How I Find Out Who Is Emailing Me to Buy a Domain Name | DomainInvesting.com
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How I Find Out Who Is Emailing Me to Buy a Domain Name

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Knowing who you are negotiating with is very important when it comes to domain name sales. Although someone would probably be happy to sell a domain name for the price he or she asks, I am sure you would likely be disappointed to learn that a huge company bought it without revealing themselves, even the price you received was the highest they were willing to pay.

In light of yesterday’s article about Facebook buying a domain name apparently in a covert manner, I want to give you a few strategies I use to try and find out who is inquiring about my domain names, assuming it’s not a poor college student working on a thesis or a work at home mom wanting to start a website with no budget.

First thing I do is some research on the name of the person who sent the email. Oftentimes, the buyer uses a fake name, so the signed name doesn’t always help. You can use sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to do your due diligence and see where the person works if they use their real information. You should also review the Whois information for the domain name from which the email is sent if it’s not a public service like GMail, AOL, or Hotmail.

The next thing you can search is the IP address from which the email came. This generally isn’t very helpful because there is limited information available, but you can compare it to other IP ranges on past emails for the same domain name. If you have received emails from different people at the same IP, you can at least know they are connected.

If this fails, you can search other domain registrations, the US Patent and Trademark Office, and general Google searches for the term used in the domain name. This may reveal who would be interested in buying the name so you can narrow it down.

One very good way to find out who is inquiring is to ask for a phone number. Whether you are comfortable negotiating on the phone or not is up to you, but you can research the phone number ownership on a site like WhitePages.com. Additionally, if it’s a small or medium sized business and the owner gives you his or her number, you might get a match when searching Google, and the business filings with phone number is listed.

Finally, the most important thing is to price domain names at what you want to sell them for and don’t go below a number you are comfortable with unless necessary. You should also not back out of a deal you make if you find out the buyer is a big company. Not only does that create a legal liability, but it also is unethical.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (29)

    Rob Sequin

    Also, the sooner they say they want the domain for personal use, the more they are lying.

    Right. Put a price on it and sell it or take the Rick Schwartz approach and tell them to F off and make them chase you.

    The more persistent they are the more money they have to buy the domain.

    Find related domains here

    http://domain-search.domaintools.com/

    Search for singular, plural, dashed version, .co.uk etc.

    Also search google for keyword results and see who’s advertising for that term.

    Wow. I should charge for that info :-)

    December 20th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Elliot

    @ Rob

    Good advice. You can also search Google for “domainname.com” with the name of your domain name to see if other companies are using something similar. You can also search Google by using inurl:”domainname” to see that as well.

    December 20th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    James

    I had a someone contact me out of the blue about a month ago. I googled his email address and found he was part of Melbourne ICT – only because of an old Whois record – showing he was once the admin contact for Woolworths.com.

    I got the price I wanted. But I think it’s definitely important to do background checks on the buyer – you may end up kicking yourself if you don’t.

    December 20th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    landon white

    One Price Fits all …

    Never have kicked myself, stories are for Bed Time!

    December 20th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Adam

    If someone wants to be in stealth, they’ll just read this as a manual on how to be stealthier :)

    December 20th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Elliot

    @ Adam

    If they are reading this domain blog, chances are good that they already know how to be stealthy.

    December 20th, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    t

    Hello Elliot, I wanted to sell a name I own and was wondering if you’d be interested in Brokering it, Or if you knew someone trustworthy and competent that would. I apologize as I realize this may be inappropriate to post here, But I have too may problems with my email accounts and selfishly this is way more convenient. If you don’t see value you can just disregard this. The domain name is AdultInternet.org . Thank You

    December 20th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Adam

    true but not necessarily stealthier though :)

    December 20th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Elliot

    @ t

    Sorry, I am not a domain broker, but here are a few people who may be able to help:

    http://www.domaininvesting.com/work-with-a-domain-broker-1024

    December 20th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Elliot

    Well, above all else, keep this in mind:

    “Finally, the most important thing is to price domain names at what you want to sell them for and don’t go below a number you are comfortable with unless necessary.”

    December 20th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Domain Report

    Asking the potential buyer for their phone number to discuss the deal is a really good idea. If they are trying to be sneaky they probably won’t want to do this. Or, you can tell a lot of things by how they talk or their tone.

    December 20th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Leonard Britt

    While most of us want to sell at what we perceive to be end user prices, some companies will still balk if you shoot for the sky. Unless you are sitting on the prime industry .COM keyword, the more one asks for a domain, the more available alternatives a potential buyer can potentially consider. Most domainers don’t have Travel.com, Cars.com, Fitness.com, Dating.com equivalents so IMO one should appreciate a potential buyer rather than tell them to…. If you tried to make a reservation at a nice hotel and they treated you like who cares, would you still book the reservation or look elsewhere?

