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.