Domain Negotiation Tip: Justifying Your Offer

When you are in the midst of negotiating to purchase a domain name on Sedo, one of the prefabricated replies you can select is something like “justify your price.” It’s always made me laugh a bit to see that reply, but when you think about it, justifying your offer or price is a great way to get the price you need.

Oftentimes when I am negotiating with a buyer or seller, the price we both have in mind is different. For times when the price gap is significant, there’s usually little reason to engage in a discussion. Why waste time on a name I want for $2-4,000 and the seller wants $100,000. Either he’s crazy and/or doesn’t need the money, or I am not as enamored with the name as he. Whatever the case, it would likely be a fruitless discussion.

However, there are times when we are just a few thousand dollars away from a mutually agreeable price, and the actual negotiation is critical in getting the price I want/need for the domain name. Discussing why you value a domain name the way you do can lead to you getting your pricing, or at least seeing the flip side to why the name is worth more or less to the other party.

One thing I like to include in my negotiation strategy are favorable comps (using, DN Journal, or By favorable, I mean that the names have similar results in Google, similar search volume, and are in the same vertical (ie: two real estate domain names).  It helps if you have more than one comparable and they are recent comps.

Another thing I include is information about developing the website. When I am the buyer or the seller, I let the other party know my plans with the domain name and why I think it’s worth what it’s worth. I give them a bit of insight into my development plans and justify why I can’t offer more money or offer to sell it for less money.

I know that some sellers get annoyed when a buyer asks them to justify the price, but I think it’s a good way to discuss a domain name’s value and possibly come to terms.

What types of things do you discuss when you’re trying to buy or sell a domain name to bridge the gap?

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 sometimes use Estibot estimate in discussion. Of course, I will mention it only if I think it’s going to help me sell or buy the name. Sometimes Estibot is not even close to what the price of a particular domain should be, but it’s a good quick way to valuate.

  2. @ DomainMichael
    Estibot is good for the quick snapshot of search metrics they offer, but you’ll never, ever be taken seriously by proposing a counter party abide by their value estimation. You will be instantly dismissed as a Namepros type clueless newbie (or learning disabled long timer), including by people who know nothing about domains or Estibot.

  3. I agree anytime someone uses estibot valuation in comments, you know they are a domainer, and looking for a one sided deal. Many sellers, would rather not deal with domainers all together as they offer $60-200 on premium domains on sedo all day long, in hopes of finding someone sleeping. I doubt it pays off for anyone, just an all around waste of time, if anyone uses estibot on me, if we are miles apart, I just end negotiations after a few rounds as I know it is going nowhere.

  4. Whether you are buying or selling ALWAYS research the other person as much as possible. NEVER make any contact until you have some idea who is on the other side.

    General thoughts whether I am buying or selling…

    I always start with an offer. At least that puts money on the table and shows I’m serious. I may not be very serious so the offer might be low but at least it has a better chance of getting the conversation started.

    I am never anonymous. To me that is starting out with a lie.

    Start with a phone call. People are usually dismissive, nasty or reply with a high price by email. Call someone and you’ll catch them unprepared. This gets you closer to the truth than if you send an email where they can then research you and the domain term then construct a reply.

    Introduce yourself, make your pitch then your offer and then LISTEN.

    Read some sales books. Many of the strategies can be applying to buying domains as well.

    Never say “I’ll give you X for the domain”. That is treating the other party with disrespect. My response to a comment like that is “screw you” and we are off to a bad start.

    You can say something like “This domain is worth X to me. Does that work for you?”. Then, you can justify your price.

    If they come back with a high number, you can ask them how they came up with that valuation but don’t ask them to “justify their price”. That is insulting too.

    Lastly, have a good alternative or at least give the other party the impression that you have a good alternative. Whether you know it or not, you usually do have a good alternative.

    Make sure you ended the conversation/negotiation on a positive note so if the other party ever changes their mind, he/she will call you.

    If these strategies don’t work, be patient but persistent.

  5. Well, on GoDaddy all comment are there to be readinstantly and no yet email discussions. As the seller, why would you bother? You still need a secure escrow service. And as the buyer you can always write to the email on whois record. This was discussed with Tim S @ Sedo – and he agreed all the comments should go instantly. Yet, no implementation so far.

  6. Instant SEDO comments are good, when it happens.

    As for comments about using sites like Estibot really does annoy me, its saccharin metrics that offer no value and to be honest devalue domain names.

    Finally you can not compare 2 domains to get a price, each domain name is unique in its own right. The domain is worth what someone is willing to pay for it, until a median price is set in the secondary market domains will continue to get lowball offers.

    Justify Price, has to be the worst Comment EVER. I simply cancel negotiations, if they are serious they will offer again or contact via whois, eitherway I have saved myself wasted time.

  7. Appraisals are never objective. Overpricing and underpricing is in between the ears, based upon jealousy or some other non-business emotion.

    Though there is no absolute reason why something should be resold at a given price, the last price could be accepted by both seller and buyer as some indication to begin negotiation.

    Explaining why something is sold or wanted to buy is a knife that cuts in 2 ways.
    It is not the first time people steal an idea about what to do with a domain.

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