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.