A few weeks ago, I received an inquiry on MKM.com. The person inquiring had what looked like a real email address and he made a low offer for the domain name. It wasn’t a $500 offer, but it wasn’t all that reasonable either. I replied “nope” and moved on. Two weeks later, the same person emailed me about RER.com, this time without an offer and telling me that he needed it for a project. Clearly, this was a domain investor rather than an end user buyer.
I get quite a few inquiries on my domain names asking about their availability. Many of these seem to come from what sounds like a real person based on the email address. Instead of using a throwaway Gmail or Hotmail account, these buyers will use something like Angelica@AngelicaFunwoody.com (made up) or some other real sounding domain name. Although these emails seem like an end user wanting my domain name, they are most likely another domain investor using a pseudonym.
There are several ways to get an idea about whether or not the email is from another domain investors masking his or her identity. Here are a few telltale signs that it is a domain investor sending automated emails:
The email came via my Whois email address rather than through the contact form on the landing page or through other means. These domain investors use the Whois contact emails because it’s easy to send these emails en masse using an automated email program rather than sending them by hand using domain name landing page contact forms.
There will either be a very general email asking about the domain name’s availability or a very low offer. For instance, if someone is offering $3,000 for a good 3 letter domain name, that is a pretty safe offer. I’d buy average to above average 3 letter .com domain names for $3,000 all day every day if I could. This helps prevent the person from making deals that he can’t afford.
The domain name may be all caps or all lower. When these emails are sent, it can be more time consuming to ensure that the domain name looks right. For instance, instead of saying “MassachusettsRealEstate.com,” it will be MASSACHUSETTSREALESTATE.COM OR massachusettsrealestate.com. This prevents an error like MassachusettsRealeState.com or MassAchusettsRealEstate.com, which would make it clear that it was automated.
You won’t get a reply when you send a counter offer or ask questions. Unless the buyer really wants your name, he or she will probably figure that it’s not worth the time to negotiate a deal because there are other deals to be had.
The website on the domain name from the email address will be minimal, and the domain name may have been a recent pickup or registration. Buying a name like this at auction is a good way to keep the creation date and look more serious. I’ve seen some minimal landing page websites with a very vague description.
In my opinion, there isn’t much wrong with this method of buying domain names. It can be a bit annoying to receive, especially when someone sends to all city .com names or other vertical where I have multiple registrations. On the other hand, it makes it easier to see that it’s an automated email that way.