Making a Reasonable Offer for a Domain Name |
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Making a Reasonable Offer for a Domain Name


Usually when I want a domain name, I place a value on it to my portfolio, and I make the owner an offer that is within my value range. While I may end up paying more than I could have paid, it virtually guarantees that I will receive a response. These days, it is difficult to pay too much for a great category killer generic domain name. There are so few available for sale, the prices continue to rise.

Domain owners receive dozens of emails for their valuable domain names daily, weekly or yearly. For the most part, unless it isn’t a top tier name, chances are very good that your offer isn’t the first, nor the last offer that will be made on a particular name. If you send a lowball offer, the owner will likely delete it like all the others – or send you an email telling you to get lost (or some unprintable variation of “get lost”). If you make a reasonable offer, you are much more likely to get a favorable (or at least some sort of) response.

I know there are many people out there who would tell me they bought a great name for a tenth of the value simply by making a low offer for it. Well, I think that is mostly due to lucky timing, and it certainly doesn’t happen often – especially with software that allows people to send out massive amounts of inquiry emails. If you have no idea how much a domain name is worth to you, then it probably isn’t advisable to even be making offers until market research is done.

From my own experience, if you want to acquire a name that you believe is worth $20,000 – $30,000, you will have much more luck by offering close to $20,000 rather than $2,000. Most motivated domain owners would probably thank me for the offer, and ask me to increase it, assuming that if I start there, I am willing to go higher. My approach is to either increase the offer just a bit (if I have room) or tell the owner that’s my final offer – and I stick to it. If the domain owner is inclined to sell for that price but wanted to see if I was willing to offer more, he will probably accept my offer, lest he regret declining a fair offer. Owners want to receive the most for their names, but most won’t turn down a reasonable offer if he knows its the best he will get.

I know there are plenty of stories to counter this strategy, but as more people enter the industry, the more important it is to make your first offer an impressive offer. You should get a better response rate and end up owning better domain names. You may pay more, but you will close more deals.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of 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 Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (8)

    Greg Nelson

    Great advice Elliot, and I firmly agree. What I have found is if you want an ultrapremium domain, $50,000 seems to get a response, even if it is a flat “NO” because the domain owners at least knows you understood there was some value. This month, I made a $50,000 offer on a geo domain and the owner was kind enough to reply with a “we should talk to see if it makes sense to talk anymore”. So, we spoke and he mentioned 5-10x would have had him interested…not actually out of being realistic.

    I can back with $100,000 and then $170,000. At $100,000 he did not reply, and it was more of a “just keep us in teh back of your mind inquiry” anyway, but at $170,000 he replied again and then I got a real range he would sell. It was even higher $500,000 – $1 million, but at least I knew exactly the range the deal stood at and I could leave it as finalized – no sale to me.

    In another instance, I offered $50,000 for a different geo domain and it was accepted. I was thrilled, the seller was thrilled, it was a great deal for all.

    I guess I agree it makes sense to offer solid valuations on domains you would like for the final value is somewhat arbitrary anyway.

    So, right now my interest is in niche product domains. Recent sales like and – which ranged from $6,000 – $12,000. Also at domainfest, looked like a nice buy. If you own any of those type domains and the range interests you…let’s talk.

    January 26th, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Peter Davis

    Well, that all makes sense Eliot, but the thing you left out is how you determine that a domain is worth $20,000 to start with. There is no industry standard on domain valuation. Your $20,000 offer is as likely to offend a person who thinks his domain is worth $2,000,000 as it is to be accepted.


    That’s the million dollar question! I think I covered it before as a seller….

    January 26th, 2008 at 3:41 am

    Andrew Allemann

    Great post, Elliot.

    There might be some good chances to get low ball offers to work in the near future, though. Especially for people with just a handful of names. I think the financial markets and worries people have may get them to think twice about the risk of holding onto the name.

    But I agree — coming up with a fair offer and making it makes sense. You can’t lose!


    I was debating whether to say close to what you said. With the economy in flux, now might be a good buying opportunity for people with strong cash positions. There are many people struggling right now, and I think it will get worse before it gets better. Some people will need cash, and they will have to sell.

    January 26th, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    crinu iliescu

    There is a lot of pressure from live auction organizers to accept their deep low imposed reserve, but most of the names sell at the reserve price which artificially sets the “fair market price” for top domains. Most deals are private and both parties are hapier.

    Hey Greg N, check up with me at

    January 26th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Steve M.

    Greg; take a look at BoysJeans, CertifiedMotorcycles, FireSafeCigarettes, PainCream, PersonalVideoPlayers, Totables, and Glendora; all in the Snapnames Extended Auction.

    Shoot me an e-mail for a list of the others.

    January 26th, 2008 at 8:58 pm


    I’d start off with a separate email account and shooting off an email with the low ball $2,000 offer first. If there’s no bite, I’ll email from another account with the $20,000 offer the next month.

    January 27th, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Deron - CreationNation

    Heya Greg (sorry to post here Elliot),

    I tried contacting you at some emails and phone numbers listed on for-sale domains of yours (I think they’re yours) but none worked. If you’re interested, I have (2 pronged, water based barbells or look them up on Amazon, fountain type product).

    You can email me at if you’re interested.

    January 27th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Greg Nelson

    Thanks for the notes on the domains for sale. In an effort to make sure Elliot’s blog does not become a sales board, I will recind my inquiry at this time. Thanks.

    Just for closure –
    @ Deron – thanks but not interested
    @ Steve – pass for now, but I like – seems like some big container maker need this name. Has to be brandable if it is not already some form of brand.

    January 28th, 2008 at 12:23 am

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