Why I Set Minimum Offer to $100,000

For quite some time, I set what I believe is a fairly generous minimum offer requirement of $1,500 on my DomainNameSales.com account. The thinking was that someone willing to spend 4 figures on a domain name is a better qualified prospect than someone who would only offer registration fee.

After trying this for quite some time, I decided to set the minimum offer on my domain names to $100,000. Even though the majority of my domain names won’t sell for close to $100,000 a piece, there are several important reasons I chose to increase the minimum offer.

1) I have found people “walk up” their offers when they get the error message that they didn’t meet the minimum offer. Once they magically hit the $1,500 number (or thereabouts) they tend to stop. Despite the fact that it’s clearly a “minimum” offer, I don’t want someone to have any expectations that I would consider selling a domain name like Lilac.com for close to $1,500. IMO, some people may get confused with the minimum offer situation, and with much distrust for domain investors, I don’t want to complicate things.

2) I think people will continue to “walk up” their offer and tip their hand more if that minimum is higher. Yes, there will still be offers that aren’t legitimate because they want to test the minimum offer, but I think it will help reveal what someone is willing to pay at the beginning rather than having to negotiate longer.

When someone submits an offer that doesn’t meet the minimum, I am still able to see it. Let’s say someone offers me $25,000 for Graceful.com. Even though they would see a notice that they didn’t meet the minimum offer, I can always reach out and tell them I’d be willing to do the deal.

The other option I could utilize is to not include a minimum offer. I don’t really like that idea because I want to set expectations. If someone submits an offer, I want them to see that the price expectation is high.

The $100,000 figure is arbitrary. I could probably be okay to set it to $15,000 – $25,000 for the majority of my portfolio. However, for the handful of names that I ask 6 figures on, I wouldn’t want someone to think I am willing to sell for $25,000 if they submit an offer at the minimum.

I don’t know if this will impact leads and sales, so this is pretty much just a test for now. I don’t have a huge domain portfolio and never have had one, so I don’t foresee it being a problem.

I am interested in hearing how you deal with your portfolio minimum offer if you’d like to share your experience.

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. Interesting concept this can save you many man hours in low ball leads, are you sure even though they submit a lower offer, you get to see it, and the buyer gets the perception their offer has been received, or do they simply keep going higher, and higher, until they reach their max, and frustrate out?

    • I just set it today.

      Yes, I see the lower offers that were submitted, but they aren’t emailed to me. I am emailed when an inquiry is made and when an offer that meets the minimum is submitted. I can check the thread once I receive the first email to see what the offer is.

    • As comparison using real estate, an over priced property will generally get no offers because the buyers think that the owners are 1) not really interested in selling 2) thinking buyers are idiots and will just pay any price without regard to the market therefore impossible to negotiate with 3) beyond the buyers price point they have bracketed and skip looking at the property. On the other hand a low price may bring in everyone interested and will generally cause the property to get bid up to at least market and maybe over market, assuming buyers are out there.

      • People need to keep in mind this “minimum offer” is not seen by anyone. They only know there is a minimum when they submit an offer that does not make it to the minimum. At that point, they just know their offer is not high enough.

        For instance, whether you submit a $100 or $50,000 offer for EventPlanner.com, it will tell you that your offer didn’t hit the minimum. Either way, I have the prerogative to engage the person or not.

        If the minimum offer was shown on the landing page, I would not have added it because of what you said, as the majority of my domain names are not worth 6 figures a piece.

  2. Several days ago I went looking for a place to get my haircut and asked the person on duty how much it would cost for a men’s haircut. “$30” was the response. I thanked him and left.

    My view is that a reasonable minimum offer can prevent lowball offers you don’t want to waste time responding to. A ridiculously high minimum offer can result in lost sales.

    • I would rather have that than have someone walk it up to $1,500 and think that I would consider selling for that price on a name like EventPlanner.com. At least with those $10 million offers, I can delete them without responding if they aren’t legit.

