I’ve wanted to buy AffordAnything.com for more than a year. The dash in “Afford-Anything.com” bugs me. It weighs down the domain; it makes this site’s name tough to say.
I’ve had this conversation a zillion times:
“My blog is afford -dash- anything dot com.”
“Afford -dash- anything. It’s afford anything, but with a hyphen.”
Arg. There was no getting around it. I needed affordanything.com, without the dash.
But I faced one problem: the domain costs $1,100. Yikes!
I tried to avoid this four-figure price tag by spending $10 on affordanything.org, but that produced equally frustrating conversations.
“It’s afford anything dot org.”
“Okay, afford anything dot com. Got it.”
“No, no, dot org.”
(Ten minutes later) “So you’re at afford anything dot com, right?”
The more I went through this, the more it became clear that I’d need to own the straight-up rights to Afford Anything. No dash. Dot com.
But I didn’t want to pay sticker price. I wanted to negotiate. For advice, I turned to the great example of Kevin McKee, who writes the blog Thousandaire.com.
Thousandaire.com began life as Thousand-aire.com, with a hyphen. Kevin was as frustrated with the dash in his domain name as I was, and he faced a similar problem: the owner of Thousandaire (with no dash) wanted $1,000 for it.
“My soul died,” Kevin said in his blog post, I Wanna Be a Thousandaire (With No Dash). “Sure I want the URL, but there’s no way I’m paying that much for it.”
So Kevin executed the Smoothest. Negotiation. Ever.
“I’m just looking to make a blog,” he wrote to the seller. “The most I could offer is $200 …”
The seller countered at $350. A 65 percent discount right off the top!
Kevin countered back: “Would you be willing to let it go for $250? That’s really the best I can do.”
The seller agreed to settle for $300. Boom, just like that, Kevin became the owner of Thousandaire.com with no dash.
“I can do that!,” I thought.
I emailed the Major Corporation that owns the rights to affordanything.com. I used a generic email address that doesn’t feature my name. (After all, a quick Google search for my name will show that I run the Afford Anything blog, my Twitter handle is @affordanything, and my Facebook page is Facebook.com/AffordAnything. Revealing my identity would weaken my bargaining power.)
I mimicked Kevin’s email, opening with an offer of $250. A sales rep emailed back: “Thank you for your offer but unfortunately your offer and our asking price are just too far apart.”
Darn. I regrouped and sent another email:
“I can offer 50 percent of your asking price, or $550. Would you accept that?”
The sales rep replied: “The best I can do is $1,050.” A $50 discount?
Well, at least I got him talking, I thought. I countered back at $850. The seller stuck to his guns: $1,050.
Fine, I’m sticking to my guns too, I thought. I emailed back with a firm $850.
No response. A week passed by. I started to sweat. I wanted this domain.
I sent another email reiterating my $850 offer. Two weeks passed. No reply. Arrggh.
I emailed again with my $850 offer. The seller replied with a short-and-sweet “Sorry, but I can’t.”
I replied that $850 seemed reasonable. Another week passed by. No response. This seller obviously wasn’t going to budge.
I started panicking. I wanted AffordAnything.com. Irrationally, I start worrying that someone else will snatch the domain before I can buy it. I tried to calm myself down, reminding myself that in any negotiation, the person who cares least has the upper hand. Deep down, I knew that meant that I was screwed. I want to buy more than the seller wants to sell.
I tried one more time, offering $850 and emphasizing that he’d be paid immediately in any payment method of his choice – check, credit card, PayPal, whatever he preferred. This time he sent a reply! Unfortunately, it said, “I wish you best in finding another domain name.”
Wow. This is one tough cookie. I wrote back, asking if he would relinquish the domain for $950. A week passed. No reply. I wrote again, asking if he had received my earlier email. Another week passed. No reply.
Finally, I sent him a note –
“You win. Let’s go ahead with the purchase at the price that you quoted, $1,050.” This time, the seller wrote back immediately.
Moral of the story? I totally failed at negotiating. Kevin managed a $700 discount. I only landed a $50 discount. For those of you keeping score, that’s Kevin – 1, Me – 0.
But the good news? Now I have affordanything.com … without the dash! Glance up at your browser and you’ll see the new domain name in place.
I’m a thousand bucks poorer, and I’ve lost all my site metrics thanks to the redirect (I plummeted from PageRank 4 to PageRank 2 and my Alexa Rank presently stands at a humiliating 11 million), but I don’t care. Because now I have affordanything.com with no dash!
Which means now I can finally have this conversation:
“I’m at afford anything dot com.” Whew!