Not Your Typical Domain Name Negotiation: True Stories

An aftermarket domain name purchase is generally pretty straightforward. You find out who the owner is and if it’s for sale, initiate negotiations, and either you agree on a price or you don’t. Right? Well, usually.

While most domain name negotiations follow that pattern, human nature can be decidedly unpredictable. Here are a few domain negotiations that got a little crazier, due to the quirks of the domain name seller—or buyer. (We’ve omitted names to protect the guilty.)

Case #1: Too Sneaky By Half

A domain-name-buying service was hired by a client to find a two-word .com in the financial niche, and negotiate the purchase in accordance with the client’s desired price and payment plan structure. After finding a suitable .com domain name and negotiating a deal that met all of their client’s specs, the buying service thought they were done. Not. Turns out that unbeknownst to them, before the deal was finalized the client tried to drive the price down by making several low-ball offers to the seller anonymously. Bad idea. Instead of driving the price down, the seller decided to up the price instead because of the recent surge of interest in the domain name, effectively killing the deal.

Case #2: Sale by Stealth

After a naming company tried unsuccessfully on behalf of their client to get a domain owner to answer emails, the client’s lawyers were finally able to reach him and he was amenable to selling. That’s when things got really weird. Usually, large domain sales are transacted via an escrow payment service. This method ensures that both the buyer ponies up and the seller doesn’t receive payment until the domain name is officially released to the buyer. In this case the seller demanded more extreme measures worthy of a spy novel. He insisted on meeting the lawyers in a public place in New York City, and having the lawyers pay him in cash. Not only that, the cash had to be delivered in a paper bag. The seller got his wish, and everyone else got a great cocktail party story.

Case #3: ‘Til Death Do You Part

Sometimes a domain name owner’s attachment to a name can get…well, personal. One company recounts the tale of a domain name owner who was loath to sell because his last name was the same as the domain name in question. So instead of selling the domain name, he agreed to lease it for a period of time—with the proviso that if he died during the licensing period, the ownership of the domain would pass to his children as their inheritance.

Got a crazy domain negotiation story of your own? We’d love to hear from you….

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