Plausible opening bid for domain name?
December 10, 2012 6:38 AM   Subscribe

Help me make an offer on a domain name. What is a good starting offer?

I would like to buy my own name as .com. It is currently owned by someone with the same last name as me, who has been holding it since 2005, but hasn't put anything on it. He's been holding it for his brother, who has the same name as me and was maybe thinking of using it semi-commercially (but has never committed). I've been in contact with the owner, and since he is unsure about whether his brother will ever use it, he's asked me to make an offer for it.

Here are some relevant facts:
a. I'm just a private citizen who wants to use it for non-commercial purposes.

b. I would be completely open to allowing his brother to use the site as well, perhaps as a subdomain (or some other similar arrangement).

c. I am currently using a service to watch the domain and snap it up if it expires (but I'm not optimistic about this, since he's kept it up since 2005).

So, here are my questions:

1. How much would he have likely paid to keep the domain parked since 2005? I recall domain names costing more in the past than they do now, but I don't know when things changed.

2. What's the best way to suggest possibly sharing the domain? Is that even reasonable to suggest?

3. What would be a "typical" price for such a domain, between two private citizens?

4. Do you have any tips for negotiating, or any other aspect of the potential transaction?

(Please don't say "What is it worth to you?" - though that will certainly play into my decision, I'm looking more for information that will help me formulate an opening bid along with the information about how much I want it.)
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Don't share it since any problems that he causes will then be your problems.
Have you considered yourname dot somethingnotcom?
posted by Sophont at 6:45 AM on December 10, 2012


Seconding the first comment. If you drop the dot-com condition I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find your name dot-org, dot-net or dot-whatever is available. I buy my domains from these guys they are unexpensive and you can host it wherever you want. Your mileage may vary.

my first-name dot-my-country extension is owned by someone I know. He was kind enough to offer me a redirect for the mail address my first name at my first name dot my country extension. Maybe you can negociate something with the current owner ?
posted by Baud at 6:59 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It really is all about how much is it worth to you though. If you make $250K a year and have thousands of dollars in free cash every month you can throw $500 at him just to make it easy for him to give up the domain. If you are a starving student maybe you can't afford more than $25. The value of anything is defined by what somebody else will pay for it.

If it were me, I might offer him $50 with the idea that I'm not going over $100 no matter what.

My firstnamelastname.com was owned back in 1998 by a fan that was holding it for the actor with whom I share a name. It's now owned by a law firm in Hollywood. I assume that law firm is associated with the actor. There is nothing actually at the domain.
posted by COD at 7:00 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Offer for $150.

Let's be generous and say he's using an expensive service to register his domain with, at say $10/year. He's had it for 7 years, so that's $70 he's paid over the years. I would double that to $140. (and round up to $150 because I like it when I can think of dollar amounts divisible by quarters..)
posted by royalsong at 7:02 AM on December 10, 2012


I registered my first son's name as a .com several ago. Later, someone moderately prominent in US political circles, who happens to share the name, contacted me about purchasing the domain.

I decided that I'd rather not sell the domain, but that, given a sufficiently ridiculous offer, I'd be a fool not to sell. So I offered to sell at $5,000. Needless to say, the offer was turned down (I think the actual words were "you've got to be kidding").

Which is my way of agreeing that there's no guide-price for domains - they're worth as much as they're worth to the people involved. All you can do is throw out a low bid to start with, and see where it takes you.
posted by pipeski at 7:20 AM on December 10, 2012


a. I'm just a private citizen who wants to use it for non-commercial purposes.

This is not necessarily relevant to the seller in terms of the market value, but worth stressing as a point of negotiation in terms of "... and therefore I'm not willing to pay much for it."

b. I would be completely open to allowing his brother to use the site as well, perhaps as a subdomain (or some other similar arrangement).

Don't do this. Treat your domain like you would your home address.

c. I am currently using a service to watch the domain and snap it up if it expires (but I'm not optimistic about this, since he's kept it up since 2005).

Agreed on the optimism. Find an alternative domain. Then set an upper limit for the domain the guy is selling. Offer the seller half the price you'd pay and negotiate up from from there if needs be. But be prepared to walk away.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:23 AM on December 10, 2012


Decide on a price that you are willing to pay and that you can live with.

Offer that and only that, explaining that this is the price that you are willing to pay and that you are not interested in haggling.

Then, don't haggle. If it doesn't work, you walk away from the conversation knowing that you didn't get stiffed. If it works, then you made the money you wanted.

Haggling is for suckers, and I don't understand why anyone does it anywhere.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:59 AM on December 10, 2012


I think DWRoelands post is essentially correct--what is the name worth to you--rather than trying to figure out what it is worth to him. $100.00, $500.00, or $5,000.00. You can always second guess whether you paid a fair price based on his valuation--a fair price is what it is worth to you.
posted by rmhsinc at 8:05 AM on December 10, 2012


Oh, geez haggling is not for suckers. Many (if not most) people expect to haggle a bit in these sorts of encounters. (AAnd all up and down the economic chain. Do you you think Apple accepts invoices from a supplier without haggling over the amount?).

Decide how much it's worth to you, and either offer about 80% or the full amount. Either way, don't be surprised and/or offended if the owner comes back with a slight higher counter offer.

But, if you insist on ignoring social norms at least do it explicitly "Hello John Doe. Here is my offer: $XXX. I really don't like haggling. So, that is the best I can do" or something similar.

For what it's worth, the only I would take an offer like that is if the amount was so much over what I expected to get that I didn't care about trying to get an extra bit out of the buyer (in which the buyer actually gave me more than I was willing to sell for).
posted by oddman at 8:17 AM on December 10, 2012


Domains are notoriously difficult to value, there is a very good chance this guy has zero intention of selling the domain and is just interested to see how much you offer, for him it's a free valuation.

Assuming this is FirstnameLastname.com then I agree with royalsong, $150 is enough that the seller won't feel like they are upside down on the whole thing. You will probably have to haggle like it or not.

If you manage to broker a deal then do use an escrow service (like escrow.com) to handle the transfer.
posted by Lanark at 1:30 PM on December 10, 2012


Thanks for the advice everyone. I just made an offer. I'll let you know how it goes.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:24 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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