Every now and then, I receive an email asking if I’d sell the domain name of one of my developed websites. More often than not, the person inquiring has either used an email program to try and buy good domain names en masse or the person simply didn’t check to see if a domain name is being used for a business.
Had the inquirer visited the website first, he would have known an inquiry is unlikely to lead a domain sale or they wouldn’t have bothered to inquire at all, saving both of us time. I want to share a tip on how visiting a website can be beneficial to you in your efforts to acquire great domain names, both as a means of saving time and acquiring knowledge.
When I am looking to buy domain names, my process generally involves going to DomainTools to type in a bunch of domain names I am interested in acquiring. This saves me time, as the domain owner’s information can help me determine whether or not to make an offer (No sense in offering P&G $5,000 for a domain name). Additionally, DomainTools has a great screenshot tool (from Sceenshots.com) to allow me to see if a website is developed. Obviously, if there’s a website and business on a domain name, I probably won’t get a great deal.
Visiting a url before making an offer is probably better than making offers based simply on Whois information. Although the screenshot provided by DomainTools is generally updated somewhat recently, it doesn’t necessarily show me what’s on the website right now. I’ve found there are times where a company took down a website, began forwarding a domain name to another website, or the website was outdated and probably no longer updated. Consequently, there tends to be a better chance of a domain sale on a domain name that is no longer being used by its owner, which I can see by visiting it but not by using the screenshot tool.
I recommend taking a bit of extra time (literally one extra step) to visit a domain name before making an offer. You can learn quite a bit about the domain name by simply visiting that domain name, and the intel you glean can help you make a more appropriate offer. In addition, it’s a great way to get alternative contact information, especially for domain names that are privately registered.