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Unsolicited Offer For My Personal Domain Name?

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the treading-carefully dept.

The Internet 542

Batzerto writes "Last Friday I received an unsolicited email offer for my domain — click the link below for the message. Their company name matches my domain, but with a country-specific top level domain (.NL in this case). They do seem to be legitimately using the domain in their country. As for my usage, the domain is my last name(.COM) and I'm only really using it for email. I'm not really that attached to it other than the hassle of changing email addresses. There are other flavors of the domain available (.US for example) that would suit my purposes just fine. So, Slashdot veterans, I ask you, what should I do? I'm leery of making an offer and falling into someone's legal trap. I wouldn't mind getting a chunk of cash out of the deal though."


From: ---
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2008 4:56 AM
To: ---
Subject: sell your domain ?

Dear Sir,

For my company I need the domain --- .
Is it possible to sell your domain to me?

Best Regards
N. de Robles

cancel ×

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Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 6 years ago | (#24849331)

This is capitalism.

Google bomb your url with their company name by creating a Slashdot user account with their name and submit thousands of stories each week with your url in the homepage. You can also drop the company's name with an href to your url in CNN comments and on comments for popular blogs to get your pagerank up.

Then inform them that your Search Engine Optimization Chief just caused your URL to be at the top of Google's result list.

If they fail to triple their offer, begin redirecting to goatse. You should see them quadruple their offer then. It's called hardball.

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (0)

tempestdata (457317) | about 6 years ago | (#24849383)

haha.. that's evil.

And I thought I was being horrid when I was going to suggest to him that he set up a link farm landing page.

I like your idea better

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 6 years ago | (#24849401)

I believe the quote that best describes your views on life is "This is why we can't have nice people."

The offer does seem legitimate, though. Go for it, submitter!

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | about 6 years ago | (#24849419)

You should see them quadruple their offer then. It's called hardball.

Or they bring out the lawyers and everybody loses. It wouldn't be the first time [nissan.com] , either.

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (2, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 6 years ago | (#24849421)

This is a trademark issue. If you ask for money for a domain name that includes their trademark, then they have a legal case against you for domain squatting.

In the end, like most ask slashdot posts, the submitter should go to a lawyer and ask their opinion. The company's offering to buy it, so I don't see any reason that the submitter shouldn't be able to legally ask what price they're willing to pay, but I don't know the particulars of the law.

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (2, Informative)

iMaple (769378) | about 6 years ago | (#24849607)

Well, you can just write them a polite email informing that you use the domain and it is not up for sale. However if they really need the domain, and are willing to recompensate you for the hassle of moving to another domain, you would be willing to help them out.

That way they can make an offer, are you get into no legal trouble (You clearly show that you do not wish to sell the domain, unless it is to help them out).

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (4, Insightful)

gosand (234100) | about 6 years ago | (#24849845)

And I would certainly mention that you own it because it is your name. That would give them the reason why you have it, and that you aren't trying to squat on it.

Everyone's talking about lawyers and whatnot... what happened to just being polite? I guess lawyers have ruined that too.

On that note, I wonder if it would hurt your case that you posted the question to Slashdot? It's not hard to figure out the site name as others have posted it already, which would turn up a search result... you get the picture.

The lawyers are not completely to blame. (4, Insightful)

richardkelleher (1184251) | about 6 years ago | (#24849947)

Lawyers do not get involved unless they are invited, but, there is always a lawyer who will take any stupid case that some idiot brings to their door.

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849645)

This is a trademark issue.

RTFA. The site's name is the author's last name, so I doubt anyone can accuse him of "trademark infringement".

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849743)

That's exactly what happened to nissan.com.

tmegapscm

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | about 6 years ago | (#24849707)

No. The submitter has a legitimate cause to use this domain name. He's also free to sell it to anyone at whatever price he/she wishes.

It's mikerowsoft.com all over again.

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#24849817)

Exactly... when I think of such problems I always imagine a bespectacled political activist with messed up hair, staring intently at the screen of his computer. As the camera pans around to see what is on the screen you see him trying to register his name as a domain ....

www.asshole.com

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (1)

atari2600 (545988) | about 6 years ago | (#24849937)

That's actually mikerowesoft.com

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849953)

This is a trademark issue. If you ask for money for a domain name that includes their trademark, then they have a legal case against you for domain squatting.

