Selling Internet domain name based on family last name.

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mac_guy
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Selling Internet domain name based on family last name.

Post by mac_guy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:02 am

About 4 years ago, I registered my last name as a domain name followed by ".com" At the time, I was taking a networking course and had some ideas for it, but ultimately lost interest. Now I just keep the domain registered in case I ever need it in the future - maybe I start a business and would want a website tied to my name.

I have the domain registered at GoDaddy and just was contacted by an account rep who said they have a client who wants to buy my domain name. Now, my last name is fairly unique. I'm pretty sure that everyone who lives in the U.S. and has my last name is somehow related to me. I do wonder if there are people with my last name in other countries who maybe have a business tied to the name. I did a google search based on my last name and didn't find any business's with my last name in the first couple pages of search results.

Has anyone been in a situation like this? If someone is willing to go through the steps to inquire about buying the name, does that indicate they have a serious need for it? The email I received asked if I wanted to sell and what my asking price would be. The email did not indicate what they were willing to pay. I estimate I probably paid like $100 in registration fees so far.

Anyway, just curious if anyone has advice on how to deal with this.
Last edited by mac_guy on Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:56 pm, edited 6 times in total.

PFInterest
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by PFInterest » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:04 am

if you want it, dont respond and dont do anything.
if you think its something more important, ask for 1MM.
adjust from there...

bluebirdy
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by bluebirdy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:10 am

This person paid Godaddy $50 to reach out to you, and agreed to pay them a 20% commission if successful. So yes, they are likely serious. Search on LinkedIn to see how popular your last name really is and you may see it being used as a company name somewhere around the world. The average retail sale price in the industry for low-tier domains like this is around $2000. Without knowing the domain at all beyond what you've said, I'd probably quote $3000 to start, but be willing to negotiate downward a lot.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:19 am

One Hundred Billion Dollars


Then when they counter offer $112.50, counter back with


One Million Dollars


(pinkie to mouth)
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

daheld
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by daheld » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:22 am

How many letters is your last name?

renue74
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by renue74 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:28 am

I own a small web design firm. I often have side gigs and buy domains that I may use in the future.

About 4 years ago, I bought this stupid domain name from Godaddy. To be honest, I bought it on my mobile phone...while I was tent camping.

But, I stupidly paid $1500 for the name. I didn't even really look at the pricing and just kept hitting continue to finish the transaction. Later after I got the email confirmation, did I realize I didn't buy a cheap domain...but a premium one.

I immediately kicked myself and put it back on Godaddy domain auction.

It stayed there for about a year...and out of the blue, a guy from Raleigh emails me and asks me if I wanted to sell it (outside of Godaddy). I think he found my contact info through the WHOIS. It was a public registration.

He wanted the domain for a mobile app company.

I sold it to him for $2,000. I gave him an invoice. He wired me the money...and I gave him a receipt. A day or so later, I transferred the domain to him. Easy process.

I was lucky.

inverter
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by inverter » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:37 am

Domain names, especially .Com's, are a scare resource. Price accordingly. I wouldn't sell any of my domains below 5 figures.

mrmass
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by mrmass » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:49 am

If your last name is Jobs $1 Billion dollars.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:56 am

inverter wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:37 am
Domain names, especially .Com's, are a scare resource. Price accordingly. I wouldn't sell any of my domains below 5 figures.
If you use n letters there are 26^n of them, which is a big number even if n=5.

I suppose there is some limit on the number of characters, so probably the number of .com domain names is finite. But still really big.

Of course there is a preference for meaningful names, which reduces the number that are interesting. Even so, I don't think there is a case to be made that domain names are scarce. So I'm not scared.

margered
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by margered » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:00 am

You might be able to get another domain with .us or something else, but they might have already been taken by the inquirer.

mac_guy
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by mac_guy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:09 am

margered wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:00 am
You might be able to get another domain with .us or something else, but they might have already been taken by the inquirer.
Thank you for reminding me to check. I just checked and my last name in ".us" is still available.

mac_guy
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by mac_guy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:53 pm

Thanks for the replies so far. I also was wondering about tax issues with regards to selling my domain. Say I were to sell the domain for $2000. Initially I bought it for personal use and just paid the small registration fees. I didn't buy it as an investment. Would I have to pay capital gains tax on the profits from the sale of the domain name?

senex
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by senex » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:07 pm

Personal property sold for a gain is taxable. See https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/24102 ... hat-i-sold

btenny
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by btenny » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:44 pm

What kind of phone number can be created from your name? If you can get 800-789-654321 or some other nice easy number from your name the value may be high.
Good luck

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:25 pm

I have a domain of our lastnameusa.com I bought many years ago. I have a website builder service plan with Godaddy DW wanted, but she has never built it.

