Escrow Services Reviewed
I had a chance to use EscrowDNS for a transaction this past week, and since I’ve used Escrow.com and Moniker escrow services before, I thought I would compare these three escrow services. Aside from a registrar relationship with Moniker, I am not personally connected to any of the companies, so this is as unbiased as possible and based on my own personal experiences.
Moniker Escrow Service:
How it works: Buyer and seller agree to a transaction online. Buyer and seller sign and fax/scan the agreement to Moniker, which is then approved by Moniker staff. Seller pushes domain from Moniker account or provides EPP code to Moniker for a transfer from another registrar. Buyer sends Moniker the funds via wire transfer or other form of payment. When Moniker has money and domain name, they push the domain to the buyer’s Moniker account and the seller can request the funds be disbursed.
Fees: $5,000 sale = $149 $10,000 sale = $200, $50,000 sale = $450
My Take: I really like how Moniker controls the entire process, although it can sometimes take extra time since they must review the signed agreements manually and since people don’t always sign and fax their agreements back quickly. The company is known throughout the domain industry and other various industries, so trust isn’t a problem (I have done several large transactions with them without any problems). When I am dealing with non-domain investors who don’t know Moniker, most are willing to use them after researching their reputation, but some are still a bit hesitant if they don’t have their name registered with Moniker.
Overall, Moniker provides great support (email and phone) and I trust them entirely. My one and only beef is that they will usually report a private sale with DNJournal unless you tell them otherwise (happened to me twice). Make sure you ask for confidentiality – especially if you sign a separate NDA with the buyer/seller, as Moniker isn’t a participant to that side agreement and may report it publicly.
EscrowDNS Escrow Service:
How it works: Buyer and seller agree to a transaction online. Buyer and seller agree to the terms outlined in the online agreement. Buyer sends payment to EscrowDNS escrow account. Seller receives a prompt that buyer has paid, and seller is instructed to push the domain name into EscrowDNS’ account at the registrar. Once EscrowDNS has the buyer’s account number, they push the name to buyer and send the funds to the seller.
Fees: $5,000 sale = $200, $10,000 sale = $177.50, $50,000 sale = $500
My Take: Although they are relatively new to the escrow business, I thought they handled my transaction well, especially with their manually managed emails. Their communication via email was stellar, keeping me posted along the way. The company doesn’t have a long history, so non-domainers may be reticent to use their services initially for large transactions, but I wouldn’t hesitate using them on future transactions with other domain investors who know of the company. Most of my trust is due to the reputation of the company founder Justin Godfrey (with whom I have never done business but know of several positive dealings).
Overall, the transaction was completed very quickly – in less than 48 hours, something that is good when dealing with another professional domain investor. I was a bit concerned when I received an email from them telling me there was a bit of a shortfall in the seller’s payment after they told me to transfer the domain to their escrow account, however, I was assured that they were going to cover the shortfall temporarily, so the transaction wasn’t delayed. All together, my most recent transaction was completed in under 48 hours.
Escrow.com Escrow Service:
How it works: Buyer and seller agree to a transaction online. Buyer and seller agree to the terms outlined in the online agreement. Buyer sends payment to Escrow.com escrow account. Seller receives a prompt that buyer has paid, and seller is instructed to transfer the domain name. Buyer and seller need to discuss whether the name will be pushed to buyer’s account at the registrar or whether it should be transferred to another registrar of buyer’s choice. Seller then confirms that the domain transfer was initiated. Buyer then confirms that the domain was received to begin an “inspection period.” Buyer then accepts the “merchandise” to inform Escrow.com the transfer was completed and funds should be disbursed.
Fees: $5,000 sale = $162.50, $10,000 sale = $175.50, $50,000 sale = $445
My Take: Escrow.com is very easy to work with and the process is almost completely automated. People in and out of the industry know of Escrow.com and trust them with their money, so I’ve never had anyone not want to use them when prompted – even non domain investors who haven’t used an escrow service before. It is very easy to initiate and follow through with a transaction, and they have pretty good phone support, which is helpful when people forget to update the transaction.
My only issue with Escrow.com is that it seems a bit peculiar that the escrow service doesn’t take possession of the domain name and the money. Also, why is there an inspection period that begins after the domain name is received? I haven’t run in to this problem before, but what would happen if the seller says the name is transferred but the buyer adds privacy service and says he never received the domain name? While I am careful about who I do business with, I am concerned that this could be an issue, although I would hope they have internal safeguards. I do use Escrow.com more than other services because it is quick, generally trusted by non-domain investors and I can easily explain how to do a transfer.
All in all, I think domain owners have some great escrow options.
Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Google + | Facebook | Email