I want to share an official statement from Sedo in response to some of the comments the seller of Autism.Rocks made following the sale of Autism.Rocks for $100,000. The company noted that the delay in response is because most of the Sedo management team is attending the ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires right now.
Based on what Sedo shared below, it is difficult to blame the company for the situation. Had the seller chosen the Domain Transfer Service (escrow) option, the cost would have been 3% of the total sale price ($3,000). It appears the seller created a marketplace listing instead, and when the buyer agreed to purchase the domain name that way, the much higher sale commission was applied. You can view the price list to see the options available to Sedo customers.
Here is the company’s statement:
“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to the assumptions formulated by the seller of autism.rocks in our direction and about us not having provided the appropriate service and asking for too high service fees. Taking complaints seriously, we immediately analyzed the chat protocols showing the evidence about the communication between the seller and our Customer Care Specialist.
Here is what our records show: The seller told us via chat tool about an offer he received, and that he wanted to know how to list his domain for sale. He also asked what to do if he receives an offer and if he can counter an offer. These are typical questions from users that want to start listing names and sell them through our marketplace/ platform. The seller didn’t mention that he already had an agreement with a buyer in place and was only seeking for transfer service. If he had mentioned that, our Customer Care Specialist would have pointed him to our External Transfer Service.
We are in direct contact with the seller and together we are going to analyze the process on potential mistakes and how to proceed. You know that we are very transparent about our services and the fees that apply when using them. In addition, we have the largest collection of FAQ to answer all questions about a sale of a domain name. At the same time we know that misunderstandings can happen.
For your information: We are very happy to support registered charities and donate to respective organizations following our own criteria. Knowing that there are millions of charities registered in the world it is impossible to know and/ or support them all. Furthermore, if we are not informed and asked for support upfront for a proper case by case decision we cannot support the client in his desired way.
We very much hope that we were able to clarify a few things with the above explanation. Again, we are in contact with the seller and hope to sort out the situation.
Please let us know if there are any other open questions. We are happy to help, providing that we can disclose the respective information.”
This makes sense, as the seller had no idea how any of this works, so did not know enough to tell Sedo what he needed. It is rare for a seller to approach Sedo when first already having a buyer, so there is no reason Sedo would have asked that question.
The fact that the seller did not question the $12,000 fee before he agreed to pay it, or spend 2 minutes doing a Google search on how to sell a domain, makes me believe what Sedo is saying. I understand the seller honestly thinks he got ripped off, but it appears to be his mistake for not explaining everything to Sedo ahead of time.
As soon as you accept an offer on Sedo, you see the transaction fee and the whois, so for the seller to claim that the fee was higher than expected is disingenuous.
Fair explanation-let’s see the follow up and what they do. Now the least they,Sedo, can do after using your platform to explain is donate $1,000 to your Dana Farber team. You’re too polite to ask-I’m not.
I think a charitable donation is a personal matter and is up to the giver to choose what organization to help.
As a rule I’d agree charity is a personal matter but in this case it’s a corporate matter.
…something tells me sedo will right a few wrongs after all.
What do you see as the few “wrongs” that Sedo did?
the wrongs actually wasn’t on sedo’s part, but on the seller’s…but then it was just a kid.
As a long time domain investor and former FTC consumer protection / national marketing division staff, I am painfully aware of the lack of ‘consumer friendliness’ + predominant techie culture at the prominent domain trading platforms’ customer facing operations.
Especially Sedo, whose lack of customer support sensitivity and timely responsiveness is dramatically documented by the fact that SEDO OFFERS NO CUSTOMER SUPPORT ON WEEKENDS! Customer support is available only 9-5 EST, Weekdays Only, Traditional ‘bankers hours’ long gone in the world of global 7x24x365 ecommerce.
Given the corporate culture of Sedo represented by its lack of adequate customer support its not surprising that misunderstandings like this could arise.
If you do a search chances are you would use the phrase “how to sell a domain at sedo” which takes you to a sedo page that doesn’t give you the Escrow option (link below)
on this page you could click on FAQ and choose “what is the cost to sell a domain through Sedo” and again no option for Escrow only service.
Sedo makes it vague on purpose so they can make an extra 12% in commission. During the chat conversation the customer should always be given all options not just the one that makes the most commission.
I agree that it is a bit confusing. I sent this comment to my contacts there about a half hour ago:
“One suggestion would be to add a link and information about the Domain Transfer Service option on the Sell Domains page: https://sedo.com/us/sell-domains/sell-domains-overview/“
I think all of this would have been resolved had the seller said:
“I have a deal pending for Autism.Rocks for $100,000. How do I set up a transaction so the buyer can complete the purchase using Sedo”
“I agreed to sell Autism.Rocks for $100,000 and want to use Sedo to facilitate the sale. How do I set this up?”
What is done is done.
Something to learn for someones.
This sticks out to me:
“The seller told us via chat tool about an offer he received”
At that point, Sedo absolutely should have told him his options. Whether this was an error due to a poorly trained staff person or whether it is more systemic to the company will never be able to be proved or disproved.
But given the long demonstrated history of Sedo treating its customer poorly, I have no doubt that this is more intentional than not. There continued focus on short term profits instead of building a loyal customer base is the reason they become less and less relevant every year.
“The seller told us via chat tool about an offer he received.”
Personally, I feel that the above statement is the elephant in the room. I feel that this is not just “typical questions from users that want to start listing names and sell them through our marketplace/ platform”, as Sedo has suggested. Instead, I and apparently many others view this an inquiry from a domain owner who already secured an offer on a domain asset to which he simply needed a respected facilitator. Whether the fault involves the naivety of the domain owner and/or Sedo’s actions, there’s little doubt in my mind that Sedo intentionally guided him through the steps to maximize their commission. I presume that there will be some type of “action” taken by Sedo from this. Whether it be a donation, refund etc, or merely an upcoming change in the presentation of its commissions terms and sale process, the lack of action in this case would be more expensive for them. I supposed this begs the question: has there been other cases where this has happened but never received the publicity?
The seller is not a domain investor and did not know any better. Clearly he would have chosen the escrow option at 3% had he known about it. Now that the entire story is out, Sedo should do the right thing and donate the difference to charity and get some positive press.
Plus the listing fee of $60 or what ever they charge now.
It’s to bad the seller didn’t step up when the sedo rep said, sure we can help you with that, just list your domain on our site and pay the listing fee and the buyer can just click on [buy now] and we will handle the escrow.
Wish the seller would have said, wait, why do i have to list it for sale, when i have it sold already, i’m just looking for an escrow service, can sedo do that or should i look some where else.
All this fiasco could be avoided if the seller/buyer have contacted domain professionals like Elliot and me.
…and who are you besides of being a pro?
Seller had the ability to spell and register the domain name, even had the ability to sell the name at a OVER INFLATED price, but he didn’t have the ability to READ what he was AGREEING to?
Many people don’t get enough information about the company they are dealing with, especially their terms and conditions.
I don’t use brokers for 2 reasons, I don’t like giving control of something I own to a 3rd party, it always turns into a headache, Second, they way overcharge, 15% to 20% to do something that I can do for a fraction of the cost? it’s ridiculous.
But this is a business transaction, I understand that not everyone reads the TOS, but anyone who seeks out a service MUST know there is a charge, nothing is FREE in this world, and entering into a contract without knowing what that cost would be, reckless to say the least.
I am completely unsympathetic.
Sedo provided a final comment about this today: https://www.domaininvesting.com/sedo-provides-final-update-on-autism-rocks-discussion/