Sometimes It’s Just a Regular Person Inquiring

A good friend of mine dabbles in domain names. I say “dabbles” because he probably owns 10 domain names as investments and all of them were hand registered. My friend occasionally asks me about domain names for various ideas he has, and he  usually sends an email to inquire about domain names he likes.

My friend  faces a bit of trouble when inquiring about domain names. He is in the finance / banking / investment /venture industry. My bet is that domain owners who receive his inquiries do a Google search, see his background, and incorrectly assume that their domain name is the target of something major. Under this assumption, they give him ridiculous prices for their domain names.

Although my friend inquires about domain names for side projects that will likely  never proceed beyond the initial  ideation process, he faces an  obstacle of  getting absurd prices when he tries to buy domain names.

It seems that domain owners who base their pricing solely upon the status of the inquirer are likely losing out on some deals. My friend generally asks me about domain names I would not even consider hand registering, so it’s not like we’re talking about high value, no-brainer assets. People may assume he is representing a client, his firm, or a venture backed startup, but in reality, he is simply kicking tires.

I  totally understand why people price based on who is inquiring. I always look up the inquirer’s details when I receive an inquiry. I also regularly receive inquiries from people who claim to be poor students, founders of non-profits, or some other attempts at driving down the asking price for domain names. One thing we all should remember is that sometimes regular people are inquiring about a small project, and their budgets may really be limited. Of course you should not discount a high value no-brainer domain name. However, a marginal or poor domain name probably shouldn’t have a stupid-high price tag if we really want to get a deal done.

Yes, I am sure I have given someone a silly-high price for a marginal domain name. I also think my friend should have his wife inquire or set up an anonymous email account to inquire.

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. 99% of the time the person that makes the inquiry does not affect my pricing.
    Sometimes I give slightly higher prices and sometimes I have even donated domain names.

    But I have only donated domains to people that haven’t asked for a donation! (And I had someone deny a donation and wanted to pay instead!)

  2. It’s sometimes comical to watch in cases where you are interested in a domain that you have been monitoring for 11+ months and see that the reseller has had it listed for a low xxx with no interest and then all of a sudden when a potential buyer pops their head up and inquires about it, the price shoots up to xx,xxx based on a presumptuous Google search on the buyer.

    To add to the matter in a way that might make you chuckle. It becomes even more funny when this happens with a domain about to expire and the buyer ends up getting it for registration fee due to the reseller not willing to lower the price back down to xxx and the deal falling through the cracks. 🙂

  3. I think people solely basing their domain name selling prices based on an inquirer or his profile probably fail 90% of the time, plus as mentioned by many plenty of times, size of business won’t fetch you similar price tag for your poor/low quality domain name.

    Be realistic, be real and deal with the offers like you would actually deal while buying something for yourself and price it right IMO!

    • As I stated, ” Of course you should not discount a high value no-brainer domain name. ” I would consider any 3 letter .com domain name a high value domain name.

      That said, for every banker inquiry representing a major company that is willing to spend 7 figures on a domain name, there are probably tens of thousands of people who would only spend hundreds or a few thousand for a domain name.

    • The other thing I forgot to mention is that I never sell for hundreds of dollars so anyone with that kind of budget is out of luck with me.
      Selling at this level is actually making me loose money. I would rather drop the domain or give it away.

    • Yes, I think the smallest deal I’ve done in the last 5 years or so was just under $500 and that was selling a domain name at cost to a friend.

      There are too many annoyances with smaller deals, and I have no patience for them. I would rather lose a deal under $1k than have to deal with potential annoyances.

    • If at annoyances you include the expenses and my time then that is I am saying too.
      This probably won’t apply to you but I have to pay $40 for an international wire transfer at, plus money to receive the wire, plus the exchange rate and a possible trip to the bank to make the exchange from USD to Euro and the list goes on and on.

    • can you expand on your statement ….”Selling at this level is actually making me loose money. I would rather drop the domain or give it away.”

      why would presumed net after commission return on investment be ‘losing money’ and you would rather drop domain with no return on investment at all

    • It’s funny when I get stealth buy requests and companies believe $500 is a lot of money. They also don’t believe a broker does much.

      Many time wasters out there, unfortunately.

  4. There should be no issues with charging a banker a lot of money for domains. Who cares if it is for personal projects.

    I still haven’t gotten an explanation of why the major banks and Treasury couldn’t figure out financial crisis. That’s what you get paid for.

    • There is no issue with it.

      However, if you would ordinarily be happy to get $1,000 for a domain name but price it at $50,000 because you see the prospect is a banker, you could lose out on the opportunity to sell it for $1,000 because of greed.

      Now obviously I am not saying to discount a $50k name to $1k, but when you price something exorbitantly higher than you would ordinarily price it, you risk losing a deal.

    • True, we would all prefer to get the cash than own the domain name, which typically has a negative free cash flow due to annual holding costs (assuming PPC revenue is next to nil).

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