Good Karma Capitalism – Why I Sold a Great Domain for Peanuts

by Tim M on October 7, 2009

I recently registered a domain (that I had big plans for) and promptly forgot that I had it. After all, I am pretty bloody busy, and I have a lot of domains (I sometimes go into ideas overload and always secure the domain right away).

Anyway, yesterday I had an email hit my inbox from someone who is (probably) becoming a friend. Additionally, he’ll be doing some promo/affiliate work for me for my (Totally Excellent) Cycling Through France guide.

He asked me how much I wanted for the domain.

At this point I had some things to consider.

  1. This domain is actually pretty useful for me, but not in the near term (6 months), so is worth probably AUD$1000 to me, if not more.
  2. This domain is worth a reasonable amount to this person (who we’ll call “W”), as it is directly related to a very popular cycling site he runs, and is therefore important to his branding = worth much South Pacific Pesos to him.
  3. Burgeoning professional relationship.
  4. He’s a cool cat, we’re very much chasing the same dream, and he does a LOT of good stuff for no benefit on his site (which I may as well reference).

My options were pretty much:

  1. Sell it for what it was worth to him, to me, or some combination thereof (think in the range AUD$500-1000) and possibly sour any immediate or future goodwill.
  2. Take a very large hit on sales price to help him out and generate some good karma.

In the end we settled for an amount around 1/8th of what it is probably worth. I did profit to the tune of around 10x (10x a small amount is still a small amount). Why did I do such a thing?

Well, I posted before about the Internet being for the common good.

Whilst this domain would have been very useful for me and some grand plans I have, nothing would have eventuated in the near term around those plans. Therefore, W can do more with this domain now.

This domain is intrinsically related to his “brand” and is therefore very important for him, especially in his quest to not be stuck in cubicle hell – a goal I passionately support anyone shooting for.

Additionally, as I mentioned, I am a strong believer in what goes around comes around, so this small gesture on my behalf provides enormous benefit to W, to his readers, to the Internet, and probably in the end, to me. Whether that happens directly through my dealings with W, or via another avenue; that doesn’t matter.

At the end of the day, I don’t feel like I screwed a potential friend over, and that’s worth a lot.

Just remember it’s not always about money.

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