If you are similar to me, you probably spend quite a bit of time trying to buy domain names. When you make an offer on a marketplace like Sedo, there is a set time before the offer expires and is no longer valid. If you are making offers directly to the domain owner, you should probably do the same.
I personally find that most offers I make are responded to within a few days. Domain owners, with the exception of some domain investors, tend to respond quickly to offers because they either know the offer isn’t good or the offer is at least worth exploring further. In these cases, the offer is either accepted or rejected (even a counter offer can be construed as a rejection). When someone doesn’t reply to my offer, I generally consider it a rejection and move on with other inquiries.
The issue I potentially face is that my offer could theoretically be accepted days or weeks from when I make the offer, and that could pose a problem. Perhaps someone is not diligent about checking their email and they don’t see my offer for months. Additionally, someone may keep an offer on file until they wish to sell the domain name, and that may not be in the near future. Although I could probably say, “sorry, I am no longer interested” without worry, it could be a risk if the person goes on to call you a non-paying bidder or something worse.
If you are going to make offers directly to domain owners, you should consider adding an expiration time. This could save you some trouble if you change your mind about a purchase, if the market changes significantly, or if you’ve simply spent too much money buying other domain names. The added bonus to adding an expiration time to your offer is that it might encourage the domain owner to make a decision more rapidly instead of dragging things on for a long period of time. You can always overlook the time period if you need to, but it can save you some trouble down the road.
There was one time when I am glad I didn’t put an expiration time on a domain offer. I heard from a domain owner several weeks after my email, and he accepted my offer. Fortunately, the deal was great and it worked out for the best. I have no idea why it took the owner so long, but at the time, I believed it was because the email address he used for the Whois was not his primary email.
Most of the time, though, adding an expiration date to the offer can be helpful.