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Sitting on domain names

Excuse my ignorance, but why?

9:54 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm quite keen on buying quality, generic domain names to develop. However, I've made numerous approaches to people who own good, generic domain names, with an offer to buy the domain name, only to be informed that it's not for sale. Not "it's too expensive for you", simply "it's not for sale".

Now, either these companies are in the same position as me and are wanting to develop the names in the future, or I'm approaching them in the wrong way, or they're sitting on them for some other reason that I can't fathom.

Any advice from more experienced domainers would be much appreciated!


8:19 pm on June 17, 2007 (gmt 0)



The following 2 messages were cut out to new thread by webwork. New thread at: domain_names/3370424.htm [webmasterworld.com]
4:55 pm on June 17, 2007 (utc -5)
10:05 am on June 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm not a domainer and not especially savvy about domains. Anyhow after reading this topic a bit I realized that the best domain for my nichewas being parked at the moment and would be a good acquisition. Our CEO had previously tried to purchase this domain by emailing the owner for a price range. After talking to my CEO I again emailed the domain's owner asking for a price range. After one week with no response I've sent an offer of One Thousand USD (in the subject line), hopefully this gets some notice and he will at least negotiate for the domain..

If you guys get an offer which though low is a substantial sum tend to at least begin communication and negotiation?

1:29 pm on June 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When it comes to getting attention, showing a serious attitude and showing at least some sign of "domain intelligence" a low offer is better than no offer BUT depending on the domain AND the domain portfolio holder (size and quality of portfolio) your offer may not evoke a reply. That leaves you the alternative of walking away or significantly upping the unsolicited offer.

At some point, if the offer begins to square with the taciturn domainer's view of the world, you might get a reply suggesting a firm or final number that would work.

FYI: Just the other day I sent a "subject line cash offer" for a domain, to a domainer with a sizeable portfolio. I didn't get a reply. No surprise. No disappointment. From where I stand, as the hunter, it's just hunting. IF I want to bag the big game then . . well, you know the story.

7:48 pm on June 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Have you ever tried buying a deleted domain? I have acquired several good domains that way. <Snip - No tool drops please>

[edited by: Webwork at 7:51 pm (utc) on June 20, 2007]
[edit reason] Charter [WebmasterWorld.com] [/edit]

8:31 pm on June 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>>walking away or significantly upping the unsolicited offer.

I received a $3000 offer yesterday for one of my domains from the top domain reseller. I have received many offers from them before, on this and other domains. The offers are ridiculously low, so low I can only think to respond with "I'm not interested, not for sale".

It seems to me that serious buyers would do more to value the domain before making an offer. I guess they are just low-ball fishing, looking for a nibble.

Anyone with some business background looking at this particular site would easily deduce the site is a COMPANY not a domain. That site generates revenue for a whole COMPANY! How do you value that?

7:13 pm on June 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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That site generates revenue for a whole COMPANY! How do you value that?

By calculating earnings per month or per year and fixing the price as a multiple of earnings.

10:53 pm on June 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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After one week with no response I've sent an offer of One Thousand USD (in the subject line), hopefully this gets some notice and he will at least negotiate for the domain..

If you're dealing with a professional "domainer" i.e. somebody who buys/parks/sells domains for a living, I doubt that they will be motivated by a $1,000 offer any more than they would by a "How much is it?" email. Top domains sell for anywhere from $hundreds-of-thousands to $millions, so your offer is potentially just 0.1% to 1% of the value of the domain, depending on what it is of course.

In many cases, it's like going up to the owner of a house in Beverly Hills (for instance) and saying "Hey, I'll give you $5,000 for your house!". Exactly what kind of reaction do you expect to get? Not one suitable for a family audience, that's for sure.

If you're after a generic, commercial domain, it's time to stop being CHEAP! A trade magazine ad will usually cost you $5K-10K plus and that's just for one insertion. A TV ad will cost you $25K++. A national newspaper ad, likewise. And these are all one time, fire and forget costs. A domain name is forever.

[edited by: Edwin at 10:54 pm (utc) on June 21, 2007]

1:51 am on June 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The domain isn't at that level, I'm estimating its worth around 15k-20k, though I'm not completely sure as I'm not a domainer.

Estimated traffic 29k within all search engines. its a 3 word .com 28 letters long.

I'm estimating one in a hundred searchers just types it in first..

So 29,000 * .01 = 290 type ins per month

I'm guessing the current portal page likely gets around 7% click through rate so 290 * .07 = 20.3

Price per click is around 8-10$ so $160-$200 per month. 10 month's profit is 1600-2k USD undeveloped. Developed it can likely make ten times that much money.

So I should raise my price a bit.. are my numbers right? The field is insurance.

4:34 pm on June 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hey, stumbled across this discussion while googling, and joined the forum just to add my two cents, as a long time domainer.

On a larger purchase, when I'm buying a domain name, one thing I do is try to learn what I can about the current owner. If they're a domainer, what is their portfolio like, how do they monetize, and how have others dealt with them. Some are known for selling, some that list domains for sale are known for going down a little bit from a list price, others are known for never replying.

