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Going rogue : Interview with a “Black Ops” domain broker


Domain investing can be a cutthroat business, and many domain brokers operate in questionable ways to benefit their clients.

Acquiring domain names “under the radar” is one thing; getting a domain owner to sell a domain at a bargain price requires particular skills.

We interviewed a “black ops” domain broker, who ensures his buyers pay bottom prices for the domain names he acquires on their behalf.

Our guy – MrX – shall remain anonymous, as part of the agreement to provide information for an interview.

DomainGang : How long have you been in the domain brokering business?

MrX : Less than 5 years. It started as a challenge by a friend, who needed a domain for a couple of thousand bucks. I managed to get it for $500 dollars and my friend was ecstatic.

DomainGang : When did you realize you had to use unconventional means to get those domains?

MrX : It was early on, in fact, I used such an approach from the first one. Basically, told the owner I had very little money left after getting divorced – a completely bullshit story. Using an array of convincing lies isn’t easy, because I’m otherwise an honest guy.

DomainGang : So when you email or call those domain owners, what is a typical chain of events?

MrX : I email them and tell them I’d like to buy that domain. When I call I use a number that’s disposable or otherwise clean. I don’t always use the same area code, to avoid getting linked to a particular area. Using gmail accounts with first/last name, and some other methods I won’t detail for obvious reasons. If they are interested, I begin the negotiation game.

DomainGang : How long does it take, from their initial response to get a sale going?

MrX : Depends on the domain, and the amount involved. I offer anything between a few hundred dollars, to several thousand. Typically, I start in the middle and go up, but mostly remain firm or even lower my offer. It can take up to two months but most deals take 10-15 days to complete.

DomainGang : What payment methods are you using to pay for the domains?

MrX : Again, it depends on the amount involved. We have a structured process that involves personal and company checks. Depends on the story really. I don’t like complicating things, if the seller is willing to sell at my price range I don’t use any particularly dirty tricks. Escrow.com obviously, there are bank wires and sometimes PayPal.

DomainGang : What happens after you get hold of the domain?

MrX : It goes into privacy WHOIS almost immediately, to ensure that the identity of my client is protected. If they plan to use the domain right away, that’s their choice, but most times the domain remains dormant for several months with just a typical parking page by the registrar. We are not into this for the clicks, my clients want particular domains as brands primarily.

DomainGang : What are some of your most notable acquisitions?

MrX : I can’t share the actual domains, there have been a lot of LLL .com naturally, and single word .com and .net domains. We did a couple of large .org acquisitions that were still a bargain compared to the domains’ street value. We’re not always taking the cheap route, the goal is to get the domain as opposed to hitting a wall with a stubborn owner who won’t sell.

DomainGang : Any advice to domain sellers that might want to sell at maximum ROI?

MrX : That’d be ruining my chances to get these domains, right? But honestly, get your pricing right, be firm when asking for X amount of dollars and if you have a serious buyer get it done and move on. It’s strictly business.

DomainGang : Many thanks for this exclusive interview. Keep on fighting the “good fight” – I guess!

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