Domain Squatter (for a week)

Domain Squatter (for a week)

I have become that which I loathe, a domain squatter. Before you react, let me tell you the story – and get your advice.

I’m not talking about domainers – domain speculators that buy up a bunch of good (and bad) names in order to hold them and sell them at a later date. I have purchased a bunch of domains over the years. Some now  have companies that want to buy them. I figured they were good names and I’d use them at some point in the future.

Domain Squatters are a different issue. They buy known names and hold them until the business owner comes calling to purchase the URL. That’s where this story starts.

12 months ago I was talking to a potential client and when I went to look up their site, I saw it was being held by a squatter. In the conversation with the marketing manager, I offered to purchase said domain for them to get a reasonable price. I was given the go-ahead to “work my magic,” as the customer said, and I was able to get the domain for $500. A bargain relative to what it could have sold.

So I purchased the domain and told the company marketing manager to process the invoice – with no markup – and I’d push it to them. Nothing, then April, then May, Summer came and went, you can see where this is going. Now it’s been 12 months.

About a week ago, since correspondance and payment had all but stopped, I made the site live on the web, put up a form to track visitors and capture leads – the company is selling franchises and didn’t own the shortest version of their domain.

The Franchise sales business is a very lucrative market. In fact, it’s become so big that there are players that just generate leads on the web and sell them to Franchises. There are also incredibly reputable companies like FranChoice that help buyers find the right Franchise to purchase. In this case, the Franchisor pays FranChoice a commission on every sale.

Within a week of putting up the site and adding some SEO basics, I received an email from the new marketing manager. He wanted to know if I would sell the domain. Of course, that’s why I bought it in the first place!

So what should I do?

  1. Sell it to them at my cost?
  2. Sell it to them with a markup?
  3. Other?


One Reply to “Domain Squatter (for a week)”

  1. Sell it back to them at 50-75% of what the market rate is, assuming that you’ve at least recouped your expenses (initial investment +time), then you can feel like you’ve still helped them (you must have had a reason in the first place), and realized something for the value of your time. Then feel free to shake your head repeatedly!

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