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legal paper on domain sale

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.biz

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i'm selling a domain to an end user and seem like they're really want the domain. However they are asking for

1. agreement of sale
2. proof of ownership
3. name, address, social security #

I could write and sign an agreement, but what the heck is proof of ownership? My email and my address is already in the whois record. Also, I'm uncomfortable to give out my SS#.

We have been talking on the phone and sending emai for about a month but I still don't agree with what he asks for. I'm thinking of giving up this $1,000 sale.

Any suggestion?
 
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Domagon

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Written sales agreement for a $1K sale ... geez ... ok, I guess it's all relative, but I've done many 4-figure deals with no written agreement at all ... not even an email. And done many larger transactions with little more than an email agreement and/or fax.

Written agreements are helpful in a court case, but if it comes to that, the adversly affected party might as well count their losses, since recovery via the legal system tends to be a long, expensive road, often leading to disappointment.

Proof of ownership ... how does one exactly prove they own a domain ... it's ultimately up to the buyer to verify a domain name registration; asking the seller for a specific piece of pertanent information is one thing, but to simply ask for "proof" is idiotic when there is no standard system for proving one owns a domain; there's still debate whether one even owns a domain or not. It's not like there's a deeds office for domains ... and one should be glad for if there was, domains transactions would be taxed, but I digress.

Social security number ... to put it point-blank, tell them to "shove it" LOL! They don't need that - could be a scam. Or possibly they're planning to run a background check on you? Who knows...

My suggestion is to tell the client to pay the $1000 UPFRONT and then upon receipt of funds (be sure to wait 10 business days for checks/money orders; that may change with the new Check21 rules, but that's not in effect yet), then transfer the domain to them.

They may go for that, if forced into a corner so to speak, depending on what they need the domain name for.

Otherwise, escrow.com is the next best choice - they have an agreement of sorts both parties must accept and they handle the money and ensure the transfer happens - and unlike some escrow services (won't mention names here), escrow.com keeps things moving, and regardless of whether the buyer accepts the "merchandise", escrow.com WILL release the money to the seller once they see the domain transfer has occurred.

Ron
 

nicpal

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Sell the domain to the other party through Sedo. Send them the URL to the Sedo checkout. They have an option where you can request a written transfer request. You sign and fax it in after agreement of terms.....you'll be all set then. Make sure the other party pays the associated fees for the inconvenience.
 

Jack Gordon

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If the end user is a legit, tax paying business in the US then they probably need your social security number for tax reasons. They plan to report this purchase on their tax return, and if you are ever audited it would be a good idea if you reported the sale. I believe this system applies to anyone that is paid $600 or more in one tax year. You could avoid giving it to them only by getting a business tax id that would serve the same purpose.

There is absolutely nothing unusual about the above scenario - it's how business is done here. It all depends on if you want this transaction to work within the sytem or outside of it.
 

jberryhill

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If the end user is a legit, tax paying business in the US then they probably need your social security number for tax reasons.

Give the man a cigar. I have seen an increasing number of US businesses requiring domain sellers to provide an IRS form W-9 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf), or a W-8 for domains bought from non-US sellers.
 

theparrot

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Get an EIN they are easier to dispose of when stolen.

I would never give them my SSN, I would rather lose the sales, then have hundreds of two bit mom and pop places have it on record. The US needs to rethink the way it uses this number that was supposed to never be used this way when it was created if it does not want to push more business else where then it is already doing.,
 

.biz

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Thank you everyone for sharing your thought. The company is legit I believed. They have 1-800 number, web site with the phone number that I called, etc. I wouldn't have any problem if the transaction is in 5-6 figure. I also thought the same that they want it for tax purpose. Thank John for verifying that.

Any more thought on the proof of ownership? I agree with valuenames that there is no way to proof. Just a letter saying that I own the name and sign it???
 

Jack Gordon

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I am guessing all you need to do here is print out the whois info. The very fact that they are asking for proof of ownership shows they don't understand the business that well.
 

Domagon

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Domain names are an asset of sorts ... that's quite different from misc income, interest payments, and other form 1099 related items, which is primarily what a W9 form (or W8 for foreigners residing outside the U.S., a form which many businesses don't even ask for) is intended for.

I'm not an accountant, but in my experience, a W9/W8 is *not* necessary for a transferring an *asset* to another party, regardless of the amount.

Perhaps this is not correct, but it makes little difference anyways since W9/W8 forms are *merely kept on file*, they are *not* themselves submitted to the IRS.

With that said, one obviously should maintain detailed records of all domain transactions - purchases, sales, trades, etc, since that information will usually be needed for tax purposes; domain transfers are often reported as capital gains/losses to the various taxing authorities as required by law.

Ron

.biz said:
Thank you everyone for sharing your thought. The company is legit I believed. They have 1-800 number, web site with the phone number that I called, etc.

.biz ... Is the domain you're selling of a generic nature or is it a company/brand name, etc?

