Marketo donates $10,000 to Project Pinball to thank the guy who saved their domain name


On Tuesday, the wildly popular marketing automation software company Marketo (which was acquired for close to $1.8B last year) accidentally let their domain name,, expire. While you might not use Marketo every day, imagine if a core app that you did use every day suddenly stopped working…so you went to their website and it didn’t exist.

Scary town.

While you might think that someone hacked the marketing giant, this actually is a good old fashioned case of someone just accidentally forgetting to renew the domain name at the core of the multi-billion dollar company. I think a lot of big companies would be so embarrassed to have something like this happen to them that they’d cover it up but the CEO actually did the best thing you can do in the situation.

Honestly, this is probably the most awesome response a CEO can give. No excuses, no pretending you were “hacked” just honest. So that’s pretty awesome right. Well as you know from the title of my blog post, it gets better. Marketo was also pretty lucky because a nice guy named Travis Pebble paid the outstanding renewal and reinstatement fees to make sure the domain made it back to Marketo safe and sound.

Today Steve Lucas, the CEO of Marketo announced that they will be giving $10,000 to Project Pinball, a non-profit that puts pinball machines in Children’s Hospitals.

It really great to see a big company like Marketo not only admit right off the bat when they made a BIG mistake, but to then have the domain rescued by a good guy who didn’t try to extort a fortune from the company and in the end seeing $10,000 go to a great non-profit. All I can say is “wow” – there’s a lot of good out there, and it comes in all forms.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Roy July 27, 2017, 8:08 pm

    Please get your facts right before posting!!!
    Travis Pebble didnt buy the domain off the drop, he used the stupid feature at NetworkSolutions to renew the domain on behalf of Marketo.

    • Morgan July 29, 2017, 10:21 pm

      Thanks for clearing up @Travis

      @Roy – I’m a human just like the rest of us and sometimes make mistakes, appreciate you correcting me here just like Travis did!!!

  • Travis Prebble July 27, 2017, 11:16 pm

    Thanks for reporting on this. Marketo’s generosity is really outstanding!

    Did want to clarify one thing, though. I never purchased the domain and returned it to Marketo. I just paid the outstanding renewal and reinstatement fee. Sort of like picking up the tab for some folks at another table.

    Except in this case the folks at the other table responded with a ten thousand dollar donation.

  • Michael July 28, 2017, 1:52 am

    So Travis Pebble has something to do with Project Pinball or something ? I don’t get this, what did they give Travis? Or was he just a domain squatter that picked up the name lolol

    • Travis Prebble July 28, 2017, 7:19 am

      For some reason, my comment clarifying the situation has not yet been approved.

      I never took ownership of the domain. I just paid the late fees.

      My only connections to Project Pinball are that I’m a pinball hobbyist and have donated money to their organization. As I’m at a retro gaming/pinball event, it occurred to me to send Marketo their way.

      I just met the Project Pinball director for the first time last night. I can assure you he had no prior knowledge of me.

  • July 28, 2017, 2:28 am

    there is one fact, the guy who returned it was good 🙂

  • Alan Dodd July 28, 2017, 10:14 am

    Such an easy thing to happen. Just think — all the carefully built up SEO, the social, the fans .. gone in a puff of smoke.

    Personally I would recommend that companies just set renewal to one year, to force a system that a domain gets renewed. Absolute Max two years, but with a system so that it gets checked and renewed every year.

    If you renew for ten years something, the risk might be in ten years, there is no system, there is no check, and everyone just forgets.

    Nice response from the CEO.


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