Daily Poll: When Should a Domain Name be Reported as “Sold?”


Domain name deals can be complicated. Some deals are straight up cash for the domain name, some are based on a payment plan (either using an escrow service or owner holding the name), some deals are financed by a third party company (like Domain Capital), others involve an ownership stake or ongoing royalties that require the domain name be held by a third party, and there are even more complicated deal structures.

People seem to report deals / sales at different junctures. Most commonly, a domain name is reported as sold by a brokerage or marketplace once the domain name and money change hands. I am sure some domain names are reported as “sold” before payment in full is made – perhaps after the initial payment when the domain name is permitted to be used by the buyer.

In the startup and VC space, I think some deals are announced at their inception, but the full value of the deal is realized over time as hurdles are met. For instance, it might be announced that company X had a $20 million funding round at a $100 million valuation, but that $20 million will be given to the company over time, only if certain hurdles are met. The payment details are not typically publicly shared – just the headline of the funding round.

I am curious when readers think a domain name sale should be reported as “sold.” As a publisher, I am curious what people think because it can sometimes look like a domain name sold because the name changes hands and a new website is launched (for example), but neither party will comment or even confirm a deal. With GDPR and Whois privacy, it might not be possible to see who is actually in possession of a domain name after a transfer.

Because of the nature of this topic, instead of a typical poll question, I am posting this as an open ended question for you to share your responses in the comment section.


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