While we would never recommend domain-name speculation as a no-risk avenue toward untold profitability, it has been known to happen. Last week, I sold a domain name I’d had for 15 years to an interested buyer. He didn’t know me, and I didn’t know him, so we needed to find a way to keep our own interests protected through the process.
I’d sold a domain name a few years ago, and used Escrow.com to facilitate that process. It worked very well, so I recommended to last week’s buyer that we use that service. He agreed.
Escrow.com is an online service that “assures fraud protection for both Buyers and Sellers all over the globe.” Its five-step process shields both parties in a transaction, both ensuring payment and receipt of goods.
We registered for our escrow.com accounts and worked through its five-step process:
STEP ONE: Buyer and Seller Agree to Terms: Both parties agree to the transaction terms, including a merchandise description (the Buyer was only buying the domain name, and not any Web sites associated with it), sale price, inspection period, and shipping information. We also agreed to split the Escrow.com administration fee.
STEP TWO: Buyer sends Payment to Escrow.com: The Buyer submits payment and Escrow.com verifies it. The Buyer in our case had to physically go to his bank to wire the payment; it took less than a day to process. Only after the funds have been verified does step three occur.
STEP THREE: Seller Transfers Domain Name to Buyer: I had recommended that the buyer keep the domain name at the same registrar for ease of transfer and a quicker processing time. I didn’t need to unlock the domain or request a transfer key because the buyer kept it at the same registrar; this saved us a lot of time and red tape. The Buyer registered for an account at the registrar and requested a transfer of the domain. I approved the transfer and our agreed-upon inspection time of two days began.
(This was the scariest part of the process. I’d already transferred the domain, but hadn’t received acceptance from the Buyer. Had he declined the transaction after the domain was transferred to him, “the Buyer and Seller have 14 calendar days (considered the Negotiation Period) to resolve their dispute.” Had that happened, and we didn’t resolve the dispute, we would be provided a 14-day Arbitration Commencement Period, during which we would be required to start dispute resolution. Had Escrow.com “not received proof of binding arbitration from the Buyer or Seller by the end of the Arbitration Commencement Period,” then the funds in escrow would be used to pay the administrative fees to start the arbitration process, or to file judicial action and process service.)
STEP FOUR: Buyer Receives Domain Name: The buyer has the agreed-upon inspection period to accept or decline the domain. Thankfully, the person I sold the domain to was a good, honest person and approved the domain name an hour after I called him to let him know the transfer had gone through. No problems.
STEP FIVE: Escrow.com Pays Seller: I had requested ACH disbursement of the funds. I expected not to receive the monies until Wednesday, but the amount actually reached my bank account a day early.
All in all, it was an extremely smooth process. While it helped that our transaction Seller and Buyer are both honest and trustworthy people, Escrow.com gave us a clear roadmap for the transaction and took a lot of the eek-factor out of it.