The seller has a right in his last name doesn't he? And he is using it for personal email... then it isn't squatting. You don't need to see a lawyer. Make some money.

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (2, Interesting)

WoodstockJeff (568111) | about 6 years ago | (#24850045)

Yes, and the company should immediately stop using the name in the .NL TLD, because it is quite likely the poster had a legitimate claim on it going back hundreds of years, along with all variations on the theme for the way the name has been represented in written records as language evolved.

Some years back, a national phone company wanted our company's domain, because it matched their stock ticker. We told them $25,000 buys it. Their stock was delisted (for falling below $1 for too long) before they came up with any cash, however, so we still have it!

What you're advocating will screw him (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about 6 years ago | (#24849453)

Google bomb your url with their company name by creating a Slashdot user account with their name and submit thousands of stories each week with your url in the homepage. You can also drop the company's name with an href to your url in CNN comments and on comments for popular blogs to get your pagerank up.

That's a great way for the Dutch company to sue you in a federal court for trademark infringement, and they'll win if you follow this route. If you use their name, and your url, that's just asking for trouble unless your name and their company name are EXACTLY the same.

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849621)

zerba.com [zerba.com]
zerba.nl [zerba.nl]

Why? (5, Insightful)

jesterzog (189797) | about 6 years ago | (#24849697)

If they fail to triple their offer, begin redirecting to goatse. You should see them quadruple their offer then. It's called hardball.

If you wanted to be really evil and as much of a bastard as a typical domain squatter for some reason, then sure. But why? By doing what you've suggested, you also end up polluting Slashdot, CNN and Google with crap, which is no better than your average link spammer.

There are many domains which people own that they're not particularly attached to and would be happy to sell. For someone looking in from outside, it's reasonable to think that this might be one of them, particularly if it's not immediately clear that the person's using it. (Lack of a website would imply this to some people.)

All they've done so far is politely ask if they can buy it. The request was short on words but that looks more like translation issues rather than an angry demand to hand over from a corporation full of lawyers. It could just as easily be someone's small family business which thought it'd be useful to have .com on the end of their name. How else are they supposed to find out if the owner's interested in selling if not by asking?

Re:Why? (1)

skaet (841938) | about 6 years ago | (#24850023)

And the voice of reason speaks up. Nice one, mate. If I had mod points...

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (2, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | about 6 years ago | (#24849935)

Another installment in the ongoing saga, "Why no one should ever, ever, ever Ask Slashdot".

BTW, there is no URL. The domain in question is email only. So there's nothing to SEO. Kthxbye.

Talking of Googlebombing... (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about 6 years ago | (#24849943)

Julie Moult is an idiot. [google.com]

Full story at the first link Google gives.

Re:Turn the Screws on Their Thumbs (0)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about 6 years ago | (#24850005)

Fuuuuck... O_O
You know what you're talking about.

Trap (3, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 years ago | (#24849343)

Can they accuse you of domainsquatting if you ask for money or something like that?

Seems like I've heard similar horror stories of people losing their domains because they asked someone to make an offer.

Re:Trap (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | about 6 years ago | (#24849443)

I didn't think that was the case as long as the domain was actually in use, rather than just sitting.

Re:Trap (1)

MindCore1 (112837) | about 6 years ago | (#24849701)

ICANN has very specific rules about what is considered squatting. They would have to prove that he is holding the domain to be anti-competitive (i.e. if Pepsi had coke.com to prevent Coca-Cola from purcahsing it) and/or he must be in violation of a trademark. Since the domain is his last name, I doubt they would have a case.

Check whether they're legitimate first (0, Redundant)

billstewart (78916) | about 6 years ago | (#24849873)

Check out how long they've had the .nl name, and look at their web pages to see if they appear to be legitimately in business first. If they've had the name for a while and seem to be doing something real, they're probably safe to deal with. On the other hand, if they registered the name last week and are in the "domain name services" business, they're probably scammers and you shouldn't even reply.

(Your Slashdot article didn't have the domain name or your name in it, so I can't really tell.) Good luck!

