Story of my FirstName.com
I recently acquired my FirstName.com. My first name is made up of six letters, and a few years ago when I attempted to register it, I discovered that it had already been registered for more than 20 years. I then contacted the registered owner, and he declined to sell. That was the end of the story.
I did not push the issue because buying my FirstName.com domain was for personal use only, and at the time, I thought it would be cool but not necessary.
Lately, I have been feeling uneasy using @outlook.com, @gmail.com and @icloud.com (yes, I have and use all three). Your email address is your address on the internet, and as time went by, I wanted less of my identity to be associated with any of the above. Every day, we enter our email address as login into many services and each day, I felt uneasy using domains owned by tech giants. I struggle to describe exactly why I want my identity disassociated with Microsoft, Google and Apple. These are large corporations, and I own shares in all three. That was an investment decision.
This is a personal decision. I am happy to use services and hardware made by these tech giants. However, I prefer my identity not to be associated with them. I also do not consider myself a fanboy of any of the above. However, five years ago, I was a massive fan of all three of them.
The desire to distance myself only grew with time. This led me to contact the owner of my FirstName.com once again. This time, I offered $X for the domain. This was a large sum for a custom domain from which I do not intend to earn any income. In my view, it was a reasonable offer. I received a counteroffer of $X times 2. The registered owner of my domain wanted twice as much for my FirstName.com
I thought about it and accepted his offer. This wasn’t the end of the story. If only things went so smoothly with me.
He provided me with his bank account and asked me to deposit the entire amount. After receiving the funds, he said he would commence the transfer process. He also gave me his phone number. A thought crossed my mind that he could take my money and not give me the custom domain. I have no collateral and no avenues of ensuring he follows through on his word. I know that one can use agents to ensure both parties are protected. However, he did not want to involve anyone else.
I called him. He picked up. After I got the pleasantries out of the way, I politely asked, how do I trust you to follow through on your word? He said that was the only way. He further added, “I cannot give you the domain before you pay me because how do I know you will follow through on your word”. He said, trust me, and I did. I did not have any other choice. Moments later, I transferred the entire amount into his account. Three days later, he confirmed receipt of the payment and said he had started the transfer process. Two days later, he gave me an authorisation code required to transfer the domain from one registrar to another. He was using Network Solutions, and I used Cloudflare, which needs nameservers to be pointed to Cloudflare before the transfer can begin. The seller, to his credit, promptly changed the nameservers, ensuring its pointed to Cloudflare. I then entered the authorisation code provided using the Cloudflare transfer facility. Five days went by, and Cloudflare emailed me advising that my transfer had stalled. The bottleneck was Network Solutions.
To transfer a domain, one needs the authorisation code, and the custom domain should be unlocked. It is only then that the custom domain can be transferred. I advised the seller of this, and he said that Network Solutions has told him that the custom domain is unlocked, hence why the authorisation code was provided. At this point, I did not know whom to trust. Is he just making excuses and does not want to transfer the custom domain, or something has gone wrong at Network Solution’s end? Because he updated the nameservers, I suspected Network Solution’s fault.
One week went by, and no resolution. He kept telling me that Network Solutions technicians were working on the issue. I kept waiting. What else could I do? At this point, I made peace with myself that I had lost the money, and this was a lousy investment gone wrong.
Approaching ten days since the bank transfer, I received a response from the seller advising that he had lodged a complaint with ICANN against Network Solutions for not releasing the custom domain. Two days later, the custom domain was unlocked (verified on WhoIS), and I submitted another transfer request with Cloudflare. This time, it worked. Five days later, I have access and ownership of my FirstName.com 🎉😁
This entire process took longer than it should have and my anxiety grew with each passing day. The end result was to my satisfaction so I suppose patience is a virtue.
It has been a few months now, and I have slowly moved to use my FirstName.com for most of my services and internet accounts. Honestly, I feel better about it. A lot better. Others may see this as superfluous, and I understand that. I am sure; if I offered the same amount of money to you, I doubt 99% of you will buy a custom domain. That is completely fine and certainly not the point.
The bottom line is that this was important to me, and I feel a little better, and no one can make me feel guilty about it.
Originally published at https://merecivilian.com on January 8, 2022.