‘The Domain Name is Not for Sale’

I’ve tried to buy thousands of domain names from registrants who told me some variation of ‘the domain name is not for sale.’ That may be true at that point in time, but the status can change. It doesn’t hurt to follow-up every once in a while.

I recently spent some time looking through hundreds of old emails I sent trying to buy domain names. I followed up on some older leads to re-engage the owners. Perhaps circumstances had changed since our last discussion. I like to follow-up between 6 months and a year after an email exchange, when I see a domain name isn’t being used.

Out of curiosity, I searched my email for variations of the ‘not for sale’ reply I frequently receive. There were many. I then checked quite a few of these domain names to see if they were eventually sold. Right off the bat, some were obviously sold – I know the brand name or wrote about a big domain name upgrade. Additional searching showed me some names were acquired by investor friends or colleagues. Some names were acquired by companies and were built into brands.

Sometimes ‘not for sale’ is a polite way of saying my offer is too far from giving a counter offer. Sometimes the registrant isn’t interested or motivated to sell a domain name when I contacted them, but their circumstances or the company’s circumstances may change. Perhaps a new C-suite is seeking to raise cash and an offer is made at the right time.

There are a plethora of reasons for why a domain name registrant may be unwilling to sell a domain name at one time but eventually opts to sell it. I don’t have a great management system for domain names I have tried to buy. I should set aside a couple of days to build a database – or even a searchable Excel file – with the status of domain names I have tried to buy. This would make my follow-ups more effective. In the meantime, I will keep going through older emails every few months to re-engage registrants and seek out potential acquisition targets.

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. I got a $x,xxx offer through a registrar and just canceled it without a word, but had considered adding a short note in the field for that like “not for sale.”

    I felt bad for whoever made the offer afterward because I didn’t know the person actually had to pay to make the offer, like you do with GoDaddy, but only found out later when I went to make an offer on one myself. If it had been me I would have liked to be told one way or the other.

    Be considerate and practice the golden rule – let people know, especially if the offer and offeror seem credible. I realize that’s not 100% black and white, especially depending on the name (e.g. $50 for a seven figure domain, etc.) but after decades I also know a lot of domainers are just selfish, nasty, deplorable or just plain foolish about it.

    Domainers can also sometimes be really stupid and dumb about it too, such as not replying when someone offers $xx,xxx’s for a domain that realistically one *may* possibly want to sell for low $xxx,xxx, and for all they know the offeror might come up to an acceptable price if the domainer wasn’t being such a jackass about not even replying.

  2. I’ve had actual domain investors make a $300k offer on a $1mm domain and when I’ve said no they’ve become very petulant and argued over email, sometimes for months or even years at a time. I’ve had people get rude saying “you’ll never get that!” or “no way that name will ever be worth that much!” and then the Chinese came around.

    • A few examples…

      – Domain name resolves to a default domain registrar landing page.
      – Domain name does not resolve to anything and doesn’t have mx records.
      – Domain name has a very old website missing images and functionality. Email/contact forms don’t work and phone number disconnected.

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