Domain inquiries : Should you keep the conversation going?

An important task of a domain investor, is the evaluation of incoming inquiries and the subsequent response to them.

While some inquiries might note appear to be promising, it’s good practice to respond to them, as an exercise in business communications.

Many domain investors fail at this point, being unable to articulate their response in a professional manner. Short and to the point responses are preferred, however they need to be lengthy enough so that they don’t resemble literary “grunts.”

A couple of paragraphs are usually enough to formulate and establish communication. One might then expand, or take the conversation to a call or video conferencing even.

So how about those inquiries that soon escalate into lengthy tirades by the party interested in your domain?

I’ve had a few cases recently, where the other party overreacted in their response, due to a number of factors.

Such factors can be:

  • The mere fact that the domain they inquire about is taken
  • Because – according to them – it is not being “used”
  • They want to create a brand but don’t want to spend your asking price

It’s the nature of the human species to often engage in less friendly, hostile even, verbal exchanges. When that happens due to the other party having lost control over their communication skills, it is time to drop the ball.

If the other party attempts to “school” me about why I should not be asking for money in exchange for my domain asset, I drop the conversation with a short note that it’s unfortunate we cannot come to an agreement. If they continue with rants or worse, I promptly send them a final notice that they are being blocked from any future attempts to get this domain.

Time-consuming exchanges that involve ignorant, or out of control parties end up being short by pulling the plug. Never allow the other party to take over your business, your strategy or your time.


  1. This is only getting worse, as more users flock, and fight for a good domain name, we are having more, and more of these conversations.

    2016 will be a record for $10, and $50 offers hand down.

    Sometimes it takes a few swings of the bat to get this info out of them, sometimes even the most qualified offers come in at $100 starts.

    All I can recommend to you guys is reprice your 4L, 5L com’s they are all gone, nothing on the market that is cheap. Even if they wanted to hand register a, nothing remotely decent is available in 2016, 2015 you had a shot at something brandable, not anymore.

    Good luck to everyone

  2. This is how it often goes for me:

    1. An interested party starts the communication with “You’re not using the domain anyways”.

    2. Then they lowball me.

    3. I respond with giving my desired price for the domain (often 20X higher than their lowball offer).

    4. I don’t hear from the buyer for a week or so.

    5. One week or so later I get an email with an offer around 70% of my asking price.

    6. We negotiate a bit more and finally close the deal at 85% of my asking price.

    So I always wonder why a lot of buyers waste my time with a lowball offer and presumptions about my usage of my virtual property when they can just come to the point and immediately make a significant offer. A lot of sellers won’t even bother to reply to a lowball offer.

  3. Bram – If you close at 85% of your asking price for offers that started off as ‘lowballs’, that’s pretty good actually. What range are we talking about? It’d make a difference if it’s in the 3, 4, or 5 digit range – or above.

    Typically, it’s not the lowballing that ends negotiations, it’s statements of entitlement or derogatory remarks – aka, ‘sour grapes.’

    Kris – Domain flipping has its pitfalls, and once you clean up your portfolio from the ‘weeds’ you can focus on acquiring domains with prospective buyers, as opposed to ‘trends’ and so-called ‘liquid’ domains.

  4. Acro – My selling range usually is between $1K and $10K. A while ago a potential buyer started with a lowball offer of $500 USD on one of my domains (had a landing page with a bin of $10K). I ended up selling the domain for $8K two weeks later. To me that’s only possible with endusers though. If another domain investor wants a domain from me and he lowballs me there will most likely not be any deal.

    But you’re right, when a buyer starts a tirade and claims I don’t have any rights to use my own domain I will sometimes lose my calm and end negotiations prematurely as well. Situations like that definitely have a bigger impact than just the lowballing part.

  5. Definitely need thick skin and patients. I tend to not follow up as often as I should, usually happens after they play the student card :/
    I would probably have more sales, but not the kind that keep me buying.

  6. The more time we spend inside the domain industry, the harder it is for us to remember what it’s like for someone outside the industry.

    Bumping into real domain prices for the first time is often startling, and it’s never what the buyer is hoping to hear. Ask yourself how you’d respond to bad news – especially a shockingly high bill!

    Often, the buyer is in the middle of a reverie, imagining they’re about to own the domain and put it to use. Then they get to the cashier; and they’re frustrated, maybe even embarrassed, that the price tag is so much higher than they’d realized. It’s disconcerting; and some people will react with skepticism, even anger.

    Are they right? No. But we can sympathize and educate our audience about the domain market. Up to a point. Then, if they’re still screaming and shouting with a sense of entitlement, we must ask them to step aside so we can help the next person in line.

    What we must be careful not to do is resemble a snooty cashier who makes the customer feel ignorant or shabby. Prices are what they are, but we can usually help a buyer feel secure about their options and find some solution.

  7. Whatever you do, please do respond to the inquirer if they are approaching you in a polite manner. I wish I’d kept a running tab from the start of my days as a domain buyer broker, but I would estimate that domain owners have lost out on $1M+ in deals from me simply by not responding to me. You snooze you lose. ;+)

  8. @Bill Sweetman,

    I think domain owners often imagine that a buyer will simply keep coming back. So they plan on waiting to respond until there’s a large opening offer. After all, the buyer wants / needs the domain. And there’s only 1 road through town, right?

    Wrong. Don’t know how it is for others; but, in practice, half my clients are pursuing multiple domains in parallel. They only need 1 name, and I encourage them to look at multiple candidates rather than become fixated on just 1 idea.

    Opening offers can’t be high because we don’t want to commit to several domains at once; and at that stage we’re only organizing options, crossing names off the list. Maybe we’ve heard back about the 4th-choice name; but the owner of the 1st-choice name hasn’t responded, and we’re in negotiations on #2 and #3.

    Ultimately, the buyer picks a domain, whether all owners respond or not. And they can pave a road right around a town that puts up a barrier.

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