How to Negotiate to Buy a Domain Name

You found the perfect domain name for your brand, its short and brandable and easy to spell. You did your research and found something short, ending in .COM and memorable. Its perfect for your companies projected growth and development. You worked hard to find the name, running many internal naming exercises, and this was the domain name that gained steam from your project managers and marketing team.

There are some important things to consider when attempting to Negotiate a Domain Name purchase.

  1. Perform due diligence and whois search to determine ownership
  2. Contact the owner and see if they want to sell…this can be tricky and should be handled by and Domain name expert or consultant.
  3. Always identify clear alternatives to your preferred targeted domain name.
  4. Identify the top-end pricing you are prepared to offer, or walk-away-price.
  5. Understand the social media impact and availability around the keyword or domain name.
  6. Always use a third-party escrow provider. We like Escrow.com

Negotiating the price of a premium domain name can be a daunting task. Hiring a domain name professional or expert can remove the emotional impact, and in most instances, save you money both on the value of the transaction, as well as the Escrow fee.  

Additionally, domain name professionals also have a clear understanding of the fair market value of relevant assets based on current market conditions and other market comparable sales.  Once you find your domain name consultant, or expert—they will ask specific questions to make sure they are aligned with your goals and strategies for acquisition.

The domain name expert should determine domain name availability, timing, and strategy to see if there is an opportunity to complete this acquisition for their client.

If the Whois information is redacted, you will need to get in touch with an expert so they can uncover the rightful domain name owner. They should have the tools to identify the rightful domain owner and reach out on your behalf. After you identify the owner, its then time to start the next phase—negotiation.

Now, it’s time to negotiate with the owner, to see if there is an opportunity to secure this domain name. The negotiation can contain many unknowns—sometimes owners can get emotionally attached to the asset and be extremely difficult to read. Afterall, negotiations can be complex and full of surprises. Often times, domain owners have an attachment to their asset, and need a little more time, or sometimes, just might not be the right acquisition partner for this asset.

When handling the negotiation of the domain name, its important to get it right, and not fumble the opportunity. In most instances, you only have one chance to get it right! Use this checklist to make sure you cover your bases before the domain name negotiation.

  1. Understand the timeline for both sides and BE PATIENT
  2. Deal with the proper point of contact
  3. Have a clear established goal before you make contact
  4. Have an open mind to make things happen
  5. You MUST not be emotional
  6. Set a budget, or value
  7. Establish your terms
  8. Be prepared to be flexible

Not all Negotiations are created equal

We sometimes think all negotiations will follow the same clear path to success, however, we know that certainly is not the case. Sometimes, negotiations go very smoothly, and transactions are culminated and completed quickly and efficiently. More often than not, the negotiation and process will be convoluted and cumbersome depending on many important factors.

Sellers may have a board of directors, or partners that might need to be involved in the process and ultimately, will need to help make the decision. They might need to wait a quarter or two, for their next fiscal year. Perhaps, the domain name has email addresses tied to it and need an extended period of migration to port everything over.

The negotiation must be methodically chartered and you should have a clear process outlined that identifies the who, what, where, when, why and how of the asset before contact is made with the owner.

Always remember, that no two assets are the same and you will need to determine what value you place on the asset internally. What is the domain name worth to your business, or brand?

Find your brand, hire the expert

Domain name experts add value to the acquisition process, they can remove the guesswork and quickly identify the opportunity. They should also be able to provide valuation guidance and expertise to guide you in your search. You want to find someone that identifies and establishes a clear strategy for success. Find a professional well-versed in SEO and someone with deep resources to help create viable alternatives, should your ideal target not be available.

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