So I am paying. Godaddy way too much for simply having two email accounts with our last name basically. I have daughters so they don't want/need the domain.

I was approached a few years ago by a company but foolishly dec!ined to sell.

I need to change all sites that has the domain email as part of the signin. We can just use our AOL and/or gmail
accounts.

OP, I will be following this thread closely, please keep us informed of the outcome.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

SimonJester
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by SimonJester » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:27 pm

try the domain name appraisal tool from godaddy:
https://www.godaddy.com/domain-value-appraisal

Should give you an idea what they think its worth...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

mac_guy
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by mac_guy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:52 pm

SimonJester wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:27 pm
try the domain name appraisal tool from godaddy:
https://www.godaddy.com/domain-value-appraisal

Should give you an idea what they think its worth...
Wow. Thank you so much for pointing me to that link. That is really interesting. GoDaddy appraises my domain at about $2600. I'd love to know how their appraisal tool works. At first I thought it maybe just looked at the number of letters, but I made a one letter change to test it and the value dropped dramatically. Maybe it correlates with hits on Google search or some other algorithm that gives gives it a score based on how commonly the name shows up on the web. I'm also starting to wonder if maybe my name is a common word in another language or would be a combination of foreign words.

At least I have a starting point for negotiations now.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:08 pm

If today you would pay somewhere around the offered price for the domain keep it. If you anticipate using it in the future to project your personal brand keep it. You probably won't get it back again cheaply.

I own several domains based on my personal real-life name, which I registered prior to the domain-name gold rush. All the others are redirected to the most important one. They're inexpensive to carry.

PJW

inbox788
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by inbox788 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:55 pm

daheld wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:22 am
How many letters is your last name?
How many syllables? Is it easy to pronounce and remember?
mrmass wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:49 am
If your last name is Jobs $1 Billion dollars.
OP, Mr. Nissan? (FWIW, nissan.com Estimated Value: $22,403, nissanusa.com Estimated Value: $6,203)
mac_guy wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:53 pm
Thanks for the replies so far. I also was wondering about tax issues with regards to selling my domain. Say I were to sell the domain for $2000. Initially I bought it for personal use and just paid the small registration fees. I didn't buy it as an investment. Would I have to pay capital gains tax on the profits from the sale of the domain name?
Yes. For those reasons alone, I wouldn't do it for less than 5 figures. YMMV. BTW, beware there may be scams, so be careful. Is the offer coming directly through GoDaddy and will they be acting as a broker?
mac_guy wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:52 pm
I'm also starting to wonder if maybe my name is a common word in another language or would be a combination of foreign words.
You might get lucky with google translate (detect language). https://translate.google.com/

How many results does google return when you search it?

Smith 1.6B! (Estimated Value: more than $25,000)
Smythe only 9M (Estimated Value: $7,968)
Shellenburg 800k (Estimated Value: $739)

https://names.mongabay.com/most_common_surnames16.htm

mac_guy
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Re: Selling Internet domain name based on family last name.

Post by mac_guy » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm

OP back:

So, I spent the last week going back and forth with the representative from GoDaddy. I put out an initial ask in the low $4000's, with the intention to have to come down a bit. We settled a little lower than that. After the 20% commissions, I will net in the low $3000's.

Now, I just have to give the final OK. I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I think I may have gotten incredibly lucky. I wasn't using this domain name and had been thinking about just dropping the registration. Enough domains are still available, should I want something personalized (for example: MyFirstNameMyLastName.com MyLastName.us still available)

On the other hand, I'm starting to have second thoughts and wonder if the domain is really worth more than I asked for. Although maybe not, because up until I registered it 4 years ago, no one else had registered it. For those that asked, my last name is longer than 8 letters.

I'm also worried it may be used for a porn site or something similar. All the agent would tell me is that the buyer is outside the United States.

Just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts.

criticalmass
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by criticalmass » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:23 pm

renue74 wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:28 am
I own a small web design firm. I often have side gigs and buy domains that I may use in the future.

About 4 years ago, I bought this stupid domain name from Godaddy. To be honest, I bought it on my mobile phone...while I was tent camping.