One domain I wanted was owned by the founder of a major consumer products company, I discovered by googling. An article about her mentioned that she spent something like $25k on flight costs everytime her private jet went somewhere, but she loved traveling that way. She was also settling into more charitable side projects, and this domain seemed like one of a couple dozen in that vein, most of which she'd owned for some years, but hadn't been used. In that case I acknowledged her impressive reputation, made a high offer initially, and offered to wire the money prior to the domain transfer (no escrow fuss). Her assistant replied and we had a quick and easy deal. The key, as I saw it, was making it easy.

Every situation is different, and there are different approaches you can take, but my point is that if it's a serious acquisition target, you should at least try to learn about the person you're dealing with.

Even if you learn just a little bit about the owner, include that in your message, like "I Know you own thousands of domains, and this is a fairly small one to you, but...." If you know their income is huge, make things easy for them - offer a realistic price, offer to use escrow.com, offer a phone number if they'd like to talk (unlikely they would, but some do, and it suggests a little more seriousness). Even if you offer what you'd guess is a normal market value for a domain, from someone with major domain income, there's no real incentive for them to sell it at that price...it's just added work to process, dealing with escrow, unlocking, transferring out, handling the accounting, and for what's essentially a break even deal for them. They'd be more apt to *buy* at a fair market price, because they've probably got a lot of uninvested domain revenue! For that kind of owner, they're almost certainly going to want above the normal "wholesale" market value.

As for inquiries I receive, I get a couple almost every day. I don't have employees to handle inquiries, rarely sell domains, and generally don't bother replying. Some inquiries look like mass-mailings, and either way the vast majority of inquiries offer no price, instead asking me to give a price. That means looking up traffic stats, revenue stats, traffic and revenue trends over time, recent news that may impact the price, and so on, to be able to give some stranger a price, to which they'll most likely say "too high." I'm not looking to sell it in the first place, but price analysis takes time, so I don't bother. Sometimes if the inquiry looks sincere or if the mood strikes I might say I'm not selling. And that's not strictly true; offer a million dollars and I'd sell any of my domains, but I don't want to invite extended haggling over a sale that's unlikely to occur. If someone opens with what I'd consider at least near a fair market price, I'll usually at least reply.

Klown, you mention "ten months profit." Maybe that's some rule of thumb you've heard, like for restaurants or something, but that's not how any large domainers currently think; any of them could sell their entire portfolio for several years earnings to a VC-flush investment company with a single phone call.

[edited by: encyclo at 2:38 am (utc) on June 23, 2007]
[edit reason] fixed formatting [/edit]

12:18 am on June 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I also stumbled upon this thread by google. As someone who owns what I consider moderately valueable domains but never sold any because they are in use I would like to add that when I am approached I tend to read the emails with a fair bit of skeptisism.

If it's from hotmail or yahoo I basically ignore the email. If it's from an unknown domain I do a whois and check out the domain. If they feel like a tire kicker I usually send a 'sorry not for sale reply'. Sometimes I'll reply with make an offer just to see which way the wind is blowing if I can't get a feel for the seller from the initial email and 90% of the time it's lowball at which point I thank the person for the offer but decline.

Occaisionally I get a really indignant reply, at which point I add the persons email to our ignore file. Perhaps why you don't get a lot of positive replies as folks with good value domains are tired of being asked perhaps.

I think the intial contact is extremely important (at least from my point of view). If all I see is broken english or what I call internetese I tend to file these emails immediately. If the email is polite, and feels genuine I'll reply.

Going back to the start of this thread, it's entirely possible that the person you are contacting fields quite a number of waste of time emails from people looking for a steal or tire kickers. I know that I fall in that catagory and because of this I tend to use the easy way out which is just to say no right off the bat.

As someone else said though, if you get my attention well then things could progress......

12:36 am on June 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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some people don't know how to approach. Personally, if the offer is too low, I stop talking to the person. Period. I think he's insulting my intelligence and I have no need to sell them.

I own /ed a few great names and this guy was after one for 6 months. Just recently the offer was good enough--about 3X the first one. It's a great name but I am sure many will say "what are you nuts to ask that much?" I have no doubt that he will make that much within the first year since it's a very catchy name.

Then, I had an I-D-I-O-T offering me a few $100 for a name that has already made me 200X+ that much and wondered why I didn't reply since he thought the offer was reasonable.

An even bigger idiot offered me $119 (yep, he wanted to save an extra dollar) for a (country)online.com domains because I didn't have "good alexa rankings." Of course, the Country.com is taken so my name is arguably the best one for that country, and I get over 500 visits a day based on the name alone.

Another one asked if $x is OK but used a throwaway address and I said ask again from an address I can trace so I know I am not wasting my time. Ironically, the offer was adequate but I know that will get much more one day so I let it go. (Update: I just checked that stats and noticed that I got 4000 visitors since Jannuary with no content :). Of course, I have no ads in there)

>> The first person to mention a number loses!
well, if you want a certain name, you can either afford it or not, since the owner decides the price.

This 41 message thread spans 2 pages: 41