Tip to Find an Inquirer

I like to share a variety of ways you may be able to find out who is inquiring about your domain names. This surely isn’t foolproof, but it’s one way you might be able to get a bit more intelligence on who is trying to buy one of your domain names.

More often than not, I find that buyers are fairly honest about who they are. They might not list their full information in their signature, but many who inquire use their real email address. Since many don’t list their full name or other identifying information, I’ve found it can be helpful if you search Google for the first part of their email address and see if you can connect the dots. For instance, if their email address is jaxson36388@whatever.com, you might have luck finding out who the buyer is simply by searching Google for “jaxson36388.” Sometimes you won’t see social media accounts, but you will find forum user nicknames and other information to learn who is inquiring.

The major caveat with this is that many professional brokers and agents who work on behalf of buyers will use email addresses that are either newly created specifically for the inquiry or use email addresses that are only used for inquiries. Obviously if the email was just created or is only used for inquiries, it won’t be very easy to track.

The other caveat is that many people simply use their “real” email address to make offers. That means you might be able to search Facebook using an email address  or search LinkedIn using an email address to find out who is inquiring.

Knowing who your buyer is can help you set a price for your domain name assets.

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 work buying names for people (and sell my own names which is how I got involved in it).

    Would like to point out that if you make it to hard for the person purchasing they will simply point the buyer to another name that is easy to get a price on and that the seller is more reasonable in dealing with. I’ve done this many times. While there are definitely cases where buyers are set on a particular name and need it no matter what, there are many more cases where they can be pushed to another name that can be had with much less effort and make the intermediary look like a hero.

    The mere fact that a buyer has money doesn’t mean they will spend money. I make the same generally no matter what the name cost is (does differ but not that much relative to the effort.).

    I’ve dealt with plenty of domain sellers where they simply don’t engage and start to play games. While I will try to get these names at a certain point I will just kill the deal and tell my client to move on to another name on their list (which could be more or less money).

    Most importantly no matter what your price is always be willing to work with the buyer and be nice. Nothing is a bigger turn off than playing hard to get and wanting to be chased. That’s probably the quickest way to lose a deal.

    • An excellent post. This is an important point being made because it addresses the “opportunity cost” involved in every domain name negotiation. The domain industry is a unique animal when compared to other more established industries such as real estate. If your in the market to buy a home, you expect the seller to list that house with an asking price.

      There is always a negotiation that occurs, but there is a starting point which should be pegged by the seller. I see so many sales which are lost because of incorrect “positioning” of a domain on the sell side. Like Larry, I primarily work with domain buyers and they often have specified budgets and objectives to work with. The orders which are filled are the ones where the sellers are clear about their expectations and provide a hassle free buying experience. Today’s domain buyers have a myriad of choices available to them and are ultimately holding the purse strings. Give buyers a starting point to consider their options and you’ll see more deals come to fruition.

  2. Elliot,

    Thanks for the email search tip!

    Most of the time inquiries come from examplebuyer@yahoo.com or examplebuyer@gmail.com etc.., and the buyer is not willing to disclose their identity…. making it further hard to start the ball rolling.

    @Larry, as you have rightly said,we need to work with the buyer – move our inventory off the shelf, unless you have a gem and would like to hold on.
    I think, domain owners/sellers …need to learn to become good sales/marketing people.

  3. Elliot–have you seen Rapportive?

    It’s a chrome/firefox extension that overlays gmail and auto-searches twitter/linkedin/facebook/github/angellist/pinterest/etc for profiles tied to a user’s email address.

    HUGE timesaver because I’m one click away from their digital profiles as soon as they email me.

  4. I always use my real email. 1) If you are in the domain industry I likely have some sort of good rapport with you. 2) If I trick a seller into thinking I am someone I am not to facilitate a deal for a client and the seller finds out it won’t be easy to do future deals with that same seller in the future as a buyer’s agent or as the seller’s agent. A good deal is one where all parties involved feel comfortable with it and are happy afterwards. Hard to achieve with dishonesty strewn in the mix, and I guess just not my style.

    • My interest in associating myself with the ‘domain industry’ diminished pretty rapidly over the past couple years.

      I’ve always maintained fairly elaborate alternate identities online for a few different reasons. One was an early understanding of how the internet empowered a lone shithead in his mothers basement with an agenda to cause massive reputation damage to grown-ups out in the big boy world.

      There is no reason whatsoever to associate my personal, private life with my online dealings. The people who think it’s some great sign of ‘honesty’ are right. It is. There’s also an enormous potential price to be paid once your ‘honesty’ is used against you. Everyone advancing the idea of open-book identity are simply naive types who haven’t experienced the consequences of its abuse.

      So, I guess I’m one who doesn’t really care about what identity I use to contact people about domain names. The price I’m willing to pay certainly isn’t contingent on it, however if I can influence their perception of me by using an identity that removes certain elements of my life that would otherwise cause a higher price, yes. I am going to do that.

      You idealists out there, keep-on bein’ you…

  5. Oops. That wasn’t intended to be directly ‘in reply’ to JP, however it was in furtherance of his contribution to the discussion.

  6. I’ve found people will throw up their guard on stealth inquiries .. . . or they’ll likely just assume that it’s Google, Apple or Facebook knocking.

    In this day and age, the majority of good domains are owned by savvy people and if they aren’t savvy, they’re lucky. These not-so-savvy have likely fielded (or by now ignored) hundreds of anonymous inquiries.

  7. That’s it?

    I expected to learn something not many domainers have done, but most of us have been doing this as far back as when Google was a complete unknown, Back then we used Yahoo.


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