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When you buy a dead person’s domain name

I’m sure we’ve all done it…we just don’t know it.

Picture of clock with words "expired domains"

A Domain Name Wire reader sent a story about a gambling addiction group that had to change its domain name. Its founder passed away and the group’s original domain name expired. No one in the organization caught this until it was too late to renew the domain.

The original domain, BettorsAnonymous(.)org, went through the full deletion cycle and was picked up at DropCatch at the drop. The buyer appears to be in Malta.

So the organization changed its domain name to bettors-anonymous.org with a hyphen.

I wonder how many times I’ve acquired an expired domain name under similar circumstances. My most interesting story is when I acquired an expired domain while the previous owner was in prison. That made for some tough conversations when he got out of prison.

Some high-profile names have expired due to the owner’s death. Carrot.com was auctioned at GoDaddy after the owner died but was rescued.


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  1. thelegendaryjp says

    Lets hope it isn’t going to display ads for gambling.

    On a side note the traffic and rev from parking will tail off and what the original owners could do is make a small but reasonable offer and hope for the best. The wise money is a bird in the hand on such a name… maybe $1k-$2k.

    This story particularly sucks since it was to help fight addiction.

  2. David Michaels says

    Maybe we should establish a norm:
    If someone acquires an expired domain while the previous owner was in prison, in hospital, dead, negligent, etc., transfer it with a smile after receiving payment of a nominal recovery fee.

    How’s $300 for a domain that was developed and has a website that shows up on archive.org? Or is a $500 recovery fee more appropriate because of the risk? Should the recovery fee increase over time by $100 per year? Should it be more for a big business vs a non-profit?

    If the previous owner died and the domain was undeveloped, maybe a brokerage fee is more appropriate. For example, Bill’s rescue of carrot.com

    Proof of prior ownership might be required. Maybe add-on the costs to access the Tucows domain owner database.

    Note: Most registrars charge a domain redemption fee that ranges from $80 to $150 USD.

    .MU domains for the country Mauritius stand out with the ccTLD renewal policies. They charge a steep redemption price of $2,000 USD (No one wants to pay that fee)

  3. Site Price says

    It’s our biggest fear. Today I inspired how men saved Carrot.com after owners death. And it got sold 60k$. We should do this type of help.


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