Domainers: You’re Doing It Wrong

I am not a domainer. But I spend a fair bit of time haggling with domainers.

I’m what most domainers would call an ‘end user’. Or as an old boss might say: ‘a schmuck who spends too much money on over-priced domain names’.

In short, I want to buy premium domains for my websites. Often, I approach owners of parked domains or mothballed sites out of the blue.

Alas, many domain sellers try their luck with the same old Jurassic negotiation tactics. If you’re a domainer and guilty of these, I believe you are harming your business.

  1. Saying you’ll only sell for a “life-changing sum of money”. Sedo listing reads “Price: $600″.
  2. Pretend you’ll be “running your offer past the company board”. Two minutes on LinkedIn tells me you’re a one man band.
  3. Inventing a 3rd party owner. The bluff is usually a) obvious and b) unconvincing.
  4. Refusing to name a price…
  5. …then refusing to name a price range.
  6. Requesting blind incremental bids against a mythical “last minute bidder”.
  7. Aggresively slurring every approach as “lowballing”, “timewasting” or ‘tirekicking’…
  8. …before a price has even been discussed.
  9. Dismissing an offer without making a counteroffer.
  10. Not maintaining WHOIS details on a domain with the same dollar value as my home.
  11. No company website when I’m trying to contact a domain owner.
  12. Refusing to give a company name, phone number or even first name in email correspondence.
  13. Installing a jazzy WordPress blog on a $100,000 domain… with no contact form and no content. Unless you count the default WordPress about page…
  14. This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many pages like this one or sub-pages as you like and manage all of your content inside of WordPress.

  15. Pricing domains at 100x the going rate for comparable TLDs, keywords, sectors etc.
  16. Insisting your .INFO domain commands a $20,000 price tag. Not like the junk .INFO domains every regular schmuck has, you understand…
  17. Confusing ‘passive aggressive’ with ‘expert negotiator’.
  18. Patronising buyers. That means “talking down” to people.
  19. Claiming to have had ‘a much higher offer years ago’ for a 3 month old dropcatch domain.
  20. BSing about traffic/earnings: “I’ll make that from the parking revenue alone” [read: “…over the next 80-100 years, provided Go Daddy slash reg fees to $1/year”].
  21. Insisting that ‘serious buyers’ don’t ask about existing traffic/earnings.
  22. Pretending that you plan to develop the domain… when 30 seconds on Google shows you’ve been hawking it on Sedo, BuyDomains, DNForum, NamePros etc since 2005.
  23. Lying about selling links. Especially via
  24. Denying the Google ban or pagerank penalty is anthing to do with the above.
  25. Claiming your .COM is worth “so much” that you haven’t *needed* to register the .NET & .ORG (funny – neither has anyone else).
  26. N00b domainers seeing how many of the above they can tick off in one email.

What Domain Buyers Really Think…

Individuals, companies and domain names have been redacted to spare blushes, but every single example above is real.

I understand that the big bucks for most domainers is in selling to end users. Now, while I’m not buying $100,000 domains – or anything close to – I do regularly buy and bid on aftermarket domains.

For most domainers, I imagine these kind of sales – low $XXXX sales to people like me – are the bread-and-butter of their business.

Domainers, if you want to sell your domains for money – the kind you can spend on rent, groceries, mortgage payments – then the ‘arrogant geeks’ act needs to be retired.

To recap: It’s only a business if your domains earn money. Otherwise… it’s an expensive hobby.

5 Ways To Sell More Domains

Rather than just calling people out on bad practices, it’s only fair if I explain what I’d do differently:

  1. Be Honest. Nobody wants to buy anything from somebody they know – or even suspect – is lying.
  2. Gain Insight. Don’t assume a buyer’s motivations are identical to your own. I am no more interested in your parking revenue CPM rate than your shoe size or favorite ice-cream flavor.
  3. Be Polite. Do I seriously have to explain this one?
  4. Learn To Sell. Some domainers live in the dark ages of the internet. I’ve heard has-been jargon (‘gets plenty of hits’) quoted like an elderly relative name dropping the Rolling Stones.

    Your potential buyers care about things like traffic, earnings, branding etc.

  5. Think Global. Outside the US, countries like the UK and Germany are big aftermarket domain markets. And people do business differently.

    I’m not suggesting anybody start quoting Fawlty Towers. Or learn how to conjugate German verbs. But a little effort goes a long way.

Get Adobe Flash player