Would You Sell a Domain Name to a Cause You Oppose?

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Several months ago, I was negotiating with a web developer to sell a call to action domain name I bought at expiry auction. The domain name was generic in the sense that it could easily be used and branded by a variety of companies or groups. I wasn’t able to learn much about the prospective buyer who did not share a client list on his website, but I did notice the matching .org domain name was registered to a non-profit organization.

I did a bit of research about the organization, and I saw their mission was something I opposed. It’s not anything illicit or illegal, but it is something I would not support – and in fact, would likely support an opponent of that organization. Because of the generic nature of my domain name, though, I figured there was just as good of a chance that the web developer prospect was buying it on behalf of another entity. In addition, I realized that the prospect could just as easily buy the domain name anonymously via Afternic. Same goes for every name I have listed there.

In the end, realizing it was quite possible the domain name was going to end up in the possession of the organization that has a mission I opposed, I worked out a deal with the buyer who paid nearly full price to purchase the domain name. Subsequent to the deal, I learned it was, in fact, that organization that bought the domain name.

While I would have preferred not to sell my domain name so it could be used by the organization, I don’t have regrets. The domain name is being used in more of a defensive manner than being a major part of a campaign, and it is also such a small organization that the domain name will likely never be seen or used in a way that I could see it in action. It was also a nicely profitable deal.

For a while, I was upset with myself for doing the deal because of my opposition to their cause, but I got over it. I was going over some of my deals in my head from the past year, and I thought about how I would handle that negotiation if I had the ability to do it over, and I thought I would ask others if they would go through with a deal knowing the domain name might end up in the possession of a cause they oppose. Would you sell a domain name to an organization that has a mission you oppose?

14 COMMENTS

  1. I had a similar situation last year with my domain name Racism.com . I had an offer of $ 400-k which was below my ask but fair enough. When talking on the phone and researching the buyer who was not trying to hide anything, I realized he worked with a group of Neo Nazi’s and hate groups. I terminated negotiation and refuse to sell to a hate group. I will happily eat my investment before ever doing that knowingly. I feel a personal responsibility comes with owning certain virtual property.

  2. “Would you sell a domain name to an organization that has a mission you oppose?”

    Will you sell your sex domains for big bucks when you know it will use for sexual purposes like trafficking etc etc?

    I bet the $$$$$money talk!!

  3. The exact thing happened to me this year, but the group bought the domain through Afternic so there was no negotiation. I talked to my wife about it and we decided to donate the proceeds to a charity that opposes what the organization that bought it stands for. So the organization got its domain, but they unwittingly funded their opposition through the purchase 🙂

  4. Like so many questions like this, the answer is “it depends”. I just recently created and bought the domain LGBTQ.tax, and while I have a good friend and retired Navy JAG who is now transgender, i don’t believe believe there’s a need to bring all this attention to yourself in order to be recognized or respected. Throughout my business life and career I’ve employed many gays, women and blacks and invariably I’ve always hired the best person for the job. Thus, if anyone in the LGBTQ community would want to buy my domain I created, i’d sell it to them in a heartbeat. Make sense?

  5. If you are in the business of selling domain names – then you should sell domain names – not qualify buyers based off how you feel.

    If you spend your time tracking down every buyer’s political belief system and choosing who is “qualified” to buy based off their ideology – you are doing yourself and the industry a disservice IMO.

    This is why cancel culture is bad for everyone… It is not your or my place to decide who is “worthy” and who is not. What ever happened to agreeing to disagree? Why has every issue been escalated to the extreme where truly extreme views are now indistinguishable from a simple disagreement on policy?

    Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs – and that is what makes this world great. Close yourself off in a bubble with only people who think exactly like you do and you are regressing into tribes or cult like behavior.

    So, to summarize to everyone (not the author of this post): IMHO, if you are in business of selling then sell. Otherwise focus your money on a cause and build an organization to further it. The two can not coexist in a world as we can divide ourselves indefinitely on every decision every individual has or will ever make. Obviously, there are lines that should not be crossed in any civilized society – but who are you to draw those lines at your exact belief system and exclude everyone else? That is not business – that is political activism.

    • I have personally bought and sold millions on $$$ in domains. I understand what you are saying and certainly respect your opinion, I simply see it in another way. I personally feel that doing the best you think you can do is most important. Many times in my own businesses I have done and continue to do things at my own expense simply to help others. This never fails me. Take care and I Hope you have a fantastic day

      • I agree 100% with the statement of helping. I, to this day, spend a large portion of my time helping others, setting up free services, and turning down compensation when it is offered – because I was doing it to help – not doing for money or recognition. (even when in the same line as my business dealings). If I offer to help I do not accept compensation.

        But I separate helping others from my business itself. And I do my best to separate my politics from my judgement of anyone, or from my business, even though I follow political news very closely and of course have my own strong opinions.

        Overall – the point of my message was for us to come together in all aspects of life and stop dividing ourselves. It hurts us all in the end and causes deep divisions that would not truly exist if we talked calmly and listened to each other. VERY few people are as evil as people advertise each other these days.

        But in the end I do believe *deeply* that politics have no place in business.

        To each their own – regardless. My views are mine and mine alone. We must all walk our own path.

        Best to you and I wish you luck in all your endeavors!

  6. I think each case is different so no clear yes or no from me. For example would you sell to a different religious group if it means you believe hey are deceiving people?

  7. I would not do it knowingly. I have names that have attracted the attention of people who were going to use them in a way I would oppose. I’ve told the prospects that I wouldn’t sell the name without some restrictions. Needless to say I still have the names. It’s not an easy thing to police but I think some names are clear examples of “trouble” in this way

  8. Yes, I was ready to sell but the broker never communicated my acceptance. I guess because there were other interested parties and the broker wanted to give it ‘one more shot’. Also maybe I underpriced it… Thankfully it didn’t sell, and will not sell at that price. And considering there are at least two other LARGE established parties who could make a higher offer (if they had a bit more sense), the first party will have to up their offer significantly. I *may* be satisfied with the original offer, but only if it went to another party with values that I can accept.

    All said, the domain would be a big boost to their brand/reputation etc. and I would find it hard to know I furthered a cause that I strongly disagreed with. If they offered around mid five-figures I might sell, all said we all have a right to believe in anything and so long as it’s lawful in both man-made and natural law (e.g. I don’t consider porn or prostitution to be a lawful activity under natural law), then one should not discriminate, but then there are grey areas which challenge our values, and it would take a much bigger push to get us over the line!

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