I bought a domain from BuyDomains about two months ago. I was searching for a domain for one of my personal projects using a domain generator (Nameboy), and saw what I thought was a great domain name show up as available. I got out my credit card, and immediately went to my registrar’s site to grab it. Unfortunately, it showed up as already registered. Damn. When I visited the domain in a browser, it turned out it was for sale and brokered (possibly owned?) by BuyDomains. I didn’t realize the domain generators/checkers displayed for-sale domains as well as unregistered ones, but it certainly makes sense now.
Domain name squatting offends me slightly, but it’s mostly because I kick myself for not having bought as many good domains as I could have years ago and squatted them myself. Despite being virtual, a good domain name is an incredibly valuable asset. The domain name BuyDomains was selling seemed like a pretty good deal even though it was obviously priced significantly above a normal registration cost. I’d never dealt with them before, and though I was mildly familiar with them, I was initially leery of the process.
I did some initial research on BuyDomains by doing some searches — I couldn’t find a lot of detailed information (which is why I decided to write this post). The experiences I did find ranged from frustrated people who said BuyDomains had raised the price after initial contact, to people who said BuyDomains was quite willing to negotiate on prices. A lot of people questioned how the domains were priced. How do they assign a value to a domain that is squatted and has never had a legitimate purpose? (The Internet Archive is a good resource to check historical content and see whether a domain was ever used for a legitimate site.) Keyword use and traffic seem to be the only reasonable metrics in assigning value. Keywords are very subjective, though. And when the domain is used in a link farm, this traffic numbers are sure to be skewed. The prices on BuyDomains vary wildly — most I’ve seen are priced between $1,000 and $3,000, but many clear English phrases with .com extensions are at the bottom of the range, while many nonsensical .net and .org names are much higher.
I liked the domain enough, and I’d read enough positive experiences to give the purchase a go, though. The representatives I talked to over email responded quickly and were quite professional. They seemed quite willing to negotiate on the price. I ended up offering approximately 33% less than the initial asking price, and they quickly accepted. I have the feeling they would have gone lower, but I’m not sure how much lower. The checkout process was pretty slick. There were the expected few days lag after payment and before the transfer completed. I got a phone call from another representative just prior to a confirmation email that gave me control of the domain. He was very professional, and though he tried to upsell me on related products, he didn’t push too hard. The registrar the domain was on had a goofy interface (I’m not sure how much of BuyDomains’ business is commission versus domains they own, or if they transfer all their owned domains to this particular registrar). Transferring to my registrar was quite painless, however. I spent much more than an unregistered domain would have cost, but I think the final price was fair, and I’m quite pleased with my experience with BuyDomains.