Buongiorno is the UK subsidiary of an Italian firm of the same name. On July 9 2003, the company’s Finance Director and Company Secretary, David Kearns (a man with some letters after his name to show that he’s a Chartered Management Accountant) agreed with me to buy the domain name buongiorno.co.uk from another.com for €4,000. I sent him an invoice
I didn’t brief the lawyer to draw up an agreement this time because we know Buongiorno quite well, having met and done cordial business with one of the firm’s Italian founders and with Paul Shalet, the firm’s former MD.
So on August 20, I chased payment of the invoice ? we couldn’t start the transfer until we received the money. David emailed me:
From: David Kearns
Sent: 20 Aug 2003 14:33
To: Steve Bowbrick
Subject: Re: Buongiorno.co.uk
Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I am actually away from the office until 29th September.
However, we have decided that we can actually do without the Buongiorno.co.uk domain name and will simply use the .com that we already have.
David Kearns ACMA
CFO & Company Secretary
Messagizer/Buongiorno UK Ltd
So David had decided not to pay the invoice and to walk away from our agreement. I guess he’d concluded that, because he hadn’t taken delivery of his domain name, he’d get away with breaking our agreement – especially since I hadn’t bothered to get a formal one drawn up.
Why do I find all of this so annoying? It isn’t much money – no one’s going to go bust. I guess it’s because selling domain names is not another.com’s business and, when we sell one, it’s distracting, we have to go out of our way ? we don’t expect to be led up the garden path or treated like jerks. Today’s telephone conversation with Burton Katz, the firm’s recently appointed MD, didn’t help. He backed David. In fairness to Burton, he’s new to the job and doesn’t know much – he thinks we’re cybersquatters and couldn’t believe that we might have paying customers to compensate, for instance.
Burton’s speaking at a conference in September. I wonder if this might be a good place to bring him up to speed (although I’m sure he’l have cut us a cheque by then – payable to another.com, please).