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Domain Sale Experience – A Matter of Trust


Over the years I have collected a few domains which I no longer use.    They were either names I liked and reserved, or projects that I started and ran to an end.    I have let some expired, but others I have kept because something about the name I like and simply could not let them go. 

Last week I sold one one of them.  Selling a domain privately is always an interesting thing.

From the sellers point of view you receive an email: 

“We are interested in your domain. Is it for sale?”

My first thoughts when you read this were:  Should I answer it? Is it Real? Is it a one of those spam mail?

Like most of us, I get a lot of random inquiries for many things – most of them go directly to the junk box – and I rarely answer them.

For some reason, this time I decided to reply and see what happened. I was hesitant but told myself – what is the worst that can happen?   I just need to be careful with what they respond. So I sent a short no details email back :

“Thanks for your inquiry…

Currently I am not using the domain.

Happy to transfer the domain after US$ xx. payment is received.

Let me know if you are still interested…”

From the Buyer point of view of there is also a lot of hesitation as well. The main question in their mind is: Are they real? Will they just take my money?

The Buyer replied back with how do they remit the money, how long would it take, and how can they be guarantee that the transfer will take place?

Although I know there is no guarantee, I went to Google and search the email I am communicating with, and got a few results. So it might be real.  [Cool  I told myself]  I sent the buyer the following email:

I am not sure how to guarantee you other than my promise I will transfer the domain upon of receipt of payment.

PayPal Account to send payment to: xxxxxl@paypal,com

The domain is currently on GoDaddy.   A couple of thing I need from you:

  • If you want to keep it there, just let me know your Customer #/Username (recipient account)
  • If you want to move it out of GoDaddy, then the process is over email, and may take up to 10 days.
    • More info on this:

As soon as I receive payment I will initiate the transfer process in GoDaddy.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Pretty straight forward and to the point I thought but the funny thing is that I could not help myself thinking that if I was in the Buyers shoes, I would be very skeptical… After a few minutes (and rewrites to arrive to the above) I click SEND … What can possibly go wrong?

Within the hour I receive the email from PayPal with the agreed dollars!   

I paused and the thought “Cool Its real – maybe I should look at the other emails in the spam folder”  came to mind.      I quickly regrouped, and the began process to transfer the domain which went without issues… Knowing now that the Buyer is real we exchange a few more nicer emails and we get to know each other.  Very nice Buyer! (thank you!)     More importantly, cool plans for the domain – Happy to see it went to a good home!

Happy ending. everyone happy. (PUFF!  Big sigh of relief)

As I think back on this experience and ponder on the many automated systems we use today to help us pay for things,   it is feels good to be reminded that we take for granted that ultimately it is down to people.    I know it is obvious, but: 

It is a matter of trust, and trust online is a very big challenge.


Lately I have been reading and learning about Blockchain, and blockchain contracts development, I can see this would have been so much easier and less stressful if this process was already “in the future” . Perhaps there is… Seems like a natural — Can’t wait!  (Connect with me on  Twitter if you know of one)


Oh wait – there is more on the domain associated Twitter Account if you are interested.  Read the my follow-up :   Cleaning up a Twitter Account  

Let me know if you have any comments, tips or suggestions on Twitter (jorper98)