Here’s something to keep in mind when making offers for domain names: your inquiry might make the domain owner consider actively marketing the domain name for sale.
In the last couple of months, I have made many purchase offers for domain names that were not on the market. On a few of these domain names, shortly after making my offers, the companies decided to seek out a domain broker to sell their domain names. The prices of these domain names were far above what I would pay, and as far as I know, none of these names I am thinking about have sold via broker.
When buying domain names, my strong preference is to make a deal privately. This generally allows me to purchase a domain name covertly, without the price reported publicly and without outside involvement from someone who might use this data to their advantage. When a broker gets the listing, it becomes widely known that the domain name is for sale, and an acquisition becomes less appealing for me.
When the owner of a valuable domain name seeks out a broker or brokerage to sell it, those companies are generally incented to tell the owner the domain name is worth as much as possible. When the field of brokers is relatively equal, the domain owner is likely to choose the broker who thinks the asset is worth the most. With the exclusive listing in hand, the broker can later tell the client the reality of the situation if their price expectation was set too high, but by that point, the domain name has already been heavily marketed and my interest has waned.
I get a bit frustrated when I see a name I privately inquired about go on the market shortly thereafter. Essentially, my offer made them interested in seeking out a high sale price. This is more of a frustration with myself more than anyone else because it means I contacted the right person at the company and they are willing to sell the domain name I want. However, my offer wasn’t enough and/or I simply wasn’t able to close the deal.
Doing this might make good business sense for the domain owner, but it is something domain buyers need to think about when they are making offers.