Re:Trap (3, Informative)

smilindog2000 (907665) | about 6 years ago | (#24849557)

Since this is his actual name, it's technically not domain squatting. Here's what I'd do. Just ask for a few thousand dollars. It's not enough to piss off the buyer, or to convince him to send lawyers to take the domain by force.

I know someone here in Chapel Hill, NC who realized how slow the South was picking up on the web. He bought several domain names, of local businesses, and asked for $2,000 any time they asked for the domain. The amount was too low to bother with lawyers, so they just paid it. It's slimy, and I wouldn't do such a thing, but in this case, the guy's just being asked for his personal domain.

Here's my favorite domain related suit [digest.com] . This guy's name is Nissan, and so is his business.

Re:Trap (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 years ago | (#24849939)

That is actually the one I was thinking of when posting my reply.

!Trap (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | about 6 years ago | (#24849629)

Seems like I've heard similar horror stories of people losing their domains because they asked someone to make an offer.

The company has already made an inquiry into purchasing the domain, asking them to make an offer to test their level of interest wouldn't apply. Cold calling them & asking them to make an offer certainly might trip trademark issues, but responding to a legitimate inquiry shouldn't.

Most of the issues I've heard about were either typo-squatters, or people who had a parked site collecting revenue from people looking for the companies website.

Re:!Trap (0)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 years ago | (#24849919)

http://www.digest.com/Big_Story.php [digest.com]

That guy was using his last name as well. Didn't go so well for him.

Dear Slashdot, (-1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#24849357)

As for my usage, the domain is my last name(.COM) and I'm only really using it for email. I'm not really that attached to it other than the hassle of changing email addresses. There are other flavors of the domain available (.US for example) that would suit my purposes just fine. So, Slashdot veterans, I ask you, what should I do? I'm leery of making an offer and falling into someone's legal trap. I wouldn't mind getting a chunk of cash out of the deal though."

In other words, "Dear slashdot: I'm a money-grubbing bastard. How greedy can I get before I blow a potential sale? "

That's not necessarily the sentiment (1)

danaris (525051) | about 6 years ago | (#24849529)

Not at all.

It isn't at all unreasonable to be willing to sell a domain you own to someone with more use for it.

However, there have been some prominent instances in which a domain owner was successfully sued for control of the domain on the basis that they were willing to accept money for it, and thus, they were just domain-squatters.

Dan Aris

Re:Dear Slashdot, (1, Interesting)

ribit (952003) | about 6 years ago | (#24849609)

Or Dear Slashdot: How can I ensure I receive fair market value when selling my domain?

Really, the buyer should have used an anonymous offer service such as the Network Solutions 'Domain Name Certified Offer Service':
http://www.networksolutions.com/domain-name-registration/certified-offer.jsp [networksolutions.com]

(I recently sold chrysler-dodge-jeep.com this way, turned out it was just a dealer, not the corp..

And why did *you* own chrysler-dodge-jeep.com? (4, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | about 6 years ago | (#24849769)

If you were a car dealer or specialized repair shop, then it may have been reasonable for you to own a domain using several of their trademarks. That's certainly too broad a set of categories to be a likely hobbyist organization. Sounds like you were cybersquatting.

That's a different case from acquiring generic names (which can be rather dubious as well), and a much different case from what the main article was about, which is somebody who owns a domain that's based on his own name.

sell it or not (1)

chizy2 (1203296) | about 6 years ago | (#24849363)

Does not hurt to see what they are willing to give you for it.

On the condition... (5, Interesting)

DavidpFitz (136265) | about 6 years ago | (#24849373)

Sell it, on the condition that you can keep your email address on the domain.

Win-win!

Re:On the condition... (5, Insightful)

HFShadow (530449) | about 6 years ago | (#24849619)

You would trust your personal email to a random company who bought your domain off you?

The world you live in must be nice.

Re:On the condition... (2, Interesting)

Cyberax (705495) | about 6 years ago | (#24849727)

Just ask them to point their MX records to your server. And make this a contract condition.

Why would he have to? (1)

Junta (36770) | about 6 years ago | (#24849729)

If it comes in unencrypted, anyone could have intercepted it anyway.

If it comes in encrypted, then no loss of privacy.

If a company is setting up a web presence and can't do reliable email, that would be unfortunate.

If he is able to change email addresses, the 'old' address may be a '.forward' only sort of mail for transition anyway.

