Sales Sunday: Domain Name Sales Contracts

Sales Sunday

Hello, happy Sunday and welcome to Sales Sunday here on When you first start buying and selling domain names it can be easy to assume that everyone is a good guy (or gal) and that things will go smoothly. Unfortunately, online while everyone may seem friendly and trustworthy, that isn’t always true.

The first rule of domain sales is to avoid Pay Pal like the plague and stick to a reliable Escrow service like I was scammed very early into my time in the domain industry thanks to a Pay Pal. I sold a domain to someone who was incredibly nice throughout the entire transaction, they told me they would pay via Pay Pal because I could trust them and they bought and sold domains all the time.

So I trusted them, paid through Pay Pal, had no sales contract and once the funds were received I transferred the domain. Then two days later Pay Pal contacted me, the buyer had reversed their payment (originally paid via a credit card through Pay Pal). I thought something must have gone wrong so I contacted them…radio silence.

I contacted my registrar who told me that since I had done a valid transfer there was nothing they could do. I had lost my domain, but I learned a valuable lesson. The two best ways to protect yourself when buying and selling a domain name are:

  1. Use a domain escrow service
  2. Have a domain sales contract in place

The domain sales contract can help you legally get your domain name back should the buyer do something funky, however with an Escrow service this will rarely come up. Either way with a basic contract in place you have a legal document that can show a lawyer that this was a real transaction that took place and what terms each party agreed to.

I highly recommend that you have a good domain name attorney like Lewis & Lin (this is the firm I’ve been using for years) make a contract for you. Of course there are plenty of other great domain lawyers out there, you can see a full list at the Legal Directory. Only a lawyer can really make a contract that will be tailored to your specific criteria, however if you do want a free contract you can download one here and another compliments of DomainSherpa here.

The moral of the story? It doesn’t take much to protect yourself when you’re buying or selling domains and a domain sales contract is a critical piece of documentation to have in place.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • MohammedSameeruddin May 26, 2013, 11:18 pm

    Good points to remember and its bad to hear this story but however if you want you could announce the name of that person with domain name who used unethical means to acquire your domain in your blog so that world knows about him and the person will be ashamed of his act. It might happened before so many years but still it may matter. Just like as rick does with cyber squatters in his blog.

  • Joe May 27, 2013, 2:24 am

    Great post, Morgan. And I’d add that an escrow service is recommended even when the figures at stake are nothing exorbitant, especially if the service is provided for free like (for transactions lower than $500).

  • Francois May 27, 2013, 2:54 am

    Escrow services don’t protect you against the acquisition of stollen domains. Before create I personally lost my money several times buying domains through two popular escrow services for that reason. Most of these frauds are initiated after the hack of an mail address, scammers usurpate identity and then act like if they were the real persons and escrow services who do not perform any ID check cannot detect the fraud.
    At eCOP, not only we perform an ID check but we also identify the cell phone associated, this way we can ask the seller to confirm a withdraw (of what I know, we are the only service adding this extra security layer, I simply hope we wil be an example due how this plague is growing fast).

  • Igor Mironyuk May 27, 2013, 3:13 am

    But are such escrow services like and
    What you say about them?

  • Mark Mathews May 27, 2013, 8:38 pm

    Nice post, Morgan. Do you actually send over the physical copy of the agreement between you and the buyer/seller or do you do it completely online?


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