Zenscrow.com Makes Life Easier for Domain Buyers and Sellers

I recently found-out about a new Escrow service called Zenscrow. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now then you know that I fanatically recommend Escrow.com which I use for every single domain transaction on the planet above a few hundred dollars. Using an Escrow service is an absolute must whether you are buying or selling domain names since in many cases you are doing a four, five, or six-figure transaction with someone you’ve never met before. Escrow services provide security for both the buyer and the seller so both sides win. I’ve found that when selling domains to end-users, Escrow services are also essential to making new buyers feel comfortable.

There’s a new service that recently launched, Zenscrow.com, which allows you to sell, lease, or pay for domains using a payment plan. This is a great idea since it lowers the barrier to entry for domain buyers and allows sellers to offer more flexible payment options. If there is a domain name that someone really wants but they can’t afford to pay the full price, a payment plan can help them pay over time while offering the security of an Escrow service to the Buyer. This also makes it easier for sellers to offer names at the prices they want or to lease domain names which is another popular option that has been tricky to institute in the past.

zenscrow_siteOne of the things that impressed me the most about Zenscrow is their domain monitoring offered to domain sellers. Zenscrow actually monitors the domain name and makes sure that while a buyer is making payments, they aren’t doing something that could negatively impact the domain like building a ton of low-quality backlinks. This quells a major concern for most sellers that have legitimate fears around getting a domain back after six-months only to find-out it’s been de-indexed from Google.

I’m looking forward to using Zenscrow for the first time this year, it’s definitely a service that myself and many other Domainers have been waiting for!

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • TPN June 28, 2011, 9:06 am

    This sounds very good! I will have to look into this as it certainly fills in a much needed gap in the escrow payment acceptance business! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Alan June 28, 2011, 9:29 am

    Morgan,

    Before recommending any service maybe look into the people behind this. Who are these SEO professionals who understand what is black hat and white hat SEO? I saw this site a while back and just laughed.

    • All Buyers Qualify
    • No Collateral Needed
    • Finance up to 100% of the domain price

    Even these bullet points made me laugh since they are not lenders. Sounds like a bad advertisement from a payday loan company.

    “American-based SEO specialists manually audit each site every 48-72 hours” – sure they do imo plus there are a hell of a lot of non-American based SEO specialists just as good.

    “If an issue with the buyers use of the domain is found Zenscrow sends email notification, including correction recommendations, to the buyer and seller. The buyer then has two (2) business days to correct the violation … If the buyer fails to make a correction within the time allotted, Zenscrow will assume control of the domain and change the name server settings to point to a holding page**

    which includes

    “Unauthorized copyright or trademark use” – so you use a company’s logo for a review site and they can slam your site to a holding page if a company complains.

    “Conducting negative linking practices including selling links” – this is still a grey are and some links sold are not necessarily negative. Depends on the placement and how they are used.

    Basically you are giving up your soul when you could just use moniker escrow.

    Sort of silly to me – just another sales pitch and sounds like somebody spent a lot of time coming up with big words to use. No where does it actually give information on who is behind this service so why the hell would anybody use them?

    Do not confuse someone creating a contract with all the promises offered here. The escrow agreement and “monitoring” service provided are entirely different things and all it is now are words on a website, nothing more.

    Don’t start an escrow transaction without knowing who is running the show.

    Reply
  • Alexander June 28, 2011, 10:27 am

    Morgan, its minimum escrow fee is $100 while escrow.com’s minimum is $25. It offers financing to domain buyers – that’d help make more transactions happen. Good for our industry.

    Reply
  • Alan June 28, 2011, 10:36 am

    Alexander,

    This is what annoys me about this. You said “It offers financing to domain buyers”

    No .. they do not but it certainly is the perception they are providing.

    They offer an escrow service should the buyer and seller agree to payments over a period of time – they do not finance the money (at least nowhere does it say that). There are numerous escrow services which do this now. Its very misleading this entire website.

    Reply
  • Adam June 28, 2011, 11:04 am

    Hi Alan,

    My name is Adam Paddock and I started Zenscrow. I think you have some very good concerns stated above. I would like to address the issues you pointed out in your comments and you can contact me if you would like to discuss any further issues that you see:

    “• All Buyers Qualify
    • No Collateral Needed
    • Finance up to 100% of the domain price
    Even these bullet points made me laugh since they are not lenders. Sounds like a bad advertisement from a payday loan company. ”

    Our Response: You have a point here, we are revising these statements. Basically we wanted to point out that the seller has the power to finance any buyer and determine any down payment amount (if they want to setup a down payment). This is in contrast to the limitations of current financing

    “‘Unauthorized copyright or trademark use’ – so you use a company’s logo for a review site and they can slam your site to a holding page if a company complains”

    Our Response: We never slam a site to a holding page. We send notification to the buyer regarding the issue that we see and even provide suggested changes. The buyer then has the choice to make the change or loose access to using the site. In the example you use we would not count that as an issue unless there is a complaint from the company whose logo you use (we review WHOIS emails for infringement complaints and then research and follow up).

    “‘Conducting negative linking practices including selling links’ – this is still a grey are and some links sold are not necessarily negative. Depends on the placement and how they are used.”

