Bob Hawkes

Keep In Mind Who You Are Talking To

By Bob Hawkes, Nov 4, 2020
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    When talking to potential buyers, be sure your language reflects their viewpoint and concerns. It is easy to slip into domainer language and talk about number of TLDs (top level domains) the term is registered in, or the age of the domain name. In most cases that will be counter productive. Here are a few things to avoid, unless specifically asked, along with alternative language to use if that topic does come up.

    Domain Age

    When domainers are acquiring domain names, they almost always consider domain age, the period over which the domain name has been continuously registered. That makes sense - names which were claimed early on, and have been renewed, are more likely to be valuable.

    But end users in most, not all, cases are looking for a name that will be fresh, positive and somewhat unique. They may well view an aged name as one that no one wanted for many years, and see that as a negative. They may also worry about the certainty of the ownership chain, or possible past abuse that damages the name, in an aged domain name.

    An end user is unlikely to ask about age at all. I have heard several domain investors and brokers who have sold millions of dollars in domain names say that they never had a client ask about age. If the topic of domain age does come up, try to respond that you have been waiting for just the right qualified buyer, which at least puts a positive spin on domain age.

    Number of TLDs

    The number of TLDs, domain extensions, in which a term is registered usually is a measure of domain quality and the importance of the term. I always look at how many TLDs, and how the main legacy ones are being used, before I consider an acquisition. I cover tools to do this in a recent NamePros Blog post.

    Let’s view it from the perspective of a business owner considering a domain name, however. If I tell them the exact term is registered in 95 different extensions, they may well think, oh lots of businesses will have the same Internet address except for the extension. I want something that is more unique for my business.

    It may make sense, if you are at the stage of being asked to justify a price, to mention TLDs, but don’t invoke the idea at the outset. If the topic is raised, be prepared to justify why this is the best available extension for the potential purchaser.

    Automated Valuations

    If the automated domain worth estimate is significantly above the price you are asking, it is tempting to include that information. In some cases it may make sense to do so.

    However, there are dangers as well. If the potential client goes to check valuations at GoDaddy they will be presented with other names available to hand register or buy, and that may reduce the chance they will purchase your domain name. Also, if they see that there are multiple automated estimates that vary extensively, the usual case, that may shake their confidence in the entire domain aftermarket. Also, if you mention automated valuations, and they have read or been told that automated valuations are worthless, and it is easy to find that statement on NamePros, they may be bothered that you brought up automated valuations at all.

    All of that said, I think there can be select situations where automated valuations can help close a sale, particularly in cases where the main estimates are consistent with each other. It is good to be prepared if the potential buyer does bring them up, with a justification for your price compared to other sales.

    How Much You Have Invested In The Domain Name

    If you are discussing price, and the buyer is insisting on a really low price, it may be tempting to state that you bought it for more than they are offering, that was ten years ago and prices have gone up, you have paid renewals, and taken the risk of the domain name never selling. To the buyer, how much you have invested, or that most of your names may never sell so you need a big margin on those that do, is really immaterial. Think from the buyer perspective, always.

    Sales Of Similar Names

    To a domain investor, it is helpful to know what similar names have sold for, and when. However, when a potential end user sees a list of similar name sales, they may simply think that already too many businesses have chosen a similar name. Also, almost certainly prior sales will show a huge variation in price, and that will shake trust in name valuations. Be prepared for the possibility that the buyer might bring up prior sales, however. Have at hand a justification for your pricing with comparator sales.

    How Many Businesses Use This Name

    Domain investors use tools such as OpenCorporates to see how many businesses and organizations use a name they are considering. While that is important information when acquiring a name, or if selling the domain to a domain name investor, I think it would be a negative if promoting to an end user. Businesses don’t view many others using a similar name as a positive.

    Don’t Say Too Much Before You Listen

    I do essentially no outbound personally, but reading accounts on NamePros from those who do effectively outbound, most recommend making your first contact very short, perhaps saying little more than that the name is available, and how to make contact for questions or purchase.

    When someone expresses interest in a domain name, it is hard to resist making the strong, detailed case for the domain name right away. However, it probably is better to let the potential purchaser drive the conversation. What concerns do they have? Is it about the purchase process, how the name will be transferred, who else is using the extension if it is not a .com, how they can be sure you are the real owner, how quickly they can get the name, payment options, etc.

