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discuss A Commission-Free Escrow Service - Input Wanted

NameSilo

Would you be interested in a monthly subscription escrow service?

  • This poll is still running and the standings may change.
  • Yes

    3
    votes
    13.0%
  • No

    16
    votes
    69.6%
  • Maybe (explain below)

    4
    votes
    17.4%
  • This poll is still running and the standings may change.

Casey L

Top Contributor
Impact
3,267
Hello all,

I have been bouncing around the idea of a new type of escrow service that greatly differs from the mainstream commission structure. Those of us who make frequent sales know the pain in the ass that commissions and fees are. The cheapest option currently available to transfer funds is PayPal, which is just under 3%. Unfortunately, the lack of a proper goods transfer makes PayPal risky, and many of you have experienced that issue first hand.

Conversely, using a service like Escrow.com provides the security to protect a substantial amount of funds and valuable domain names, but comes at a hefty price. Say you sell a domain name for $1,000 and use Escrow.com for a safe transaction. After the $63 standard fee and the $100 concierge fee, you only walk away with 83.7% of the original sale price. In fact, your sale has to be for at least $125 just to cover fees, let alone take anything home from the sale. If you sell through a popular marketplace, you're going to get nuked with commissions. Afternic? 20%. Sedo? 15%.

What I want to introduce is an escrow service that doesn't charge you per sale, but rather charges you a monthly subscription fee to use the escrow service. I believe this type of structure would best serve domain investors who either sell in consistent volumes or who sell for considerable amounts (at least $100 per say).

I am thinking of the best pricing model for the sake of sellers and of course the business itself. I'm thinking of a tiered system of something like this (don't hold me to the prices);

Up to 10 transactions - $39/month
Up to 20 transactions - $59/month
Unlimited transactions - $99/month

My goal is to provide a service that not only protects buyers and sellers, but allows sellers to reap the full benefit of their sales. Namebio shows 144 sales >$100 that occurred yesterday alone, let alone the hundreds, if not thousands, that occurred outside of major marketplaces.

I would love some feedback on the idea, to test its plausibility and hopefully work out kinks that allow it to come to fruition. Long live domain investing!

TL;DR - instead of risky transactions or 15-20% commissions, an escrow service that charges a flat monthly fee for domain name transactions of any amount
 
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Asfas1000

Top Contributor
Impact
2,687
You have to take into account how an escrow service that charges $39 for 10 transactions can be sustainable...
 

moe

EstablishedTop Contributor
Impact
1,541
How about an escrow that charges no more than 5% for a transaction regardless of sale value?
 

GoKaizen

CBDCommerce.comTop Contributor
Impact
3,367

creataweb

Some Guy with Awesome Senior High School PhotoTop Contributor
Impact
7,474
Service alone will fail. Need $$$$ to pay for lights and the interwebs service.
 

ison

Established Member
Impact
160
Before you start making plans, please consider hiring a reputable firm or an experienced analyst to calculate the total addressable market of domain sales first. Namebio's report doesn't contain anywhere near enough data on end-user/wholesale sales, one-time sellers, end-users who are satisfied with the existing structure at GoDaddy and other marketplaces, etc.

Once you have a comprehensive TAM in hand, only then will you be able to develop a pricing structure which takes into consideration CAPEX and OPEX costs. TAM is exceptionally crucial for subscription-based business models.

Otherwise, you would be making a huge leap into the unknown.
 

LucidDomains

LucidDomains.comTop Contributor
Impact
6,680
How are you going to prevent against a chargeback against your company?
Will all payments be guaranteed?
Are you going to be able to take a loss of $20K should the need arise to protect sellers?
Will your company be licenced and audited?
How will you convey trust to your end users?

I could see a massive company diversifying with an escrow service but I find it hard to see how a random person can start one from scratch and meet all the necessary obligations required of an escrow service today. I would have thought you would need to put up a lot of collateral to a financial organisation to back you. Easy $200K as a starting amount.

I have done no research into this, these are just random thoughts that spring to mind.
 
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Jurgen Wolf

standforUkraine.comTop Contributor
Impact
11,825

Jurgen Wolf

standforUkraine.comTop Contributor
Impact
11,825

Kuffy

Name StagTop Contributor
Impact
5,193
The cheapest way to transfer funds in the UK is by direct bank transfer. It's free and immediate.
The cheapest way to transfer funds internationally is by using Bitcoin, and that includes the possibility of a free escrow capability. However, the trusted 3rd party may require a small payment.
 

Brandworthy

Established Member
Impact
1,190
Are you familiar with working in a highly regulated industry? Domaining has virtually no regulation, while financial transactions are near to the far end of a regulatory spectrum. I imagine starting an escrow provider won't be cheap, quick or trivial. Best of luck if you can.
 

Lysted

Lysted.com Domains Buy - Sell - Connect - ManageEstablished Member
Impact
403
When one is talking about 10 transaction a month, that is a 'volume seller' - which are not many .

Additionally, typically, the buyer pays the escrow. If they are buying on an average $2K name, they do not mind spending another $100 or so for transfer fees - it is built in. They would rather pay something extra for peace of mind. And as stated earlier, Escrow service is heavily regulated - it is not easy to set up one.