Here’s a hint that you’re dealing with Microsoft (or another big company).
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has snapped up more generic domain names, this time buying SearchPerks.com from a California man to promote its “search sweepstakes”. In May Microsoft bought Cashback.com, although it hasn’t promoted the domain for its cashback search program.
Try as I might, I haven’t been able to get details about the CashBack.com deal nor the latest deal, despite interviewing Microsoft and reaching out to the sellers. But based on my analysis of the historical whois records and cold responses from the sellers, here’s what I believe happens when Microsoft wants to buy a domain from you:
1. Someone calls/e-mails inquiring about the domain. This person doesn’t identify that they work for Microsoft. Indeed, perhaps it is an outside broker or someone who isn’t directly employed by the company.
2. Agree on price, with condition that you must sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement. It’s unclear if you are requested to sign the NDA before negotiating price or after. The NDA may include the broker’s name rather than Microsoft. This is the key point: if you’re asked to sign an NDA, you’re probably dealing with someone with deep pockets. Microsoft (or the broker) may agree on a price and then request that you sign an NDA. That seems sneaky, since I’d want to know about the NDA as a condition of sale. But perhaps the NDA discussion happens up front.
3. Domain gets transferred to broker or a Microsoft employee using a non-Microsoft e-mail address (even a (gasp!) gmail address), and then it’s transferred to Microsoft.
Emil @KING.NET says
I sold domain with them. Yes under NDA agreement.
Tom Clowes says
“(even a (gasp!) gmail address)” LOL
I think it is important that at any point during a negotiation with someone you dont really know the words NDA should set off alarm bells.
Another trick per se. If the offer is $xx,xxx I would consider it a big sale… Say to the offerer ‘What is your intended use?’ and get it as part of a contract.
The idea being they essentially have to tell you that they are microsoft OR no deal..
If you do this at the start of negotiations, then you can maximize your sale.
Tom, what if they dont buy? And you know that you wont get another offer like that for a long time if ever? You talking rational, lets see 40k been shown to you for your domain name, i want to see you with that cool. Unless you already made it, you wont be talking like that. So lets not “Say to the offerer ‘What is your intended use?’ and get it as part of a contract.” because if they say i dont want it to be part of the contract, will you really insist or will you take the money? Most people will take the money.
J.R. Jackson says
I sold a domain last year for a ‘solid 6-figure’ amount. While we did not have to sign a NDA agreement we did agree ‘verbally’ not to disclose the sale price.
I will tell you it is not difficult to ‘keep your cool’ as long as the domain name is good. I had been receiving offers for years of $25-$50k.
Rob Sequin says
Good article. We would all love to get a call or email from someone saying “Hi, this is Microsoft and we want to buy your domain.” but that’s not going to happen.
I would like to know how Rick Schwarz got $750k from CNN for ireport.com though.
Andrew, maybe he would tell you if you asked.
As a domain buyer broker I can add a few comments here.
I’ve done my share of very large purchases for corporations, investors and entreprenuers.
1. NDA is mentioned but I have never signed one nor have I had to have the buyer or seller sign one. The parties just understand and respect each other. Plus, NDAs can be VERY complicated AND hard to enforce so just negotiating a NDA could be a challenge in itself.
2. Sellers very rarely ask me if I am a broker and I don’t feel obligated to offer that information. Sometimes people will ask me “What are you going to do with the domain?” and that answer will vary. I usually deflect the question because it’s really none of their business. Would you share your ideas, intentions or business model with someone you are negotiating with?
Some sellers want to put a resale restriction and I will not agree to that. Would you agree not to resell your house for more money?
If you think Microsoft is the buyer then set a high price. Simple as that really.
My advice, read some negotiation books and work hard for your best deal. You’ll be amazed how much you will learn from negotiation books.
The best way to get the best deal is to act like a seasoned negotiator and avoid newbie negotiation questions.
“Some sellers want to put a resale restriction”.
First time I see this. It’s crazy.
Stephen Douglas says
Research every buyer who asks about your domain unsolicited. Do a google search on their email address. Go search the email address’s domain name. Search IP location on email. Search name of person asking for a price. (use quotes on the full name, and then put “domain” outside the quotes to limit results).
It’s not unprofessional nor suspicious for a seller to ask for the buyer’s full contact information before the seller replies to a price request. It’s based in “I don’t want to waste my time with you if you aren’t qualified to play in my ballpark”. Once you get the full contact info, then do your research. If you don’t get full contact info, then raise the red flags and send out more spies.
Rob says negotiation books are good, I agree. Learn how to understand the process.
Most of all, know the MINIMUM value of your domain, which is the lowest price you’ll accept without kicking yourself or collapsing under the weight of your “seller’s remorse” tears.
Outstanding and interesting information. It’s because of terrific insightful posts like this that I stop here at Domainnamewire.com.
This is as good as it gets.
J.R. Jackson says
I have already posted a comment on this post but I wanted to post one more.
Back in 2001 or 2002 I was approached by a long-distance company and they wanted to purchase a domain I own – foreverfree.com – their offer was $225,000 and I could barely contain my enthusiasm.
Being a sales person I know everything in life has to be negotiated so I made a counter offer and eventually lost the sale. They ended up buying a different domain.
I’m now offering the domain to the highest bidder. So yes you have to negotiate but like Stephen said above, “know the minimum value of your domain” and if a whale comes a long jump all over it.
PS I have sold 9 domains already today – woohoo!!!
Emil @KING.NET says
I have a similar offer for freeonly.com domain name close to your price though when I ask for business information. He/she never reply.
I guess a bogus offer.
J.R. Jackson says
The ones I hate are the ‘fake’ offers where they require you to get an appraisal before their ready to ‘seal the deal.’
Bashkim Krasniqi says
I only registered my name last month and with weeks I received a phone call from go daddy.com Telling me that someone wanted to buy my name. I was so surprised when I received the phone call from them. I know it is a very good name but I never thought I would receive a phone call in a matter of days.
Rob Martin says
I’ve had some luck over the years but would like the same kind of hit that Mr. Schwarz got.
I recently sold HOT2GO.com and a few years back my best was AUTOPAGER.com . Both however came in under 10,000. Lately however, I bought allot of really good. make sense .com’s and am getting into it more. The thing is, it’s like skeet shooting. Gotta be on target when marketing these. Lot’s of work to do it but still rewarding. Lightning can strike with companies like Microsoft & Google. It does happen. I am hoping it happens to me a whole bunch! lol.
Can one actually register a domain with “Microsoft” in the title?
I would like to sell my domains to Microsoft. How can I find the contact person? do I need to go through a broker or I can do it myself?