Just about every day, I send emails to domain owners with the hope of buying their domain names. This morning on Twitter, someone asked me about approaching a domain owner to buy a domain name without coming across as a scammer:
“How do you reach out to a domain owner, looking to purchase his/her domain without coming off as a valuation scammer,” I was asked.
I thought I would share some fairly simple advice to people who want to buy domain names directly from the owners.
I think the most important thing is to make a reasonable offer. Money talks. You can be the nicest, smartest, wealthiest, poorest…etc person in the world, but if you don’t offer the domain owner something of value, it isn’t going to get a deal done. There are many things that can be offered, such as cash, equity, collateral, tax deduction, products, services and perhaps other things I can’t think of off the top of my head.
An offer is the most important part of inquiring about a domain name. Everything else comes second.
To give the domain name owner confidence in your ability to close or fulfill whatever obligation you are promising in exchange for the domain name, you might want to add other information. You can share your background information, your plans for the domain name, the proposed payment terms, your trademark information, or anything else. Sharing too much information may drive up the price. For instance, if you mention that your last startup was acquired by Google for 8 figures, it is likely the domain owner will want more value for his domain name.
When I am buying a domain name, I generally try to be as upfront as possible. I make my offer for the domain name (almost always) and hope the owner replies. If I really want to buy a particular domain name, I will usually follow up with a phone call. A non-response likely means whatever I offered isn’t sufficient, and I may or may not follow up with an improved offer.
I like to keep my inquiries and offers pretty basic. If you approach things differently, I would be interested in hearing about it.