    December 20th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    WQ

    If you can’t figure out who they are screw it. Ask for a crazy amount of money right out the gate anyways.

    You won’t get big money if you don’t ask for big money.
    If you ask for $1,000 you might get $1,000. If you ask for $80,000, you might get much more than $1,000.

    If you are willing to sell for $2,000 ask for $80,000 (or shoot crazy higher).

    Get crazy with it…at least in round 1.

    I just gave this advice to a friend who sold a domain he would have let go for $2,000 for $90,000.

    Hey, it happens…look at iReport.com…Rick got crazy with it on his asking price.

    December 21st, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Poor Uncle

    Why would it matter that much who is inquiring your domain name if you had a set price you are willing to sell?

    I thought you are running a business of selling domain names. You aren’t running a charity, so you wouldn’t sell it to a “working at home” mom for less than what you thing it is worth. By the same token, you are not in the business of price gouging, so you wouldn’t hold a domain name hostage for a king’s ransom because you found out the inquirer has a billion dollar in his bank account, would you?

    December 21st, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Anders Olofsson

    Think of it this way. A guy with a lot of money wants your family heirlooms. Some jewels or whatever. He wants them bad. You wouldn´t sell at any price, right? But when the numbers start rising – you think again…

    Valuation is void when the demand gets infinite.

    Unfortunately, not very common…

    December 21st, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Anders Olofsson

    Domainnames are all unique you know. One of a kind. This is not selling cars, or vacuum cleaners.

    More like the money under the table for that precious location on high street. Or the extra cash some people pay to get the best lawyer, cheese, wine, anything. The villa on the beach.

    Domain prices should always be negotiated. If the negotiations land in a sale, all is well.

    December 21st, 2010 at 9:47 am

    BFitz

    Remember these types of posts in 2011 when everyone is complaining about not being treated as a professional industry. If domains are like real estate then list a price and except an offer. If you had a house for sale at $10M and Bill Gates walked in to buy it, would you then double the price?

    December 21st, 2010 at 9:54 am

    BFitz

    Remember these types of posts in 2011 when everyone is complaining about not being treated as a professional industry. If domains are like real estate then list a price and except or reject an offer. If you had a house for sale at $10M and Bill Gates walked in to buy it, would you then double the price? Seven years ago I offered $3K for a 4 letter .com with a z in it. The owner asked me why I wanted it and I told him. He tripled the price. I made a generous offer, so I walked away. That domain still sits and the owner regularly posts about how domainers are treated unfairly by businesses. That domain would not fetch $500 on DNForum or any industry site and the business I wanted it for has thrived just fine without it.
    Who really doesn’t get it…

    December 21st, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Stephen Douglas_TitleDomains.com

    @ Rob, of course you should charge for that info, you’re a domain consultant. El makes a lot of money giving his input/and ours away for free because of the traffic he receives for all the ads he features.

    Regardless, here’s my freebie Xmas gift for El, although it probably will be the last without some recompense:

    You can back out of any domain sale discussion if you present a price without the phrase, “or best offer”, and the interested party replies with a lowball counter-offer. They didn’t meet your price, so you can walk.

    December 21st, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Stephen Douglas_TitleDomains.com

    Oh, I forgot. There are several other very simple ways to identify who’s behind the email offers on your domains, but I’m not doing a Rob Sequin freebie on that answer! That’s what professional domain consultants are for.

    December 21st, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Anon

    I wouldn’t pay a ‘domain consultant’ a dime for the information presented herein. It’s all pretty obvious stuff. Heck, with just their name and city (typically included in the email signature of any person who you’d want to do any business with) you can find out the person’s birth records, divorce filings, and more by subscribing to Ancestry.com and you can find out their home value and past legal proceedings — including civil judgments for unpaid bills — at most county government websites these days. It’s more work and might cost a little money but you get what you pay for if it means thousands of dollars more in your bank account when the deal closes. After a few failed business deals, I’ve learned to always do a formal background check on any potential business partners BEFORE the deal is done. After the deal is done, it’s too late. Although partnering with a partner is different than selling a domain name to a buyer, the more information you can gather on the buyer, the greater power you have in the negotiations — price and terms — to make the deal work more favorably for you.

    December 21st, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Rusty

    Do you guys ever have problems with people submitting offers, you accepting their offers, and then never hearing back from them? At AddDomainNames.com we often get lots of offers that never pan out. We sell a lot of domains but it seems that only about 10% of the offers that come in are legit.

    December 21st, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Bob

    @rusty over here at domainnameblogspammer.com we never have people back out of deals.

