Bought a PR4 Domain from auction and now the original owner wants it back

84 replies
I recently bought a couple of PR4 and PR3 domains from auction on GoDaddy. After 1 week, I got an email yesterday from the original owner of one of them stating they want the domain transferred back to them.

It is very similar to this example : chicagovolunteerhq . org

In the email to me, the administrator for the site / organization states that the domain was not renewed because she thought it was set up to re-new automatically each year (but apparently she was wrong OR godaddy messed up).

Do they have a legal leg to stand on since I bought the domain fair and square from the auction ? Are they climbing up the wrong tree by requesting me to transfer it back to them ? Should they not be asking GoDaddy since they put it up for auction due to not being renewed ?

Thanks Warriors.
#auction #back #bought #domain #original #owner #pr4
  • Profile picture of the author TolyZ
    You paid the money, it's yours. If they believe it was a mistake they should be taking up with Godaddy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gaz Cooper
      Tell them to go suck an egg (in a nice way of course)

      They would of got several notifications of domain expiration and they obviously did not take notice of those multiple notifications and allowed it to expire.

      You purchased it legally via a go daddy auction JOB DONE

      It is now your domain and there is nothing they can do to get it back from you unless you give it to them or sell it to them

      Good luck

      kickin it on Amazon

      Gaz Cooper
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  • Profile picture of the author hassan001
    You paid for it and you got it..... That's it.... Ask her to write a complain about this to GoDaddy..... The domain is your property and never try to give it back if you really know what you can do with PR4....

    Or if you are a kind heart then ask her to pay you the auction price and simply return it to her......

    Its totally upto you... But there is nothing no one can do now except you.... If GoDaddy will transfer this back to the previous owner without your consent you have a full right to file a claim on GoDaddy......

    Hope this helps.....

    All the best....
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  • Profile picture of the author eniggma
    They are screwed man, GoDaddy gives you more than enough notices to renew. They have some nerve contacting you like its your problem. If you want you could find out how much its worth to them and sell it back at a premium. One way or another its yours. Maybe this will remind them to check their emails from now on.
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    • Profile picture of the author bitriot
      I think, in this case, I would let them repay me the auction fee and give it back. It sounds like it is a good organization and if they have a physical presence, imagine all of the promo items and so on they have printed with that URL.

      There will be other PR4's - sometimes being a good person is worth more than a little bit of money. What is your conscience worth?
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      • Profile picture of the author greenowl123
        Originally Posted by bitriot View Post

        I think, in this case, I would let them repay me the auction fee and give it back. It sounds like it is a good organization and if they have a physical presence, imagine all of the promo items and so on they have printed with that URL.

        There will be other PR4's - sometimes being a good person is worth more than a little bit of money. What is your conscience worth?
        I am considering giving them a prominent link at the top of the domain to a new website of their choice so they will still receive their visitors. But not giving the domain back to them since it is not fair to me, and serves as a valuable lesson to whoever was snoozing and did not re-new the domain.
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        • Profile picture of the author bitriot
          Originally Posted by greenowl123 View Post

          I am considering giving them a prominent link at the top of the domain to a new website of their choice so they will still receive their visitors. But not giving the domain back to them since it is not fair to me, and serves as a valuable lesson to whoever was snoozing and did not re-new the domain.
          That valuable lesson point is a justification and pretty much B.S. - Like I said, this one comes down to whatever your conscience dictates. Seems like you have it figured out. Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author hassan001
    If you talk about GoDaddy Notices then whenever I log in to Godaddy then it comes smiling to me and asking to renew an expiring domain. Lol...

    So I don't think she is telling you truth and in case she is telling truth then also you are the owner

    So enjoy PR 4 Domain....

    Wish u good luck with this.....
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    Originally Posted by greenowl123 View Post

    [...]

    Do they have a legal leg to stand on since I bought the domain fair and square from the auction ? Are they climbing up the wrong tree by requesting me to transfer it back to them ? Should they not be asking GoDaddy since they put it up for auction due to not being renewed ?

    Thanks Warriors.
    If you want a legal opinion, you'll need to ask an attorney.

    From a layman's standpoint, their dispute over the domain name has nothing to do with you, and they should be referred back to GoDaddy (who will, not so politely, tell them to go suck an egg).

    As was pointed out earlier, GoDaddy sends numerous reminders to renew domains about to expire. If the original owner didn't pay attention to them, they need to revise their business procedures.

    Again from a layman's point of view, I think it would be perfectly OK to sell the domain back to them, for a substantial profit, of course.

