What Do You Think of This Domain Sales Tactic? | DomainInvesting.com

What Do You Think of This Domain Sales Tactic?

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In the midst of a private negotiation about a domain name I wanted to buy, I received an email from the domain owner. Instead of picking up where we left off, it was a brand new email addressed to more than one person. The email explained that all recipients had inquired about the domain name and we could all reply with our best offer.

It’s an interesting tactic, sort of similar to an auction, but instead of dealing in private, the seller chose to make it more public. With email addresses exposed, all recipients could see who the other potential buyers were, possibly sizing up their spending capabilities and possibly revealing future plans.

I’ve inquired about thousands of domain names in private over the years, and this has only happened to me a couple of times. One time the recipients were BCC’d and the other time the recipients were simply CC’d.

When I received the emails it annoyed me enough to not even reply. I figured that if I beat some of the end users on the email, I would be overpaying. I also didn’t want to make my purchase public, as I thought I was dealing with a private negotiation.

What do you think of this domain name sales tactic?


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 (34)

    Matt

    All is fair in love and war.

    Domaining is WAR.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Scott Neuman

    Business as usual. I don’t take these things personally and in fact, you knocked yourself out of the bidding.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      Uzoma

      I gave Scott’s comment a “like”.

      January 23rd, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Elliot Silver

      The whole point of the like button is that you don’t have to post that you like something 😉

      January 23rd, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Uzoma

      It’s anonymous, so I wanted to indicate my position, and a save a couple of bandwidths.

      January 23rd, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Braden Pollock

      I like that Uzoma didn’t use the like button. Way to march to your own drummer. Power to the people!
      (I need a ‘fist in the air’ icon right about now)

      January 23rd, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Adam

    I personally like that strategy, just like a home sale where there are multiple offers. Send your highest.

    I think including the emails of other potential buyers makes it trustworthy. If a seller just tells me “we have many people interested in the name right now ” I tend to roll my eyes lol. Without seeing the other parties I tend to think the seller is just playing games.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Elliot Silver

    Interestingly, nobody replied to the email CCing everone.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      Meyer

      “nobody replied”

      If the other buyers were interested, do you really think they would let you know what they were offering?

      (I realize you said it in jest.)

      January 23rd, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Steve

    Interesting tactic… did the letter say you had to reply with your best price AND CC: EVERYBODY? Or, just reply with your price to the domain owner?

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Bob

    I like this strategy, you make the highest bid you are prepared to make to win it, buyer gets it for a price they were obviously willing to pay and seller gets best market price.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Sonia Doubet

    I like it! I think I will give it a try, but will keep the emails bcc’d to respect the privacy of the bidders.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Elliot Silver

      One of the benefits I assume is that CCing shows other companies that are interested, which may create more urgency for buyers.

      January 23rd, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Tom

    I think it’s bad business. If it was a private negotiation then seller should have respected that. Does this make you trust the seller more or less? What are the chances that you would engage in negotiations for other domains with this seller knowing this tactic could be used against you? Just a slimey way of doing business in my opinion.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Chris

    I personally think it is unprofessional to share everyones emails and would definitely be turned off by such a tactic if I were in negotiations to buy it. It is one thing for you to make an offer and then the seller proposes a sort of mini-auction to the highest bidder but if you are in the midst of a serious back and forth negotiation it seems very hack to me.

    There are many better ways to handle this IMO.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Domain Shane

    I have done this several times. It cuts to the chase and lets the other offers know that I’m not bullshitting and I have other offers. I have received this twice and emailed the other persons to see if they really were interested in the names. Both times the answer was yes. Silly to get out because you don’t like the “style”. East coast people act so tough but are so fragile when the competition heats up :)Look at the Knicks

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Bernard

    It’s fair, but when you do this, you run the risk of pissing off an interested buyer who doesn’t appreciate such tactics. (Such as in your case). However, this risk can be mitigated by the fact that you’ve motivated the rest to submit ‘serious’ offers and you might close the deal faster.

