BIN or Accept Offers and Leads?

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As someone who manages a portfolio of my own domain names, the majority of which I consider to be inventory I would like to move for reasonable retail prices, I have an internal debate about showing buy it now prices vs. accepting offers to generate leads. I am not sure if there is a right way or a wrong way to do things, so I thought I would share the internal debate I have when considering these two popular landing page and platform options and get some perspective from others.

When I set Buy It Now prices (BIN) on my domain name landing pages, I let visitors and prospective buyers know a domain name is available for a set price. There is no offer field, so it is more or less a take it or leave it option. They can choose an installment plan, but that is it. This makes it easy for me to set the prices and hopefully sell some inventory without a negotiation. Many prospects will assume this is the best price, and hopefully they will either agree the price is fair or stretch their budget to make it work so they don’t lose out on their targeted domain name.

When a prospect visits the domain name with a BIN price only, he or she can decide whether or not the domain name is worth the price and either buy it, move on, or figure out how to contact me directly to negotiate. Most people probably don’t even know how to do that last option.

The downside to straight up BIN landing pages is that a prospective buyer may be willing to pay a fair price but not pay my retail price and they move on to a different domain name. Depending on the timing, I might consider selling the domain name for a fair price. For instance, I have NHMA.com (New Hampshire and Massachusetts are border states with a great deal of cross border commerce) listed for just under $12k. Depending on the timing, I might accept a $8k offer for the domain name. Someone might not have $12k to spend on a domain name and opt for a longer name at a lower price instead. If people are unfamiliar with domain names, they might not realize there could be price flexibility.

Based on my experience, if I put an offer field on the landing page, I will receive many $1 – $500 offers. I think it will be next to impossible to get someone to pay $12k via the landing page knowing that I would consider lower offers. As a result of this psychology,  I have to increase the BIN price to make up for the negotiation, and the domain name will be overpriced to compensate for this concession I will almost certainly have to make. This even higher price might dissuade someone from making an offer, even if they might pay $8,000.

With the downside of allowing offers, one might ask why not just price names at retail and let it fly. An advantage to accepting offers is that I am also generating leads should I want to juice my bottom line down the road. If I am having a slow month, I might want to reach out to prospects who made somewhat reasonable offers to try and get a better deal. Perhaps I can offer a payment plan or something along those lines in order to facilitate a deal.

For what it’s worth, 95% of my domain names currently have a price request form, but I previously used offer forms as well as BIN forms with the ability to make an offer.

One reason for sharing this is to start a conversation with others. My portfolio maxes out at about 1,000 domain names and I am looking to keep it there or make it smaller. Others have many more names and may have different experiences than me. I invite you to share what you think about offers vs BIN vs BIN with offers.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Very interesting topic. I have a portfolio of 1800 names, mostly keyword combos picked at $8 – $10 during the golden days of drops (2000-2005) and I have tried all the methods which you have mentioned in your post in order to move the inventory. My sales are more than enough to keep renewing the names and register/buy more names at low prices.

    Personally, I like to have a form with a “make offer” or “Request Price” field in order to engage the buyer. This helped me in turning $500 offers to sales well into five the figures.

    For names, which have low interest and less potential buyers I keep a low BIN with an option to ask for an offer close to this price. Even if the offer is within 80% of the BIN I will sell.

    Potential TM/Problematic names – Just a simple contact form

  2. Higher value names: Make offer/request price. Lower value names: Bin. But test putting a select percentage of your lower value names on make offer/request price too. The results can be surprising, and sometimes I wonder what would happen with a shoot the moon strategy.

    Personally I always try to price my names and have a starting offer close to that price.

  3. BIN with Make an Offer option is best IMO. Unless the domain is worth 6 figures or more, then Make an Offer only.

    I personally don’t like the Price Available Upon Request option. It’s too easy for a lazy buyer to move on and buy someone elses domain that is BIN or Make an Offer.

    More purchase options available to a potential buyer, the better.

