How To Identify Domain Tire-Kickers

When you’re selling domains you will inevitably encounter “Tire Kickers”. I consider a tire kicker any potential buyer that wants to buy your domain for pennies on the dollar but insists on asking 8 million questions and taking up a lot of your time. Identifying a tire kicker early on can save you time and help you keep your focus on real buyers that see the true potential of your domain.

So I thought I’d share some tell-tale signs that the person making an offer on your domain may be no more than a tire kicker. Oh, and if this sounds like you, start determining if you’re being realistic with yourself or just trying to low-ball people in bulk, either strategy wastes your own time as well!

  1. I want to buy this domain for a student project – this is the #1 line used by people trying to get great deals on domains. They may have reasonable budgets but they don’t want to spend it on a domain. Students tend to just hand-register domains for their projects so it’s relatively rare you’ll get a real student with a real budget who wants to buy one of your domains. Sure, you could sell a five-figure name for $500 if you really want to, but chance are the person buying it won’t use it for a project, they’ll re-sell it for what you should have sold it for!
  2. I saw your domain appraised to $x on this appraisal site – if a buyer is using an appraisal service they probably don’t know too much about the domain industry as they’d probably know these are almost completely useless. A domain is worth what the owner will sell it for or, looking at it from another side, what a buyer is willing to pay. Appraisals can give you rough estimates but anyone insisting that this is what you should sell your domain for probably isn’t ready to pay what your domain is worth.
  3. $ sold for $XXX so I want to pay $XXX for your domain because it is similar – domains aren’t really similar, they are all unique and all different. If sells for $3,000 that doesn’t mean that is not worth $3 million.
  4. I want to buy this domain and will offer $1,000 max for it, do we have a deal? – if there is no room for negotiation from the very first email you can bet you’re not the only person this buyer is contacting. They are prospecting and this means that unless you want to sell your domain for $1,000 you’ll probably spend the next week wasting time emailing back and forth, but they’ve already drawn an arbitrary line, don’t waste your time.
  5. My company has the right to this domain, sell it to me for $500 or I’m going to sue you – last but not least is the idle threat, or as I like to say, the worst way to make an offer on a domain. Some people do truly believe they have a right to your domain because their company is in the niche or a related space. As long as you have a nice generic domain don’t let these kinds of emails frazzle you, and most importantly, don’t let them kick your tires and waste your time. If they want to file a UDRP, let them do it, otherwise don’t waste your time. Now I’m not talking about blatant reverse domain hijackers, I’m talking about tire kickers that honestly just don’t get it, but they will get a lot of your time if you give it to them.

Feel free to share some of your own “tire kicker” interactions below. I know we all have some good stories!

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Leonard Britt November 27, 2012, 3:50 pm

    Don’t forget about the ones who want a certified appraisal on your domain before they will make payment.

  • Mikey O'Connor November 28, 2012, 5:58 am

    hi Morgan,

    i love your list. i’ve been getting tire-kickers since the very beginning and long ago wrote a little screed for them. the first time they ping me and ask for my minimum price i usually just reply with “sorry to bring bad news but that domain isn’t for sale.” that pushes off about 90%. if they come back and demand that i name my minimum price, i send them here

    which takes care of most of the rest. the REALLY tough ones are the ones who absolutely will not back off and DEMAND that i go first in the negotiation and name my price even after reading that little page. i just give up on those folks and eventually they go away. 🙂

  • Homero A. Gonzalez November 28, 2012, 6:16 am

    Oh, yeah. I’ve been contacted by the “Starved” student who wants to pay peanuts for one of my domains….Ha Ha Ha! Of course, if you ask them for a rough draft of their project, all you get is silence… that’s the perfect way to get rid of them!.

  • Gypsum Fantastic November 28, 2012, 9:45 am

    I got a cracker last year for a future tech generic term domain that could end up being worth a fortune if the technology continues to become more likely.

    The prospective buyer said in his email that he was starting a company in India and wants to use the same name as my domain for his company name. I told him it wouldn’t be worth selling at current value because I was holding it for future development/opportunity.

    He responded saying that his brother was a professor in the field of technology that my domain relates to, and that it would be 50 years or more before the technology became a mainstream consumer product, so would never be worth a huge amount of money in my lifetime.

    Kind of suspicious that he wanted a name that his brother would think isn’t currently that valuable…or rather I kind of think he was good at telling stories.

    My final response to him was to say that I keep tabs with the technology in question and have seen plenty of differing opinions from academics in that field who say it will emerge much sooner than 50 years. And I repeated that I would not sell him the domain at this time.

    I have never heard from him since.

  • Shahid November 29, 2012, 4:40 am


    This is indeed a very nice article so far haven’t come across a tire kicker but i would be happy if you could even include some of unprofessional or impatient domain investors who at the first go

    Sorry i am selling the domains at $ XXXX price when you offer something decent they go no way it is worth more than that. you still try to reconsider and offer more what you can afford it for they go don’t waste my time and then you find the same stupid people selling those domains for peanuts/pennies on forums.

    i had been trying to buy several domains from a person too of that nature so lets see how far it goes so far he is in cloud 9 thinking he has become a millionaire overnight 🙂


  • jayjay December 12, 2012, 9:14 am

    Hi there Morgan, say did you acquire that term from one of my comments a while back? lol 😉 anyway it fits the description perfectly for those sorts of buyers. For me though the worst of the lot are the tire-kickers in auctions that constantly ask “whats your reserve” or “how much do you want for the domain”. I’d probably be wealthier than Frank Schilling if I got paid a buck or two every time I’m asked those! 🙂


Leave a Comment