Q&A: Buying an already owned domain

4-8-2009

Question:

I want to purchase a domain name that is already owned by someone else…what is a fair price and how do I go about it?

Answer: There is no real set value for domain resales. The prices set are completely dependent on the perceived value of the domain to the buyer and the seller. We have personally seen domain names that have sold for over $20,000 and other ones that aren’t much different that people couldn’t unload for $100.

Our recommendation is to first find out if the current owner is willing to sell their domain.  This can be done by looking them up in the WHOIS database and getting contact information for them and reaching out.  If they refuse to even discuss the possibility of selling, that usually means they have either a vested interest in that domain or an emotional interest in that domain and you might be in trouble. If they are willing to discuss a deal right off the bat, your chances are much better.  Either way, it’s time to negotiate.

Next, ask them what kind of price they would like.  This gets them thinking about the deal and forces them to engage in the process.  It also gives you an idea of where they are setting the value for this name.  Rarely will anyone offer a number at this point that you would consider reasonable because if they liked the name enough in the first place to buy it than chances are they will over-value it at this point.

Now that you know what they are thinking, set a maximum amount that you are willing to pay for the name and then make an offer that is at most 1/2 that. If the most you are willing to pay is $200 than you should offer $100 or less and start negotiating from there. In our experience, the fact that the current owner is even willing to discuss the possibility of selling the domain tells you that there isn’t much of a sentimental value and they will probably take much less than they originally tell you they want.

This is a difficult process but there are resources out there to try and make things easier on you.  You can always contact Laughing Rock to help you with this type of transaction but there are also sites out there that specialize in these types of transactions such as http://www.afternic.com/ that might help to give you an idea of the type of price you could expect for you domain and maybe even assist in the transaction.

Thank you and best of luck!

Laughing Rock Team

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