    Or don't, if you want to keep it. It's yours, and if you refuse to sell it back to them there's not a lot they can do (again, consult an attorney for advice) but keep pestering you.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    "Suck an egg"

    (Perhaps someone should read Allen's Money and Power interview)

    Look at it this way - some inexperienced administrator blew it and their job may be on the line.

    From the description it appears this could have been a non-profit website.

    Personally, I would weigh how much the domain cost in auction and the 'value' it has for my intended use, versus the tone of the request for the domain, plus whatever they are offering for it and what they were using it for - plus being a decent person.

    Of course, it is odd that no one apparently noticed the website was down for probably a few months.

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author blillard
    Tax em Tax em Tax em is what I say. I grab this $1 I'll sell it back to you for $10 if it is that important to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    I think Karma's a bitch. We've all made foolish mistakes. I'd return it to them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
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      Originally Posted by Tsnyder View Post

      I think Karma's a bitch. We've all made foolish mistakes. I'd return it to them.
      Give me a break. Karma has nothing to do with this. If anything, Karma is being a bitch to them.

      OP, I hope you listen to these folks and not the others. Is giving it back a bad business move? Maybe. But when did that become our only consideration? I would rather be a bad business owner than a bad person.
      Give me another break. Refusing to give someone back a domain that they just now decided they wanted after it being down for months doesn't make you a bad person.
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      • Profile picture of the author davezan
        Just tossing these out for you to be aware of, OP.

        In my ex-registrar life, I was made aware of a case where we (sigh) took back a
        domain name acquired by someone in an auction. This was a specific scenario in
        which the previous owner paid via credit card, was emailed a confirmation of it,
        funds taken out, but the registrar system didn't actually renew the domain name
        for whatever reason until it was subsequently auctioned off.

        Of course, we apologized to the previous owner and returned the domain name. I
        don't recall this part, but I think we also refunded his/her renewal payment also.

        Naturally, the new owner wasn't happy either. All we could do was also apologize
        and make amends somehow, but the would-have-been-new owner understandably
        wanted the domain name and nothing else.

        In the end, we stood our ground, remained as sincerely apologetic as we could,
        and offered free credit to register, renew or transfer an nth number of domains
        if they still felt like it. To be expected, s/he threatened to sue but nothing else
        came out of that.

        Things like that are also covered in our registrar's legal agreement. I'm sure that
        Go Daddy has something similar.

        But again, note that this happened only for this exact situation. If the previous
        owner did not renew the domain name, much more funds taken out, then s/he has
        little to no material claim over you other than trademarks, as others mentioned.

        Anyway, I'm sure you can decide what's the "right" thing to do. Or at least, find
        something that's mutually acceptable and agreeable.

        Good luck on your ventures.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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    I bought a domain and later was contacted by the previous owner. Same thing happened to her. She let it expire carelessly. It was her primary money site. She offered to buy it from me but said she didn't have a lot of money.

    I gave it back to her for what I paid, which was only $50. She was so happy she was beside herself. The domain was a lot more important to her than it was to me.
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    • Profile picture of the author RimaNaj2011
      That's her loss...If she wants it that bad just sell it for double or tripe the price honestly.
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  • Profile picture of the author isharky
    Another option is is to give it back and have them link to you. They will be building it out so that link would be important whereas you might not be building it out and the pagerank might just expire as the inlinks disappear or Google realize the links are not actually referring to your content.
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  • Profile picture of the author opt4achange
    chicagovolunteerhq . org

    Being "vounteer" would suggest a non-profit org. They could have been so busy helping people they neglected the day to day business of running a website. My conscience would force me to give it back.

    I think only a robotic-accountant type entity could keep it.
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  • Profile picture of the author arranrice
    You paid... its yours! You need to find out the reason why the seller wants it back.
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  • Profile picture of the author bignchunky
    Donate the domain back to the non-profit and get a receipt for $1000 (or more) for tax purposes.
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    • Profile picture of the author webpromotions
      Originally Posted by bignchunky View Post

      Donate the domain back to the non-profit and get a receipt for $1000 (or more) for tax purposes.
      Good idea, but a slippery slope.

      That requires IRS form 8899 for donations of IP, and you'd need a pretty reputable 3rd party domain evaluation to back it up.

      The cost of the appraisal and whatever your accountant/attorney would charge you to give it the thumbs up would more than likely exceed the small tax benefit.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I'm sure you have a legal right to keep it and it's left to
    your decision. Either wouldn't make you a "bad" person.

    But if I forget to pay my wireless bill they cut my line and
    I have to pay a "reconnection fee" so you may also want
    to charge a "recovery fee" if you decide to 'return' it.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
    I have that happen quite often and I feel better returning the domain despite not having to. Nearly always the previous owner is polite and understands there are costs involved which they are willing to pay.

