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Watch out for Poor Classification

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I won an auction at GoDaddy Auctions a little over a week ago. After the domain name was pushed to my GoDaddy account, I asked my Account Manager to change the nameservers on the domain name and I noticed something a bit problematic when I visited the landing page to see if it had been changed. When visiting the landing page on my mobile phone, I saw a large graphic "XXX" header and the keywords were adult related. The domain name isn't adult related, although I could see why it would be classified as such because of one of the keywords.

Having an adult lander isn't a big deal for me or my company. I don't generally buy adult domain names, but I don't have any issues with adult domain names or parking. Some people might have issues, but that isn't why I found it troublesome. The issue I thought about and wanted to share with you is that a former owner might take exception to this and make a big deal about it. No, the former owner shouldn't have any say in what happens with a domain name that expired, but some can make a big → Read More


Not Responding to an Offer Could Result in a UDRP

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I follow UDRP filings and decisions, especially those that involve short, keyword, and other independently valuable .com domain names. One of the things I have noticed is that sometimes companies file UDRP complaints as their "Plan B." They are willing to buy a particular domain name, but they file a UDRP because the domain owner's price expectation is too high or because they don't receive a response to their inquiry or inquiries.

It is unfortunate when a company files a UDRP because they couldn't come to terms with the domain owner. This is a risk domain owners should know about, and it can be unavoidable when a company (usually wrongly) thinks it should be the rightful owner of the domain name. UDRP panels generally seem to get these decisions right, although the legal cost for the domain owner can be high and I would imagine it is frustrating to have to defend the right to own a great domain name.

Some domain owners ignore inquiries and offers as a policy. Perhaps the offer is far too low to be considered and the owner → Read More


Ways I Identify a Prospect Inquiry

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It probably goes without saying, but it is important to identify who is inquiring about one of my domain names. I want to be able to know if a major corporation wants to buy my domain name, if it really is a college student working on a thesis project, and I need to gauge any risk if a lawyer is contacting me. I want to share some ways I try to identify who is contacting me.

When someone inquires about one of my domain names via my Embrace.com landing page, they are required to input their name and email address. I ask for a phone number, but it is not required in order to submit an inquiry/offer.

The first thing I usually do is run a Google search for the person’s name. This usually doesn’t give me enough identifying information since the majority of inquiries either only have a first name or have a common enough name that I can’t identify the person with certainty. I then try to search Google for the email address. This works better and can lead to a plethora of information, including domain registrations, website → Read More


Don’t Use a Toll Free # For Whois Records

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Many people use a separate phone number on their Whois records than they use for their personal needs. They don't want their home or cell phone ringing at all hours, or they want to know specifically when the phone is ringing for a possible domain inquiry. I know a few people who use a toll-free number for their Whois records, and I don't think this is a great idea.

During the last couple of years, it seems that there has been a massive increase in the number of spam robocalls that are being made. I believe some spammers are targeting phone numbers on Whois records, especially on new domain name registrations. My belief stems from the fact that I get a ton of spam text messages after I register a domain name, and I also receive quite a bit of junk mail addressed to new domain registrations. I think spammers assume new domain names mean new businesses are starting, and they believe their plethora of loans, SEO help, and other website offerings would be well targeted.

There are a number of toll free phone number services → Read More


How I Would Choose a Domain Broker

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Domain brokers can be very helpful. Some of the best domain name brokers sell millions of dollars worth of domain names each year. Brokers can be an essential part of the process of selling domain names, and there are quite a few domain brokers I respect and would use.

It is very easy to become a domain broker. There are no qualifications required, there are no certifications needed, and literally anyone can call themselves a domain broker without any industry background or experience (do a Google or LinkedIn search to see how many there are!). As far as I know, there are no requirements for people to identify themselves as professional domain name brokers. It is because of this that due diligence is required before choosing a domain broker.

I am fortunate to know quite a few exceptional domain brokers, but I thought I would share some thoughts on how I would go about choosing a domain broker if I did not have these contacts.

For the purpose of this article, I am going to assume that a domain broker made the first contact → Read More


When in Doubt, Call Former Owner

1

Performing due diligence is a critical step in buying a domain name. I never want to purchase a domain name that turns out to be stolen from a registrant, so it is important to me to do as much as I can to ensure a registrant is the rightful owner of a domain name.

I use a variety of tools to verify proper ownership, and the main tool I use is DomainTools' Whois History Tool. If there is ever a question in my mind about the ownership of a domain name I am interested in buying, I will try to contact a former owner to verify that the domain name was sold to the current owner.

Importantly, it is critical to ensure the correct owner is called. If the entity that owned the domain name sold it to someone else and the domain name was stolen from that person, the phone verification of a previous domain owner doesn't help. This is why I need to make sure I call the right person to not get a false sense of security.

When I make a phone call to a former domain registrant, (more…) → Read More


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