10 Reasons Why a Domain Owner Won’t Partner With You

It seems like a great idea. A domain owner has “only” parked his domain name (or has minimal development), and you have a killer idea for a website or business on that particular domain name. You reach out to the domain owner, and you either receive no reply at all or you receive a “no.”

Here are some reasons why domain owners don’t want to partner (with you):

  • The domain name earns enough money parked that it’s not worth taking it off of the PPC model.
  • Domain owner doesn’t want to encumber the domain name if someone else wants to purchase it.
  • It’s too much effort and expense to do due diligence on your background.
  • The owner doesn’t think the idea has a chance at success.
  • You don’t have a successful track record, or your track record is unknown.
  • Your idea isn’t interesting or the owned doesn’t think it will make enough money.
  • The domain owner doesn’t want to be involved with partnerships.
  • The cost of getting your idea launched is more than the owner is willing to contribute.
  • It’s the domain owner’s best domain name, and he doesn’t want to take any chances with it.
  • The domain owner has an idea for his own website or business but hasn’t had the opportunity to build it.

There are plenty of companies that do permit partnerships on their domain names if the right offer from the right company comes around. In fact, most of the larger portfolio holders do have pretty public partnerships on at least one domain name that I know about. I also have a marketing partnership on Burbank.com because the conditions were right.

Don’t take it too personally if the domain owner says no, but there are plenty of good reasons why someone might not be interested in a partnership.

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. Also, the domain owner may not want to subject himself to liability as the registered name holder of the domain name under the ICANN Accreditation Agreement’s definitions. Under the RAA, a domain holder may be held liable for leasing a domain name if he or she does not timely respond to a request to release the contact information associated with the lessee. This significantly increases the legal risk for the domain lessor and reduces the likelihood that he or she will enter into a partnership.

  2. LOL

    I would think there are more valid reasons in the reverse case – why the entrepreneur would not wish to partner with the domain owner ala Mike Nann’s recent site inviting entrepreneurs

    Entrepreneur’s menatlity is they don’t like to “partner” with anyone – unless said partner has certain skills or contacts they lack or they can really bring something to the table.
    A domain isn’t that carrot.

    Unless it is a truly great desirable domain it is likely the entrepreneur would just move on & make do with a less preferable one.
    He might come back for it when it’s successful but that’s a different story.

    Anyway, many domain owners tend to ask 6 figures for every domain they have these days.
    Why would the entrepreneur bother with this shit especially if he’s bootstrapping ithe startup?

    Lack of the ‘ideal’ domain has NEVER stopped a real entrepreneur from making his vision a reality.

    Haven’t all the # of successful startups with domains reg “yesterday” or purchased for < $5000 told you this by now?

    It's only the domainer/"developer" who has the mentality of "oh i couldn't get the ideal domain, oh well i'd better go home…" that fails at the first hurdle.

  3. IMHO, the most important reason would be that the domain’s owner wouldn’t want to risk their asset if their partner does something wrong.

  4. Partnerships are not worth the effort without trust. The domain owner is probably too busy to monitor the agreement. Taking risks as an entrepreneur doesn’t always work in favor of domain owner.

  5. A lot of these “partnership” requests come from what I would describe as a guy in his 20s with a laptop. And he always wants a 6-fig or 7-fig domain in exchange for equity.

    I always say terms will be percentage of revenue with increasing guaranteed yearly minimums.

    In fact, since I only deal with motivated end users, asking for percentage of revenue with guaranteed yearly minimum (or just simple annual lease payments) became my standard reply to all “is that domain name for sale” emails.

    Truly premium domains are exactly the same as the best real estate in Manhattan, you never sell them as they only go up in price. Leasing them is the only way to go.

  6. I only have several hundred domains and consider myself more of an Internet Entrepreneur than a real Domainer. I think I tend to see thing more like Aggro, so here is my take on the article.

    10 Reasons Why an Internet Entrepreneur Won’t Partner With a Domain Name Dealer:

    > Not interested in partnering with anyone that thinks there is more money in parking than development.

    > Entetrepreneur doesn’t want to give up a large percentage of the profit if someone wants to purchase the actual website.

    > It’s too much effort and expense to do due diligence on the domain owners background.

    > The Domainer doesn’t understand internet marketing and can not visualize why this market and concept will work.

    > The Domainer only has an understanding of buying/selling domain names and does not have a successful track record for internet marketing techniques other than perhaps PPC.