    What would you like to happen if you were in their situation?
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      They not only failed to renew the domain but also missed the redemption period after the domain expired. It happens. You are not at fault but being rude or obnoxious in response (as some suggest) is not called for.

      If you have no plans as yet for the domain and you think the organization is a good one, you may consider letting them have it for what you paid for it plus any transfer fees paid.

      If it were a public organization (non profit) or a charity - I'd sell it back to them immediately for exactly the $$ figure I had spent.

      What I would never do is be rude about it or lie about it on taxes. You have the domain - either keep it or not but be polite about it either way.

      kay
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      • How amusing that people are trying to guilt you into doing "the right thing."

        Says a lot more about them than it does about you.

        fLufF
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        • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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          • Profile picture of the author czilbersher
            Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

            Speaks volumes about you as well....:rolleyes:
            Hard to argue with the "I know you are, but what am I" defense ;-)
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          • Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

            Speaks volumes about you as well....:rolleyes:
            Yes, it says that I can spot manipulation when I see it.

            "Non-profit" means nothing. Some of the most successful businesses I know are non-profits. People profit, all right. The head of the American Red Cross makes nearly $500,000 a year.

            And just because it says "volunteer" does not make it good or holy or even true.

            Stand your ground, OP.

            fLufF
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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          Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

          How amusing that people are trying to guilt you into doing "the right thing."

          Says a lot more about them than it does about you.

          fLufF
          --
          And how amusing that you think a little kindness is amusing. Speaks volumes of you.
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          • Profile picture of the author blend
            I would definately transfer the domain back to them....providing they give you $10,000
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          • After the last three years I have little regard for people who are "kind" with other peoples' property and money.

            Tell ya what, Suzanne, why not make the OP an offer? If he accepts your offer you can return the domain to the "rightful owner" and enjoy that warm glow of "having done the right thing."

            But until then, he bought it. It's his. End of story.

            fLufF
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            • Profile picture of the author mrjosco
              Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

              After the last three years I have little regard for people who are "kind" with other peoples' property and money.

              Tell ya what, Suzanne, why not make the OP an offer? If he accepts your offer you can return the domain to the "rightful owner" and enjoy that warm glow of "having done the right thing."

              But until then, he bought it. It's his. End of story.

              fLufF
              --
              But you have no problem being unkind with other people's property?

              At least those who are willing to be generous with other peoples property have good intentions. Can you say the same thing about someone who is selfish even with other peoples property?
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            • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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              Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

              After the last three years I have little regard for people who are "kind" with other peoples' property and money.

              Tell ya what, Suzanne, why not make the OP an offer? If he accepts your offer you can return the domain to the "rightful owner" and enjoy that warm glow of "having done the right thing."

              But until then, he bought it. It's his. End of story.

              fLufF
              --

              Tell you what Fluff. This is a discussion forum and the OP started the topic and being a discussion forum, everyone else gets to voice their opinion on the topic.

              I am not kind with other people's money or property. I am with my own. I gave my opinion and what you or the OP or anyone else wants to do, is entirely up to them. No one here would fault him if he kept it and the OP doesn't seem to have the objection that you do to a different point of view, but then snark is your speciality, isn't it?

              As for your catty remark about me buying the domain and feeling the warm glow, now why would I do that. I already got my warm glow from returning a domain to an owner who was so grateful that I did. It's up to the OP what to do with it and those with softer, gentler sides are allowed to chime in whether you disagree or not.

              meow
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            • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
              Making TONS for friends on here are we? Has some one forgotten to clean your kitty box or something?

              You're comments about non-profits and the person at the Red Cross show just how much you don't know about non-profits. LOL

              To the OP your question is an issue of moral judgement as I see it. Many have expressed their opinions but in the end its up to you and how you feel about it.

              You legally own the domain so its up to you to choose what to do with it.



              Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

              After the last three years I have little regard for people who are "kind" with other peoples' property and money.

              Tell ya what, Suzanne, why not make the OP an offer? If he accepts your offer you can return the domain to the "rightful owner" and enjoy that warm glow of "having done the right thing."

              But until then, he bought it. It's his. End of story.

              fLufF
              --
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            • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
              Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

              After the last three years I have little regard for people who are "kind" with other peoples' property and money.

              Tell ya what, Suzanne, why not make the OP an offer? If he accepts your offer you can return the domain to the "rightful owner" and enjoy that warm glow of "having done the right thing."

              But until then, he bought it. It's his. End of story.

              fLufF
              --
              Charleen,

              The OP asked for guidance and input and others are giving their opinions. No need for you to be rude.

