Domain inquiry : Sob stories won’t get you the domain name

Poor students, single moms, ailing septuagenarians – all seems to be fair in the endless war of domain acquisitions, as far as inquiries go.

While each one of these faux intros is a class of its own, I must admit I rarely have someone hit me with a major “sob story” right off the bat.

A recent inquiry for an aged name fit for a non-profit organization, was overflowing with emotional, guilt-wrenching lingo.

It was eloquent, well-written, emotionally balanced – and down right full of shit.

The other party wasn’t simply seeking to acquire any domain “in memoriam” of their child, but rather, *this* particular domain.

Having sold plenty of similar domains to legit non-profits, I’m well-aware of their value, and the function they serve.

Instead of reacting, I responded kindly, but that wasn’t enough, it seems.

It wasn’t enough for me to direct them towards an alternate TLD, which they promptly registered under WHOIS privacy, they came back with additional tear jerking statements, seeking to get this one as well.

When the other party tries too hard to impress, then you know they are full of it; when there is no gradual introduction, no “leaking” of tidbits, no class in engaging with a complete stranger who owns a digital asset, but instead an overwhelming tirade of volunteered information on someone’s alleged pain.

I’m all for gracious pricing, and perhaps for a discount, depending on how an initial approach is made. My interest drops the moment the smell of digital manure overwhelms the communication, and becomes a story of fiction worthy of a Pulitzer.

I told my buyer that I understand his commitment to the keyword, he now needs to build up the alternate TLD domain he promptly registered; then form a proper non-profit that my domain was fit for, and raise some awareness and financial backing. Then, he can approach me again in the future to discuss pricing.

After that approach, he went silent, and I hope I never get to hear from him again. I don’t hold my breath on his building of the alternate TLD either, but at least now I have a reference point for this anecdote.

It’s sad that such bad apples, preying on the goodwill of domain investors can ruin the very small minority of cases that might need extra detailed love and care, but in the end, no business is built on outright pity.


  1. back around 1999 this guy wanted a domain i had “to help the kids” and i seriously considered just letting him have it until he went overboard and said that he could tell i was a “cool guy”. made me want to vomit and since then whenever i get an inquiry from a poor student or the like i consider it a free pass to just fuck with them.

  2. When they come to me with their fake sob stories – I automatically add at least $4,000. to the price I would have considered… But I don’t quote any price till they spill their verifiable guts to me… as in all links to their SMS profiles and such … if they don’t I don’t bother to respond… Truth be told – if they come to me with a sob story – they will never have a real chance at buying anything from me… I’m a hard ass that way…

  3. I get a lot of the poor college students one, too. I tell them to ask their parents like they do for everything else. When I offered that they could pay on a payment plan, they seems to smarten up. I also get the struggling start up routine. I don’t drop the price just add options, like their stock options as interest. You have to enjoy the game.

  4. You could say it .sucks

  5. But what if you really are a poor student. I’m really a poor student from india and I need a certain domain for a school project.

  6. Raj – No, you don’t *need* a certain domain, improvisation is the mother of all wealth.

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