Buyer Dropped a Domain Name I Sold

A couple of years ago, I sold a domain name to an end user buyer for mid 4 figures. Last year, I saw the domain name expire and it was headed to auction. I reached out to the buyer and my contacts at the registrar, and the domain name was renewed a day before it would have gone to auction. Unfortunately, this happened again and because the buyer was out of the country, the domain name could not be renewed in time.

During the auction, I worked with the buyer and won. I re-sold the domain name to the buyer for the exact price of the auction. I confirmed that the domain name is now set to auto-renew, and the buyer has an active credit card on file. I didn’t have to work with the buyer to win the domain name back, but I felt it was the right thing to do and my effort was appreciated.

I am not sharing this story to get platitudes or other praise. I am sharing this because people occasionally ask what they should do in this type of situation.

From my perspective, it would look bad if I sell a domain name, the buyer drops it (probably in error) and then I buy the domain name again. The buyer might think I pulled some sort of shenanigans, and even if I were to carefully explain what happened, it might be lost on them. I would rather be the nice guy in this situation than profit off of their error. I already profited when I sold the domain name, and I would rather have someone feel like I did them a solid even if it were a bit of a hassle.

Domain sellers obviously do not need to do what I did. They can try to re-acquire the domain name they sold and keep it, sell it to someone else, or sell it to the buyer again. I would rather give someone a break than try to make money again. Perhaps they will need a domain name in the future or act as a reference on a future deal. Even if I never deal with the person again, I would rather do what I believe is the right thing.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. Nice one from you Elliot. Hope to do same.
    But assuming you purchase a domain via auction and when doing some out bound, one of the end user claim it was his domain he mistakenly allow expire and base on record it is true. How would you handle this type of situation ?

    • If I can verify, it would depend on how much I wanted the name.

      What I have found in the few instances that this happened is that I paid much more than the former owner values it so even if I offered it at my cost they aren’t interested.

      I have sold names back to people at my cost before. In fact, I did one deal like that this Summer where the buyer also made an extra $100 donation to Dana-Farber.

  2. Totally agree was right thing to do. Sometimes when i buy domain as drop will contact the last owners to see if they dropped it by accident. If they did then happy to hand back. Never had anyone say dropped it.

  3. That is truly awesome. I definitely agree with you, it is the right thing to do. We get a bad rap as domainers sometimes, but nice positive stories like this help out any bad stereotypes out there.

    Very cool Elliot!

  4. This is great! a very wise decision and tip. Thanks for sharing. Just like in most business one of the most important aspects is the relationship you build with your customers/clients. That buyer will appreciate the gesture and provide potential future business knowing you are trustworthy. As you mentioned it is the right thing to do since you already did make a profit.


    • Thanks… I appreciate the kind words.

      I am not looking for any industry recognition though – the buyer’s gratitude and appreciation were more than enough.

      I wanted others to know what I felt is the right thing to do.

      Everyone’s situation is different though. Someone else might have had a really difficult negotiation and would not be as nice if they were in this situation. I have had plenty of counterparties that were difficult and/or rude, and I probably wouldn’t have done this for those people. I doubt I would have bid in an effort to re-sell it to the same buyer though if that was the case.


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