Whois anyway as the registrar is required to forward the email to the owner.Get historical ownership information by signing up for an account at Domain Tools. Often one of the best methods for tracking down a domain owner is through a previous snapshot in the Whois history.
- Get all of the info you can on them by visiting the domain you are interested in purchasing. Generally if a domain is for sale, a banner with a link to the owner’s website or a contact form will exist on the home page. If the site is developed or not listed for sale, there should still be some contact info listed. Even if the site is extremely out of date or has broken links, the contact info may still be valid.Find out what the site looked like in the past by visiting the Wayback Machine. Previous versions of the site may give a clue to help you find the owner.
- Look for more info by visiting other domains that are owned by the same owner. Does the owner also own the singular or plural version of the domain you’re interested in or other extensions (.net, .org, etc.)? If the owner’s email is not under privacy protection, you can use their email to search for other domains that they own by visiting Whoisology.com or by purchasing a full domain report at Domain Tools if you do not have a valid email address.
- Use Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., to search for the owner. It’s not uncommon for a domain owner to neglect to update their Whois information. The domain could be on auto renew or may have been registered for up to ten years when it was renewed last. By using search engines or social networking sites you can often track them down by searching for just a name or email address.
WHEN THE DOMAIN OWNER RESPONDS IN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
- “I never responded to your previous emails because your offer was too low“:
Regardless of your offer amount, if the domain is listed for sale and you have followed the guidelines in the first part of this article, you are deserving of some sort of reply.
Try to research the seller to get a better idea of who they are. Do they have a reputation for being extremely unrealistic in their pricing? Maybe they are known for being notoriously difficult or unprofessional. If that’s the case you may be better off looking for a different domain owned by someone else. Remember, if you are dealing with a jerk and you give them your business, you are helping to keep them in business.
Recommendation: If the seller fits the profile above it’s doubtful that you will be able to come to terms with them. If you really want the domain or you don’t have any other alternatives, resist the urge to reply to their rudeness or unprofessionalism with your own. Your best attempt to purchase the domain should consist of an increased offer (with installments if necessary), a thank you for contacting you and let them know to keep you in mind should they decide to sell the domain.
- “The domain is for sale for 3.9 million dollars“:
There are only around 100 publicly reported domain sales over 1 million dollars that have occurred. Four were reported in 2015. It’s pretty obvious when a domain falls into this category. Huge asking prices often come from unknowledgeable sellers, those who aren’t really interested in selling, or on sites like Ebay where sellers are hoping to make their domains stand out from the crowd.
Recommendation: Search for a different domain owned by a realistic seller or make them a fair offer based on some recent comparable sales to see if they will adjust their price. In the event that the domain is justifiably worth a large amount and you are prepared to make a sizable offer for it, contact a domain broker for guidance.
- “I don’t price my domains… you have to make an offer“:
There are two common scenarios that people encounter…
- A. If the owner is not in the business of selling domains, it’s reasonable for them to ask for an offer, especially if the domain is not listed for sale or if it’s already in use. The owner may know nothing about domain values and may need a decent offer for it to be worthwhile for them to explore the possibility of selling.
- B. If the owner is in the domain industry, they might not have put in the time and effort to price all of their domains. A decent starting offer might be enough for them to give you a counter offer.
Domain owners could be hesitant to price their domains for many reasons some of which are:
- Values can fluctuate and they are afraid of selling for less than market value
- It’s difficult to maintain accurate pricing on a large portfolio
- Pricing may be based on the intended use of the domain
- They are hoping for an offer that is greater than the price they would actually accept
Recommendation for scenario A:
If owned by a domain name investor, try to ask them for at least a price range and politely let them know that you are unfamiliar with all of the intricacies that go into pricing a domain name, and that you do not want to overpay or insult them with a low offer.
It’s unlikely that you are in the business of pricing domains and it is also reasonable to assume that you should not have to both buy the domain, as well as price and sell it for them too.
Even so, sometimes an owner will still insist on an offer. At this point there isn’t much you can do other than to tell them that you would like them to contact you should they decide to price the domain or make them an offer that is within your budget.
Recommendation for scenario B:
If the domain is owned by someone unfamiliar with domain values or if it’s currently being used, ask them if they would be interested in selling and what a reasonable price would be. If after several courteous email attempts you still have not heard back, you can try to motivate a response by making an offer. Domains that are currently in use are often the most difficult to acquire. If you are serious about the domain, make sure your offer reflects that.
Nearly every domain is for sale for the right price. It’s just a matter of whether the price is within your budget and how much effort you want to put in to acquire it.