How I Reach Out to a Domain Owner

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.

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. Well said. I would add that if you are serious about purchasing a domain, contact the owner in the way you would want to be contacted if you owned the domain.

    These are essential, IMO:
    A fair offer.
    Keep it short, professional & be nice.
    Include valid contact info & a phone number.
    Don’t email from a spammy looking email address like

    *If you are afraid that it will drive the price up if you let people know who you are, then use a broker to make sure your inquiry still looks reputable.

  2. Absolutely well put Elliot.

    Since domain owners are constantly bombarded by spammy emails regarding their domains the only way to stand out is by making a fair opening offer to get their attention.

    As the saying goes… BS talks, money walks

    Being buyside broker for many years in another vertical representing end users, second your advice.

    I was able to get the attention of sellers of prime properties (none of which were actively for sale) only by being forthright, and usually putting a fair $ figure offer in the initial contact letter sent certified to get their attention.

  3. A reasonable offer is very important.

    Lowballing generally will not initiate much of a response.

    Your offer must be able to at the very least start a conversation even if there is a gap that may end up in a sale.

    Determining what is fair, matters on the name, vertical, etc. and isn’t always easy to define.

    Generally I try to include an offer that is large enough that it is meaningful to the buyer to start a conversation or decide to sell the name while still giving me a reasonable margin of profit when you resell the domain.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts Announces 2023 Master of Domains

During the NamesCon conference today, announced its Master of Domains winners. The annual award celebrates "the highest grossing domain name brokers for deals...

How to Buy a Domain Name That is Owned by Someone

For a domain investor, buying a domain name is second nature. Investors hand register domain names, purchase domain names via expiry and private auctions,...

My 2023 Domain Industry PMC Jersey

For a number of years, I have created a domain industry Pan-Mass Challenge jersey to raise funds for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Many domain industry... Profitably Resold for 8 Figures

In March of this year, I reported on the sale of The domain name was acquired by HubSpot Co-Founder Dharmesh Shah for more...

First Look at my 2023 Domain Industry PMC Jersey

This August, I will be riding in my 10th Pan-Mass Challenge ride to raise funds for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I will be riding...