Buying someone else’s domain name can become a PITA

A little over a decade ago, I saw that a small business near where I grew up didn’t have its .com domain name matching the brand. He had a unique name, so I thought that was odd. A visit to the brand name showed me why – someone in another country owned the domain name and posted links in another language.

Since this local company is definitely the only company in the world with this particular name, I monitored the domain name through GoDaddy. Within a few years, the domain name expired and was deleted. Because I grew up shopping at this company and appreciate what they do, I ordered the backlog and won it.

Immediately after taking control of the domain name, I passed it on to the domain name they were using. A few weeks after I got the domain name, I visited the company and told them that I got the domain name for them. I asked them how I could send them the name for free so they could check it out and use it however they wanted. They gave me the office manager’s email address, and I followed up later that day.

When I had no response after about a week, I emailed the office manager again. I have also copied the contact email address found on their website and mentioned the owner’s name. I did not receive any answer. Years later, I still pass the domain name to them.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend where I currently live, and he mentioned this business near where I grew up. It reminded me that I still have their domain name! I contacted them to let them know that I still wanted them to have it. No response again.

At this point, I’m afraid that if I drop the domain name, someone else will grab it. Chances are someone isn’t as nice as me and is using the domain name in an unnecessary way. At best, for them, the person would put PPC links. At worst, there are more harmful things that could be done. If this happens they will probably notice and contact me to ask WTF? Then they’ll want the name, but that’s out of my control.

You may have the best intentions in mind when registering a domain name for someone else. If they’re not on board from the start, you can buy yourself some time and headaches trying to get the name back to them.

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