I spend much more time focused on acquiring good domain names than selling them. I might make one or two efforts to sell domain names each week, but I am sending perhaps dozens of purchase offers each week for significant amounts of money.
At this point in time, nearly all of the best (one and some two word .com) domain names that are unused are in very strong hands. In many cases, the owners have turned down serious offers over the years. Some of these owners include Fortune 100 companies, well-funded startups, and other entities that don’t have a desire or need to sell any domain name assets unless they are blown away by an offer.
While this advice might be “easier said than done,” I thought I would share the way I go about trying to buy great domain names:
- Find a domain name that isn’t being used and determine the owner.
- Find the executive who might be the decision maker or be able to connect you with the decision maker (President, VP of Marketing, CFO, COO, GC).
- Find the person’s email address either in a press release, corporate filing, or somewhere else online. If you aren’t having luck, try to find the company’s email convention (like elliot.silver@ or esilver@).
- Send a purchase offer to buy the domain name. Don’t waste their time with a bullshit offer. 99% of companies won’t respond to a $10,000 offer for a $250,000 domain name. This is your best shot so make it count. If you would pay $150,000 for the name, don’t mess around with a $20,000 offer. Come right out with a $100,000 offer. Leave a bit of room to negotiate but understand they get serious offers all the time.
- If your offer is rejected, and it almost certainly will be rejected, ask the person if you can contact them again in the future. Also ask them to keep you in the loop if the domain name becomes available. Follow up down the road with a better offer to see if anything has changed.
One thing I have learned is that domain names that aren’t being used are almost always available for sale – even if the company says “not for sale.” More often than not, it just means the offer wasn’t enough to entice the company to sell. If a domain name is worth $250,000 retail, most companies want $250,000 or more to divest the asset. There have been many times I didn’t come enough when I should have and ended up seeing a funded startup using the domain name in the future.
The domain investment business has changed. Rarely, these days, do I acquire a good asset because I put in the extra effort tracking down an owner or making the right contact. These days, the best way to get a deal done is to make a very strong and sometimes uncomfortable offer. I regularly see friends and acquaintances acquiring domain names I tried to buy, and I know they are paying substantial amounts of money because my serious offer had been recently rejected. It is much hard to buy strong assets than to sell the right now.