Responding to a Negative Email

If you’re a domain name investor, chances are good that you’ve received a negative email for your business. Whether you’ve inquired about a domain name owned by someone who doesn’t want to sell (or sell close to your offer), or you’ve fielded an inquiry from an entitled person who thinks their company has the rights to your domain name, it’s likely you’ve had to deal with a negative or angry email. I want to share some advice about how I respond to negative emails.

When I am trying to buy a domain name, I usually make an offer in my opening email, As I mentioned yesterday, I would guess that 90% of my purchase inquiry emails have an offer in them. I do my best to give fair offers that at least open the door, but some people take exception to my offer. Most of the email responses I receive are cordial, but some are of the “go pound sand” variety.

When I receive an angry reply to an offer, I sit back and evaluate the situation. I think about whether my offer was truly insulting or if the owner simply wants much more than he or she will ever receive. If the later, I will file the email away and not reply. If the former, I will either not reply, or I will explain why I think the offer is fair or reasonable. If I think there’s a chance to bridge the gap, I might increase my offer, but only if I think it’s still a good deal. In many cases, I find it’s better to not reply and risk setting someone off.

I field quite a few inquiries on my domain names. Sometimes they are out of the blue and sometimes they are a result of my emailing a potential buyer. I dislike receiving sarcastic or insulting replies about my price, but that is the nature of this business. Some people don’t really know the difference in a good vs. a bad domain name (heck, some domain investors don’t either), and they are irritated when I tell them the name they want to buy is far beyond their means.

When I receive an email with an insult about my pricing or something ridiculous, I generally don’t reply. Someone offering me $100 for a name I bought for $15,000 isn’t going to magically come up and spend a lot of money. Even if I spend time educating him about domain values, it’s unlikely he is going to pull the trigger on a large deal. I generally send a quick thanks anyway email and file it away. There’s no sense in wasting time with someone or taking a risk that you get into a pissing contest where the prospect emails your chain to all of his contacts.

The worst type of email is when a person or company thinks they have the rights to own your domain name more than you. If I receive a legal threat, I simply send it to my attorney and let him deal with it. Engaging with someone like this isn’t generally fruitful, and I have an attorney for a reason.

There are a lot of people out there who aren’t going to be “nice,” and learning how to deal with negative replies is a good way to stay happy.

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,

    Just curious- do you have an industry lawyer that you work with, or a family lawyer that also handles these situations?

  2. Elliot, do you use some disclosure or any special wording in inquiry responses, that would protect you and your domain name against possible collecting information that may be used in UDRP or any other legal action?

  3. Hi Elliot, just to flip the coin on it’s head, how do you treat those who offer you their domains? Do you generally tend to decline? Have you ever bought a domain that someone has offered you in an unsolicited email?

    • I try to be as nice as possible because many people who email me are kind enough to read my blog.

      I am sure I have bought unsolicited names in the past, but 99% of the time they aren’t of the quality I want. Those that are of the quality I buy are usually asking for more money than I’d ever spend or asking me to broker names, which I decline.

  4. As more people come online, looking for quality domains, the haters are only going to grow, best to just keep it short, and sweet, as most likely you will just be burning daylight going back and forth with a immature self entitled brat. What I notice these days from some of the younger end users is they make the deal first, worry about the money later, I see this becoming more of an issue as well.

  5. I agree with Ron, alot of people are making deals first and then having trouble paying! Thats the most frustrating! Who cares about the words they use? Just delete. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but pay me my damn money!

    • I once insulted an end user buyer who I never heard of before by asking how he planned to pay for the domain name. He was offended, and we never ended up doing the deal (was just under 6 figures). I still don’t know if he could pay but I should have been more tactful.

  6. As an aside, pounding sand can actually be quite therapeutic … tho’ sandpaper knuckles can take some getting used to … 😉

  7. A lawyer’s perspective: In the event that you have a “contract” with an individual to purchase a domain name, whether it be a written Agreement or simply emails with an offer and acceptance, you always have recourse through the courts. Elliot may agree that enforcing an Agreement through legal recourse may not be the most preferable step, however, it may be the most effective solution. No one likes to receive threatening letters from an attorney, especially an attorney who understands the intricacies of recovering money owed.

    Now I understand that many individuals may purport to be older than they are or financially viable, but in conducting a sale, one must be wary of who is at the other end of the table. Additionally, receiving a substantial amount upfront, even if it requires a smaller end sum, may deter a purchaser from failing and/or refusing to make all necessary future payments.

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