It Started Out As a Capitalist Troll But Eventually Moved to a Lesson Learned

Feb 19 2015

There are plenty of stories about domain name owners being called all kinds of names. Squatter, pigs, ass, and every curse word you can think of.  Ninety nine percent of the times I just let it go and figure it’s not worth my time explain why I ask the price. But every once in a while I send a response and one of those times was yesterday.

It started as a simple price request for a  A domain that I get quite a few price requests on both through DNS and through email.  I answered in a typical way


Hi David,
Thank you for your offer.  Just as recently as yesterday we were offered $5000 for this name.  If you have an offer higher than this I can take it to the owner and see what he says. Thank you for your time

I admit, I often play the role of the broker because I find the wording and negotiation process easier if I pretend I’m the middle man.  I don’t always, depends on how I feel that day.  But here is the response I got


Ahhh, I’ve researched domain trolls. I know that’s bull. No offer was made… Just your attempts at extortion. Thanks but I’ll pass. I guess this the necessary evil of capitalism.


Normally I would just let this go, close the inquiry and move on, except for one thing.  I really had just had an offer of $5000 for the name in last week.  While I may play the game of pretending to be my own broker, I don’t play the “I have someone else interested” game.  I hate that game.  As a matter of fact, if someone emails me back and says that I automatically will cancel my offer and pull out.  I even did that with a car.  It’s a technique of a weak salesperson.  If someone can’t give me definitive proof that there is another bid then we’re done.  This potential buyer must have had the same thoughts and I wanted to prove him wrong.  So I sent him a direct email.

 I don’t appreciate being called a troll.   I own and run a nursery business and have been buying plant domain names and other names since 2007.  I have spent a lot of time and money buying these names. I also buy land.  On much of my land and my domains I do not have anything built.  I pay taxes and renewal fees to keep the assets I have purchased.  You also called me a liar. Below is an offer that I received on Feb 14th.  It is in my best interest to just ignore you but I wanted to show you that I’m not fucking with you.  Domain names are real assets and are bought and sold every day and this one gets 4 to 5 inquires a month for thousands of dollars.  If you want to find a name that is $8 and fits your company I’d be more than willing to help and make suggestions

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Shane Cultra

I honestly expected to hear nothing back.  I wrote the response more to make myself feel better than to try and make someone more informed.  But I received this email a few minutes later.

Hey Shane,

My sincere appologies. I thought I was talking to a bot. Just listened to a “reply all” podcast on the domain business and knew that there was a hair of shadiness. But I also recalled that there are good people in the business too. The later seems to be the case here. After I sent that… I regretted it and hoped a person didn’t actually see that. I should make sure I have a more balanced perspective before I write anything on the web. I wouldn’t have said that to a person on the phone or in person… Thus I shouldn’t have typed it. I’m just a 22 year old trying to get an Internet presence as I prepare to move across together country to freelance. I totally understand that domains such as that are prime real estate, and should be priced so based on demand. I have some plays on the name already purchased so I’m good for now. I appreciate the offer.

I deeply apologize for making your day a little sour.

Best regards,

It was the kind of response that gave me a little faith in humanity.  That some people on the other end are real people that actually admit to mistakes and apologize.  That’s what good people do.  They admit they went too far and apologized.  I replied to the guy and let him know that rather than make me “sour” he actually made my day.  I honestly didn’t even care that he didn’t buy the domain. His response was enough.  It is the response that everyone hopes to get but never does.  I told him if he ever needs anything I’d love to help and in this case I really mean it.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. adam

    In the podcast he is referring to the podcasters also thought Berkens was lying to them. Turns out he wasn’t either.
    Maybe if he was listening to it well, he would have realized that not everyone is a liar.
    Sad that it’s just assumed now.

  2. Robin

    Thanks for sharing that story. Many of us myself included have made statements or written things that we regret. This young person showed excellent character in the way that they responded.

  3. Trent

    It can be a tough aspect to grasp that these little digital url’s sell for such large amounts of money for people who do not follow domains on a daily basis. Much like domainers are in shock when they see Number domain sales these days.

    I know it can be frustrating to really want a domain, but most people feel they are invisible online, so a certain level of face to face respect goes out the window. It is time consuming to educate so many buyers on a daily basis, but least this guy was humble enough to know that they might have let their frustration get the best of them. Even though it is probably a good domain, it can be frustrating to want such a domain, and simply not have the financial means to do so. $10,000 can be a lottery to some people, just basic economics hopefully you can find a solution for him.

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