“This Domain Name is Not for Sale”

I am on the hunt for one or two exceptional one word .com domain names right now. When I seek out a domain name to buy, I often try to reach the right person at a company that does not appear to be using a domain name. Either the domain name does not resolve to an active website or it forwards to a branded website and does not appear to be used for much else. While many companies will tell me a domain name is not for sale, I have learned that frequently means a compelling offer needs to be submitted to convince the company to sell the domain name.

The past few days have been spent searching through some old email exchanges to see where I netted out on a few domain names that are of particular interest. In looking through a 2016 email thread involving a phenomenal domain name I inquired about to a very large company, I was told, “this domain name is not for sale.” Instead of trying to blow them away with an offer, I asked about a few other unused domain names, and the conversation subsequently ended.

I was curious to see if the domain name is being used, and I noticed it is being used by a company that is totally unrelated to the entity that I reached out to in 2016. In fact, Whois records indicate the domain name changed hands in 2017. This company that is using the domain name has raised well over $50m in funding. My guess is the current owner made an offer the former registrant could not refuse and a deal was struck.

Over the years, I have seen this happen many times. As an investor, I am not always in a position to make an offer that simply cannot be refused by the registrant. Obviously, I need to leave room for my own margin on a generally illiquid asset, and that prevents me from making offers that are too good to pass on.

My advice for people seeking out domain names that are “not for sale” is to make an offer that cannot be refused. If that is rejected, then you know the domain name is really not for sale or you simply didn’t make a strong-enough offer. The person on the other end of the email does not want to be pestered by low offers, which is why the “not for sale” reply was given in the first place, so continued emails will likely yield no results. The best thing a buyer can do is make the absolute best offer the company can make and hope it blows the registrant away.

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. Spot on. It’s usually an indication that the offer you’ve made isn’t in the ballpark, you might not need to give your very best offer, but you definitely need to increase your offer an order of magnitude.

  2. Like any things else, all it takes is Money!!

    The root of all evils is NOT having money.

    Magna cum laude
    Graduate of Domain King Academy

    MBA-My Big Ass(all of you have one)
    PHD-people having dickheads

  3. Let me share my experience and one of the things I discovered while search for great domains for sale.

    When in the identical situation as yourself Elliot I was made aware of a situation these companies face when someone like myself or you approach them.

    Is it worth it? Let me be clearer, is it worth the time and effort to take an employee away from their task(s) and work on getting it done. Asking their counsel to prepare doc’s (even if offered they tend to like to be safe). I have discovered many domains unused but were still in some way used internally for email or tied to former uses.

    Plainly put, yes unless the offer to purchase far exceeded any realistic market value they are almost in a situation that it just doesn’t make sense to sell.

    I will not mention the name but I once offer 6 figures for a short domain that was unused and was still a risky play. To my surprise the offer was rejected not because it was not good enough but 2 yes 2 employees internally still used it to communicate and balked at the idea of changing over.

    I could go on and tell countless stories as to why things did not work out and at the end of the day, most time I was left shaking my head.

    The last 15-16 years have been a lot of fun though lol

  4. The most interesting ones are the people who put a long rant on the page about how they are definitely not selling the name, those guys are most definitely looking for an exit.

  5. Aside from deterring time-wasters, I believe some people make these “not for sale” statements or the truly bizarre “may be for sale” statement out of a misguided belief that it will protect them from cybersquatting claims. This one is easily on the short list of “silly domain folklore that will not go away.”

  6. True as well John, if I do not offer it for sale then I am not intending to profit from anyone in particular therefore I am protected. I find it funny how this train of thought actually hurts them in an odd way, like their actual end goal.

    I have contacted people who use this tactic and now are so paranoid I may be the end user they wanted that they are afraid to admit it was for sale or to give a price because it could be used against them. It is quite a funny situation.

    The real let down is when they are finally convinced I do not represent that big end user and thus my offer is not $1,000,000 even though it wasn’t for sale in the first place the ideal number was rather large LOL

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