Re:On the condition... (4, Insightful)

Loether (769074) | about 6 years ago | (#24849837)

yeah and i was thinking from the POV of the business. They are going to support this guy who they bought the domain from. the guy doesn't work for us, we don't know him at all and he's going to be able to send out valid emails from my companies domain.

No thanks. Pass.

Re:On the condition... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 6 years ago | (#24849897)

That's exactly what I would do. Of course, I'd notify anyone and everyone I could of the switch to my other domain and my new email address. But at least I'd have my old email address to catch anything from anyone who didn't update it.

Re:On the condition... (0)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#24850015)

>The galaxy you live in must be nice.

Fixed.

Re:On the condition... (1)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#24850061)

I think that's unreasonable and unsustainable, because then you're essentially creating a permanent relationship between the two parties.

However, stipulating that they forward email destined for your address to your new domain for a period of, say, 6 months seems reasonable. I used to work for an ISP that decided to sell its domain to another company (one of the satellite radio guys), and IIRC one of the contract terms was that email be forwarded for some period of time to allow customers time to transition to the new domain name.

Have them cover your costs (1)

g-san (93038) | about 6 years ago | (#24849409)

of transferring to your new domain. It might not amount to much, but it is something, and doesn't put you in the greedy category.

you might also want to ask them about forwarding your mail for a period of time or sending a special bouncygram back with your new email address.

If I were you... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849417)

I'd ask what they'd want in return.

Then I'd make love to your wife, read a story to your kids, drown your cat and transfer all your cash to a non-profit humanitarian group.

You are soliciting for advice right?

Be a man nancy-boy and make your own decisions. This 'wisdom of the crowds' thing has gone too far.

Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (5, Interesting)

Idaho (12907) | about 6 years ago | (#24849425)

As you probably noticed yourself, it's likely a legal trap; if you show that you're interested in taking money for the domain name, they will then use that as an argument during legal proceedings that you're a domain name squatter.

So simply don't respond.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (2, Funny)

CogDissident (951207) | about 6 years ago | (#24849493)

Isn't it illegal to trick someone into doing something illegal?

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

Rayeth (1335201) | about 6 years ago | (#24849585)

Can you prove it?

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

CogDissident (951207) | about 6 years ago | (#24849687)

Its pretty easy to prove entrapment:
company: "He is domain squatting"
guy: "They asked me for a price on the domain, this is entrapment. I have proof of them asking me for the domain price before I issued my price to them"
judge: "I find in favor of the defendant (the guy)"

Its basically that easy.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (2, Informative)

bconway (63464) | about 6 years ago | (#24849901)

Which one is the law enforcement officer?

Oh, right. Not entrapment.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849997)

Correct me if i'm wrong, But i think entrapment only applies to police.

"Entrapment is the act of **a law enforcement agent** in inducing a person to commit an offence which the person would not have, or was unlikely to have, otherwise committed"

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (5, Insightful)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | about 6 years ago | (#24849655)

This is /., people would rather get wrapped up in a 1/1,000,000 chance of something being a big trap than suggest this guy try and profit.

I've sold three domains I was legitimately using and made a pretty nice wad of cash. They all initiated with similar emails. The highest one being $19k USD.

Let fear reign and opportunity escape.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

ribit (952003) | about 6 years ago | (#24849657)

except domain name squatting isn't illegal

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#24849725)

It's only entrapment if it's the government doing it. I think there is a similar defense in civil court, though damned if I can remember what it's called.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

Ice Wewe (936718) | about 6 years ago | (#24849879)

Only if the person doing the tricking is a member of a law enforcement agency, and is doing it for the purpose of catching you performing an illegal act.

For example, a law enforcement agent cannot, as I understand it, impersonate a drug dealer for the purposes of arresting drug addicts for purchase and possession of illegal narcotics from said agent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrapment [wikipedia.org]

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (5, Insightful)

cecom (698048) | about 6 years ago | (#24849659)

I saw this in several comments already. Think, people, think ! :-) How the f*ck can be considered a domain name squatter if the domain carries his own name ??

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (2, Funny)

swillden (191260) | about 6 years ago | (#24849857)

I saw this in several comments already. Think, people, think ! :-) How the f*ck can be considered a domain name squatter if the domain carries his own name ??