              I'm guessing you would have a different attitude if this was a family member.

              "Hey Mom, tough sh!t. It's mine now."
              To the blind person walking across the street who doesn't realize their rent money fell out of their pocket:
              "Woo-Hoo! Finders keeps losers weepers."
              I see you're in the SF Bay Area. I lived in San Francisco when going to law school. I didn't agree with the politics about being "kind" with someone else's money, and it took but 48 hours to be shocked into a cold-hearted 'no' when approached by the all the beggars.

              But I also discovered an unbelievably open, kind, and friendly city - especially generous when a mistake happens. Similar to this forum where people make mistakes, ask for help, and get it. And where people 'pay it forward' with their generosity. And where freebies and special offers rule the day.

              Those Warriors who hit the like button on my prior thread post, probably all of them have read Money and Power. We also read Allen's comments about "cut throat" online tactics.

              That's one reason why we're here year after year. There are other online forums where a central theme is laughing at other people's mistakes.

              When you actually read my earlier post you will see I did not say to absolutely return the domain. I said here are various factors I would consider in making a decision.

              Some of us also generously donate to charities and non-profits. We even volunteer our time, our homes, and parts of our lives to help others.

              Interestingly enough, some of the top marketing books I have read also refer to the amazing effect that "doing the right thing" can have, or donating money can have, on the bottom line.

              Why don't you find some online marketers whose opinions you value and ask them to chime in on this thread?

              .
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            • Profile picture of the author Jeff Lenney
              Banned
              Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

              After the last three years I have little regard for people who are "kind" with other peoples' property and money.

              Tell ya what, Suzanne, why not make the OP an offer? If he accepts your offer you can return the domain to the "rightful owner" and enjoy that warm glow of "having done the right thing."

              But until then, he bought it. It's his. End of story.

              fLufF
              --
              Have the liberals in the bay area made you that cold and heartless? . Common. Wheres that hippy robin hood love and attitude?

              OP There is such a thing as karma, IMHO. You won't be at fault if you keep it, but maybe morally it's the right thing to do?
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author txconx
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      ... so imagine if your situation was reversed - a little kindness can go a long way.
      If the situation was reversed, I'd expect someone to tell me "you snooze, you lose." And I'd never ask for it back for free.

      Then again, most of us here have experience on buying domain names and maintaining registration.

      I wouldn't offer to sell it back unless you bought it intending to sell it. I wouldn't give them a link. You don't owe them anything and they get plenty of notice.

      I've had people contact me a year after I bought the domain name, sputtering and protesting that it was theirs. How important can it be when it takes them months to notice their domain name no longer resolves to their website??
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  • Profile picture of the author JayDoh
    Personally I would give it back for the money you paid being as it looks like a non-profit organisation. I bet they would be so grateful, they would have no problem in giving you a link (depending on your niche!)
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Originally Posted by greenowl123 View Post

    I recently bought a couple of PR4 and PR3 domains from auction on GoDaddy. After 1 week, I got an email yesterday from the original owner of one of them stating they want the domain transferred back to them.
    MIGHT AS WELL GIVE IT BACK FROM A PURELY BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE

    Why? Well others have weighed in on the ethics of it . I will not add anything but a purely business perspective since I buy a good deal of domains with PR and have helped many others do the same.

    The truth is it is probably in your best interest to sell it back. From what I see the value of it was the links to it that gave the site its PR to begin with. That owner if they wanted to could make those links disappear in a hurry by contacting the better sites linking to you. So sure you could keep it but they could make sure its worth nothing.

    but whatever you do don't listen to the people telling you to take a too tough your loss attitude or you will only ensure that owner will be motivated to have the links to the sites redirected. Frankly if its a real established non profit they probably will be forced to use another name and will end up redirecting the links anyway. Worse if you are using the domain in part of a network to rank other sites - they could also arrange for it to be deindexed and then it will be worth the breeze blowing outside.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Alan
    It is likely trademarked if not in the Federal system by a concept what is known as common law trademark. If the value of the domain is mainly people that are looking for their site/org it makes your footing really tenuous as it would allow them to employ other legal theories besides trademark against you. If it is truly is a non profit or something along those lines your likely playing with fire. Do you really want to get in a legal fight with a non-profit? The best way to handle it is to offer to give it back for what you paid for it.


    Nobody thinks they could buy CocaCola.com on an expired domain auction and expect to keep it do they?
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    I've seen this situation several times.

    In legitimate cases, usually the domain renewal e-mails were being sent to somone no longer with the organization, or to someone that had lost interest, or was mad at the organization, or was not picking mail up for some other reason, like being out of the country feeding starving children in Bangalore or something.

