A Counter Offer Nullifies The Offer

A few years ago, someone made an offer on one of my domain names, and I counter offered trying to get a better price. I don’t recall if the person replied to my counter offer or not, but I followed up within a day or two to let them know I reconsidered and would accept their offer. The person told me their offer was no longer valid.

I was pretty upset, and at the time, I thought they had done something wrong. After speaking with a couple of colleagues, I then understood that what they did was completely legitimate, and in making my counter offer, I effectively rejected their offer.

With domain names or anything else, if you make a counter offer, you are putting the initial offer that was made at risk. People sometimes make many offers, and when you counter offer their initial offer, they might disqualify your domain name from their list and spend their money on another domain name in the meantime. It could also be a ploy to get a lower price, knowing that you were willing to take less and you might have to pay for your negotiation tactic.

Whatever the case is, you should know that a counter offer may result in the loss of the original offer. If you’d be happy with the original offer and you’d regret not taking it, you should probably think twice about counter offering.

I am an advocate for counter offering on an opening offer for a multitude of reasons, but you should know the likely consequences of proposing a counter offer.

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. Before making a counter offer, ask what are the parameters of their offer. In other words ask them the time frame their offer is valid for. Then you can counter without prejudice within that time.

  2. It is also a good idea to put a time limit on the offer. I normally do so and once had someone respond a year later saying I accept your offer. I responded that price is no longer valid because I told you it expired on ___ date.

  3. This is a very important point you make. Not just an explicit counteroffer but any change at all. I’ve had buyers that were buying a handful of names with each name priced indivudually decide they just want to remove one inexpensive name and just that is enough for the seller to change their mind. Basically anything that could cause the other party to think for even a fraction of a second could kill a deal. Buyers and sellers both should beware before they make any change to any part of a deal big or small. Think to yourself, is it worth it?

    • “just that is enough for the seller to change their mind.”

      People change their mind for a variety of reasons. Could wake up one morning and think they are sick and not be motivated or have something else that pops up non business related. In general it makes sense once you have a deal to wrap it up as quickly as possible.

      “Basically anything that could cause the other party to think for even a fraction of a second could kill a deal.”

      Otoh sometimes a deal that is killed over something very small is a deal that wasn’t going to happen anyway. The buyer/seller was on the fence and needed some justification to kill the deal. If someone didn’t change something small they simply make it harder for them to decide to back out.

      For example let’s say you decide to renovate your kitchen. You get a price and are on the fence but decide to go ahead. But you feel as if you aren’t even sure you want to spend the money. The contractor then tells you that you will also have to pay the city fees or some other trivial cost and you say “ok forgot the whole thing then”. In that case your intent may not be to get the contractor to pay the fees. It’s actually just a convenient way to avoid having to confront the contractor and tell them you have changed your mind.

  4. “counter offering on an opening offer for a multitude of reasons”

    One of the reasons is that if you don’t offer any resistance in either buying or selling someone might think they left money on the table.

    Resistance doesn’t have to be attempting to to change the price. It can be anything even something like “ok if you cover the escrow costs”. Which shows that you aren’t over eager etc.

  5. Another way to feel out an offers limitation without risk of nullifying it altogether with a counter offer is to ask for clarifications as others has mentioned. How and when will payment be made, will it be a registrar to registrar transfer or a push, will the buyer need documentation (invoicing) and my favorite, is that absolutely as high as you can go?


  6. Happened to me and did a small counter offer as well. We have a mutual friend Elliot who was the buyer.

    I ended up settling the domains at a lower price then his offer. Which is fine, life goes on.

    Sometimes taking the first offer makes sense, in this example it would. Usually I don’t take first offers.

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