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What's the general process to transfer domain ownership from one organization (or individual) to another? Is there a good reference on doing this?

Note: I'm not referring to moving a domain from one registrar to another, only. I mean transferring legal ownership of the domain name itself to a completely new owner. Assume the new domain owner does business with a different registrar.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If there is value in the domain name being transferred, you should really consider consulting a lawyer with experience in these matters.

It's important to ensure that there is a legal agreement between the two parties outlining the terms of the transaction, making warranties about the lack of other claims to the domain, legal encumbrances, claimed infringements, etc.

As well, it is important to use some form of escrow service when performing the transfer. Basically, these services accept the cash for the transaction, independently confirm that the transfer has taken place, and then release the cash. While most legal offices can perform escrow, you're probably better off using a service that specializes in this.

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I have been around when this happened, but basically it went down like this

  1. A bill of sale was written up. These guys were not local to each other, so it was really an receipt of an online credit card transaction

  2. The old owner allowed the new owner to transfer the domain name to their own registrar.

Pretty simple. If the old owner didn't comply with the transfer, the new owner would dispute the credit card charge. Once the domain is in the new owners registrar, there is nothing the old owner can do with it.

Now if that domain was linked to copyrights, trademarks or service marks, probably get a lawyer involved. However in those cases, the domain name is just an asset of the sale of a business.

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I would agree with all the above. But depending on the case it might not be necessary to make it so complicated. We had to buy a domain where the owner was in a different country, so the main issue was how to make sure that we get the domain after we paid for it (and the other way round). So we used
http://www.sedo.com
The seller can park the domain and we can pay the money, and if both are done, sedo will transfer the domain and the money. This way it's save for both parties. Obviously they charge a little for the service.

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I've been through this before working on behalf of a client who was unhappy with a previous web firm who was witholding access. In hostile situations like that...and even non-hostile...a call to the registrar usually can clean things up pretty quickly. In our case, they asked for proof that our client was who they said they were via faxes of some documents, followed by a statement from us stating the situation, and we were also asked to pass on the last known contact info for the person sitting on the info. After a few days, the registrar called and cleared everything up. Hopefully, you're not in this situation...but know if you are that patience and persistence will resolve the matter.

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