During the last couple of years, I’ve sold quite a few domain names to “end user” buyers. From my perspective, an end user buyer is a person or company in the field or industry related to the domain name you are selling, and the buyer of the domain name will use the name as a part of their business.
Generally speaking, an end user buyer is more likely to pay a higher price than someone in the domain industry who wants to re-sell or monetize the domain name. An end user buyer will know exactly how much it costs to acquire a customer and know what it will take to compete in the field with a website on the domain name. They also know the value of the “goodwill” in the domain name for their company’s positioning in the field. They can therefore justify spending more for the name because they know how much it will impact their bottom line.
The problem when trying to sell to end users is that many do not realize how valuable an exact match domain name can be. Some of them have a limited online presence and others simply own a domain name that matches their business name. Many companies don’t do online advertising campaigns, and some would have no idea how to value an online lead. Yes, it’s easy to say that they could buy your name for less than it would cost for a lifetime of Adwords expenses, but converting that into sales is difficult.
With that being said, many end user contacts will give you an insultingly low offer, while others will not make an offer but will be rude to you in their replies. No matter how negative the reply is, don’t get into a “pissing contest” with the other person. They can do much more damage than it’s worth, and to have a few minutes of feeling like a champ with a witty reply, you could set yourself up for problems (like them emailing other prospects to tell them that you’re an a-hole!).
Since April, I received a $50 offer on a name that I privately sold for over $20,000, was told that I am “crazy” for asking six figures for a name I privately sold for close to my asking price, and I was cursed at on the phone for asking for $50,000 for another name that I sold a short time later. I also received countless sarcastic “good luck” type of emails that I simply replied “thanks” in response to when others may have offered the witty, “thanks, but I don’t need good luck,” which of course, can lead to a testy exchange.
In many cases, I could have gone back to these people and gloated when I closed these sales, but that does me no good either. With the crappy economy, people will likely be jealous of your success and you could become a target of their ire.
No matter what type of negative reply you receive from an uninterested end user buyer, do not engage in an email exchange with them that turns nasty. Once you confirm they aren’t interested in your name, move on (unless they genuinely have questions about domain names).
You have a lot more to lose than they have, especially if they choose to be particularly prickly towards you.
Work in retail for a week in the garden center on a record drought year and deal with people trying get refunds all summer. The shield of a phone or computer is not available. Confidence and experience will provide you with all the skin you need
Excellent advice. Lots of clueless end users out there. Always keep your cool and move on.
@ Elliot, thanx for encouragement! Do you try to educate the end user, if he falls into the category of
or do you focus only on ones who already understand? Not to get into argument, but choice words to educate the end user how much time/money he puts into acquiring and holding a customer? Sometimes, I want to ask what the company would spend on a 30-second commercial which casts a wide net, compared to viewers looking for YOUR PRODUCT via targeted search . . .
Depends, but I may explain why I think a domain name is worth the asking price. I generally won’t spend a lot of time educating, but I am happy to answer questions.
I receive several inquiries a day via contact forms, sedo, direct, etc.
Most offers are ridiculously low.
They normally come from three groups of people –
1.) Uninformed End User. This person doesn’t know the value of domain names. When you explain the value of domains in general and the specific domain to them they generally understand and acknowledge the value.
2.) The entitled end user. This type thinks you can stumble on the internet in 2012 and buy a top tier domain for tens to hundreds of dollars.
Even when you show them the value their sense of entitlement refuses to let them knowledge it.
These are the end users you will get the rudest emails from.
3.) The bad end user. This is someone who wants a top tier domain for hardly anything because they have a less than ideal use for the domain.
Many times these are “non-profits” or “I’m a poor college student” type emails.
Great post Elliot, spot on.
I Agree with Brad on the types of end users. I would also add:
4.) The barter or trader End User. Someone who is only interested in exchanging some sort of goods or services for a domain and who often lives outside of the US.
I’ve been offered a set of steak knives, art, beer wench services (actual phrase used by end user), jelly of the month club, among other things…
Never have actually traded a domain for anything other than money though.
Yes, I have received my share of those as well.
Recently a dentist wanted to trade services for a .COM. However he was 2000+ miles away so the offer was not that appealing.
I know some people who have traded domains for services or products, but it only makes sense if you place the same or higher value on those than the domain name.
Made some great points in this post. I believe its important to be professional and respectful in this business, even if end users react negatively or insult you.
Keep it up.
Yeah definitely can’t get discouraged when people tell you your domains aren’t worth what your asking. Most of them aren’t worth your price unless you are one hell of a salesman
Mugford doesn’t have many top tier names
Who’s he kidding?
Have you seen his junk at Datacube.com LOL
Full of .NET/ORG/BIZ/INFO/US junk, .com names 4-times removed from root keyword temrs
The guy who inquires about .NET/ORG/BIZ/INFO/US generally has an even worse mindset than the one going after the .COM
He knows he’s going after the rejects, not the 1st choice
Ask him how much Mugford makes in profit AFTER reg fees.
Most domainers are quick to brag about how much they’re selling, few tell how much Profit they’re making (sales less reg fees)
I bet the guy is making less than a cubicle job worker, if that
Or any business for that matter, although it does take patience to be patient. 🙂
Of course it’s important to stay polite even when you’re insulted in this situation. Happened to me earlier this year but a few hours after this particular mail, sold the domain to another company.
In fact, I don’t mind the negative feedback, it’s still better than no feedback at all. If I write 20 endusers and they all tell me the name sucks, then I’ve learned a lesson.
Often I’m puzzled by why a company doesn’t want to own it’s own name in .com. I have approached companies with very generic two-word names (only .com) -used by other companies as well- for low $xxx and many times, they don’t seem to be interested.
