My Favorite Domain Sale

I received an offer for one of my domain names a few weeks ago, and although we started out quite far apart, we were able to bridge the gap to within a few thousand dollars after several emails. I was debating whether or not to sell the domain name because I had plans for it, but I decided if the right deal was struck, I would sell it.

After some discussion, I learned that the potential buyer is located in California – Napa Valley to be precise. I have an affinity for Napa Valley reds, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon.

Because we couldn’t come to terms on the dollar amount I wanted to move on the name, but we were fairly close, I decided to pose an offer to the buyer. I told him I would agree to his final offer price if he puts together an exceptional case of Napa Valley wines. We had a bit of a laugh about it and agreed on the deal at his final price. We transacted as I normally would, without including the wine as part of the deal. Frankly, I didn’t know for certain if the wine would arrive, but I was comfortable with the sale price, and I know his business will benefit from owning the domain name more so than mine.

A couple weeks passed after our transaction, and on Friday, a huge box arrived. The box contained some awesome Napa Valley red wines from vintages as far back as 1994. Each of the wines is special, and I am appreciative that the buyer lived up to his word.

I think this is my favorite domain sale of all time, and it shows that sometimes you need to be creative to reach a deal, especially if you and the buyer/seller both dug your heels in on a firm number and don’t want to give in on 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. Elliot did he send those wines overnight or with some ice packs – anything to mitigate the summer heat? I hope they are okay but I’d be worried they got cooked. Let us know if there are any hidden gems in the bunch.

  2. Great story, thanks for sharing. Bartering is on the rise,and who better to strike a deal with then someone who deals in red wine 🙂

  3. Elliot,

    Francois took this post off the line-up in his

    I think it’s a form of censor.

    I’m watching to see what you’re going to do about all these strong=arm tactics, and insult to our collective intelligence, as Americans. Elliot, you must do something about this. I’m watching.

    • Are you trying to say because you consider Francois a “business friend”, he is therefore inerrant, or infallible?

      The listing is still there granted, but are you trying to say that, if it wasn’t, that it is okay? Are you trying to say that in cases where two of you have a conflict of interest, for example, with, where you have as a sponsor, and Francois, as a competition, he can try determine what you write on your blog? Let me understand.

    • All I’m saying is he can do as be wishes with his site. If I write about a competitor and he warns to block me, that’s his choice. I won’t change what I write because of that.

    • @Elliot,

      Well, that is not enough. If it comes to that, as I suspect it will soon, I just want to put two of you on notice, that we as a ‘domaining’ people, are carefully watching; and we will not have our news, and blogs filtered through the conflict of interest screen, be it sponsor, or competition bias, without pointing them out.

      You can see some of that in your post titled ” Tips to Prevent Buying Stolen Domain Names”.

      Already, Francois is forcing everybody to display his website on their websites, without compensation, or reciprocity.

      And he is competing against every aspect of domain business, whereas we take his website as a quasi “industry” outfit.

    • You have the freedom to choose whether to use,, or any other aggregator. Francois has built a great product in, which is why we use it and feel strongly about its operation. That said, it doesn’t mean we can tell him how to run his business. If you or I don’t like his decisions, we can use other sites or create our own.

    • @Elliot,

      That is where you got it so wrong. What you suggest is merely one possibility, out of many.

      The domain industry CAN organize in many ways. Domain industry is not limited to you, or your friends, or I. It is bizarre to look at, notice that Francois has forced them to display his website badge, and at the same time see him pushing you hard to write articles that could harm their interest, and promote his; it is absurd to see Francois yell at bloggers, and force them to remove articles that merely present one or two domains of their’s for sale on their own blogs! It is ridiculous to see Francois not present certain video productions of because it featured a competition service to estibot; it is incredible to watch Francois commandeer products from even estibot, and have Francois be the merchant in competition with all simply because he is aggregating blogs; we can organize to curtail his excesses, whether you like it or not, Elliot. So, speak for yourself on this issue. I know you won’t comment on the propriety of these allegations. You want to reduce it to simple “it’s his private business”, but the issue is not about his business, that he is entitled to. But remember, bloggers can also bar him from carrying their posts.

    • @Elliot,

      Let me give you one example, bloggers can tell him that he WILL carry all their posts or none at all; that he does not have the leisure of removing their posts that contain the bloggers’ occasional domain sales; he would have to choose whether to run ALL the feed unmolested, or NOT at all.

