Knowing who you are negotiating with is very important when it comes to domain name sales. Although someone would probably be happy to sell a domain name for the price he or she asks, I am sure you would likely be disappointed to learn that a huge company bought it without revealing themselves, even the price you received was the highest they were willing to pay.
In light of yesterday’s article about Facebook buying a domain name apparently in a covert manner, I want to give you a few strategies I use to try and find out who is inquiring about my domain names, assuming it’s not a poor college student working on a thesis or a work at home mom wanting to start a website with no budget.
First thing I do is some research on the name of the person who sent the email. Oftentimes, the buyer uses a fake name, so the signed name doesn’t always help. You can use sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to do your due diligence and see where the person works if they use their real information. You should also review the Whois information for the domain name from which the email is sent if it’s not a public service like GMail, AOL, or Hotmail.
The next thing you can search is the IP address from which the email came. This generally isn’t very helpful because there is limited information available, but you can compare it to other IP ranges on past emails for the same domain name. If you have received emails from different people at the same IP, you can at least know they are connected.
If this fails, you can search other domain registrations, the US Patent and Trademark Office, and general Google searches for the term used in the domain name. This may reveal who would be interested in buying the name so you can narrow it down.
One very good way to find out who is inquiring is to ask for a phone number. Whether you are comfortable negotiating on the phone or not is up to you, but you can research the phone number ownership on a site like WhitePages.com. Additionally, if it’s a small or medium sized business and the owner gives you his or her number, you might get a match when searching Google, and the business filings with phone number is listed.
Finally, the most important thing is to price domain names at what you want to sell them for and don’t go below a number you are comfortable with unless necessary. You should also not back out of a deal you make if you find out the buyer is a big company. Not only does that create a legal liability, but it also is unethical.