No, I Won’t “Let it Go”

People don’t seem to understand that domain investing is a business, and domain investors run their businesses to make money. In the last handful of days, I was asked if I would be willing to ‘let [a domain name] go’ for offers that were not even close to what I paid to buy them.

In both instances, the prospective buyers were hopeful startup founders. Both of these offers, if you can call them that, involved two different one word .com domain names that have substantial liquid value.

Although the ask was similar, the approach was a bit different. One person told me he was bootstrapping his startup and was short on funds as a result. The other person told me he didn’t have much money and hoped I could sell the name cheaply and make money on another domain name.

Aside from the fact that nobody is letting a valuable asset go for much less than what the open market would yield, I found it ironic that these two different prospects thought I would be willing to give them a major deal because they were low funded startups. I’ve ignored many people who claim to be poor students working on a project and people looking to buy a domain name for a non-profit, but that was different. These people seemed to hope I would cut them a major break so they could make money starting their own business.

I responded to one person curtly by telling him I wouldn’t sell for close to that amount. I ignored the second person entirely.

It doesn’t really make sense for a domain investor to give someone a much better deal than what the wholesale market would bring. I think people might have more success with the poor student approach than the poor startup founder approach.

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. Do you know who the “buyers” are?

    As I said many times, they are f*&&ing with your mind. Most probably they already know who you are and chances that they are one of your trusted domainer friends.
    They are lowballers.

  2. “These people seemed to hope I would cut them a major break so they could make money starting their own business.”

    These must be the same people looking for free legal advice so they can make money.

  3. “Good Sir, I am a poor college student. I see your house has an asking price of $250K. Would you mind, dropping the price to a reasonable $30K on a 20-year payment plan?”

    It’s for a ‘good cause’, they say.

    Unreal. Just unreal.

  4. The poor student approach is definitely sounds better, poor startup may work to some degree also.

    Some domainers have gotten very valuable names for free using this type of strategy in years gone by.

  5. I would entertain their low-ball offers if they were willing to offer a stake in their startup businesses.
    If the business fails, in 2 or 3 years, you get back the domain. Fair?

    • Who pays the thousands of dollars in legal fees papering your deal when the cash component of a deal like this is far less than what they are able to pay?

  6. Have you ever asked or considered asking for common stock in a startup (with the failure of the company reverting ownership of the domain back to you) instead of money or is that even of interest to you?

    • Who pays the thousands of dollars in legal fees when the cash component of a deal like this is far less than what they are able to pay?

      • According to Rick, they pay those fees.

        Work out an arrangement where they pay $x plus all the $x legal fees, or maybe even $0 plus all the $x legal fees.

        Then use a reliable platform where they do not take possession of the domain but only make use of it as if leasing.

        A good software platform for that is Epik. They also have an agreement that you can edit and add all the custom terms to.

        • Legal fees would dwarf the amount that both of these wanna be founders offered me. If they can afford to pay thousands in legal fees, they are lying about how much they can afford to pay for the domain name and I am not going to go into business with someone who lies to me from the get go.

        • Agree, also the opportunity cost of letting a weak startup use a name for a few years is high. They may hand it back after a few years but what is the cost of not being able to to sell to anyone else while they slide into oblivion?

  7. This reminds me of one of the oldest realtor investor tactic ,that actuallly works ,an investor lives in an area where business is brewing up,they see a plot of land ,,not for sale,, they contact the owner ,and give them the story of wanting to buy it for there kid so they can live next to them,hey they bought an acre from my wife’s grandfather like that for 30k in 1985 in Florida ,it now in the middle of a busy city worth now about 100 million plus


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