Empty legal threats and/or the passive aggressive domain name “buyer”

Some people think they somehow deserve a domain name so they try to acquire it using baseless and empty legal threats and/or subtle indirect threats.

I received an inquiry for a 2-word .com 2 weeks ago to which I replied with a $150k quote.

The domain was registered in 1998 and I bought it in 2008. So I have it for about 10 years now.

I then received a $2,000 offer to which I replied “thank you for your offer but we can’t accept it. “.

Then about a week later I received this:

Thank you for your response. Just an FYI, I have owned the trademark and service mark for the term ‘******* *****’ and also DBA for 6 years. Anybody who is interested in the domain **************.com will obviously have interest in selling/promoting ************ under the name ******* *******. Seeing as this would be trademark infringement, I cannot see you ever having any other potential buyer other than myself. I am willing to slightly negotiate but i will never be anywhere close to your quote of 150k.

I don’t NEED this domain, i just want it. I understand if you think the domain is too valuable for my offer, but I just ask that you consider SOME money for the sale of this domain is better than never selling it. Which I don’t see happening with anybody but myself, at least within the next 50 years.

Thanks for your time. Just let me know if you ever reconsider!”

So here are a few points:

  • He owns a longer .com since 2013.
  • He has a US registered trademark since July 28, 2015. I own the domain since 2008.
  • In his trademark registration he claims: FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20130517
  • He is not saying that I am infringing on his rights. He says that a potential buyer will infringe on his trademark.
  • He contacted me before, back in March 2015, when he offered $100 and I said “no thanks”.
  • He then said: “I own the trademark rights to ‘******* *****’ in which you are infringing on that trademark with the ownership of the domain *************.com- also protected by the anticybersquatting law. We can make this easy by you releasing the domain and transferring it to me. Otherwise you will receive a cease and desist letter and if you do not comply and transfer ownership of the domain name within 30 days we will take legal action.”
  • In March 2015 his trademark application had not even been published for opposition.
  • Of course he did nothing as I was not and I am not infringing on his rights. He did not send a cease and desist letter or took legal action. (Probably an attorney advised him not to?)
  • He didn’t accuse me now of infringing so he probably made some research and/or consulted with an attorney.
  • Now I will not negotiate with him. I don’t respond well to threats even as subtle as this one. But he did threatened me in 2015 and I had forgotten about that until he reminded me with his attitude.
  • He thinks he is the only buyer. Good luck with that argument.

I can assure you that what he accomplished is me having all this correspondence as evidence in case he tries something stupid in the future. Also I will renew the domain for 10 years and let it sit these.

I will finish with this: “I don’t NEED this domain, i just want it.”

He sounds like a spoiled brat. He tried to force his way into getting this domain name without paying a fair price just because he thinks he is better that anyone else. He threatened me and never followed up with his empty threats and now he is using this passive aggressive manner (not really saying I am infringing but that I will not be able to find a buyer that will not infringe) and wants to buy it cheap just “because”.

He is not getting what the WANTS anytime soon.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

16 comments

  1. “…He sounds like a boiled brat….”

    “Boiled” or did you mean to write “spoiled”?

  2. HeHe

    Love the read….

    I would have just responded and said the domain goes up by 1k every time he makes a stupid statement.

  3. I’ll bet he can well afford the $150k.

  4. I had one similar to this years ago, except it was the common name of an automotive part. AS well as threaten me, they CC’d the email to the affiliate merchant I had the domain set up on and THEY got into a panic and kicked me off their program without even consulting with me first. Even after I explained the situation they wouldn’t reconsider.

    16 years later, the domain is still mine.

    Idiots, the lot of them.

  5. Forward the domain to one of your other domains, or this site/ He may raise his offer.

  6. Very well played. This joker is like so many offers that I get. People get mad, plain and simple. I am sure he will come up on his price and hopefully you will be able to complete another business transaction.

    Nice job and best of luck!

  7. Get this all the time, just hostility, without knowing the domain, maybe it’s not worth $150K, maybe it’s worth more.

    Going forward you will gain a lot more sales if you can talk these type of guys down to a deep breath level. Names are getting more expensive to acquire, hence more expensive on the back end, a lot more of this to come, as people are going to be blown away with quotes because they are used to $10 reg fee domains.

    It still takes a lot to sell a $100K+ domain, the odd time you get lucky, but for the most part it has to be a damn good name, or a damn good buyer.

    • @Trent

      Offers some some advice in his post. We are in a climate of scarce dot-Com domains with commercial meaning for sure. These ‘hot-headed’ buyers are in their emotions. Sure, it sucks to be threatened, but even being contacted by a third party about the domain is a good thing. I know because I sold 2 domains last hear to TM holders after receiving seize and desist letters; which having knowledge of IP law, I knew they had no case. At the same time, anyone with a trademark is getting bolder in filing a UDRP with WIPO these days.

      As long as you are prepared to protect your assets in a court of law, you should look at those threats as a possible opportunity to make a sell…

  8. I had a douchebag threaten me on a very generic phrase domain “FreeHomeSolar” in .com because I wouldn’t take his $300 max offer.

    He said he was planning on filing for a trademark. Then once he got his trademark he would just take the domain from me through court.

    I said, good luck with that.

    Haven’t heard from him since,and its been a few years.

  9. This is why I prefer Buy-It-Now pricing. Why waste time dealing with business people who behave irrationally about domain names acquisitions like this? Just show them the price they will have to pay to acquire the domain name for their business and let them figure out how they are going to pay for it. Saves the seller tons of time and grief.

  10. I can related, have been threatened twice last year (2 different domains). My answer in both cases…BRING IT. You know the domain is powerful if you get sued, it encourages me more.

  11. Good article. I’d keep any reply short and sweet, as he clearly doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Add additional years to ownership (which will wind them up more) and state that you will increase your price by 5% for every empty threat / cost of handling replies. He will soon get the hint.

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