    • The issue isn’t the offer itself, or the fact that most of the time it won’t lead to a sale. It has to do with the ‘guessing’ game some play in order to establish the seller’s asking price, and note it for whatever purpose, e.g. for a UDRP.

    • That was the other option I was considering, but I felt that a guy willing to pay $50k but wanting to open with $1k might show his hand a bit more if he sees the minimum offer wasn’t met (assuming he didn’t want to lose the opportunity by underbidding).

  3. Don’t you think a buyer that is willing to spend 50 grand on a domain would seek you out directly and make an offer instead of making it through a secondary system.

    I would also think having the names all forward to your business website would increase initial offers regardless. I personally think anyone dealing with very high end names should have a very good website with individual landers with a whole sales pitch on each one. Just my opinion.

  4. Terrible strategy.

    Tier your names, yes, but to set everything at 100K, you are culling a ton of otherwise viable buyers who- by the time you ‘reach out’ to them and tell them that you might be interested at their lower price- have already moved on.

    Anyone with any whiskers selling ANYTHING knows that your chance to sell is now. Not tomorrow. Domains have a little bit of resistance to this since they are unique and if you have ‘the one’ that someone just can’t live without they will keep coming back, but you can be rest assured you will be losing five figure sales- on domains you would have happily sold for five figures- by setting your floor at 100k.

    As a buyer, I cannot count how many times I’ve made offers on domains only to have the idiot on the other end play ‘hardball’, then a week to a month later, the “OK, lets deal” emails come in long after I’ve lost interested and moved on to another suitable candidate.

    A’s, B’s and C’s.

    Set the minimum on your four figure names at $1000, set the minimum on your five figure names at $10K and set the minimum on your six figure names at $100K. You weed out the tire kickers while engaging the interest of qualified parties.

    Setting the floor on a $5000 or $10K name at $100K is beyond stupid.

    • You could be right. I am going to test to see how things go. As I mentioned in a previous comment, a good percentage of my lower value names have buy now prices on them, and they are not parked (and not subject to this minimum).

  5. I agree with Andy.

    Let the offers roll in, decide the good from the bad once you have the lead.

    Leonard, I will cut your hair for $25.


  6. Don’t forget that you group your domains in portfolios at DomainNameSales. So for your top tier names, set those to 100k. For another tier, 50k. For the ones worth about 2k, so those to 2k minimums or thereabout.

  7. I think if you set $100,000 as minimum offer than you normally won’t receive email notification for an offer submitted up to $99,000. You will need to check every lead by opening and see what’s the latest offer submitted.

    Correct me if I am wrong…

  8. I am no longer involved in the domain game but just got this link from a email newsletter (domaining). I will share some real grey area tactics that were used up until 2007. They are sleazy and bad but the group sold over 65 names all for over 5k each, some domains if regular methods were utilized they would have never sold or sold for 100 bucks maybe. The domains were typin style domains but geo specific, geo names I guess. We would rotate the lander to any of the following.

    We would use emails to get people to the site, so if it was a geo name for towing in reno we would email some towing companies there and say something cryptic that got them to visit the url, yup i know that its no good to do that canspam blah blah but mistakes were made etc.

    1. The landing page went to a notice that read something like “If you are the owner of this name please contact the billing department ASAP or risk us selling this name to pay outstanding invoices” we then had an email address link. Naturally, because the way many humans operate many emails we got had words like “wow this is so meant to be, I love this name, if the owner does not get back to you guys please call me” etc. We would reply that if we would have a dollar for everyone who wants this name we would be making a killing, we signed the email with a phone number. EVERYONE called and explained how they really want the name, they shared their ideas, we told them to patent their ideas RIGHT NOW as it can be the next billion dollar startup. They shelled out quickly for the name.

    Sleazy but it is what it was.

    2. Domain loaded a page with a fake counter showing how many made offers, it would show 58 offers, 56 declined, 2 pending and we would say, please do not paypal us any funds for this name as it is pending a sale, thanks you. (mind you we had no paypal link or anything) the people ended up emailing our email in whois telling us not to close with current buyer until we call them.

