This Looks Super Sketchy

Within the last few years, I sold a .com domain name for five figures via Afternic. I do not report my sales, and I did not make an exception for this sale. As far as I can tell, this sale went completely under the radar. I am thankful for this because I think it would look super sketchy if I had announced the sale.

The buyer of the domain name used Whois privacy, so I don’t have any idea who acquired it. A short time after the domain name sold, I saw it was listed for sale on Afternic when I did a Whois search of the name. The price was not very much higher than my sale price, so it caught my attention. Why would someone buy a domain name and almost immediately list it for sale just a bit higher than what was paid?

I logged into my Afternic and Uniregistry accounts to make sure it wasn’t my listing. I knew it couldn’t be my listing on Afternic since that is where it sold, but I thought maybe it was an archived listing on Uniregistry that was somehow pushed through to Afternic. Nope. It was definitely not my listing.

Since my company owns similar types of domain names, someone could easily claim that I was being dishonest. They could claim that I announced a fake sale or that I was involved in the purchase of the domain name to create a public comparable sale record to boost the value of my similar domain names. Even if GoDaddy broke its privacy policy to confirm that I sold the domain name, they couldn’t irrefutably state that I am not associated with the buyer. It would be impossible for me or them to disprove something that doesn’t exist.

If this sale looks strange to me, I can just imagine what an outsider might think if I had announced the sale or reported it to NameBio. I know it sold via Afternic and I was paid for the domain name, but from an outside POV who would only have access to Whois data and public sale listings, it would probably appear to be sketchy.

People seem to be very quick to jump to conclusions with circumstantial evidence at best. It’s not fair, but it’s part of this business and reason number five for why I don’t report my domain name sales (article circa 2015).

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I agree. here’s a weird story. Earlier this year I sold a hand-reg that someone used buy-it-now on afternic for around $9,000.
    A few months later I was curious to see what the buyer was doing with it and it was for sale for $1,040.
    My guess is that in both of our cases the buyer accidentally ordered it or wasn’t able to take delivery of the domain so Afternic put the domain in their portfolio and listed it for sale based on an algorithmic appraisal.

    • Interesting thought. Afternic generally confirms and approves payment before releasing funds though. I can’t imagine they would take a hit like this though. Who knows.

  2. On more than one occasion, I have sold a name only to be contacted by the buyer months or years later to try and sell it back to me. Startups often fail and domains get resold. Often times for less than what was paid just to recoup some funds.

  3. I think Braden’s explanation is most likely. Their circumstances, funding or motivation changed quickly, and they simply are trying to get around what they paid for the domain name. When I do analyses, see many names purchased for significant amounts not in use.

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