The Five Year Battle With a Domain Squatter for Tynan.com

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.”

“$7500.”

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?”

“Okay.”

“Three thousand dollars.”

“I’ll pass.”

“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.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Mr. XXXXX?”

“Yes.”

“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!

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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.

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