That's what I tried to tell the judge when he took away my son's domain name. I mean if it's your NAME don't you have some right to it?

On an unrelated note, my son's name is mircosoft.

Squatting is relative (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 6 years ago | (#24849975)

How the f*ck can be considered a domain name squatter if the domain carries his own name ??

IANAL, but if I were, I would think of some argument.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

daveywest (937112) | about 6 years ago | (#24849735)

IANAL, but since the OP's last name is the same as the domain, its going to be hard to show he is a squatter.

I'd respond explaining exactly what he posted here, and expressly pointing out that he has a vested interested in maintaining the domain for personal use. If they really want the domain, ask them to make a written offer and let them come up with a price.

Of course, if you aren't using the domain for web hosting, then you could offer to redirect http requests to their TLD and retain ownership of the domain.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | about 6 years ago | (#24849761)

if you show that you're interested in taking money for the domain name, they will then use that as an argument during legal proceedings that you're a domain name squatter.

I'm no lawyer, but that sounds like a pretty flimsy legal argument. (Which doesn't mean someone won't try and use it in court--but I just doubt it would stand up.)

Lots of people have sold domain names in the past, and even advertised them for sale. People even buy domain names speculatively and sell them later. All of this is legal and not "squatting". The nasty stuff is typo-squatting, or otherwise intentionally confusing consumers. Sitting on a domain name that most people would assume points to a particular company can sometimes fall into this category.

In this case, the submitter indicated that the domain name is his last-name. That sounds like a pretty solid defense in any court against the squatting argument. In terms of any squatting or trademark dispute, his claim (last name) is equally valid to the company's claim (company name).

My inclination would be to just come up with a fair price, and then tell them that you are actively using the domain, but would be willing to sell it to them for $X. Either they accept or they don't. I doubt this is an attempt to trick him. (Then again, maybe I'm a naive glass-half-full kind of person.)

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

markitect (1007129) | about 6 years ago | (#24849781)

You can also send them an email very clearly stating that you are not in the business of selling domain names. If you are seriously considering selling it invite them to call you in person to "discuss options". Make sure that they are not recording the phone call and you will be able to talk business with no record of what exactly was discussed. Finally make sure they send you an agreement to buy the domain that specifically prevents them from suing you for squatting, and depending on what they are offering you should consider getting a contract lawyer to look at it. I would also ask that they forward your mail for 10 years or something like that.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 years ago | (#24849793)

As you probably noticed yourself, it's likely a legal trap; if you show that you're interested in taking money for the domain name, they will then use that as an argument during legal proceedings that you're a domain name squatter.

Well, he did say that the domain in question is his own last name. So unless he changed his last name recently, I would think the Dutch company would have a hard time demonstrating that he was domain-name squatting.

I would suspect a reasonable person would see that both the poster and the company have reasonable claims on the domain - however the poster purchased the .com iteration first. If he was to respond to them and say "I might be interested, if you meet criteria ABC for a price of XYZ or better", I don't see how that could really be taken as domain-name squatting.

After all, we are talking about his last name, here.

If you really want to have fun, you could ask them to pay for you (and your family) to all change your last name legally as well.

No, not likely (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 6 years ago | (#24849859)

Legal proceedings are expensive, lengthy, and not guaranteed. Thus a company would rather pay a reasonable sum to just get what they want, rather than have a fight. If you make them a reasonable offer, maybe a grand or two for your trouble, they'll likely accept.

The company my father used to work for went through this. They wanted a domain that a guy had. So they contacted him and offered him $10,000. They figured, as it was just a personal site, that he'd jump at it. It was an easy way to get what they wanted, and not a lot of money in the scheme of a company's operations. However, the guy decided that he wanted millions. Well, then they took him to court and won. However it probably cost them over $10,000 in legal fees.

So, if you respond with something like "Yes I'd be willing to sell my domain. However, there is going to be some inconvenience in dealing with a transition. So if you'd agree to $2000 to cover my expenses, I'd be happy to sell." I'd bet they go for it. That's not expensive to a company, and it makes everything real easy.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

YoungFelon (674090) | about 6 years ago | (#24849993)

Even if it's his own last name?