    Express Value From User Perspective

    If the conversation does get to the question of worth of the domain name, express value from a user perspective, considering factors such as
    1. How many more orders, customers, etc. may result from having the new, better name?
    2. While difficult to quantize, what is the worth of increased respect from having a higher value domain name?
    3. What is the cost of leaked emails or inquiries to more obvious domain names?
    4. If the business is currently spending money on online advertising, what SEO benefits will result in advertising savings?
    5. Will the new domain name be more likely to lead to clicks of links on social media, where research shows that more attractive names get more clicks, and what is the economic benefit from that?
    6. The new name is more easily shared in word-of-mouth endorsements, because it is easily remembered and correctly spelled. What is the worth of that to the business?
    If readers know of detailed quantitative case studies on the worth of a better domain names to a business, or worksheets to help businesses calculate the value of a domain name based on factors such as the above, I hope they will share them in the comments section. The Rosener Equation, and updates suggested by various people, cover a number of these elements.

    Domain Descriptions

    While there are pros and cons of including descriptions on your domain name landers, SquadHelp best practice research suggests that use of categories and descriptions help domain name sale sell-through rate. The research found that names with descriptions have about a 2.6x improvement in sell-through.

    One advantage of a description is that if it includes relevant keywords not directly in the domain name it may help search find your lander in some cases. But what else should be included in your descriptions?

    The SquadHelp best practice document covers the importance of both emotions, the feelings the name evokes, and ideas, the ways a name could be used. They explain it with the example HonestHill
    The best lander or inquiry descriptions are probably short, with a sentence or two promoting the name, along with a call to action for the next step in information or acquisition. Of course, the greatness of great names should be obvious, so don’t feel you have to write much!

    A well-written description for selling to a domainer on a site like NamePros is quite different from that first pitch for your domain name to an end user. Always keep in mind who you are talking to!

    If you want to know how to calculate measures that you should only mention to other domainers, perhaps our recent NamePros Blog post on free domain name research tools will help.
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. Bob Hawkes

    About The Author — Bob Hawkes

    Domain analyst, writer and informal educator, with particular interests in domain name phrases and non-business uses for domain names. I am a risk averse domain investor who only invests modest amounts in a variety of extensions and niches. Don't hesitate to contact me - I like to help!

    This is Bob Hawkes's 64th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
  5. Comments (30)

  6. VIP Gold Account

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    Great info @Bob Hawkes as always! never a waste of time reading your posts on here. Keep up the good work!
  7. Maximinus

    Maximinus Established Member

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    Thank you, @Bob Hawkes !

    During my domain journey I've always questioned the importance of the age or the number or TLDs taken.
    Most of the endusers look for a fresh and unique name.

    Keep up your amazing work!

    Greetings, Maximinus
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
  8. The Durfer

    The Durfer Wesley Sweatman VIP

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  9. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Thanks again Bob.

    I agree - age is immaterial to most buyers.

    As I buyer I'd be more concerned about the possibility of the domain having a bad history eg: being penalised in search, or an email address has been blacklisted for spamming.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
  10. BradWilson

    BradWilson Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    @Bob Hawkes I really love the way you think and the way you write.

    I really appreciate the time and effort you obviously take to do the research on each article you write.

    Many times your articles spark an idea that has helped me in my efforts and it has been a huge help to me. In particular your timing seems to be spot on which is a little scary ha.

    I'm just amazed at how you continue to do this but that's totally okay so please keep going.
  11. FolioTeam

    FolioTeam VIP

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    And the people say, "Amen."

    Thanks Bob for yet another brilliant piece. I agree with all the points you raised and I enjoyed reading them.
  12. Brands.International

    Brands.International Marek VIP

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    Great article Bob, it was a pleasure to read it!

    Reminding all of us that we need to be able to switch smoothly between the domainer's bubble and the real world :)
  13. pb

    pb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Fantastic writeup! I'm sometimes guilty of "state that you bought it for more than they are offering". :whistle:
  14. vindo

    vindo Established Member

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  15. Zagalee

    Zagalee Established Member

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  16. GoodKindName

    GoodKindName Established Member

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    A simply stellar post, Bob! This is the topic that often overlooked despite being highly important. Thank you for covering it!
  17. Top 4L [email protected] PRO VIP Gold Account