    Once again sleazebags galore but boy it worked

    3. we would email 12 business say abc company, xyz company, 123 company etc. We used a special JS on the page so onload it will show 5 companies currently viewing this page and it will list 5 of the 12 companies, every minute one company would be removed to be replaced with another company name. We then had one company that was made up and next to their name we would display a dynamic looking message that said “Making offer”, once again, these pages produced big results, was 1 hour of programming.

    4. The sob story featuring a real humanitarian. This one has a photo of some guy that claimed to have lost lots of money in real estate. He was looking to sell the name but refuses to sell it for domain sharks. He said only those with a real business looking to use it to expand their business should contact him.

    We were very aggressive, some names were hand reged 24 hours prior to someone paying 4 figures.

    We made incredible bank, in some cases they wanted us to design a site, 10-15k was normal, we use to buy templates for 70 bucks to fill orders.

    Was a great time, today my focus is real estate!

  9. I list my names on multiple platforms:

    How will this strategy work in this case @Elliot: do you exclusively use DNS?

  10. Jane Bigtail human nature is the most interesting topic.

    With regards to the $100k, I am always thinking of the time-poor marketing guy at a company given the job of finding a suitable name for a new project, with a total branding budget of $35k. He’s typing in names off the thesaurus, making inquiries to get a ballpark, creating a shortlist for the weekly meeting. Likely to skip right by.

    • They can’t see that the minimum offer is $100k until they make an offer that surpasses it. For instance, up until someone offers at least $100,000, it will say the minimum offer is not met.

      If someone makes a $5k, then a $10k, then a $30k offer and it’s legitimate, I can email them right away and explain that I have a minimum across my portfolio but would sell for his $30k offer if he wants to buy it. I say “legitimate” because I have received enough 8 figure offers to know that sometimes people will type anything into the offer section.

      Ultimately, it’s a test I am willing to try. If I miss out on a sale or two while I try it out, so be it.

  11. Well, it all depends upon how good your names are? Most domain name investors have overinflated ideas of their domain names. If they are truly worth that much, then do it. If not, I would not.

    Personally, I find that setting a reasonable Buy Now price results in scores to hundreds of sales a year in the $x,xxx or more range, for an average of 11X of my purchase price. Could I have gotten one or two of those up way higher if I asked for more, or had a very high minimum offer, on all of them? Maybe. But I’d run the risk of not selling any. I like cash flow.

  12. I don’t agree with your strategy and here is why.

    I both own names which I sell for 6 figures and I help people buy names. Many times I get someone who wants a specific domain and many times clients are shopping or want a feel for a variety of names “what do you think it will cost” (each situation is different). Many times they won’t have funding for some time sometimes they are established and so on (these aren’t mom and pops). My job is to get them a domain. If you make it hard for me or you act like you are Rick Schwartz I will simply attempt to steer them toward a seller that is more agreeable and easy to deal with. Of course if they are obsessed with your name I will stick around. But if you quote a high price to start you very well may lose that bet. Then you can wait 10 years until another willing buyer comes along. I have money to spend, don’t make it hard for me to do that.

    Anytime I see a minimum on a page it immediately makes me try to work on another domain and pass on the one that you have. And for obvious reasons don’t assume you will be able to contact me either maybe yes maybe no who knows.

    Don’t worry about leaving money on the table. Go in with a minimum that is realistic and then play whatever game you want to jack the price up.

    Oh one other thing. I don’t mind if you have a high asking price. You know why? Because they I can tell my client “he wants $100k” and if my client is the least bit interested I can look like a hero for getting you down to $80k etc. However if you are asking 100k for a name that you would be happy selling for 25k you are making a mistake.