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | about 6 years ago | (#24850025)

I've always responded with a short description of how attached I am to which ever domain and the level of effort I think would be involved in transferring my site/content to a new domain name. I've never given a Dollar figure, just an idea of how much compensation I might need. No one has ever come back with an offer, leading me to believe that either they weren't that interested or they were looking to "entrap" me.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (1)

jjm496 (1004054) | about 6 years ago | (#24850047)

Just a bit of a paranoid answer. The fact that your name matches the domain name is proof in itself that you are not a squatter and you have a legit claim to it. I'd go for it, just don't get crazy in the amount and it will likely go smoothly.

Re:Finally a use for the 'itsatrap' tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24850067)

That's a bunch of bullshit in this case because it's his name, not just some random .com that he grabbed. See McDonalds vs McBrats(or something close to that..I forget the guy's last name but it was shortened to McBrat for a soccer team he was sponsoring, I think).

.us? (1)

qoncept (599709) | about 6 years ago | (#24849499)

I don't know what to do about squeezing them for money, but I wouldn't get any a domain under any TLD other than .com for email. People are idiots and couldn't find my domain (at .org) even after I added .org to the application's name that the site hosted (after taking a cue from open office).

www.zerba.com (4, Informative)

Stubtify (610318) | about 6 years ago | (#24849505)

I think this is the website in question.

Don't know if I crossed a line, but it took all of 1 second on the google.

Re:www.zerba.com (1, Funny)

theblondebrunette (1315661) | about 6 years ago | (#24849689)

zerba.nl is a shop for women's and men's shoes and such.. I don't see how it's related to kdawson, the article poster..

dawson.com is a construction company.. while dawson.nl while taken, has no web page, at least not at www.dawson.nl).

Careful with construction companies.. they work with lots of cement :)

dear slashdot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849515)

A lonely girl has sent me an email seeking a relationship. I am a man and this sounds good. Should I seek to get into a relationship with this unknown but self admitted pretty girl?

Re:dear slashdot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849571)

See if you can trust her first. Send her all your bank account info, and see what happens.

Mod parent up! (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 6 years ago | (#24849749)

What you need to do is a background check on them. "Looks legitimate" is a pretty naive way of thinking.

Or you could NOT be a SOB (2, Insightful)

Mobius Ring (1346871) | about 6 years ago | (#24849579)

If all you are using it for is email... ask yourself just how sensitive the info you email is.

If it's just jokes and crap like that, or even if it is mailing list... why worry to much. Sell it to them with the requirement that you still keep your email address. Even if it is just a redirect.

---

Of course, if there are confidential emails or stuff that would be FYOS appropriate (or that could cause legal problems)... don't do the "keep your email address" part.

Either way... both these options should have been obvious, so it seems that you just want someone to justify your already made decision for you...

you gonna tell us what you are trying to have justified?

Consider an escrow service (2, Informative)

MindCore1 (112837) | about 6 years ago | (#24849587)

If they do give you an offer that you like and you wish to sell, I would recommend using an escrow service. This will protect you from being scammed out of your domain name and getting the agreed amount. Unfortunately, most escrow services aren't cheap as they usually take a percentage of the selling price or have some graded-scale based on the sell price.

Well this is easy (2, Interesting)

areusche (1297613) | about 6 years ago | (#24849601)

Just charge an arm and a leg for the address. Check to see if you can pull a six figure price for the domain. Seriously go for it!

Cybersquatting (1)

Chyeld (713439) | about 6 years ago | (#24849605)

Read this [wikipedia.org] , and then decide if you really want to be greedy and take the risk or take the high road and just attempt to recoup your costs.

If you are going to be greedy, prepare and talk to a lawyer.

This is easy... (1)

mpapet (761907) | about 6 years ago | (#24849627)

First, think about the likely effort there will be in case the sale is made. If it is more than a one-man shop there will be legal-eese to read.

Second, ask for a draft agreement that transfers the domain. Don't make any demands, and make them feel at ease. The document they send should make you feel at ease for working with them. If it doesn't just say no thanks.

Third, never mention a price. You are at a perpetual disadvantage if you do. A serious disadvantage. "Higher" and "You've got yourself a deal" are the *only* communications you should have.