Just to clarify; I’m not making enough sales to live from.
I ignored your post over at TheDomains.com, but you have no clue what you are talking about.
With all due respect, your opinion means squat. I sell domains to end users.
On Afternic alone this week I sold a Two Word GEO .com for $2K and a single word .ORG for $5k. Both of these domains cost me under $100 each.
That is one venue.
I received 10 inquiries yesterday between contact form and SEDO.
Seems like I am doing something right.
A great post, Elliot. Much easier said than done. But you’re right: you have absolutely nothing to gain by chastising the other person, and you potentially have something to lose.
In this world, there are less than 1000 successful full-time name industry players, and Brad is easily in the top 100.
If anyone knows who to invest in premium keyword terms, either for long-term investment/hold or short-term profit sales, believe me it’s him. He keeps a low key, but actually turns over more sales than any other single domain name investor I have come to know over the past 5 years.
The number of sales he generates each week from passive inquiries alone is probably 10x more than what Aggro generates in year actively selling.
The numbers do not lie. If there was such a thing as a top-tier domain investor, he would certainly be one of them.
I would easily put Elliot and Brad in the top 100 domainers as well, they’re posts across the forums/blogs are very helpful and informative.
When dealing with end users or potential buyers I go by a nice quote from a namepros user. “Be cool. Be polite. Be professional.” Even if they’re posing as a non profit or college kid you don’t know what the outcome could be…just don’t go asking nonprofit coordinators for an auction as they just get upset and tell you not to buy .org names 😀
I only have one gTLD that I have contacted end users about. All have thus far been very nice in their No thanks email…So, I keep at it.
Agree with you, Elliot, thank you for sharing it.
I also do my best to handle it professionally with potential buyers. Whether it’s a domainer or ‘end user’.
In my experience, most legitimate end users will be ok with high offers when you present them properly. It’s better to keep your emails short and sweet.
Of course they’d like a low price. However, if we can communicate effectively, there’s a good chance they’ll understand we have a valid reason for asking a higher price.
Another thing is only a portion of domainers know how to fairly price their portfolio; it’s easy for a buyer to get thrown off by a big number, or all the random pricing in today’s aftermarket.
Brad, I wouldn’t worry about Aggro-vated. He used to try to sell me his horrible swine flu domains over at Domain State. This is his lot in life, hanging out at domain blogs, being jealous of domainers like you that actually do this for a living. This guy is unemployed living at his Uncle’s house, so take his posts with a grain of salt.
Good points btw Elliot.
I offered a domainer 20K for a decent .org this week. He said he bought it in 2010 (which whois records support) for 30k and now he won’t accept less than 75-100K.
I am continually amazed that domainers think just buying something and touching it with their presence doubles or triples the value. No domainer makes a mistake right? And every domain obviously appreciates in value even during a bad economy right?
A domainer has every right to ask for the moon, but it sucks when a seller doesn’t understand that there is no mathematical way to make their asking price work out in the real world… unless you took 20+ years of sales to pay it off.
The reason you get rude comments is that most people investing in domains do not understand the industry that specific domain is in and don’t have reasonable asking prices. You seem like you get it more than a lot of domainers, but people are getting spammed all the time with unreasonable offers to buy dumb domains for way too much money. We get 10-15 offers a day just off of minisites from domainers selling crappy similar domains and wanting too much money. You have to understand when emailing an end user or getting an offer from an end user that you’re probably the 100th person they’ve seen over the last decade trying to ask a ton of money for a domain.
I don’t know….they look fine to me. I suppose we all like .com, but I would respectfully take issue to refer to some net and orgs and others this gentleman has listed as “junk”.
In my humble opinion, many of those .org addresses I saw looked like that is the extension they should have. Nothing wrong with them.
Just my 2 cents.
Take the high road and let those that are without knowledge make their petty comments.
Two nights ago I registered with GoDaddy the following domain name which I feel is appropos for Elliot’s blogpost and this interesting discussion….I have no idea about pricing it nor re-selling to anyone at this point but I enjoyed designing it—but, at least I understand some of the terminology of the discussions now…..
It’s usually a tug of war between idiots. domainers profoundly overvaluing their better domains (as someone else once said, considering every $10K name to be worth $100K, every $100K to be worth $1mm) and end-users having no idea that $200 isn’t a credible offer for that $10K domain…
Abstract pricing is one of the hardest things to do, which is why the retail art world is impossibly hard to break into successfully.
Reason: The rarest element in the universe is objectivity.
You’re only looking for that one buyer who gets it and is willing to pay. The right lid for the Pot.
You have done well doing it in the past, so no need to waste time like you say going back and forth with the one’s who don’t see the value.
There are times when I am close with the buyer (say 25% off in terms of valuation), and those are the times I discuss how I valued the name and why I think it’s worth the asking price. If you are that close, you can usually work out a deal because when a buyer wants it for 25% less, he knows the value and just wants a good deal. It’s all about finding common ground and pricing it well enough to be able to make a concession but still close a profitable deal.
Although I have now hand registered & acquired nearly 85 domains (mainly .com’s with good names or values only) I have been told it is always best to sell them to end users for top amounts. But after reading your excellent post I now feel better off selling my domains at reasonable prices (e.g. $795 buy now price for DropboxStorage.com) through such marketplaces as Afternic & Sedo & nothing else.
Just found this comment string with the last post July 16th, 2012.
When communicating with an end user that has a good understanding of the true value of a domain, what are the sources, from your perspective, from which the end user gains that appreciation?
What methods of valuation would the end user have? What data would she rely on?
It is still the toughest obstacle, even now, to sell a great name that would work wonders for a company when they do not understand domains….
They expect a fully working site and do not see the value of the name, even if it is an emd on their main product.