10 Ways To Buy Premium Domain Names For Less

The Problem

You’re looking to buy a premium domain but the name you really want for your new business or product is already taken. More than likely it’s owned by a seasoned domain investor (“domainer”). No doubt that you’ve been coming up with the perfect scheme to snatch that domain up for 60 bucks.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate a great fair price for that shiny domain.  Follow the below tips to buy premium domains the right way.

The straight talk about buying a domain in the aftermarket is that you will NEVER screw over a domainer! The current owner of your target domain is super savvy and intelligent. How do I know? Because he has the domain and you don’t! He got there before you. More than likely he has made a lot of money investing in domains, heck he probably doesn’t even need to sell the domain. Yup, the domain investor you are dealing with looks like this guy:

rich-guy

1. Thoroughly research the seller

Does the seller have a documented history of previous sales? Does he have a blog or social media profiles that could give you insight to his standing, views, and opinions? What is his favorite breakfast cereal? Every tidbit of information you can gather on the seller could help you in negotiations.

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2. Thoroughly research the domain

Much like a used car, domains have histories of use which can effect their valuation. And you don’t want to be stuck with a lemon! Fortunately, you can find out all about its past and determine how it will impact your future. Here’s what you need to check out:
• Was the domain sold previously? If so, for how much?http://www.domaintools.com/buy/sales-history/
• Was the domain ever used to host a website or blog? http://archive.org/web/web.php
• Does the domain have any Google penalties or a negative backlink profile? You can use tools like Open Site Explorer or Majestic SEO to checkout backlinks for spam]
• Is the domain name making use of a trademarked name? Check the USPTO to make sure you are not buying a potentially infringing name which could get you in hot water!
• For brandable names, do a search in quotes (“) on Google. Are there any derogatory listings involving the name (i.e. Rip Off Reports, etc.)

3. Consider alternative domains

You think you’ve found the perfect domain, but the seller doesn’t want to sell. Or he may want $1.5 million in cash. You should always consider alternative domain name options. Maybe the plural version is just as good of a name as the singular; but you can get it for a lot less. Maybe there are some brandable alternatives you should explore. Like any other purchase, having alternative options will allow you to shop around for the best value.

4. Investigate social media profile availability

Your new domain is going to be your branded business name. You need to ensure that future social media profiles are available. You can use Knowem.com to quickly check profile availability for your new brand and instantly reserve handles from services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and others. It’s probably not a good idea to buy a brandable domain if its corresponding social profiles that are already taken.

5. Do the deal through a seasoned broker.

I know you’re a huge DIY fan; you saved a boatload by replastering your pool all by yourself. But its always a good idea to buy domains through a domain broker that is established in the industry and has existing relationships with major domain investors is a good idea. A good broker will be able to get your deal closed for far less than the standard 10-15% brokerage commission rate.

6. Consider negotiating under a different name

If you are famous (or infamous) and decline using a domain broker it’s a good idea to negotiate under a different name. Most domain investors will conduct research on prospective buyers – if they find out you’re pockets are stacked they’ll raise the price. Here’s a true story of a failed negation that occurred just a couple of weeks ago:

Recently we had a client who was a famous businessman. We negotiated a great deal and put everything under private escrow. Right when the deal was nearing completion, the seller tracked down the prospective buyer’s identity by using the email address listed on the Escrow transaction (which contained his last name). Even in a private escrow transaction most escrow services disclose the email addresses of both parties. The seller saw the buyer was wealthy and doubled the price! Ultimately the deal completely fell apart.

7. Make a Reasonable First Offer

Most times throwing out a ‘low-ball’ offer results in:
1) You looking like a total asshole and/or you’ll alienate the owner ending your chance of buying the name or
2) The seller thinking your naïve which is an invitation for him to try and put one over on you!
Either way the outcome will not be favorable in terms of your goal of getting a fair deal. While there is usually room for negotiating, your opening offer will show the seller that you’re serious.

8. Don’t negotiate from “different angles” at the same time

News flash: you’re not the first one to come up with this scheme. Some domain buyers think it’s clever to simultaneously negotiate under different contact profiles to get the lowest deal possible. However, this technique rarely works and will quickly backfire. Most times the seller will take multiple inquiries as increased demand – and the price will go up.

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9. Securely complete the transaction

Don’t haphazardly wire money to the buyer once you have reached an agreeable price. You need a secure transaction to protect you from any nefarious activities. Domain names are virtual goods – it can be difficult to get a refund. To make sure you’re covered:
• Use a secure service, such as Escrow.com
• Draft a purchase agreement with the buyer. This will legally dictate the terms of the purchase and protect both parties.

10. Be Patient

Buying a domain an aftermarket domain (secondary market) is entirely different from registering. Rarely will you immediately reach a mutually agreed upon price. Sometimes walking away from a deal and “checking in” with the owner a couple weeks or months later will result in a success.

Conclusion: Navigate the Domain Aftermarket with Cautious Optimism

Being able to secure a premium domain name is a fantastic advantage in growing or establishing an online presence for any business. However, there are many aspects you must be aware of. By taking note of the above strategies for buying domains on the secondary market, you’ll be equipped to cautiously navigate the domain name aftermarket and secure that perfect domain name for your businesses.