Do More Due Diligence on a Buyer

I recently learned about a large company that was re-branding one of its business units. I did some domain research to see if they had acquired a matching domain name, and the domain name is now owned by one of the large brand management and protection firms. I wanted to see if I could learn how it was acquired, and that’s where it got interesting.

A couple of years ago, the domain name was owned by a domain investor. I don’t believe I know the person, but the registrant name makes it pretty clear that it was owned by a domain investor. It’s also parked at Internet Traffic still, so that makes me think the brand management firm hasn’t changed the DNS yet.

In between the domain name being owned by the domain investor and brand management company, there was an interesting registrant. Based on the website associated with that email address, it appeared the buyer would be “in the business” associated with the domain name, but most likely not a major brand seeking to buy the domain name. This was probably a website set up to make the buyer appear as if he or she was the owner of a small brand within that vertical.

My guess is that someone used the @website email to covertly buy the domain name from the domain investor. The domain investor probably assumed it was a random person in that space who couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money on the name. After the sale, it was then transferred to the brand management firm that manages the domain names for the large company.

When you’re in the process of selling a domain name to someone who inquired, it is critical to do due diligence. There are many ways large brands and protection companies can hide, but we need to make sure we are maximizing the sale price of our assets. In the example above, I was able to use a few clues (aside from the final destination of the domain name) to determine that it was likely a ruse.

I obviously don’t know how the domain investor was approached or if he or she could have investigated further, but it’s our job to know who wants to buy our assets.

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. Great topic – On inbound inquires you typically have an email address and an ip. You can run the email in google, facebook, linkedin, etc.. Same with the ip and inquiry first and last name. I also check for recent applied trademarks on the domain. Besides that any other suggestions?

  2. From your story, doesn’t seem like the owner had much of a chance if the buyer used a ruse. Lesson learned though. Just assume whoever the buyer is is the ultimate end user for that domain and price accordingly.

  3. “it appeared the buyer would be “in the business” associated with the domain name, but most likely not a major brand seeking to buy the domain name. ”

    Depending on the particular domain this cuts two ways though.

    If you appear to be to “small potatoes” or to be the type
    of company that can’t afford the domain you are trying to
    buy, you will most likely get ignored or get brushed off.

    If you continue to be persistent after that, well then the bluff is gone of course. Because you have shown that you are full of it when you tried to appear to be the corner grocery store buying a 3 letter .com or likewise.

    It’s pretty difficult to fool someone who has been doing
    this for a long time and/or owns a large amount of domain names.

    They get thousands of emails and have seen all types of approaches over the years.

    Lastly I wish people would stop thinking that everyone
    who approaches them for a domain that has a lot of money
    is willing to part with a lot of money to buy the domain
    that they own. People have budgets and they do
    have alternatives.

    And if you get greedy the middleman will simply try to steer
    their buyer to another choice that they might be considering
    and you will end up with nothing.

  4. In anonymous situations where I’m not sure I price my domains like it’s the ultimate end user on the line. If it’s not I don’t cry over a missed sale as I appreciate their best offer it’s just not the right offer for me.

    What I paid for a domain is irrelevant, it’s what you sell for that matters. Buying an $8 expired domain and selling in 6 months for $100 sounds good in terms of ROI. Buying an $8 expired domain and selling for 5-10k years down the road sounds better as holding costs are minimal.
    Patience is your friend if your inventory has quality. Never sell yourself short cause replacing your old gems isn’t as easy as it used to be.

  5. Great article. I have a similar situation with a name and was approached a year ago. I declined the quote as a ccTld was listed for 5 times the bid price and mine was a .com but the inquirer wanted to be in touch anyways. After a year the same buyer has approached me but I could not trace this buyer anywhere on the net . There are no phone numbers or company name but just an email address.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts

NameJet Announces Platform Enhancements

Last Summer, NameJet made some "big changes" to its platform. In essence, NameJet appears to have become a clone of Snapnames, its sister auction...

Rationale Behind Acquisition

It's not often that we hear from the founders of a company to discuss why they spent what they did to acquire a specific...

.Bet Domain Name Acquired for 5 Figures, Reportedly Resold for $600k

According to a tweet from Identity Digital (formerly Donuts), the domain name reportedly sold for $600,000. I have not verified or researched the...

Finalize a Deal by Connecting on LinkedIn

When I agree to a negotiated deal on a platform like Dan or Sedo, I have always held the expectation that the payment will...

Google Ads Selects Squadhelp for Case Study

If you have visited a Squadhelp landing page, chances are good that you have seen their advertising when you visit other websites that have...