But, I stupidly paid $1500 for the name. I didn't even really look at the pricing and just kept hitting continue to finish the transaction. Later after I got the email confirmation, did I realize I didn't buy a cheap domain...but a premium one.

I immediately kicked myself and put it back on Godaddy domain auction.

It stayed there for about a year...and out of the blue, a guy from Raleigh emails me and asks me if I wanted to sell it (outside of Godaddy). I think he found my contact info through the WHOIS. It was a public registration.

He wanted the domain for a mobile app company.

I sold it to him for $2,000. I gave him an invoice. He wired me the money...and I gave him a receipt. A day or so later, I transferred the domain to him. Easy process.

I was lucky.
Great outcome! Was that a short term or long term capital gain? :wink:

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Watty
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Re: Selling Internet domain name based on family last name.

Post by Watty » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:26 pm

mac_guy wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm
Just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts.
A bird in the has is worth two in the bush.

mac_guy
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by mac_guy » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:30 pm

criticalmass wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:23 pm
renue74 wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:28 am
I own a small web design firm. I often have side gigs and buy domains that I may use in the future.

About 4 years ago, I bought this stupid domain name from Godaddy. To be honest, I bought it on my mobile phone...while I was tent camping.

But, I stupidly paid $1500 for the name. I didn't even really look at the pricing and just kept hitting continue to finish the transaction. Later after I got the email confirmation, did I realize I didn't buy a cheap domain...but a premium one.

I immediately kicked myself and put it back on Godaddy domain auction.

It stayed there for about a year...and out of the blue, a guy from Raleigh emails me and asks me if I wanted to sell it (outside of Godaddy). I think he found my contact info through the WHOIS. It was a public registration.

He wanted the domain for a mobile app company.

I sold it to him for $2,000. I gave him an invoice. He wired me the money...and I gave him a receipt. A day or so later, I transferred the domain to him. Easy process.

I was lucky.
Great outcome! Was that a short term or long term capital gain? :wink:
Well, if I registered it 4 years ago, I guess it would be a long term gain. Since I didn't buy it from anyone, I'm guessing the basis would be close to $0 or maybe just the initial registration fees?

epoxyresin
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Re: Selling Internet domain name based on family last name.

Post by epoxyresin » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:42 pm

mac_guy wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm
OP back:

So, I spent the last week going back and forth with the representative from GoDaddy. I put out an initial ask in the low $4000's, with the intention to have to come down a bit. We settled a little lower than that. After the 20% commissions, I will net in the low $3000's.

Now, I just have to give the final OK. I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I think I may have gotten incredibly lucky. I wasn't using this domain name and had been thinking about just dropping the registration. Enough domains are still available, should I want something personalized (for example: MyFirstNameMyLastName.com MyLastName.us still available)

On the other hand, I'm starting to have second thoughts and wonder if the domain is really worth more than I asked for. Although maybe not, because up until I registered it 4 years ago, no one else had registered it. For those that asked, my last name is longer than 8 letters.

I'm also worried it may be used for a porn site or something similar. All the agent would tell me is that the buyer is outside the United States.

Just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts.
Would you buy it today for $3000? That seems like an astronomical price to pay for something that I don't have concrete plans to use, and can likely get something almost as good for substantially less. But I dunno, for me I'd put the value close to zero so it'd be a no brainer-to me. Maybe you value it higher.

RickBoglehead
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Re: Selling Internet domain name based on family last name.

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:42 pm

mac_guy wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm
OP back:

So, I spent the last week going back and forth with the representative from GoDaddy. I put out an initial ask in the low $4000's, with the intention to have to come down a bit. We settled a little lower than that. After the 20% commissions, I will net in the low $3000's.

Now, I just have to give the final OK. I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I think I may have gotten incredibly lucky. I wasn't using this domain name and had been thinking about just dropping the registration. Enough domains are still available, should I want something personalized (for example: MyFirstNameMyLastName.com MyLastName.us still available)

On the other hand, I'm starting to have second thoughts and wonder if the domain is really worth more than I asked for. Although maybe not, because up until I registered it 4 years ago, no one else had registered it. For those that asked, my last name is longer than 8 letters.

I'm also worried it may be used for a porn site or something similar. All the agent would tell me is that the buyer is outside the United States.

