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Archive 2012 · has anyone ever bought a domain?
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · has anyone ever bought a domain?

I figured this was the most appropriate sub-forum for this question, even though it is not technically "pro photography".

I am curious if anyone here has ever bought a domain that someone else had already registered?

I want to set up a personal website for myself and my photos (non-commercial, mainly to share with family, etc.) and want to use a particular domain name. However it is already taken, as are several iterations of the same (i.e. .com, .org, .net, etc). None of the domains/alternates have actual websites on them, just placeholders.

I was able to find the contact info of the domain owner via whois lookup. Curious as to whether there are some general guidelines for approaching someone to buy a domain they control.

After a brief search I determined that neither the domain nor any of the alternate configs have seen any kind of traffic over the past few years.

The catch I guess is that since my intent is non-monetary, I am unwilling to spend substantial sums of money just to get a domain for a personal-use website. However it seems like most domain campers want big payouts because they think their domain is going to be the next google.com.

Am I out of luck here? Do I have at least a fighting chance of getting a domain for a reasonable cost? I would really like to secure the domain I have in mind, and am willing to pay a small fee for getting it, but if I'm gonna have to fork out $500 or whatever then I'll have to try and think of a different one.


May 08, 2012 at 07:29 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · has anyone ever bought a domain?

You're right @ most wanting a big paycheck ... holding out for it.

I had one domain in mind a few years back that I was interested in, and they wanted $x,xxx for it, so I passed. At the time I probably would have been good for around $300, but certainly not 10x that much. Over the years, they have come back to me offering a lower amount, finally getting down to around $800, but I never counter-offered since I found a different solution.

Classically the market value for it is what one seller and one buyer are willing to pay for something. If they aren't willing to sell for a price that a buyer is willing to pay, then a sale never occurs. IMO, their loss (particularly after holding a domain for years that no one has been willing to purchase). I realize that doesn't really help much, other than for moral support, but unless you can get them past their mentality that it is a "big payout" if they'll just "ride it out" (like a penny stock mentality) ... good luck with getting a reasonable price.

The one thing that they are leaving out of the equation is the "time value" of money. If they were to sell you THAT domain for a profit, they could then re-utilize the new money for additional ventures ... but unless you can convey that to them such that they "see" it to their advantage to do so, most still seem to be a bit bent on waiting for someone desparate to give them their "big payday".

But, give it a good go ... ya never know.


May 08, 2012 at 01:26 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · has anyone ever bought a domain?

If you have time and domain is up for renewal soon try the Go Daddy service that for around $20.00 will grab the name if it is not renewed on time.

May 08, 2012 at 03:56 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · has anyone ever bought a domain?

They'll often want $500 or more, but it's worth checking into. If you're willing to pay $200-$300 you might have a chance. Our local school let their domain get away. Someone decided it wasn't worth the higher renewal fee at that time ($25 maybe?); the domain broker that picked it up then wanted $500 for it.

May 09, 2012 at 04:55 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · has anyone ever bought a domain?

Frankly even $200-300 is way high for me. I was thinking along the lines of $50-75. Maybe $100 tops, maybe. That should cover his reg fees for the past few years and then some profit on top of that. Doesn't help that one iteration of this domain is openly for sale on sedo for less than $100. If asking these domain owners for the TLDs I want doesn't work out I may just buy the one on sedo.

IMHO, the domain is pretty much worthless except for perhaps a one in a million prospect. What it has going for it is that it is short. However, it is not composed entirely of "premium" letters, is not really pronounceable, is not similar in any way to an already existing well-known acronym or company name, gets all of zero hits per month in type-in or misdirected traffic (or at least so little that it is not recorded by any traffic aggregator), etc. Based on my research, people who invest in domains would likely not pay more than $20-30 for this domain because it lacks a lot of key "value" features. As such, I feel $50-75 is more than fair considering I am that one in a million guy who actually wants to use it.

I sent the domain owner an email asking if he is willing to sell. I was torn whether or not to put a starting price in the email (I ended up not including one) because I feel if I went in with my planned opening bid of $50 he would likely write me off immediately. I dunno though, it's really hard for me to figure this stuff out. I tried to "case" the guy out (kind of creepy- you'd be surprised at what you can dig up about someone with a little internet searching), it does not seem like he is a serious domain hoarder- some cursory research suggests he only owns like 10-15 domains, so likely using most of them for actual websites, and not hoarding them for profit. I am hoping this makes him more open to selling at a reasonable cost. I do know now that he is a bit of a photog himself though, shoots canon, and owns at least a couple L lenses . Maybe I can work that angle hehe.

May 09, 2012 at 08:00 AM

Search in Used Dept. 

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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · has anyone ever bought a domain?

When I wanted a domain name that would put me high on the first page, I had to buy it from a "name broker" in Australia. I figured they would want many hundreds of $$, but it turned out to be very affordable at US$75.

It never hurts to inquire about the asking price first. Then if it's out of range go to Plan B.


May 09, 2012 at 01:53 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · has anyone ever bought a domain?

I had a friend buy a name that was just initials, but could have been attractive to a fairly large company that most people never heard of (not like it was IBM.com ...)and he ended up paying a little over $1,000. My friend will use this commercially for his business of almost 40 years, so its not a bad price in the end.

One interesting side note. Many people will pick up web sites that the owners neglect to keep paid up, then put porn on them to force the owners to pay big money for the return. Happened to a photography place around here and made the papers.

May 10, 2012 at 12:17 AM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · has anyone ever bought a domain?

Domain squatters are annoying but you might get lucky. I remember a story a few years ago where Microsoft let their registration lapse and some guy renewed it for them. He could have kept it. Just keep checking.

A domain I owned when I was younger is currently owned by a domain squatter.

I got lucky and managed to get domains I'm very happy with. I have one for my website and another for email/file transfers. You could just do what everyone else does and go with something like www.johndoephotography.com

May 10, 2012 at 01:26 PM

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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · has anyone ever bought a domain?

I registered one of my domains, used for a small collectibles buisness, about ten years ago. Over the years I've had many "squatters" try and sell me the same name as a dot net, dot biz, etc (mine is only the dot com). Funny, when I offer to sell them my dot com name so they could have the complete set they never answer me.

May 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM

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