    In non-legitimate cases, the people seeking to have the domain "returned" were never the legal owners in the first place, and are trying to scam somebody into sending them a good domain for cheap. It's good to check on that.

    While technically you now are the legal owner of the domain itself (as far as I know, better consult an attorney for specifics in your area), there may be issues with actually using it if they have a business registration or long history of use associated with the name, and you don't.

    If the organization and requester are legit, and with a history of use of the domain (see the wayback archive at archive dot org), and somebody just goofed up on renewing the domain, then the good ol' karma-meter kicks in, and it's a matter of deciding if returning it is the right thing to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author msalinas67
    All I can say is if you want to be nice..have her pay what you paid for it in the auction and maybe 5% on top. Good Luck
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  • Profile picture of the author adammck
    If they are legit then I would most likely give it back. But the decision is really up to you, you purchased the domain correctly.

    Good luck either way
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  • Profile picture of the author Pluty
    I have to agree with the majority of the posts. If you want to sell the domain back to them, then do so. Otherwise keep the domain for yourself. The previous owner should have made sure that Go Daddy received the renewal fee.
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  • Profile picture of the author ralchevd
    Okay, I just wanted to add my 2 cents here...

    1) The domain was on auction, which means that the owner is definitely blind or doesn't pay too much attention on his website, which doesn't matter anyway. Remember - it doesn't matter what happened, as far as you don't have any proof. It could be a mistake by GoDaddy, either a mistake from the domain owner.

    2) "Owning" this domain name won't make you a milionaire. You may even have further problems with it. Why? Because, in fact, the domain name is not yours. Yes, you bought it from an auction and you have the rights for it, but it is not a reliable solution. Better to give it back to him in exchange of 2x the auction price. I.e. - get rid of it. You will still have some profits.

    P.S. I don't think that Page Rank matters in this case
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  • Profile picture of the author cashcow
    I had a similar thing happen to me. The domain was a business name (like arizonatilework.com or something like that) and I assumed it just went out of business. I did a bit of work putting content on and then building links. I was actually getting some sales too.

    Then about a month after I buy it, I get an email from some attorney, apparently the owner didn't know he had to renew domains - lol. I guess one day he went to his website and noticed it was totally different.

    So, I just asked them to compensate me for the time and money I spent. I didn't feel right keeping someones business domain like that. Bad karma for sure.

    They were thrilled and I was happy to make someone happy. Does that make me a bad business person?

    Lee

    P.S. Now when I buy domains that are the names of business I do a lot of checking first to make sure they really are out of business.
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    • Profile picture of the author caseycase
      Originally Posted by bitriot View Post

      I think, in this case, I would let them repay me the auction fee and give it back. It sounds like it is a good organization and if they have a physical presence, imagine all of the promo items and so on they have printed with that URL.

      There will be other PR4's - sometimes being a good person is worth more than a little bit of money. What is your conscience worth?
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      "Suck an egg"

      (Perhaps someone should read Allen's Money and Power interview)

      Look at it this way - some inexperienced administrator blew it and their job may be on the line.

      From the description it appears this could have been a non-profit website.

      Personally, I would weigh how much the domain cost in auction and the 'value' it has for my intended use, versus the tone of the request for the domain, plus whatever they are offering for it and what they were using it for - plus being a decent person.

      Of course, it is odd that no one apparently noticed the website was down for probably a few months.

      .
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      I bought a domain and later was contacted by the previous owner. Same thing happened to her. She let it expire carelessly. It was her primary money site. She offered to buy it from me but said she didn't have a lot of money.

      I gave it back to her for what I paid, which was only $50. She was so happy she was beside herself. The domain was a lot more important to her than it was to me.
      Originally Posted by opt4achange View Post

      chicagovolunteerhq . org

      Being "vounteer" would suggest a non-profit org. They could have been so busy helping people they neglected the day to day business of running a website. My conscience would force me to give it back.

      I think only a robotic-accountant type entity could keep it.
      Originally Posted by Fraggler View Post

      I have that happen quite often and I feel better returning the domain despite not having to. Nearly always the previous owner is polite and understands there are costs involved which they are willing to pay.

      What would you like to happen if you were in their situation?
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      As Steve mentioned - if you want legal advice, see a lawyer.

      That said, while you might not be legally obligated to return it, unless there's some real, tangible value in it for you, I'd consider transferring it back for whatever cost you incurred.

