Selling my first domain name for $10,000

Way back in 2009, I was starting to pick up more freelance design work, and needed to get an online portfolio up and running.

I distinctly remember struggling to come up with a short enough domain name that people would remember, without the complications of my Greek last name—Maniotakis.

My brother and I both worked at a Tim Hortons when we were in high school (very Canadian of us, I know), and our manager always used to call us “takis” for short. In hindsight, she probably called me “little takis” to keep us apart.

I figured this might make for a good domain name, and after discovering that was taken, I gladly settled on instead.

Flash forward a few weeks, and I had my first actual portfolio up and running.

It was a simple site; if memory serves me correctly, I used Cargo Collective as my CMS. It was basic, but it worked.

Looking back through Wayback Machine, I had my first redesign in 2012, opting for a simple one-page alternative that included some visuals of the project and a short description.

There was a slight redesign after this one, but for the most part, I left the site stagnant for the next five or so years. After all, I had much more detailed case study work on my studio portfolio, so I rarely pointed anyone to this one.

Then, one day in 2018, I got a random email in my inbox with the subject line $500 USD Purchase Offer.

What do we have here?

Hi Bryan,

I’m interested in purchasing the domain name and can offer you $500 USD. Are you interested?

Please let me know either way.

After doing some research, I discovered a snack brand called Takis that was pretty popular everywhere but Canada. Maybe this was their opportunity to enter the Canadian market, and they wanted to secure the .ca domain?

I responded back.

I’ve been using the domain forever for my freelancing, so I’m a bit hesitant. Who would be taking over the domain?

They replied.

Thanks for getting back to me, Bryan.  I can’t provide any information about the buyer, but if you have any concerns or general questions I’ll be happy to see if I can answer them.

It looks like she wasn’t going to drop any names. At this point, I put the two and two together and came back with a counteroffer.

Hmm, unfortunately that adds quite a bit of risk to something that’s been associated to my name and business for the last decade. Without any additional information, I’m going to assume it’s for a large company that shares the same name, so my counter offer would have to be significantly higher at 15k.

After sending this email, days went by with no response.

Then weeks.

Then months.

I had forgotten about it by this point, until another email slid into my inbox.

I hope you are well.  I’d like to reopen the discussion regarding  Thanks so much for providing your asking price of $15,000.  It’s outside of what I can do, but I am able to increase my offer to $1,000 USD.  Please let me know your thoughts.

They clearly wanted the domain more than me at this point, and their ghosting me for two months felt like their attempt at playing hardball. If you ever find yourself in a position where someone wants to buy your domain, my advice is to be as patient as possible. They will be in a rush more than you are.

These deals are mostly done through third-party brokers, and I’m sure they have a standard procedure they follow with every negotiation.

I’ll spare the next round of 4 or 5 emails, but we ended up meeting at the $10,000 mark; they sent the money through escrow, and the transaction was completed three months after the first email was sent.

Could I have negotiated for more? Maybe. At that point, my portfolio was stagnant, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had let it expire eventually, so I’m happy with how it turned out.

As a fitting domain replacement, I ended up purchasing the more identifiable and left the takis to rest.

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