Last week, I saw a thread on NamePros with an allegation made about the sale of Chocolate.com. I reached out to Kate Buckley, the domain broker who brokered the sale of Chocolate.com to see if she had any comment about the allegation that was made. This evening, Kate reached out to me with an open letter to be shared with the domain investment community.
In addition to her own commentary about the sales and her business, Kate shared comments from several clients about their experience working with her. In addition, Jackson Elsegood, General Manager of Escrow.com, confirmed that two deals in question “were both 7 figure domain deals transacted through Escrow.com in 2019 and 2018 respectively.” With regards to a third transaction, an attorney named Dean Bell confirmed he acted as escrow agent for that deal.
Here’s the letter I received from Kate:
An Open Letter from Kate Buckley:
It’s been called to my attention by concerned colleagues that NamePros user @offthehandle (no name, no photo, gender listed as male), has repeatedly called into question my sales and/or the sales prices of the following domain names: chocolate.com, inspection.com, sleeping.com and snoring.com.
I wasn’t going to respond as my duty is to my clients, colleagues, and our industry, not nameless, faceless avatars indulging in trolling on NamePros. However, as these libelous and toxic allegations are extremely damaging to our industry, I decided it was in everyone’s best interest for me to respond.
First, who are you @offthehandle? No one knows. He’s a nameless, faceless agitator, hiding behind an avatar in order to peddle his libel without consequence. There’s a name for people like that: bullies.
Given the volume of posts he’s made on the topic, it’s clearly keeping him up at night. Why then had he not reached out to me directly to inquire? As any one who follows me on LinkedIn or Twitter knows, I’m extremely easy to contact. No, he was clearly more comfortable weaving conspiracy theories over at NamePros then having a logical, reasonable dialogue with a professional.
Moreover, these sales have been confirmed on DNJournal (and we all know Ron Jackson’s impeccable level of journalistic integrity) as well as listed on NameBio, so why question them? As anyone who reads DNJournal knows, there are many brokerages and investors who publicly report sales. I don’t see agitators like @offthehandle questioning their sales. So why single out mine?
Could it be because I’m a woman? As any successful woman in business can tell you, there is a certain ilk of man who is at best intimidated and at worst caustic toward women who’ve achieved any measure of success. Or, could it be because he hasn’t achieved any measure of success of his own?
Moreover, why weren’t the press releases and subsequent media coverage, and ensuing reporting on DNJournal and NameBio enough for him? In fact, many of the press releases include quotes from either the buyer and/or seller—it would involved a level of conspiracy and subterfuge in par with a John le Carré novel to “fake” those sales!
Any why question the prices? Those in the know can tell you that only a fraction of high-value domain transactions are reported. These publicly-reported sales at both DNJournal and NameBio are just the tip of the iceberg. If @offthehandle doesn’t believe premium domains are worth real money, he’s clearly in the wrong business.
Another common refrain is that these are “fake sales” because @offthehandle doesn’t like their current usage or because they’re not in usage yet. Again, if @offthehandle really knew domains, he’d know that there are many reasons they are acquired. They’re not only appreciating assets, but constitute an alternative asset class. They are purchased both offensively and defensively, and sometimes in stealth mode—held in wait for release with the right platform at the right time. But the bottom line is that whatever the acquirers of any domains do or do not do with their bought-and-paid for assets is no ones’s business but their own.
Any what of my credibility…and legal exposure? Would I risk not only my hard-earned reputation for professional ethics and integrity, but also risk being sued just to report a fake sale? That’s insane!
One of my favorite classes in undergrad was Logic (a class I’d highly recommend to @offthehandle). Would respected investors on the level of Michael Castello, Roy Messer and Shane Cultra entrust me with their valuable assets if I were employing any sort of questionable business practice?
“Kate is an indispensable strategic partner, handling the high-end sales of my legacy domains. Her experience, strategic outlook, negotiation skills, and knowledge of the space are second to none—allowing me to realize top dollar returns on my domain portfolio. Last year alone, she sold seven figures worth of domains for me. I recommend her to anyone looking to maximize their domain investments.” —Roy Messer, CEO, Nett Corp, Inc
“Kate is one of the domain experts in the field of domain name appraisal and brokerage that I would trust to handle my portfolio. Kate is a long time associate and friend and I trust her to make sound negotiations for me and my business.” —Michael Castello, CEO, CCIN/The Castello Brothers
So…I decided to do what I do best: work collaboratively and with transparency. I reached out to the companies who handled the escrow services for all the of the domain sales that @offthehandle has called into question, and asked them if they’d be willing to issue a statement confirming the sales without compromising any confidential information. Here’s what they had to say:
“All transactions are confidential by default on Escrow.com but in this case we took the unusual step of contacting all of the parties in both of the transactions to get their agreement to release details. I can confirm on Escrow.com’s behalf that transactions for Chocolate.com and Sleeping.com/Snoring.com were both 7 figure domain deals transacted through Escrow.com in 2019 and 2018 respectively.” —Jackson Elsegood, General Manager, escrow.com
“I confirm that I served as escrow attorney for the transaction of Inspection.com which Kate Buckley sold for $335,000 in 2018.” —Dean Bell, Esq.
I think we all can agree that libelous agitation and conspiracy theories hatched without a shred of proof or legitimacy (let alone common sense), cheapen us all. In future, I’d invite trolls like @offthehandle to consider acting with civility and professional ethics. And the rest of you, keep being awesome!
All my best,