Occasionally I get a prospective buyer of a domain name who resorts to threats almost from the “get go”.
They offer a paltry amount; and when you politely decline, they launch into “aggressive mode”.
Mostly they say they are going to complain to auDA; and they “guarantee” me that I will lose the domain. So therefore I’d “be smart to take their offer now”. For good measure, the word “squatter” invariably gets a run.
How Do I Respond?
Despite the provocative (and sometimes very rude) emails, I always try to remain polite.
I tell them that I don’t respond well to threats – particularly given that I am a legitimate domain investor that follows auDA policy to the letter.
Then I “cut and paste” them some excerpts from auDA policy to try and show them that maybe they are on the wrong track.
Having done that, I invite them to have an amicable chat with me on the phone. Or if they are still as “mad as a cut snake”, then I suggest that they go ahead and make their complaint. I tell them that I am confident of defending any claim that they may make.
I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but I do convert a lot of complaints into sales. That to me is a true win / win scenario.
Anatomy Of A Complaint
Sometimes though, you run into someone who thinks that they are totally entitled to a domain – and no amount of polite reasoning will make them think otherwise.
Take this particular case on a 3 letter domain.
August 3rd 2015 – I get a $500 offer via my Fabulous landing page. I respond with:
“Thanks for the offer Corey, but I will pass at that price level”.
In my email signature, I always give a link to my LinkedIn profile, plus my phone number.
August 3rd 2015 – I get an immediate and polite reply from Corey:
“Thanks for the prompt response. Please advise what you would consider reasonable”.
August 3rd 2015 – I respond as follows (also giving him some relevant sales evidence):
“Corey, my asking price is $3750 + GST. Good 3 letter domains sell well as you can see from sales evidence below.
However, I’m off to India on Wednesday, and I’m happy to do a much better price provided payment is made by tomorrow.
$1630 + GST – and I’ll include transfer costs. That’s a good buy.
If that works for you, please give me details for tax invoice – entity, ABN, address.
If not, I’m happy to keep the domain, and wish you all the best.
March 22nd 2016 – Believe it or not, I don’t hear from Corey until some 7 months later. I get another offer via my Fabulous landing page, however this time it is for $1000. And now the threats start:
I have previously discussed this matter with you via email. I own various trademarks including “XXX”. As you have no legitimate interest in the domain name and are cybersquating the above offer is one of a commercial nature as I have other remedies available to me. Please advise within 7 days if this offer is acceptable otherwise we will make use of WIPO’s dispute resolution.
Hmmm. The old “I’ve got a trademark” card now gets played. When Corey first made his offer back on the 3rd August 2015, he did so via a Hotmail address. He didn’t introduce himself; and despite my research, I had no clue who he was; or who he represented.
Now that I am able to research his TM, I see that it was applied for on the 7th August 2015 – some 4 days after he made an offer to me! The TM was approved in 2016.
(Just as an aside, I purchased the domain back on 30-Oct-2013.)
March 22nd 2016 – I respond as follows:
I don’t react well to threats – particularly as I’m a legitimate domain investor that follows auDA policy.
I made you a very generous offer last year of $1630 + GST. That is way undervalue for a 3 letter domain.
Some more sales evidence below.
As a commercial gesture, I will agree to sell to you for $1470 + GST – payment by eft this week. Offer is good for 48 hours.
If you want to proceed, please give me details for tax invoice. Entity, ABN, address.
Should you wish to entertain other remedies, please do so. I am confident of defending any claim you may make.
March 30th 2016 – Corey responds as follows (and now identifies himself):
Spoke to our legal team after your last email where you claimed to be confident of defending any claim that I may make and they laughed. I think given the tone of your emails and interactions thus far I am just going to make the applications to the relevant governing bodies to fetch it back from you or whoever you sell it to. Alternatively, consider my original offer and we can get that transaction done.
March 30 2016 – I respond thus:
I am one of the most positive people you could hope to encounter. Having just read your profile on LinkedIn, I would have thought you’d be of the same ilk.
But all you’ve done is threaten me. Empathise for a moment – how would you feel?
I’ve broken no laws; and breached no policies. I just happen to have a domain name that you want.
You’ve offered me two different prices, and told me that if I don’t accept, you will go “legal” with an application to WIPO for dispute resolution. (Which by the way will cost you a $2000 + GST application fee, plus your legal costs).
I’ve offered you a reasonable price to try and achieve a win / win. Way under what any dispute resolution process will cost you (which I don’t believe you would win anyway).
This is one of the auDA policies that is relevant: https://www.auda.org.au/policies/2012-04/
2.3 There is no hierarchy of rights in the DNS. For example, a registered trade mark does not confer any better entitlement to a domain name than a registered company or business name. Domain name licences are allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Provided the relevant eligibility and allocation rules are satisfied, the first registrant whose application for a particular domain name is submitted to the registry will be permitted to license it.
I’d like to think that we could sort this out quickly and amicably. Perhaps a quick chat may assist?
April 5th 2016 – Haven’t had a call or an email, so I guess I’ll wait for a complaint.