    • One thing that people seem to be missing is that the buyer does not see the minimum offer on the page. It is only after offers are submitted that they see a note that says the minimum was not met. Even after they submit a low offer, they do not know what the minimum offer excepted is. I would not do this if the minimum offer was listed because that would dissuade people from making lower offers.

    • My point is I’ve seen that behavior on the webpage in cases where I haven’t given a valid email address. “The seller might not consider offers under 10k” and so on.

      Also consider the fact that it seems as if you are acting in bad faith if you quote a price that is so out of the ballpark as “100k for a 25k name”.

      There is a saying that I am sure you are familiar with in business. It is “pigs get fat hogs get slaughtered”.

      The best way to negotiate is to negotiate. Unless you own 400,000 domains you might as well take the time to leave no stone unturned and not have an approach which assumes people who are tire kickers will waste your time. Even if occasionally people will waste your time.

    • I understand your point but that could happen regardless. There are plenty of companies that would think $1k is too much to pay 🙂

      I will probably end up testing no minimum at some point just to see.

    • They saying is actually “Bulls and Bears make money, Pigs get slaughtered.”

      Meaning be positive or negative about markets or investments just don’t be greedy because that’s how you get hurt.

      Pigs vs Hogs has no internal logic and therefore makes no sense, sounds like you’re mixing metaphors.

  13. Very helpful article. I myself own a portfolio of 100 domains. Some of the domains that owned are 4 letters and 5 letters domain. I already sold some of the domains on mid 3 figures and low 4 figures. Most of the domains are short and easy to pronounce although they don’t represent any English Dictionary words. It’s also a fact that brand names really don’t need any English Dictionary word.

    I tried to sell those domains with a very minimum price, low 3 figures, on sedo, godaddy auction and none of my domain was sold even though the price was very low. Some of the domains were getting few visits a day but no sales.

    A thought came in mind that if nobody needs any of the domains that I’m selling then no matter how low the price is, nobody will buy the domain but if someone really wants the domain and want to buy then he will pay some for it. I changed the prices of the domains. In about a month after changing the prices of the domain, one of my domain was sold for $1999 through sedo. Believer or not, I tried to sell that domain for $199 for luckily nobody bought and I got 10 times more of my initial sale price.

    I was happy to see the sale of the domain but at the same time, I kept thinking that the buyer might have paid more if put the price more. Never the less, I got 4 sales in total which brought me $3,500 and all of the domains were sold through sedo.

  14. This may backfire, Elliot. And you won’t find out about the sale that doesn’t happen.

    From time to time, I consult with buyer clients – both domain investors and end users. So I may be a bit more familiar than most domain investors (not all) with the thought processes involved on their side.

    Frequently domainers assume that an inquiry represents a single-minded interest in their individual domain. But that is very often not the case.

    Suppose a buyer is researching multiple domains (10 or 100 or 500) as candidates for a single-domain purchase. There will be some idea of a budget. Naturally some domains will be preferable to others on the basis of aesthetics and relevance; but everything in the list is viable to some degree and roughly equivalent, pragmatically speaking. If the buyer has a slight preference for A over B but B costs 1% as much as A, then the decision will usually be made based on price.

    And not just based on price … based on TIME also. Deadlines matter. So does the buyer’s time input.

    For the sake of argument, suppose that 1/3 of domains show up with clear asking prices. Among the remaining 2/3, half show or likely to have lower minimum thresholds. What happens to the remaining 1/3 – the domains that have large unspecified asking prices or inflated minimum offer thresholds?

    I’ll tell you what happens to them. They are crossed off the list right away so that the buyer can focus his attention on the remaining 2/3.

    Sometimes the work that goes into an acquisition mostly consists of negotiations with a single seller. More often, though, in my experience, the actual work consists of sorting the various candidates and vague, in-progress negotiations. So there’s some urgency to disqualify as many domains / sellers as possible early on.

    By inflating the minimum offer, a seller would be virtually guaranteed to be skipped by such a buyer – meaning a buyer who is investigating many domain options simultaneously. Is it worth ruling out those buyers simply to toy with the other class of buyer – the single-minded buyer who “must have” 1 target domain and no other?

