How you respond to inbound offers on your domains could help, or hurt you


Like most people that have been in the domain industry for a while I’m used to getting offers on my domains. Also, like most people that have been in the industry for a while, I’m also used to the fact that most of these offers are going to be well below market or even wholesale value. Heck, I’ve known people who have seen a legitimate $500,000 and $500 offer come in on the same day (for a name they later sold for over $1M).

So let’s just say, inbound offers can be all over the board. In most cases they tend to be a lot lower than your expectations, which sometimes leads to a response. How you respond here can either help or hurt you in the long run. I’ve seen Domainers respond to offers typically in one of three ways:

  1. No response – this is the most common and you’re doing no harm here
  2. A short and kind response – something like “sorry but your offer is too low, I was looking for something in the $x,xxx – $x,xxx range for this domain, let me know if you can increase your budget?”
  3. An angry, crazy, and just plain mean response – something like “you idiot, your offer is way too low, I would never sell it for that little!”

Here’s the deal. At the end of the day (or at least in many cases) you don’t really know who you’re dealing with. The person on the other side might have a much bigger budget than you thought, or maybe they don’t but they’re just a nice normal person that doesn’t know anything about our industry. Either way I’m a big believer in treating people with respect because I think what goes around comes around.

I also find that people who are unhappy in their own lives tend to take it out on other people who really don’t have anything to do with the problems that person is having. So next time you get a low-ball offer and are ready to fire off a snarky email, think about your life, think about how you would like to be treated, and go with option #1 or #2 above. Honestly, lives to short to take your anger out on other people.

The truth is, people like doing business with people they like. The person making an offer on your domain might not be someone you’ll ever do business with but a friend of theirs could. You never know who is on the other side of an offer but I’ll tell you this, whether the deal works out or not, I’d much rather make a friend than an enemy.

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Joseph Peterson August 15, 2016, 9:41 pm

    In my experience, it’s the would-be buyer who’s usually the person throwing around insults and threats. Of course, that’s counterproductive if they want to purchase someone else’s property and get a good deal, but since when do people behave calmly and rationally?

    Konstantinos Zournas just wrote about a case where the domain owner – instead of ignoring a low offer – responded, explained that they were too far apart on price to reach a deal, and advised the buyer to choose another domain for $10. I’ve read the transcript, and the domain owner was quite polite.

    Then the frustrated buyer – a lawyer, apparently – replied with sarcasm about the $2000 price range and more than a hint of malice, saying, “I hope you starve”.

    That’s a regular occurrence. So I believe it’s important to be firm with buyers.

    • Morgan August 18, 2016, 7:56 am

      @Joseph – good point and very true, it’s not uncommon to find a very rude and crass buyer on the other side. When I see this I usually just stop responding, and you’re spot on – it is definitely counter-productive for the buyer in this case.

  • Nick August 15, 2016, 9:55 pm

    I agree @Joseph Peterson. My experience has been using the 2nd response (the kind one) and its 50/50 that the other party that becomes irate. I just stop replying at that point. Maybe its the image they have of our business – I dont know….. anyhow, I dont eat bait so I just let it go.

  • John August 16, 2016, 12:21 am

    This was an enjoyable read, and the comments.

  • Ross August 16, 2016, 2:51 am

    It’s challenging to know when to respond/not respond as the $10 offer is either someone who knows little about domains, someone who thinks you’re a squatter, someone testing you before making a real offer or someone just trying it on.

    Also depends on the quality of name. If it’s a candidate for drop we’ll try and negotiate with a low offer at least once.

  • Eric Lyon August 16, 2016, 10:04 am

    I’ve had mixed experiences where sometimes it’s the buyer and others, it’s the seller with negative attitudes. However, it seems that the catalyst for most situations is that the first negative comment triggers anger in the other party, which invokes an even more negative response. There’s definitely tact that needs to be used when negotiating, but I think most people forget that selling is also psychological. You can literally turn an angry reply into a positive outcome by tactfully steering the mood back into sunshine with just a little positive effort and spin.

