3 tools startup founders can use to negotiate a domain deal


When you’re trying to acquire a domain name for your startup there are two paths:

  1. Hire a domain broker to do it for you
  2. Take the time/energy to do it yourself

I’ll be the first to say there is no right answer here, in some cases a domain broker is the way to go, in other cases a founder might be a-okay doing it themselves. Here’s how I usually break it down. Buying a domain name, especially a big juicy one-word .COM can be a very time-consuming process, if you don’t have the time for the emails, phone calls, and all that goes into negotiating a domain purchase, hire a broker.

Not all brokers are created equal and I usually send fellow founders to one of two brokers – Igloo.com or MediaOptions.com as these are the two firms that I’ve worked with for years, know well, and most importantly, trust.

Like I said, brokers don’t make sense in all cases. I typically say if you’re buying a domain in the sub-$10,000 range you should probably do it yourself. If you do decide to buy a domain yourself there are three tools that I recommend to both save time and help give you an edge in your negotiations.

  1. DomainTools – while this is a paid tool it’s #1 for a reason. There is no better tool out there to research a domain name and get critical information like how many other domains they own, etc.
  2. NameBio – when you’re negotiating with anyone trying to buy anything, comps (i.e. comparable sales) are incredibly important to have. NameBio is a searchable database of domain sales which makes it easy to set realistic price expectations.
  3. Escrow.com – once you negotiate the deal there’s still the challenges and risks that come with paying for and transferring a domain name. I have been using Escrow.com since I started buying and selling domain names and I can tell you they are the gold standard when it comes to domain name escrow, accept no substitutes, seriously.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Eugene Fraxby September 9, 2016, 9:40 am

    Should be a fourth option with a tutorial teaching them how not to make lowball offers for domains 🙂

  • Tessa Holcomb September 9, 2016, 4:28 pm

    Thanks for the shoutout, Morgan! Another benefit to using a broker (and maybe even the most important one) is that it takes the emotion out of the equation allowing both parties to make impartial decisions throughout the process. Good stuff! 🙂

  • Joseph Peterson September 9, 2016, 7:13 pm

    “Not all brokers are created equal”

    I would never steer a buyer toward a broker who is paid by the seller. Nothing against my colleagues; but there’s an inherent conflict of interest. When you want a record-setting price, hire a seller’s broker.

  • satyadeep singh September 10, 2016, 5:20 am

    i am new in domain business how can i quick sell for my domain name?

    • Morgan September 11, 2016, 4:35 pm

      @Satyadeep – thanks for your comment, I’ve found the biggest confusion newcomers have to the domain name space is thinking that you can easily buy and quickly sell domains. Unless you have a very good eye for domain names it is likely that most of what you have bought is junk, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but more often than not this is where people get started.

      I would recommend getting advice from people on a forum like NamePros who can give you some open and honest feedback about the domains you’ve bought. It takes years to really understand what to buy, where to sell it, etc. so don’t feel bad, just know this is not a great industry for people who want to make money quickly and easily.

  • Elisabeth Southgate July 9, 2019, 12:08 pm

    I appreciate that you explained the two options for getting a domain name. My husband is starting a company and is looking for a domain in the near future. Knowing that he will have options and help is very helpful.

Cancel reply

Leave a Comment