      Assuming it wasn't a high-traffic/PR domain or high-dollar cost to you, I'd probably just give it back. We all make mistakes now and then, newbies or otherwise, so imagine if your situation was reversed - a little kindness can go a long way.
      Originally Posted by JayDoh View Post

      Personally I would give it back for the money you paid being as it looks like a non-profit organisation. I bet they would be so grateful, they would have no problem in giving you a link (depending on your niche!)
      Originally Posted by cashcow View Post

      I had a similar thing happen to me. The domain was a business name (like arizonatilework.com or something like that) and I assumed it just went out of business. I did a bit of work putting content on and then building links. I was actually getting some sales too.

      Then about a month after I buy it, I get an email from some attorney, apparently the owner didn't know he had to renew domains - lol. I guess one day he went to his website and noticed it was totally different.

      So, I just asked them to compensate me for the time and money I spent. I didn't feel right keeping someones business domain like that. Bad karma for sure.

      They were thrilled and I was happy to make someone happy. Does that make me a bad business person?

      Lee

      P.S. Now when I buy domains that are the names of business I do a lot of checking first to make sure they really are out of business.
      OP, I hope you listen to these folks and not the others. Is giving it back a bad business move? Maybe. But when did that become our only consideration? I would rather be a bad business owner than a bad person.
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  • Profile picture of the author onegoodman
    Unless these guys own trade mark on the name, then it is their bad.

    If they wanted they got to pay $$$$$
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  • Profile picture of the author money fan
    Banned
    Like everyone has said: you paid for it. Its their problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author zaco
    If you feel that it is not that important to you or it won't have an impact on your project then return it, I never let a domain expire and if it happens I won't expect someone to give it back to me but I would ask if I can get it back. You can ask them for a link back if you return it.

    Also if you feel that you wasted your time try to sell it to them or rent it to them! rent it for 10 years and sign an agreement with them , as long as they are in business then you have some type of income, you are happy and they are happy.
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  • Profile picture of the author sirtiman
    Charge the last owner 10 times more for the auction price.
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  • Profile picture of the author Domainate
    Ultimately it's up to you what to do, but I've had this happen many times and I'll give them a good deal to buy it back. Consider this - would you rather not have to deal with any headaches about this? What if they didn't leave you alone about it? What if they then attempted to UDRP the name and you'd have to defend yourself to keep the name? Ready to pay a lawyer for that?

    Sometimes ethical reasons for doing something can also be business reasons for doing it if you really think about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author greenowl123
    Thanks for all the answers and opinions warriors. Compassion and kindness are good things for sure. I sure wish I had received more of both in my younger / poorer days.

    Funny that I was looking at Charlie Chaplin videos on YouTube today, and by accident came across this quote by him on this video at 1:46
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  • Profile picture of the author nicolas simpson
    1st i'll ask her to take up that matter with godaddy.. its all depends on the importance of the domain to her.. if it is for a good cause/ her bread winner.. i'll def ask her to pay me back the action fee and give it back to her.. Who knows how hard she worked to get the domain name ranking that good.
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  • Profile picture of the author saralees
    Oh well ,seller beware. If they approved or pre approved the trasnfer , it's legal !

    Real business costs money, so if they want it and you agree to sell then the price you want is where its at !
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  • Profile picture of the author Absolute Logo
    What the heck?! You bought it man! It is yours! To top it off how unprofessional of that guy! LIKE WHAT!?
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  • Profile picture of the author travelrohan
    You paid the money, it's yours. If they believe it was a mistake they should be taking up with Godaddy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Seth Bias
    Ill buy the domain from you then sell it back to then for double the price. But really though. You bought it fair and square so either keep it, sell it back to them (double money or auction fees) or give it back to them. You are the only person who can do it. I'd personally tell them tough luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author leeluther252
    To be somewhat fair, why not offer to sell it for 3-4 times your purchase price.
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  • Profile picture of the author michaelcorvin
    It's yours. I once had one of my domains expire and I complete forgot about it. I had to pay $4,000 to get it back. Once it expires and someone else buys it, they lost it.

    If she wants it back sell it to her.

    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author jimmymc
    How much is this domain name really worth to you?

    Perhaps, if the previous owner chooses this might be settled in court and cost the non-profit very little (if any) in litigation fees.

    Domain Name Disputes (BitLaw)
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  • Profile picture of the author MattBrighton
    Keep YOUR PR4 domain. They no longer own it - you can either

    Keep it - you have all rights to do so
    Give it back - whether you sell it at auction price or make a profit?

    Either way, you have the upper hand
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  • Profile picture of the author Curtis2011
    Originally Posted by greenowl123 View Post

    Do they have a legal leg to stand on since I bought the domain fair and square from the auction ? Are they climbing up the wrong tree by requesting me to transfer it back to them ? Should they not be asking GoDaddy since they put it up for auction due to not being renewed ?

