Domain Name Bought For $70, Sold For $20,000

gtldsI just sold a .com domain name for $20,000 at Sedo. So after the 15% fees I am getting $17,000. Wire has arrived in my bank account so I can share some of the interesting details. e.g. Negotiations lasted 2 months! But let’s start from the beginning.

When negotiating I don’t look at how much I bought a domain name. I usually remember the ballpark and even if I don’t remember, the purchase price is pretty much irrelevant. I can’t negotiate with 2002 prices in mind or even 2014 prices. I negotiate with what I think that the domain name is worth today.

When I got the first offer at Sedo for $1,250 I was sure I hadn’t paid more than $150 for this domain name.

This time I was a bit curious of what I paid for the domain name because a couple of people asked me that question after I told them about the sale. So I checked my emails and it turns out I paid $70 back in December 2007. It was a simple drop catch backorder at Namejet.

So what was the domain name? It was AppliedGeography.com.

It is one of these names that would sell for not more than $250 in an auction at Go Daddy or Namejet today. And not more than $70 back in 2007!

So after I got the initial offer I had 2 guesses of who the bidder was. The company that bought the .net and .org a few days before I got the first offer at Sedo and a journal using the same name. I contacted the first company and they said that they were not interested. The journal people didn’t reply at all.

I didn’t think of looking at who the previous owner was until writing this post as it was almost 8 years after they dropped the domain name. I thought that they would have contacted me by now if the needed the domain name. It turned out that the previous owner was the journal.

The domain has been transferred to Dynadot and it is behind privacy so I don’t know who the buyer is. The domain was bought through a brand protection agency so that is what I see as the buyer at Sedo. That doesn’t help me as to understand who the buyer is. Not that it makes any difference.

The most important lesson I got from this sale was actually a confirmation of what many people in the industry have said: don’t be afraid to say no to an offer.

Negotiations for this domain name lasted 2 whole months. I even cancelled the first Sedo offer/counteroffer thread.

Without revealing too much (I have removed all my counter offers) here are some of the details of the negotiations:
01/27/15     Buyer’s Offer:     1,250     USD
01/28/15     Buyer’s Offer:     1,750     USD
01/30/15     Buyer’s Offer:     2,750     USD
(In a good faith effort to get this done, I’ve substantially increased my offer.)
02/03/15     Buyer’s Offer:     5,000     USD
(I’m really pushing the limits of my budget here, but in a good faith effort to get this deal done I’m willing to substantially increase my offer to $5,000. Considering that I’ve nearly doubled my offer, please provide more flexibility in your asking price as well.)
02/06/15     Buyer’s Offer:     10,000     USD
(This is the best we can do.)
02/10/15     Your Counter Offer:     xx,000     USD
(I am sorry but that is too low. Thanks)
02/18/15     Your Counter Offer:     xx,000     USD
02/26/15     Your Counter Offer:     xx,000     USD
03/11/15     You cancelled the negotiations

Then the buyer came back 5 days after I cancelled the offer thread and made a new offer:
03/16/15     Buyer’s Offer:     12,500 USD
(Hello, My client was able to increase their budget and we can now offer you $12,500. Are you interested?)
03/25/15     Buyer’s Offer:     15,000 USD
(Thanks for your offer. $25,000 is still outside of my client’s budget. I can increase my offer to $15,000.)
03/26/15     Your Counter Offer:     20,000 USD
Let’s close it today at $20000. A 17,500 offer can’t be accepted.
03/27/15     Buyer confirmed:     20,000 USD

I don’t say I was perfect in these negotiations and maybe I left some money in the table but overall it was not bad. As you can see after 2 months of going back and forth and the buyer taking days to reply I was a tired of this so I tried to avoid a further offer/counter offer: “Let’s close it today at $20000. A 17,500 offer can’t be accepted.”

