When I am negotiating the purchase of a domain name as an investment, I might do some cursory research to learn more about the seller. If I am trying to buy a one word .com from a guy who owns a $15 million townhouse in San Francisco, I can probably forget about gradually increasing my offers by $5k every few months.
My presumption is that most buyers of domain names will also do research to discover potentially helpful information about the owner of the domain names. In fact, I would imagine the research done by buyers and their brokers may be much more than cursory information. This information can be used to determine the owner’s financial position and may also be used to establish some rapport with the domain owner.
It is probably pretty easy for someone to find out a domain owner’s personal details – like a home address. This may give a buyer a general idea about the person’s affluence. I would imagine if the domain name is owned by a company, this information may be more difficult to obtain. In general, I would imagine trying to prevent a prospective buyer from uncovering this type of information is likely a losing battle and would take a ton of time and effort.
Investigating social media is a good way for a prospective buyer to gain intel on a domain owner. Many people publish various telling details on social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. From LinkedIn, a prospective buyer can tell what a domain owner does for work, and this may offer some insight into the owner’s annual salary. On Twitter, a prospective buyer can learn about the owner’s likes and dislikes (sports teams for example), travels, personality…etc.
Domain owners should be cautious about the information they are sharing publicly. Even things that may seem pretty innocuous could be helpful to someone trying to buy a domain name.
When hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line with a domain investment, a buyer may go to great lengths to learn about a domain owner. A buyer may have a huge budget, but nobody wants to spend more than is necessary. Spending a few thousand dollars to learn about a domain owner and his or her background can yield a great deal of intel that could be helpful in a negotiation.