"Anyone noticing any issues with Escrow.com over the last 6 months? I've seen a noticeable slowdown in customer service, transaction speeds, etc. This morning the site seems to have login problems. Bring back the old management! :)" (From one of many social media threads wondering "what's up at Escrow.com"?)
Photo: Jackson Elsegood Matt Barrie Escrow.com Management
It's a familiar story. A group of dedicated passionate, entrepreneurs put their sweat, blood and tears into enriching your life with a new innovation, product or service. They build deep and personal relationships with the community they serve, solving problems and transforming one of the most difficult part of business from a chore to a pleasure. In this case that would be closing a sale and getting paid.
Then the company gets acquired by folks in a different space, looking to leverage synergies and economies of scale, and profit by reducing costs and automating services. Often these companies have an exit strategy before they even start, hoping to bundle several different entitles into one value-added unicorn. They're in for the quick flip versus the long-term care and nourishment of their customer.
The last place I would expect this to be with Escrow.com whose acquisition by Australian-based Freelancer.com, I applauded at the outset but now feel like I was being played. Times have changed. They have deeply cut staff and domain expertise. Social media is abuzz with vendors claiming to be "dickered" on receivables, and customers wondering that the heck is going on as their transactions take forever to close and it appears that THEIR funds are being floated to support other facets of the business. Said one major domain broker, "We've actually lost business because of it and can't recommend them anymore."
This is not good. An Escrow service should be a bedrock of trust and about getting you paid, not about making excuses and not meeting their obligations. Sadly this is not only the chatter among the domain royalty class, but also my personal experience.
I have tried too reach out to the management at Escrow.com. But they have avoided me like the plague. I hope they will contact me and clear this up. But unless— and until— they do, I can no longer in good conscious let anyone do business with them without being informed.
In their place I am recommending you consider Escrow.Domains. Escrow.Domains began as an innovative platform designed by one of the original Escrow.com pioneers, Andee Hill. The firm was later acquired by Greenberg & Lieberman, a law firm with extensive experience in intellectual property and domain law, trademarks and UDRP cases.
According to DNJournal, "Greenberg & Lieberman (G & L) has long been of the best known and most often called upon intellectual property law firms in the domain industry. The Washington D.C. based firm's high profile in our business can largely be credited to attorney Stevan Lieberman's presence at key domain conferences ever since they began with the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show in 2004 right up through this year's NamesCon conference (where the photo of Stevan to your left by DNJournal was taken)."
According to Stevan Lieberman, "Although it looks like we're the new kid on the block we have been doing domain name escrow for far longer than Escrow.com has been existence. Ms. Hill's application complimented the domain escrow and other legal services we already offer.” Lieberman told us the software automates much of the escrow process making it possible for G & L to handle transaction of any size (previously there was a $100K minimum).
According to Domain Sherpa: “Escrow is an account or service hold by an independent, trusted third party in a transaction process on behalf of transacting parties. You can use escrow for domain names, website development, custom programming, or any other intellectual property matter.'
'In a domain name escrow, an independent, trusted company acts as a third-party agent in the selling-buying process. The escrow agent connects the buyer to the seller, and ensures that both parties receive exactly what was agreed to before the purchase. In other words, the buyer will only receive the domain name once the seller has paid the escrow. And the seller will only receive the compensation for the domain name once it has been transferred to the buyer."
"The third party escrow agent will not only collect and disburse funds, but will also verify domain name ownership prior to the transaction, collect documents or other important materials from the seller, and execute the agreement based on contractual prerequisites.”
The most critical component of the business is TRUST. As you can see from some of the name-redacted comments below that I pulled from various domain forums and social media sites, with Escrow.com, the TRUST factor is GONE!
Has Escrow .com gone right down the tubes? Geez!
"I called them twice today and got zero help on a stuck transactions were both parties have agreed but escrow have not sent payment info out."
"I think they have seriously cut numbers and the employees are tasked with an insanely unrealistic workload."
"We are busy" was one answer I got. "Not sure" is another and " you can call back later" after I had already called twice today. Day 3 of waiting tomorrow."
"I'm seeing the same. They should stop trying to be so "efficient" as I'm sure plenty of money is still being injected. I wish the new boss would address this. Speaking to one employee, he told me escrow have now overcome the hump (transitional?) and are back on track. I hope they prove this now."
"I hope so as well! A lot of extra BS to deal with if transactions go this way. I'll be back on the phone again in the morning because now I have somebody breathing down my neck."
"We shall see... customer service seems to have taken a huge dump since the transition. The prevailing attitude seems to be "we don't give a shit""
"Customer service has always been poor at the Freelancer end, no wonder if that happens at Escrow as well now."
"Still...... trying to get this transaction closed. Calling them is painful. Support makes a promise and nothing happens. Call back, repeat and on and on. Man oh man."
"Anyone noticing any issues with Escrow.com over the last 6 months? I've seen a noticeable slowdown in customer service, transaction speeds, etc. This morning the site seems to have login problems. Bring back the old management! :)"
"Same here and have heard the same from others. I've actually lost business because of it and can't recommend them anymore. Sedo is also not ideal to deal with because you have to initiate transactions through a rep. 4.cn I'm not even mentioning. I wonder what others use for domain only transactions?"
"I have also had the login problems, and have noticed that they are A LOT slower dispersing funds once transfers are completed. Hate to see this great service for so many years go south."
It may very well be that management is just way over its head and running in so many places that these BIG things to us simply get overlooked in the prioritization of daily firefights. But they have fiduciary responsibility so either get it right or get out!
Meanwhile, take your ESCROW to Stevan. You'll be glad that you did.
Anyone want to share their experiences please contact me at Owen (at) Frager Factor (.com).