Just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts.
I think buyer negotiated in good faith, and you should follow through.

iamlucky13
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:04 pm

For a domain name not registered until 2012, $3000 sounds like a pretty good offer to me.

Keep in mind also that if you hold on to the name and at some point in the future let your registration lapse, it will likely get snapped up by someone else, and you will have lost the opportunity to sell it, assuming the buyer remains interested in the future. I view that as a reason in favor of making the sale now if you have no plans for the name.

The main reason I might hold onto a name in such a situation is if regardless of not having any plans, it simply was important enough to me to keep the option of making use of the name later or to pass it along to a family member, that I was willing to forego the offered income.
inbox788 wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:55 pm
OP, Mr. Nissan? (FWIW, nissan.com Estimated Value: $22,403, nissanusa.com Estimated Value: $6,203)
They might have undervalued that one slightly.

Nissan Motors originally sued Uzi Nissan for $10 million in damages due to "unfair competition" by registering his family name, also the name of his business, as his business's domain name.

lotusflower
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Re: Received inquiry about purchasing domain name based on my own last name. How to respond?

Post by lotusflower » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:36 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:56 am
inverter wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:37 am
Domain names, especially .Com's, are a scare resource. Price accordingly. I wouldn't sell any of my domains below 5 figures.
If you use n letters there are 26^n of them, which is a big number even if n=5.

I suppose there is some limit on the number of characters, so probably the number of .com domain names is finite. But still really big.

Of course there is a preference for meaningful names, which reduces the number that are interesting. Even so, I don't think there is a case to be made that domain names are scarce. So I'm not scared.
That's just silly. Everyone likes .com names best and ALL of the ones worth having are taken.
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/domain-names-101/

SoAnyway
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Re: Selling Internet domain name based on family last name.

Post by SoAnyway » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:11 pm

mac_guy wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm
...I put out an initial ask...
As a matter of negotiation strategy, this ^^^ was your first mistake, OP. You were just holding this domain and minding your own business, and going about your life. If I read your post correctly, suddenly, a buyer pops up on the radar. GoDaddy (broker) asks how much will you sell for? The right answer would be "Make me a fair offer."
mac_guy wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm
Wow. Thank you so much for pointing me to that link. That is really interesting. GoDaddy appraises my domain at about $2600.
This was the second mistake. GD's interest is in collecting their fee and showing the buyer (i.e. not you) what great value they provide. Any "valuation" you looked at was AFTER they knew they had an interested buyer.
mac_guy wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm
After the 20% commissions, I will net in the low $3000's. Now, I just have to give the final OK.

I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I think I may have gotten incredibly lucky. I wasn't using this domain name and had been thinking about just dropping the registration. Enough domains are still available, should I want something personalized (for example: MyFirstNameMyLastName.com MyLastName.us still available) On the other hand, I'm starting to have second thoughts and wonder if the domain is really worth more than I asked for. Although maybe not, because up until I registered it 4 years ago, no one else had registered it. For those that asked, my last name is longer than 8 letters. I'm also worried it may be used for a porn site or something similar. All the agent would tell me is that the buyer is outside the United States.
It doesn't sound like you need this money now OP, don't really care about holding the asset, and it will be little hassle for your family to switch out of whatever use y'all were making of it, correct? If so:
If you want the $3k and can get over the porn site etc. concern, sell. If not and are ok with the carrying costs, tell GD you've reconsidered, and the domain name's not for sale. (At that point, you might even get a higher offer if the buyer wants it badly enough.)

ww340
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Re: Selling Internet domain name based on family last name.

Post by ww340 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:34 pm

I tried to buy a .com site this year that matched my business. I went through GoDaddy and they sent me an email that said "In order to get the negotiations started with the current owner you will need to provide an offer range. The majority of successful deals for domains fall between $250.00-$2,500.00. Rare and coveted domains sell for 5 figures or more". Later they suggested I might need to go as high as $3000.00 for the site I wanted.

Ultimately, no deal was made, as the owner of the site never responded at all.

It sounds like you have a good deal worked out, unless your name is something super special.

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obafgkm
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Re: Selling Internet domain name based on family last name.

Post by obafgkm » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:45 pm

mac_guy wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm
(Original poster makes a deal, but has second thoughts).
RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:42 pm
I think buyer negotiated in good faith, and you should follow through.
I agree. The original poster wonders if the family-name-based domain is worth more than s/he agreed to, and I'm wondering what going back on his/her word is going to do the value of the family name.

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