From here, it's easy to get screwed, so there are some ways to ensure you get _some_ money out of them even if they would like to screw you. I've seen it before for even the littlest thing. I'll take a 5% commission to explain the rest. post a reply to my post with contact info.

zerba.com (1)

maf212 (448756) | about 6 years ago | (#24849637)

I assume this person is talking about www.zerba.nl looking to purchase www.zerba.com?

Get a right of first refusal on re-use (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#24849677)

When you sell it, put in a clause saying it can only be used for certain purposes for the next 5 years without your permission.

This way, if they sell it to a speculator or change their business to something other than their current business, you can demand more $$$ or regain control of the name.

Have some sliding scale for a buyout: If they sell it to a speculator today, they have to pay you $1M before putting the name to any other use, but nothing if they let the domain be paid-up but unused. If they do it in 5 years, $0, anything in between, on a pro-rata basis. If they are a legitimate, they shouldn't have a problem with this.

When the check clears (6+ weeks).. (1)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | about 6 years ago | (#24849679)

take the $$$ and run! But wait 6+ weeks for the check to clear. This may be a scam. I don't care what their current domain is. That's easy to fake or get.

Unless you're making more doing what you're doing - which I seriously doubt!

Yes, I'm not kidding. In day and age of computers, it takes at least 6 weeks for a check to COMPLETELY clear. Don't believe me? Next time you get one of those unsolicited checks in the mail because you've been chosen as a secret shopper, won a contest that you've never entered, or whatever, deposit it and wait. You'll see.

The backing system likes it that way. It just pisses me off that when I pay a bill, they know down to the fucking second what I have in my account so that they can charge me fees, but when _I_ have a problem - "Oh no sir! It takes six to eight weeks to straighten this out! We have to 'investigate'."

OH! BTW!!! Do NOT send them ANY CASH! I don't care what their method!!! If they ask for a cash refund of ANY SORT - THEY ARE A CROOK - NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!

Keep control (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 6 years ago | (#24849695)

See how much they really want it. Offer to add a link to them on your site ("This is NOT Example, Inc. Their website is http://www.company.example/ [www.company.example] ") or, if it you're not using it for web hosting, see if they'd be happy with a redirect. As a general idea, if you lose nothing, ask for nothing in return.

Then, you're not seeking money for their name, but you're also not denying them outright.

Sales 101 (5, Insightful)

Kagato (116051) | about 6 years ago | (#24849711)

Tell them you'll entertain offers. If they throw out a number, it can only go up. If you throw out a number, it can only go down.

definitely shady (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 6 years ago | (#24849713)

Yeah dude, I think I smell wire fraud. He didn't even greet you by your name. Presumably, the guy should have done a whois. Smells like a nigerian scam.

DON'T!!! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#24849719)

It's a trap. You'll wind up without your domain OR any cash for it. Ask a lawyer.

Offer to Post Link (4, Insightful)

Deton8 (522248) | about 6 years ago | (#24849741)

As others have noted, offering to sell your domain to them can be used as evidence of bad faith if there is other evidence you are cybersquatting. However, you can write them a letter and say you aren't really interested in selling the domain, what with the heavy email use you've been making with it for years, but if they request it you will put a link on the front page which says "Looking for Zerba the fashion designer? Click: www.zerba.nl" You could also offer to forward email to specific accounts to them if applicable -- in my case I have the dot-com for a name which some bloodsucking lawyer has the dot-net for, and people are forever sending me his mail. I have set up auto-forwards for all the accounts that seem popular at his office (so that I'm not accused of looking at private legal mail).

Changing your mail...a PITA (1)

Atticka (175794) | about 6 years ago | (#24849785)

Changing your email can be a pain in the butt if you've been using it for a long time (how many services, sites and friends will you have to update?).

Although if the price is right, that could help ease the pain.

could be legit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849799)

this happened to me about 3 years ago - I sold the domain (.com) to them for $23,000 through an escrow service and promptly registered the .us version. Turns out it was a company in Europe with a similar, though not exactly the same, name. I think they were trying to mitigate typo-squatting.

'trap' - perhaps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849849)

Tell the responder that everything has a price.

(I helped sell a domain for $5000 and one that started at $70 as the initial offer and the final offer was $500,000.00)

DNS is your friend (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#24849855)

Keep it, but offer to lease DNS records to them. Basically, rent "www IN A ....." while keeping control of the domain itself.