If the domain is somewhat generic, you may want to ask for MORE based on what you've written about the company wanting to buy it. Do some more reseach on them - if they're asking for a W9 from you, at least make it worth your while :)

I'd say ask for more like $5K (an ask price may change up or down anytime until the actually deal happens) ... PM me if you want and we can discuss this further.

Ron

Why is this all appearing in one post - a bug in the software I guess.
 

Steen

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Any more thought on the proof of ownership? I agree with valuenames that there is no way to proof. Just a letter saying that I own the name and sign it???
Bill for renewal?
 

Domagon

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There is honestly no sure way to be sure one owns a domain name ...

* Whois DB... well, it's sometimes wrong; ie. domain could be stolen and/or the db out of date

* Renewal Notice ... the domain name could have already been transferred out to someone else, or perhaps never even registered to begin with by the person who received the bill; could be forged.

* Trademark, etc ... one can apply, and likely even be granted, a trademark registration for a domain name they don't even utilize, let alone own.

* Website/use ... just because a person/company is using a domain, doesn't mean they actually own it - quite common, primarily for legal reasons.

* Written declaration ... means nothing if the domain is "stolen". Sure such a written declaration of ownership may help in suing the seller, it won't help get the "stolen" domain name back; stolen property must most often be returned to its rightful "owner"; the duration of time sometimes matter, but don't count on it, especially when it comes to some forms of assets, in particular land and real estate.

* Title Insurance ... well, 1. there is no such thing for domain names yet ... and 2. I'm not sure any company would ever get into that, though it seems like it could be a profitable business if done right.

So in a nutshell, one can't be truly sure ... with that said, the more one knows about the history of the domain in question along with its respective registrant, the less chance of problems later on ... but of course there are no guarantees ... ultimately it comes down to reputation and trust, like many aspects of business.

Ron
 

Steen

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For proof, how about a link to Internic's whois?
 

mole

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Redirect the seller over to this forum thread. We will all endorse your legitimacy to that domain name if you post it and we do the necessary checks and history trace-backs on it :)
 

jberryhill

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We will all endorse your legitimacy

Yes, what better endorsement of legitimacy could anyone have than from a little pitchfork-wielding demon, an alien, and a blue cartoon mole.

Sorry, but from a legal standpoint, I never accept any proof of legitimacy less than a verified statement from a dancing banana.
 

Anthony Ng

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valuenames said:
* Whois DB... well, it's sometimes wrong; ie. domain could be stolen and/or the db out of date
Well ... the authoritative whois is at most less than a day old (updated twice). For similar purpose, I usually print or copy (and paste) the latest whois info AND include a link for the person to check it out himself.
 

StockDoctor

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jberryhill said:
Yes, what better endorsement of legitimacy could anyone have than from a little pitchfork-wielding demon, an alien, and a blue cartoon mole.

Sorry, but from a legal standpoint, I never accept any proof of legitimacy less than a verified statement from a dancing banana.

Sometimes brand/avatar history and familiarity may add a stronger verification of legitimacy to statements made than via legal or other methods imho.

Perhaps even those made by a dancing banana.
 

HOWARD

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John
I didn't know that you were a Chiquita fan! Her verified statement would probably be in Espanol or more likely, Portuguese.
 

bocajohnh

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jberryhill said:
Yes, what better endorsement of legitimacy could anyone have than from a little pitchfork-wielding demon, an alien, and a blue cartoon mole.
Sorry, but from a legal standpoint, I never accept any proof of legitimacy less than a verified statement from a dancing banana.
LOL!!!

Seriously, having just agreed to a sale through Network Solutions, I had to read their 19 page transfer T&C. They have a section for the seller that states that "you agree you are the rightful owner and have the right to sell...." blah blah blah, many paragraphs. Its good stuff, but IMHO, I wouldn't give it to a buyer unless I was getting a really, really good price. I would think the BUYER should be giving you the legalize, since they're trying to protect themselves.

When you buy real estate, you don't accept a document from seller that says, "Don't worry, I own the house, there's no private transactions prior to today, and my divorced wife has NO say in this. None." No, as a BUYER, I have a real estate attorney do a Title Search on all public and private records and then pay a title insurance policy to protect me (or the lawyer?) if someone shows up and claims to also own the property.

So, if the BUYER wants you the SELLER to provide proof of ownership, then in my businessman, non-attorney opinion, my non-legal advice to you is to make a good effort to provide this document. Cut and paste the prettiest whois data dump for this domain into a document that states "I affirm that at the time of this transaction that I am the owner listed below in this International whois database and I have the right to sell this to you.". Add a footnote that says "The data for this whois entry was provided by <HYPERLINK>, slap a nice letterhead on it and send away, you did your best.

Note: This was a peer to peer verbal discussion about a business situation and not the giving of legal advice.
 

.biz

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lol.

I already told hiim to draft all legal documents he needs and I will sign because $1,000 isn't worth my time to write such papers. LOL

.biz
 
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