Buyer Broker and Buyer Interests Should Align

When a domain broker represents a domain owner by selling a domain name, the broker receives a previously negotiated percentage of the sale as compensation for a successful deal. When a broker is working on behalf of a buyer, the compensation structure can not be set up in the same way, as that would pit the broker’s interest against the interest of the client:

If I hire Bill Sweetman to buy a domain name for me, and my budget is $100,000, it would not make sense for me to pay Bill a percentage of the sale price. If the deal structure was set up this way, Bill would be paid more money if I bought the domain name for more money, and our interests would be divergent. I want Bill to score the best price for me, so he should not be paid more by not securing the best deal possible. The buyer’s broker should always be working on behalf of his client to get the best price, not the most money for a commission payment.

There are a few different ways brokers can structure deals to work on behalf of a client. I am sure there are more that I don’t list below, but some options include:

  • Fee for working on behalf of a buyer with a set scope of work.
  • Hourly rate.
  • Fee plus a pre-set bonus for securing a deal.
  • Fee plus a sliding bonus based on the ultimate sale price (higher bonus for securing a lower price).

Ultimately, the broker and the buyer should have the same aligned interest – securing a domain name at a favorable price for the buyer. I do not think the broker should be compensated by both parties since that could be perceived (and maybe more than perceived) as unethical or potentially illegal if both parties weren’t aware of this.

In the somewhat interconnected world of domain investing where the top brokers know most of the major investors and do deals on both sides of the table, it is important for brokers to have clear arrangements with their clients that align with the interests of their clients. The best domain brokers tend to get referrals from clients, and the best way is to operate in the best interest of the client with clear objectives and compensation.

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. I have seen this in play, for every dollar they get under the expected budget they get a pretty sweet percentage, be careful with brokers.

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