    Our response: You are exactly right, you can tell a paid link by anchor text, positioning, etc. If we see a paid link we send notice to make that link ‘nofollow’. We feel this is the best way to protect the domain.

    “Basically you are giving up your soul when you could just use moniker escrow.”

    Our response: Our service is not for everyone and obviously we do not want to do business with buyers that want to use the domain in a negative fashion. However we feel our monitoring service is fair for both parties while the buyer is making monthly payments. Once the buyer finishes making payments the domain they have full ownership of the domain and can do whatever they like. Moniker and Escrow.com do provide a “domain holding” service but they do not monitor the way the domain is used which, we feel, is a huge problem. Also we help create the contract in the beginning of the transaction as well as assist in payment collection (above and beyond what Moniker and Escrow.com provides).

    “They offer an escrow service should the buyer and seller agree to payments over a period of time – they do not finance the money (at least nowhere does it say that). There are numerous escrow services which do this now. Its very misleading this entire website.”

    Our response: You are correct, we do not provide the financing we manage seller financed transactions. However we do not provide the escrow (that is done through Escrow.com) our main function is to protect the domain when as the buyer uses it. We are going to work towards clarifying this on our site.

    Please fee free to shoot me an email anytime (Adam@zenscrow.com) if you have any further concerns.

    Thanks,
    Adam

    Reply
  • Alan June 28, 2011, 12:16 pm

    Adam, Thanks for the clarification.

    I used the words slam your site into a holding page since your terms,as they read now, are “the buyer then has two (2) business days to correct the violation*

    Even a cease and desist letter gives more time 🙂

    I think the intent is fine and for people selling $500 names they probably dont care too much but if you are buying a $100,000 name there has to be a bit more leniancy including a review process instead of an arbitrary judgement by the escrow company after 48 hours.

    Also I know escrow.com is licensed in California but you may also want to note what common uses of a domain in the rest of the world are illegal in California – at least the main examples.

    Of course I understand many terms and conditions are never enforced but they are still valid concerns.

    Best of luck with it.

    Reply
  • Alexander June 28, 2011, 1:07 pm

    Nice that you’re listening and making necessary changes, Adam.

    I heard there’s another company planning something similar, however, a seller gets to charge a buyer a ‘% of interest’ for financing monthly/quarterly payments.

    Reply
  • Adam June 28, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the feedback Alan, it’s exactly what we are looking for. We may look at extending the 2-day correction period. What’s most important to us is the security of the domain (while buyers make the monthly payments). The general goal is to enable you to confidently extend a monthly payment plan on a $1,000,000 domain to someone you have never met (because you know that their use of the name is scrutinized). The purpose is that if the buyer defaults on the deal you get your name back and it retained value (in fact it probably gained value). That being said this may be to restricting for the buyer.

    Reply
  • Jason June 28, 2011, 7:46 pm

    As someone who has a few high priced domains, I’ve been holding out for the right selling price…with talk of another bubble, I’m starting to think leasing might be a better option for me!!! What’s kept me from doing it so far is fear of black hat…penalize my site and I’m screwed. I actually like the strict terms they’re offering. I have more to lose than the guy leasing it from me anyway right?
    It’s like if I were renting out my home. I’d hire a property manager. They’d collect my money, and make sure my property stays the way I left it. SO if that means no pets, no kids, no frat house…at least my house is going to be returned to me in the condition I left it in.
    I have some more research to do, but they’re site looks great and I was answered back within an hour of emailing my questions. They seem to know they’re stuff (black & white) which is actually giving me some relief at finally leasing. I think it’s great for the industry. I’ll post back if I finally decide to pull the trigger.

    Reply
  • Adam June 29, 2011, 12:49 am

    @ Alexander

    Sellers can currently charge interest on these transactions at Zenscrow as well. This is compensation for providing financing to the buyer. We will make some changes to our site to make this fact more apparent. Thanks for the feedback!

    Reply
  • TPN June 29, 2011, 6:45 am

    Adam, thanks for listening to these comments. I read the service terms more closely and walked away with similar concerns as is posted above. Hopefully this sort of service can significantly reduce the number of dead-beat domain name purchasers out there.

    Maybe you can advertise on that as a seller would be grateful if a buyer walked away after you have collected a 20% down payment – something that could be split with the seller should the buyer decide to walk (just like when you purchase physical real-estate!)

    I cant tell you how many sales have resulted in a dead-beat buyer for me. I am sure I am not the only one who has encountered this..

    Thanks again for being responsive!

    Reply
  • Adam June 29, 2011, 8:38 am

    @ TPM

    Thanks for the feedback, I think it’s a good idea. We might consider implementing something like that.

    Currently the seller can determine a down payment amount due at the start of the transaction to protect against dead beats. For example if you are selling a $100,000 domain you can demand $20,000 down and the rest over X amount of months. If the Buyer defaults in the term, you get to keep the down payment and get the domain back. A couple of sellers we talked too actually felt they would come out ahead in this scenario (they keep $20,000 and have the domain to sell again, the domain kept it’s value as we monitored the buyers use).

    Reply
  • Adam June 29, 2011, 8:44 am

    Sorry @ TPN not TPM.

    Reply

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