When you’re negotiating the price of a domain name, especially a premium domain, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared and able to get the best price possible. There are a few steps to take before negotiations can start and this is the process you should go through. We’ll show you how to start with domain research and finish with tips on how to negotiate a lower price.

Research the Domain Name You Want to Buy

The first step, before any negotiations can even start, is to conduct as much research as possible around the domain name you are wanting to buy. There are various research tools you can use to find information on a specific domain, but these are the important questions you’ll want to answer:

  • Is the domain name currently for sale?
  • Does the domain name have a landing page with an asking price?
  • Have there been any trademark disputes around the keyword that you’re interested in?

Even if the domain you want isn’t currently listed for sale, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to buy it. You won’t really know that until you reach out to the domain name owner.

But, before you do that you want to understand:

  1. Is the keyword a commercially viable option?
  2. Is it something that you will benefit by owning?
  3. Are there other alternatives that you might want to consider?
  4. Are you looking only at the .com?
  5. Are you considering other alternative top level domains that might work as well?

All domain acquisitions should also have a domain valuation exercise conducted to determine the fair market value to the buyer of the domain name. This valuation exercise will also help you determine if the domain is in your budget and worth pursuing.

Check for Trademarks on the Name

A key part of the research process is making sure there are no trademark disputes tied to the domain. Conducting your due diligence before beginning any negotiations will help the process go a lot smoother and will prevent any future legal trouble.

Check uspto.gov and use the Trademark Database to gather relevant information around the domain name and other words and phrases that are related to it. If you do uncover trademark issues, it’s time to think about coming up with a different domain name.

Do Your SEO Homework

You do not want to have a domain that was on the receiving end of black hat SEO tactics or has been penalized from nefarious content being published on it previously. That will hinder and hurt any opportunity for you to get the domain to rank in search.

To see if the domain is ‘healthy’, and still has the potential to rank well on search engines like Google, use tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs to look at the backlink profile of the domain. These tools will show you if there are any spammy websites pointing back to the domain that could cause problems or result in it being penalized in the future.

You’ll also be able to see the organic search interest for the domain. The AdWords keyword planner tool provides search volume estimates on keywords or keyword phrases and a tool like SEMRush will even show you historical domain performance. Looking at these datasets will help you understand if you’ll be able to receive traffic to the site right away or how much you’ll need to do to begin building your web presence.

Contact the Owner to Begin Negotiations

After you’ve completed your research and are ready to reach out to begin negotiations you should aim to speak directly with the domain owner. This will make the negotiation process more productive.

Find the contact details of the owner either via a whois search or, if available, use the contact form on the domain website.

For more information on this process, check out our article on How to Buy a Domain Name That is Already Taken.

When making contact it is important to be polite and also straight to the point by revealing your intentions at the start. You’ll want to advise the owner that you are interested in purchasing the domain and ask if it is for sale. You could also ask for the price at this point or you could wait to find out if they are open to selling it first. Reveal as much information about yourself as you like, however, avoid giving the impression that you have a large budget to buy the domain otherwise the owner may respond with an overwhelming selling price.

If the selling price proposed by the owner is affordable, you’re starting off from a strong position as per the nature of negotiations the price can only decrease from that point. If, however, the initial selling price is much too high, you would need to convince the owner that they should sell it for a lower price. Here are some tips on how you can negotiate a lower price.

Negotiate a Lower Price

If the domain is parked and not in use, you might mention that the domain is not providing much value to the owner and that he or she is forced to pay renewal costs for a redundant website.

The domain owner might mention that they are receiving an income from the website via affiliate links and Adsense elements – your strategy would then be to prove that your offer is sufficient to cover the income generated by the website.

Approximating the income generated by a website can be a difficult process, not only because of the many variables associated with advertising revenue, but because you would then need to convince the web owner that your approximations are correct and their quoted numbers are wrong.

Instead of estimating their income and basing a price off of that, another tactic you could use is to find a similar domain (length or word combination) that has recently sold and then use that selling price as a starting point for negotiations.

But how is it possible to find this information?

DN Journal, a domain industry news site, generates a domain sales report that is regularly updated.

You could search through this list for domain names similar to your desired premium domain and find their corresponding selling prices.

Use a Broker to Negotiate a Premium Domain Purchase

Working with a broker is the safest and most reliable option when negotiating the purchase of a premium domain. They’ll ensure that your premium domain is purchased in an effective manner and they have access to additional data that will help both sides come to an agreement on a fair price.

Benefits of Hiring a Domain Broker for Negotiations

  • A domain broker will have many years of experience working with domain buyers and sellers and they will be exercising elite sales and negotiation skills on your behalf.
  • Domain buy service brokers provide a fair market assessment and accurate valuation of the domain in question and will have data-driven evidence to provide to domain sellers.
  • All conversations and negotiations will be performed by the broker, so you will have complete anonymity and protection at all times.

Use an Escrow Service for Payment

If your negotiations have been successful and you’ve been able to strike a deal with the domain owner, the last part of the process is paying for the domain. This is where the greatest risk lies in the transaction process and traditional payment methods like a credit card or PayPal can open you up to fraud or other security issues.

The best possible method for transferring your payment is with an escrow service.

This is because your payment is taken and held securely by a trustworthy third party and is only released when the transaction has successfully taken place.

Reputable domain brokers utilize an escrow service for all their sales transactions and will ensure that the domain is successfully transferred over to your name – otherwise, the seller will not receive their money!

Using a domain broker will also ensure that you actually receive the premium domain you are purchasing as there is no guarantee that the domain owner you contact will hand all paperwork and login details over to you after the purchase.

Start Negotiations on Your Perfect Domain

The process of researching, reaching out, and negotiating the purchase of a domain is more time consuming than buying one that is available or listed on a marketplace, but creates an opportunity for you to get the domain name you exactly want. With your new domain you can then begin focusing on your long term goals of turning that domain name into a successful online presence.

When you’re ready to begin negotiating for your perfect domain, enlist in the helpful services of an experienced and qualified domain broker who can help you navigate the process and ensure a smooth and problem-free transfer of domain ownership.

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