Well, it's gone - and the story of how it went

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8 July 2008

As of this afternoon, truist.com is no longer mine. I had it for 8 years, 4 months, and I find that I’m very sad to see it go :-(

But as Drew says: “think of the motorcycles” – and that is helping :)

So now that the sale is actually done, here’s the story: about a month ago, my phone rang with a call from a blocked number. Breaking habit, I answered the call, and some guy told me that he wanted to buy truist.com, and offered me a surprisingly large amount of money for it. He was a little pushy, and insisted on anonymity, and wanted to get the transaction done quickly, all of which set off warnings in my head. Also, that was the weekend I was moving, so I knew I had no time to do it. I told him I was moving, and to send me an email, and I’d get back to him in a few days.

He sent me the email, and I told a few people about the offer, and they mostly reacted the same way I did – why would anybody want to buy truist.com? It’s such a strange word, I had always figured it was worthless. A few google searches didn’t find anything. And I couldn’t find anything about the guy who contacted me. And “truist” has been my identity online for so long (8 years) that it seemed almost impossible to give it up. And I didn’t really need the money. I figured there was no way he’d go more than double his original offer, and that wasn’t going to be enough money to make it worthwhile, so I just turned him down.

He replied relatively quickly with “his best offer” – which was over 3x his original offer, and a substantial sum. That got my attention. I tried to figure out who was buying and why, and discovered that CreateHope had registered a trademark for the word truist on May 8th. That was my best (and only) clue, so I started assuming that they wanted to buy the name for some relatively noble purpose (versus spam or porn, which were my 2nd- and 3rd-place guesses). (I also discovered that “truist” had been registered as a trademark in 1964 by a company that made men’s shirts!) But I still couldn’t find any info about the guy.

So I hemmed and I hawed, and talked it over with various people (including my wife, who flat out said I shouldn’t ever sell it), and couldn’t make up my mind. So I sent two questions, asking if I could keep the domain until the 8th (because I was hosting my sister’s wedding website, and her wedding was on the 5th) and if I could forward email sent to my old email address. The answers came back “yes” and “no”.

So I sent back an answer of my own: “no”. His price wasn’t good enough if I was going to lose my email address with only a week’s notice. But I followed the advice of another respected friend and coworker to pick a price at which I would be willing to sell, and I counter-offered at that price. (It ended up being 5x the original offer.)

He accepted. To my surprise.

And the rest is history :)

Except, well, I learned a little more. We used escrow.com to do the transaction, and during the course of it, I learned his office address. Plugging that into google, I discovered that my buyer was Ross Bulla of The Treadstone Group. (You just have to click that last link, with your speakers on. Plus the company is actually rather interesting.) Ah, sneaky guy – he used a different form of his name that isn’t found anywhere online… but probably is his real name.

I thought about revealing that original name, but if you read his bio, he actually sounds like someone I could respect, and his anonymity is pretty important to his work (which is to make sure I don’t get too much money for the domain), so I didn’t do so. but it was tempting :)

Anyhow, after reading his website, I slightly modified my theory about why they were buying: they don’t want me to sue them when they start using the word “truist” for whatever marketing purpose they have. They may not use the domain at all. Hm, I wonder if we could have reached a different agreement where I got to keep the domain, but agreed not to sue them?

Ah well, that’s the advantage of naming my own price – I’m still satisfied with the sale, even if there might have been better options (or more money!).

And of course, it remains to be seen what happens with truist.com. Maybe I’m all wrong and they really do want to use it for porn. I’ll check back periodically, and post here once I find out.

  1. Nathan Arthur says:

    Ha ha – I was right! The whois information for truist.com was just updated with an email address from createhope.com. So that’s that – they were the ones buying the domain :)

    Now it just remains to be seen what they do with it…

  2. Amitai Schlair says:

    Nicely sleuthed! Perhaps dinner tonight? I’ll give you a call later.

  3. Ethan Kent says:

    I just clicked a link from my tru_tags plugin. It came up with a 404 error. I recommend (if you can) getting the purchaser to agree to 301 redirect specific pages in the site… Just a thought for anyone else selling their domain.

  4. Nathan Arthur says:

    Thanks for letting me know. I tried that, but they weren’t willing to be very helpful with things like that. I made them wait a few weeks while I transferred everything over, and did that myself (for those few weeks), instead.

    I also updated tru_tags, though, so I assume you’re on an older version?

  5. Ethan Kent says:

    I figured that would be the case. I’m surprised they just let the url go to a 404 error though. If it were me, I’d be redirecting all inlinks to preserve pagerank. I guess since truist.com has a quarter million inlinks, they’re just not concerned.

    Oh, and you’re right the link I clicked was from an old install. By the way, thanks for making the tru_tags plugin. It’s one of the few “must have” plugins for TXP.

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