    Thanks Warriors.
    To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing they can do about it legally. It is your property now.

    If he didn't auto-renew: sucks to be him.
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  • Profile picture of the author DNChamp
    Damn all the hate here LOL...As a domain investor I get this a lot....Let us not forget about this...

    Godaddy send you a LOT of emails that the domain is about to expire. It is not like the OR (original owner) did not get emails letting them know the domain is to expire UNLESS they dont keep good records and changed there email address and never updated it with Godaddy.

    Noe think about this. Lets say you buy a car....forget to pay for 3 months. You thought the bank was taking out payments on auto pilot. You check your bank account and the money does not seem to be taking out. After 3 months they repo the car. You go to the auction house where it is beign sold and ask for it back becasue you THOUGHT your bank was paying for it....Think they are giving back the car??

    Come on folks....People have to be responsible for there business. Why give it back becasue THEY did not pay attention to all the signs in there face about the domain getting ready to expire... Even when it did expire they have 45 days to STILL get it back...

    Keep the domain or sell it back to her. Period!
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Ok I'll add my opinion for the sake of an extra perspective.

    I've been on both sides of this in the past. I've lost domains for several reasons outside of my control and never got them back once the registrar (rightly or wrongly) let them go.

    I would never blame the new owners for that (even though some of them blatently just abused the work I'd done building the domain reputation over many years, by throwing up ads to rinse money from the people I spent a long time attracting).

    It goes without saying that if you bought it - it was probably legally available to buy.

    On the other side of the coin - I've been in your situation too and I've never found anything other than selfish reasons not to give the domain back.

    I took each incident on its own merits, but as you might expect for someone wanting their domain back - they'd obviously put a lot of effort into creating it and were devastated when they realised it had dropped. As has been said already by others in this thread - I couldn't in good conscience keep the domain knowing how little it meant to me and how much it meant to them.

    The upshot of that action was that the new owners always happily linked to any of my sites from theirs and actually also became clients of mine and even friends.

    Life is too short - you KNOW what the 'right' thing to do is.

    Some people here are desperate for a dollar and will tell you to milk the owner for all you can get - regardless of the niche/focus of the site and it's previous owner - that'll always be the case.

    Only you have to live with your decision, so if you don't give a crap about them and you just want to keep it "because it's yours" - that's fine, if you feel ok about that. If you don't then it shouldn't even be a choice.

    We'll never know what you decide to do, so what we think is pretty much irrelevant, but as someone else said - I've put a couple of people on my ignore list after seeing their posts in this thread.

    Your business is your business - just do what works for you.

    Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author thekaver
    Hi,

    Yes its yours fair and square!

    they never renewed so they lost any rights to it!

    Maybe it could be worth asking them to buy it at a profit from you! So you could get a quick flip of it and make some cash! Just an idea, but as i said you the legal owner now so do as you please

    thanks

    TheKaver
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    This question has pretty much turned into a slugfest on morals and ethics, but it appears to me there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.

    I think if I were in this situation, what I did would depend a great deal on how I was treated by the other party, and what their circumstances and arguments are.
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    • Profile picture of the author davezan
      Originally Posted by SteveJohnson View Post

      I think if I were in this situation, what I did would depend a great deal on how I was treated by the other party, and what their circumstances and arguments are.
      Especially if they are sincerely and honestly humble and respectful.
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    It's yours. If you get legal paperwork or a phone call from legal staff. Sign up for prepaid legal. cost under 30 for a month, this entitles you to a free legal phone call or letter, I would opt for the letter.

    She made a mistake and trying to cover her butt. It could be trademarked but I doubt it.
    If she would of came to me and said, OMG I forgot to renew that, I probally would of gave it back, if she said it was a mistake and she wanted it back without being nice. I would keep it.
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  • Profile picture of the author goindeep
    Originally Posted by greenowl123 View Post

    I recently bought a couple of PR4 and PR3 domains from auction on GoDaddy. After 1 week, I got an email yesterday from the original owner of one of them stating they want the domain transferred back to them.

    It is very similar to this example : chicagovolunteerhq . org

    In the email to me, the administrator for the site / organization states that the domain was not renewed because she thought it was set up to re-new automatically each year (but apparently she was wrong OR godaddy messed up).

    Do they have a legal leg to stand on since I bought the domain fair and square from the auction ? Are they climbing up the wrong tree by requesting me to transfer it back to them ? Should they not be asking GoDaddy since they put it up for auction due to not being renewed ?

    Thanks Warriors.
    Mistakes happen. The real question is, what where you planning on doing with the domain?

