Selling domains in 2011. Easy or worrisome? Help me say yes.
January 7, 2011 12:21 PM   Subscribe

So someone has offered to buy a set of com/org/net domains from me. I have no real objections to selling, and my only concerns really are being sure that I get the money (and am not being scammed) and that the buyer in't an agent of a multinational corporation buying for a song to use for the next Amazon.com/google.com/flooz.com. What are my next steps?

Granted, the second concern is unlikely, and impossible to know, really. So that leaves just getting paid.

He's offering to pay in euros, I'm in the US. I have a US checking account and an online savings account -- transferring money should be no problem. Or I could use paypal, or I could insist on a cashiers check or something, or use an escrow service. And how soon should I transfer to him? The offer is 300 euros (100 per tld), so it isn't a fortune but worth going through with. Any tips? Selling a domain just seems so 1999, or 2006 at the most. I'm probably making it more difficult than it is.
posted by sherman to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'll be the first to admit I don't have any experience in this kind of situation, but it's probably worth looking into domain name escrow services. That was the first result in a Google search so yeah, I can't vouch for that company personally. But something like this would probably help you guarantee you don't get scammed. Do your research on the escrow service too, so they don't scam you either. :-)
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:01 PM on January 7, 2011


I'm no expert or lawyer here, but my impression is that you can use contract law to prevent them from reselling it to a big dog or reassigning ownership. That said, $100/per seems extremely cheap for domains that they specifically want.
posted by rhizome at 1:03 PM on January 7, 2011


The second concern is unlikely, but certainly possible: when large companies do buy domains, they use an intermediary who poses as a random domain squatter, to keep the seller from jacking up the price. As you say, it's really impossible to know, though googling the seller's identity might give you a hint if they are sloppy, and is a useful precaution anyway.

Maybe consider EscrowDNS. I've never used them, but at first glance they appear legit and not absurdly expensive. The fee would be around $27 for a sale of your size plus $6 to get a check mailed to you, and they say they tack the fee on to the buyer's total. They take payment through authorize.net, which is legit and safe. That kind of fee isn't going to be substantially more than the cost of an international wire transfer. Even PayPal is going to take at least $12 on the international transfer.

escrow.com also seems to have a domain escrow service.
posted by zachlipton at 1:07 PM on January 7, 2011


I used escrow.com a few years ago to sell a domain, it worked just fine.

If you decide to go forward, you may want to contact the registrar and find out what the procedure is. We ran into issues finding the right person to contact due to multiple buyouts and the lack of an actual person to talk to which delayed the transfer and pissed off the buyer.

If you are registered via a large company that shouldn't (hopefully) be a problem.
posted by beowulf573 at 1:42 PM on January 7, 2011


I used a law firm to act as escrow agent when I sold a domain name. Worked fine. Though for €300, it's probably not worth a lawyer's time.
posted by adamrice at 1:49 PM on January 7, 2011


I've sold a couple domains through Sedo and have had success. They manage the transaction, do take a 10% cut, but might offer peace of mind. It could take a day or two for you to get the domains on there but it's really no different than listing something on eBay. You'd be using them as an immediate way to facilitate the transaction.
posted by thorny at 2:43 PM on January 7, 2011


OK, sedo's "External Domain Escrow" seems to be about what I'm looking for. Thanks, everyone.
posted by sherman at 9:03 AM on January 10, 2011


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