    • It’s always good to have your contact information available to the buyer as well or a message form. 99% of end-users do not know that domain Whois exists, not that Whois is useful anymore because of GDPR.

      • Good advice.

        Even without an offer field, people may be more inclined to contact the registrant if they can easily access the contact information.

  4. My inventory is down to 150 names, from a high of over 600. All listed names of mine have a BIN but also have a “make offer.” I’m not sure there is a right or wrong answer, as it all depends on what price a seller is willing to take, and what price a buyer is willing to spend. Meaning, if as a seller you are under no pressure to sell, and have a name you will absolutely not take less than $12,500 for….BIN is best. I understand however the reasoning to develop leads for the future, but again it depends on your mindset. For other names that you are flexible with, I absolutely believe it is best to have both a BIN and a “make offer” option. I have several names that I would consider taking 25% less than the BIN price, and I’d like that opportunity to decide. I think “make offer” only invites time wasting lowball offers.

  5. Great tread and adresses a huge dilemma. I ditto what Aamir said. I’m currently building one page landers using Godaddy’s “Go Central” i.e, http://www.TXET.com and appreciate the input here. My domain stash is just under 700, 99% bought at GD Reg price since 1998.

  6. There is another downside to BIN – if something happens in the world that makes a domain suddenly worth much more, another investor may end up buying the domain before you have had a chance to update the price.
    I always do a google search when I receive an offer, to make sure I don’t regret it later.

  7. For ones I list, I’m usually loath to set a BIN, though not always. Just set one the other day in fact.

    Prefer “make offer,” but it’s important to not allow offers that are super low. Only encourages extreme lowballing vs. merely “understandable” attempts at lowballing.

    Always a dilemma, no easy one size fits all answer…

  8. As somebody who buys as an end user (mostly), I can tell you categorically that I never request a price from a landing page.

    In 2019, I purchased around 10 domains in the aftermarket and every one of them had a price next to it.

    Sometimes, I didn’t haggle the price at all, I just paid because I felt it was a fair price for the name in question.

    On a small number of occasions, I tried an offer and that started a negotiation that enabled me to get a better deal.

    The most I paid for a domain in 2019 was $7000. The most I offered was $20,000. (It was refused). The most I used a BIN on a domain sales site was $12,000, but it turned out that the platform hadn’t qualified true ownership, so that deal fell through.

    Now that I have written all of this, I must point out that I don’t state prices on any of my names for sale, because that would involve a lot of work in making specific landers, so all domains point to the same page with a contact form.

    I am going to change that to a straightforward email link though, because I am beginning to thing that people are becoming “form blind.” My landing page includes a land line telephone number, my company details and a physical address.

    Don’t assume that any of this makes it successful, because I haven’t sold a domain name for 5 years!

  9. I am testing Bin for anything under 10k, and over 10 bin and make offer.
    This past year i have had 4 sales in low 5 figures, where i had reasonable bin and was willing to negotiate. 1 sale came from afternic, 3 came from DAN pages. In 2 of those sales, we just send numbers, and closed deal in 2 cases at around 73% of the price (both sales were identical. Both had starting same Bin price, both received same starting offer 5k, and both closed at exactly same way, for exactly same amount with, 2 counter offers, after which i accepted. Felt like i was reliving ground hog day in my second sale. Names were totally different, and went to completely different buyers, sold about 1 month apart). Not one word was said during both of those negotiations, we just sent numbers to each other. (To those who are interested, on my first counter i countered with 10% discount off the Bin price. Then they doubled their offer in both cases.) The 3 sale was where i had higher Bin, and over 2 week period (and some education of the buyer) we closed the deal with exactly 50% of the Bin. This was my probably most negotiation/education involved sale, and i am pretty sure buyer paid maximum amount they were willing to pay.
    This year i am lowering my bin for most of my ok names, and testing bin only for under 10k (i might change it in the future to under 5k bin only around this summer), but as of right now i am testing it with about 1200 names.
    Irony is. in total i had 5 sales, and the 5th sale was Bin of 10k and make an offer (on DAN). After about intensive one week negotiation we agreed on around 60% of that. This one also felt as buyer paid max amount, and probably wouldnt have bought at bin.

