A Reason to Keep Deals Private

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I don’t really share the domain names I sell or sales prices of domain names. I have publicly shared a handful over the last 10+ years, but my strong preference is to keep my sales and sale prices private. Occasionally, I have been asked about why this is my preference, and I want to share one example of what can happen when someone makes the decision to share a sale publicly.

Last week, someone on NamePros reported the sale of CoinMena.com for $25,000. It is currently the most popular thread on NamePros at the moment. It’s a very strong sale with an interesting and somewhat peculiar story (particularly about the broker, but that’s another story). Prior to reading the article, I had no idea that “MENA” meant “Middle East North Africa.” I have heard of “EMEA,” which stands for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, but I had not heard of MENA.

Within the post about the sale, some people began discussing domain names with Mena in them. In addition, another thread was started for participants to showcase and discuss mena domain names. Many people read or hear about a sale and they want to try and find the same success for themselves. Whether or not “mena” domain names have any value probably remains to be seen.

From my perspective as a domain seller, I would not want to advertise the domain name I sold if there were still domain names available to register or buy. Why would I want to give competitors and other investors the chance to see my private domain name sale and register or acquire other domain names that may have similar value. There’s a (good) chance that this is a one-off so it doesn’t matter all that much, but I would bet a lot of money has been spent on “mena” domain names over the weekend.

One other thing I understand is that everyone has motivation for doing things. Some people might already have a full portfolio of similar domain names and they want to give exposure to a big sale in that space. Others may simply be giving back to the community by sharing results. I do not know the person who sold the mena domain name, so I can’t speculate on his motivation for sharing.

Maybe it is because I have a small portfolio and am still in acquisition mode that I would rather keep sales private and not divulge info that others can use at my disadvantage.

This example is one of the reasons I prefer to keep private deals under wraps. The sale mentioned on NamePros is excellent (congrats to the seller), but I hope he was able to secure all of the names he wanted before others went searching for similar names.

23 COMMENTS

  1. It is your prerogative to disclose or not. No one is forcing one to disclose or not to disclose. It is a voluntary basis.
    Domaining is just a “Bulls BS” fun business and it should be a fun stress reliever time waster hobby. If one takes it seriously and if you depend on the domain sales for your livelihood, then you are in the wrong profession.
    I love to hand reg domains using 99cent GD coupons or $5.99 and resell for $$$ within a year…..nice ROI

  2. I would not make public a sale if I am in the process of considering acquiring similar names and/or to give insights to other sellers. This is one of the reasons why private sales (outside of the mainstream marketplaces) are an advantage. Also, the only reason to advertise sales, IMO, is to draw publicity and traffic to your marketplace.

  3. Probably I have shared no more than 4-5 sales for all the 7 years I deal with domains, and that’s one reason, because some sales are just a coincidence and I do not want to create unnecessary euphoria. From the other side the main reason is that I just keep in secret the buyer’s privacy and his business model….

    • Keeping the buyer’s details private is another reason, but that does not seem particularly relevant in this situation.

  4. I just hand reg RedNeckGuy.com for just 99cent using the $5 coupon from the registrar.

    Of course I am going to make some $$$money from that domain and am surprised it was opened.
    Told ya, easy peasy money making gig.

  5. Good points, Elliot, but I believe it’s important to disclose sales for the same reason Ron Jackson publishes them and realtors publish their home sales. It’s good for the market. I still run into people who believe that domain name prices peaked during the Pets.com era. The sale of Voice.com shattered that illusion and offer
    for our names have spiked since their announcement. On another note, more Buyers seem to want an NDA.

    • I think Ron publishes them because he has built and maintains his DNJournal business by publishing domain name sales.

      I think the Voice.com sale and share are unique. For one, the sale was made by a publicly traded company and that deal likely had an impact on its operations and revenues. Secondly, the company still has a portfolio of several exceptional domain names that are equal to or better than Voice.com, and it tells prospective buyers their expectations based on the Voice.com sale.

    • To David,

      Yes, the NDA is an acceptable excuse not to disclose some data, unlike the one used by the author of the article, which is that it may help Domain Investors to his detriment.

      I just don’t find that logical when you reason that this blog is for domain investors, albeit a private business.

  6. “Why would I want to give competitors and other investors the chance to see my private domain name sale and register or acquire other domain names that may have similar value”. – Elliot

    I guess one good reason is because you set up shop here to help domain investors.

    If you don’t disclose EVERYTHING, then what should be made of such a position?

    Take it to the logical conclusion, if an unscrupulous blogger really feels threatened by his readers, as far as competition, what’s to stop them of publishing articles that will lead the readers in the wrong direction? Or withhold one that would help them, completely?

    It’s an untrainable position to take if you purport to be an investor’ Blog. It could make sense if you’re just a domain blogger, but not in combination with the position you occupy.

    • Sorry – I am not going to give away private business intelligent to help others at the detriment of my own business. There are many people who do very well in this business, and I don’t need to give them private deal information to help them while harming my business.

      If I write in a way that would lead people in the wrong direction, especially if done with that intent, informed readers (and there are plenty of them) would comment here and elsewhere to call me out for such action. I would likely lose advertisers as a result, and if there were fewer or no advertisers, I would have to stop blogging. It would be self-defeating.

      This is a unique business where readers are competitors or can easily become competitors. Every successful company in the business has private data. Some choose to share it for various reasons, and as a general practice, I do not share my sales.

      • No worries, Elliot, I didn’t mean you when I took it to the logical conclusion, I meant in general, that unscrupulous person could go that far.

        However, I would like to conclude my input by saying that, it is a misnomer to call it competition when other domainers register names similar to yours; for example, if you registered Sex.com, and disclosed it, and other domainers rushed to register sex.net, sex.org, sex.club and so forth, it makes your sex.com more valuable, and more likely to sell, than if those domains were unregistered. The potential buyer would have checked for the availability of those names before making you an offer; and if you asked for the true value of your sex.com, they more than likely would just register the available alternate TLD.

        Thanks.

  7. just lost all my typing so here’s short ver:

    1. agree with Elliot’s main idea
    2. i already scoured “MENA” domains long before this news. probably already dropped a few others picked up and will spend their lives trying to sell (or maybe not).
    3. i published one once considering it strategically beneficial; otherwise i don’t. i hardly ever sell anyway too.
    4. NONE OF US NEEDS THIS:

    one of biggests reasons to not disclose is if you sell on far below what’s it’s worth. its harmful to the market and to everyone. people who are so fervent and aggressive about disclosing need to factor that in

  8. Definitely a one-off sale for coinmena.com.
    You’re wasting your money registering a bunch of “Mena” domains at this point IMO.

    I do not disclose my domain saie prices (not hard to find out anyway) publicly either. Too many cons than pros IMO.
    I’ll tell a few people in the domain industry about my sales, but that’s it.

  9. It is a somewhat random sale of a low quality name, not something people have any likelihood of emulating. The only downside of posting it is all the reg fees that will now be wasted by others on “mena” nonsense.

  10. Totally Agree! Why create competition for yourself.
    Make sure you are covered before you Brag.
    Competition is a Sin, jdr.

    However, sales data is good for the betterment of the industry imo only IF it is a sale of stature.

  11. If I owned a portfolio of premium domains not centered around one industry I’d never share my sales. When you operate in one particular niche sharing sales shows future buyers you are a legitimate business and helps them set the right expectations

  12. All my sales are private regardless selling amount.
    Too many cons and no pros.
    I don’t ask, therefore, I don’t tell.

  13. Really amazing post with much helpful information. Thank you very much for writing great stuff about a reason to keep deals private for us.

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