When Buying a Domain Name, a .edu Email Address Tells Me…

For some reason, people still claim to be students in order to try and get a lower price on a domain name. Whether a person is a student or not, many people tell domain owners they are students to influence the price of a domain name. I think people must read advice columns that suggested this tactic, and they don’t know any better. Sorry, but the “poor student” routine doesn’t work.

I occasionally get inquiries from people with .edu email addresses. This could indicate that the person is a student, but it could also mean the person is an alumnus of the college or university and retained their email address. With all of the email services out there, people who use a .edu email address likely do so to show that they are students.

When I see a .edu email address on an inquiry, it tells me that the person is almost certainly not willing to pay what my domain name is worth. They are either a student with a low budget (for real) or they are pretending to be a student so they can claim to have a low budget. Unfortunately, if they are dealing with me and many others, this is not going to work. The price of a valuable domain name is not going to go down because they can not afford to buy it. I am happy to sell a domain name to a student, but the price will be reflective of the market – not based on the buyer or the buyer’s budget.

I think inquiring to buy a domain name with a .edu email address is a bad idea. It immediately tells the domain owner or broker that the inquiry comes from a student who likely has a low budget. This may be an overgeneralized assumption, but the poor student routine has been overplayed and doesn’t work. I am much more inclined to respond to a lower offer from a @gmail.com address than a .edu address.

My advice is to ditch the .edu email address – even for students who want or need a domain name. Mentioning student status almost certainly won’t work these days, and highlighting the .edu address to a domain owner may not elicit any type of response. The best way to get a deal done is to make a good offer.

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 normally agree with you, but on this one I disagree. When the university/college email terms of service allow it, many keep using their education related email throughout later life. Also, many who have been long term staff members and are allowed to use it in retirement often keep it just because that is how they are known by so many, and that is how former research collaborators, colleagues, and former students know how to contact them. You really don’t know (without checking) that the person contacting you and using that email address is not a researcher or graduate student starting a company, possibly with access to initial funding from some source. Anyway, just my opinion!

    • That’s a good point. Ultimately, if they highlight their student status along with a low offer, I will likely disregard their inquiry since it’s getting started on the wrong foot. If they really want or need a domain name I have, they can follow up with a serious offer.

  2. Nothing matters besides the money, all these years later and “show me the money” still rings true. It could come from a @methhead.com address but as long as the money is green who cares.

  3. While you might have a prejudice, using an .edu email would actually more likelihood of getting into your inbox than your spam vs a gmail or most other free email services

  4. I have a portfolio of surname domains (some .com and some in various TLDs). Acquired from a bankrupt customer of my web hosting business and they generate interesting inbound inquiries. The vast majority of the inquiries are people claiming to be starving artists who need a domain for their artistic portfolio. They go out of their way to emphasize they aren’t businesses and have no money. Obviously these are not the end users I would target on my own!

    This vastly overwhelms the student/.edu junk inquiries. I see the starving artist line in 80%+ of inquiries and only about 5% I would guess that claim to be students. Might be this part of the portfolio I have that leads to this.

    Maybe Elliot has written about this before.

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