Be Courteous and Reply

I received an email a couple of weeks ago from someone who was frustrated with the lack of response he received after emailing a small group of domain brokers to represent some of his domain names. He was a bit upset, frustrated, and disappointed with his experience. This should not be the sentiment someone has after trying to connect with a domain broker.

There are many people seeking a domain broker. This assumption is based on the number of people who ask me to broker domain names despite a message on my corporate contact form that says “Top Notch Domains, LLC is not a domain broker and does not offer private domain consulting services.” I am sure domain brokers are inundated with requests for brokerage services and there is more inventory than broker availability. I would also guess that the vast majority of domain names brokers receive are of little value, let alone worthwhile to bring to market. Responding is important though.

Domain brokers have the most contact with people from outside of the domain name space. They work with buyers and sellers who have no connection to the business of domain names beyond buying or selling a particular domain name. The business of domain investing is relatively opaque, and dealing with a friendly and knowledgeable person can help change the negative stigma associated with domain investing. Even when there might not be a realistic business opportunity, sending a personal email reply is a good practice.

In 2007, I sent an email to Frank Schilling. I had never met Frank and our paths had only briefly crossed at that time. I knew of him only as the hugely successful domain name guy in Grand Cayman. I sent him a small group of names I was selling, and he responded promptly. In the email reply, he told me the names were good but not for him. He picked out one name that he labelled “terrific” and recommended that I send it to auction. From that brief but encouraging exchange, I realized how good it felt to receive a response to an inquiry, and I always try to give one (even if it is curt).

I receive solicitation emails on a daily basis. Some are from people trying to sell me domain names and others are from people seeking advice or looking for a domain broker. While most of these emails elicit a short “no thanks,” “thanks for sending, but I am not interested,” or something else along those lines, I try to give people a bit of direction when looking for a service provider. This is something I learned from Frank, and I try to pass it on to others. I am sure I am guilty of being brusk or not responding at all, but I try to respond in kind.

When I read the email from the person I mentioned in the opening, I assumed his domain names were not great and brokers didn’t respond as a result. When I saw his email address, I could see he owns at least one exceptional domain name that has substantial value. I did not ask to see his portfolio, but this person was surely owed the courtesy of a reply.

I know that domain brokers are typically very busy. I presume this is an even busier time of year, especially with end of the year deals and holidays. I do think brokers should do their best to respond, even if it is a canned response explaining why they are so busy. It can help change the perception of the industry.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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. Brokering is a lot of hard work. Most clients have no idea how much effort goes into the process of evaluating names every day, determining selling prices of the ones you take on, planning marketing stragies, gathering prospects, negotiating deals, closing deals, and on and on.

    When you cost average the brokerage commissions on the ones that do sell with all the work that goes into the others that don’t sell where you earn nothing, it’s really not that great a business unless you get lots of big names sold consistently.

  2. I’ve brought this up before, I think possibly even on this very blog no less.

    Since you have made a post like this and called this phenomenon out, I will gladly say who is the absolute worst of the worst in my opinion. And that would be this little superstar:

    Tracy Fogarty – eNaming

    I’ve dealt with far bigger superstars who are far more busy and far bigger fish in the sea than she and whoever might be with her there, people who respond and communicate like normal decent people, but you get the courtesy of zip, zilch and zero from this one when you take the time and trouble to present some very decent domains. Yeah, I get it, maybe not the top of the top headline domains, but I certainly looked at her listings when she had them openly published, and plenty of what I submitted was at least as good or in some cases better than domains she had showing there. Certainly also some others had already tried to buy before as well. As in, if you’re submitting domains that are at least as good or better than ones already listed, then at least the mere courtesy of a reply might possibly be something one might want to consider stooping down to do. You know, even something like “sorry, after reviewing your submission we have decided not to pursue…”

    In the case of Tracy Fogarty/eNaming, however, there is not even the slightest acknowledgement you even submitted domains at all once you leave the page. I mean talk about a nasty feeling that leaves in its wake.

    Now let’s see who jumps in to make me out to be the bad guy since she’s the pretty little rock star… 😉

    • You’re like the worst kind of lawyer sometimes, Elliot. Are you being honest here? As in honest about what I obviously meant, since she’s obviously been responding and dealing with some people. Like I really even have to add a phrase like “unless you’re someone like Elliot Silver or some other luminary, or someone submitting an obvious blockbuster domain for which the commission would be huge,” etc., as if you don’t know she would certainly never treat someone like you that way? Seriously? Methinks not…

    • As I said in the article, I think brokers should respond regardless of their interest in brokering. That is the same for Tracy, other well known brokers, and people I don’t know.

      There are plenty of people who are guilty of not responding to people – myself included, and I don’t want to turn this post into an area for people to throw mud at others.

      I sold two LLLL .com domain names to a client of Tracy’s (she was the buyer broker) and I bought a 2 word .com domain name from one of her clients. I have had no communication issues with her.

      “You’re like the worst kind of lawyer sometimes, Elliot. Are you being honest here? ”

      How about you take a break from visiting here for a little while. You’re making this less enjoyable for me, and that kind of sucks since I run the place.

    • Elliot is correct..But I can say I have sent some very good domains to Ms Fogarty with no response. I get responses from Frank S., Drew Rosener when I email them and even Elliot, but I only email the people I respect in this industry like these people and I have always received a reply…Elliot, no matter what I also learned from Frank to respond, sometimes his emails are short but informative.. a lot of times I think the brokers are in search for the names that everyone wants or are hot at the moment and pass on names where they make smaller commissions but still are very viable names..

  3. I think most people assume that not replying automatically translates to the sender that they are not interested. In most cases, this is true and the receiver is so swamped they really don’t have the time to manually reply to 100’s, if not thousands of emails each day.

    Maybe a solution for them would be to create a template response for those types so that they have to click one button to respond, without having to type.

    Other than that or hiring a secretary/assistant, there really isn’t a time-saving solution to responding.

  4. I agree with Jack. If the response is “not Interested” or some other negative, it would tell the submitter that maybe their domains aren’t really as good as they thought.

  5. You’ll never know the circumstances of why you didn’t hear back, so don’t take it personally. Things slip by even the best of the best in the biz.
    If it’s that important to you, you can follow-up, call, etc.

    I can imagine the volume of email that a broker gets every day to sell garbage domains is overwhelming.


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