When you’re trying to acquire a domain name for your startup there are two paths:
- Hire a domain broker to do it for you
- Take the time/energy to do it yourself
I’ll be the first to say there is no right answer here, in some cases a domain broker is the way to go, in other cases a founder might be a-okay doing it themselves. Here’s how I usually break it down. Buying a domain name, especially a big juicy one-word .COM can be a very time-consuming process, if you don’t have the time for the emails, phone calls, and all that goes into negotiating a domain purchase, hire a broker.
Not all brokers are created equal and I usually send fellow founders to one of two brokers – Igloo.com or MediaOptions.com as these are the two firms that I’ve worked with for years, know well, and most importantly, trust.
Like I said, brokers don’t make sense in all cases. I typically say if you’re buying a domain in the sub-$10,000 range you should probably do it yourself. If you do decide to buy a domain yourself there are three tools that I recommend to both save time and help give you an edge in your negotiations.
- DomainTools – while this is a paid tool it’s #1 for a reason. There is no better tool out there to research a domain name and get critical information like how many other domains they own, etc.
- NameBio – when you’re negotiating with anyone trying to buy anything, comps (i.e. comparable sales) are incredibly important to have. NameBio is a searchable database of domain sales which makes it easy to set realistic price expectations.
- Escrow.com – once you negotiate the deal there’s still the challenges and risks that come with paying for and transferring a domain name. I have been using Escrow.com since I started buying and selling domain names and I can tell you they are the gold standard when it comes to domain name escrow, accept no substitutes, seriously.