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    thanks you sharing.
  18. jiy k

    jiy k Established Member

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    Spot On Sir. Only Multinational Corporations may invest or go for some unique Brandable names.. But majority of Endusers go for a fresh name like registering their first name with the business name or other options which are available during Value Appraisal. Their Digital marketing consultant may even buy an expired domain at rates 10-20x lower than your quoted price. Again CCtlds narrows down your sale prospects.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  19. biggie

    biggie VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    for spammers, it's good article on "what not to do" when sending solicitations and "what not to say", when responding to replies.

    however, i've never had to deal with any of those concerns from incoming inquiries.... unless they were domainers.

    it would be nice though, if many would adopt some of the advice, even when trying to sell to other domainers.

    because past sales don't impress me, nor do # of tlds taken or age or whether you think the letters are premium, quad, triple-double or anti-premium.

    just let the name, speak for itself!


  20. roynsdx

    roynsdx Established Member

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    very valuable information! thank you
  21. unmark

    unmark Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks, @Bob Hawkes
    That's easily like a chapter for a good Domaining related book. Nothing to add and nothing to remove.
  22. HappyW

    HappyW Collector VIP

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    WOW,Amazing! Thank you @Bob Hawkes. Definitely a valuable perspective.

    I'm sure this advice is entirely due to your successful experience, because it is.

    What I've found in talking to my clients is that with keyword domains, they are more motivated by 'Brand Protection' and SEO; with creative domains, they usually own their story to find a specific name, in other words, the buyer knows exactly what they are doing.
  23. TauseefKhan

    TauseefKhan Top Contributor VIP

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    Domain investing if taken under the purview of branding is not an exact science. And, you've thoughtfully weaved those thoughts in this post. End-user may not necessarily agree with what investors put forth. Darpan Munjal (SH Founder) rightly said this 'speak the branding language' - here
  24. Dotorium

    Dotorium Established Member

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    Great advices as always thanks
  25. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Thanks for all the response, everyone.

    I just wanted to clarify that I was not saying that all of these things are not worth considering. I think in some situations some of them definitely are worth considering as a domainer. I simply am not sure they are positive, and can be negative, in communication with end users.

    I suppose whether they should be mentioned in domainer communication is a matter of individual preference. As has been expressed, some want to see the name and nothing more. Others find one or more of them helpful in a first-pass view to decide which domain names to consider further.

    With end users, I do find the research done at SquadHelp showing that descriptions, well-written, do help domains get noticed and sell. Now it is possible that there is correlation but not causation, for example maybe domains with descriptions are better and that is why the owner bothered to write a description. Still, I find it very believable that descriptions do help.

    I think this is one area, of many, that I need to personally improve in. In my early years I did include most of the things this column advises against. There still are many still on my personal site. I am gradually changing the style as I write new descriptions however, concentrating on a shorter focus on the ideas and emotions of the name, along with answering a few practical points.

    Not doing outbound, I don't interact with many end users directly. I still remember well how I really messed up a communication. It was my second time, for any domain, ever sending an email. I had researched and was in communication with someone who really could benefit from the domain name. My first email was I think good - short and simply saying the name was available and contact information. I was excited when less than an hour later I got a reply asking for more information. That is where I made a big mistake writing way too much detail, pages :xf.eek: . Our communication extended over several messages, but no sale. I still have the name.

    If I had the opportunity again, my reply message would be very short, expressing enthusiasm for the name in one sentence, asking what specific questions the prospective client had, and then a friendly ending line. Let them drive the conversation.

    I think writing this article helped clarify my own thinking. I hope it helps some of you

    Thanks again for all the comments, and I hope you have a great week.

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  26. boloxy

    boloxy New Member

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    Thank you Bob for yet another beautiful piece.
  27. Mohamed Ahmaid

    Mohamed Ahmaid Established Member

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    Exactly Bob,
    I have seen many buyers want to set apart from the others.
  28. karmaco

    karmaco Top Contributor VIP

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    I especially like this Don’t Say Too Much Before You Listen
    and would add acting desperate or overselling is a sure way to lose a sale.

    Everyone carves out their strategy as they go along. In the general sense of the phrase, the domains should speak for themselves. I don’t personally care who I am talking to. Just that they are willing to pay my price or not.
  29. namemarket

    namemarket Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Keep In Mind Who You Are Talking To is without a doubt IMO the best and most valuable post of the year!

    It has caused me to rethink, refocus and change my marketing method to a good degree. Thanks Bob Hawkes
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
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