Turning Down a Big Opening Offer

A few weeks ago, I received a $500k opening offer for one of my one word .com domain names via Dan.com. This was a strong offer well above the $100k minimum offer I had set for this unpriced domain name. I declined the offer and tried to negotiate a deal, but unfortunately a deal was not reached.

When I received the offer, my first thought was the offer wasn’t genuine. Even though someone needs to confirm the offer by entering a verification code sent by Dan.com via email, I felt that it wasn’t legit. Put simply, in my experience, nearly all opening offers I have received have been pretty close to the minimum offer amount. People, myself included, tend to try and find the minimum offer and work from there.

Aside from the thought that the offer was not genuine, I was also concerned that immediately accepting an offer would make the prospective buyer think he was overpaying for the domain name. If I agree to the opening offer without countering, I thought, the buyer may get cold feet and simply not complete the deal. Sure, I could try and enforce an agreement because the IP indicated the buyer is in the same country as me, but that can be time consuming, expensive, and there’s no guarantee of success.

I opted to decline the $500k offer and make a counter offer a little above $600k. The offer was declined, and subsequent offers were also declined. I went back and offered the name for the original $500k offer and was ultimately rebuffed. I figured a buyer who is legitimately interested in buying a domain name at that level will stay engaged and try to work out a deal. That did not happen here.

I asked my account manager at Dan.com if he thought the initial offer was legit, and he said it looked legitimate to him based on the information he could see. That doesn’t always mean a deal will go through, as I learned when a nearly $200k deal didn’t get completed with a very legitimate buyer earlier this year on a different domain name.

I probably should have accepted the opening offer, but I imagine I would be in the same position of second guessing myself had I done that and the deal defaulted.

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. You did the right thing. I always counter. I have sold hundreds of domains and never had that happen. I only ever lost one deal (BuyWine.com) where I countered even though I would have gladly accepted their initial price. But they at least countered back, and then I countered again and that is where I lost them.

  2. Did the account manager contacted the lead to see if they are still interested? $500K is a very strong opening offer and it will be some exceptional circumstances to back off from this kind of offer.

  3. “I asked my account manager at Dan.com if he thought the initial offer was legit, and he said it looked legitimate to him based on the information he could see”.

    They just say what they think ar Dan.Had a recent $77k deal which they told me the buyer was going to pay even as I kept saying its $77k and buyer was communicating. It turned out they got it wrong.

    They seem to go by a script and why should they hide buyers info when we want to use them to close the transaction?

    If they really wanted the name for 500k,they would not act childish.

    You did the right thing by countering and reaching back but them refusing shows they are not the true end users for the name.

  4. I’ve received a couple of situations exactly like you described in the past month. In one case someone emailed a $500k offer, I responded for $600k and they said they weren’t interested – even once the price was lowered back to $500k. Must be something in the zeitgeist causing this: possibly the economy is so strange investors don’t know where to put their cash and randomly make offers that they immediately regret. Also, it doesn’t help that the richest man in the world agreed to buy something for $44 billion but continues to reconsider and re-negotiate after the deal – he’s creating a bad precedent for how agreements works.

    • I agree… it’s so out in the open that people might be more willing to back out of an agreed upon deal to renegotiate better terms.

  5. I have a similar experience earlier this year and the lead simply goes silent after giving a high six figure. We exchanged emails and even discussed and finalized the deal over the phone. They were very excited and agreed to setup the escrow in 3 days times. But those three days never came and no replies to the emails. Hopefully, they will come back one day.

  6. Dan is great but they need to offer an option where the main lead goes direct to owner. Just make it as an option flat fee per month to use system plus 5% for escrow. No one on the other side can discuss my 500k like I can. They worry to much someone will just use escrow-com for a lower fee but they should worry that I will just take all of my names and put up an effective one page lander and send everything to escrow. Or I could just use efty right now and redirect. I care about getting the lead in my hand for higher price names not so much about commission on lower priced bin names.

  7. I agree and Dan should not shut out the domain owner from communicating with the buyer once they agree to buy the name .They make you waste 7 days and at the end nothing happens,just payment reminder to buyer. They still have a long way to go with their mindset,shutting out the domain owner to stop communicating while they wait to receive payment.

  8. Elliot, you did the right thing to counter offer. Now you know the domain name is that valuable. Timing is critical. They may return later with a better offer.

  9. Yeah I had a $500k opening offer too recently on one of my best names and same thing happened to me. Sorry can’t share the name.

  10. Just my opinion, but in this case, I think you should’ve either countered with a considerably higher price (like $800k+) or accepted the initial offer. I usually don’t accept the first offer myself but this seems like a case of a ceo making the max offer upfront as to not play the negotiating game. When you made the $600k counter you may have have pissed him off, as if you’re trying to milk him for all you can.

  11. generally when i have a compelling offer like that and i just want to go for another push just for peace of mind that i didnt leave $ on the table, i will respond thanking them for the respectable offer and say that the offer is very close to our expectations of (counter asking) and let them know that we can do a partial financing on the back end if needed in order to help them close the gap…
    although, i have had many similar instances as yours and i dont overthink them, it is my belief that any serious buyer would have at least responded back, even if just to say that the 500k was their best/final offer
    also, best not to have your high end names funnel through any platform that you are not privy to buyer information.. jmo

  12. I have a theory…
    and it has to do with people fishing for best prices – and then spamming
    known domain investors with these names and asking prices. without permission of course.

    The person was looking for your number on the name and got it.

  13. Any buyer who offers 5x a seller’s explicit minimum offer . . . isn’t a buyer at all.

    There was no there, there.

  14. You did the wrong thing because the offer was 5 times your min offer. Therefore, the bidder could’ve thought he would not like to deal with a greedy person as a matter of principles. Yes, principles matter more than money to a lot of people.


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