Out of the blue, one day, I got an email from RiffRaff, a man of renown on the old TSC board, asking if I could do a favor for him and his employer, who we will call $BoozeStore. It seems that $BoozeStore did not own the $BoozeStore.com domain; it had been purchased by the IT-guy before the guy RiffRaff replaced, and he had never bothered to turn over the credentials. After leaving under a cloud, he had eventually offered the domain back to $BoozeStore for an exorbitant fee — apparently about mid five figures. Riff was hoping that I could negotiate this guy down to a more reasonable number – they were hoping $500, but could go as high as $1000.
Figured I, why not? Favor for a friend and all that. So I hit the sales site, a very fancy site for high-profile name transfers, and offered $500. It told me, natch, that was too low to even pass on to the client. Par, I figured. But I noticed that I seemed to be the only bidder.
Two days later, I hit the site again, for $600. Still too low. But this time, a site salesman came back to me suggesting that I should significantly increase my offer. This is where the only part of the story that I have any right to be proud of happened: I bought the domain $BoozeStore.ca and told the guy that my own client was Canadian, as I was, and he felt that the .ca domain was more valuable to him as a Canadian entity than the .com domain would be — and cost $26 a year without any up front expenditure. And offered $650. They countered at around $2000.
With my cover story firmly in place, now, I could afford a bit of golden silence. So it sat there for the better part of a month, until I finally offered $700. All through this, Riff is running interference with $BoozeStore owners, micromanagers all, and I don’t hear any of it until I send out the $700 offer. Riff tells his people this, and I am in the mail loop for a while. Which is interesting because $BoozeStore managers start telling me to do the things I’m already doing. And where Riff has had to sit and take this, I find it amusing, because of course they have no power over me: my net investment is $26 and some emails at this point, and it is very cheap for me to hang up and walk away at any time. Having nothing personally depend on the outcome makes it easier for me to see the humor in the $boss’ vacillations.
Eventually the site comes back with a counter at $1050, which I grudgingly accept, pay off, and transfer to $BoozeStore. Riff sends a personal check for the $1050 plus $26 — I guess he owns the $BoozeStore.ca domain now if he wants it — plus a little over for my time and putting up with $boss.
Now, what’s left for RiffRaff is to figure out who owns the $Booze-Store.com domain, which is what they were using while $BoozeStore.com was in limbo, and reclaim that as well…