Why I Want to Know Who the Buyer Is


Ammar Kubba shared a back and forth he had with a prospective buyer for a domain name who apparently did not identify himself or use an email address that made it clear who he was. I have gone through many negotiations where I made a significant effort to learn more about the prospective buyer before locking in a deal to sell a domain name. There are a number of reasons for why I want to know who a buyer is before closing a deal.

The most obvious reason people think identifying a buyer is important is for pricing strategy. This is true to an extent, but it is not the primary reason for me. I do not generally price my domain names based on the buyer – I price them based on other factors, including demand, potential usage, rarity, brandability, my cost, replacement cost…etc. I am generally not going to increase the price of my domain name from $5,000 to $50,000 based on who is emailing me to buy the domain name.

Knowing who the buyer is may be useful in pricing strategy, but pricing is not the only reason for wanting to know. There are a few other reasons why I make a solid effort to learn who the prospect is before proceeding in a negotiation:

  • Can the prospective buyer afford to fund a deal?
  • Is the prospective buyer legitimate and honest?
  • Is the prospect looking to buy the domain name, kick the tires, or get a price in order to re-sell my domain name without permission.
  • Is the prospective buyer on the OFAC list or someone with whom my company should not do business?

I don’t want to spend my time discussing the sale or lease of a domain name when the prospect is not qualified to buy it. I also don’t want to discuss the sale of a valuable asset with a ghost.

When I am negotiating to sell a domain name, I do my best to learn who the prospect is or who the prospect represents, and it’s not all about setting the price.


  1. I get offers from Alexander Hamilton, Dick Nixon, Hugh Grant, George Burns, Benedict Anderson, Harv Oswald….
    For me it turn out to be a history lesson:)

  2. #1 – Is the “buyer” simply attempting to get a price quote in order to file a frivolous UDRP complaint.

    These are the ones that decided to file an intent-to-use trademark application two months ago, are thinking about launching their product next month, and just figured out you’ve had the domain name for the last ten years. Spotting them early can be helpful in remembering to point out, in your correspondence, facts such as how long you’ve had the domain name, how the domain name consists of commercially valuable dictionary words, etc., so that these points are baked in to the exhibit they are going to attempt to pass off as evidence of bad faith.

    Even asking who they might be establishes that you don’t know who they are.

    • If a potential UDRP filer resorts to this type of trickery against a registrant, it should stand as a potent element of bad faith on their part in any potential complaint.

      • …which is why they frequently attempt to conceal their identity or refuse to identify themselves.

        I’ve had a number of cases in which the Complainant merely asserts “they tried to sell us the name for $X” without actually showing the correspondence. Then, after sorting through various failed sales inquiries, one finds that the price was quoted to some gmail email address which in no way suggested the inquirer was at all associated with the Complainant who is attempting to portray the situation as some sort of targeted sales solicitation directed at them.

        There is no bottom of the ethical barrel in the legal profession.

      • I occasionally have a bone to pick with Mr. Berryhill here, but I also sometimes appreciate what he says and he even cracks me up sometimes. This comment stood out as quite valuable and people would do well to take note. Also his reply to you, Rod.

  3. I bought few domains for my project from Godaddy Auction. One of the issue is anyone can register over godaddy auction, pay the fee and start bidding.

    There is no KYC (know your customer) documentation so that the people who are bidding should be real.

    And also where does this expired domain winning bid money goes? Fully to Godaddy or Godaddy shares money with the person who don’t wanna renew the domain name.

    I feel domains are still taken lightly, it has to be same as Real Estate.

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