Promise I Can’t Keep When Buying a Domain Name


On occasion, I will get a special request while negotiating to buy a domain name. A domain owner will occasionally ask me to keep an email address active for a period of time or continue forwarding or resolving a domain name to a website for a set period of time. Depending on the length of time requested and my desire to buy the domain name, this is an easy request to fulfill.

One request I have heard several times is that the domain name is not allowed to be used in a specific manner once the sale is completed. For instance, the owner may be a large accounting firm and they require that the domain name is not used for another accounting firm. Even if this request is fairly easy to complete, it is a promise I can never make.

My objective is almost always to resell a domain name. It is not practical to police how a domain name will be used in the future once it sells. Further, it would not be possible to prevent a domain name from being used in a specific manner if it is sold via GoDaddy/Afternic or Sedo. Finally, adding certain restrictions to a purchase agreement may harm the value of a domain name when I look to sell it.

The usage restrictions would be added to a purchase agreement. A knowledgable counsel will not only ensure that the restrictions are in place for the buyer, but they will also require the buyer to ensure the restrictions continue in perpetuity and in subsequent agreements.

Iif I agree to this restriction and sell the domain name to someone else who violates the restriction, the company that sold the domain name to me will come after me. Of course, I can try to go after the current registrant to enforce the agreement, but things get murky if that registrant is difficult to sue (no assets, out of jurisdiction, out of business) or if the domain name was sold to someone else.

I never want to promise something out of my control. When buying a domain name for investment purposes, my ownership of the domain name may be for a short period of time, but I would be on the hook to enforce the terms of the purchase agreement long after I sold it. I wouldn’t want to make a promise I can’t keep in good faith, so usage restrictions on a domain name are something I would never accept as part of a deal.


  1. it’s like buying a house from current owner and they ask you not to allow certain type of people inside their house after you purchase it. I won’t be buying it then. Thanks

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