    If you’ve had a lot of genuine offers for a name, this method might be more effective than your standard ‘blind’ negotiations.

    Different strokes for different folks!

    PS. Aren’t you glad you sold AAPL when you did??? :)

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Yep… I did pretty okay with it :)

      Still like the company though.

      January 23rd, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Michael Carter

    I don’t object to the idea of gauging serious interest in the name – however, the process used by the seller is bad business – bcc is the way to go w/ the seller stating that there are “x” interested parties, submit best and final – sharing email addresses w/ others is bush

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Ron

    The people who do this strategy usually feel their domain is worth more, they want to sell, but they feel a last ditch effort to reassure themselves they did not leave any money on the table.

    Majority of the time it does not work, as past inquirees probably were out the minute he quoted them a price.

    Say you offer him $10k, he could come back and says he got an offer of $12K, happens on DNFORUM all the time with bs got a offer in private sort of stuff… then it is basically calling his bluff…

    Can’t blame him for trying though, if he is a non domain investor, he probably hears tidbits of domains selling for his huge amount etc… and wants a piece of that pie…

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Elliot Silver

      This person is not a domain investor to my knowledge.

      January 23rd, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Ron

      If you are after his domain, guessing it is half decent, so even if you own a handful of domains, 4 or 5, and someone comes knocking for one, your always wondering why, and looking to maximize your return against a $10 a year annual renewal.

      January 23rd, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      AB

      You mean ridiculous private offers on crappy domains are fake?

      I am Shocked

      January 24th, 2013 at 10:02 am

    JP

    I think really lame that this guy shared your email address.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    todd

    Come on guys, No other buyers existed. All of the emails were fake or just random ones he’s accumulated over time. He did this to put a fire under your ass to buy the name and acted like you have the possibility to lose it if you don’t react right away with your best possible price. Don’t take it in an offensive way but he basically played you.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Was easy to search Google and find out who the other people were based on email addresses. I didn’t get played. I decided not to up my offer and moved on like I do with countless other names I try to buy.

      January 23rd, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    @Domains

    I don’t think there is a problem with this except sharing the emails. Though if you don’t see the other emails the seller could be bluffing about other potential buyers.

    Bottom line is you have to know your max offer price and be comfortable with it. So be it if someone else wants the domain more. In this case, you say you left your offer the same. Maybe it’s still the highest one, or the others might back out. You may still end up with the domain.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      AB

      I use this all the time with the “got $Xxxx offer via PM” crap

      I usually reply with…”Well, if your high $Xxxx offer from a mystery buyer falls through, my $Xxx offer still stands”

      January 24th, 2013 at 10:04 am

    M. Menius

    It’s a poor practice and unprofessional. Sadly, some people don’t like to consider the ethical implications of their business dealings. Operating this way sours the negotiation. He exploited someone’s genuine interest and made public something that was clearly intended to be a private negotiation.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Larry

    Curious if the people that were cc’d are gmail accounts or people that could be found as being real. (john.jones@marketproducexyz.com etc.)

    Actually it would be fairly simple to make up a bunch of domains and appear to be mailing interested buyers when in fact you actually control all the email accounts. Wouldn’t be to hard to do this. They don’t all have to be gmails either.

    January 23rd, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Howard Crosby

    I think it’s rude, bad manners. It has a hint of desperation. The negotiation was private and should have been kept that way.

    January 24th, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Bruce Diller

    Very interesting.

    In the diamond business when I have an interest in an item being auctioned many times, multiple people who have an interest will agree to buy it low as group (rather than bid against each other) and when the item is won by the group we THEN have a knock out auction among ourselves.
    The auction houses lose out on 20% commission and usually the owner gets it for less.

    Perhaps answer the email to ALL and suggest you all buy it as a group and offer LESS than your last bid.

    January 24th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Matt

    Did the domain sell in the end?

    January 29th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

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