Someone shared a story on NamePros about the alleged purchase of PDD.com, and it is eye opening.. From what I understand, it looks like the buyer agreed to buy PDD.com for $42,000, used Escrow.com to transact, had the domain name in his Network Solutions account for a brief period of time, instructed Escrow.com to release the funds, and then had the domain name removed from his Network Solutions account. It is eye opening and probably something every domain investor fears.
I quickly scanned the thread and took a look at the ownership history of PDD.com using the invaluable DomainTools Whois History Tool. For quite some time, it looks like the registrant email address was first initial last name @pdd.com. That is what the current Whois record shows as well. At some point in late October or early November, the Whois email address changed to an @gmail.com address. It looks like the other fields stayed the same. This is a red flag. A second red flag would be the alleged seller’s email address not matching the Whois email address.
This is really eye opening because even though there were two red flags that I could see, this is not necessarily a dealbreaker. I have bought names where the seller changed the email from @domainname in preparation for a sale. Someone who used the domain name for email would likely change the email prior to the sale so they could continue to communicate after the sale. In addition, people don’t always use the same email for escrow as the Whois email address. Those two factors would cause concern for me, and I probably would have picked up the phone and called the Whois phone number (from before any changes if different) to confirm the offering was legitimate.
It is going to be interesting to see what happens in this situation. The alleged bonafide buyer is out tens of thousands of dollars and doesn’t have the domain name. Escrow.com will hopefully help the buyer track down where the funds were disbursed, but it could be expensive to hire an attorney to use the legal system to get the funds returned. I am not sure if Escrow.com has any recourse to recover the funds if it was a case of theft or some other type of illegal activity. It is also interesting to see what Network Solutions has to say in this matter. If they can see an account was compromised (if that is what happened), is it ok for them to take the domain name from one account and return it to the owner? What would prevent someone from faking a theft in the future to make it look stolen and have a registrar return it? I don’t have the answers to this hypothetical.
As a domain investor, this deal is eye opening and concerning. I will be monitoring the thread to see what comes of this.