How I Diffused a Tense Negotiation

I needed to re-add a domain name to my marketplace account, and I spent a few minutes trying to find the previous asking price. While looking through my emails, I found an exchange I had a couple of years ago with a prospective buyer. He offered $1,000 to buy the domain name, and I had it priced at $15,000. For whatever reason, he was perturbed that I owned the domain name as an investment.

Instead of responding to him in kind with insults or defensive commentary, I chose to de-escalate. The purpose of my reply, as I recall, was to show that the domain name is valuable, is coveted by others, and he should understand that it might not be available to buy at all had someone else owned it. I was pretty certain this wasn’t going to end in a deal, but nobody wins in a pissing contest.

I don’t think I have had a negotiation like this since, but I would definitely consider reusing this reply if necessary:

“Listen, I don’t want to get involved in a long back and forth when we are clearly miles apart.

There have been many other inquiries/offers for this name, and the auction I won had [X] bids. I paid much more than your $1,000 offer, and I was lucky because the auction ended on [Holiday], so it probably would have gone even higher had it not been a holiday and more people participated.

Ordinarily, I would recommend trying to buy another extension, but the .net, .org, .info, and even the .biz have been registered by other people. Maybe you can buy a new TLD (like .LOL since you are inquiring for a joke site), or find something unregistered.

With all due respect, you are not the first person besides me to find this domain name valuable, and I am quite sure that even if I put it up for auction with other investors, it would sell again for much more than $1,000.

On the flip side, had it been owned by a massive company or had I put my own joke site up, it likely wouldn’t even be available for sale at any price.”

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. Someone just contacted me about a desirable .com. The first thing I did was write back only to ask if he was the party who had just recently sent me a price inquiry through Afternic. That was to impress upon him that it’s a coveted domain, because I’ve spoken with him before and already know he’s a bargain hunter with potentially a lot of contacts in his industry. He seemed a tad upset having to go packing.

  2. Anytime I see the word “Listen” as the first word in any response it automatically puts my dukes up and totally changes my mindset of whatever I am reading. Drop the “Listen” and you may get a different response. “With all due respect” doesn’t help either.

    • Perhaps but this time this response worked because it ended up being a more civilized discussing. No deal was struck but the tone of the discussion changed.

  3. After my initial reply, I typically just ignore these lowballers. No sense in wasting my time explaining domain investing to someone that doesn’t understand the value.

  4. Hi Elliot,

    Hope you had a great Christmas and Happy New Year to come. I enjoy all of your articles and news every day, thank you for what you do.

    Forgive me if I missed it, but do you have any articles or posts that give the full workup on expiring/dropping names and the best options or ways to catch them? I am looking to sharpen my skills up more in that area. Sorry for leaving this here, I emailed you at and got my emails bounced back from you.

    Thank you for your time, I appreciate you!

  5. Selling and negotiating used to be cordial. I believe after they let the GTLDs out of the cages a surly breed of domain buyers was unleashed. This doesn’t apply to super premium domains. Just the domains worth somewhere between 2K and 50 K.

    • It is interesting that you think potential buyers are not as cordial as in the past.
      I think they are more cordial now than during the period 2003 to 2006.
      I use to get more threatening/nasty emails and phone calls in the past then today.
      And, I think the period between 2003 and 2006 was the worst (for me).

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