I had a situation last week where I wanted to close on a domain name, but the seller had concerns about the domain sales agreement I sent. Since I use a standard domain agreement I had created by a domain lawyer based in New York, I was a bit taken aback by his concerns. I thought about it for a few minutes and realized that I may have been the same way had someone random offered to buy a domain name I owned and then sent over a two page legal agreement for me to sign.
I explained to him the different sections of the agreement, which included a section discussing the cost and payment terms, a section where it states that the domain name isn’t encumbered and/or had no trademark issues, a confidentiality clause, and other standard contract sections. I even explained that when he buys a big ticket item like a car or television, and even when he checks off a box of terms and conditions when registering a domain name, he is signing a contract.
In the end, I opted to move forward without the agreement rather than kill the deal. I was able to determine he was the original registrant 12 years ago (only able to see Whois history dating back to 2001), and everything matched up. Since I paid via Escrow.com and it’s a generic name, there were no special details added to the standard agreement.
On deals where certain conditions need to be met, it’s very important that a contract is used to protect both buyer and seller from any legal troubles that may arise down the road. It’s important that both parties’ expectations are laid out in the agreement, along with the ramifications if terms aren’t met. Rick had a post about his Property.com deal this morning, and you can see why an agreement can be very important, especially when it involves more than a domain sale.
I recommend using a sales agreement on most deals that you do, especially because you can re-use a boiler plate agreement that you paid for once. A standard domain sales agreement is one tool that is good for you to have on hand, and it isn’t very expensive to have created for your business.