      Blog posts should be sacrosanct. The aggregation should have not editorial input whatsoever.

      • Why would I do that? I would rather him remove 1 of every 100 posts than not be on I get a bit over 10% of my traffic from there, and I use it many times per day. It would make no sense to “cut my nose to spite my face.”

    • You have every right to organize whatever it is that you wish, and if others are in agreement with you, they can join your cause.

      Again, he can do as he wishes with his website/business. That’s one beauty of running a private company. You can use it or not use it.

  4. I bartered to close the gap on a deal and got a home gym worth about 2k from the company that makes the bowflex and nautilus equipment. I didn’t expect it to show up either, but a semi arrived at my house one day and carted it to the garage. Been years and I’ve yet to put it together 🙂

  5. How the fuck does this deal on topic. is king. No one will ever fuck with them.

    Just like pump and dump .whatever- no one will fuck with the .com

    Congrats on sale, whatever sale it is.

    Let the games begin. Inning 1.

  6. Wow talk about getting off subject.

    Napa valley-mmm, Maybe an attorney bought it or some guy that deals with equipment 🙂

  7. Hi Domenclature,
    Th fact is that Fracnois pretty much can do what he wants on his blog so you should not really worry so much about him or his feeds.

    On the other hand, guys like Elliot and many many others practically make their living (or get attention) thanks mainly to so they should show a bit more respect to when they are referrring to them.

    I don’t think this blog or others listed on would get more than 15 visitors a day to their posts if it wasn’t for

    So the real guys who feed off Francois’s blog are guys like Elliot.

    I can pretty much say that the domain that was sold (or claimed to be sold) in this post was Self Domain Name Hijacked.

    I know how guys like Elliot operate. We study them for hours each week so that we can sell more domains ourselves.

    Honest sale. My a$$.

    • I’ve shared this before, but my blog gets about 12% of it’d traffic from Also, if you’ve “studied” my blog you should know the revenue from my blog doesn’t constitute the majority of my business.

    • Bartering is accountable on the U.S. tax return.

      Speaking of taxes, they are quite high in France, aren’t they? No pun intended.

      Elliot—-thank you for a high spirited post on this Monday morning. I enjoyed reading it.

    • I would never do that. I would consider it a gift. Which is what it is. Not to mention that nothing is going to happen to you even if you mention it on this blog etc. and even if it’s not a gift. Simply nothing.

      Not that I even care about justifying but if I have to I will point to this what you said:

      “I told him I would agree to his final offer price if he puts together an exceptional case of Napa Valley wines.”


      “We transacted as I normally would, without including the wine as part of the deal. Frankly, I didn’t know for certain if the wine would arrive”

      I can fully understand you wanting to do the right thing and the fact that you write a blog and would like to appear to be honest. But to me this is overreaching a bit and I wouldn’t even ask the accountant.

      Even in the unlikely case you got audited how in the world is the wine even going to show up that you received wine? You’ve got more than a leg to stand on here.

    • When it comes to taxes, that is one area I don’t take chances. I tell my accountant everything and let him figure things out. If he says I should pay taxes based on the value of the wine, I’ll do that.

    • Depends on what you mean by “taking chances”. The accountant has nothing to gain and everything to lose by you taking a chance so he is going to err on the side of being exceedingly safe. You have something to gain.

      In the case of a transaction like this, this is what you have to weigh. The down side.

      Let’s say you take a deduction that is borderline (or even clearly wrong).

      The downside is going to be that you will end up paying taxes and you will have a penalty. You will not go to jail (for something like this) not even close. Over the course of a lifetime in business all this will add up.

      If you look at the penalty (which many times will be waived anyway) and even the chance of a penalty you will see that the risk is most likely well worth taking (especially over the course of time).

      After all I’m assuming you don’t drive the speed limit in all cases. You weigh the chance of a) getting caught and b) what happens if you get caught.

      If you go 100 mph you might lose your license and go to jail. If you go 65 in a 55 zone you might get a ticket and not even points.

      It is all risk assessment.

      You can’t depend on professional to give you clear indicators in all these cases. You have to evaluate yourself many times. Or you will just lose money.

      In any case with this transaction you most certainly have a leg to stand on.

  8. I sold many wine names where I requested wine as the kicker to seal the deal.I sold one domain to a wine club and asked that they send me one of each of their clubs for a year to seal the deal. They had 4 clubs at different price points and the owner said yes. It was like Christmas for me every month for a year.

    Cheers Elliot!

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