I'm in negotiations with someone to buy a domain name for a fair whack of money. How can I ensure this guy doesn't take the money and run? I was going to use paypal but I think they don't offer buyer protection for intangible goods.
The seller is mediafirm.com and as far as I can tell it's just this one guy.
hmm. Hadn't found that. They're talking about selling a domain. Does Escrow give decent protection for the buyer too?
I've never used it, but presumably it does or you'd never get both parties to agree to use it. Maybe @EastCoast or @shadowbox could chip in here?
There are bogus escrow agents, too, so beware of using an escrow agent that the seller wants to use. I would direct you to search for a reputable escrow company and look at comments (from OTHER sources) regarding their service.
Oh right. To clarify I meant escrow.com. I forgot escrow was a general term for a process!
When I was doing my research (I have not sold the domain yet, the buyer hasn't returned any additional e-mails), escrow.com looked to protect both the buyer and seller. You can read their section specifically on domains at https://www.escrow.com/solutions/domain_name/index.asp
you could also see if the seller is on any forums, do some background research
OR, you can take help of third party like Sedo, Godaddy etc. millions of dollars domains are sold there.
OK the domain has been transferred. The whois now shows my chosen company name as the registrant, and that it's registered with godaddy (I transferred it to my godaddy account). No other information shown on the whois.
This might sound dumb, but is that everything? Can I be sure that this guy can't transfer the domain back to himself? I've not done many domain transfers and I'm a bit hazy on the process.
You should be okay. From when I did a domain transfer a while back, GoDaddy required several steps for them to transfer the domain (short of a legal document requiring them to do so). You had to enter a transfer code that would be sent to you, and you had to supply them with the recipient information as well. It took a lot of steps but made me feel safe in knowing it required some many parts to go smoothly for it to transfer.
This sounds ok, I'd check the godaddy small print on domain transfers to be certain (on auctions they have terms that allows them to retrieve the domain for a surprisingly long time after transaction completion).
If the original domain owner has a trademark or legally registered company that is the same as the domain they could still use a domain dispute arbitration process to get the domain back (though this applies to anybody else too)
The bit I was confused about was whether I was transferring ownership of the domain to me, or just transferring the domain to a different registrar. But if the whois is changed then I'm OK, right?
Provided there are no legal issues that arise from the purchase, or trademark violations, etc (as EastCoast hinted), yes, you should be fine.
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