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Advice about selling a domain

have been approached and want some advice

     
1:16 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have a .com and .co.uk domain name
I use it mainly for a mail, ftp and a gallery, it has a front page splash screen and some family webpages hidden behind.
I have owned the domains for over 8 years.
I received an email from a law firm asking if I was interested in selling the .com domain for $500, I thought it was spam and ignored it. Three days later they emailed again asking if I was interested in selling for $1000.
I replied saying it was my domain and had been for some time and that I was reluctant to sell, they have now asked how much I would sell for.
I do some digging and have found out who wants it and why they want it. I have also found that a year ago they registered my domain "******".com as a trademark.
I have a few of questions I wonder if anyone could offer advice on
1: Do they have the right to take my domain from me?
2: Can they stop me using my domain as I want? (Eg. hosting a competitors website)
3: How do you go about getting a realistic, objective price for a domain?

[edited by: Taltos at 1:19 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2009]

1:30 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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1. They should have no rights to take the name away from you as you owned it prior to them registering the trademark. (Disclaimer: this is not legal advice as I don't know where you are situated, laws vary between countries.)

2. Yes, they could prosecute if you used the name to host a site in direct competition to them. This would be infinging their trademark. It would have been different if you had been hosting a website in their field prior to them registering the trademark - you would need to contact the Trademark office and object to their trademark.

3. Negotiation

1:47 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I live in the UK and they are in the US.
I think a there is a time-scale to complaining about their registering the trademark and as it has been a year I might no stand a chance but I will look in to it.
1:57 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Have they registered the trademark in the UK? or just in the US, as if they haven't registered the trademark in the UK, you could.
2:50 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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OMG! I didn't think to check the UK they only just registered it last month so I think I could complain.
I think I might need to speak to a solicitor.
3:42 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Sure, the whole legal route is an option: complain about the trade mark registration, speak to a solicitor, etcetera. But on the other hand you could also negociate a good price for your domain, register a different one for your family site, and take the whole family for dinner, or better, and happily continue with your life. In my experience usually both parties lose in legal conflicts.
4:03 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think some of this depends on the domain, if it was say <my surname>.com or <my first name>.com - I don't think I would be selling unless they really made an offer that was in the six figure range.

If it is <made up word>.com I would just sell for whatever I could get, buy another domain and carry on.

If it was <my business name>.com and I hadn't got round to putting a business website online - I would be objecting to the trademark and taking every other legal action to protect my ownership of that domain.

4:14 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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You have a point, IanTurner, so the question for Taltos is: is it your family name? Did you plan to use it for other purposes later?

In the case of a family name you could for instance consider selling the .com and switching to .org or .name.

It all depends on how attached you are to the name, and how relucatant to sell?

7:18 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Is it worth getting a heads up on value from <snip>?
Is the express appraisal service any good?

[edited by: buckworks at 5:29 am (utc) on Mar. 4, 2009]
[edit reason] Please no specifics [/edit]

5:30 am on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Here's an old thread about domain name appraisals that still provides productive food for thought:

[webmasterworld.com...]

12:52 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think you're being too suspicious of their motives. They're playing nice, and they're not playing dirty. They want your domain because they like it and want to build a business around it. Trademarking the domain shows you that they really want it and might be planning a serious online business.

The real question is, are you willing to sell? And if so, for how much? If it's a price you're happy with, then everyone will win.

2:39 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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They are a BIG US firm and are launching a product called "mydomain".com they have trademarked it in the US and as of Jan in the UK too. PS the offer is now at $2000
I have the domain registered for another 7 years, and I also have the .co.uk
It is / was my dads old company trading name we really only used it as an FTP and mail server.
It might mean a bit of grief moving all the stuff around and informing clients of a new address but if they offer a good price fine otherwise its a lot of hassle for only $2000 I didn't have the cash last week and if they walk away I still wont it, but the site is still mine.
I thought of saying to them if they like they could rent / lease the website www. and have 10 email address forwarded sort of like site sharing.
Well we shall see
2:25 am on Mar 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It might mean a bit of grief moving all the stuff around and informing clients of a new address but if they offer a good price fine otherwise its a lot of hassle for only $2000 ...

This puts you in the perfect bargaining position - you don't need to do a deal (indeed don't want to) - they do (probably must).

Make it clear you use it for business purposes and would incur substantial costs to change to a new domain, and then give them a figure that would make it worth your time.

Don't know what that figure would be for you, but I had a similar offer a few years back for a domain I was using just for limited business email and we settled on an equivalent of around $10,000. (it was a .com that a UK company wanted to go with their .co.uk). Nowadays I'd probably ask for more.

So, don't wait for them to inch their price upwards. Just work out how much you'd like and tell them that is the firm price, with a 7 day time limit for acceptance (so they don't keep you hanging on). And if you never hear from them again, you don't care anyway, so there's nothing to lose.

10:53 am on July 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Just an update really
I finally sold the domain for 11,500 app $18,500.
I had it appraised but it came back to be only worth $4200 max
I would advise people that while some appraisal sites give a guide, don't take the figure as fact you might overvalue or undervalue the domain. Let common sense prevail, the bottom line is how much is someone is willing to pay for the domain.
Regards
Taltos
5:15 pm on July 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Congratulations Taltos

I still do not comprehend this though:

They are a BIG US firm and are launching a product called "mydomain".com they have trademarked it in the US and as of Jan in the UK too.

Are these companies run by idiots with far too much money?

The first thing I ever do when considering a new product name is to check whether the domain name has been registered or not...hey ho, you might get it back if they fail!