I have never advertised domain brokerage services, and I have no interest in becoming a domain broker. That hasn’t stopped people and companies from asking me to broker domain names on both the buy and sell side. I recommend that if you are not in the brokerage business, you shouldn’t agree to acquire a domain name on behalf of someone else (or sell one for that matter).
A while back, a personal acquaintance that isn’t in this business asked me about a domain name that was related to his business. I did a cursory check and saw that it was not a developed website. He asked that I pursue the domain name for him, and I agreed to help him out at no cost because I am not a broker and I figured it would be straightforward enough. After an email exchange, I was able to get the owner to sell it for an agreeable price. Unfortunately, the buyer decided against making the purchase, and that left me in an unfortunate position.
As someone who buys domain names as part of my business, I am often asked for advice about domain names. When the advice is from someone I don’t know (aka blog reader), it’s easy to say “sorry, I am not a broker or consultant” and the conversation is usually over. When it comes to being asked for advice from friends and family, it’s more complicated. Most of the time, this is casual conversation that doesn’t go anywhere. On occasion, I will agree to help a friend with their domain name needs, which usually amounts to hand registering a domain name on their behalf.
Agreeing to buy a domain name on behalf of someone else was a bad decision that I am not going to repeat. If you aren’t in the business of brokering domain names (ie having contracts with clients and operating a corporate entity), I would recommend that you don’t agree to buy a domain name on behalf of someone else. You can offer guidance and advice about the process of buying a domain name, but it’s unwise to get in the middle of a transaction, especially if there is limited benefit.
If a deal goes south or problems occur during the transfer process or after, both parties may look to you to help resolve the situation. It can be a time suck at best and a potential financial problem at worst. At the end of the day, your reputation is on the line.