Back in February 2010, I made an offer in private for a domain name. The domain name hadn’t been on the market, and my inquiry was unsolicited. The owner’s asking price at the time was significantly higher than my offer, and he opted not to sell me the domain name because the gap was too great.
A couple of weeks ago, the owner contacted me again to ask if I had an interest in any of his other domain names, some of which were very good. I was interested in one name, but the price was too much for me to buy it, so I asked if I could try to broker it for him to a few clients, and he agreed (although I had no luck selling it at his asking price).
Late last week the owner contacted me again to see if my initial offer was still valid for the domain name I had originally inquired about, and I said it was. I asked if I could pay using my American Express card, and he agreed to that. I assumed the deal was done since I said my offer was still good and we were finalizing the payment vehicle.
I spoke with a couple close colleagues about the name the next day, and one mentioned that he just saw it for sale through a domain broker. Apparently, when the owner contacted me to ask if my offer was still good, he also reached out to a domain broker to ask him to get a deal done.
Fortunately the broker had just sent out his email and didn’t have any clients bite at the name, so I reached out to him and explained the situation. I didn’t want the domain owner to leverage the broker’s clients and me to get a sweeter deal for the domain name.
The lesson here is that even if you think a domain deal is done, it might not be until the domain name is in your account. Of course there might be legal recourse, but that can take a significant amount of time and expense, and unless the name is of significant value, it might not be worth pursuing.