  • Samit August 16, 2016, 12:56 pm

    I tend to go with 1. No Response.

    How would you respond if I offered you $10k for your home when similar houses in the same general area go for $500k?

    And then people say ‘oh you should educate the buyer, negotiate him up, maybe he/she doesn’t know what domains cost’, it’s not my job to educate people, I offer consultation if people pay me, else they can hire any of the 100s of other professionals who can provide pricing info, but going around making stupid offers from free email IDs is just lame.

  • Jeff Schneider August 16, 2016, 2:54 pm

    Hello Morgan,

    We all along have advocated, If your .COM Profit Center does not warrant a personal up front phone conversation from an interested Buyer, your barking up the wrong tree. Do you think Rick Schwartz has time for Buyers Kicking his tires for his valuable .COM Profit Center Assets?

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master

    • Morgan August 18, 2016, 7:54 am

      @Jeff – agreed, and I’m not suggesting that you waste time with tire kickers, I’m just saying that you should always treat people with respect.

  • Terrence Jennings August 16, 2016, 9:44 pm

    People should always practice proper business etiquette even in an online business transaction. Respect for other people should not be a rewards basis but a habit to have.

  • Joseph Peterson August 18, 2016, 6:55 pm

    Everybody’s going to interact with buyers differently. Plenty of wrong answers, but no single right one.

    Personally, I reply to everybody – even the tire kickers. From experience, I know that a $50 offer can turn into a $6,000 sale. But mainly I just feel that ignoring anybody is a form of disrespect.

    If someone doesn’t value domains properly, then it’s my job to introduce them to the domain market. Even when they’re offering $20 for a domain I paid $1000 for as an end-user myself, I still take the time to explain things. By now that habit is second nature, since most of my paying clients are industry outsiders; and I’m usually in the role of “tour guide”.

    When a buyer is rude, however, I think it’s important that they know they’re acting badly. It’s not my job to coddle them. They’re not my clients; and I’m not a customer service employee being paid to humor obnoxious people.

    When someone arrives with a sense of entitlement, spewing insults or making threats, it’s unlikely that I’ll convince that person she / he is in the wrong. But I can at least let them know that others view them in a negative light … that they’re speaking with an equal, not a McDonald’s employee behind the counter to be yelled at.

    It’s important to educate our buyers not only about the domain market but about the etiquette of buying domains. As a matter of policy, I want a negative interaction to entail some negative consequences for the person causing it. If a child throws a tantrum, it’s crucial that the child NOT get what it wants. Deference would only reinforce bad behavior.

    Many months ago, I was banned from DomainNameSales – ostensibly for saying “Listen, Lady” in email #3 to a rude buyer. She had offered $21 on a domain that wasn’t for sale, and I had taken time to explain the market to her. However, she complained to “my manager”, the VP, Jeff Gabriel. He lectured me about my responsibility to be a Uniregistry representative – as if I were wearing a McDonald’s uniform. And when I questioned the propriety of his meddling, which I said reinforced bad behavior and a sense of entitlement among buyers, rather than responding to my concerns, he simply banned me.

    I think that sets a very bad standard. And it jeopardizes all negotiations at Uniregistry. It’s very handy for me, as a buyer’s agent, to know that I can threaten domainers with expulsion from Uniregistry if they don’t do what I want them to do. Simply by whining, I can get the VP to intervene in negotiations on MY side.

    That leverage is tremendously useful to me as a buyer / broker. But as a seller, it’s worrisome that a domain owner isn’t permitted to negotiate freely, without the platform itself butting in and taking sides. Interacting with lowball offers has a beneficial effect on the industry, since this is how new buyers are educated. But any interaction adds to the risk of upsetting a customer who doesn’t get their way – hence more complaints to the Uniregistry “boss”. Naturally, there’s a chilling effect on negotiations. I know domain owners who are reluctant to respond at all to buyers because this might – and has – triggered bullying interference from on high.


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