Domain sales : Dealing with cranky buyers

Domain sales platforms, such as the Uniregistry Market that I use, offer sellers and buyers the ability to communicate directly.

Whether that is done via a broker, or in person, the experience of dealing with a potential buyer can vary tremendously.

The only constant is you, the seller.

Every domain buyer approaches a communication system differently: some are short with words, some get eloquent. Some are polite, others are cranky.

Crankiness is an attempt to abuse a faceless medium. In the real world, a face to face negotiation requires the use of specific manners, acceptable by society.

One cannot imagine a world whereupon walking into a car dealership, or an art gallery, that the visitor would react aggressively to the mentioning of a price.

However, to many domain buyer hopefuls, the Internet is simply a platform that is disconnected from the real, physically interactive world.

This misconception can lead to many problems, when a product such as a domain name, is the focus.

Domain buyers that thrive on a cranky attitude need to be diffused, in order for them to have a chance in engaging in a successful transaction.

Sometimes there is a language barrier, other times, there is lack of understanding about what exactly is a domain.

The first step at diffusing a buyer’s cranky attitude would be to welcome them, regardless of their manners. If they escalate the crank factor, an experienced domain seller would deflect that, sometimes using a script.

Cranky domain buyers are often impulsive in their responses.

By snapping back a response, you will not achieve anything constructive. The best approach would be to make them spend some time using their processing brain, as opposed to their primordial “hunting” lobes.

Ask them a question about what would they like to do with their project, inquire about their needs.

Take the focus away from what they “demand” for a moment, and allow them to seek their safe place. After all, cranky domain buyers are most likely facing equal resistance in real life; to them, aggressiveness might be the only way to communicate.

By all means, expand on the positive characteristics of the domain you are offering for sale, and depict it as a product that would elevate the buyer’s functions. Indicate that you are willing to negotiate, but do not focus on numbers. Let the buyer think on the reasons they are after this domain, as if they were strolling in the art gallery with fine paintings, or a great car dealership with quality cars.

The potential for conflict is always lurking, and if the other party isn’t responding well, you can pass the ball back to them. Ask them, what would they be willing to do with regards to acquiring the domain. Do they have an acquisition plan, a development plan and a business plan overall that you could offer insight on?

That doesn’t mean that you’re offering them a packaged deal of sorts, but you’re simply expanding their narrow-mindedness so that they lose the cranky approach that they thrive on.

Eventually, they will have to make a decision whether to walk away, angry still, or attempt to define a reasonable frame to work on. You can always invite them to contact you at a later time, if the domain is still available. This would give them time to hopefully shed their aggressiveness and rethink their strategy.

Your own domain strategy is to sell the domain at a price that you are most comfortable with. Dealing with cranky domain buyers need not be an unpleasant experience for you, and hopefully, your buyer will adjust their manners as well.


  1. With URM barrier to entry is very weak, a fake name and anonymous email address and you’re in. Build a wall with a better gate. No free email (so long kids), company and full names. Say info provided will be new domain ownership details. At least give sellers the choice to opt for this. If Brokers want to wade through the dross so be it. I’m sick of it.

  2. Garth – Obviously the more inquiries the better. And there are plenty of ways to research the person who places them and find their motives (and budget.) I agree that it’s easier when there is a filtering of sorts. That also reduces potentially great leads.

    The article, however, is about dealing with a buyer who is cranky, or abusive. It’s not the most pleasant situation but there are several ways to address their approach.

  3. One huge time vacuum spent on confused inquires. It’s staggering.
    The more anonymous one feels the more likely one will behave cranky.
    If you know their blood type I’m sure the abuse will curtail.

  4. I use the uniregistry platform for most of my names and it makes no difference to me if they are rude or not. I quote the price and after a reply e-mail I may lower it once and let them know that is my bottom price if they are not willing to pay it I wish them luck. After that I do not respond to emails for less then my last offer. About 30 percent come back at my asking price and we make the sale.

  5. Nice article and one I’ll keep for future reference.

    First of all, as active participants in this industry, we must continue to educate what I’ll call “legacy executives” (good old fashion business people who know how to run a company but new to this space) on the value of domain names and web presence. These business men and women have run successful organizations for decades and, believe it or not, this is still a new frontier for them even thought many of us have been in it for 20 + years. As mentioned in this article, they can sometimes get “cranky” so one size does not fit all and we might consider adjusting our approach slightly in the spirit of education for the greater good.

    Secondly, a rock-solid ROI is certainly needed for them to pull the trigger on a valuable domain name and this is not an easy thing to determine, case by case. I worked in the enterprise software industry before retiring a year ago. Where there was an excellent ROI to offer, that information needed to be conveyed to the decision maker as it could have an immediate impact on where our project fit among all their priorities. In my opinion, if we can eloquently describe the domain name value in an ROI package, it can make these decisions much easier for these “legacy executives” to act upon quickly.

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