Domain Names: Personal Use vs. Commercial Use

I receive many inquiries from people who specify that they want to buy a domain name for personal usage. I am not sure why they feel the need to tell me this, but I assume they think they might get a better price if they are using it in a non-commercial manner rather than if they are going to use it for commercial purposes. Suffice to say, it doesn’t matter how the buyer is going to use the domain name, the price will not change.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a prospective buyer offer $500 for one of my valuable domain names. He told me he was going to use my domain name for a non-profit idea he had, and he couldn’t pay the asking price range. Perhaps this is true, but I felt the need to explain to him why it doesn’t matter how he planned to use the domain name.

I’ve probably shared this example before, but it seems to be effective so I will share it again. I told him to imagine he was trying to buy a piece of real estate in New York City. I told him the owner of the land is not going to give him a special deal because he wants to build a small business on it. The price will be expensive because it is the perfect location for a skyscraper or even a parking garage.

People tend to get it when I explain the situation in that manner. I suppose it was helpful that this person was an executive at a real estate firm in his area before leaving his job, and it was also helpful that this was a one word .com domain name rather than something more obscure.

My example varies based on the buyer and their location. I’ve talked about oceanfront real estate or property in Monaco, depending on the audience. I feel like if I can make the parallel between domain names and something the prospective buyer would surely understand, it might make more sense to that person.

Sometimes I feel the need to educate someone using a non-domain name example because people tend to understand those more. I can’t recall it ever leading to a deal, but at least they are a bit more educated than they were before inquiring.

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 fell for this line ONLY one time. The “buyer” posed as a young lady from Canada who wished to set up a charity for a health foundation. Yes, my antennae went up when she was going to set up this site on a .com and not a .org. I sold the domain at a reduced rate. You can imagine my surprise a few weeks later when I noticed the new registrant of the domain was MDAnderson, And we wonder why healthcare is broken in the USA. The system is corrupt.

    • Steve- I think the majority of us, domain investors are transparent and upfront. Nothing can be more frustrating than inquiries coming from disposable emails that can’t be traced. Furthermore there must be a new trend for prospects to conceal their identity and flat-out lie.

      Curious how you all handle these type of inquiries?

  2. When someone says personal, school or something similar I just don’t respond. I do keep the emails to see if I will get another one at some later point in time from the same person saying something different.

  3. My comment centers on non-profits….sorry for devaition.

    I have been approached a few times from “non profits” and I offered the name for free …but I want a tax deductible claim on their letterhead, with domain name and amount, for tax purposes. The amount would vary for the name.

    Do you know how many “non profits” have taken me up on my offer? Zero.

    I never hear back from them. Not even a “thanks but no thanks”.

    • I am going to try this approach the next time I go into BestBuy.

      “I want to buy your macbook pro but I am only to going to use it for emails so I want to pay $ 200. ”

      I am sure BestBuy will sell it to me for $ 200.

      Or, should I try this?

      “I am a college student and don’t have much money. I want to buy the macbook pro for $ 200. ”

      (It generally sells between $ 1,500 – 2,200 depending on the screen size and configuration.)


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