Just about every domain investor has dealt with deals gone awry from time to time. It can be frustrating and sometimes even infuriating when the aggrieved party believes that a third party platform does nothing to assist in cutting down on the number of bad players.
Some believe that name and shame is the way to go, that domaining is a small tight knit industry where everyone outed will face the scrutiny of the community as a whole. Those that don’t pay for domains they agreed to buy, those that don’t push names they agreed to sell will become outcasts.
Rick Schwartz has used HallofShame.com to focus on those that have engaged in Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.
When it comes to this topic domain investors seem to be in agreement. When it comes to the topic of non payers or bad sellers the field is rather split.
Here is a case that involved the sale of the domain Qotto.com. On Namepros a member there, Ms.Domainer, explained the specific details of what happened and then members weighed in with their thoughts. One factor in this case was that the domain was pushed to auction, of course the buyer still has to abide by the terms of service and pay for the domain name if they are the only bid.
I have experienced over the years that many buyers whether they be domain investors or end users do not like push to auction. I believe that this added twist makes some sympathetic to the non paying bidder. The push to auction also allows a prospective buyer ample time to experience “Buyer’s Remorse”
Now I want to be clear that I believe a buyer still needs to follow through on the purchase if they are told the domain will be pushed to auction. I think it needs to be made clear before the transaction moves forward. That is something that needs better communication in the aftermarket. I believe that when making an offer the prospect should be told their bid is not going to be accepted outright but will be pushed to auction, “Do you still wish to make this offer ?” The prospect can reply yes or no and take it from there. Again IMO.
So the buyer in this case did not pay and then sent a note about not wanting the name.
I don’t get why are you angry ?
we changed our mind we didn’t want qotto.com any more so I though since the action time passed nothing would change !
I’m sorry I’m new to this domain business,what wrong have I done and how can i fixed it ?
Some members left comments taking the side of the buyer which seemed to surprise others. This leads to people not doing business with one another based on their moral and ethical beliefs.
Some are under the opinion of just deal with it, happens everyday. Others applauded Ms.Domainer and wished everyone would name and shame. One member wondered if domain investors named and shamed out of desperation, some made it about the quality of the domain. I will shoot that theory down because people don’t pay for great domains every week.
There was this comment by Jen Sin:
How many of us here would be happy to walk away with the money and knowing the buyer is less keen with the name?
Many of us see ourselves as professionals who help/advise individuals and startups regarding online branding.
Sellers will naturally be upset over non-payers. No offense to OP, however such shame and blame might only continue to perpetuate the bad impression of domainers as opportunistic cyber squatters.
I think this is a well thought out comment that makes sense in one perspective, the flip side of the coin comes down to the following,
What if the buyer is not an end user trying to get a price locked down and sell for more to someone else ? An arbitrage play without tying up any capital. It happens all the time where someone is trying to sell a domain they don’t own, having an option to buy while you are pitching the name for more is not a bad thing to have.
There is also what is known as a cooling off period, this is to help those who may have buyer’s remorse. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has specific rules geared toward this topic.
At the Time of Sale
By law, the seller must tell you about your right to cancel at the time of sale. The seller also must give you two copies of a cancellation form (one to keep and one to send if you decide to cancel your purchase) and a copy of your contract or receipt. The contract or receipt should be dated, show the name and address of the seller, and explain your right to cancel. The contract or receipt must be in the same language that is used in the sales presentation. Your right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale.
Certain types of sales can’t be canceled, even if they take place in places normally covered by the Rule. The Cooling-Off Rule does not cover sales that are:
- under $25 for sales made at your home;
- under $130 for sales made at temporary locations;
- for goods or services not primarily intended for personal, family or household purposes. (The Rule applies to courses of instruction or training.);
- made entirely online, or by mail or telephone;
- the result of prior negotiations at the seller’s permanent place of business where the goods are sold regularly;
- needed to meet an emergency;
- made as part of your request for the seller to do repairs or maintenance on your personal property (purchases made beyond the maintenance or repair request are covered).
Also exempt from the Cooling-Off Rule are sales that involve:
- real estate, insurance, or securities;
- automobiles, vans, trucks, or other motor vehicles sold at temporary locations if the seller has at least one permanent place of business;
- arts or crafts sold at fairs or places like shopping malls, civic centers, and schools.
From looking at the FTC rules, I think domain names would be exempt as real estate and goods or services not primarily intended for personal, family or household purposes do not qualify.
I am sure someone else may find a different interpretation and none of this is meant to legal advice.
It is not always about non payers, sometimes it is a questionable seller who some want to name and shame. Namepros member Johnn told his story:
I made an offer $1,000 on 2 domains and the seller accepted my offer.
He sent me his paypal email and asked me to pay.
I said I am on the road and I will pay when I get home. He said OK.
15 minutes later he sent me an email and said he sold the 2 names to someone for $1,100 because he needs more money.
So technically he sold his reputation for $100. I even offer $1,000 Mass Pay so he would net $1,000 even.
Is this the way you conduct a business? I told him he needs to refund the money to the buyer and sell the names to me as we agreed, The reason he needs money has nothing to do with the agreement for the transaction.
I am not desperately needed the names but I feel like I am being cheated.
The member is NP member and all the conversation happened in the PM.
I want to give him the last chance to do it right!!!
Again not everyone thought this was a cause for name and shame or that is was even unethical.
So Name and Shame or let it go ? Leave your opinion on the topic.