I was looking at LinkedIn this afternoon, and I realized their search stats tool can be invaluable in helping to identify a prospective buyer for a domain name. LinkedIn shows users the number of times their profile appeared in their search stats. It also shows “Where your searches work.” This can help identify a prospective buyer.
Let’s say you own Example.com. One day you look at LinkedIn and see that someone from a company called Example Capital found you in a LinkedIn search. Assuming your name is in the Whois record, it is very likely that the company was doing some due diligence to learn more about you in an attempt to buy the domain name.
I have found that larger companies tend to use brokers and/or brand protection companies to acquire domain names. This is done to stay stealthy. The point is to ensure the domain owner doesn’t have any idea who is behind the inquiry. If the domain owner saw someone from a particular company looking at his or her LinkedIn profile and received a blind inquiry shortly thereafter, it may help identify the prospective buyer. On the other hand, someone might use a family member’s or friend’s email account to do the same thing. Whatever the case, a domain owner who sets prices based on the inquiring party would be better served if they had more background information. This search tool from LinkedIn could be helpful.
Most of the time, domain owners (myself included) think (or wish) that the prospective buyer comes from a big company. Being able to potentially see who was looking at a Linkedin profile can either confirm this or allow the domain owner to understand that there may not be big money behind the inquiry. It is another tool, like I mentioned about Google Plus, that can help identify a prospective buyer.