Tracking a Domain Name Owner Can be Exhausting

Brokering domain names involves more than simply emailing prospective buyers or sellers and acting as a go-between for a domain owner and a prospect. Sometimes, it can take a considerable effort for a domain broker to even reach a counterparty to begin discussing a domain name.

Alan Dunn, founder of NameCorp and someone who has been involved in the domain investment business for many years, recently detailed an exhaustive effort it took just to make a domain name inquiry on behalf of his client:

Of note, Alan did not share whether or not he was able to close a deal after making contact with the owner of the domain name. I think this Twitter thread illustrates two things:

  • The business of domain brokering on behalf of a client can be challenging and require a sleuth-like effort just to make contact.
  • Even when a domain broker goes through an exhaustive search and finds the owner of a particular domain name, a deal may not be completed.

Buying or selling a great domain name can take an effort many people are unwilling to give. I think effort is what sets people apart in this business. It may not always be obvious, but when I see a broker representing a great name I tried to buy without receiving a reply when I tried to buy it, or I see a domain name sell for much more than I thought possible, it shows how much effort likely went into the deal.

I have personally gone through the same type of effort on multiple domain name deals for my business. It always feels good to get a *win* on those deals and such a let down to make contact but not close a deal. I am sure Alan’s client appreciated the effort he went through to contact the owner of the domain name.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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. This is the email subject I got, no Hello, How are you.. No Signature, now anyone from the outside looking in, would think that is very sketchy.

    What is your ask on this domain name?

    — Alan

    • Mike- Those type of 1 liners emails like you mentioned:
      What is your ask on this domain name? What’s the price? etc are very interesting.

      My experience with those kind of inbound inquiries result in a NO sale. Probably 98% won’t respond or reply after I give out pricing. After following up a couple days latter I usually find out the prospect bought from someone else already.

      I see a BIG problem with that, so I changed my sales process in recent times.

  2. That’s funny. I have only ever used those exact words twice (by a search) asking for a price.

    Both domains were owned by obvious investors. One resulted in an acquisition. The other reveals who this is. Try to be positive “Mike”. Life is much better that way. Happy Holidays.

    Elliott, we did end up acquiring the domain above.

  3. So googling someone up and making a couple calls is now considered hard work eh? That for sure is work, but no, its a low-qualified one. SMM/PR/CR-trainees are assigned with tasks like that on a daily basis and dont make a big deal out of it.

    • No, Googling and making calls is easy. When Google and other tools lead to dead ends, that can make it challenging to find people. The more successful people, in my opinion, are those who can overcome those dead ends to find people and make deals.

      • “To make deals” is the most important part. Because, when people are being contacted through improper channels, the risk of facing negativity is so much higher. Of course, anyone’s heart can be softened with a decent offer, but how often would that be the case? What if the broker gets accused of stalking instead, because the offer did not look really appealing to the owner?

        • I suspect that the top domain brokers have built a “back bone” and are not intimidated by someone with a bad attitude or negativity etc.

          I don’t think there is such a thing as “improper channels”. If you are not on Linkedin then you might be on FB, or Twitter, or you might Vlog on Youtube, or I might call you at work, or I might find out your personal cell and call you.

          As a matter of fact I expect you to be negative, and I expect you not to have time to talk to me when I call you up.
          I am not stalking you, I am looking to do business with you.

          And by the way 80% of deals are made somewhere between the 5th and 12th contact. How many people follow up once, twice, three times and then quit!!??
          How many people call and don’t leave a VM?
          How many people call, leave a VM and follow up immediately with text and email??
          There are things they don’t teach you in school, biz school etc :)))))

          We should use ALL channels to communicate. If email doesn’t get you a result, ok! switch to texting, calling, twitter etc.

          That is my 2 cents for today.

        • My point is that people can tolerate “incoming business” as long as there is business-like outcome. Real estate agents are the well-know example of behavior that may become annoying in pursue of the needed contacts, they sometimes get quite close to “stalkers”, but people can let it slide, because there is serious money on the table.

          Domains though? Even the average cost of an apartment or a house belongs to the high-end category for domain names. I doubt that most of the brokers’ offers are like that, in fact I doubt most of the offers are even 1/10 of that.

          And the negativity may be not just a one person’s emotion, but a permanent change to many minds in the end. You’ve come through a chain of people to get the final contact, now the whole chain has you blacklisted. Like, “Domain broker? Dont talk to these people, ever”. So maybe eventually one day everyone avoids communicating with “domain brokers” whatsoever.

  4. We index and structure the global web – and so there are unique data variables, if shared, indicate the same ownership. It is not dependant on “whois” if whois proves to be a challenge.

    If anyone would like to explore, via a test account, shoot me an email

    Alan, I have shared with you some info through Linkedin message.

  5. I’ve done some of that sleuthing successfully myself as a buyer. I hate being contacted by people hiding behind brokers and intermediaries, however.

    • I love when brokers approach me representing covert buyers. In almost all cases I’ve dealt with where a reputable broker is representing a buyer, the buyer is well funded and vetted. Good brokers aren’t going to waste their time helping a buyer who doesn’t have sufficient funds or who can’t afford to buy the type of domain name they want. It would be a waste of time for the broker.

      • Okay that’s a good point. You’ve just been more fortunate, and I guess your inventory also tends to be much more conducive to that. In my experience it’s mostly just people hiding behind a broker to try to pull off an extreme lowball despite extremely lucrative industries. It seems some of the most lucrative industries and even super deep pockets are actually filled with an extreme bias about domain names and domainers. In fact, I’m currently embroiled in a debate about it. I am almost all .com as most anyone else, but pretty sure a .us I even sold for $xx,xxx in the last few years was even bought by a huge billion dollar company hiding behind such a broker, and they were able to effectively hide the whois after the sale. My own sleuthing leads to that conclusion including before the sale completed. In fact, just checked. They are still keeping the domain totally on ice, and a few more details I can’t share. It’s totally insane. This is all I care to say to people who hide behind these brokers to lowball now, though:

  6. Like with any broker (domains or not), if they are on your side of the deal, you should be okay, if not, you’re SOL. Especially if they have an agenda or if their ego gets in the way of a deal.
    We all know there are agenda’s, greed, low-balling and ego’s within the domain industry.


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