Buying Domain Names

Overpaying Today for a Deal Tomorrow

It is arguably more difficult than ever to privately acquire a great .com domain names. The majority of investment quality, long registered, domain names are either in the hands of end users or registrants who will not sell cheap. Quite a few are held by investors who are rightfully seeking end user pricing to sell their assets. Put simply, there is a dearth of investment quality .com domain names available to purchase for investment-level pricing.

Off the top of my head, I can think of 15 people I know to be well funded who are regularly chasing after the remaining high quality .com domain names. Many of these investors are friends, and all of them are competitors. When I come across a domain name that is available for sale and the registrant indicates other offers on the table, chances are very good an investor (or multiple investors) I know is on the other end of the offer, biting at the bit to secure a deal.

How I Have Been Using

One tool I have heard about from many different domain investors is I never really used on a regular basis, but after a few people mentioned it to me recently, I began using it. For the last couple of weeks, I have been using it on a regular basis and don’t really know why I had not been a regular user before.

I have a few saved searches on that I now check on a daily basis. I check for new listings on Sedo and GoDaddy that meet certain parameters I have set. I also have a search set for NameJet expiring domain names that are coming up for auction. I still prefer to use for my daily expiring domain name searches, but I have also been using so I have a better chance of not missing any domain names.

Number of TLDs Registered is a Key Metric*

When I am evaluating a domain name to buy in the aftermarket – either via auction or private acquisition, the number of TLDs (extensions) that are registered with that keyword or keyphrase is a critical metric for me. The more domain names that are registered in different extensions, the better and more valuable the domain name usually is.

It isn’t the number of registrations that makes the .com domain name valuable though. It is the fact that other entities have valued this keyword or phrase enough to spend money to secure different variations of the domain name. The more registrations typically signifies the more others would covet the opportunity to have the matching .com domain name, making a potential sale more likely.

Provenance More Clear on Expiry and Drop Catch Auctions

Tracking the provenance of a domain name has gotten much more difficult in the last several years. GDPR and registrar changes (like GoDaddy removing public facing Whois records) make it impossible to match an email address to a Whois record, particularly when a broker or seller approaches a buyer offering to sell a domain name. For instance, if I buy a GoDaddy-registered domain name from someone who acquired it in 2018, it would not be possible to see the email address of the registrant now or in 2018.

An unclear provenance on a domain name adds more risk to domain name acquisitions.

“This Domain Name is Not for Sale”

I am on the hunt for one or two exceptional one word .com domain names right now. When I seek out a domain name to buy, I often try to reach the right person at a company that does not appear to be using a domain name. Either the domain name does not resolve to an active website or it forwards to a branded website and does not appear to be used for much else. While many companies will tell me a domain name is not for sale, I have learned that frequently means a compelling offer needs to be submitted to convince the company to sell the domain name.

Don’t Negotiate a Great Price

There’s a popular saying that many people believe: “everything is negotiable.” Whether it is an estimate for home improvements and construction, purchases at a farmer’s market, or domain name acquisitions, there are many times when negotiating the purchase price is a good idea. In most cases, the worst thing that can happen is the owner of the company says, “no.”

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