When you can’t afford an outright buy, improvise!

I finally managed to track down the owner of a domain that has had my eye for 2 years, it’s rather a high calibre domain and not one I can really afford to go out and buy, but that doesn’t stop me trying, asking, improvising and generally persevering.

I’ve emailed the owner before with no response, that’s not unusual seeing as owners of very good domains ‘not in use’ probably get cheeky offers all the time, can’t remember what I offered last time but it was probably not worth replying to if I was being honest, so yesterday I took a new tactic. I emailed and asked if he had a price in mind, or if he would entertain a swap. I included one of my better domains as a possible trade.

To make a fresh change I actually got a response this time, it was short and to the point but at least it was communication, it went like this

yourdomain.co.uk + £50,000 = mydomain.co.uk

Personally for what it’s worth my gut says this is a 6 figure domain, not that I have 6 figures in my bank but as I mentioned before it doesn’t stop me asking. The counter offer actually isn’t that bad and if I had £50,000 sitting around in my change jar I’d be very tempted. So where do we go from here?

Back and forth, I suggested I lease the domain with an option to buy but this made him increase his price to £75k plus my domain, that’s more like end user pricing now as my domain is valuable, I made a final offer:

Lease the domain for 12 months for £1000 with an option to buy for £75,000 at any point during the 12 months, he accepted, unfortunately he is in out of the country at the moment so it will be a few weeks before we can get the agreement signed but it’s been written up and approved by both of us.

Will I raise the funds to buy it? I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet £1000 that I might.

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.


  1. Perhaps you could set up a group of people with same sort of interests that could purchase potential income avenues from this sort of situation.

    Investment situation but for for a few web savvy small business entrepeneurs.

    Will plug a link in the signature because thsi type of thing could be a niche there.

  2. Scott, absolutely. In the current market I think being creative with deals is where we mere mortals like us can put ourselves above the more wealthy competition. Like you I use several tactics to get the best prices possible – some buyers I have found would prefer to sell to someone who is actually going to develop it so my tip is always say what your intended use is even if it might change later. People don’t like flippers! Thanks Johnny

  3. reminds me of the real estate, where a certain level of creativity, as well as awareness of the many types of options and combinations, can lead to good deals.

    kouji’s last blog post..blog action day 2008: philippine poverty haiku poems

  4. Can’t wait to find out what you’ve leased. Very creative approach, as usual.

  5. Well, it all depends on the domain. If you consider it worth 75K+ then go ahead and buy it. Otherwise the leasing option is also good. Hope, you’ll disclose the name. 🙂

  6. Domainers are the new property developers – how long before Sarah Beany has a new TV show on How To Make Money from Domain Development?! 🙂

    Cheers, Jon

    Jon’s last blog post..Salon Websites – HourTown online scheduling software

  7. £75,000 for a .co.uk domain, that must be one priceless domain that you’re intending to buy. Good luck, I believe this will be a great investment. Leasing for 12 months does sound like a good idea as it allows you to test the market. However, we’ve got to be careful that the agreement is properly handled by the legal counsel, as it involved a great deal of cash.

    Keith’s last blog post..Top 5 Drupal 6 Modules

  8. £75k!!! I have trouble affording a £250 domain at the moment! 🙂

    Daniel Harrison’s last blog post..Top Tips: High Traffic Tips, Bad Domains and Unverified Email Subscribers

  9. I have to say, I’ve been reading this blog for some time, and it’s still somewhat unfathomable for me to imagine spending that much on one single domain.

    Are you planning on flipping it? Or rather holding onto and developing it?

    Justin Cook’s last blog post..What to do when you’re dropped from Google’s index

    • For now I just plan on leasing it for a year which will let me test it to some extent, then I would have a clearer idea of how to value it so it’s only an option. With billions upon billions of pages and sites I feel the best domain names will increase in value as they add memorability and credibility that a poor domain cannot all the while decreasing in availability.

  10. £75k – wow! It must be a great domain! If it is then it’s worth spending if you can afford to. I hope you can make it work for you and would love to know what it was!

  11. a side question, but how does someone lease out a domain and is able to get it back legally?

    • Not sure what you mean really, I use a contract that gives me a right to lease the domain with an option to buy, the domain never leaves the ownership of the original owner so they change the name servers during the lease.

    • sdot – I assume Scott’s drawing up a legally binding contract that would enable him to claim against the current owner if he decided to break the contract.

      Just make sure it is watertight, though, as you don’t want to spend a year transforming the domain into a great site with lots of SEO and branding work put in only for the original owner to decide to keep it himself.

  12. Believe it or not, this is a very lucrative business for a few now. leasing domain on a long term agreement seems like the way forward. Maybe option to buy after 3-4 years.

  13. I’m really quite surprised that these figures are talked about for .co.uk as people always seem to to shout about the fact you need to have a .com domain.

    Interesting to hear that there’s money in UK domaining as well…I just wish I’d bought some back in the day! 😉

    Zath’s last blog post..PS3 Hard Disk Upgrade

  14. Did you ever buy the domain?

    I had somebody email me recently asking if I wanted their domain and offering to sell it to me or lease it to me.

    The problem is that they (and I expect a lot of people with a nice domain) expect you to pay a huge amount for it that would take many years to recoup the cost, if ever, to the point where it’s not worth the risk.

    I’d also not want to lease the domain as I see no point in putting lots of effort into a site when the owner could just take it away at any moment.

    I wish I’d bought up a few good domains when the web was starting up, though, as all the good ones seem to have gone!

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