Creatively Bridging the Gap in a Negotiation |
Neustar Domain Names

Creatively Bridging the Gap in a Negotiation


For about three months, I had been negotiating with a company to sell a domain name. I had initially sent the CEO an email offering the domain name for sale, and after a number of subsequent emails, we were somewhat close to a deal, but still far enough apart to prevent us from consummating a deal.

Because I had dug my heels in at a certain number, I was reluctant to come off this number. It would have been okay had I closed a deal at that number, but I really was not inclined to lower my asking price. The buyer was not interested in raising his offer, so we were basically stuck. I also figured if I went back and said I would take his offer, he could tell me things have changed and the offer is no longer valid, weakening my negotiating position.

Over the last 6 weeks, we had emailed each other a couple of times to see if either of us was willing to come off of our price, but neither of us were willing to do so. It would have appeared that we wouldn’t be able to make a deal happen since neither of us was willing to move.

Last weekend, I thought of a proposal that would bridge the gap and make a deal palatable for both parties. The buyer would pay his final offer price to me to buy the domain name, and his company would donate the difference between what I was asking and the sales price to a non profit organization.

In this situation, I got an acceptable price for the domain name and was able to help one of my favorite non profit organizations. The buyer is getting an exact match domain name for his business at the price he wants, and he can make a charitable donation to a worthy cause. It’s a win/win/win.

Sometimes when you are negotiating and both parties can’t seem to find a middle ground for a deal, you need to think outside of the box to make something happen. I am happy to sell this domain name, and I am proud that this deal will help a great organization.

Don’t get me wrong, my primary motivation was to sell the domain name, but making this offer helped resolve the stalemate in negotiations and we’re both happy with the result.

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 sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (25)


    Very cool idea, Elliot. Congrats on the sale.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    gary dell

    Win/Win/Win/Win The fourth win is the positive light that this reflects on domain investors.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ gary

      I don’t know if that’s the case, but I suppose it’s better than the alternative 🙂

      October 22nd, 2011 at 1:39 pm


    Congrats Elliot!

    I admire your skills and ability to compromise to find a solution.

    Not an easy thing to do.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ Mark

      Thanks… It wasn’t a huge sale but I wanted to share this so others may be able to propose deals that work in favor of all parties.

      October 22nd, 2011 at 1:38 pm


    I like this. Thanks

    October 22nd, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Uzoma

    Instead of charity, you can also offer to take some goods from the company if they have products that you like. I’ve done this before and will write about it in a part two at some point.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 1:45 pm


    Funny, I had used exactly that tactic with my negotiation last year with my biggest sale. It didn’t work in my case but I was very happy with sale price anyway and I felt like I was squeezing them a bit hard at that point anyway 🙂

    Great minds think alike 🙂

    October 22nd, 2011 at 1:59 pm


    Really creative! Neither party had to be the one giving up on their entrenched position, and both sides could say they only gave a bit for the sake of the charity. brilliant.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 2:36 pm


    Congrats on the sale. Did you ask him to provide proof of donation or you took his word?

    October 22nd, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Gnanes

    Took him at his word… he’s a well known CEO in that field and does a lot of speaking. I trust his word.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 3:15 pm


    Great idea, mate. Am impressed.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 3:57 pm


    congrats elliot and your right, win win for everyone.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 4:39 pm


    business wise i don’t get Elliot.
    you have gap in price.
    you offer him to pay the gap to charity .
    the deal is done.
    what does the buyer get out of this ?
    A tax reduction ?

    I do not know how it works in the USA .
    if he got a tax reduction then it looks like a win/win/win

    personal point of view: it sounds super. money is nice but not everything. but that is my own personal opinion.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ theo
      He makes the donation to charity and gets the tax write off. Even though he pays more than he wanted, it’s still a write off.

      October 22nd, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Martin Grace

    I wouldn’t say this is win/win/win because you have basically still got the same amount yourself making it lose/win/win. A good salesman closes the deal without making such trashy offers. I am starting to think you would have offered him sex if he paid your requested amount and you still would have been thinking of it as a win.

    To the people who think this type of deal is a great new way to do things, you might also be interested in blackmail, extortion and death threats as this is the obvious progression…

    Keep up the writing,

    October 22nd, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Elliot Silver

      “I am starting to think you would have offered him sex if he paid your requested amount and you still would have been thinking of it as a win.”

      @ Martin

      Sounds like you’re quite the intellect.

      As I said, his offer was fair enough and I took it. He is happy, I am happy, and the charity is happy. It’s quite obvious that it is win/win. This is a descriptive domain name (non trademark) so clearly there was no need to have the name. I thought that was obvious, but apparently there are some slow readers – well, at least one.

      Keep up the negative comments – hopefully it’s making you feel better about your own failures in life.

      October 22nd, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Martin Grace

    Yes, sorry, I actually am ashamed of myself for my comments and actually like your blog very much.

    Congratulations for the sale. When other domainers are blogging with their difficulties in selling names you are still there making great sales.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Elliot Silver

    Apology accepted… In truth, the sale value wasn’t all that great but I thought the idea could be used by others and possibly adapted (taking cash and products the buyer makes for example). In a difficult economy, we all need to think outside the box to make favorable deals.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    1. M. Grace doesn’t live up to his name does he.

    2. Elliot, the second part of your solution was a case of a Domainer doing something GOOD. I applaud that; and encourage all other Domainers to realize that they are all connected to everyone, and everything, on this planet.

    All for one, one for all, or none at all.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 9:40 pm


    as long as all parties are HAPPY it is all win for everyone.

    October 22nd, 2011 at 11:15 pm


    if I were Elliot, I found another one who really need that name and could decide at once …no more barganing or waste of time

    October 23rd, 2011 at 3:08 am


    All the nay-Sayers seem to be missing the point. Elliot willfully decided to lower his price, something normal and acceptable-who cares why. Then his challenge was not looking weak and he found a great way to get his number, look strong and help others. Odds are the buyer makes charity donations anyway so it was just a matter of re-directing those funds. There was also a chance the buyer said no but re-confirmed his offer and allowed Elliot to accept. Well done!
    Auto auctions often have cars sold with all proceeds going to a charity, maybe Elliot just opened a door to help with the image of the industry.

    I recently was going to let a domain expire but instead gave it to someone in exchange for a $150 donation to

    October 23rd, 2011 at 10:47 am


    I have worked in the Sales industry (selling network computing products) for seven years and I tell you one thing – If the customer wants a certain price and declared the same, they will usually buy it at that price only, irrespective of our ‘pitch’.

    And if they have declared a target price, they usually don’t negotiate further unless we accept immediately or we wait long enough for another competitor to enter.

    October 24th, 2011 at 1:07 am


    I really liked this idea! I might even apply it for future non-domain negotiations too.

    October 31st, 2011 at 3:37 am

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