    December 22nd, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Sean Patrick

    Here’s an email exchange I got that I found pretty comical. I’m going to start the thread off from the start, enjoy! Oh and while I can’t disclose the domain he was trying to acquire suffice it to say it’s a .org that’s worth mid six figures. The .com is worth $10M easily.

    On Dec 17, 2010, at 2:32 PM, —– ——- wrote:

    Hi Sean,
    I’m looking to add a financial domain to my list of .org websites. Would you be interested in selling ———-.org?

    Thanks,
    ——

    On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 2:39 PM, Sean Patrick wrote:

    Feel free to make an offer but we have plans for the domain. I seriously doubt my partners would consider selling.

    Thanks,

    Sean

    On Dec 17, 2010, at 3:09 PM, _______ wrote:

    I am heavy into SEO and building information web sites for the public. Since it is a .org TLD I would not be selling anything on it, just educating the public and offering advertising to ——— related businesses to pay for hosting and maintenance. I’d probably layer in a blog and other social media channels into the site. I’d go no higher than $2500 for it. If it were a .com you could get a pile for it (add a zero or two to that).

    On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 5:02 PM, Sean Patrick wrote:

    Dude that’s a classic “I’m not going to make money off this” approach email. Lol. Public education site. Too funny.
    Can you give me some examples of your altruistic non-profit .org information sites?

    Don’t get upset with my finding humor in this, I understand the approach. But my email is________. That should give you some kind of indication that I’m aware of how internet advertising works and domain values as well. I just don’t see you closing a lot of deals with that low ball offer and ridiculous story.

    If you can get ______ to sell _________.com for $2.5M let alone $250k let me know. I’ll buy it and give you a 10% finders fee!

    You just want to earn enough to cover the hosting and maintenance, lol!! Classic. Thanks man, that’s the best line I’ve heard in a while. It’s an oldie but always a classic.

    Happy Holidays,

    Sean Patrick

    On Dec 17, 2010, at 5:22 PM, wrote:

    it was worth a try :) it worked for me twice this year. you never know what dumbasses are still out there unless you ask. I do own a few .orgs that i do not sell anything on but the adsense revenue is almost enough to live on comfortably (and pay the upkeep :))

    >

    THE END : )

    In any event these types of exchanges always make me laugh. And the guy was a good sport about me calling him out too.

    On a more serious note there’s a difference between holding out for some huge exit that will never come and selling off an undeveloped domain for a good ROI. We can all speculate and ponder what “X” domain might be worth if developed. Everyone wants to be the next CarInsurance.com but the reality is that they are real businesses and those things don’t build themselves from hopes and dreams.

    CarInsurance.com was earning somewhere around $9M a year developed with one of the best examples of an effective SEO plan. The site gets massive traffic, and trust me 95% of it is not from type-ins. But they spent a ton of money on well written content, not $5 or $10 500 word articles and lots of money on linking as well.

    iReport.com is the equivalent of the guy with a metal detector who finds a 100lbs of gold nuggets in his back yard. It happens but very very rarely. What Rick has been able to do over the years is certainly admirable, his success has been in a word “prolific”, but it is not without missed opportunities. More importantly it is most certainly not a business model that 98% of the other domain owners out there can afford to emulate.

    Don’t aspire to be someone waiting for lightning to strike, aspire to be one who profits from selling names well, building out domains and selling a real business for a serious multiple.

    December 22nd, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Stephen Douglas_TitleDomains.com

    @ Anon – yeah, don’t pay a consultant if you have more full-time years in the game than they do. I’m not talking about consulting for “finding out who people are” because that’s easy.

    I’m talking about domain consultants who help you make money with your domains because their are 20 paths to monetizing for every domain.

    To find out more, I’ve found that “domaininvesting.com’ provides beginning and advanced domainer students with lots of very valuable info.

    Some sites address deeper possibilities, like Tiawood.com, and Successclick.com. There are probably ten more domainer sites out there that can provide all the info you need for a “jungle guide” of domain investing.

    Maybe much of what you learn is exciting because you did your own research and found the right people to contact for assistance, even if you have to pay them, is the right road for you financial success in domain investing.

    December 22nd, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Rusty

    Bob, I don’t understand your comment. I asked a valid question relevant to the post. We get more fake offers than real offers. This blog post is all about getting to know the person who makes the offers. But if I spent time digging up info for the 90% of fake offers we have coming in it would be a big waste of time for me.

    December 22nd, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    mike

    I have received a few enquiries recently. If it’s an email to my gmail account what would I need to do to see the IP address?

    Thanks,

    Mike

    December 22nd, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Domainer

    http://www.IPinMyPants.Com

    Enjoy, it’s free.

    January 1st, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    catrece mcmath

    How can you find out who is emailing you?

    May 20th, 2011 at 4:01 am

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