Who is Lovells?

28

A couple of months ago on Ycombinator, someone mentioned that he sold a domain name “to some woman claiming inexorably to want it for “just a personal homepage,'” but it turned out the company that acquired it appeared to be Facebook. The domain owner had sold the name for $1,500.

Although the information on the Whois record lists Facebook as the domain registrant, the email address on the record is globaladmin@lovellsnames.org. So who the heck is Lovells?

I did a bit of research, and it looks like the globaladmin@lovellsnames.org email address is connected to a number of very good domain names. Some of these names appear to include:

  • Play.com
  • Loco.com
  • Elegant.com
  • FB.me
  • Facebook.at
  • Bin.com

There were a number of other domain names, including some Facebook ccTLD domain names, but these are the most notable names I found during my cursory search.

I did notice a non-descriptive domain name that had the same registrant email address, and it might give a clue about Lovells. HoganLovells.com is registered to that same email address. Hogan Lovells is pretty huge law firm with over 40 offices around the world.

As Mike Berkens once wrote, the “1st Rule Of Dealing With Domain Offers Is: People Lie.

28 COMMENTS

  1. They will always give you the lowest number on their 1st offer.

    Wait–Patience…grasshopper…if they want it that badly, they will ante up.

    Being there done that.

    **********************************************
    As Mike Berkens once wrote, the β€œ1st Rule Of Dealing With Domain Offers Is: People Lie.β€œ

  2. It would not suprise me that the women was really

    “Mark Snookerburg” in drag!

    When ever i get a phony (all) “beggars email”

    I ask if i can first lend $20 bucks to feed our baby. lol

    Have fun with the greedy return email as you will

    smell the rot as they try to manipulate the price

    to almost NUTing, as your NEW five minute helping friend.

  3. “I would imagine they are the registrant on behalf of the owners.”

    For sure, in stealth mode to get the best deal πŸ™‚

    I have no idea how the visitstockholm.com deal went regarding contact & negotiations but if you check the whois it looks like it may have been aquired by these people.

    [Owner of domain name]
    Stockholm Visitors Board
    c/o Dipcon AB <<<<<<<<<<

    check their website out

    Acquisition – Buy a registered domain name

    "The method for taking over an already registered domain name varies depending on the circumstances. If you can prove trademark infringement the domain name can be adopted by legal means. In other instances the only alternative may be to acquire the domain from the present owner."

    dipcon.com

    …I wonder if these people lied too πŸ˜‰

  4. If the buyer gave the homepage story unprompted then she deserves opprobrium.

    If in response to the seller probing for information then perhaps she’s justified – revealing the facebook connection would have led to her being ripped off by most domain sellers.
    The fair price – related to the cost of replacing the domain with one of similar quality – would have been ignored even more so than usual.

  5. Lovells are a HUGE law firm and offer brand protection as one of their services. They are the registrar for a very wide variety of big brands like play.com.

    It appears to be more common place for law firms to be acting as registrar / registrant on behalf of their clients.

    As a side note at least one of the directors of play.com us associated with the company that owns the company that operates elegant.com

    Don’t think there is anything untoward happening with any if this other than a ‘savvy’ (note the quote marks) operating on behalf of clients

  6. Who is the director? How many officer positions for how many companies does he hold?

    You have to wonder – when there are companies whose soul purpose is to become the sham boardmembers in place of the real owners – if the biggest companies will ever be accountable to the little guy, and if they will ever pay their fair share of taxes, instead of wire it to the Caymans.

  7. “Pretty sneaky move by FB. Seller should have counter offered with higher offer.”

    I doubt ‘FB’ told them what to say. Probably FB gave them a high ceiling and they played the trick, but a deal is a deal. If you sell something that it’s worth (whatever that means) $1000 for $50 whose fault is it? Do you always do favors to nameless, faceless people that sent you an email? Or was the amount fair, but since it’s facebook…?

    Once I got an email from a person wanting to start a “small family business…times are tough…’ etc etc. I answers that since it’s a small family business he doesn’t really need a premium name πŸ™‚

  8. Some large companies use legal firms to hold their domains in trust. I believe Ari Goldberger and John Berryhill hold some names on behalf of their clients, for example.

  9. I think we need to take a step back and look at the facts here:

    1) Lovells are a huge law firm that represent many large brands and offer brand protection services, including managing domain names.

    2) We do NOT know that Lovells negotiated the purchase of any domain. All we know is they are registrars and manage domains on behalf of large corporate clients. This I think is a VERY smart move by those clients given the spate of domain thefts and similar that we are all only too familiar with.
    3) Play.com is owned by Play Limited, so is BIN.com, Elelgant.com is owned by Zena Health Ltd – they have at least one of the same directors and operate from the same UK address – these are totally legitimate ecommerce retailers that combined have revenues of over half a billion dollars and employ hundreds and hundreds of people. They are in no way sham companies as commenter Louise above intimates they are. They are actually companies that should be applauded for their savvy use of generic domains – very, very smart people run these operations.
    4) Just beacuse a company chooses to ‘outsource’ their domain management to an external law firm as part of the brand protection does not make the whole thing wrong in fact we could argue it is a very smart move. And just to re emphasise we have no way of knowing if Lovells were involved in the negotiation of the purchase of socialgraph.com or any of the other domains they manage on behalf of clients.
    To me there is no issue with any of this, if we look at the facts rather than jump to conclusions.

  10. @ Simon

    I think we need to take a step back and look at the facts here:

    WHAT? You don’t have ANY of the real facts ..

    just another ranting guess, by a self important poster BLA BLA BLA

  11. @trung
    My points are not guesses they are based on publically available information.

    You are correct though no one knows all the facts. So my point was that being the case we can’t really judge based on what appears on whois information.

    re: self important – pot, kettle etc.

  12. Just make the assumption that every offer is from a big corporation, price accordingly, and you will never feel cheated. However, you will probably lose a bunch of sales for overpricing.

  13. If I were Facebook or Apple, I’d be buying domains I wanted in stealth mode too. Ofcourse if they approach a domain holder to buy a name, it will greatly increase the price they are asked to pay. On the other hand, as the domain owner, always assume the potential buyer is willing to pay more than their first offer. It is your job to learn as much as you can about the potential buyer and get the most you can for your domain. In domain transactions I would say “buyer beware” AND “seller beware”. Domain owners have the goods that others will be wanting more and more.

  14. I agree that while it sucks to have have lost that extra cash that he could have got if he had asked for a 150K, he did not ask for more. He also accepted her claim for a webpage for herself, which is weird, since “Social Graph” does not appear to be a blogger type name. Was she going to make home-made graphs about social networks, and post it on a blog? It would not make much sense.

    I recently had a bad experience or 2 on Sedo, but there is not much you can do in these cases.

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