    I don’t know for sure. But I doubt it.

  15. I think you’re absolutely right Elliot. I’ve never seen anyone pays attention to this aspect. The ‘strategy’ is possible thanks to DomainNameSales, because at other platforms an owner doesn’t get a lead under a minimum price and a bidder can not ‘crawl up’ seeing ‘too low’.
    With buyers’ behaviour, this trick is obligatory in my opinion, because even for +$1m worth domain names buyers are used to ask “for how much would it go” or similar. This way, a minimum may quickly become an asking price which will be negotiated down from this moment. If you allow it, you already lost your negotiation.
    I read somewhere that “Rick Schwartz has probably said many times >>no<< in his domain investing career" – in fact, saying 'no', may be just the best strategy of sale. However, it's not perfect – this way you may lose low-end deals, which maybe you'd accept exceptionally, when you need… Low liquidity in domain business may be a problem.

  16. I was trying to buy a domain name, on godaddy auctions listed at 1900, and then I checked to see what I could get it for, while i waited for the funds to do so, and got the offer back, 1500, but my money was not here for a month, and when it came, I again went to the guy, and now it had shot up to 4500. The guy was a complete jerk, and I donno, that just made me upset. Maybe i will find a better name.

    • have ya considered the sellers side of the story or is this world all about you?

      Let me tell you the story he might be telling:

      So I listed this name on godaddy that I feel is worth 5k for 1900 as I really needed the money to cover some bills. Along comes this low baller and offers me 1500 and I agree and then they just vanish, I hate when people lead you on, makes planing for finances more difficult. Anyway I squared away my financial situation and I now have it listed at 4500.

      There are two sides to every story, start seeing things from the point of view of sellers too. Hopefully this poor seller who was strung along by you sells the name for some good money, nobody deserves time wasters.

  17. Interesting post Elliot,

    Tenders I think it should have two figures one minimum amounts, and height of these two come the proposed purchaser and the final negotiation

  18. One thing people, ALWAYS offer a payment plan, no credit check etc obviously you maintain full control of the domain and have a clear contract 7 days after missed payment domain goes to for sale page, dont waste time waiting ever.

    Now to the important part, many here seem to act like offers just keep coming in for domains you own. Having worked with people who have amazing perfect single word domain names as well as short two word domains I can tell you that offers dont just keep rolling in.

    Most people making serious money in this business have to do some outbound marketing, some in a very significant way.

    When you finally do get someone serious you better maximize every penny you can get, but if you have fear this business is not for you, go sell pizza or something.

    Also remember, the nicer you are the less likely you are to sell domains. Be rude and direct, stop apologizing and asking when a good time is for this or a good time for that. The moment someone makes a low ball offer they removed all the rights they had of being treated with respect.

    A common reply to low ball offers was something like this (no hellos, no dear sir etc no thank yous etc)

    You seem to be very unrealistic, as a fellow human being I urge you to rethink your entire business plan or consult with an expert, as you are not in the state of mind to make rational decisions.

    (phone number)

    Yes I got emails cursing me out and I got phone calls of people trying to tell me who they are. However, I also got emails of people saying “you are right, tell me more about how domains work” etc.

    Rude and obnoxious sells domains for big bucks

    Nice sweet and talking about the weather and jesus will get you living back in mommas basement in no time.

    Sorry it is what it is, I understand many here now will have to showcase their utter disgust with what I just said, its ok, the more you talk about how outraged you are the more I know you are trying to cover up your own demons.

    • I call BS “Jane”!

      So why are you selling real estate when you could have continued to sit on your butt selling domain names with very very little effort!??? I mean, if you’re registering a $10 name and 24 hours later you’re unloading that name for “four figures”, using your above tactics, then why give it up at all? Thats a cash cow business model.

      I’d like to know why you went into real estate, an industry where you cant get away with said tactics so easily…..

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