First off, let me say this: BOOM! I got Tynan.com! YES!!
Okay. So back when I was in high school, I had the idea that maybe this internet thing was going to work out, and I might want to own Tynan.com. I put www.networksolutions.com into trusty old Internet Explorer 3.0, searched for tynan.com, saw that the domain was available, and then balked at the $70 price for two years.
I'll just get it later, I thought.
For a long time, that appeared to not be the case. A couple years later I revisited the idea of getting the domain, but it was already taken. I emailed the owner and he ignored me.
Once betterthanyourboyfriend.com (the old-old name of this site) started getting popular, I again checked for Tynan.com and tried to contact the owner. Again, he ignored me.
This went on for years. I'd sporadically remember that I don't own myfirstname.com, contact the owner, and not get a reply back.
Finally in 2008 I decided to get serious about it. I was drawn in by the promises of having my transaction handled by an "expert negotiator", so I hired a "domain acquisition expert". They asked for the maximum amount I'd be willing to pay, and I put in $5000. That's a ton of money, more than I thought it was worth, more than I was happy to pay, but if that's what it took, I was ready to do it.
I imagined that my expert negotiator would track down the owner, call him, and whittle him down far below my painful $5000 limit. This is how it went:
"Hi, I'm representing someone who would like to buy your domain, Tynan.com. He'll pay five thousand dollars."
I'm no domain acquisition expert, but my understanding is that you probably shouldn't make an initial offer that leaves you zero room to negotiate whatsoever. As much is I wanted the domain, I couldn't bear to spend so much money. I said no. I emailed the owner once again, asking him to reconsider the $5000 offer. If he reconsidered, he never told me about it.
This year I hired GoDaddy to negotiate. They sent him an email, and when he didn't respond, they called the case closed. Nice work, guys.
I told Todd about this, and he decided to take matters into his own hands. Through some magic I don't totally understand, he tracked down the owner, his personal cell phone, personal email, and his address. Todd called (since, maybe, saying your name is Tynan might signal some desperation for the domain), and here's how that conversation went:
"Hi, I'm interested in buying Tynan.com"
"It's not for sale."
"There's no price that you'd be willing to sell it for?"
"You can email me an offer."
"Can I make you an offer right now?"
"Three thousand dollars."
"Well, is there an amount you could counter-offer that I could consider?"
"No, it's not for sale."
"Why won't you sell it?"
"Because it's not for sale."
That seemed pretty final. I'm pretty unflappable, but for the next two days I had a cloud over my head. It felt like getting dumped, that permanent rejection that seems so out of your control. I asked Todd to give me his phone number and email, just in case.
A few days later I sent a sincere plea by email. I offered my top price and added a personal note, saying that it would really mean a lot to me if he'd be willing to sell. I waited five three days and, as expected, received no response.
Then I decided to call him and make one last effort. I was nervous dialing his number, because I knew that this was probably my final shot at getting the domain. If he said no now, what else could I possibly do? I was determined to stay on the phone until he either sold me the domain or hung up.
"Hi, Mr. XXXXX?"
"Hi, my name is Tynan. I wrote you about Tynan.com a couple days ago."
"Ahh, yes," he said, as if he'd been expecting this call for years and it was time to do battle.
"Have you had a chance to think over my offer?"
"Yeah. You got some money together, huh?"
"Yes. It's the most I can possibly pay. I've wanted this domain for five years, and I apologize for constantly bugging you over that time, but it this domain really means a lot to me."
"Well, it's a pretty valuable domain."
"Especially if your first name is Tynan."
"Okay, tell you what. If you pay the escrow fees, I'll do it."
And that was that. One harsh blow to my trading account later and the process had begun. Finally, after five years of pining, frustration, and fruitless emails, Tynan.com is mine. If you search for the previous owner's name in Google, you get pages of lawsuits against him for domain squatting. But all I feel is gratitude. He beat me to the domain, fair and square, and had no obligation to sell it to me. I think he got a great price for it (if I didn't, I'd post how much I paid), but clearly it was an accurate value, because I was willing to pay it. Welcome to Tynan.com. Thanks for being part of it!
