“Non-Profit” Domain Buyers

I don’t own many names that I think are good matches for non-profit organizations. I am sure I have a few names in my portfolio that non-profits want to own, but non-profits are definitely not a target market of mine. Like most other investors though, I receive quite a few inquiries from prospective buyers who declare that they are interested in buying my domain name for some sort of “non-profit” usage.

There are dozens of domain buying advice articles out there that suggest telling a domain registrant the domain name will be used for a school project or non-profit project. The thinking, I guess, is that it will signal to the registrant that there isn’t a whole lot of money behind the inquiry, and perhaps the registrant will give a lower price or allow the buyer to secure the domain name for less money than if it was going to be used for a business.

When I get a price request from a prospective buyer who tells me that my domain name will be used for some sort of non-profit website or organization, I interpret it as a way for the buyer to tell me he or she probably can’t afford to (or won’t) pay close to the value of the domain name. Instead of having a drawn out back and forth when I know a deal isn’t going to be possible, here’s a paraphrased reply of what I suggest:

“If you are looking to buy a domain name for some sort of non-profit organization, I would look for a .org domain name instead.”

It’s basically a kiss-off to the prospect to let them know that I don’t think it is even worth my time to try to discuss a price, and it’s also a helpful suggestion on where they should look to find a suitable alternative if they are actually buying a domain name for a non-profit project.

As a domain registrant, I find it annoying when someone starts a negotiation by telling me they can’t (or won’t) pay the value of the domain name. A domain name has value for many reasons, but one big reason is the potential usage of the domain name. Just because someone wants to use a great domain name for a non-profit project does not mean the value or price will be lower. Instead of having a drawn out discussion, I tend to recommend they look elsewhere for a better suited domain name.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com 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. “I tend to recommend they look elsewhere for a better suited domain name.”

    That’s what I tell them; also that perhaps other, low value not-com extensions of the word/s they want are available.

    And to the folks that state that they (only) have a certain budget (virtually always less than my domains’ actual value), I let them know that budget doesn’t determine value.

  2. Sold a .org to a bona fide non profit a few years ago for a ‘discount’ to market as their mission resonated with my interest in registering the domain. 6 months later they came back to buy the matching .com, which I sold to them at market price.

    I currently own organdonate.org and .com; with interest in selling to apprpriately bona fide parties; with likely similar pricing strategy.

    Also believe sometimes the .org may be more valuable then .com version in some instances due to its ‘non profit’ notion credibility enhancing perception. Or, when the .com is in use but not for its optimal potential. For example I own: healthinfo.org, whose .com is used for email only seemingly by its owner; a large health database compliler and distributor.

  3. If a genuine non-profit is interested in a domain name I own, I would certainly be willing to price it accordingly. We support a variety of non-profits, and if I believe in their mission and would support it in general, I am happy to work out a deal that makes sense for both parties.

  4. What if someone got an email from ebrooks who wanted to buy a domain like, for example, ethoscapital.org from them and their email said, “it’s for a good cause, our budget is really tight, we serve nonprofits, can you help us out. I can offer $200 for the domain.” That’s really what happens as people cloak themselves in the patina of do-goodism so they can benefit financially. Lots of subterfuge going on as a negotiating strategy. A friend once said, “trust nobody.” That’s kind of harsh, but maybe in some way they were right.

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