A must-read guide about acquiring domain names.
Giuseppe Graziano has published an excellent guide about how to buy a domain name. He promised, “Even if you are an industry pro, I promise you will learn at least a couple of strategies that can save you thousands of dollars when negotiating your next domain name.”
He delivered. I learned about several resources and strategies while reading his post.
After you read his post, here are a couple additional points I’d like to make.
Pick up the phone and call. Or send a snail mail.
If you can’t get an email response, take an old-fashioned approach. I recently helped someone who was interested in acquiring a domain. Calling the domain owner helped in two ways:
1. He would have ignored my email because he said he gets lots of email about the domain. He literally said, “I’m glad you called me, because if you sent an email, I would have ignored it.”
2. There was a little bit of history between the company and the domain owner that created bad will. Talking to someone allows you to diffuse negative feelings better email communication.
In one recent acquisition I did for a company, I was unable to get a response to both my emails and phone calls. So I sent a letter. Nothing fancy — just a first class letter in the mail. I received a return phone call within 3 days and acquired the domain name.
What’s a brandable?
Giuseppe explains that a brandable domain is basically something made up, or that doesn’t mean anything before the company uses it.
That’s one type of brandable domain, for sure. But it can also be a dictionary word that has more value as a brand than for its true meaning. For example, Embrace.com.
The buyer of Embrace.com is not likely to be someone who sells hugs. It’s someone who appreciates the dictionary connotation of “embrace”, but will use it for something else.
Amazon is a place. But for Amazon.com, it was a brandable domain.
Let time be your friend.
Giuseppe discusses this, but I can provide a couple examples.
If you don’t need the domain now, letting a negotiation lag can ultimately let you buy it at a good price.
Many years ago I entered into negotiations to buy a domain name. The seller wanted $20,000. I thought the domain was worth that much retail, but I didn’t want to pay that much as an investment. He came down a bit, but not enough. Until one day — literally a couple years later — he needed cash and sold it to me for just $3,000. I subsequently sold it for close to $20,000.
In another case, I helped a friend acquire a website. The seller wanted more money than my friend could pay at the time. I kept in friendly communication with the owner, and asked him to keep us in mind if circumstances change. A year or two later, the owner was tired of running the site and was going to work full-time on another business. He sold the site for about half his lowest previous offer.