As a buy-side broker specializing in Stealth Acquisitions, it’s our job to dig deep and find the rightful owner of a domain name. Problem is, some domain owners make it very difficult to reach them. What’s the psyche behind this rationale?

Not all domain name owners are equal and some owners don’t want to be contacted. They might not have any interest whatsoever, in selling their domain name. They might not have accurate, up-to-date whois information and might be difficult to decipher the current domain owner.

GDPR is another major change. Many Countries now adhere to stricter policies related to domain name owner privacy, with many Whois channels now dark and redacted for owners’ privacy rights.

Stealth acquisitions represent an opportunity for the buyer to be protected by complete anonymity. It is necessary to align with your broker before completing any type of acquisition. Your stealth acquisition should be able to answer these questions BEFORE making necessary contact:

  1. Have you completed a relevant trademark search around the keyword in question?
  2. Have you established a budget to complete this potential acquisition?
  3. Have you established a timeline for this potential acquisition?
  4. Are you familiar with aftermarket domain name valuations?
  5. Have you thought about viable alternatives, if your target might not be available?
  6. What type of barriers do you see in this potential acquisition?

Buy-side brokers need to understand the full opportunity and any pertinent history on the previous acquisition attempts of the prospective buyer. Many domain owners like to use privacy to protect their anonymity. Sometimes, they don’t want to be bothered with the Spam that gets generated on a daily basis.

Buy-side brokers should also be able to drill down, identify and contact the rightful domain name owner. The buy-side broker should also be able to act as a buffer between buyer and seller and remove any emotion from a potential deal.

How to buy a domain name

Here are the basic steps to acquire a domain name

  1. Identify ownership, and research if asset is available
  2. Submit an offer to appropriate owner
  3. Negotiate
  4. Agree on price and complete paperwork (if applicable)
  5. Escrow to complete financial component
  6. Registrar transfer via push, or authorization code
  7. Confirm control of asset(s)
  8. Release of funds

Consider these items when buying a domain name

  1. Check the DNS, see where the domain is pointing to. Is there a website, or is it undeveloped?
  2. Whois history is a valuable tool to understand the true history of the domain name
  3. Check the Way back Machine to see what other properties have been developed on the URL in the past.
  4. Speak with the buyer or acquisition partner to fully understand their goals and objectives including history, timing, budget etc.
  5. Make sure to set the expectation with the prospective buyer on price. Is the buyer familiar with aftermarket domain name values?
  6. Legal—contracts, redlines, edits and changes

Furthermore, the buy-side broker should offer the following upside for any Stealth Acquisition:

  • Negotiate with YOU in mind, no dual agency in this scenario
  • Provide contracts that protect ALL parties involved
  • Typically save you time and money
  • Allows for a third-party (non-biased) approach towards the acquisition
  • Coordinate necessary contractual paperwork between parties
  • Facilitate and handle smooth transfers of domain names
  • Offer transparency and full disclosure
  • Non-disclosure where applicable

Starting the Process

Acquiring a domain name doesn’t have to be a daunting task. You should start by researching suitable candidates to help with your acquisition. Don’t identify the asset unless you are sure you found the proper buy-side broker. Ask the broker for information on their service and a few names they recently acquired for clients?

Find out how that Company or individual can add value to your potential acquisition and always do a google search to learn more about the broker you are working with.

Take the time to do the research and find an expert that can properly assist you with all of your acquisition needs. Ask appropriate questions and make sure that you get aligned with the broker. Hold the broker accountable and require status updates so you are not left in the dark on the progress—or lack thereof.

In most instances, your stealth acquisition needs to be completed right the first time. Most domain name acquisitions only have one chance to secure the domain name target without leaving extra money on the table.

Stealth acquisitions should only be performed by a seasoned-domain name buy-side broker. The domain buyer should understand if the broker has certain strengths or weaknesses. Some buy-side brokers have decent buyers for domains, but don’t always have the tools and knowledge to find the rightful domain owner, or rich relationships with industry veterans. Other buy-side brokers are excellent at managing the acquisition, but terrible at the details. Can’t keep things moving and get things closed.

Details are key when it comes to any domain name acquisition. Contracts and paperwork can take months to pass through the legal channels. Its important to find a representative that is fully-vested and can assist you with all aspects of the buy-side domain name acquisition process.

Finally, when selecting a buy-side broker, make sure you ask for referrals and do your homework so you can make contact with the rightful domain owner and secure the perfect domain name for your brand. has successfully negotiated and closed hundreds of domain name transactions on behalf of our clients. We encourage you to get in touch with our expert brokers today to learn more about our services, and how we add value for our clients.

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