You need more info. (1)

HAQattaq (710591) | about 6 years ago | (#24849869)

Get more information. Ask what their company does, who you are speaking with, etc.. I would negotiate from there.

I had a good sale (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24849883)

I recently sold my domain to a french company that reached me in a similar way. I told them i had no interest in selling the domain as I use it for personal and business reasons. I told them if they wanted to buy my company, then to make a reasonable offer (but again I had no interest in selling the domain at this time).

They provided a very attractive offer and I did end up selling the domain. They simply redirect the .com to their french site. I got 6 months of email forwarding.

My experience was good, but that does not seem to be what people here are saying...

its the best kind of scam (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#24849885)

like the nigerian 409 scams or the mystery shopper scams, they pray on people's own greed

if someone thinks they will get paid for handing over the keys to their website, they will do it

all good con jobs work precisely by exploiting humankind's dependable behavior of acting stupid when tempted by greed

Alternate domain (1)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | about 6 years ago | (#24849909)

If you were to go through with it and sell the name to them (and certainly there are already posts debating the merits there), I would made sure that your alternate domain name would be available. It would be a shame if you wanted to get the .us variation on your name, and the company you sell your domain to also decides to buy it. It would also be a hassle if they asked you to sell them the .us variation three months down the road. It might be a reasonable part of a deal, to discuss the name you would use instead, so that they are clear on it.

Squatting (2, Insightful)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | about 6 years ago | (#24849913)

Even if his name was Pinto or Ford, or Sasquatch, if he is legitimately using his domain - even for just email - then he is not squatting.

This happens all the time when a company is looking to increase it's brand name in some way. So say your name is Tesla and you have a hobby in model railroading and you have a url that is www.teslarr or www.teslarailroad or some such thing. A company starts up, making railroad cars, their name is Tesla and they want to buy your domain name - happens all the time.

For the OP, do some research and find out what others are selling (the real squatters) domain names for and that should give you a ball park.

The other thing to consider is licensing your domain name to them - i.e. you keep the domain name and let them use it. Of course that all hinges of you being able to show email usage for some time so that you aren't accused of fraud.

----- There my six cents worth (two cents adjusted for inflation and the price of crude)

Keep the domain name (3, Insightful)

zchang (1068706) | about 6 years ago | (#24849923)

You may be using it for email now, but who's to say whether you or any of your relations will develop some sort of product in the future that can be marketed via your .com address. It is, after all, your own name so you have sufficient right to hold the address without anyone accusing you of cyber squatting.

Similarly, there's a chance that the company will grow much larger in the future and their buy out offer will increase. Consider it an investment.

Simply add a redirect link at the top of the page. "Perhaps you were looking for company X? They can be found at [their URL]."

Be smart (2, Insightful)

AeiwiMaster (20560) | about 6 years ago | (#24849929)

If you only use the email then
keep the MX record pointed on you server.

An the rent them the domain for there web server.

No need to be....... (5, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 6 years ago | (#24849979)

......a dick.

Seriously. We all complain about the bullshit that surrounds us on a daily basis here at /. yet we see posts like the 1st one up. I am hoping he was being funny/sarcastic (as he was properly modded).

Try being the good guy, write them an HONEST email explaining your concerns, and ask them for a reasonable offer. You will always retain the right to reject (unless you foolishly give it away). So, what have you got to lose by being honest about things up front? IF, and I emphasize, IF, it ends up in a courtroom, you will have already scored some points in that you will be able to prove a good-faith effort to remedy the situation.

While I can agree with the "talk to a lawyer" suggestions, to some extent, I do feel that lawyers are sometimes wholly unnecessary and are merely a moneypit. Send the email, get a response, and then decide whether or not a lawyer is called for. And don't forget your gut. It talks to you. Listen.

Maybe the sender is lonely and wants a response? (5, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 6 years ago | (#24849995)

The letter is very unbusinesslike. Its grammar is poor. It doesn't have the 'look and feel' of something legitimate. Most interestingly, the email conveys absolutely nothing to identify the potential purchaser.

If somebody doesn't have the time or ability to compose a good email, I would suspect that they wouldn't have the money to fund a substantial domain name purchase either.

If somebody isn't going to tell you (verifiably) who they are, why would you want to do business with them?

This smells bad.

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