10 Worst Kinds of Domain Name Prospective Buyers

If you own valuable domain names, you probably receive offers on a frequent basis. Some prospective buyers are fair and reasonable, and others are frustrating or even angering. If you’ve been in the business long enough, chances are good that you’ve come across prospects  like the ones I listed below.

Without using specific examples, I want to share what I think are the ten worst kinds of domain name prospective buyers. These people can make investing in domain names less enjoyable, and at the very least, make the business of selling domain names more challenging.

I invite you to share other types of buyers that I missed in my list. I am sure there are other kinds of bad prospects that make life difficult for all of us.

  • Prospective buyer who has the money and a great plan for the domain name but won’t make a fair offer for the domain name.
  • Poor “student” who can only afford to spend a little bit of money.
  • Person who makes trademark / IP threats pertaining to a purely descriptive domain name when the price is beyond the buyer’s budget.
  • The “buyer” who files a UDRP on a descriptive domain name instead of negotiating in good faith.
  • The rude buyer who curses or threatens the domain name owner when the negotiations don’t lead to a deal.
  • The slow responder that prolongs a negotiation for months.
  • Clueless buyer who needs hand holding at every step of the process.
  • Prospect that insists on speaking on the telephone and won’t stop talking.
  • The buyer that asks tons of questions about the domain name, its history, traffic, rankings…etc.
  • The prospect who agrees to buy a domain name for a set price and then disappears when the money is due.
Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I have this happen to me couple of times – Agree to a price and then later when its due drag the sale for weeks and tell their budget has changed and wanted it for a lower price.

  2. This is worse:
    Person who makes trademark / IP threats pertaining to a purely descriptive domain name when the price is CLEARLY WITHIN the buyer’s budget BUT THEY JUST DON’T WANT TO PAY ANYTHING.

  3. Number 10) get’s me the most. I was discussing this with Elliot last week via email.

    Every month or two this happens to me. It’s really quite frustrating.

    They ask me to setup Escrow with an agreed upon price and they either delay for weeks saying they will pay and Escrow times out at least once or they go quiet and I have to wait a few days till I can negotiate with other parties, which costs time and sometimes the sale.

    I love domaining and more times then not the transaction is smooth and everyone is happy, a good example was a sale I had this morning, the whole process took no longer then 24 hours with an educated buyer.

    What gets to me is if they want to pull out of the sale, that’s fine, just tell me up front so I can move on, it’s the people who just completely ignore you and waste your time, that’s what gets under my skin, and there are certain industries or that are notorious for it.

    So much in fact, I just won’t purchase domains in those fields any more.

  4. To minimize those “agree to price then disappear” “buyers,” I have a clause in my sale agreement which sets a final date for the money to be at Escrow, or the sale is without further notice null and void.

    Hasn’t eliminated this problem entirely, but I know within just days whether or not they’re going to perform.

    • I’ll add that into my sales agreement as last week I had someone offer me low XXXX for a domain, told me to set it up via Escrow, then came back to me today and said his SEO guy sent him a link to an automated valuation tool showing the domain is worth XX according to that tool and he was happy to buy it from me for $100.

      Obviously that didn’t happen.

    • SEO guys, tech guys and web masters ALWAYS kill deals.

      They would rather have their client spend money on their service rather than on a domain purchase.

      Whenever a prospective buyer tells you s/he is going to ask the tech guy for advise, assume the deal is dead right then.

  5. “Poor “student” who can only afford to spend a little bit of money.”

    I like this one the best, More times than not it’s a large company with deep pockets, I fell for it once and promised myself never again. If times are hard for the buyer, suggest to them to consider a .org or .info.

    • This sounds like a neat story, Raider. Would you be willing to share the details so we can all feel that burning empathy against the entity that dealt with you so fraudulently?

  6. I think the domain appraisal scammers have mostly realized we’re onto them. I even don’t hesitate to bring it up if it looks like one.

    Here’s another one: the drop hustler who contacts you to buy your own domain which is soon to drop, because you yourself are deliberately making it drop. LOL. I’ve had more of those than you can shake a stick at.

    This was a nice thread, Elliot. And since we’ve probably all had to deal with the other side of the coin, I hope you will also soon do a thread about the kinds of sellers we often have to deal with too. LOL. Just had one myself for mid $x x x x but thankfully it’s over now.

  7. Okay…again. Well, I just realized the mid $x x x x example I just alluded to above was actually a total unsolicited buyer, so it appears I’ve had a very, very long day today. It’s allowed… 🙂

  8. “Clueless buyer who needs hand holding at every step of the process.”

    Not sure I understand this one.

    If the person has agreed to a deal, and will pay the price, why is it a problem if they need some hand holding?

    Put another way do you think you would get a higher price out of a person who knows the business or a newbie?

    When I say “knows the business” I mean regularly buys domains.

    If some of us “in the biz” had to buy a domain from you don’t you think we might be able to get it for less than a clueless person who needs hand holding? (Unless of course it was us and we were just playing newbie to fool you…) People who know certain businesses generally know the angles and in general can get better pricing as long as they don’t tip their hand about their knowledge.

    • From my experience, someone who needs hand holding isn’t going to be making an offer that is worth the aggravation. There are exceptions, but I’ve found that the lower value the deal the more annoying hand holding that is necessary. I don’t have the patience to deal with phone calls walking through someone the process if there isn’t enough $$$ in the deal.

    • I took “buyer” as someone you had already struck a deal with.

      It goes without saying that you have to qualify any leads as being valid or not.

      Would be curious at what dollar level though (for you) it becomes more trouble than it’s worth.

      I can almost always tell by how an email is sent and what is said whether someone is in the right ballpark for a particular domain they are asking about.

      If you write and want a 3 letter domain name “for my blog or my newborn” you will get a polite reply that “it’s going to be more expensive than you want to pay but thank you anyway”. If the person is a real buyer they will sometimes come back and be persistent figuring the ploy failed. Or if they really wanted it for a blog they will say “oh I didn’t know that thanks” and go away.

      I take all inquiries seriously. Have had cases where overseas buyers who look like domainers (who spam everyone) and start at $1000 turn out to be end users who end up paying $40,000. Replying with simply “100k” and not putting in any effort and not working the deal would have resulted in no deal in the end.

    • At this point, if the deal is less than $2,000, I most likely wouldn’t do it unless I know the transaction will go off without a hitch.

      The majority of the domain names I buy these days are worth $5-15k on the aftermarket (in my opinion), so turning a $2k offer down is generally ok because I think the name is worth more. Even though I may be losing out on a few offers here and there, I save myself the aggravation.


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