Buying a Pre-owned Domain Name is Challenging


I hear a lot of amazing stories from some of the biggest domain name buyers/sellers in the world and two consistent things happen in almost every deal:

  • Buying is always challenging, often with many twists and turns from both sides
  • It takes time, sometimes years to complete

Simply put, buying a domain name that is owned by somebody will likely be challenging and unique. Yes, even for domain professionals.

If you are inexperienced and wish to give it a try yourself, you could totally kill the deal right off the bat if you take a wrong approach: “I see you're not using this domain name, I will offer you $100 for it.”

Not a great approach!

Best option and often the easiest option for all parties is if the domain name is already for sale. Figuring that out, isn't always the easiest. Even if the domain is for sale, a knowledgeable and safe buying experience is important and often best guided by a pro.

What are some road bumps that can happen and complicate the domain buying experience even if you use an experienced domain buyer broker?

The target domain may no longer be owned by the person who listed it for sale. This happens very often! Domain names can change ownership and past listings are not always removed. Domain names expire and change ownership fairly often, businesses sell, people pass away, so just because a domain is listed for sale, doesn’t always mean it’s a valid listing.

Price! Domain names are 100% unique and there is only one of each in the world. Buyer education of domain values is often a topic. If the seller expects one price and the buyer are in a different ballpark, it’s an uphill battle. I understand that everything has a budget but every situation is unique and the purchase price will be affected by who owns the domain name. The price is often something that drags out the buying experience and often prevents purchase. You do have options many times, so speaking with the broker can help this.

Establishing contact. Domain ownership records for the most part were publicly displayed prior to around April 2017 before a few privacy laws were passed and have since redacted the majority of domain ownership records. It can be very challenging to tell who owns a domain name. Establishing contact with a domains owner is one huge hurdle to overcome, sometimes the biggest.

Poor approach. Not all domain buyer brokers are created equal! Money talks and it's also likely that the owner of the domain name has been contacted before. History shows and my experience tells me that it is much more likely to get a reply with a solid opening offer. “Is this domain name for sale” isn’t likely to get a reply from the domains owner. "I’ll give you $1,000 for a domain name" that is worth 6 figures will also not get a reply and more likely to get sent to the spam folder.

Payments | lease | equity | cash are often options when purchasing a domain name and simply coming to an agreement that works for both parties can take some time. You should also have a legal contract/agreement signed by both parties.

What are some positives by using an experienced domain buyer brokerage service?

They know the ropes. Experienced domain name buyer brokers know the best approach when speaking with domain owners. They understand the purchase and change of ownership process very well.

Contacts/relationships. Potentially the most important aspect, who you know. Picking the right domain name buyer broker with the best connections can make all the difference in buying a domain name. This is a big one and something often overlooked!

Seasoned advice. Maybe your way under budget for the domain name you wish to purchase? Even if you pay the small upfront fee to find this out, it may save you a bunch of time and the broker can assist with some options.

Utilizing the buyer brokers connections is worth its weight in gold. Backing that up with the safety and security of the transaction is a nice piece of mind asset. Trusting the process and your choice of who does the work is key.

What can you do?

Reading this article is really a great start. Buying a domain from someone who already owns it can be challenging and overwhelming without experience or guidance. Having professional help is a wise business decision, one that can save you in more ways than one. Understanding domain name values and the importance domain names play in ecommerce is also key.

Be realistic. It is nearly impossible to purchase a domain name that is in use by a company or individual that has been using it for years. It is not realistic to be able to purchase a domain name that a business uses and depends on for email communication, established branding, web presence and more. It happens but again, the financials will have to reflect it.

Doing a little homework and establish how realistic it is to acquire your target domain. Does it resolve a website? What’s on it? Is it established in search engines? Is it owned by a large corporation, individual? If you are unsure, it's always best to speak with the broker.

If you feel you need some help coming up with a different domain because you feel your initial target domain isn't realistic or your not sure about your target domain, speaking with the broker is the best option.

Research the domain brokerage firm. Be sure they are dedicated to the task at hand and have the experience that matches the job. The Uniregistry buyer brokerage team is knowledgeable and dedicated and they love what they do. It’s also affordable and worth every penny. Try them out!

The information contained in this blog is provided for general informational purposes about domains. It is not specific advice tailored to your situation and should not be treated as such.

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