I have purchased one domain from a private party. He asked for $300 and I talked him down to $100. I paid him via paypal, held my breath hoping I wasn't being conned, and in a day or so received the password via email. From there, I transferred the account myself.
I really don't know how you could guarantee such a thing. There are probably agents who do such things. I would think that even so there must be an element of trust.
Other than in cases of fraud there is one definitive owner of a domain name. This owner is found in the whois record. The most critical part of the whois record is Administrative email address. Whoever controls the administrative email address in the whois record for as domain name may retrieve the password for the account the registrant has with the registrar. For most registrars, once you gain access to a persons account, you are also able to change the password to the account and the administrative email address.
If ytou are buying a domain name get access to the account the registrant has with registrar, change the password and (all of) the email addresses and contact info in the whois record for the domain name. You may also have the registrant "push"(an internal transfer) the name to an account you and you alone have access to. If you are the seller get your money first before you make any of the aforementioned changes. In either case you may use a neutral trusted third party which is a great but sometimes expensive way to go.
Msg#: 1844 posted 11:09 am on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)
I'll second Shak..if you wanna be safe use escrow.com. I have used them for 4 transactions. It will cost you $25 or more depending on your domain price, but you can also split this price with the other party or hav ethe other party pay 100% of it as an option of using escrow.com.
PayPal if lots of indicia of credibility. I've paid as much as $1,000 through PP where the signs were all there: Actual verifiable address, working phone number, other significant domain holdings, regular participation in a domain forum. I'll ask for a work phone number sometimes to back up confirmation. ISP email address.
Escrow.com is any doubts.
Wire transfer if a confirmed big league player. Forget the escrow fees. They don't need the bad P.R. and they tend to be very savvy businessmen, "a deal is a deal and my word is my bond" class of men. Nice to know the business world still works that way.
Get on the phone. I've also had people transfer domains before payment. Probably doesn't hurt that my other job is legal eagle. Most people can appreciate that I'm not going to skip town with their domain name.