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Buying Domain Names

When in Doubt, Call Former Owner


Performing due diligence is a critical step in buying a domain name. I never want to purchase a domain name that turns out to be stolen from a registrant, so it is important to me to do as much as I can to ensure a registrant is the rightful owner of a domain name.

I use a variety of tools to verify proper ownership, and the main tool I use is DomainTools' Whois History Tool. If there is ever a question in my mind about the ownership of a domain name I am interested in buying, I will try to contact a former owner to verify that the domain name was sold to the current owner.

Importantly, it is critical to ensure the correct owner is called. If the entity that owned the domain name sold it to someone else and the domain name was stolen from that person, the phone verification of a previous domain owner doesn't help. This is why I need to make sure I call the right person to not get a false sense of security.

When I make a phone call to a former domain registrant, (more…) → Read More

Not Always Great to Buy a Domain Name for Someone


The most difficult part of a domain deal is often the domain name transfer. This process can be especially frustrating when dealing with a buyer who is not all that experienced with domain name transfers and doesn't know how to facilitate one. This can be even more frustrating when the value of the deal is lower than usual.

The other day, I posted a poll asking people if they have ever given a domain name as a gift to someone. The majority of people who participated in the poll were like me and have bought a domain name for someone else as a gift. Sometimes, buying a domain name for someone else isn't such a great idea.

Nearly all of the time I have bought a domain name for someone, they have not taken possession of the domain name from me. Either they don't have the need for the domain name (yet), or they simply don't know enough about how to actually get the domain name. If I were to guess, most of these people have never even owned a domain name before and they wouldn't know how to open a registrar account and initiate an → Read More

Have You Given a Domain Name as a Gift?


There have been quite a few times I have bought domain names on behalf of friends or for friends and family. Most of the time, these domain names were hand registrations for people who recently had babies or for friends who started businesses.

The 101Domain blog has an article about giving domain names as gifts. For several of the gift giving occasions they cited, they recommended a new gTLD domain name. I think this could be a good option, especially when the desired .com is already taken and the new gTLD domain name can be bought inexpensively.

I am curious if you have ever bought a domain name for someone as a gift. Vote in the poll below and let us know if you bought a .com or one of the new domain names (or something else).

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Did You Register a .Blog Domain Name?


KKWT BlogThis morning as the .Blog general availability phase went live, I registered one .Blog domain name. Or so I thought. After receiving the order confirmation email, I checked the Whois, and someone else's name was listed as the registrant. Shortly thereafter, I received another email to let me know about the error and I am sure I will be refunded soon.

I own just a handful of new domain names (n.Holdings, n.Ventures, Elliot.Link, ElliotSilver.Link, Silver.Ventures, and maybe a couple of others I am forgetting about). My attempt to register this one .Blog domain name wasn't any strategic change for my business. It's more like taking a bit of a gamble for less than the cost of a hand of blackjack in Las Vegas. The domain name didn't get registered to me, but it's no big deal.

I checked quite a few other keyword .Blog domain names this morning, and most came back (more…) → Read More

Don’t Over-Negotiate a Good Deal


Knowing when to pull the trigger on a deal is not always easy. Most people want the best possible deal, and by trying to continue to negotiate after a fair offer is made, they may miss out on the opportunity if the other party pulls it.

Here's a comment from Mike Mann on Facebook yesterday afternoon after he gave what he deemed "a super duper low price" for a domain name his company owned and was motivated to sell:

"Live by the sword. People wanted to buy from me, I offered a super duper low price to get rid of it and move on, then they kept negotiating and being annoying, now its priced on the site tenfold."


If you visit now, you can see the price is listed at (more…) → Read More

Your Offer Might Spark an Interest in Selling


Here's something to keep in mind when making offers for domain names: your inquiry might make the domain owner consider actively marketing the domain name for sale.

In the last couple of months, I have made many purchase offers for domain names that were not on the market. On a few of these domain names, shortly after making my offers, the companies decided to seek out a domain broker to sell their domain names. The prices of these domain names were far above what I would pay, and as far as I know, none of these names I am thinking about have sold via broker.

When buying domain names, my strong preference is to make a deal privately. This generally allows me to purchase a domain name covertly, without the price reported publicly and without outside involvement from someone who might use this data to their advantage. When a broker (more…) → Read More

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