How does one make an offer on a domain name?
May 1, 2007 9:29 AM   Subscribe

I want to buy a domain. It's already taken, but isn't being used. I am ignorant when it comes to these matters. Please advise.

A company called comes up when I visit the site I want. says the owner wants $600 for it, which is just plain ridiculous. There's a place for me to make a counteroffer, or could be the broker for $69 (which also seems ridiculous). According to the statistics on the site, there have been only two visitors this month.

Should I just give up on the domain? It's one I really, really, want, but I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars for. Or if I do make a counteroffer, how much should it be?
posted by The corpse in the library to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Offer whatever you're willing to pay for it.
posted by kindall at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2007

Domain name speculators suck. I hesitate to enrich them, but make an offer. Don't pay much.

Use Whois to find out to whom to make the offer directly, first.
posted by cmiller at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2007

Just offer what you can afford to pay. Not more not less. They might consider one offer, but maybe they won't be bothered with the guy who keeps inching up incrementally. Make the offer and let it sit there: even if they don't agree initially maybe they'll come to you in a few months. But $69 doesn't seem much for a brokerage fee to me.
posted by londongeezer at 9:38 AM on May 1, 2007

You could just wait for it to expire (check the WHOIS info for the expiry date), then register it afresh for yourself. If the site is unused, gets only two visitors a month, and is unusual/rare enough that you don't think anyone else will make an offer for it, then the current owner may not bother to renew it.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:39 AM on May 1, 2007

Here's an article about picking up an expired domain that covers a lot of information on the process.
posted by hoppytoad at 10:11 AM on May 1, 2007 [3 favorites] says the owner wants $600 for it, which is just plain ridiculous.

That's par. In my experience, these squatters don't compromise. It apparently isn't worth their bother: They make enough money from registering 500 domains and collecting exorbitant sums for 10 to justify the investment, and it isn't worth paying a sales staff to actually negotiate. And don't count on them letting the domain expire, either; they renew everything blindly, because it's easier and cheaper than bothering to individuate which domains are worth keeping.

Make an offer. You might get lucky. But don't get your hopes up. In the cases I've witnessed, most offers didn't even get a reply and the obscure domains are still locked after several years.
posted by cribcage at 10:20 AM on May 1, 2007

I was actually surprised when I saw they only wanted $600. That's not a bad price for a four letter, non-gibberish domain name. (I understand that it's insane to anyone on a budget, but from a domain-market standpoint it's actually pretty low.)
posted by ontic at 10:33 AM on May 1, 2007

ontic: is the name of the domain brokerage, not the domain name tcitl wants.
posted by null terminated at 10:35 AM on May 1, 2007

Domain squatting is annoying, but virtually any system to distribute domain names is going to have flaws.

Four years ago there was a four letter non-gibberish (but not a real word) domain name I wanted. I found the owner via whois, and offered $500, which he accepted.

This blog entry looking at things from the seller's perspective may be helpful:

The bad news is it looks like Sedo is setup to prevent you from doing an end-run around them. The good news is that if it's on Sedo, the owner wants to get rid of it.
posted by justkevin at 11:05 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Without divulging what the actual domain name is, can you give us a rough estimate of what we're looking at? Is it 5, 10, 25 letters long, easy to remember? That's usually the best metric of value.

Domain values can be incredibly arbitrary and out-of-what with reality, but squatters perceive that if someone (viz. yourself) is deadset on a name, they can hold onto it for years at $.50 a month and eventually hit a big payday. You can make them an offer, but I wouldn't even expect to hear back from them unless it's over half of what he wants.
posted by Mayor West at 1:51 PM on May 1, 2007

Response by poster: Ten letters, including the prefix, spelling out a word.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:46 PM on May 1, 2007

Ah, my bad.
posted by ontic at 3:56 PM on May 1, 2007

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