Buying a domain

Someone has contacted me and wants to sell me a .com domain name which matches my .net domain. I’ve never negotiated something like this before, any suggestions?

If you don’t need it, don’t bother.

Whoops, yes, I actually do need it.

  1. Ask how much the person wants.
  2. Make a counter offer.
  3. If the price is now reasonable, do it. Reasonable = less than the cost of hiring a lawyer.
  4. Hire a lawyer.

If you have a trademark or service mark for your current domain, your lawyer can send the person a scary letter saying that you intend to file a domain name dispute for arbitration. Hopefully, that’s enough to get the domain name transfered to you without having to actually go through arbitration.

Depending on how high the asking price is, the fact the person offered to even SELL you the domain is sometimes considered proof that the person registered the domain in bad faith.

b. Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, [b]for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name[/b]; or"

Excellent info. This person registered his domain before the inception of my project and it just expired in August. Noticing that I registered the .net version, he wrote me:

We own, and we noticed that you own a similar name to ours. We wanted to know if you are interested in acquiring from us?

His vibe sounds reasonable so far. Now to decide what a reasonable price actually would be. Obviously I can determine my cap, but I have no idea what the market says.

Edit: After further reading it seems doubtful that arbitration is the way to go at this juncture, although I imagine there ought to be a cleaner way of domain transferring without risk of being cheated.

Without knowing what you’re doing with your domain and what he’s doing with his domain, it’s not possible to know what position you could take in the pseudolegal horror story world of domain desputes. If he’s a squatter, or never used the domain, while you have a business, file a dispute if he asks for more than $250.

A domain is worth exactly the sum it will make for you over the life of its business utility. I bought exactly one .com to complement a .net, and that wasn’t a business decision. I was more worried about the .com being occupied by a squatter or smut site!

When buying domains - never ever register anything but a .com, for a business. If the .com is taken, don’t be happy with the .net. You might as well just have a random bunch of characters in your domain name if you’re going to use a .net, or .biz, or .info or any of those other crappy ones.

.orgs are a different fish, as they’re usually not businesses.

Anyway, my perspective.

As for buying, good advice here. The other thing you may want to do if you do buy it, is use an escrow service.