Every month I contact domain owners through their Whois email for some domains that I either want to develop or where I see a trend and think the domain will become more valuable in the near future. My contact email is very simple. I tell them I am interested in their domain. I ask if it is for sale. And I ask what their price expectations are for the domain. In about 33% of the replies I get the question “What are you going to do with this domain”. I’ve read a lot of blog posts or forum comments from domainers saying they want to know why a person wants their domain. I agree, it is good to know, but let’s take the side of the person acquiring the domain… it’s really none of domain owner’s business why you want the domain and it can kill a potential sale.
If I tell someone that I want to develop the domain they think they can increase the price because I’m going to create the next Facebook and their domain is what is going to get me there. If I tell them I think the domain’s value is going to increase in the near future they are either going to increase the price or hold onto the domain. Unless I make up a lie (which I do not do) and say something along the lines of “I’m making a website for my wife” or “I want to start a personal blog” the domain owner is going to jack up the price. A lot of domainers have an attitude like they are entitled to knowing the interested party’s plans… but you really don’t. If someone wants to buy a parcel of land they do not have to tell the landowner if they want to build a house or a store or a complex. It’s none of the seller’s business. Why do you think that when companies go to buy domains they don’t send an email out from their corporate address. The know once you see that corporate email address the price just tripled. Instead they use a third party to make the acquisition for them in a lot of instances. Because domainers have the mindset that the value of an asset depends on who is interested in it. This is not true. The value of the asset does not change, only the domainer’s perception of the value.
I reply that my intentions for the domain are personal. This turns off some domain owners and they walk away. Other domain owners continue to push for an answer, at which time I walk away from the conversation and they lose a potential sale. And other domain owners accept my answer and we continue talking.
It is my opinion that it is a poor way to do business to push an interested buyer for information if they do not want to give it. Unless this method allows you catch the whale one day, you’re going to lose sales along the way, and if that whale never comes then over the long run you’re only hurting yourself. Unless you own a super generic dot com domain you should not forget that cash in your hand today is guaranteed and tomorrow’s dream of a huge sale price may never be realized.