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Thread: How To Get A $15,000 Site For Free

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    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    How To Get A $15,000 Site For Free

    A year and a half ago I took a BIN of $15,000 on this listing in Flippa (Sitepoint then) for a PR7, csstopsites.com, from an Ahmed Farooq, owner of webmaster.org and CEO of local search company Enthropia Inc (not exactly a n00b).

    We went to escrow.com but the deal went sour, I handed the domain back and got a full refund from escrow.com.

    Today I get an email from a registrar I use asking me to renew the domain. Huh, why me? Maybe they've made a mistake.

    I do a bit of digging around and find that, yes, I "own" the domain and I've "owned" it all this time!

    The DNS is his. It points to his server. The contact name, address and phone number are his. But I have control of the domain and can change all that at my whim.

    This wasn't intentional and I'm going to return the domain to its rightful owner, but I learnt an important lesson: A cunning buyer can screw you even if you're an experienced, savvy operator like the csstopsites.com owner undoubtedly was.

    How did it happen?

    When he transfered the domain to me, I kept all the WHOIS details unchanged for SEO purposes and changed only the contact email address. Escrow.com accepted that as proof the domain changed hands. When I wanted out of the transaction the seller initially refused and there were a few emails back and forth. In the end the three parties agreed I'd return the domain, the seller would cancel the transaction and escrow.com would give me a refund. I don't remember the exact details but the way I recall it, that's exactly what happened, I returned the domain and I got a refund.

    Something obviously got lost in translation. Today the contact email address is hostmaster@westhost.com (my registrar who forwards mail to me). I logged into Westhost and the domain is there in my account. Perhaps it's just a ghost of the real listing. I made a small change and checked WHOIS a few minutes later. Bingo! I do have control.

    16 months ago the very bright seller, escrow.com, and the not inexperienced me thought the domain had transferred when it hadn't. $15,000 rested on it and all three of us got it wrong. If it could happen to the bunch of us it could happen to you.

    Take care out there.
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    Interesting! Guess it's one of those loopholes. In reality though he should've made sure he got the domain back in his account.
    He owns some great domains, top.org also!

  3. #3
    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    Because the relationship got strained he took good care to satisfy himself that the domain was back in his control. In any case, escrow.com don't just take the seller's word that he's gotten it back - they've got to be independently satisfied that he has.
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    I actually have alot of domains that haven't been transferred regardless of escrow.com - it's quite surprising that people buy websites but forget to check if they accepted the transfer of registrar. Like all good men, I let them know and if they don't do anything about it just let it expire.

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    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    Just an update: He finally got his domain back today.
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    yeah, happened to me too many times. I think it's because people are just lazy, easily distracted and quickly lose interest in a new project..
    Quote Originally Posted by mpcovcd View Post
    I actually have alot of domains that haven't been transferred regardless of escrow.com - it's quite surprising that people buy websites but forget to check if they accepted the transfer of registrar. Like all good men, I let them know and if they don't do anything about it just let it expire.

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