domain buyer broker and consultant - rob sequin


Havana Cuba GeoDomain Purchase

(and buying domains that are dead or have out dated websites)

I recently bought a very nice geodomain that was untouchable since it was registered in 1996.

For many of you who know me, you know I love Cuba. Actually this month it has now been seven years that I have been publishing the Havana Journal, an information resource covering Cuba in preparation for a post-Castro post-Embargo Cuba... but enough with the advertising :-)

Siboney is a VERY upscale, residential neighborhood in Havana Cuba. Diplomats live there today and Frank Sinatra used to have a house there along with other wealthy Americans back in the 1950s.

I own about 2500 Cuba related domain names and I look to buy Cuba domains every single day. I have a long "wanted" list of Cuba domains and, from time to time, I open up the file and make a pass through the list saying hello to owners who are not (yet) interested in selling and those other domains that are "untouchable" for one reason or another.

You never know when a situation will change in the real world that will affect the use and potential availability of a domain. This is exactly what happened with

In this case, this domain, was owned and used by a publicly traded corporation, Siboney Learning Corp. Fortunately (for me) the company was sold in March 2009. I did not even know this until recently but this is why I have a long list of domains wanted to buy... you never know what can happen. was a dead page, not even being forwarded to the new owner's site. Any good domainer will see a good domain that does not resolve to a web page as an opportunity. I tried to call the whois owner but the number was not in service. ALWAYS call the domain owner. People are very different on the phone than they are by email. So, I sent the owner a short email stating that I was interested to know if he would consider selling it since the company was no longer in business and that the domain was not being used.

I was delighted to get a reply shortly after saying that he would have to ask someone from the old Siboney Learning Corp. Okay, I figured this is positive but I was preparing myself for a "not for sale" reply or a reply with some five figure asking price. I immediately went into valuation and desirability mode. What is this domain worth, what am I prepared to pay, what are my options, how much do I want this domain?

The challenge with pricing any Cuba related is that current value is very low and future value is very high. Siboney will have a high future value. The current value? Hard to say. Siboney is really not a great word by itself although there are plenty of "siboney" terms and domain names with siboney as a keyword.

I know there is plenty of non-Cuba value in a but that's not why I would buy the domain. I was not putting a lot of value on the domain other than for it's Cuba relevance. I want it for its post-Castro post-Embargo Cuba potential.  

After a few days, I was contacted by the decision maker offering me the domain for $1000.

I bought for three figures. Nice when a long term, long shot pays off.

By the way, this is how I bought I saw that the domain wasn't resolving so I contacted the owner. Turns out the owner died so his partner was now in charge of the domain and had no interest in the former site or domain name. A $500 offer was made and I bought the domain. Simple and quick deal.

Same type of thing. A couple years ago, I saw had not been updated for like four years. I contacted the owner, negotiated a five figure purchase price and then found a domain buyer.

Learning Points

Keep your eyes open. If you come across a domain that is not resolving or has a website that has not been updated for many years, it just might be available for purchase.

PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL the owner and see if you can buy the domain. Ask them why the domain is dead or why the website has not been updated.

Make an offer. Offer them $500 for their time to transfer the domain to you and see what happens.

Be honest. Don't make up a story in an attempt to keep the price down. Try not to give more information than you have to but always be honest... and trusting. If you are calling them trying to buy a domain, you can probably trust them to follow through with the transfer. So, you should feel comfortable sending them $500 or so without forcing them to go through escrow.

Keep a list. When you find a dead domain or an old website, file it away somehow. Check back a few times a year and put domain monitoring on it.

Be persistant. Stay in touch with the owner. Sure, this persistance may be seen as having a real desire for the domain and therefore might raise the price but your job is to get the owner to offer the domain for sale, hopefully with a price. If it's too high then it's too high and you can move on to another domain but you want the domain owner to call you first when he or she is ready to sell the domain. I have dozens of domain owners out there that have told me that I will be the first one they call when they are ready to sell.