    So far my take away from this year, Bin + offer on higher priced names (3%). Offer only on my moon shot names (2%). Rest Bin only on the rest. I guess 95%/5% break down. I will adjust it around summer, but curious to see how it roll out.

    • Correction i am testing 700 names, and 500 is new gtlds in which i also had 3 sales. I separate them in two different buckets. Hence about 5 sales on 500 names (i added 200 this past year)

  10. There’s no right answer. It depends on your overall strategy, personality, and skill set. You could give seasoned investors the same exact portfolio and some would perform better with BIN and others with Make Offer. Larger portfolios or someone who doesn’t like interacting with people will likely prefer BIN. A truly great negotiator will likely do better with Make Offer.

  11. This is an eternally interesting debate for me as well, one which I’m always experimenting with. I just switched some things up for the new year, and this is currently what my strategy looks like:

    – Names I have priced into the five-figure range, I have set BINs at various marketplaces, but the landing page is set to make offer, with a minimum offer of $5k or $10k to weed out low ballers. These are not ‘shoot the moon’ pricing but the BINs are prices I feel the names could genuinely sell for, yet that I also may be willing to entertain offers on (and would like to see if any offers are forthcoming for buyers who might have otherwise passed at the BIN). I’m wanting to see if this gives me the best of both worlds, having both BIN and make offer in different places. It does seem that more buyers prefer BIN pricing at marketplaces, according to what some like Sedo have disclosed in past sales stats and from anecdotal evidence I’ve read from end-user buyers.

    – Of the remaining domains, most of which are priced in the under $10k range, I’d say at least 90% are priced with BIN (both marketplaces and landing page). This would include 100% of my non dotcom, and perhaps 80% of dotcom. For the dotcom, those with BIN are names I feel have a limited upside and I try to hit the sweet spot. For those 20% or so I leave as make offer, these are the more brandable types where I feel there could be a wide disparity between what I might accept and what a buyer might be willing to pay, if that makes sense. An example of this type of name I recently picked up is Datacuity (a portmanteau). An example of a name where I’d see limited potential upside would be a name like ResetClinic, where I’d see a name like that likely to fall within a tighter range and there’s no point in not having a BIN on it.

    Btw, I have most of my names pointed to DAN, and while I have generally nothing but good things to say about the platform, it does have some surprising limitations that are a real disadvantage. Mainly, it’s that you have to designate either ‘buy now’ or ‘buy now & make offer’ portfolio wide, and if you set the portfolio for ‘buy now’ there is no way to change it on individual names. If there was then I would like to experiment with having a select few names with ‘buy now & make offer’ and it’s unfortunate they haven’t built this into their features yet. It seems like it shouldn’t be a big issue. I brought it up to them a couple years ago and I believe once again since and I’m surprised something so basic and of such utility continues to be overlooked.

    • If you set minimum value same as Bin price, only Bin Price shows up and it removes Make offer option. Its a DAN hack, not great since you have to set each domain manually but works pretty well.

  12. Very informative article I suppose, I only started investing on domain names some 4-5 years ago and starts learning in & outs everytime I listen to DNW & DS podcasts. Now this 🙂 maybe i should try your strategy on my online store; AvailNames

  13. There is a typo in the article “to compensate for this concession I will almost certainly have no make” should be “to” instead of “no”. You don’t need to publish this comment, just letting you know. Thank you.

  14. I think both would benifit from adding the ability to list comps.
    Sellers have a much better insight to real time value than any robo could ever have.
    Helpful to buyers and could eliminate low ballers.

    Ehren makes great points.

    In my experience, few are comfortable with negotiating.

    Great topic and input.

    Cheers

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