Some of you figured out that I had Tynan.com from Monday's post (I didn't have it when I wrote that post). Hundreds of people visited it to check, which I wasn't expecting. It was blank, but of course the WHOIS information now points to me. Oops! I'm working on a new blog layout which I wanted to release to coincide with this news, but I don't want to rush the design, so it's coming later.
I just got a pair of Smartwool Vibram Five Fingers, to see if they smell terrible like regular five fingers. Will keep you updated.
I agree that businesswise it's probably not the most effective investment. If I had investors, I wouldn't have spent their money on it.
But it does have some value. Whenever people tell me their domain name and it's a .net or .org or something else like that, my first impression is that they don't take their site seriously. I think that having a good dotcom helps with a good first impression.
I recently went looking to see if my last name is available as a domain, since my wife and I are looking to host our personal pages (now that Verizon no longer includes hosting with FiOS service.). Someone's been squatting on the domain since 2006 and they want almost $2500 for it.
Needless to say, I won't pay that much. I'll come up with some other name for the domain. Even if I was a billionaire, I wouldn't pay for what is nothing more than petty extortion. I'd rather spend $25,000,000 in legal fees to sue it from them than to pay off a criminal syndicate for a name that isn't theirs and they have no legitimate right to use.
I have no idea how I came across this page or article... But all I can say is... Wow you are annoying. Seriously. Personal cell # and email? Harassing this guy for years? I would have never sold it to you for any amount of money based on principle.
Not judging (well I suppose just a little)...it's totally up to you how you spend your money and I take your point regarding the lack of material possessions you accumulate.
I'm really interested in what your longer term plan looks like...can you still see yourself living the same lifestyle in ten years time? in thirty years? Might make a good subject for a post - " 2030: A message from future Tynan"
@Ryan I agree that it's expensive, but it's something I've wanted for ten years and that will probably be useful to me for the rest of my life. Interestingly, every wealthy person I know who read about me buying the domain said that they thought it was worth every penny.
Some of my gear is expensive, but it's also just about the sum of my possessions. I have almost no clothes, nothing that doesn't fit in my RV, and don't pay rent. My guess is that the sum value of material items I own is far lower than most people with similar incomes. Also, with persistent deal-hunting and reasonable skill in resale, it's possible to buy things, use them, and sell them for more. That's the case for a number of the things replaced on my list.
Wow - $5,000+ seems like a crazy amount to spend to change from .net to .com!
New gear, new gadgets, $5000 .coms - have you won the MegaMillions?
I'm not hating, but a few simple questions for Tynan:
Why spend so much money on a domain name and other gadgets, the cost of which would keep you traveling this wide world of ours for months, maybe years?
You seem to sacrifice gear that's likely good enough, more so you can write about it, less how you're actually using it around the world.
How about making that gear work for you in Madagascar for a month or volunteer some time rebuilding Indonesia, for instance?
It's great you got another new camera and a backpack you could conceivably use as a flotation device and a .com instead of a .net, now how about logging off more and putting it all to the test?
It seems you could buy less of the latest and lightest and travel far, far more. Just wondering why you don't...
EDIT 9/7/2011: The owner of Florida Auto Brokers has paid the amount owed in full. In return, I am removing his name and his salesman's last name.
Hey guys. I don't think this post will interest too many frequent readers, but I'm sharing it because I'm ranked very highly in search engines and I'd like to warn future prospective clients of Florida Auto Brokers so that they don't get scammed.
On July 7 of 2008 I saw an online auction by Florida Auto Brokers for a 1996 Rialta Motorhome. I was looking for an RV to bring back to Austin, so I sent them an e-mail. Nick, the salesman, replied.
Yesterday while buying a handle of vodka, the vodka bottle pierced through the thin plastic bag.
I looked at the shop owner like ...the bag broke.
He looked back and condescendingly replied "oh yeah the bag broke? So it was the bags fault"
I hesitently nodded.
"Take another bottle and have a good night"