Get the Domain Name You Want (Sometimes) By Playing Hardball

Category : Domain Names
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Responses : 3 Comments

You want to buy a domain name either to start a site on or to try to flip, either way you need to buy that domain first.  A lot of domain owners ask for the world when you want to buy their domain.  Sometimes they won’t budge and no matter what advice I could try to give you won’t get a better price out of them.  Sometimes they will budge, but you just need to play hardball with them.

Here’s an example of how someone played a little hardball with me and I budged and they got the domain name they wanted for a price they were happy with paying.  On the two most popular domain auction platforms (Sedo and GoDaddy) they allow you to include a note when you make your counteroffer.  I had a person offer me an amount to buy a domain of mine.  My counter offer was significantly higher and they came up a little and I came down a little and we went through three back and forths until the buyer sent a note and said “This is my final offer.  I know you want more than this, but I’ve found another domain name that I can buy for this price and this is all I’m willing to spend.  If you can sell it for this amount great, if not then good luck with the domain.”

Now, a few things to note which are important.  This domain name was not a premium domain.  If this was an amazing domain like or or than I would not budge because as the seller of a premium domain you hold all the cards.  But when the domain name is a two or three word domain, it is not a commonly used phrase, the exact searches for it in Google are not that much, and I’d consider the domain more of a brandable opportunity than anything else I have a decision to make.  I’d owned this domain for 2 years.  I’d never received an offer on it before.  I’d paid basically next to nothing for this domain.  And I could use this money to buy a better quality domain, so there is an opportunity cost here if I decline and could have picked up a better domain in essentially what would equate to a trade.  I wasn’t going to get the price I wanted but it didn’t make sense to me to hold onto the domain and possibly get another offer in two years, or never get another offer.  I took the offer and I’ll reinvest the money into a domain from a domain auction in the near future.  For me, as the seller, it made sense to “upgrade” my domain name rather than be a stickler and wait out a better offer that may never come.

Moving back to the buyer’s side… what he did was put an ultimatum on the table for me.  Some people will say I caved and should have held firm.  Others will say a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.  The point being, as a buyer put the seller to a decision.  Don’t do it with your first offer because it is likely he’ll scoff at that.  Show a little goodwill by increasing your offer a little bit a time or two and then hit him with your final offer, but also put some reasoning behind your final offer.   He could have very easily been bluffing but in the end I’m happy with the sale and I’ll wind up with a much better domain as a result.  You have nothing to lose by making a final offer and holding firm… only the seller has the potential to lose (a sale that is).

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  1. Good post and so true. The art of negotiation is truly an art. Once you learn to walk that fine line in between negotiations, you can ultimately come up with a formula almost to maximize profit and know when to take a deal.

    Really looking forward to more posts and this blog newsletter.


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  2. Great article. Sellers are hard to deal with sometimes when they have no idea what they want for a domain name.

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  3. Don’t forget the option of using that final offer as the opening bid in an auction, if you feel there’s a chance of getting a better end price.

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