Set Deal Deadlines

When negotiating a deal to buy or sell a domain name, I think it is important to set deadlines with the other party to ensure the deal is done in a timely manner. I typically set deadlines on offers, on payment date, and on the domain name transfer. This is important for me because I don’t like leaving things in limbo for an extended period of time.

Typically when I am selling a domain name, I will let the prospective buyer know the offer price is on the table for a short period of time. Depending on the domain name and my price, I typically let the buyer know the offer is valid for 48 hours, five days, or one week. The timing depends on a variety of (unimportant) factors to me, but I generally make this clear. I also let the buyer know the price is valid until the deadline or until someone else agrees to buy it just in case.

When I am making offers, I will sometimes let the registrant know my offer is valid for a certain period of time. I usually do this at the final stage of a negotiation rather than the beginning. It’s a bit silly telling someone a $5,000 offer is valid for 48 hours when they wouldn’t sell the name for less than $250,000! I do this so the other party understands a response is needed quickly, but I tend to be more flexible when buying than selling because I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on the registrant.

Once I agree to sell or buy a domain name, I discuss payment and transfer deadlines with the other party. On the sale side, I typically conclude a negotiation by saying something to the effect of “I will agree to your offer of $x if you can pay by x.” I might also reply to a reasonable offer by asking when the other party can pay. That’s been a good way for me to not only ensure the funds are available but to also ascertain a payment deadline. Typically, payment is requested within a week, but that depends on the other party and sometimes on the size of a deal.

I require all transfers and account changes to be done within a week. This is summarized in the purchase agreement but not really mentioned in a negotiation. I tend to think that takes up unnecessary dialog since it’s usually a pretty quick process once payment is received by Of course I will not cancel a deal if the other party is making a good faith effort to transfer a domain name to me or from me, but if they totally disappear, I want to keep the option of canceling the deal on the table – especially in contract form – so I don’t have funds in escrow for an extended period of time.

The payment and transfer expectations are laid out in the purchase agreement. I think it is important that this be memorialized so there is no disagreement about expectations after a deal is struck. If a deadline is too tight, the other party can request a contract change. If the other party is making a good faith effort to get a deal closed, I am sure I would not enforce the timing unless I felt I had no choice.

It’s important to be upfront about deadlines to keep expectations in check. I like to set deadlines and enforce as necessary.

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. I once dealt with a buyer broker who kept delaying so finally I chewed him out big time in a really scathing email. The deal was completed. It was $xx,xxx for a .us domain, and I suspect the buyer was a huge famous company in the industry, have a good guess which one. Last I checked the domain has still been kept in stealth mode ever since and there is effectively privacy on it. That could change. This sale was around 2015 – 2016.

    Later, however, I regretted chewing out the broker even though they deserved it. May have cost me more sales needlessly. Not that you should never do that, and sometimes you should, but that time I regretted it later.

      • From About.US (link:

        “Proxy, or privatized registrations, are not permitted under current policy.

        The .US TLD has an ongoing interest in ensuring that its top-level domain is administered in a secure manner and that the information contained within .US is reliable, accurate, and up-to date. One of the mechanisms to ensure the integrity of the .US namespace is the through the collection of true registrant information. The .US Registry employs an algorithm to detect the inadvertent or intentional registration of proxy, anonymous and/or private domain name registrations, and enforces a registrar’s obligation to not offer such services to .US domain name registrants.”

        • Guys, what part of “effectively” do you not understand?

          There are probably two or three registrars or at least still one that one can name which “effectively” provide privacy for .us domains because of how they implement whois. One for certain last I checked, the one I’m alluding to. And that’s not all, but I won’t say anything about the “that’s not all.”

          So people and entities using such registrars are “effectively” having their cake and eating it to despite privacy not being allowed yet.

          So indeed I’ve not only always been aware of the requirement, but have already mentioned the issue in the blogs because of how important and necessary it is and has long been to have privacy available. But I will not implement it even if I could anywhere until it is officially allowed. In fact, one time it actually was applied automatically and “against my will” to a .us domain, and I removed it immediately even though I have wanted a privacy option for years.

          Get the picture?

        • PS, fyi, where I said “in the industry” I meant the industry pertaining to the domain, not “our” industry. Since gambling is not intrinsically a sin I would bet money I could guess which big famous company is hiding under the “effective” privacy on the first guess in fact, even more money on three guesses.

        • Well come to think of it, when it comes to .us specifically maybe it is really only one such registrar that *effectively* enables people to have their cake and eat it too and circumvent the rules – and they must surely know what they are doing for so long. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any others who for whatever reason, even just legitimate oversight perhaps, enable actual formal and direct privacy too. Only discovered that recently with the example above, which I immediately remedied upon discovery.

    • Depends on the name and my offer.

      If I have truly reached my maximum budget or simply don’t think there would be enough room on a sale to go higher, I will thank the person for his or her time and ask them to re-connect if something changes.

      If I think I might be able to move the needle with a bit of a higher offer I might come back later and try to work out a deal.

      It really depends on my interest in the name, my budget, my valuation of the name, and my thoughts on whether I think a deal is workable.

    • Then you are screwed, basically whatever you say about pricing and budget becomes meaningless and you’ll also look desperate. Try to avoid the final offer that isn’t final, you have to be willing to walk if you are going to say that.

      • I did not go to law school, but I do eat lawyers for lunch and I did take a number of law classes in college including contracts and Uniform Commercial Code. And if something got really crazy I’d call my friend who went to Harvard Law, but that’s besides the point. I’m pretty sure that a contract is a contract no matter where you are in the US, and that in general it would not be hard have a binding and enforceable agreement even if it was handwritten on a napkin or piece of paper like in the Carvertise video you posted just the other day. And if in doubt, I doubt it would be hard to find out if there is anything unusual required in one’s own state.

        I was also aware of your position on boilerplate agreements before. Since I’ve been at your blog a long time I would make the following three observations for your consideration which I suspect lead you to have this kind of position on such matters:

        1. You are hyper-risk averse.

        2. Having a lawyer brother on call for such things makes it a thousand times more convenient and less expensive for you to do it that way.

        3. Even if you don’t consciously realize it, you may also want to do your lawyer friends in the industry a favor by giving this kind of advice instead of entertaining the idea of the DIY approach not being that hard at all for something like this, ie just a simple sale. And I would even add a non-disclosure part too.

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