And finally a word of caution to all new domain investors. I own about 10,000 domain names. That is about $100k in renewals per year. So I need to sell 1 domain name like this every 2 months just to break even. Think of this before starting buying hundreds of domain names.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He loves domains and building websites. He is online since 1995, learned about html in 1996 and got into domains in 2002. He started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

41 comments

  1. This is awesome. Congrats!

  2. Kosta, I think your buyer is Elsevier, it’s a big Dutch publishing company, that’s why they used a brand protection agency to purchase it … and their “client budget” was just a bluff … 😉
    20k is a good price, great sale! congrats! 🙂

  3. Congratulations!

    And thank you for the informative post. My weakness seems to be pricing my domains correctly and posts like this help. I understand keeping some information private, but if you can, knowing the rational of how you set your asking prices would also be of great benefit.

    Thanks again!

  4. Bravo on the sale! Any such spread in ROI proves why domain flipping is the worst possible approach, and how negotiations – versus fixed pricing – will land you the best selling price.

  5. Wow, nice sale.

    Pretty impressive going from $1,250 up to $20K. I think I would’ve been too scared to lose the sale and sold much earlier.

    That’s the difference between a professional domainer and a newbie. Pros are patient and know how to play hard ball.

  6. You rejected a $10,000 offer on appliedgeography.com??? That is BALLSY. Definitely turned out to be a good decision, though. Congratulations!

  7. Congrats on the sale and thanks for sharing the detail!

    Honestly, I wouldn’t have asked that price for the domain you sold. Great sale and you did a fantastic job! 🙂

  8. Way to stick to your number, only about 95% of domainers could likley hold out after $10K after verifying their cost.

  9. Vasilis Mertikas

    Well played my friend! Bravo! I think you should buy a few rounds tonight!

  10. “And finally a word of caution to all new domain investors. I own about 10,000 domain names. That is about $100k in renewals per year. So I need to sell 1 domain name like this every 2 months just to break even. Think of this before starting buying hundreds of domain names.”

    Thanks for the openess! Sometimes people forget to factor in the cost of renewals.

  11. That’s awesome, congrats. It helps in terms of positioning when you know a buyer *really* wants it 🙂

  12. Honestly at about 2500 I would have caved LOL. You got some great balls for sure.

  13. Awesome sale. Can you explain why you thought it was worth $20,000 ? I also, would have caved sooner, thinking it was a pretty long domain

    • One thing is to read all the sales you can. Watch what domains sell for $20k or $30k and compare them to the $3k to $5k sales. Sometimes you see a difference, sometimes you don’t. When you don’t see it then negotiations are key.

  14. Applied Geography – that is one I would have probably overlooked in a drop list or would have sold low $XXX. You definitely hit a home run on this one – excellent negotiation. I guess many investors go for the grand slam home run even though sometimes they miss out on sales opportunities at a decent ROI. I get plenty of offer page views but regardless of price they rarely convert.

  15. Congrats! Good sell.
    And I think how do you manage so big portfolio? Each day you should have 10-20 renewals…

  16. Thanks for sharing your success! This helps prove there is money to be made in domains that appear to have little/no value to other domain investors. It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay…and in this case the new owner was willing to pay more than many of us thought possible.

    Great post!

  17. seems like time changes everything

  18. just did some research on the Buyer.. it was ESRI who already owned the topnotch domain Geography.com as well.. they clearly have even deeper pockets than the accepted $20k suggest..
    but it’s always easy to say that afterwards, kudos to you for sticking to your guns.. i admit i would have folded earlier as well like others here have stated already..

  19. ps: they are owning over 600 domains, so they are clearly educated and were just lowballing, knowing the real value from the beginning..

  20. So, so Inspiring, Congratulations!

    You said: “domain name management tools” would you mind to share which one do you use to manage your portfolio? Or may be you can write a dedicated post for this?

    Thank in advance!

  21. Sounds like quite a “showdown in the street” Konstantinos very exciting stuff!. My husband has that kind of nerve and I am working for it…you just know from the tug he always says!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.