Although your domain name and extension are a little less important these days when it comes to being found online – having your core business name with .COM is a sought after asset. When we started Network Medics, we were definitely disheartened to know that networkmedics.com was in use by a person out on the east coast and we had to settle on networkmedicsMN.com. Having had a little experience with domain purchases in the past, I started a regular cadence of emails to the owner of networkmedics.com at the time. This was June of 2008, just when we were getting Network Medics off the ground.
A year and a half goes by and I finally get a response. We were excited. Having just moved into our first real office together, this was a cherry on top type of improvement. We could finalize our brand and acquire another asset we want as an organization – esp. for email sake.
Then nothing, no response again. Therefore, I continued with overall optimism that this would work and my letters and emails continued to the owner. Another 6 months roll by and I am enjoying myself at the cabin on one of the most beautiful days of the year.
It is now July 2010. Network Medics is hitting its stride. We just hired Sean as our first technician and Karl as our second. I had also just moved back to town and am enjoying working in Minneapolis again.
The 2nd weekend of July 2010 was truly beautiful so I took the family to our cabin. I am at the cabin making brunch when… the email I have been waiting for 2 years to receive finally arrives at 10:12am. Now my cabin had 3 bars of 3G (sometimes) and no internet at the time, so I was surprised I received it and was surprised for that moment I could respond. But I could, so that was a true gift.
These are the real emails I received in // with some paraphrasing of course.
//”Hi. Do you want networkmeddiscx.com”//
I respond with “Absolutely, let’s do it. You mean networkmedics.com, correct?”
An hour later…
//”How much will you buy it for?”//
I respond with, “Not sure, it’s really just a nice-to-have for us since networkmedicsmn.com is working fine.” (Not true, but playing coy.)
An hour later…
//”Call me in a half hour and we can discuss. Xxx-xxx-xxxx”//
I then proceed to massively irritate my wife and our 4 guests by telling them that I will need to leave for probably 4-5 hours. Despite me explaining the importance, I took a lot of slack as I left to go to the nearest local coffee shop. It was about 20-30 minutes away, but had decent internet (and good coffee).
My call to the seller immediately goes to voicemail so I text, too. 2 hours go by. After 3 cups of coffee and 5 annoyed voicemails from my friends and family to come home, I was ready to head back to the pontoon… Then he finally calls as I am packing up… It’s now 1:30pm… Again, the following is paraphrased.
//”Hi. I will sell this today if you can wire the money to me.//
Wire? That’s weird and uncomfortable. I’ve never wired money and am out in the boondocks, but I knew I had to figure it out. ”Ok, that is fine, but I probably only have an hour until a place I can wire money like that closes.” I had a few hours to get to a Western Union, but I just wanted to get this done.
//”What will you pay for it?//
At this point, the pressure was on and I am starting to sweat in an over air-conditioned coffee shop. He knows I am one of the partners, but I try an old sales tactic hoping he forgets that.
“Let me ask our finance guy and see what we can do.”
I had to give him something legitimate, and not $50. I then realized he was calling me on his own and not using a domain auction service, so I knew he was motivated to sell – now! I was prepared to pay thousands, but I wanted to see if something respectful was enough. I let him wait for about 10 minutes and then called him back. He answers on the first ring… (fist pump)
“I am approved for up to $500 to buy the domain. Does that work for you? Seems respectful to me.”
//”hmmm (long pause)… can you do $600?”//
Well, that was a no brainer and I accepted.
Now from here there was a long conversation on the phone of him double-checking I wasn’t going to “screw” him out of this domain – to which of course I was not, but had no idea how to prove that over the phone with a guy who was suffering from some type of scenario.
While talking with him, I drove an hour to Cable, Wisconsin in 98 degrees, high humidity, and no air condition in my old RAV4 1997 that smelled like 2 wet dogs. Fast forward 10 minutes from being at the Western Union location and I finally get a moment to interject with the plan. I could tell something was not quite right with him, but $600 was a risk I was willing to take to gain our corporate domain name.
“OK OK, Yes, I am legit my man. Look me up on LinkedIN. I have no reason to not pay you for this. Here is my photo in Cable, WI that I just texted you. I am at the Western Union, so I will wire you $300 in a second, then give me access to your registrar account, then I will change its password and send the remaining $300.”
From there it went smoothly thankfully. I called both Patrick and James to report the success. We planned to celebrate on Monday with a nice dinner and a few beers after dinner on the deck. When I got home, nothing looked so pretty as seeing networkmedics.com in my Godaddy registrar account.
It was something I was hoping to see someday, but it was totally unexpected to happen in this manner. I had expected an email from a domain auction house asking for 10s of 1000s of dollars. Monday’s celebration rolled past and we started on changing our email and website to networkmedics.com. I got a few emails from the seller thanking me for paying him and not being a jerk. It turns out he was in a bit of a crisis and selling the domain name really helped. I gave him my sympathy and wished him the best on the situation. ( (I do have to admit it was a little strange that he kept txting me for about a month after, but I could handle 173 txts in an hour with the domain secured.)
Now, we definitely don’t recommend using Western Union for your corporate purchases, but in the end, this experience has helped me acquire, auction, and transfer many domains for our customers over the last 10 years. It was all worth it and I would do it again.