Domain buyers often prefer to make an offer or inquiry in “stealth mode.” Sometimes this is because they are buying it on behalf of a large organization, other times it is because they prefer to keep their information private, and other times there may be no real rhyme or reason.
Some domain investors will not respond to a blind inquiry. They insist that a prospective buyer provide their real name and real contact information or they simply won’t respond or engage. They want to know who is inquiring to buy a domain name and would rather risk a potential sale than negotiate without knowing the counterparty.
I am interested in knowing whether readers need to know who is inquiring about a domain name before negotiating with them. I invite your thoughts in the comment section as well:
As much as I want to know who is inquiring, I don’t require a prospective buyer to reveal themselves first. I negotiate in good faith regardless. When I get to the contract and escrow stages, I need to know who the buyer is in order to ensure that my company doesn’t run afoul of any laws (OFAC for example).
They can always use a proxy identity / broker / student / friend, so you never 100% know.
If someone isn’t going to disclose themselves, they will get the highest price and I am not apt to be as negotiable.
This may be the first time I said “depends,” because sometimes you might want to try for a hybrid deal.
As a general rule, however, it’s nice to know, but I recommend pricing and negotiating based on what you sincerely believe to be the real value of the domain even when you don’t know. And as far as buyer brokers go, however, I’ve come to really hate that. I’d rather get someone hiding behind an email than a buyer broker.
(And it should go without saying that doesn’t mean I’d be happy if it was a buyer broker or non-decision maker hiding behind the email…)
Although the Wikipedia article on OFAC says that third-party intermediaries cannot be used to evade OFAC controls, in an interview with the FBI that I requested, I was told that for domain names, brokerage houses such as Sedo/Afternic are the responsible party.
If I can get some information on the buyer, and I think they have deeper pockets, I might charge a little more. I also know that just because they’re with a big company doesn’t necessarily mean they will spend a boat load of money on a domain. So, I think you can play around with the pricing a little bit, but don’t go crazy.
Absolutely I require it, in fact I take it one step further. I have a custom form that even warns of legal ramifications should you acquire a domain name under false pretenses. You can see the form at:
If you sell blind you leave money on the table. I will absolutely ask more money if a big company comes calling.
That’s a good idea if it would hold up in court, although I am not sure what can be done by the time the deal is executed and the domain name is sold/transferred.
I have an end user agreement on all of my PREMIUM domains. I give a cheaper price if you sign it and a higher price if you don’t. I don’t do this for every day domains but on a 4 letter premium, all bets are off. You need to confirm who you are and what you are using it for. If you don’t I won’t sell it to you. I recently turned down an offer on pure(dot)ca because the client would not give personal information and end user.
From a legal point of view I think it’s very important to know who is inquiring.
If they insist to keep the acquisition private, you can always sign a NDA.
How do you guys handle inquiries that just say “how much?” with no other details other then name and email?
I email back and tell them they must first inquire using my contact form at mapledots(dot)ca/contact
I don’t answer an inquiry any other way. All serious inquiries will use the form and the deadbeats will drop away.