1. Check to see if the domain is already priced. GoDaddy, Afternic, Sedo, and the seller’s website are good places to start. This may help you determine a good offer price and at the very least, it will keep you from offering more than the seller is asking. Regardless of any prices you find, be aware that they may be outdated or from the previous owner who could have forgotten to take down the listing(s).
2. Take the commission off the top. When a domain is listed for sale at a domain marketplace, the owner typically gets charged a fee of between 10-30% on a sale. If the owner was going to net 7k on a 10k sale, they may have accepted the same price for a direct purchase, saving you 3k. Not all marketplaces can be circumvented due to exclusive listing agreements and some shouldn’t be (if you heard about the domain because of them). Also, don’t forget that the seller will spend more time dealing with a direct purchase. Take that into consideration when you make your offer.
3. Start with a strong offer but not your best. Don’t insult the seller with a lowball offer but also understand that you can always increase your offer as long as the domain remains for sale. If the seller has a set minimum offer, start there but don’t automatically expect that you will be able to acquire the domain at that price. Minimum offers help both the buyer and the seller avoid wasting time and are more of a starting point to begin a negotiation. They are commonly used as there are still many people who believe they can purchase just about any domain for nearly the same price as an unregistered domain.
4. Research any previous prices. If you are able to find it, knowing what was paid for a domain in the past can help you come up with an appropriate offer amount. Some publically reported sales prices can be found at DNJournal.com or NameBio.com. You may be able to close a sale by offering an amount which would give the seller a small profit. Maybe they’ve had the domain for a long time or they decided not to use it and they’re willing to take a loss. You won’t know unless you ask.
5. Don’t mask who you are and be courteous. Trying to remain anonymous behind a free email account or by providing false information will only hurt your chances of getting a response. It’s not uncommon for large domain portfolio holders to get hundreds of emails per day. Lead off with the right foot by being honest, professional, and polite in your correspondence. If you are worried that the seller will increase their price if they find out who you are, use a domain buying service to help negotiate the deal.
6. Offer a quick and hassle free transaction. Have you purchased domains in the aftermarket before? Mention that you will expedite the payment and the transfer of the domain on your end.
7. Notify the seller of your intended use if it’s fairly small in scale. It will help you stand out from the crowd and it will also help the seller realize that you are a real person with a real budget. This can be especially beneficial when a domain will be used for something that can appeal to the sellers interests or goodwill. While the “I want to use the domain for a charity” email is a common approach, if that really is your intended use and you can back that up (already using the .org?), it just may help you get a better price.
8. Don’t be 100% set on one domain. Have one or two other domain options in mind and be prepared to move on if necessary. If your second choice domain has a published price that is much lower, let the seller know. If they want to get a deal closed they may match or beat it.
9. Give your highest and best offer. If you are truly not willing to go any higher, let them know. As politely as possible, explain that your offer will stand for a set number of days should they change their mind and then move on to the next domain.
10. Use a broker. If you don’t feel comfortable enough with the ins and outs of the domain industry, hire a broker. A good broker knows the methods that will help you get a better price and can help you determine an appropriate offer amount.
Bonus 1. Research the seller. Does the seller have a history of only selling for prices that far exceed your budget? Do they own 50 domains or 50,000? The more you know, the better.
Bonus 2. Research prior use of the domain using the Internet Archive.A ‘For Sale’ page may have existed at one point which may help you determine an approximate price that was paid or any previous asking prices for the domain.
* Not all domain prices are negotiable. Domain sellers can be unrealistic and/or irrational, or they can be completely professional and fair. These tips may help with reasonable sellers.
Still unable to get a better price? Here are 10 of the most common reasons why your offer WON’T be accepted.