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(For the purposes of this message, let's assume that my company is named Squirrel Consulting LLC.)

I received an email today from someone offering to sell me the squirrelconsulting.com domain name today, for $980. Right now I'm using the domain "squirrelnow.com" for my business. When I formed the company, the proper squirrelconsulting.com domain name was already taken, so I couldn't use it.

When I check the squirrelconsulting.com web page, this message appears in the top right:

squirrelconsulting.com expired on 07/26/2010 and is pending renewal or deletion

I haven't really used the squirrelnow domain for much; if I did buy squirrelconsulting.com it would be quite easy to transfer everything over to it. So that's not an issue. There are many other companies named Squirrel Consulting LLC, so I can't go after him for "cybersquatting" or whatever.

My question is: Is there anything I should be aware of when buying the domain? What questions should I ask to make sure this person is legit and not trying to sell me something he has hijacked somehow? Is there anything I should be wary of?

Thanks.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

At the very least use escrow to handle the payment. That way if they are a scam they either will balk at it immediately and thus save you a hassle or, if they are trying to scam you somehow, you'll never have to pay them as they won't ever successfully deliver the product (the domain).

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They actually offered to use escrow in the email, so I guess that's a good sign they're legit. Thanks for the comment. –  Colen Aug 26 '10 at 17:27
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Be sure to use an escrow of your choosing, not theirs!!! –  altCognito Aug 27 '10 at 3:45
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Depending how badly you want the name, counter offer. I was recently offered a domain I wanted pretty badly. They offered it at $450. I countered at $95. They accepted.

These companies want to make money. While making $1000 is more than $100, $100 is more than no sale at all. And your company is an obvious choice for the sale.

Of course, be aware they might just say "no".

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IMO I would never pay almost 1000$ for a domain cosidering that a domain normally costs less than 10$. If your business is running well with the domain you have now, why changing it. If your business is not doing good now, I don't think a 1000$ domain is gonna make your businnes do any better.

Anyway I would ask it to a hosting company that do registers/transfers hundreds of domains. Obviously telling them you are gonna use their DNS and transfer the doimain to them. They could probably help you.

Anothe thing is asking the current domain owner to prove they are the real owner, for instance tell them to change some filed in the whois domain data by entering something like "Hello babe" and check out they did it (whois data are public available unless they restircted it, but still you could ask them to make them public so you culd see).

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Adding to the comments regarding escrow - you should pick the escrow agent or company if you can't find any info on the one they're suggesting. (there are plenty of reputable options just a search away)

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Consider including something tangible as part of the sale (even something simple like a printed and signed statement that they are selling you the domain) that they would have to send you in the mail as an alternative to escrow. By making that part of the transaction, you may gain valuable protections that are afforded to those who transact business with the USPS.

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