What to do when you receive a domain inquiry (Domain inquiry review checklist)

August 3, 2010

I concentrate on exact match keyword names (mostly .com) and get a good number of unsolicited domain inquiries – both from domainers and end users.   Wanted to share the checklist I use to help determine the potential value of a name before responding to legitimate looking inquiries.

1. Check to see if other extensions registered

The first thing I do is use Valuate.com or Estibot to see at a glance if other extensions have been registered.  I then see if the extensions have live sites and try to determine if the owners are domainers or end users.

2. Look at current Adwords advertisers for the keyword.

3. Try to determine the identity of the person contacting me.
I’ll write a detailed post on this shortly, but for starters I Google the person’s name, e-mail address, phone number and sometimes hostname or IP address.  I then compare this info to my notes from step #1 and #2 and see if I find a match.

4. Check parking/adsense stats
If the name is currently parked, I review the traffic and earning figures for the last year.  I also run a separate report for the last 30 days to see if there has been a current spike in interest.

5. Check Google keyword tool / Google Trends

Demand and cost per click can change, so I always like to take a fresh look at the current search demand and CPC for keywords which make up the name.

6. Do a Google news search for the keywords to see if there are any new developments making the domain more valuable.

7. Check for comparable domain sales

There are a number of different tools out there – I like Namebio.

8. Check current search engine rankings

This can be very useful for negotiation and may be the reason an end user is interested in purchasing the domain.

Did I miss anything?
Feel free to post a comment with any tips you would like to share…
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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Leonard Britt 08.03.10 at 1:10 pm

Nice summary – you might want to also check what the prices are of comparable keyword domains in other extensions just to make sure your prices expectations are reasonable compared to the alternatives. If you own the .COM and the .Net is available, you might consider securing the .Net if you are seeking a high $XXX or higher price.

Francois 08.03.10 at 1:11 pm

Yes, the mot important. You respond.

Mike 08.03.10 at 1:56 pm

I do as much as possible to make sure its not some other domainer. I do not sell to other domainers, only end-users.

admin 08.03.10 at 2:29 pm

@Leonard – Good point, especially when dealing with another domainer or when the name is likely to be used for SEO purposes. From personal experience, I haven’t seen many end users go for an alternate extension after making contact for a .com – if the sale doesn’t go through they sometimes go for a longer name or confusing abbreviation, typically still .com.

@Francois – LOL! I do tend to be guilty of over-researching on occasion :)

@Mike – For me it depends on the name (and when/how much I acquired it for), but I know many share your thoughts. Don’t even get me started on blind $60 Sedo offers…

MIke Sullivan 08.03.10 at 3:43 pm

Great checklist. I typically have a sale price in mind for each of my names… at least a bottom, minimum I am willing to accept. I then rethink the details if an offer comes in. Not sure why @Mike would refuse to sell to another domainer, unless you think that you would be getting a low ball offer. But if the right offer came in, why would it matter who it was from?

admin 08.03.10 at 4:35 pm

@MikeSullivan – Thanks Mike. I agree, a good offer is a good offer. But it can be time consuming getting to that point.

Let’s say I have a name I think is worth $3500 to an end user. An initial offer of $250 from an end user can often be brought up to the $xxxx level with good negotiation and some education as to the benefits. Not likely if the low offer is from a domainer looking to flip or resell. Domainer/developers probably fall into a middle category since they can often afford to pay mid-range prices and recoup their investment by increasing traffic to the site with good SEO and content.

After dealing with hundreds of low-ball offers, I can see where Mike’s frustration comes in. Personally, if I get a low offer from a fellow domainer on one of my more premium ‘end user’ type names, I usually just tell them I’m looking for end user pricing and don’t get into specific negotiations. On names which are well suited for domainer/developers (e.g. guide and comparison type names), I prefer dealing with domainers as it is a better fit and the transfer process usually goes faster.

Kitvy 08.03.10 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for the tips. :)

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