    If it has real value for you then the answer is simple. Keep it. You purchased it fair n square.

    If you purchased it to re-sell, then i'd say your buyer is already at the door.

    If you purchased it because you where wasted at 3am and said adult website was option #2 then, maybe transfer it back for cost price.
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  • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
    You may or may not have legal rights to the domain. It depends on what the domain is and how it was previously used.

    What the thread has missed thus far is that it isn't just about the domain name. You have to look at exactly how the domain relates to the previous owner.

    Their organization's name has a copyright whether it's registered or unregistered. By extension of that, you could get into some trouble if this domain matches their name. If your development plans center around the same topic they used it for, you are walking on thin ice.

    To illustrate, imagine if Acme Fun let AcmeFun.com drop and you picked it up. Acme Fun is a children's toy company. Even though they let the domain drop and you now have it, you can't use it for anything toy related since that would be in violation of their name.

    You may (domain allowing) be able to develop it under a topic that doesn't conflict with the previous owner's rights.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by DubDubDubDot View Post

      Their organization's name has a copyright whether it's registered or unregistered. By extension of that, you could get into some trouble if this domain matches their name. If your development plans center around the same topic they used it for, you are walking on thin ice.
      It would be a trademark issue, rather than copyright, but if the example that he gave in the OP is close to the domain, it is more a keyword domain than a trademark domain, but only he knows what it really is.

      It's PR 4 now, and that PR comes based on the backlinks to the previous owner's site. Those backlinks without the site, will disappear, along with the PR, soon enough. By the next PR change, this domain will be a PR 0. PR is not based on a domain ... it is based on pages, and the pages are gone with the new owner. Every PR domain I have ever bought lost the PR within a month or two of buying it.

      The reason that I let the domain I bought go back to the owner was the website that she had worked for years on. A bit of carelessness, and all that was gone. I could see the site in the cache and Wayback and she poured her heart into her work. The domain really meant very little to me. I just liked it and it was available and I scooped it up, but for her it was her web design business. It had her artwork showcased. The domain clearly needed to go back home where it belonged.
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  • Profile picture of the author BloggingPro
    I'll say this, and only this. PR4 domains are a dime a dozen. Visit any popular forum or website selling site and you'll find something that easily fits that bill.

    If selling or donating the domain back to the organization makes YOU pleased with yourself do that.

    If keeping the domain and laughing at their mistake pleases you then go that route.

    What would I do? I'd make them buy it back from me, at cost, plus any fee's that were associated with the transfer to me and then back to them. I say that's fair and honestly, if I had the extra cash in the bank I'd give it back to them and tell them that in return I'd like a link to (the closest) related website in my portfolio.
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  • Profile picture of the author theemperor
    Wow this thread is hilarious!

    Really thanks to all who have posted for making me laugh.

    Oh and "PR4" alone doesn't mean much nowadays. This domain is probably next to worthless, and on that basis I'd just give it back.
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  • Profile picture of the author robestrong
    This is a no brainer. You keep it. If I were you I would just flip it back for double the price if they really wanted it. Otherwise keep it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips
    If you have to ask if the shirt needs ironing .. don't ask just grab the iron.

    When PR is updated .. the PR is most likely gone. You are probably the legal owner of an non-trademarked domain. If they were trademarked you would know it by now.

    The person who lost the domain could be the nicest person in the world. They just simply either was ignorant of the domain process or maybe had a true emergency and just missed the entire process.

    Life happens.

    On the other hand, this person could be someone who Bought the domain as a potential feeder site and just didn't get around to doing the maintenance in time and let it go dead.

    AS marketers we all tend to get stretched too thin at times.

    Or maybe they are the biggest spam queen to hit the internet in ages. They only take a break from spamming to tip over wheelchairs and kick canes out from under the elderly.

    There are people out there that are just plain pissy.

    The deal is .. we are not really paying anything forward if we are looking for distinction from an act of kindness.

    The OP must make a decision based on turning the page. If they were on the other side. How would they want to be treated.

    With this information, they can then make a decision.

    The person on the street that begs for money can be the real deal or the con artist looking for a fix. I can only donate with good intention. What that person does with my good intention will not lessen my intent.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew S
    Considering the PR, as long as its legit, OP probably paid at least low $XXX for it. You could consider selling it back to her for the price you paid which wouldn't hurt - there's plenty of PR4 domains ready to expire everyday.

    Keep in mind, Godaddy spams you to register a full 3 months before registration actually lapses (they want you to re-reg early).
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  • Profile picture of the author danlew
    They must refund you first before transferring the domain back to them. Since you have paid the domain, it's yours already. If they want it back, ask for a refund first.
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