We occasionally get requests to remove a sale from our database, so I want to discuss our policy on deleting records. The only circumstances under which we will remove a sale is if there is verifiable proof that the sale didn’t complete, or if the person or company who reported the sale to us did so in error and in violation of an NDA. Otherwise we do not remove domain sales from our database; not even for ourselves or our close industry friends. I’ll explain our reasoning in more detail below.
Reliability of Service
The primary use of our database is to search for comparable sales and to use those records in email negotiations, auction listings, sales landing pages, and more to help justify your asking price. Thousands upon thousands of users link directly to these records as evidence of the sale they are referencing. If records start disappearing then users will look bad, we will look bad, and people will be less comfortable using our reports.
No Expectation of Privacy
Other than sales that are reported to us by one of the parties to the transaction, we only track public auctions. When you win a domain in an auction that anyone in the world can participate in and observe the results of, you have no expectation of privacy. We do not need either party’s permission to report the result of a public auction that we freely observed, and is a fact similar to the score of a sporting event.
To further illustrate this point, many venues including NameJet and Sedo report sales to various domain industry publications through their PR or marketing departments. Many registries report sales of their premium, reserved names. They would not be able to do so if there was an expectation of privacy. Sedo even charges users 2.5% of the total transaction amount if the user wants the sale to not be published. This can often amount to hundreds of dollars per sale.
If you do not want anyone to know the price you paid for a domain, you shouldn’t purchase inventory in public and instead negotiate deals privately.
The Internet Never Forgets
Our sales reports are reproduced, both with and without our permission, on various websites and forums. Once the information is out on the Internet there is no going back. There are other companies, independent of us, that track and report on domain sales as well. Removing a sale from our database will not remove all traces of the transaction, so it doesn’t accomplish anything and hurts our users.
If we remove sales for even a single person, we have to remove sales for everyone who asks. Many users are happy to be made aware of what other people are paying for domain names, and this information is often critical to their success in the industry, yet they don’t want anyone to know what they themselves are paying. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, if there weren’t any companies tracking sales the market as a whole would be impacted. Likewise if everyone who wanted their purchases or sales removed had their way, the database would suffer and so would the industry.
It Doesn’t Hurt to Be Listed
Many people mistakenly assume that having their domain listed in our database means they won’t be able to sell it for more in the future. That simply isn’t the case. I can give thousands of examples of domains that were listed in our database and subsequently sold for more, sometimes significantly more. Just look in the Sales with History section of our Daily Market Report articles if you need proof. Buyers understand that you are in this business to make money and need to sell for a profit, and at the end of the day if they want your domain they have to pay your asking price.
Regardless, most buyers don’t ever find the record on our site, especially not end user buyers. Sometimes it can even help if they find the sale record of your domain, otherwise they are likely to assume that you got it for registration fee and they should pay you even less for it.
The answer is no, we won’t remove a sale from our database unless the information is incorrect or was reported to us in error. The most important reasons for this policy are that users rely on citing our database during negotiations and sales so we can’t have records disappearing, and there is no expectation of privacy for the type of sales that we track. There are several other reasons as well but they are ancillary.
Michael Sumner is the CEO of NameBio.com, and is the lead developer at State Ventures which owns and operates geo domains such as OceanCity.com and Maryland.com. Michael is also the co-founder of DN Media, a company that has been involved in seven figures worth of domain name transactions.