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5 Tips for Negotiating a Domain Name Purchase

So the domain name you really want is already registered? That doesn’t mean you should give up. Many domain name owners will sell you their domain name if they aren’t using it.

Here are five tips to successfully acquire the domain name of your dreams.

Tip #1: Start by Searching on Namecheap

Is the domain available for purchase?

Namecheap partners with domain name marketplaces to show domain names that are currently for sale when you search for the domain.

Sometimes these domain names are available for immediate purchase at fixed prices above our standard prices. The benefit is that you get the domain name immediately and don’t have to worry about haggling. Here’s what a domain name looks like when it is available at a premium price:

example of premium domain for sale

Note that you only pay the premium price once. The domain will renew at our standard prices.

Sometimes a name that’s for sale at a partner won’t have a price. In this case you’ll see this:

note to make a free offer to purchase domain

There will be a link for you to submit an offer that will be forwarded to the domain name owner.

Tip #2: Contact the Domain Owner

If the domain name isn’t listed for sale with a Namecheap partner, you’ll have to contact the owner directly. Sometimes the domain name will have contact information listed on the website if you type the domain name in your browser.

If there’s no contact information on the website, then it’s time to search Whois. Whois is like a directory for domain name owners. Type the name into Whois search and you’ll get the owner’s phone number, email and postal address.

Reach out to the owner by whatever method you feel most comfortable with. If one doesn’t work, try another.

I’ve tried to buy domains in the past and the owner didn’t respond to emails or phone calls. When I finally sent a snail mail letter I got a quick response!

Tip #3: How to Approach the Domain Owner

Tell the owner you’re interested in buying their domain name. Ask if it’s for sale and the asking price. Don’t call the domain name owner a squatter or make a negative comment about the fact that they aren’t using the domain name for anything. This will start your negotiation off on the wrong foot.

You don’t need to divulge information about who you are or why you want the domain, but it’s possible the domain owner will ask. Reveal what you feel comfortable telling them, but keep in mind that if the owner thinks you have lots of money they might ask for a higher price. If you do have lots of money, expect the domain owner to figure that out by looking you up on LinkedIn. Consider having a friend send the email on your behalf if that’s the case.

While it’s up to you what you reveal, you should avoid lying. Many domain owners are used to receiving emails that claim, “I’m working on a school project and would like to use this domain for the project.” Nobody falls for this one!

Ideally, get the domain owner to suggest a price before you do. You never know when the owner has a lower price in mind than you do.

Tip #4: Have Alternatives and a Walk-Away Price

It’s great to have options whenever you negotiate. Consider what other domain names you can use and figure out the absolute maximum you’re willing to pay for the domain you really want.

It may help to get an understanding of how much domain names sell for. You can see recent sales at DNJournal and on DNPric.es.

This will set the tone for your negotiation. If you can’t negotiate the price below your maximum, it’s time to opt for another domain name choice.

Tip #5: Use an Escrow Service

Congratulations! You’ve struck a deal with the domain name owner. Now you need to protect yourself.

Use an escrow service that specializes in domain names to complete a safe transfer. These services will hold your money until the domain owner transfers the domain name to you.

You can transfer the domain into your Namecheap account during the escrow process and the money won’t be released to the seller until the domain is safe in your Namecheap account.

Did you know that in addition to registering domains, Namecheap also offers web hosting at affordable prices? Once you get your perfect domain, consider Namecheap’s hosting options.


Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.

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