    > Your idea is brilliant yet the Domainer doesn’t understand how SEO or how it could possibly make any money.

    > The Entrepreneur doesn’t want to be involved with partnerships.

    > A Domainer typically only profits by sitting on a domain property and collecting PPC’s rather than developing it into a viable profit center where there is considerable reward in the revenue stream as well as real value in the website itself.

    > It’s the domain owner’s best domain name and he thinks it worth 50 times more that it really is. He knows that spiders and bots will definitely see the price of his domain name and index him in the #1 spot on every page remotely related to his domain name.

    > The domain owner has an idea for his own website or business but hasn’t decided on what template company is the absolute cheapest in order to have his assistant build it.

    Much of this is obviously tongue and cheek but in reality it’s all a matter of perspective. A top level keyword rich domain name with dashes (or not), optimized well, will perform equally as well as the Domainers high priced real estate. Provide an economical domain name (mask) that the actual user can easily remember and the Internet Entrepreneur takes home ALL the gold …while the domainer reaps his PPC reward.

  7. Well, thanks for your article but it seems there are missing another resons.
    For example i defied indian domainers for partrnership and they never responded, sorry not my fault but rthem because they fear they own future of globalization failed as it will failed.
    Chinese domainers also do not accept any proposal of partnership with western domains, only if they can buy everything and be the greatest domain of domainers on the Internet.

    Besides your ten reasons there is one that is plenty of importance: the missing of investors and missing of trust in them. Without investors that accept the risk (as the elders) someday even restaurants.com or sex.com value less than a penny.

  8. #11 The domain owner no longer checks the email address used in his or her contact details because he or she gave up loooooong ago.

    @Jon – Yeah but it pays to not forget that some of those 20 year olds have great ideas and can do magic with those laptops. And some have track records to boot. 🙂

    @BobLee – Love when someone presents the flip side of the coin. I think your list is a bit more jaded but believe me, no serious domain investor is going to argue with you that your points are not valid. This business is tough and a lot of people simply don’t make it.

    When it comes to partnering opportunities, I am always intrigued when someone takes the initiative to track me down about wanting to partner up on one of my domains. I am always interested in what they have to say and how they plan to go about achieving their goals. Just have never been intrigued enough by what was presented to distract me from my own sandbox.

  9. “Haven’t all the # of successful startups with domains reg “yesterday” or purchased for < $5000 told you this by now?"

    yes. but what do we know of all the companies that fail with the same reg fee or <$5k names ?

    Why are so many of the successful companies changing their names and/or rebranding under the better choice lately ?

  10. Looks like I got in late for this thread, but as long as it’s relevant I suppose you won’t mind Elliot 🙂

    We’re sort of hybrid parking/development start-up who recently started looking for domainers as partners. We’re looking for pilot partners with 50+ domains. We usually try to find partners in forums and in the discussion threads of related industry blog posts (like this one!). We also use scouting for people to follow on Twitter as a useful way of getting in touch with potential pilot partners.

    At the moment we have some 20 partners from 9 countries (the platform is multilingual) running some 2300 domains on our platform (see more numbers on e.g. our CTR and eCPM, and what we do at http://www.commercialmicroportals.com/cmp-numbers/).

    Our impression is that domainers are quite keen on trying out different kind of parking and monetization schemes but they are also very busy so it can take weeks between each mail exchange. Out of 3 we contact directly and personally (as we always do) 2 domainers tend to try us out and 1 stick with us – roughly. Of course our concept is “easy come, easy go” – meaning it’s free and you have no obligation to stay on our programme – so we have to accept churn.

    A couple of domainers have turned us down because they’re building or trying their own development platforms. Some have gone on to sell their whole portfolio in what seems to be a kind of domainer depression, while one of them decided to set up a team offshore to develop all his 8000 domains with us this year.

    We’re developing a shopping solution as well, so that a domainer can easily set up all domains in a dedicated fixed-price online domain shop. We’re curious to find out if domainers will like that feature.

    We think one of the advantages we have being a start-up is that we can allow ourself to develop our platform together with our partners, a notion which also seems to be appreciated by domainers we work with. We have some 700 domains of our own on the platform and in addition to paying for our yearly fees, we find that we have created an excellent prospecting engine for domainer-developers. Put in 20 domains and afetr a month or so you will know which of them have the potential for manual development.


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