Negotiating a Domain Name Purchase


Everything in life is negotiable. Children learn this very early on. Here’s an example that might sound very familiar to some of you…


“Shaun, it’s time for bed.”

“But Mommy, I want to finish watching Ask the Storybots!”

“Now Shaun!”

“Please Mommy? It’s just five more minutes.”

“OK Shaun, but you’ll have to take a bath too.”


Shaun just successfully negotiated five more minutes of Ask the Storybots. Yeah, it cost him a bath on top of going to bed, but he’s getting what he wanted. Negotiating a domain name purchase isn’t a whole lot different, although the stakes are a bit higher.

Here’s what you’ll need to know to negotiate the purchase of domains.


Maybe You Don’t Need to

If you’ve run a domain name search and the one you’ve envisioned is taken, try to come up with an alternative spelling. Or, you might get it by using a different top-level domain like .us, .biz. or .store. These can often serve quite well, and you can sometimes incorporate them to complete the spelling in a clever way, such as Consider your options.

Find the Owner

OK, so you’ve run a domain name search and your choice is already taken. can help you who owns the name. Take a look at the site too. It might just be parked for future use, or the owner could be waiting for someone like you to come along and make an offer. People also register names for ideas they have and never act upon. There are lots of reasons why the name might be for sale.

The First One to Say a Number Loses

Once you’ve found the owner, send them an email and tell them you’re interested in purchasing the name. Try to speak with them directly whenever possible. You’ll be much better off talking to the individual in person.

When you do, don’t wax enthusiastically about your grand plans. In fact, give them as little information about yourself and what you plan to do as possible. Be honest, but don’t be expansive. If you give them the idea there’s a lot of cash to be had, the price will go up accordingly. You want them to know you’re serious about buying, but you don’t want them to think you have deep pockets.

Begin by asking what they consider a fair price. Do not be drawn in by their invitation to make an offer. The number you quote might be far higher than they’re thinking. In a negotiation, the first one to say a number loses. Let them quote first.

Be Ready to Let It Go

Don’t get so caught up in having a particular name you pay more than it’s worth. Yes, the one you’re trying to buy is ideal, but others will work just as well. Have a list of fallback options and be ready to go to one of them if you can’t agree upon a price. To get an idea of what’s reasonable, look for recent transactions at sites like DNJournal.

Escrow Is Your New Best Friend

Once an agreement is struck, deposit the funds in an escrow account, with instructions to hold them until all of the terms of the sale have been met. Still, before you engage in any of the above, check the domain name service through a company like Yahoo Small Business. You might find a name you can have right away for next to nothing. It’s worth a shot and could save you big bucks!

Now, are you ready to negotiate a domain name purchase for your small business website?


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